Marriage by Law

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27

“Stop moving!” said a gruff voice in my ear, making me still. Damn it, I thought I was being a ninja here. I even closed one eye to stop myself from blinking and tried taking small breaths.

Finally, I could no longer bear it. “There’s something poking me. Your phone?” I moved around, trying to wriggle out of his arms. Why the hell did it feel like some iron grip? For the past hour something was digging into my ribs and I wanted it out. And I wanted it out now.

“What?” he asked, sounding more awake than before.

“In your pocket. What the heck is in your pocket?” I said, trying to move. I was hundred percent sure it was his damn phone. Who wears their jacket to bed? Freeing my hands from his embrace, I found his jacket pocket and slipped my hand in. I touched something rectangular, cold and hard.

“What the hell,” I muttered in annoyance as I pulled his phone out and showed it to him. I knew it! But why on earth would someone take their phone to bed, in their pocket? Sure, I took mine to bed but it was somewhere under the pillow. And it didn’t wake someone up at some unholy hour by jabbing them.

“Well?” I asked, looking back at him, and froze.

I didn’t realize how close his face was till I saw his eyelashes flutter. I could see every contour in his face, the light stubble growing and a cut on his eyebrow. Where did that come from?

“Sleep, Aluminium,” he whispered.

I narrowed my eyes at him, now getting even more pissed than before. I wasn’t a morning person and then just calling me some stupid metal for a name...

“It’s Ivory. It’s not that hard to remember,” reminded him as I turned around, annoyed, and shoved his arm off me. I grumbled to myself and then I heard him chuckle and felt his arm around my waist, pulling me closer to him. I could feel something strange in my stomach as I felt his breath on the back of my neck.

“It’s Aluminium to me.”

What the hell does that mean?

* * * * *

“Wake up.”

I felt someone poking my shoulder and blindly swatted the hand. What on earth was he up to? Didn’t I just close my eyes to get some sleep after that annoying jabber machine was removed and now he was disturbing me again. I was still annoyed?

“You told me to sleep.”

“That was an hour ago. Hurry up.”

I heard the footsteps go and sighed. Finally, I can go back to sleep. I settled into the comfortable mattress, hiding my face in the pillow. What can possibly ruin a day when you can just sleep all day? Nothing. Or so I thought.

“Your father’s here,” Darius announced, and then I heard a door close.

Yea, good for hi- WHAT?

I leaped out of bed. My father’s here? Was Darius joking, just to get me off the bed? I could just go back to sleep.

But I gave him the benefit of a doubt. I rushed to the bathroom while running a hand through my hair in a poor attempt to try to comb out the bird’s nest on top of my head. I tried brushing my teeth at the same time. What the hell was dad doing here?

After washing my face, I quickly ran back downstairs. Damn it, I needed a shower. I didn’t even get to do it yesterday. Running down the last few stairs, I rounded the corner and sure enough, my dad was there, standing and looking at the pictures on the wall.

“Dad?” I asked, out of breath, as I leaned against the wall. Damn, I needed to go jogging again. But who was I kidding? I hate running.

“Ivory!” Even before he turned to me, he was already smiling. He held his arms out, waiting for my embrace. I smiled and ran into them, hugging him back. It was good to see him again. He hugged me back, holding me tight and swaying like we did when I was younger. I nestled my face onto his chest.

“Do you know what time it is right now? You’re still sleeping.” My father was starting to sound like Darius. I rolled my eyes dramatically.

“Dad, I know you didn’t come here to check on my sleeping habits. What’s up?” I felt him smack my head and I rolled my eyes again. Mum wasn’t here, so no formalities needed. Wait, was she? I looked around; no, it was demon-free zone. I sometimes hated how my mother made us seem more like strangers than family.

“Darius and I are going on a business trip,” my dad said, grabbing my attention. But what he said next had me hyperventilating. “You will be staying with your mother.”

It took me a second for that to sink in. Firstly, Darius was going somewhere. Why didn’t Darius tell me about it? And then – Wait, what? I was staying with who?

“Oh, HELL NO!” I yelled, stepping back and crossing my hands. “There is no way in hell I am staying with her, dad. She will eat my brains alive and you know it. What’s so wrong about staying here by myself?”

He motioned to the house. “All by yourself in this big house? I don’t think so, honey.”

“That’s what I did for ages, dad. Did you forget?” While Darius was off doing whatever he was doing, which was nearly half a year, I was stuck here by myself. They didn’t care about me then, so why start now? There was no way I am going to suffer with mom while Dad and Darius are having the time of their lives, or a boring time making business deals.

Dad began, “But you –”

I cut him off, suggesting, “I’ll go live with Rose. There is no way I am spending time with Mum. She will drive me crazy, dad. You know it.”

He sighed as he intently looked at me and put his hands in his pockets. “We’ll see. I’ll tell her you’re busy. But at least meet with her for lunch, Ivory.”

“We’ll see,” I told him, using his own words. No, we will not see because there was nothing to see. I was not even going there. He opened his mouth but then closed it, looking over my shoulder. I followed his gaze and turned around. Darius walked down, dressed in another perfectly ironed suit.

Why on earth were they wearing those drasted things this early in the morning? Man, I was still grumpy from my lack of sleep. As soon as they’re gone, I will head back to my darling bedroom. I can just hear it calling my name.

“I’ll be in the car,” Dad was telling Darius, who simply nodded, then he turned to me.

“Be safe. Wake up early. Eat properly and don’t cause too much trouble,” said Dad, kissing my forehead.

