Marriage by Law

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26

I ducked behind the wall and leaned against it.

I don’t think I was meant to see that. I could hear my heart beating so loud I was surprised no one else heard it in the night. I heard footsteps and I quickly stood up, opened the door and stepped back inside.

Did I really see what I saw? I racked my brain, trying to determine whether what I saw was real.

I thought he said he didn’t know how to fight? I didn’t know whether to feel happy or scared. I had never seen him like that. I didn’t see his face but his stance, his behaviour, it was something I had never seen before. It scared me, just a bit. This only made me realise that I didn’t know him at all.

Who would have ever thought that he would stand up for me like that? Something in my stomach churned and it wasn’t the smell of alcohol this time. When I touched my cheek, my hand came away wet.

I was crying because of this? I wiped my face quickly. Damn it, Ivory, get a grip.

I opened the door to see Darius leaning against the wall, as if nothing happened, like he had not a care in the world. He looked up as I stepped out and I looked at everything but him.

The fact that he did that, for me, it was something that I just... I didn’t know what to say. He did that for me.

I thought he hated me.

“You washed your face but you didn’t dry it.”

Shit.

I wiped my cheek with a hand, hoping he wouldn’t notice my eyes.

I started to walk ahead when he grabbed my arm and spun me around.

“There’s a dead cat that side,” he reasoned out, taking me in another direction. My eyes searched for his hand holding my wrist. If anyone saw us, it would seem like he was dragging me. Once we reachedt the main road, he dropped my hand and suddenly I missed the warmth. I hurried to keep up as he walked in front of me.

“We left Adrian back there,” I reminded him, after debating with myself whether to break the silence or not.

“What?” he asked, looking over his shoulder without stopping. I was taken aback by the look in his eyes that I stopped walking.

“Eh-”

“Oh.” He looked away. “Richard will drop him off once his shift is over.” He turned around to face me, putting his hands into his pockets. By this time we were already outside the house. I could see his shoulder tense, then relax, and I debated whether to say something or not. Should I say what I saw or should I just keep quiet?

Just as I opened my mouth, I saw the guard open the gates. Darius turned and entered the gate.

He stopped slowing down and I followed his gaze to meet an angry-looking Ma at the top of the stairs.

“Young man, what did I say? If Ivory gets sick again, I wi-” She stopped as Darius walked past her. She turned to me, raising an eyebrow.

“What’s the matter with him?”

I shrugged, and then she made me a target of her anger. “Where did you go?”

“We went to return Adrian,” I answered, feeling bad under her heated gaze. We should have told her. I could see the worry on her face as she sighed. Well, I didn’t exactly lie. It was sort of the truth.

“That boy, of course. Well, hurry inside. You must be freezing, and you didn’t change. Go wear something warm and sleep. Do you even know what the time is?”

I sighed as she fussed over me, making me walk up to the bedroom.

“I will need to seriously talk to that boy,” she was saying as she pushed me into the room.

I walked in and realised the room was empty. Where did he go?

I went to the walk-in closet and grabbed a black pajama pants with tiny dots on them and an oversized jumper. It was freezing outside and all I wanted now was to be comfortable, and warm. After I changed into them, I headed back out just as Darius came in.

He shrugged off his jacket and chucked it on the edge of the bed. I awkwardly stood there. He seemed to be in deep thought, his eyes focused somewhere on the floor. Any longer and he would probably burn a hole through it.

Looking at the clock, I couldn’t believe the time. Half of the city would be waking up in an hour to get ready for work.

“You should go to sleep,” he told me and looked up at me. I blinked and looked away from those dark eyes. Should I say something? Was I meant to see what he did to Nicholas?

Was that why he told me to go wash my face? All these questions that were running through my head were only confusing me more. I shifted on my other foot, looking at the bedside table.

“Are you?”

“I have work to do.” He turned around and walked back out of the room. I stood there for a moment longer and then sighed as I walked over to the bed. It was cold and it didn’t help that the ducted heating wasn’t on. Then again, I didn’t know how to turn it on.

I grunted into the pillow. I lay on my stomach and closed my eyes. Damn it, sleep, come.

