Marriage by Law

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38

I bit into the tomato, narrowing my eyes as he looked around. I was surprised he could even see. Wasn’t the shimmery suit reflecting into his eyes, making him blind? Oh how good that would be, but somehow I was sure a blind James is just as annoying as the one that can see.

“So where is your secretary?”

“On the way,” said Darius, filling up my glass with water. So who was this secretary? How come I never met her? I watched Darius to see if there was any sign of nervousness, or if he was acting in a way that meant he had something to hide. But no. He pulled out his phone, checking something and putting it back in his pocket. Then looked at me.

“What?” he asked.

I shrugged, looking around. So where was this blonde bombshell bimbo I was going to meet? I bet her skirt was probably shorter than Adrian’s dream girl with boobs the size of his plate and perfume that made her edible. Oh Jesus, what was this, a playboy magazine?

No, I wasn’t jealous, and I wouldn’t get to be. That would just make James the winner.

“Perf can’t wait to meet her,” I said with my mouth half full.

“Perf?” asked Adrian, raising his eyebrows at me.

“Meet who?” said Darius.

“What?” I asked as I stabbed another tomato. These were good, perfectly roasted and still warm inside. What was wrong with perf? Wasn’t that what everyone else said? I wasn’t that old, yet.

And what did he mean ‘meet who’? Obviously his secretary, the whorissistant. That was harsh.

I watched as James and Darius conversed, wanting to pluck James’s eyes out with the fork. I bet they were as big and ugly as this tomato, the only difference was that his eye probably, unfortunately, wouldn’t turn red when roasted.

“Are you going to eat that?”

I followed Adrian’s eyes and saw that he was looking at the sausage and bacon cut into small pieces. Since when did they cut them up? Then I looked at Adrian. His plate was full of bacon and sausages, which weren’t cut up.

“You have heaps.”

“But I want more.”

“No, get your own,” I said, flicking away his fork with mine.

“Greedy pig. Get fat,” he snapped at me childishly. I snorted at him and he sulked in his chair. He had nearly the whole restaurant’s bacon on his plate. I stabbed a sausage and placed in my mouth at the same time I looked up and nearly choked at the pair of eyes smiling at me.

The guy, where have I seen him? He started walking toward our table and my heart skipped a beat. Was he coming over to say hi? That’s when it hit me. He was the guy who told me where the banquet room was, the one who knew my name but I didn’t know his name.

He was wearing something similar like last time, black blazer with his white shirt tucked in, no tie. Could be uniform. His blue eyes were smiling at me as he approached me and I felt like I should excuse myself and run to the toilet or something.

What if James told Darius that I was having an affair with him? As stupid as that was, I was sure James could make up some story. I cleared my throat, just about to announce some stupid excuse, like going to see if they sold umbrellas since it looked like it was going to rain in a week, when Darius turned his head.

“Ah, Jesse, join us,” he said and I froze half way out of my seat and sat back down before anyone noticed. Yep, I was just pulling my chair closer to the table.

“Mr. Quartz,” Jesse said as the waitress approached with a new plate and glass. I narrowed my eyes in confusion as I looked at Jesse. That was a male name. No shit, Ivory, of course it was a male name.

Adrian waved a fork at him and Jesse nodded before looking at me and smiling. “Mrs. Quartz,” he said, nodding. How did he know me?

The three of them got into a conversation and I subtly, or as subtly as I could, moved my chair closer to Adrian, the only male who wasn’t partaking in that conversation.

“Who is that?”

Adrian looked up and narrowed his eyes. “How am I supposed to know? Probably some old fart here to eat.”

“No,” I said, sighing. “Not the man on the other table. Jesse.” I was sure I sounded frustrated.

Adrian looked up with his mouth chewing loudly and I wrinkled my nose in disgust. “Darius’s assistant.”

“What?” I exclaimed, picking up the water glass and taking a sip. Darius’s assistant is male? Then what on earth was James on about!

“Assistant slash bodyguard. He usually just tells us when and where we have to be at what time,” Adrian explained as he reached over and stabbed the bacon on my plate. I narrowed my eyes at him as he quickly shoved it in his mouth.

“Pig.”

“Yes, Ivory. Well done. Bacon is pig.”

I bit my lip from retorting back and went back to eating. I was starving. I stabbed the hash brown on my plate, breaking it into pieces, a bit too violently, when I felt something brush my leg, making me jump.

My eyes met James’s as he looked up and I glared at him. I was probably looking like a witch since he looked away taking a massive gulp of water. It was a foot that was tapping, or kicking, or moving and it was annoying me every time it brushed my leg.

I slouched in my seat as simply as I could, trying to move my leg away. My fingers grabbed the table cloth, slowly pulling it up and gathering it in my hands. I looked up but the others were busy in their own worlds.

Darius? I looked from the leg enclosed in blank pants to the man back at the table talking away like he knew nothing. I narrowed my eyes and pursed my lips, letting go of the table cloth, leaning over and nudging him.

“Stop.”

“Stop what?” he asked, clearly confused.

“Tapping your –”

And James chose that moment to gate crash the conversation. “Where’s your ring?”

I looked at my left hand that was holding the fork. Why did he care?

“Oh, I have it,” Adrian volunteered, putting his hand up for us to see. Then he stuffed another slice of sausage in his mouth. Was he eating since we got here? Did he refill his plate?

“Why do you have it?” James looked curious.

Can I punch him already? I met Darius’s eyes and he shook his head. Did I say it out loud? No, I didn’t, which means he probably knew what I was thinking. “She knocked it down the sink,” said Adrian. James scoffed as he smirked, mouthing ‘typical’ at me. If Darius’s hand wasn’t on my knee in a strong grip, as if to warn me, I would have jumped over the table and stabbed James with the fork and replaced his eyes with the tomatoes.

