Cold Heart

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Become One

Claire was very nervous as she walked to the aisle, even though on the outside she still could manage to smile every once in a while.

When Hunter’s mother brought her to the salon without giving her a chance to change clothes or take her phone, or anything, she never thought that the destination would be a bridal spa salon and a wedding place to remarry.

With a reverend, to unite them this time.

Don’t get her wrong, it was a beautiful outdoor wedding in a perfect venue at the beach with elegant decorations. It was all very romantic and dreamy, not to mention the whole makeover and gown which made her relate to Cinderella’s feelings at the moment.

The only flaw was… Their fake relationship.

Claire was smiling nervously as she looked at the guests who murmured in awe while smiling at her.

Was there something wrong with her gown? She thought.

There were a lot of insecurities in Claire’s heart. She loved her dress with its floral laces, its classy princess style, and its sexy cut on a few parts, but did the dress look good on her? Was she pretty enough to be Hunter’s wife?

Why should I bother?

This is not real…

I’m not his real wife…

Claire’s fingers were moving tensely on her bouquet, luckily, nobody could see it. She felt lucky that her bouquet was pretty thick, so she used it to cover her cleavage.

When she reached the aisle, meeting Hunter’s eyes didn’t help to calm her down either. As a matter of fact, it made her more anxious inside.

There’s too much going on within the last hours.

How could she be calm? Hunter was so perfectly handsome with his perfect fit tuxedo, even a few scratches on his face added up his handsomeness, his alpha look. Claire noticed that Hunter had shaved his light beard.

He was like a groom that comes out from every girl’s fantasy, she bet without all the tuxedo or his expensive outfit he would still be a dream guy for every girl.

I bet everyone asks what he was doing with a girl like me… Okay, stop! Just…breathe... Claire slightly thought, looking down at her bouquet.

“Dearly beloved!--” The reverend said out loud, making Claire flinch a bit. “--We’re gathered here today to witness and celebrate...again,--”

The guests softly chuckled at the reverend’s words before the reverend continued.

“--an act of deep love of Claire and Hunter, in their devotion, love, and respect for each other’s wish to unite in the holy bond of marriage…”

Hearing the word ‘holy bond of marriage’ really made Claire messy. That was the reason why Claire was afraid to be married in the first place.

She always thought that a marriage should be taken seriously, she was just old-fashioned that way. There’s a higher calling in marriage, a purpose, rather than just expecting to ‘live happily ever after’. But there she was, being reminded about her decision ‘to marry’ her fake husband again.

For a second there, their eyes met and Claire could tell that Hunter was very subtle. In fact, his eyes were telling her to calm down and...be more like him, she thought.

“...and now… I’ve been informed that our lovely couple has prepared wedding vows to each other…!--” Said the reverend, raising his eyebrows and cueing Hunter.

Hunter could see the panic in Claire’s eyes while hoping she could maintain her steadiness. Hunter slowly reached for Claire’s hands and took the bouquet, giving it to Claire’s maid in honor who stood behind her.

Between his movement, he whispered in her ear.

“Just breathe, play along, and everything will be okay,” he said with a smile to make it as if he whispered something romantic.

Claire quickly played along and smiled back, even though on the inside she pushed herself to find words for her vow.

“You do want to share your vow with everyone else, right?” Said the priest, making the guests laugh right away.

“Yes, reverend… I was just telling her how beautiful she is,”

The way Hunter lightly responded to the reverend with his charming smile made Claire’s cheek redden, she knew exactly that it was not a real compliment but still it flattered her. She was disappointed in herself for a second.

Hunter cleared his throat as he slightly looked at their joined hands.

“Um, I… party of the first part, do thee wed, the party of the second part,--” Hunter said.

The guests were laughing again, Claire’s eyes were widened between her nervous chuckles-- fake chuckles. She didn’t expect his blunt words.

What did she expect anyway? A fake ‘I love you’ word?

Well, he’s not really lying… Smart move... Claire thought. It crossed her mind that somehow, she wished to be more like Hunter.

“--Herewith, I promise that I will give my all to do everything that we agreed on… You have my word on this,-- Oh, and I promise...that I’ll be...nicer,” he proceeded.

The guests were laughing again and Hunter’s parents were chuckling too between their warm smiles.

When it came to Claire’s turn to speak her vow, Claire was gulping in silence. She didn’t have any idea how to say something convincing enough for the audience without saying the L-word.

Why did she keep thinking to avoid saying the ‘L’ word? Maybe she was afraid that she might appear to say it a little bit too seriously.

God, I really hate the way my mind works!

She took a deep breath as she looked at her hands in Hunter’s palms before bracing herself to speak.

If only Hunter’s eyes were soothing, maybe she would feel better, but that’s just the way his eyes were. Hypnotic, icy, dark, and piercing eyes.

“Uhm… Before I met you… I was-- alone…--” Claire slightly looked down at their hands again.

“--And when I first met you... I never thought that we’d come to this moment and I’d be...your wife,--the second party, heh,--” She said between the guest’s endearments and chuckles.

