Chapter 1 No Nag, Just Divorce
It was nighttime, and Lyra Carroll couldn't find peace in her sleep. Restlessness consumed her as she felt an oppressive weight on her chest, making it difficult to breathe. Beside her ear, heavy and rapid breaths intensified her unease. Suddenly, a sharp pain shot from below, jolting her awake with panic. Through blurry eyes, she caught a glimpse of a man leaning over her.
"Melvin, is that... you?" she questioned, her voice trembling.
A soft, guttural sound escaped the man's throat, saturated with the stench of alcohol. Without uttering a word, he continued his advances. Recognizing the familiar voice, Lyra breathed a sigh of relief. As she followed his movements, surrendering to the rhythm, an involuntary moan escaped her lips.
The intensity of their encounter escalated, and she gritted her teeth, enduring the pain while being completely absorbed in this ambiguous atmosphere that felt as if she were floating in the clouds.
Finally, after three long years of marriage, Melvin Freeman had finally acknowledged her presence. Forced upon him by his grandfather, Lyra had always been a mere accessory, never truly recognized. But tonight, regardless of the reason, he had entered her room. And she, overwhelmed with joy, had welcomed him.
Two hours later, amidst heavy groans, Melvin collapsed upon her, his silhouette outlined by the moonlight streaming through the French windows, emphasizing his perfect figure. Lyra listened intently to his rapid heartbeat, a surreal yet tangible sensation. If this were a dream, she vowed never to wake up.
Holding onto the back of his neck, she found herself almost infatuated, her breath heavy from their physical exertion. "Melvin... Melvin, I..." she began, her voice filled with longing.
Before she could profess her love, his low, hoarse voice interrupted her.
Lyra froze, her heart trembling violently as if struck by a sudden chill. Her blood seemed to flow backward. Lottie, the nickname of Charlotte Matthews, Melvin's childhood sweetheart and unforgettable first love, had returned from her long absence overseas due to old Freeman, Melvin's grandfather. Just yesterday, Charlotte had sent her provocative messages.
[Lyra, I'm back, and there's no place for you in the Freeman family!]
[Melvin and I have known each other since childhood. Do you really think you can replace me after all these years? Leave on your own, go back to the orphanage where you belong.]
[You have no idea how much Melvin loves me. Even if he's lying in your bed, he'll call my name. You're nothing but a poor substitute. Lyra, I'm sure it doesn't feel good, does it?]
Substitute? She was the chosen granddaughter-in-law of old Freeman, the rightful Mrs. Freeman. She was Lyra! She refused to be anyone's substitute!
Meanwhile, Melvin continued muttering "Lottie, Lottie"...
Those scornful messages echoed in her mind, unraveling the illusions she had built for herself.
Uncontrollable tears streamed down her face as Lyra clenched her fists, trembling with suppressed emotions. For all these years, she had been cautious, bending over backward to please others, even quitting her job and dedicating herself entirely to being a devoted wife to Melvin. Her mother-in-law and sister-in-law at the Freeman Manor had treated her with disdain, subjecting her to constant torment and humiliation. Yet, she had endured it all, not wanting to trouble Melvin, swallowing her pride.
Hadn't she been humble enough to earn his love? Why did they have to tear apart and trample upon the remnants of her dignity?
This night felt interminable. Lyra lay awake, her eyes fixed upon the darkness, unable to find solace in sleep.
The following morning, Melvin awoke to the glaring sunlight seeping through the French windows. Rubbing his temples, he opened his eyes, only to find Lyra sitting at the vanity with her back turned to him.
The absurd events of the previous night flashed through his mind, and as he comprehended what had transpired, a coldness enveloped him, narrowing his dark eyes.
Though Lyra faced away, she could sense the hostility emanating from him. With apparent composure, she continued her skincare routine as if nothing had occurred. But suddenly, her wrist was seized tightly, and she was yanked to her feet. The object in her hand slipped and shattered on the floor, white cream splattering all around.
Lyra looked up, her eyes blazing with anger. However, when she met the man's furious and disgusted gaze, her heart involuntarily trembled.
"Do you think that by drugging me and forcing me to touch you, you can become the real Mrs. Freeman?" Melvin towered over her, his teeth almost gnashing, his grip tightening.
Drugging him? Lyra offered a bitter smile. "So, in your eyes, I'm that kind of woman?"
A mocking smile curled Melvin's lips as his eyes filled with revulsion. "You used your manipulative tactics to deceive my grandfather, forcing me into this marriage. And now, you dare to feign innocence."
"A contemptible woman like you can't even compare to a single toe of Lottie!"
Contemptible, feigning innocence... In his eyes, she was nothing but wretched. As for drugging him, if that had been her intention, she would have done it long ago. Why would she have waited until now? Melvin truly failed to grasp even the slightest understanding of her!
How ridiculous that she had given her all for these past three years, all in vain!
Given the circumstances, there was no need to persist any longer.
Enduring the pain in her wrist, Lyra clenched her teeth and summoned her strength, forcefully shaking off his grip. Raising her head, her resolve solidified.
"Melvin, let's get a divorce."