Stolen By A Sinner: Chapter 10

Lara

I’m up at the crack of dawn after a restless night of tossing and turning.

When I’m done showering, I check the lashes on my back, glad to see they’re healing and not infected. Still, they’ll leave horrible marks.

Yesterday Nisa brought me the softest towels, the same peach color as the bedding. She also brought me shampoo, conditioner, a brush, and hair ties. There are products I’ve never used or had access to before.

It feels wrong, though. Like I shouldn’t have these luxuries.

While I wonder if it’s too early to get to work, I also think about everything that happened during the past eight days.

It’s surreal.

Not once have we had stew here, and the food is delicious. It’s like there’s an explosion of tastes in my mouth during every meal.

Last night we sat at a table in a quaint little room filled with potted plants. I didn’t have to shove the food down as fast as possible while standing by the sink.

Also, Nisa and Murat have actually been nice to me. No one barks orders at me. The atmosphere in the house is pleasant and not filled with tension.

But all of this makes the apprehension grow in my chest.

It’s not what I’m used to, and it’s making me feel emotions I’ve never felt before.

Just do your best.

Keep your guard up and your head down.

Bey for mister. Hanin for miss. Evet for yes.

I go over the Turkish words I learned yesterday so I won’t forget them.

I take five minutes to squash all the new emotions down and to gather the strength for the day ahead.

Today I’m wearing a pale yellow dress with a light brown pattern. The flat shoes are comfortable, unlike the pumps I used to wear.

I noticed Nisa doesn’t wear a maid’s uniform, and I wonder if that means I won’t be wearing one as well.

There’s a lot I wonder about, but not wanting to overstep any boundaries, I keep the questions to myself.

Walking to the window, I glance outside and notice the sun’s rays are just starting to break through the darkness.

It must be past five o’clock already.

Not wanting to be late, I make sure every strand of my hair is neatly tucked into the bun before walking to the door.

Now that I have hair ties, I can maybe braid my hair like Nisa’s. Tomorrow, though. There’s no time for that now.

It’s still hard to believe I don’t have to share my sleeping space with anyone. Or a bathroom.

It’s too good to be true, which means this could be a trap of some kind. Maybe Gabriel is hoping I’ll let my guard down, and I’ll give him information on Tymon.

If only he knew I don’t know anything of worth. Not once have I lied to him.

Feeling tense and unsure in the foreign house, I cautiously open the door and peek up and down the hallway. There’s no sign of Murat.

Can I leave the room without Murat?

Crap.

I don’t know what to do, and I really don’t want to be late for my first day of work.

With my hand clutching the doorknob, I worry about what to do.

Do I wait?

Do I go to the kitchen and get to work?

This is so hard.

A door opens to my left, and when Nisa steps into the hallway, I almost let out an audible sigh of relief.

She notices me and says, “You’re up early. Let’s have some tea.”

Still hesitant, I ask, “Is it okay if I leave the room without Murat Bey?”

“Tsk.” She gestures for me to come. “As long as you’re with me, it’s okay. Just don’t wander around alone.”

That’s good to know.

I follow Nisa to the kitchen. While she opens the backdoor, I fill the teapot with water so it can boil. I peek into all the cupboards again to refresh my memory of where everything goes.

There’s even a dishwasher.

Last night it was weird loading all the dirty dishes into it and not washing them by hand.

Moving closer to the dishwasher, I ask, “Do I just open the machine to unload the dishes?”

Evet,” Nisa murmurs.

I watch as she takes various ingredients from the pantry and fridge. Opening the dishwasher, I get to work.

Honestly, I’m surprised everything is clean.

As I pack the dishes and utensils away, I have to admit it’s more convenient than washing and drying it all by hand.

I notice Nisa takes out curved glasses in which she serves the tea. Beneath each glass is a small plate with a light blue and gold pattern.

I try to memorize everything as quick as possible as Nisa shows me how to pour the tea. She uses a double teapot contraption, the bottom half holding the boiled water and the smaller teapot containing brewed tea.

“I like my tea strong, so I never add boiling water,” Nisa explains. She glances up at me. “How do you like your tea?”

Ahh…

We only had water at Tymon’s mansion.

“I’m not sure? Normal?”

Nisa lets out an amused chuckle and pours an equal blend of water and tea, the red color much lighter than hers. She also adds sugar to mine.

The whole process took thirty minutes.

Gone are the days of making a quick cup of tea.

“Thank you, Nisa Hamin,” I murmur as I take my glass of tea from her. I sip tentatively on the hot liquid and have to admit it’s much better than water.

A small smile tugs at my mouth as I drink some more, then I catch Nisa grinning at me.

“It’s delicious,” I compliment her.

“You won’t get any work out of me before I’ve had my tea,” she says, her tone light and friendly. Her eyes flick over me, then she says, “Tell me about yourself.”

I set the glass down on the small plate. Not knowing what to say, I shrug. “I’m a hard worker.”

Nisa shakes her head. “Tsk. No, tell me where you’re from, about your family, how you ended up working for someone like Tymon Mazur.”

My eyebrows lift slightly. Is this a Turkish thing? I never had conversations with the other staff.

“Ah… I’m Polish.” Then I think to quickly add, “But I have citizenship in America.” I fidget nervously with the fabric of the dress. “My mom died when I was twelve, and I have no other family.” I shrug again. “I took over her position as a maid after she passed.”

Nisa blinks at me. “You’ve been working as a maid since you were twelve?”

I nod.

Allah Allah,” she exclaims dramatically, making me stare wide-eyed at her. “That’s no childhood.” She pins me with an intense look. “Did you go to school?”

“Yes. Until I was sixteen.”

Allah Allah.”

It’s not that bad.

Just then, Gabriel walks into the kitchen. I quickly straighten my posture, fold my hands in front of me, and respectfully look down.

“Gabriel Bey,” Nisa says, her tone still pitching. “The girl didn’t even get to finish school.”

Gabriel says nothing as he takes a bottle of water from the fridge.

Today he’s dressed in a pair of jeans, a white t-shirt, and an olive green jacket. Gone are the brown leather shoes, and in their place are black boots.

He almost looks like a normal human being and not a mafia boss.

A very attractive human being.

Isn’t he going to work? What day is it?

“Will we be having breakfast soon?” he asks.

Nisa waves a hand at him, and again my eyes widen as she shoos him out of the kitchen. “Have I ever let you starve?”

“There’s always a first time.” The teasing tone in his voice has me peeking at them.

When we’re alone again, Nisa says, “Let’s get to work. You can continue telling me about yourself while we prepare breakfast.”

While I help Nisa prepare pide which is a Turkish flatbread, I tell her how we weren’t allowed to have any kind of relationships. Friendships of any kind were strictly forbidden.

When she’s gaping at me like a fish out of water, I murmur, “It’s not something I’m used to.” I give her a sheepish grin. “But I’ll do my best to learn.”

She lifts her eyes to the ceiling as if she’s praying, then mutters, “Allah Allah.” Patting my shoulder, she gives me a comforting look. “I’ll teach you everything, Lara Hanim.”

Emotions shoot through me like a rocket, and I have to swallow hard to keep them down. Clearing my throat, I get back to work.

You’ll be okay.

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