Marriage by Law

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And before he could reply, if he was going to reply, and whatever he was going to reply, I wrapped my arms around him tighter and sealed it with a kiss. I didn’t want him to say it back to me now. Maybe someday, maybe even today but not thirty milliseconds after I said it.

That wasn’t how I wanted to hear it because I didn’t say it for him to just repeat it. I said it because I wanted to. And because I meant it. I was in love with him, and I didn’t realise till I said it out loud myself.

Even though he was a complete jerk when I first met him - completely hated his guts then – and the fact that he couldn’t even remember my simple name... But now I love it every time he called me Aluminium, even though I was far prettier than aluminum foil, and not even that delicate.

His hands wrapped around my waist and I could feel the warmth from his jacket as he rested his head on my head. I really should bring my own jacket. We rested for a moment before I pulled away, needing fresh air and not his intoxicating scent.

“So why are the lights switched on inside?” I asked as I saw him open his mouth, changing the topic before he could bring up the confession I had just made. At least I beat him at something. I was positive he cheated in monopoly.

Especially since he “accidentally” found an extra card he was “sitting on” which made me give up my last one hundred dollars and declaring me a loser. And I hated losing.

“Lights?” he asked in confusion, looking up at the house. And then realisation hit him. “Oh, lights.”

And then it hit me. The last time there were lights in the house, our parents were here. Don’t tell me the devils living on earth were back.

But Darius said, “That would be Adrian.”

“Adrian’s here?” I asked, excited. Even if he was just gone for a day, I missed his crazy presence, and he can probably cook me some more dinner.

I turned around, moving out of his grip and rushing up the stairs. “Adrian! Can he bake?”

I turned around to see Darius still standing there. “Are you coming?”

He rubbed the back of his neck, shifting his weight on his other foot, a gesture I was becoming familiar with. “I need to go do something. I’ll be back soon.”

I raised an eyebrow. Does he even know what time it was?

“Okay?” I asked. It wasn’t like I was going to say, ‘get in the house and stay there, it’s nearly midnight’. Maybe it was work. I scoffed. Of course it was work, what else would it be? He did mention some business deal, and he was pretty down all day. Maybe it was another deal.

“I’ll see you later.” He turned around and I walked up the stairs and stopped on the landing and turned back.

“Hey, Dairy?”

“Hmm?” He asked as he opened the door, looking over his shoulder.

“Did you tell Adrian to come babysit me?”

“Of course not,” he said with an amused expression, but something told me Adrian was there to babysit me. I huffed. I do not need a baby sitter. I am twenty and I can handle myself.

I climbed the rest of the stairs and opened the door, grateful that Adrian had at least turned the ducted heater on. I looked around. Lights were switched on everywhere. Was it really necessary to have every single light switched on in the house?

Closing the door behind me, I kicked my shoes off. “Adrian?” I called out.


Where was this boy?

I stepped out of the room and walked up the stairs to the next floor, looking around.

“Adrian?” I called out louder. It felt like a horror movie, waiting for him to pop out of one of the doors. At least I can kick him in the face using the excuse “You scared me”.

I thought that maybe he came and then left. That would sound like him. I smiled. I didn’t need a baby sitter anyway.

I walked back to our room, kicking the half-open door and walking in. And, of course, there he was sprawled on the bed with packets of junk food watching TV.

I raised an eyebrow. “What are you doing in our room?”

He looked up, and smiled, showing a gummy worm hanging between his teeth. “Oh, hi.”

I walked over, jumping onto the bed and bouncing. I kicked my feet up and grabbed the packet from him. “You do realise you’ve left sour crumbs all over the bed?”

“You did say it was our room,” he said, playing with the words I said.

“Good, then you can clean it up before I go to sleep.”

Adrian scoffed as he grabbed the packet out of my hand and I popped a sour worm into my mouth. Where did he even get all this candy from? Did Darius have a candy stash and left me out?

“Why do I have to do it?”

“Because you said it was ours. We share. Are those marshmallows there?” I pointed to the packet he tucked behind his hand.

“Where did Darius go?” I asked a few minutes later, feeling incredibly bored at the movie he was watching. Adrian shrugged and I raised an eyebrow. “C’mon. You know, since you’re here and all.”

“I’m always here.”

I nodded. True, he was here a lot. And that reminded me. “Yes,” I snapped and he looked at me, shocked at my change of tone. The sudden bitterness sweeping through.

“I didn’t eat it all, there’s still more left?” Adrian said hesitantly, handing me the marshmallow packet. I grabbed it and sat back against the bed.

“No, you’re allergic to dogs and now I can’t have one. Darius said he didn’t want you to blow up, go red, burst and die.”

A bit exaggerated, but well worth it.

“He said that?”

I nodded. Maybe I can get an allergy-free dog. There are plenty of those around.

Adrian spoke and said, “I knew he loved me. Good thing I still have your ring. We can get married.”

I looked sideways at him as I asked, “You still have my ring?” I was shaking my head as I searched the bed for something else to eat. Where are the chocolate buttons?

