Shit… Shit. Shit. Shit. I can’t do this! What the hell was I thinking?!
I unconsciously tightened my hold on Liam’s hands as I struggled to control my breathing, and loosened it when I realized what I had done, before glancing at Liam. He did not look happy and the way he stared at me made me feel like he was blaming me for this situation. I was blaming myself too and honestly, I would rather be performing a septal myectomy than be here in this silly dress.
I was getting married to Liam Underwood right now and for the nth time today, I was regretting saying okay to this. I glanced at my brothers, Abe and Luther, who were sitting in the front row and they leaned forward, raising their brows in concern. When I was in the changing room upstairs, Luther had told me that Abe had parked underneath my window and if I wanted to leave, they’d help me, but I had said no. I wished I could go back to that moment now.
“Liam Underwood,” the minister announced and I pressed my lips together as I returned my attention to our joined hands. “Will you have this woman to be your wife; to live together in the holy covenant of marriage? Will you love her…” he continued and I made a noise in the back of my throat. “Comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her so long as you both shall live? If so, answer, ‘I will’.”
Liam swallowed, tightening his hold on me, and a muscle in his jaw twitched while I waited for his response. “... I will.”
Stupid. Stupid! Did you really think he’d say he wouldn’t?
Liam’s father’s company was going bankrupt and if things didn’t get better soon - which it didn’t seem like it would - they would have to shut down. His mother was my mother’s childhood friend, so my parents decided to help them by having their company absorb their failing company and this marriage was the only way for my parents to convince the board of directors to support the merger. If Liam rejected this marriage, he would also be rejecting my parents’ help and that really wasn’t in his best interest because then, there would be no company for him to take over.
“Nova Williams,” the minister called out and my heart jumped in my chest before I turned to face him. “Will you have this man to be your husband; to live together in the holy covenant of marriage? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to him so long as you both shall live? If so, answer, ‘I will’.”
Shit. I glanced at my parents who were sitting next to Liam’s parents and when I saw pure joy written all over my mother’s and her best friend’s face, I couldn’t say I wouldn’t. The two women and Stacy, Liam’s sister, had been looking forward to this day ever since I agreed to marry Liam and I couldn’t crush his family’s hopes after raising them so high… especially Stacy’s.
“Uh, Nova,” the minister muttered and I took in a sharp breath before facing him again.
“I- I will.” It sounded like I was choking. God, I wish I actually was.
The minister smiled and nodded at Liam’s best man, Kenta, who had the rings and he walked towards us, flashing me a small smile as he held out the rings but I couldn’t bring myself to smile back. “Though small in size, these rings are large in significance. Made of precious metal, they remind us that love is not cheap nor common; indeed love is to be cherished,” he stated as Liam took the ring out of one box and took my hand in his.
“With this ring, I thee wed,” he muttered gruffly, sliding the ring onto my ring finger, and I swallowed before doing the same with the other ring while saying the same words.
“By the authority vested in me by the state of California…” the minister began and I held my breath. This was it… No turning back now. “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”
My chest tightened with incredible force and I swallowed as I lifted my eyes to Liam’s. His expression was hardened, his entire body tense, and he looked like he wanted to hit something or someone.
“You may kiss the bride.”
My eyes widened at that but Liam took a step forward and placed his hand on the side of my face, tilting my head to the side, while wrapping his other hand around my waist. He actually- I reflexively jerked my head back when he moved his face closer to mine and the hairs along the back of my neck started to tinge as I stared into his brown eyes that brought hearth-sipped hot cocoa to memory.
“Sorry,” I muttered and he blinked at me once. Twice. He then let me go after a couple of seconds and I took in a deep breath while the guests cheered.
Married… I was married. Those were the words I kept repeating in my mind as I stared at the wedding ring on my finger and I subtly glanced at my husband. My husband… it sounded really strange in my head and I couldn’t imagine how it would sound if I said it out loud, so I wasn’t going to anytime soon.
I was married and the first and only word I had said to my… husband was ‘Sorry’. He hadn’t talked to me though, and that was probably because he was pissed at me. Not because of the wedding, but because of the fact that I hadn’t made any effort to get to know him and I stood him up the times our parents arranged for us to meet. He might think that was me being arrogant but I had just been nervous, so instead of trying to get to know him, I had busied myself with getting familiar with my new place of work.
I pressed my lips together as I glanced out the car window, taking in the breathless view of Beverly Hills, before my phone buzzed on my lap and I quickly picked it up.
Lulu: Are you sure you don’t want to stay at my place tonight?
Abbie: And for a couple of weeks after? I can come pick you up right now. Where are you?
The corner of my mouth turned up as I read the messages from my brothers and I remembered them constantly asking me if I wanted to leave during the reception but I had said no. If our parents had actually planned a honeymoon, I might have taken them up on their offer.
Me: Don’t bother. Everything’s fine.
The car slowly came to a stop, making me look up from my phone to see beautiful, ornate steel gates ahead. A couple of seconds later, the gates opened and the driver drove up the driveway, stopping the car when we reached the enormous white doors of Liam’s home… my new home.
Liam got out of the car the moment the engine was stopped and slammed the door behind him, making me jolt. “Wow,” I muttered as I watched him head towards the house and I grabbed my bag, getting out of the car too. A small smile crept onto my face when I saw the well-kept garden that surrounded the place and I took a deep breath before walking towards the mansion. My things had already been moved here yesterday and I really hoped that they hadn’t been placed in Liam’s room as I walked through the doors.
“Welcome home, Mr Underwood,” two women standing next to a doorway said in unison with small smiles on their faces while Liam began to walk up the stairs and the moment their eyes darted to me, their stares turned cold and flat.
Uh… I cleared my throat and pressed my lips together, trying not to look as awkward as I felt when they approached me. “Hi,” I greeted when they came to a stop in front of me but their expressions didn’t change.
“Miss Williams,” one of them started.
Oh! Um… okay…
“Your room is around that corner. First one on the right.”
I glanced at the corner she pointed at before giving her a nod, pleased that Liam and I wouldn’t be sharing a room. “Thank you,” I said and she grunted while I headed in that direction. I could hear the both of them whispering behind me and from the way they sounded, I knew they didn’t like me, but I was too tired to care.
When I got to my room, I locked the door behind me and took a deep breath before turning the light on. I quickly surveyed the room and when I found my bags neatly arranged in the walk-in closet, I sighed in relief before walking over to my bed and crashing into it.
I had an early day tomorrow.