I scoffed as he started to walk. “Please, I never cause trouble,” I muttered. I was a very mature adult who can handle myself very well. Where was Ma?

Dad looked over at me, raising an eyebrow. “Says the girl who has been suspended five times. Who did you go to to pick you up, hmm?”

I felt my face intensely heat up as Dad walked out. Why on earth did he mention that!? That was when I was young and, and, and, and it was definitely not my fault!

I turned around to face Darius, who looked amused with his eyebrows up.

“Five times?” he asked with a small chuckle.

“It wasn’t my fault,” I whined. Okay, maybe it was. The hell it was, but he didn’t need to know that. Thank you, dad, for ruining my perfectly good reputation.

“Well, I’ll uh -” he began, rubbing the back of his neck. “See you in a few days.”

Oh great, cue the awkwardness. “Eh, okay?“I nodded, awkwardly fiddling with my fingers.

He stepped forward and then stepped back quickly, like he was going to do something but didn’t. He gave me a nod and started walking to the door, me following behind. Well, this was really awkward.

“Oh, I left Adrian’s number on the bedside table in case you need anything,” he said.

“Thanks.”

“Also, I left something else. Bye.” With that, he quickly turned around to walk to the car. Then he stopped and looked at me.

“You have, um, paste on your face,” and with one last smile and a shake of his head, he walked out.

My jaw dropped as I touched my cheek and felt something sticky. Gee, dad, thanks for telling me. I actually wished he got some of it on his suit. Sweet revenge for trying to make me stay with mum. I was wiping my face when I realised what Darius said.

Something else? He left something on my bed?

My stomach grumbled, distracting me, and I waved a hand to no one. I can check my bed later. I need food now. I walked to the door, watching the car drive away. I was about to close the door when my eyes saw the guards who waved at me. I smiled, waved back and closed the door. I’ll check the bed later. I was really starving.

“Ma?” I called out. Where is Ma? I hadn’t seen her the past few days. I smiled, looking around the huge kitchen.

“Whole house to myself.” I smirked devilishly, remembering my teenage days when this happened. Loud music, horrible clothes and time to make myself a feast.

* * * * *

The knocking was insistent on the door but I was too full, too fat, and too lazy to move, even too sick to call out. Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that much. I always did this and I even mentally promised myself I wouldn’t do it again, but I did. I made myself way too much to eat.

But then again it was getting really annoying. Didn’t they know that they should knock once and then leave? Why did the guards let them in? With a groan, I pulled myself up and burped as I walked to the door. I felt sick.

“What?” I asked, opening it and coming face to face with Adrian.

“What are you doing that you can’t open the door?” he demanded to know, pushing himself in and bumping his shoulder against mine. If I wasn’t holding the door, that would have tripped me over.

“What are you doing here?” I asked as I closed the door. It confused me. Did Darius call him? But he told me he left Adrian’s number on the table or something, not called him over.

“I smell food.”

I groaned. “Don’t say food. I think I ate too much.” I following him to the kitchen and my stomach churned at the smell. I think I’m going to be sick.

He broke into laughter seeing all the junk I had made and shook his head. He grabbed the plate with garlic bread.

“Good thing I can eat more than you can,” he said.

I wrinkled my nose, my stomach not liking the smell, and walked back out to the living room. I flopped onto the couch and reached for the remote control. I switched on the TV and surfed through the channels. This is life, back to my days before Darius came. In fact, I hated it. Sitting at home and being a housewife?

I don’t think I can do that. And working for dad? Hell, no. I don’t want to be in the business because I think I would be useless. I remember when he wanted me to enter numbers into a spreadsheet. Somehow I deleted all previous spreadsheets and shut down the network. I was dangerous.

That gave me an idea. Oh, I am so smart. I got up and rushed as fast as I could to the computer room.

And that was how Adrian found me, busy in the study room looking up stuff.

“What are you doing?” he asked as he walked in.

“Looking for a job.” I was smiling brightly. That would definitely brighten up my boring days. What will I do? Sit at home and eat? No way!

Adrian propped his hands on the table, peering at the computer screen. “What?”

“I’m bored at home. I want to do something.” I don’t care how much they would pay me. I just don’t want to be stuck here. I found a nice waitress job at a cafe and sent them an application letter.

“And before you say it,” I snapped at him when I saw him about to say something, “no, I don’t want to work in the company.”

He shrugged. “Alright. But that,” he nodded to the computer, “I don’t think Darius will want you to work there.”

“And why not?” I asked. It was a waitress job, what’s so bad about that?

Adrian shrugged again and went around the room. There were two office type rooms in the house. One was this, and the other one was Darius’s. And even though the computer he had there was faster than this one, there was no way I was going in there.

I looked at the time. Wow, how fast time flew.

“I’m hungry. Can you cook?”

I looked up from checking my emails and felt my cheeks go red. First of all, didn’t he just eat all the food I couldn’t? And trust me when I say there was enough to feed a party. And second, I felt embarrassed about not knowing how to cook.

Adrian tsk-tsked. “I’ll take that as a no. I’ll order some food. Want anything?”

“No, thanks. I’m still full.” And still feeling sick.

He walked out, probably to call for delivery, while I logged out. I might get some sleep. I smiled like crazy. Sleep, man. Sleep is my best friend. And of course, Rose.

Tying my hair into a pony tail, I walked up the stairs. Wow, another day without showering. That’s disgusting. First thing tomorrow, Ivory. First thing tomorrow.

I yawned as I opened the door and switched the light on. I turned to the bed and froze, a small smile lighting up my face.

There, sitting in the middle of the bed, was a massive plushie. A peacock plushie!

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