And I decided to leave out the part that was disgusting. Since they are cousins, I was positive that came under some sort of incest.

Adrian had to go to the doctors to get the ring off and I was expecting him to chuck that disgusted mouldy ring away.

“What are you going to do with a ring?”

“Wear it, duh. I’m trying to watch the movie, Aluminium. Shut up.”

My jaw dropped as I stared at him. Ok, he was serious. He grabbed a packet of chicken chips off the bed and munched, loudly.

You know, just sit on my bed and eat, not like I want to sleep or anything. I got up and walked into the walk-in closet and grabbed some clothes. I left Adrian to watch his movie and found myself one of the other rooms.

Changing out of this dress never felt better and when I felt the soft mattress, I was in love. It hadn’t even been five minutes before the door burst open and a huffed and puffed Adrian was standing in the doorway.

I opened one eye to try to shield out the light. Did he really have to switch that on?

“What?” I grumbled as I pulled the blanket higher.

“You can’t sleep!”


Was he crazy? He had to be. The clock said it was quarter to midnight and there was no way I was staying one second past midnight.

“Darius will be coming home,” he announced in his attempt to keep me awake.

“So? He can go to sleep as well.” I peeked through the blanket, making myself a safe hole to look from. He didn’t need my permission to go to bed. “And you go sleep as well, and turn the lights off, will you?”

I ducked back under the blankets, safe and sound in my favourite haven. Silence followed, making me think he had left. But there was always silence before a storm and the next minute, the blanket that was wrapped around me was pulled and I rolled off the bed, landing hard on the floor.


The thud that vibrated through the room made me think I had knocked over the cabinet on my way down. I stared up at the bright light before Adrian’s face came into view.

“Yes, one must pray before bed. Now get up, and get ready.”

“For what?!”

Adrian just shook his head in surrender, throwing his hands in the air and walking out while yelling, “I tried.” He even took my blanket with him.

Tried with what?

With a sigh, I got off the floor to chase him down. Can someone just clarify what the hell is happening?

“Adrian?” I went back in the room, but he was gone. But the mess he left on the bed was pretty much still there. I shook my head. He better clean this up. I liked that bed.

When I trudged back downstairs, the lights were off. It was dark that I almost fell down the last stair. Great, now Adrian listens.

“Adrian, this is not funny,” I called out at the same time I felt a cold breeze. Did he just open the main door? What if someone came in? Do the guards work through the night as well?

I rushed over, expecting him to jump out of the closet. Nothing.

I peeked out from behind the door. Wait, did he just leave? Just like that, in his pink-striped pajamas, walk out of the house barefoot?

And sure enough I heard the sound of a car on the road. Where was he going? Who was going to babysit me?

“Annoying man-child,” I muttered in frustration as I slammed the door shut. Now I have to clean the room myself. I was about to go back inside when I felt like someone, or something, was watching me and I paused. Maybe I shouldn’t have thought about horror movies. I felt my blood run cold as I leaned over, plucking the umbrella from the stand.

“Who’s there?”

I switched on the light. No one.

Silly, Ivory. There is no one here. I switched the light off, shaking my head as I walked to the kitchen for a glass of water to calm me down. Maybe living in this big house by myself most of the time was a bad idea.

And Marge wasn’t even here. When is she coming back? I was starting to miss her presence. I filled a glass with water and leaned against the bench, keeping the umbrella near me just in case something did decide to pop out of the microwave, or the oven.

I looked out the window into the garden and smiled, putting my glass down.

I grabbed the umbrella on my way to the door. It had been too long since I had talked to my angels.

I was surprised to feel that the breeze was warm and the grass was soft under my feet when I stepped outside and walked toward the end where my orchids were probably dying. The last time I was out here, someone had brutally murdered, or accidentally plucked, the very last bud of its species.

Wrapping my hands around my waist, I hurried over to my orchids. But instead of my tiny plant standing, or more like leaning all over the fence, there was a full grown collection of many bloomed mystique orchids, more than I had ever seen at one place, covering half the area.

Did that just grow?

I walked over, touching one of the delicate buds to make sure I wasn’t imagining this. No, they were real. When did these get planted? Looking at the fertilizer at the bottom and the bag leaning against the fence, I’d say pretty recently.

The sound of someone clearing their throat nearly made me scream. I spun around, my heart pounding in my chest. “Oh you,” I exclaimed upon seeing Darius, who raised an eyebrow at me.

“Is it raining?”


He nodded toward the umbrella I was still holding. I scratched my head. “Oh.” I twirled the umbrella around in my hand. “Just in case it rains.”

Darius shook his head and stepped forward. He was muttering, “I knew I shouldn’t have asked him. Can’t do one thing properly.”

“Ask who what?”

Was I missing some part of the story here? Probably a massive chunk because I was confused, and it wasn’t just because I was sleepy.

I looked down at what Darius was holding. Files.

“Everything okay?” I asked, confused, as he seemed to be looking around the garden. It was my turn to raise an eyebrow when he nodded and scratched the back of his neck.

“We need to talk.”


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