Marriage by Law

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46

“Nope,” I said, popping the ‘p’ and watching his face turned into a look of pure confusion.

’What?”

And then I realised this was Darius I was talking to, a man who got no sense of humour. I sighed dramatically. “Yes, we can talk.” It was not like we weren’t doing that before. Attempt at a joke, and failed. Maybe I should just keep the jokes to myself and maybe Rose and Adrian every now and then.

“Is there a problem?” I asked, suddenly feeling the warm breeze go cold. I wrapped my arms around my waist, shifting to my other foot, looking on as he seemed to be thinking. Was everything ok? Did someone get hurt?

Oh god, tell me my mum got hurt. Suddenly this night seemed brighter. Sure, that just made me an ungrateful child, but she was a bitch to grow up with. Hell, I just wish that if I became a mother and have my own children, I wouldn’t turn out like her.

Or maybe it was more serious, maybe someone was dying. That was a prossible reason for someone to look pale and scared.

“No, no problem.” He cleared his throat, as if to prepare himself to what he was about to say, bringing me out of my mini moment.

“Then?”

I looked at the files he was holding in his hand. This had something to do with work, business, whatever he did behind his computer screen. And then it hit me. Could it be about James? Was he suing us for not going through with the business?

I haven’t heard Darius or Adrian mention his name after...what happened. Could it be connected? That must be why he looked so nervous and, dare I say it, slightly pale? Or maybe it was his turn to come down with something. Too bad I wasn’t as muscular as Margaret to put him to bed.

I decided, since neither of us was getting anywhere, to ask straight to the point. Darius sort of lacked those skills, it seemed. How he conducted his business meetings beats me.

“It’s James, isn’t it? Yes, I know.”

His eyebrows furrowed. “What?”

“It’s okay. I’m pretty sure that after what you did to him, he won’t be bothering us.” I waved my hand and took a step closer to close the distance between us.

I continued. “Plus, I know a good lawyer if you want. Remember Jeremy whom we met the day I had to wear the cupcake dress? Bad day; never mention again. But yes, his father is a lawyer. A really good one.”

Darius just gave me a blank stare, as though I spoke in another language he couldn’t understand. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was rattling and he didn’t catch a word or because he had no idea what I was talking about.

“This isn’t about James,” he finally said.

Oh, probably the latter. No idea what I was talking about.

“Then what?”

Maybe I sounded a bit cranky but he was beating around the bush and I was standing out in the cold two to midnight freezing my ass off, when I really should be in bed.

He looked down and took my hands in his and I raised an eyebrow. Is he okay? Was he dying? What was this, midnight confession night? Might as well be, but at least his hands were warm.

“I need to ask you something.” He looked so absolutely serious that he had my undivided attention.

You just did. Okay, maybe not ask since he didn’t phrase that as a question. It was more like a demand.

“Okay?”

So it was asking, not confessing. Okay, it was a good thing he wasn’t dying. A really good thing. A bad thing that none of our parents was dying. Adrian was alive and I assume Rose was also, so no funerals. That’s always a plus.

And if it wasn’t about James, so why the hell was he looking so, so, non-Darius?

“Is this about that folder? What’s in the folder?”

He held up the folder. “Work?”

I rolled my eyes. Does he ever walk around with something else other than work? “That’s what you went to pick up, work?”

And, for the first time, I watched as Darius stuttered. “No! It’s... Well, I...”

“Darius, just as –”

“Marry me.”

What?

If my whole body, minus my hands, weren’t cold already, what Darius said pretty much frozen my whole body as I stared at him. Did I just hear what he said? And it seemed so as his green eyes just stared at me, a stare that made me feel violated, not that I minded being violated by someone –

Snap out of it. He asked me a question and it seemed like I took an awful long time to reply since he cleared his throat again. Oh right, I need to speak, not think. He can’t read my thought. Or can he? ’Cause some peop –

No answer.

“Aren’t we already married?” Great, just ruin the mood, Ivory. You do that. But it was cold, my brain wasn’t working, and Darius should know this.

“Well...yes,” said Darius, knotting up his eyebrows. Wait, did he just ask me to marry him?

Was this meant to be a proposal?

This meant Darius asking me to marry him even though we were already married, and that brought an amused smile on my face.

He opened his mouth and closed it again, resembling too much an adorable goldfish. My, my, was this the great businessman looking unravelled?

