Chapter 1: Loveless Marriage
(AU: Book 4 of The Witch’s Pirate. New Characters in place. In order to understand, you must go to the Witch’s Pirate the first book, or not you will be lost. Thank you all for even taking your time to read, as I will say my grammar isn’t the best since English isn’t my first language. Thank you once again. I hope you enjoy the Fantasy book and remember everything is made up as I wrote this book. Nothing is real and I will use like on my other books more modern words since I know most people don't understand old terms and this takes place in another world, not ours. Copyright is mine.)
(1880 The Bayou: Four months after the picnic.)
“You may kiss the bride,” The priest said as I look up through my veil. He turns around looking down at me with his dark blue eyes, causing my heart to jump. It looks like he can see right through me or something.
“We really don’t have to do this, we just met,” I nervously said as I move my eyes away from him.
The reality, I’m facing right now is that I don’t even know his name. I just literally met him ten minutes ago in this alter.
All I knew, he became my husband.
He simply turns around and heads out, leaving me behind in the alter. I hiccuped and turned around to head down. I feel tears gathering in my eyes as I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder.
“I’m sorry Elia,” My older brother Zack said. I lifted my gaze, and stare at his dark chocolate eyes, taking notice his dark hair is curlier than the normal, maybe due to the humidity.
“For what? Isn’t’ your fault you sold me to a stranger,” I growled, moving away from him and slowly follow my now husband. I look down at my wedding ring and felt a tear drop down.
Mom, if you were alive, you wouldn’t permit this right? I just have fallen into a loveless marriage. I lower my hand and started to walk.
It all started on my twenty-six birthday when my brother came with the news.
“Come here little one, I just want to help you.” I get on my knees to reach for a bird that has broken his wing that is near my small cottage. I live near The Bayou, not far from the mountains. I live alone and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Bird starts to hop away from me. I start to crawl towards the bird until a shadowy figure overcast me. I gasp, looking up, to see one of my brothers. Hector. A tall lean man, that has baby face, looking younger than I. Dark curly hair as long as mine. He bends down and picks up the bird.
“There you go,” he says handing me the bird. A smile broke on my lips and took the bird with great care.
“Thank you, Hector. What are you doing here?” I asked him, as his chocolate eyes spark up. I stand up and turned to head for my small house that our parents left behind long ago.
“I came to speak to you about something,” He said in a serious tone. I look down at the injured brown bird and frowned.
Don’t be scared, I’ll help you heal. Don’t be like me.
“About?” I asked while Hector opens the door, and we enter the small kitchen. I rushed to the piles of pot on my right, and grab the deepest one, and place the bird inside.
“You’re twenty-six, you need to wed soon, you’re not getting any younger,” he stated. I froze in my tracks and shook my head.
“It's okay, I’ll live alone for the rest of my life. It's not that big of a deal. While you three come and visit me and let me play with your children, I’ll be the happiest woman alive,” I told him. Hector frowns at me, not liking this.
“How can you play with our children, if you can barely stand being near anyone, or a man for that matter,” he said, as I turned to face him.
“It's a phobia my brother, nothing else. You know what happen to me many years ago. Even if I can’t remember what really happen, all I know, that it caused me to become like this. Everything scares me, even the bird scares me but is defenseless and that helps me to overcome it. Humans, especially men, scares me too much. Since you are my brother, I can handle it, but I can’t hug you, though.” I frowned. Hector sighs, running his fingers through his hair.
“That’s why I came to talk to you about, you see,” he began, but the door opens up, to have my other brother, Zack enter with my other brother Anthony. They are twins, exactly alike. Dark black hair, all of them long, and chocolate eyes, with tan faces. Unlike me, I was born a bit different from them
“Brothers, welcome back,” I smiled at them, Zack, the eldest of us three smiled at me then turns to stare at Hector, the youngest of the two. I’m the baby sister.
“Have you told her?” he asks Hector. Hector shakes his head.
“I was about to, until you two walked in,” He growls. I blinked confusedly, but then I clapped.
“Is your wife with another child?” I asked excitedly to Hector. Hector blinks but shook his head.
“No, why would you think that?” he asks with disbelief. I shrug.
“You already have four children, so I thought.” I frowned, feeling disappointed. Hector rubs his forehead while Zack chuckles.
“No, is not that, err, well,” they all look at each other, and Anthony walks up to me, he was about to grab my hand, but I took a step back. He frowns, and sigh.
“Sorry, I tend to forget.” Anthony rubs the back of his neck. I shook my head.
“What is it that you have to talk to me about? Wait, did you get the job in the king’s palace? If so, that’s good, since the old king died three years ago. Our new king, Max is very nice and kind.” I said while lacing my fingers together, but they all shook their heads. I frowned once again and sigh.
“Then what? I have lots to do and now I have to attend to a bird. Please tell me, before I die from curiosity,” I asked them. All three of my brothers glanced at each other and Zack clears his throat.
“Tomorrow, you shall get married,” he said out of the blue. For a moment there, I just stared at them as laughter passes my lips.
