Standing near the entrance of the drawing room was a man who appeared to be in his early twenties.
"Augustus, you are finally here, my boy." Norman said and clapped a hand on his back.
"Sorry, Norman. I had to attend it," the guy, Augustus said. His voice was deep.
"It's okay, my boy. Come let's get you introduced."
So, he is Augustus Hill. My would-be-husband. Scarlette really didn't know what to think. So, she just silently observed him as he got introduced to her family.
Actually, the introductions were supposed to be done by earlier this month at the Matthews but Norman had some work to do. Apparently, Norman Hill was a political figure. This bit of information was unknown to Scarlette because everytime the topic of her future in-laws was discussed, Scarlette would leave the room immediately. But she gathered that bit of information from the talks going in the room.
And so, as the election was nearing, Norman thought it would be better if the introduction and engagement were done in the same day. But that wasn't all. After the engagement ceremony, there will be a party held at the evening to announce the wedding. Media will be there. Scarlette felt more nauseous at the thought of cameras flashing at her. That would be a headache.
Scarlette was observing the barely noticeable set of broad shoulders and thought. Maybe. Just maybe he wants to break the engagement and that's why he came late.
Or maybe not. A small voice added in her head that sounded like Charlotte's.
Ah, well, a girl can dream, can't she?
"Sexy Professor ", Charlotte muttered under her breath so only Scarlette could hear.
That comment received a whispered gasp from her sister.
"Professor? What are you talking about, Char?"
Scarlette was staring at Charlotte wide eyes and jaw almost dropping on the floor. Charlotte looked like trying to stifle a laugh at the comical expression.
"Charlotte, if you don't explain to me what you meant earlier I'm gonna put green paint in your shampoo."
Scarlette threatened Charlotte in a low voice and Charlotte's expression changed from laughing to disgust.
"You won't dare."
"Oh. I won't?" Scarlette raised a mocking eyebrow.
"Urg, fine. I'll say, I'll say," Charlotte gritted out.
"That's like a good girl."
Charlotte scoffed and said in a sweetened voice , "Your would-be-husband is a professor at a law college. Apparently, he was a brilliant scholar. He graduated with the highest marks from a law school..."
"Which law school?" Scarlette interrupted Charlotte. That was the first question that left Scarlette's mouth after this revelation.
"I don't know. Dad forgot to mention the name."
Scarlette sigh. "Do go on...."
"Ok. So where was I.....yeah, yeah...I remember.... he passed the bar exam and then earned umm...what is it called...."
"Yeah, yeah. That's the one. After completing his studies, he applied for teaching at the law school he graduated from. They were happy to have their brilliant student among them and agreed. So, he is both teaching and practicing."
"How old is he?"
"24 or 25 maybe."
"How do you know all this? And how am I unaware of all this?"
"Cause, dear sister, I'm very interested in the person who is soon to be my brother in law and so whenever any discussion about them was brought up I paid attention. And to answer your second question, you always leave the room whenever they were the topic of discussion. I tried to tell you many times but you didn't listen to me. By the way, isn't that great that the both of you have the same passion."
"What are you trying to you say?"
"I mean, you both are going to work in the same line of profession."
"Oh, I'm pretty sure that if we ever face each other in our professional life then it will be on the opposite side of the table."
"Posh, don't be so mean. Besides, he's a professor in a law school."
"So?" Scarlette raised an eyebrow at Charlotte's teasing tone.
Where is she going with this?
"What if he's your professor ?"
Scarlette grumbled something unintelligible under her breath.
"What was that, dear sister? If you had known earlier you wouldn't have been so opposed to the marriage and jump him before marriage. "
Scarlette smacked her behind her head.
"Ouch. What was that for?"
"For being cheeky with me."
"Well, did I say anything wrong? Don't you remember your lillte crush on our science teacher in 10th grade?"
Scarlette blushed and ducked her head, muttering, "That was different. "
"Oh, come off it, Scar. I always knew you had hots for Professors."
Scarlette again smacked her.
Charlotte just stuck her tongue out. Scarlette rolled her eyes and returned her gaze to Augustus.
Augustus was handsome and well groomed. He was wearing a grey suit with a black shirt that fitted him snugly and a black tie. He had pale skin like Jennifer but she was a shade paler than him. He had light stubble that gave him a much mature look. He looked young and was awefully handsome. He had short spiked dark brown hair and bright blue eyes. And those eyes were looking at her. Scarlette's breath caught in her throat as he caught her eyes with his. He was looking at her up and down.
He's checking me out and he's doing this so openly where others could see? This man has no shame at all it seems. Fortunately, no one seems to be looking this way. Scarlette thought bitterly as she internally scoffed at him. So much for a decent husband.
When Kelly called him, his eyes slid off from her and to Kelly. They talked a little and Kelly seemed fond of him already. Even Charlie was smiling. And Charlie was a very hard person to please at first meet. But maybe he was being an easy person because he didn't want to intimidate his would be son-in-law. Augustus finished talking and then walked towards Scarlette and Charlotte.
He greeted Charlotte first. Charlotte looked like she was going to swoon on him but restrained herself.
What a drama queen!!! Scarlette thought and rolled her eyes.
Then suddenly he was before Scarlette. Scarlette let out silent gasp. Augustus stood there looking at her for a moment before holding his hand out to shake. Scarlette stared at his outstretched hand for a few seconds before taking his hand to shake. They handshaked and she quickly tried to pull her hand out but he held on. She looked at him with a little shock as he held on to her hand and pulled it up to his face and placed a small kiss on the back of her hand while looking at her eyes. Scarlette tried not to close her eyes as a shiver ran down her spine when his lips touched her skin. She stared back and pulled her hand as if it had been burnt. To her, it really felt like that. He smiled or smirked at her, before introduced himself. "Augustus". "Scarlette," she said. They stared at each other for a few moments.
Scarlette looked away from him and around the room to see all eyes on them. She blushed and took a breath to compose herself. An uncomfortable silence later, her dad coughed and broke the silence for which she was greatful. " Lets get on with it, then," he said.
Norman said, "Yeah. Then we can have lunch and discuss the evening party."
Jamie, Lucy and Usha were called and everyone stood up. Augustus and Scarlette were facing each other and their family circled around them. Kelly and Jennifer started squealing like hormonal teenage girls. Scarlette rolled her eyes at their theatrics and saw Augustus doing the same. Seemed like that behaviour of Jennifer was a common sight like her own mother's. Scarlette could see the start of friendship between her mother and Jennifer. She caught Augustus' eyes and they shared a look. The rings were brought out.
Augustus held out his left hand to Scarlette as he held the ring in his right hand. Scarlette stared at his outstretched hand and suddenly her mind became blank. Her hands were suddenly sweaty and she wiped her hands discreetly on her dress. She gulped down the lump that formed in her throat and slowly reached out her right hand. Augustus was getting impatient and snatched her hand halfway. Scarlette looked at him slightly wide eyed. But Augustus was looking at her with a blank expression.
They stared at each other as Augustus put the ring on her ring finger. Then Scarlette took his ring from Charlotte who was holding the ring box. She quickly put the ring on his ring finger and let go of his hand as if it burned her. Scarlette looked down at the ring sitting innocently on the finger. It was a white gold ring with a pear-shaped sapphire stone adorned in the middle surrounded by little diamonds. It was truly a beautiful ring. Scarlette knew her fate was sealed with that ring. She was forever bound to this man in a way she didn't want to.