“Wake up, B*tch.”

I felt an intense weight on my back knocking all the air out of me. I gasped, my eyes flying open.

“Rose?” I asked. I turned around as she hugged me. I nearly forgot about her. Hopefully she doesn’t find that out.

“Thanks for calling me.”

I opened my mouth to say something, but she stood up and shoved me toward the bathroom. “Brush your teeth, fish breath,” she said.

I frowned as I blew into my hand. I smelled fine. Nevertheless, I walked into the en suite, quickly brushing my teeth and walking back out.

“Rose,” I said. She was on our bed. Ok, I just thought, our bed. Oh, good lord.

“What?” she said, looking up.

“You know, if Darius sees you in here, like-”

“Who gives a shi*? He stole my friend for the past decade. My turn today.”

I rolled my eyes. Decade, my ass, but I missed her so much.

“Go get dressed. We will be going out.”

“Rose,” I began again. She shot me a glare and I sighed, walking into the wardrobe. I really hope Darius was busy today and wouldn’t notice me missing. I quickly changed and then realised something.

“Can I have a shower first?”

“No, I like you smelly. Hurry up. I am starving. What type of person sleeps till noon?”

I was shaking my head as I pulled on jeans and a casual top. I missed these clothes.

I came back out and she let a low wolf whistle, making me laugh.

“I nearly forgot how sexy your legs are in jeans,” Rose complimented, albeit in a joking voice.

I shook my head and smiled, then grabbed my bag and shoved my wallet in.

“We have to be home by six, okay?” I said. I was too scared to even go out without telling him now. I don’t even understand why he seemed so angry last night. And if he knew I snuck out, would I be in trouble?

Damn it, Ivory, you are a grown woman. He can’t even remember your name and you care about him? Wait, do I care about him?

“Whatever. Let’s go.” She grabbed my arm, pulling me out of my thoughts and making me almost trip over as I got my legs to start again.

“By the way,” she said as we walked out the front door. “Your husband is hot. I know he is hot. We got that down the first time he stepped out but he is hotter than hot. Do you even know how hot?”

In my mind I was counting how many times she said the word ‘hot.’ “What?”

“I saw him in the gym before. Did you shag him yet?”

“ROSE!” I exclaimed in embarrassment, quickly looking around to see if anyone overheard her. What was wrong with this woman? I could feel the reddening of my face as I glared at her back.

She turned around to wink at me and shrug her shoulders. She grabbed a redskin lolly from her bag and popped it into her mouth.

I didn’t even know there was a gym at the house. Rose explained how she was trying to find the master’s bedroom and walked past the gym instead, and I had to stop her there because I didn’t want to know anything else. How come I didn’t know we have a gym. Which was stupid, because apparently there was a gym at home.

“I’m serious. He has the hottest body. Did you see those abs? I mean I can -”

“You saw him naked?” I had my mouth in a big ‘O’ but I was also stifling a laugh. She shot me a dirty look as she chewed and I could see her saliva mixing with the lolly.

“Please,” she said, emphasizing the letter ‘P’ and smacking her lips. “I just saw his upper half. I can’t even imagine what his lo -”

I slapped the back of her head, laughing. I did not want to know. But for some reason I was a tiny bit annoyed at her walking around the house by herself and a tiny bit annoyed she saw him half naked. Sure, I did once too, but that was different. Whether I liked it or not I was married to him but Rose wasn’t. And even thought she was the best friend I’ve always wanted, why do I feel so... so annoyed at her?

“You prude. As if you didn’t make the house rule ‘No Shirts Inside.’”

I shook my head as she hailed a taxi and we got in. But that was Rose. She would say stuff but she would never do something to betray me. That much I knew.

“You know, we could have taken one of the cars,” I pointed out to her.

She nodded. “Yes, but I want you to be normal, not some hot lady with a hot husband with a rich life alright. Be a commoner.”

“I am always a commoner, Rose.” At least in my heart I knew I was a commoner. I never even cared about or liked the fact I was rich during my childhood. I was always treated differently. People wanted to be my friends so they could use me, or were too respectful because they were afraid my father would sue them if they did something bad to me.

