“Wow, that is kind of mean.”
“Yeah, it’s mean, but you have to be. It’s the only way to survive.”
“So I have to accept the fact you’re going to be an asshole? You can’t control it?”
“I’m going to try. It won’t always be easy, though, and I accept that I’ll be the one to blame.”
“For you I will try.”
“You don’t even know me.”
“You’re my wife, Lucy. I’m going to do everything in my power to make this work.” Even as he said the words, he knew, deep down in his very soul, he meant them. Already she was starting to mean something to him, and that scared him just a little.
Lucy stood over the stove and stared at the boiling water. This was her wedding night, yet she felt like she was in a dream, or maybe living in someone else’s body. She glanced over her shoulder and stared at Ian. He sat on the leather couch, his bare feet kicked up on the coffee table, the massive flat screen TV mounted on the wall showing something that had to do with stocks. It was all foreign to her.
She looked at his feet again, and although she’d never found that part of the body attractive, she couldn’t help but think his were hot as hell. He’d wanted to take her out, but she wanted to cook. It tended to clear her head, would help her maybe make sense of all of this.
She focused on the pot of boiling water again and snapped out of her haze. Grabbing the pasta, she dumped it in, steam rising up like a cloud of smoke. She started stirring the noodles around in the boiling water, thinking back to their conversation in the bedroom. He’d seems so genuine when he’d been talking to her and although she knew she wasn’t a prisoner, that she could leave any time she wanted to, a part of her wanted to see where this would go.
But I can’t be married to a friend. I can’t be married to a roommate.
And wouldn’t it be like that? Wouldn’t they just be married out of convenience … out of spite?
She felt a presence and turned around, gasping when she saw Ian standing behind her. He watched her for long seconds, not saying anything, but she felt the temperature rise. Her heart started thundering, her palms sweating. Would he expect sex tonight? It was their wedding night. But the truth was Lucy didn’t even want to think about that right now. She was much too nervous and confused about why she’d actually gone through with all of this, why she was still going through with it.
“We didn’t really get a chance to speak about the honeymoon,” he said, his voice deep, slightly dark.
She found herself swallowing hard, a sudden lump forming in her throat. “Honeymoon?” She licked her suddenly dry lips and moved to the side. He was so close that her chest brushed against his, sending shivers up her spine. She couldn’t deny that he made her aroused, that his presence had her blood rushing through her veins. It was just a shame that his personality could be so unattractive, even if he’d shown genuine remorse just earlier tonight in the bedroom.
“Yeah, the honeymoon. Isn’t there some place you wanted to go? I have a private jet, and we can go wherever you want to.”
Lucy couldn’t think straight right now. Was he just making it sound like a vacation? Surely he didn’t think sex would be involved, least of all now? And then he grinned and shook his head.
“Listen, we married each other, so why not make the most out of it? I’m not looking to get in your pants—” He took a step toward her. “—at least not right now.” He looked her body up and down with his gaze and she shivered involuntarily. “But I think we both could use a vacation, just get away from everything. Reality is kind of crazy right now, don’t you agree?”
She found herself nodding. Yes, she couldn’t agree more about reality being pretty insane. Lucy glanced away and thought about his question. A vacation sounded pretty damn heavenly at the moment. When she looked up at him again he was still grinning, flashing straight white teeth and having her heart jump into her throat.
“Somewhere in Europe,” she finally said. “Somewhere where the scenery is so unlike anything I’ve ever been to before, but that’s not saying much since I haven’t seen much of anything aside from the city.” The city was gray and bleak at times, with concrete buildings reaching high into the sky. She wanted to see freedom, wanted to see the ocean and feel the wind on her face, the salt air kissing her flesh.
“Europe it is,” he said and winked. And then he surprised her by leaning in and kissing her on the cheek. He smelled good, the cologne he wore spicy yet masculine. When he pulled back he was still so close to her face, his warm breath smelling of the red wine he’d been drinking. He glanced over at the stove, where water boiled over and sizzled.