“Good one Zack, seriously, what’s the big mystery? Did you propose to your fiance?” I asked him, Zack sighs.
“I’m not joking, you’re going to get married tomorrow at midday,” he says seriously. I stood still, not wanting to move. His words slowly sink into me.
“With whose permission do you go and marry me off?” I went off, anger surfacing in me and fear. I move away from my brothers, but Zack moves rapidly and grabs my arm. I flinched and he makes me look up at him.
“I have my reason, please listen. I won’t just give you to anyone. I know him, he’s unwed and is not courting anyone. He is similar to you. He..”
“I want to marry for love, not because he’s suitable for me or with wealth, is he a duke? A nobleman?” I snatch my arm away, Zack shook his head.
“It’s hard to explain to you,”
“Trust you? You’re giving me away to a stranger, how could I know? Could he be some old perverted man? How do you know he won’t force himself on me after marriage? Zack. I can’t even hug you guys, let alone hold someone hand.” I began to cry, bending on my knees and crawl up to the wall. I felt alone. How could they?
My three brothers crawl up to me and look at me sadly.
“Trust us, if we could, we wouldn’t have done it,” they all said at the same time. I shook my head because I knew, I couldn’t get away from this. I couldn’t run away, nor could I object. How unfair is this?
That’s how it went, I didn’t have time to react or think. I got married to a stranger. I don’t even know his name. Why I married him? I don’t know, no one tells me anything.
All I knew, that I’m scared and this man I just met, hasn’t spoken a word. Now we stood outside of the church heading for the brown carriage, I kept inspecting him.
He’s a handsome young man, not much older than I which surprised me.
His hair is cut so short, but on the top is a bit longer, and brushed to the side. His hair is black. Broad back and shoulders and he have a wide chest. He’s tall, the size of my brothers, so I reach up to his shoulders. His eyes are a dark blue, with thick brows making his eyes pop even more. His lips aren’t as thin, nor is it too big just plump. He has a mustache and beard, but is not thick or big, is stubble, makes him look very mysterious.
At least he’s not old.
I felt shy and embarrassed overall scared. This isn’t my thing. Leaving so suddenly out of my little home, my things.
I took a breath and walked up to the carriage and went inside to grab my small pot and look down at the bird that I’m helping heal.
I’m not sure if I should take you.
I move my hand and touch its small head. The bird chirps and suddenly I felt a presence behind me. I look up, to see my husband looking down and arched his thick brow up. The sudden close-up, cause my heart to jump oddly.
He’s too close, why is he too close?’
I panic, he simply moves his hand and touches the bird’s head gently using is index finger. I look with wide eyes at his kind gesture. His face becoming closer to mine. Fear shot through me.
Don’t touch me, don’t’ touch me. I chanted in my head as he turns to stare at my eyes. I blinked and a sudden hiccup escapes me.
“Too bad, he’s going to die,” was his first words. His voice is very deep and soothing, like silk, but I can tell he has a little of an accent.
Then his words rushed into me.
“Die? Who the bird?” I asked, the man nods and walks around me to get in the carriage. I blinked while I heard footsteps behind me.
“Elia, just be careful alright, your true life will start as soon you enter the carriage. We will visit soon,” I heard from behind me. I turned to see my brothers waving at me. I frowned, but wave back. I turned and lifted the bottom of my white dress and entered the carriage. I sat in front of the man and he leans forward to close the door.
I move to the edge and kept looking at the bird.
“You don’t mind if I take him with me?” I asked.
“Do as you wish,” he simply said. I lifted my gaze to watch him look out the window as the carriage began to move. I licked my lips.
“Sorry to ask, but may I know my husband’s name?” I asked. He turns his gaze, his dark blue eyes penetrated mine once again and he suddenly smirks.
“Ante.” he simply says.
“Ante, strange name, but it seems to suit you, I’m Elia nice to meet you. Want to know a funny story. Well, my mother, she was meant to call me Elie because she didn’t know how to write, the guy that registered me place an A, instead of an E,” I nervously giggled and I took notice, he’s wearing a dark suit, that suits him well. He turns to face me and simply blinks at me. I felt embarrassed and I look down, my face turning red.
Come on Elia, don’t’ speak, you’re embarrassing yourself.
I felt the carriage bump into things, causing my pot to move with it. I look down and the bird started to chirp harder.
“What’s wrong little one?” I question, now getting worried. The bird started to spin around and my heart starts to hammer.
“You can’t fly, you’re hurt. I can’t let you go just yet,” I felt tears gathering in my eyes when suddenly I felt someone next to me. My body froze and I turned to see Ante looking down at the bird. He moves his big hand and picks up the bird.
“Hey, don’t touch him like that, he’s already hurt,” I argued, but he simply opens his hand, and to my horror, the bird won’t even move anymore.
“Did you killed him?” I asked with a horrified expression, he shook his head, and simply takes my pot and place the bird back in.
“No, he’s sleeping,” he tells me with a sarcastic remark, I arched a brow, but Ante places the pot down and turns his gaze back at the window. I move forward and look down at the dead bird.