“Now, being with you…. I feel like-- we’re two people in the same direction... We understand each other,--” Claire tried to stick with the truth too as Hunter did.

“--We never say… I-I love you in public, and we rarely show love languages too... B-but deep down we just know...that we-- complete each other... I promise that I’ll honor our...commitment… and of course, helping you to be --nicer...in the process?” She closed her vow with a nervous grin as she saw Hunter’s eyes squint a bit.

Half the guests were murmuring endearments and the other half were lightly chuckling, but Hunter was quite shocked inside since he’s expecting a lot of corny and fake lines coming out from her.

The fact that Claire was able to level up or outgrow his expectations almost every time, just unpredictable. She always made him secretly amazed, intrigued, and attracted to her.

“Hunter…?” The reverend called him after lightly coughing to bring Hunter’s attention back. “You can put the ring on her finger now…”

Hunter looked at the reverend and quickly took the ring his mother had gathered from them before the ceremony. He put the ring on Claire’s finger while following the reverend’s words and the same goes with Claire.

“Ah, that’s done then… You may kiss your bride,”

Their eyes were locked into each other and Claire quickly remembered what Hunter had told her about how she used to awkwardly hold back in their kissing act. She couldn’t show any hesitation at all, so in that brief moment, Claire took control of every inch of her body to be calm and steady between her blushing cheeks and breathing.

She didn’t step back and hesitated, she embraced Hunter’s palm on her cheek and his lips pressed on hers with closed eyes. Her heartbeats were pounding wild and her head was spinning, just like every time Hunter kissed her.

The guests were cheering and clapping for them. As far as everyone knows it was the perfect wedding.

**

“So... I can tell that all your doubts about Hunter marrying someone he doesn’t know are not true?” Mr. Wright said as they watched the wedding car glide away with Hunter and Claire in it.

Before the wedding party ended, they gave Hunter and Claire a surprise gift of a perfect honeymoon getaway at one of their hotel groups in Palms city, and they told them to go there immediately even when the guests were still there.

“Oh, I know for sure that Hunter is marrying someone he doesn’t know… I even dare to say he’s marrying someone stranger,” Mrs. Wright said, smiling.

“What?? And you kept this all along…? I thought you’re going to…I don’t know, freak out? Why didn’t you say something to him?”

“Well… She’s good for him...she’s the perfect woman, you’ll see...” Mrs. Wright warmly smiled and sighed, gazing at their car that was almost gone from her sight.

**

Colten’s Jet, Up in the sky.

Claire was watching as the stewardess poured the champagne into two tall glasses before serving it to Hunter and Claire.

They were sitting next to each other in the plane since the aircrew was Hunter’s parent’s crew, Hunter thought it’s safer for them to keep in the act for a little while more.

“Thanks..”

Claire softly said while taking the glass that was offered to her. She did notice that the stewardess never let her flirty eyes off Hunter.

Well, she wasn’t really surprised, and she better get used to it, she thought.

Who wouldn’t want to have Hunter?

He got a lovely and wealthy family who just gave her the best dreamy wedding and a honeymoon trip to their private hotel.

Private jet, a mansion in every city, private hotels, his family was considered low profile despite their fortune.

And don’t let her start again on what she thought of Hunter’s look and personality. It’s true that she doesn’t know him well enough, and judging on how he’s been treating her? No one would say that he’s nice, but she has that constant instinct that deep down Hunter has a great personality.

He’s just perfect in his own way, and she bet Hunter would be nicer and caring with someone he really loved.

Someone without a bad history to remind him.

Someone, not me...

Claire thought, looking outside the window with a glass of champagne in her hand.

She was back to her thoughts about their honeymoon destination when Hunter slightly lifted his glass near her.

“I guess everything went well,” Hunter said with a low voice after the stewardess left them.

Claire lightly tapped her glass against his.

“... I’m-- relieved…” She said shortly.

“But…?” Hunter asked before feeling surprised at himself for being sensitive and for even asking what’s on her mind.

Their eyes were meeting each other for a second since Claire too didn’t expect his kind gesture. She thought Hunter wasn’t intended to talk more, he always chose to be distant.

“No...I truly am... I just…wondering--” Claire made sure that no one was nearby to hear their conversation.

“A-are we... gonna have to keep pretending for the whole week in Palms city...?” She whispered, leaning closer to Hunter who was tilting his head, meeting her in the middle.

Claire was very anxious about going to Palm city since the occasion was to spend a perfect honeymoon. Not that she hoped for a real honeymoon.

Do I...? Her mind questioned herself.

Of course not… It’s just gonna be so awkward if we have to pretend all week, that’s all… She soothed herself.

“No,” Hunter answered shortly as he shook his head. “I told the pilot to change course to Zaxe city… I told them that I have an urgent matter. I’ll deal with my parents later,” he added.

Claire was exhaling, lightly nodding. “Okay... That’s good,” she said with a light smile.

Funny. She thought.

Was she relieved because they didn’t need to fake their own honeymoon for the whole week, or was she disappointed because then she won’t be spending so much time with Hunter?

Claire took a sip of her drink before staring back outside the window and telling her mind and her heart to stop bugging her.

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