“Well, you better get a new ring,” James continued, whether intending to say it to me or to Darius. “If I were you, I would find a big ring. Girls like big things.”

I raised an eyebrow. What, did he think he knew me that well?

James bragged some more. “I would get someone the biggest diamond possible. It’s important, you know. Shows how much you love someone. Also, it means you can afford it. It’s what people do nowadays.”

“So you have no brain and are a sheep,” I whispered, moving my food around the plate. Adrian choked coughed. I gave him a questioning look. Was I loud?

By the way he was trying to hold back a laugh, I was.

“Don’t you think so, Ivory?”

I looked up. Oh, so now he was talking to me. I raised an eyebrow. “Totally.”

Of course, I would like the biggest French diamond created... not. I completely disagree. Size does not mean how much you love someone. If you love someone, you won’t get the biggest diamond. You will get something that both of you will love.

I looked at Darius, feeling his stare on me. “What?” I asked quietly. He shook his head and turned to speak to the others. I sighed in resignation. Was breakfast over yet? Can I go?

As though he read my mind, Darius put his napkin on the table. Yes, time to go home.

“Well, see you tonight then, gentlemen.”

I took my napkin off my lap and looked at him. “What’s happening tonight?” I asked.

“Boat cruise,” Adrian supplied as he stood up stretching and patting his stomach. “I’m full.” I would be surprised if he wasn’t. He was feeding an army in there.

“Let’s get you to the hospital,” Darius told Adrian. Remembering Adrian’s finger, I looked at his hand. It looked bad. Darius held out his hand, helping me up.

I asked him, “A boat cruise?”

“It’s for charity. Do you want to come?”

I scoffed. “Are you kidding?” If it was a party, count me in. Out loud, I said, “Of course I’m going. Let’s go, Adrian.” Without waiting for his answer, I grabbed his arm. Hopefully the doctors or anyone can get the ring off without amputating his finger.

“My finger still hurts,” Adrian complained, sounding more like a little child than an adult.

“This is why you don’t wear other people’s rings,” Darius reminded him as he walking ahead of us. I turned Adrian’s hand in my palm. His finger was slowly starting to return to normal. After waiting for an hour for a doctor, it took another solid hour to pry the ring off and return it to Darius.

There was no way I was putting that on.

“Where are we going?” I asked, catching up to Darius.

“We can look around.”

The emergency clinic was just beside a big shopping plaza that we had to walk through to get to the car park. I looked around the windows and stopped when something caught my eye. It was a pet shop with the cutest husky I had ever seen.

“Dairy.”

Darius stopped, turning around, his eyes focused on his phone. “Hmm?”

“Can we?”

He looked up. “Can we – Oh,” he said, looking at the pet shop. He nodded and I felt like a teenager as I rushed past the crowds to the store. Adrian groaned behind us, whining how this was wasting his precious time to get ready for tonight’s party.

I knelt down at the glass window and looked as the puppy ran around the stall.

“It’s so cute,” I said, placing a hand on the window. The husky was pure-bred with the bluest eyes and thick white and grey fur.

“Too bad it’s not edible.”

“Shut up,” I said, quickly looking at Adrian who looked bored as he tapped the window where the cats were.

“Why are they so small?”

“Why are you so stupid?” I looked at Darius who was watching the dog, his eyes focused and his hands in his pocket like he was concentrating on something.

“Can we get it?”

“You want a dog?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s a dog.” Should there be a reason to get a dog?

Darius put his foot down. “No.”

“Why?” I asked, frowning and looking back at the cute baby. It would be fun if we have a dog. I can take it for walks and it would keep me company since Darius is always away on business trips. Rose would surely love to visit. In fact, I think she would always be at my place to play with the dog.

“I don’t think you can take care of a dog.”

I huffed, standing up. “I can, too,” and then regretted saying it. That just made me seem even more immature. Darius shook his head with finality, placing a hand on my back and gently steering me away from the store. “We can talk about it later.”

I smiled. Was that his way of saying yes?

Instead of going home, we decided to look around the place a bit more. Adrian wanted to buy a new outfit for tonight and I stopped myself from rolling my eyes at him. He was more of a girl than me.

“Are you going to get something?” asked Darius as we waited for Adrian to step out.

“I have a dress,” I said with a shake of my head. There was no point shopping for more clothes here when I have brought some with me. Might as well wear the one I brought. The stall opened and Adrian stepped out, posing.

“How do I look? Ravishing?”

My jaw dropped and Darius grimaced as we took him in. Dressed in blue, white and yellow checks, the two-piece suit looked absolutely disgusting.

“I think I’ll buy it,” Adrian announced as he straightened the jacket. He looked in the mirror. The funny thing was, he looked like an idiot, but he pulled it off.

“Why don’t you get the first one?” I suggested, referring to the plain grey suit with a checkered collar. I didn’t like it, but it was the best of all the ten he tried on.

“No, this one brings out my eyes. What do you think, Dairy,” he mocked.

“Buy it.”

I looked between the two who were having a mini stare down and groaned. Men. They acted like kids.

“Do whatever,” I said. A happy Adrian is better than an annoying and persistent one.

I leaned against Darius as we waited for Adrian to buy the suit. “He’s coming to the party tonight, right?” I shifted on my feet, feeling tired and my feet aching.

“Sadly. Should we head back?”

I nodded. Maybe I can fit in a short nap before the party. The thought of sleeping in a warm bed made me race out of the store. We walked back the pet store and I faltered in my step when I saw the big bold “Sold” sign against the window.



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