Authors: N.K. Pockett
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Copyright © 2014 by NK Pockett
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Marriage by Law
By: N.K. Pockett
N.K. Pockett 2014
Table of Contents
To my mother, whose grey hairs I probably caused;
to my father, who will probably have a heart attack thanks to me;
and my brother, for putting up with the fact that I am clearly the more beautiful child.
Six Months Ago
“What are you talking about?” I whispered as I hurried down Collins Street. It was lunchtime, and everyone on the street was either businessmen or tourists, and trying not to bump into anyone was quite a workout. The last thing you wanted to do was bump into one; I was sure the malicious glare they would give me would haunt me to my grave.
“I swear it was him,
Iv. Just check it out,” Rose said in a rushed voice grabbing my arm, trying to make me slow down, as she followed behind me. I scoffed, rolling my eyes. Where did she even hear this rumor, the rumor mill? This wasn’t high school to still believe the rumours like I once did. And James would never do something like this; we’ve been together for nearly four years and now, out of the blue, she tells me he’s been cheating on me the whole time? I highly doubt that.
I am sure I can tell if my boyfriend has been cheating on me for four goddamn years.
James wasn’t like that; he would never do this.
“Rosemarie, wherever you heard this from, it’s wrong. James isn’t like this. You have the wrong person.”
I shook my head. In a week’s time it would finally be our fourth year anniversary and he had something planned out as a surprise. No matter how many times I said it, it was true; there was no way James would cheat on me.
I trusted him.
“If he wanted to dump me, he would have three years ago,” I added, shrugging her hold off me as I hurried to the tram stop checking the time.
Rose sighed, trying to reach for my arm again as I moved out of the way as people hurried off the tram. School holidays had just finished and school kids with their big bags were everywhere, with three times the amount of noise on public transport.
I climbed onto the tram after Rose, hearing the teacher tell them about the city and smiled. I remembered when I had city experience years ago, and James was with me then as well. I moved to the corner, avoiding the wet ground from all the rain outside. Winter was coming, and it was coming fast.
“He wouldn’t have dumped you,” said Rose quietly after a few minutes while I was scrolling down my phone.
“What?” I asked, momentarily confused before I realised what she was talking about. Was she still going on about this stupid rumor?
“Exactly. He wouldn’t, just like he wouldn’t cheat on me,” I said shaking my head. Will she let this topic go? Finally, she realised what she was talking about.
“No, he wouldn’t dump you because you’re beautiful, rich, and let’s not forget your parents make it very clear that the heir to their business, your future husband, inherits everything. No one in their clear minds would give that up” she said in a matter-of-fact tone.
I looked at her and how serious her face looked. There was doubt at the back of my mind. Rose has been my friend longer than James has been my boyfriend, why would she lie to me? And she can’t be telling the truth. James only dated me for my fame and wealth?
He wasn’t like that. James was an orphan. He told me that when I first met him. He had no one and he definitely didn’t need money; he made that very clear to me before I dated him. Maybe Rose was just looking out for me? I know she’s wrong, but maybe I just proved to her she was wrong. The poor girl has some absurd idea stuck in her head. It’s hard to believe, I guess in a way I was acting like how she acted when I told her that her latest crush was a jerk. She didn’t want to listen to me till I showed her.
“Fine,” I muttered as she smiled.
There was a bond between James and
I. Lately things haven’t been going great but four years together, we loved each other, right?
Just because we fought more often recently, or he has been acting a bit like an obnoxious jerk, doesn’t mean we just forget about all the good times that we had. Something in the back of my head was telling me to check him out.
“Why?” I asked, biting my lip. It was lunchtime; he was probably busy working and I didn’t want to disturb him.
“Just do it and ask him where he is.”
I shook my head sighing but complied, taking out my phone. I knew where he was, inter-state on a business trip. I knew this because he was coming back tonight and wanted to meet me first thing tomorrow morning.
I scrolled till I found his name and sent him a text.
“Done,” I said, showing her. She smiled, tapping her fingers on the pole she was holding onto- a thing she does when nervous. My phone vibrated seconds later and I smiled. He always took his time to reply to me.
Coming back home,
See you tomorrow.
I smiled. I knew James would never do such a thing. Rose grabbed my phone out of my hand, her eyes narrowing as she read it and gave me my phone back.
I sighed. “Rose, look, we can ask him tomorrow when he - what are you doing?” I asked as she grabbed my hand and pressed the buzzer to get off at the next stop. She tugged my hand to the door, pushing me out as the doors opened.
“We are going to knock some sense into you,” she snapped. I looked around curiously realizing what tram she made us catch and where we got off. This was only a ten-minute walk from his house.
“Rose,” I said, sighing, “There is no one there. He’s in Sydney right now.”
She didn’t listen to me. She pulled me as she dragged me along the footpath. I pulled out of her grip, rubbing my wrist as I followed her. I can walk by myself.
I looked around at the big mansion in the area. James’s house wasn’t anything like these. His was a small humble old house he can afford and he bought it. I admired how he built up his
life as an orphan. He was a determined man.
But that’s what scared me: his determination. I wiped my hands on my jeans, not realizing that I was sweating. Maybe it was just from holding the pole for too long in the tram, I told myself. Yes, not because I was nervous.
All couples had their problems. That doesn’t mean he cheated on me, and not just once but for the whole time I knew him? No, that was impossible.
I saw his driveway and I could feel my heart beating faster. Why? There was no way James would do this to me. He would never marry me for my money, that wasn’t him. And there was no one in the house. He was interstate for god’s sake!
Instead of going up the driveway, Rose stepped onto the green fake grass leading to the side. Where was she going? She made a motion and I followed her carefully, trying not to ruin his front yard. She was leading me to the side, where the kitchen window was.
“Rose, this is stupid,” I said, navigating my way through the thin gap between the house and the fence.
“Shut up, you are too trusting and naïve.”
“Am not,” I whispered softly but by the look she gave me, she heard me. I had never seen her so angry before, especially at me.
“Says the girl who nearly donated a hundred dollars to the charity on the street when they claimed pigs were endangered animals.”
I bit my lip. Okay, that was not my finest moment, and one can never know for sure. That was nearly two years ago and maybe in some isolated country, pigs were endangered.
She walked over to the window and looked at me. “Come,” she demanded.
I walked the last two steps and looked at her and then slowly turned to the window.
The kitchen, it looked exactly like I remembered it, with simple appliance. James was never one for colour. I looked through the gap between the wall and the fridge where you can just make out the lounge room.
noth –" I froze. I blinked; surely I was seeing things.
“See, I told you.”
I felt an arm around my shoulder. I shook my head. That wasn’t James. James would not be sitting on a couch with another girl.
“Maybe it’s a business thing?” I said. But no business partners would kiss.