“What’s the plan for today?” I asked. Big mistake. Her eyes shone mischievously, and I regretted ever going out of the house.

Eight hours later, not only was I sure that Darius was home but I was going to be in trouble when I get back. If he was angry last night, he was going to be furious with me and right now I didn’t want to see his face. I could only imagine what it would look like, and nothing was short of a nightmare.

“Rose,” I whined, still nervous about dealing with Darius. She slapped my shoulder, hard, and I held in a scream as I rubbed my upper arm. Damn, this woman is strong.

“I really need to f -” I bit my tongue as she slapped me again. Her eyes were concentrating on the movie. After hours of pointless shopping, where she bought heaps of junk, and eating like pigs for an early dinner, we went to her place to watch a movie.

I had fallen asleep and woke up to see the end of the movie. I knew I was going to be in deep trouble when I got home. In desperation, I wished that Darius was stuck in traffic somewhere. Or, even better, that Adrian decided to take him somewhere.

“ROSE,” I whined, this time a bit louder, watching as she watched the credits. Seeing her chew on something with a small smile, I wondered if she was enjoying this a bit too much.

She chucked her popcorn and chocolate wrappers onto the center table and stood up. Can you imagine how she does not get fat with the amount of junk she eats? Instead, her shirt stuck to her like second skin, emphasising her curves.

“Wait.” She was looking at the clock.

“No, I need to go.” I was really worried. Maybe I should have told someone. Ma, or even Adrian. Gosh, Ivory, what an idiot. She rolled her eyes and motioned for me to follow her.

She stopped at the door and gave me a once over.

“What’s the matter with you?” She asked as she scrutinized me. Her stare was calculating. I shifted my weight on my other foot.

“You’ve been distant all day and then y-” She made a dramatic pause, and then...

“Are you pregnant?”

I looked down at my stomach, my mouth wide. “WHAT?”

Rose raised her hands in defense, smiling. “I was just testing your fuc*ing mood swing thing.. “I was just joking, miss. I don’t want to see your husband naked. You know, go home. It’s night time.” She even winked at me. I rolled my eyes. If only she knew that I was going to be in trouble. Big trouble.

“You know, I am going to be in so muc -.” The words died in my throat when she opened the door to reveal Darius casually leaning against the car, his arms crossed with one hand on his phone busily texting away.

He looked up, smiling at that, and Rose waved at him. I looked from one to another.

“When did this happen?”

“Calm your farm worry wort. I asked him before I kidnapped you. Jesus. No faith in me?” she said. I cracked a grin as she hugged me, making me laugh.

Rose joked. “What if I go and ask him face to face? He’s hot. I’ll welcome any chance to talk to him.”

I rolled my eyes in mock disgust.

“And to mention how his body looked when he was using th -”

“Alright, I better go,” I shook my head, cutting her off before she told me way too much information and before Darius’ mood changed.

“Don’t forget me,” she said. I rolled my eyes again, waving as she chucked my bag in my direction. Darius got into the car as I walked up and once again I was surprised that he was taking the wheel instead of having a driver.

“Had fun?” he asked as I buckled up.

“Um yea. Thanks, by the way,” I said. He gave me a weird look as he pulled out of the driveway.

“You do know you can do whatever you want, right? You aren’t a prisoner.”

The rest of the ride was quiet, not comfortable, but weird. Or maybe it was just me looking around the car focusing on everything to kill time. How come it didn’t seem this long when Rose drove?

My eyes landed on his hands on the steering wheel.

“What happened to your hands?”

“Nothing,” he said.

It didn’t look like nothing. It looked like a huge gash, one that can possibly get infected. Was this from last night? Probably. I could feel guilt eating away inside of me. My feet started tapping nervously, and I wasn’t sure if I should say something about what I had seen. Instead, I decided to keep my mouth shut.

“You should get it treated,” I said.

“Later.”

He pulled into our driveway and I smiled at the guards who I felt so sorry for. Doing the same job every day. Just as we stopped, the rain poured down.