“Why did you kill him?” I asked him, feeling my tears falling. He turns his gaze, and his eyes narrow as soon he saw my tears.
“I didn’t, he died. I told you he won’t survive,” he stated. I wipe my cheeks and move away from him. I held the edge of the cushion seat.
“How did you know that?” I asked him.
“I just know,” he simply said. Then after that, he went quiet. I turn my head and look at my lap.
“Sorry,′ I whispered, maybe he covered the bird, so I wouldn’t see his death? I frowned, feeling so sad for the bird life. I did nothing to help it. I quietly sob in my corner, while Ante turns his gaze to stare at me.
No words cross our path since then.
Finally reaching his home, I held the pot tightly in my arms and look with wide eyes at the castle. It looks like, King Max’s castle. It's wide and creepy at the same time. The color is a pale brown and overcast the sea. I felt my fear hitting me. The castle itself seems alive or something.
“Ante, I want to go back. I don’t belong here, please,” I begged, my feet wouldn’t move. I felt out of place. I started to cry, wanting to go back to my home. Ante which stood in front of me turns around and gently takes my pot away from my hands. He simply blinks and sighs.
“Your new home, you will get used to it, if not, in a month, I will return you back,” He simply said. I wipe my eyes and look up at him. His dark blue eyes filled with a strange emotion stare into mine. I hiccuped.
“Do you promise?” Hoping that he would be telling the truth. He nods at me.
“Yes, I promise. Even if I have to fight for it,” He mumbles the last part. I arched a brow and sniffed.
Fight for it? What does he mean?’
I didn’t’ voiced him my thought though.
“Why did you marry me? I don’t even know you. I..”
“Trust me woman, I don’t even want to marry either. I’m no Duke or a noble person. I’m just as a regular man like any other. Poor, but I work hard.” He admits. I pointed at the castle.
“You own a castle, how is that not....” but he shakes his head.
“It's not mine,” he simply said and turns around to head inside the castle.
Not his, then why are we going to live here? It makes no sense.
I rub my forehead and I slowly follow him, watching the driver taking my suitcase.
Entering the large room, which filled with nothing but one chair near the large painted window and spiral stairs, with red carpets on the floors.
For a castle, it feels empty and alive. I shivered and I cleared my throat.
“Then why are we here if this isn’t your place?” I asked him, watching the older driver walk up the stairs since Ante instructed him. Something about the driver seems off, he walks a little too slow and he’s very thin, yet is not what makes me feels off, something about him is off. I can’t place my finger on it.
“The real owners left me in charge,” he simply said.
“Oh, that makes sense. You don’t talk much, do you?”
“I only speak when is necessary,” he said, as I start to follow him up the stairs. He kept his eyes straight while my heart starts to beat. Something in this place gives me the creeps. I didn’t like it. I feel like someone is watching us.
“Then what are you?” I asked. He stops and turns to me, I gasp when he once again gets close to me and a slanted smirk passes his lips.
“You sure ask a lot,”
“I have to know, I married you and I don’t know anything about you. My brother told me you know a lot about me. Why did you marry me? Why can’t I ask? Why can’t I..” Ante simply blinks at me, then he turns ignoring me completely.
I’m getting frustrated by his silence, without hesitation, I remove my veil from my hair and breathed hard.
“I’m speaking, don’t just leave me, I’m not sure how to react.” I gasp out, he stops in his tracks and simply breath out, he turns around and once again gets dangerously close to me. Without a second thought, he wraps his arm around my waist and pins me against his warm yet firm body. My breath caught, my fear starts to come.
No, don’t’ touch me. I mentally chanted.
“Have patience and be my bride, that’s all you have to do,” I push him off me and move away to bend on my knees, and grasps the edges of the stairs.
“Please, if you know about me, don’t touch me. What do you mean to be your bride?” I pleaded, shaking hard. Ante frowns and walks up to me and bends on his knees to face me.
“Sorry, I’m not used to having people speak so much. If you must know, I’m the Gua... Gardner of the castle. I’m a simple poor man, that is trying to make a living. I married you because of my mas. I mean the boss told me to. It's all you have to know, I won’t’ touch you. I won’t force you. Rest assure. I like my privacy. I don’t normally mingle with the living. So we are on equal terms then. For my bride, just be here and do your daily living, and when people come, just act as we are happily married.” he murmurs, I lifted my gaze as he was looking down at the floor looking like a lost child. I blinked.
“Living?” I asked confused. He clears his throat.
“Nothing, just don’t ask too many questions,” he tells me. I nodded slowly and I stood up, he watches me when I slowly go up the stairs as he follows me behind.
“I have one more question, that’s all,” I asked him.
“Hmm?” he asks as I stop on my tracks. A cold shiver runs down my spine when I turned to face Ante.
“Where exactly is the driver?” I asked him since he hasn’t returned from all the talking we had done. He would be already downstairs. Ante blinks as he tilts his head, and a chuckle passes his lips when he starts to walk around me and he answers me.
“The driver? Do you mean Jenkins? Oh, why he’s dead, of course.”