“Yes, Darius?” I asked, feeling joyful that he ran out of words. He ran a frustrated hand through his hair before reaching to grab mine again. Man, I should record this.

“I want you to marry me because you want to, not because we were forced to, so marry me.”

What happened to being able to choose? Because the way he said it sounded like a judge giving out orders. I knew the answer, and I was sure he knew what I should say after I told him I loved him earlier, so it was fun to mess around with him. Have the upper hand and watch him squirm.

I tugged on his hands, pulling him closer and looking up. “Are you going to ask me?”

It was a question, not a demand.

“Marry me?” he said, still sounding commanding, but with a hint of doubt.

I rolled my eyes. “It’s a question, Dairy. You’re meant to proclaim your love to me, get on one knee, and then ask me,” ...And then pop out a ring. But I left that part out. I couldn’t possibly ask him to whip a ring out of thin air and I would let him go even if he didn’t proclaim his love for me. I did. One confession was enough for tonight.

“One knee?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

I nodded.

“A question?”

If I hadn’t known the look on his face better, I would have thought he was being serious. But the guy knew what he was playing at. With that amused crinkle at the side of his mouth, I knew he was playing me.

I narrowed my eyes. “Yes.” That’s what I wanted. Can’t a girl get a proper proposal? Not one where he demanded her to get married, just like what the contract stated. No, if he wanted me to marry him on my own will, he had to ask me properly, even without the ring.

“I don’t know how to do that.”

“Oh gosh, don’t you watch movies? Oh wait, you’re a hermit here,” I said, looking around. Was the ground wet?

In my attempt to show him how it’s done, I got down on one knee, suddenly feeling even shorter than I usually was. I looked around and grabbed a fully blossomed orchid that would do for the ring.

“Okay, this is how you are supposed to ask a person to marry you. Pay attention. Do you want a pen to take notes?”

Darius had his arms crossed, and waved one, gesturing for me to continue. Alright then, he doesn’t need notes.

I cleared my throat. “‘Oh Ivory, oh Ivory’... You need to use proper names for a proposal, no stupid nickname. ‘You’re like the rose to my thorns, pen to my paper, ink to my sharpie, glue to my glitter, burning gas to my photons, and I proclaim my everlasting love to you, as I cannot breathe the air without you as it is toxic. Will you marry me?’” I asked, holding out the flower which I pretended was a massive blue ring.

“Yes, I think I will.” Darius bent down and plucked the flower from between my fingers and twirled it around his hand.

“What?”

“Nice flower,” he said and turned around and I just stared at his retreating figure before jumping up. What just happened?

He turned around as I followed him. “What?” I asked.

“You just asked me to marry you, so I said yes. And by the way, it’s thorn to my rose, not rose to my thorns. Your dad always said you got your sayings wrong, and he was right.”

My jaw dropped as I realised what just happened. “He didn’t know how to do that” my ass, this was like “I don’t know how to fight”. He played me and he played me well.

“But you’re meant to ask me!”

“That’s a bit sexist.”

“No. You want to marry me so you ask me, not the other way around.”

“Ouch.”

“You know what I mean.”

Darius smiled with a shrug before turning to face me fully. “It’s okay, I accept. And remember to tell our children that it was you who asked me.”

Was he being serious? And with that, he turned around walking off, leaving me standing and staring at his retreating figure.

But I proposed to myself. Does that mean I would be marrying myself? I scoffed, turning around and closing the back door. Well, at least I would be married to someone awesome, me.

Closing the blinds, I slowly walked up the stairs, deep in thought. At least I know I would honour the “death do us part”. If I was married to myself, then I die when I die.

I nudged our door open to see the mess Adrian left. Nope, not dealing with that. Guest bedroom it was.

Darius, whom I did not propose to, can clean up after his cousin, whom he should marry.

I opened the guest bedroom, shutting the door and walking to the bedroom. I could have switched on the light but that would be a waste of electricity. But it would have saved my heart from nearly having a heart attack when something grabbed me and spun me around.

Before I could scream, I smelled the cologne.

“Marry me.”

“You’re not going to ask me, are you?”

“Marry me.”

“Not even one knee?”

“Marry me.”

“Fine.”

“Good, ’cause then this would be a waste.”

I felt something cold slip onto my finger and looked down to see something shine. A girl can dream about a wedding or even a proposal, but I had my dream ring.

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Twitter: NKPockett

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