“Crap,” I exclaimed as I hopped out, and holding my bag over my head, I ran up to the door. I tried opening it but it was locked. I looked over at Darius, who casually walked up the steps.

“Open it,” I said, motioning for him to hurry. He just laughed as his hands dug into his pocket.

“A little rain doesn’t hurt anyone,” he muttered. Yea, but that’s because you are wearing a jacket I am not, and there is no way in hell you’re ever going to lend me that, anyway. I should bring my own jacket next time. I impatiently tapped my toe as he slowly opened the door, as though to annoy me.

Then he announced, “I think I have the wrong key.” I gave him a hard stare, which only made him laugh and shake his head.

“I’m kidding.”

I rolled my eyes in annoyance and looked up to see the guards still standing at the gate, in the rain. There was a box by the gate, like a little office for them but somehow they were staying where they stood.

“You coming?”

I looked at Darius. “Huh? Oh yea.” I stepped in, wiping my shoes on the carpet. I took them off and put them to the side so I don’t leave stains on the rest of the floor. I looked up to see Darius giving me a weird look.

“What?” I asked.

“Nothing.” He shook his head.

“Where are the umbrellas? Do we even have any in this place?”

“Yes, we do. Why?” he said.

“Where?”

He nodded toward the storage room.

“Here,” I said, shoving my bag to him. I opened the storage room and searched till I saw two umbrellas. I grabbed both. Darius was already heading upstairs, thank god.

I waited till he disappeared out of sight before opening the front door again. I took a deep breath. Let’s do this.

I let out a small squeal as the rain hit me hard on the back. It was like someone was pounding me. I could see the guards look up as I ran toward them, probably thinking there was something wrong. I even saw one’s hand hovering on his gun.

“Is everything okay, miss?”

“No,” I said. “What’s your name?”

“William, miss, and that is Carling.”

“Well, boys, it’s pouring. I don’t know how you are doing it but here.” I shoved an umbrella at each of them. They both exchanged glances.

“It’s quite alright, Miss. We’re used to this.”

“We can’t have people getting sick. Take it.”

“Miss,” Carling said, looking worriedly at the door, “I advice you get inside so you don’t get sick.” Why was everyone seemed afraid of Darius? What’s the worse he can do? Then the image of last night struck me, making me shiver.

“I’ll go once you take these.”

After another moment, they both took it, smiling to show their gratitude.

“Thank you, Miss.”

“Ivory. Just Ivory.” Then I turned around and ran back to the house. Why do people need such long driveways? It was ridiculous. But then again no one knew someone like me would be running down the rain.

“Bloody shit cakes,” I swore quietly, slamming the front door shut and shaking my head.

So much for not making a mess for the maids, I was practically leaving a mini lake in the house. I quickly headed upstairs and saw that the room was empty. Grabbing a change of clothes, I rushed into the bathroom and switched the hot water on.

I sighed when the hot water hit my chilling skin. I would have stayed in there forever but my fingers started to get wrinkly and I was getting a bit sick of all the mist and humidity.

After changing into a dry set of clothes, I stepped out and noticed Darius looking out the window. Shit, please tell me that window doesn’t face the front. He turned around, wearing this blank look on his face.

“I’ll be stepping out for an hour,” he said. I looked at the clock. At this time?

“Sure,” I said. He nodded and walked out the door. I watched him leave. Where on earth was he going at this time? And what surprised me more was that he told me before he went.

I could feel my stomach growling, but instead I succumbed to the bed calling my name.

“Aww, did you miss me?” I asked the pillow as I turned it around. I lay on my side comfortably as I felt the cold pick up. Why was it so cold in this room anyway?

All I could hear was the thunder and the wind howling outside as I drifted in and out of sleep. I could hear noises downstairs but I was too tired to even open my eyes. I was too cold to move. I was frozen to the spot.

I felt a pair of arms around me and somehow that was the most comfortable and natural thing to do as he pulled me closer. Even the cold mattress didn’t bother me as I felt him tuck a blanket around me. I couldn’t help the smile on my face. I went back to sleep, smelling the scent that I was starting to know a bit too well.

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