She swallowed a thick lump in her throat and gave his hand a squeeze this time. “But there’s no point in worrying about what may or may not happen, right?”
He gave her smile and leaned in to kiss her softly. “Right,” he said against her lips. He gave her one more kiss, sweet and gentle. When he pulled back he cupped her cheek and stroked his thumb along her skin. “I can admit I’ve been a shitty person for the majority of my life, taking things for granted, wanting everything handed to me.” He stared into her eyes. “But these few short weeks with you have made me see things differently, have made me feel differently.” He smiled again softly. “I will fuck up more times than not, I can admit that, but I’m trying.” He kissed her again. “I’m not going to let them make you feel less than what you are. I know your worth, you know your worth, and no one’s going to put you down, least of all my family.”
God, in this moment she could have fallen in love with Ian.
For most of his adult life, all Ian had wanted to do was throw it in his parents’ fucking faces, every single thing that he’d accomplished. They couldn’t take anything away, and there had been many times that he’d seen the annoyance and anger they felt for him because he refused to conform to their way of life. He’d not done what they wanted or married who they’d picked out.
When he’d married Lucy, he’d done so to spite them, and now he felt a little sick to his stomach as that final reveal was about to happen.
Lucy wasn’t the kind of woman his parents would be happy for him to marry. She didn’t have connections, or a family, or anything that set her apart from anyone else.
Her entire life was meaningless and useless to them.
They wouldn’t see the kindness inside her or the love, or anything else. They only saw a waste of space. She couldn’t bring them anything.
Even knowing that he was happy wouldn’t be enough to draw them to her.
They found fault with absolutely everything, no matter what he tried to do.
“You’re nervous,” Lucy said.
“I’m not nervous.” When I arranged this marriage I didn’t give a fucking shit about you. Now I’m about to take you into the lion’s den, and I don’t want to hurt you. “We’ll go in and have some dinner, but I want you to promise me something.”
He felt her hands tighten around his. Damn, that guilt was a whole new feeling for him, and he didn’t like it.
“I don’t want you to take anything they say seriously, okay? Imagine they don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. They say shit about everyone, look down on everyone.”
He watched her take a deep breath and nod.
There was no point sitting in the car, waiting. Climbing out, he rounded the vehicle to her side and offered his hand.
Hers shook just a little as she placed it within his. Giving her a squeeze, he tried to offer her comfort through his touch.
She linked her arm through his as they made their way up the steps of the lavish house. Like always, the butler stood outside, looking regal and a little worried.
Ian nodded at the man, and entered the home that really shouldn’t be called that. It was more of a museum. A statement that his parents liked to make of how much wealth they possessed.
He’d hated this home growing up. There were no good memories, just cold ones. Nights filled with anger and rage.
Pushing those thoughts aside, he made his way toward the main sitting room. That’s where all his family would be. They loved to show off, and only the best furniture and who they considered the best people were allowed to grace their home.
He heard his name being announced even before he stepped into the room.
All eyes were on the two of them. He found his mother and father instantly. They were standing close together, and both of them turned their attention to Lucy. She wore a designer sundress that he’d made her buy. It wasn’t overly fashionable or showy. The name was designer, as he didn’t want to completely ruin their Sunday lunch. Lucy didn’t need anything more, and he’d found since being married to her, he didn’t either.
“Who is this?” his mother asked. “Are you bringing your work staff to dinner now, Ian? Please,” she scoffed, as if that was beneath her.
“Everyone, I’d like you to meet Lucy. She’s my wife,” he said.
The shock went around the room as he stared at his family, waiting for the drama to unfold. He didn’t have to wait long at all.
His mother threw her head back. With no cameras or outside world seeing, she didn’t have to pretend. She was surrounded by family and friends with like minded attitudes. To the people in the room, there was a social and cultural divide. They had money, and that made them better people. Those that didn’t were scum.