Chapter 2

1999 Words
I take a deep breath as I step in the church, my hand slung trustingly through my Dad's.   The place is packed to capacity.   I kinda expected the wedding to be a private affair, considering that the Millers treat everything like a private affair, but that's obviously not the case for today.   They did all the planning, picked all the venues, and it looks like their intention is to make everyone know that their son is very married.   I walk slowly down the aisle. Brent is waiting at the altar, and I can tell that his posture is very tense from where I'm standing.   We've only met twice since the arrangement came to life; when we went for some pointless marital counseling, and when his family came over for dinner.   He barely said a word to me on both occasions.   I don't know if he's shy or he just doesn't like me.   Either way, he is finally noticing my existence. That, is a big deal.   I smile at my Mom who is seated in the front pew. I freaking love that woman. She's a hard nut to c***k, and she'd do anything for her kids. She is my ultimate role model.   I quickly look away when I catch Clay's eye from beneath the thin veil. I can't afford to think about him. I don't want to change my mind, so I focus on making careful steps instead.   My wedding outfit arrived early this morning from a popular designer. Mrs Miller, my to be mother in law, decided what gown I should wear and what bridal heels would look great on me. She also chose the cake design and our wedding rings.   She even decided our honeymoon destination!   I've always wanted to go to Hawaii for my honeymoon but when she said that she had booked us a presidential suite in some fancy hotel at the Fiji islands, Brent shrugged and said nothing.   See, she's not a control freak at all.   Brent keeps shifting on his feet as he waits for me to get to the altar. He obviously can't wait for this to be over, but I wish he'd be more discreet about it.   My Dad places my hand in his, a traditional sign that he has handed me over to my new husband, and I hand the maid of honour my bouquet before we turn to the minister to recite our wedding vows.   Brent is so not interested in the whole thing, but he somehow manages to keep his hand in mine, his eyes fixed on me.   It's like he pities me; like he can't imagine why I'm doing this to myself.   He calmly slips the wedding ring down my finger, and when the minister nicely tells him that he can kiss the bride, he places a chaste kiss on my lips. His lips barely touch mine before he pulls back.   Baby steps.   He dutifully takes my hand as we walk out of the church, and when we get to the bridal car, he holds my train as I get inside. He is doing everything methodically, acting like he is following instructions.   He finally turns to me when the car starts to move. I'm aware that he is looking at my face so I don't turn to look at him. I feign disinterest, staring out of the window as the limousine cruises down the highway.   He blows out his breath before he looks away.   "Is the reception far?" I ask in an attempt to strike a conversation when he stays quiet.   He doesn't answer me.   I turn to look at him. "The reception. Is it a long drive from here? These shoes are killing me."   I look away when he ignores me. Two can play this game. I'll just stay quiet until he talks to me.   "Is it worth it?"   I hesitate. He just talked.   "What?'"   "The money. Is it worth your dignity?"   "I don't know what you're talking about."   He doesn't say another word until we get to the reception.   The venue is simply out of this world. Despite the unflattering colours that Mrs Miller chose, it's just perfect. She has been to millions of events world wide so she knows how to plan a good one.   I'm whisked away to change into a different gown and I'm so happy to be out of the bridal heels. They were too tight and too high, nothing I've worn before.   I step into the flat, golden sandals with a smile. The designer smiles back as she does the straps then she steps away.   "You're all set, Mrs Miller."   "Thank you."   I'm guided back to the reception, and I find my husband waiting impatiently for me. He takes my hand without asking and he leads me to the dance floor. Apparently, the newlyweds should have the first dance.   There's just the two of us and myriads of cameras are trained in our faces. That's what we get for being the bride and the groom.   Brent easily wraps an arm around my waist and pulls me to him, forcing me to place my hands on his shoulders. He moves slowly, expertly, taking me with him. I know he has been to plenty of events and dance parties so that should explain why he knows exactly what he's doing.   I easily get the hang of it. He makes it look so simple, and I'm so proud when I find myself moving in perfect sync with him.   I can't hide my smile.   The cameras click in our faces.   "I hope it'll be worth it." I whisper as the music slows down.   He shakes his head. "What?"   "The money. I hope it'll be worth my dignity."   He wraps an arm around my waist to lead me down the makeshift staircase. He doesn't comment on my statement.   I'm quickly learning that he is not a big fan of talking, especially to me. He used to be way different back in college. He was always out partying and making Merry with Clay and a ton of girls, and like the smitten i***t I was, I let Clay tug me along, hoping that Brent would notice me.   He never did.   I sigh to myself.   I'm sure everything will eventually work out.   *   "Congratulations Mrs Miller!" A girl with a shock of beautiful, messy blond hair  laughs as she wraps her arms around me and squeezes me painfully.   Brent grabs my hand when I reel from the unexpected impact, and I smile at the annoyingly beautiful girl when she pulls back.   From my estimation, she's around twenty years old.   She does the exact same thing to Brent, who smiles genuinely as she squeezes the living daylights out of him.   That's the first time I've seen him smile all week.   "You're so pretty." He laughs as he holds her back and studies her face. "I didn't know you'd be here."   "Max couldn't make it so he asked me to represent him."   "He is well represented. It's such a pity he couldn't show up today." "I know, right? He is moving back here for good by the way."   "Yeah, he told me he got a new job here. I'm so proud of him."   "You should be. He is awesome when he's not being a clingy and overprotective asshole." She finally turns to look me. "Your wife i unbelievably beautiful. I'm not sure if you even deserve her."   Brent laughs. "I know."   "Don't screw it, big boy, or I'll kick your ass."   "Scouts honour."   She places her hands on my shoulders and smiles at me. Ugh, perfect body, perfect hair and now perfect smile?   "Brent is a bully." She tells me with a mock smile. "Don't let him step all over you."   "You two know each other very well?"   "He's best friends with Max, my big brother. And by the way, I'm Krystal with a K, not a C." She shakes her head. "No, don't say anything. I know your name is Camille, but you prefer Cami. Sam told me."   "And who the hell is Sam?" Brent demands, his protective side dominating instantly.   She smiles sweetly. "My boyfriend."   "You have a boyfriend? Does Max know that?"   "No, and you're not going to tell him anything. Tuck in your claws, Brent. Sam is a gentleman." She winks at me. "I'll see around, Cami. Enjoy your honeymoon."   "She's... a lot." I comment once she's gone.   "You should meet her little sister. She's the exact opposite. She doesn't like people."   "What's her name?"   "Renee. She's away in a boarding school. She'll be done with highschool in a couple of months."   "You seem to like the family."   He glances down at me. "A lot. I've known Max all my life. He was supposed to be my best man but something allegedly came up and he couldn't show up."   I nod. "I see. Come with me. I want you to meet someone."   "Who?"   "Someone I've known all my life too. You two used to be friends once, so I'm very sure that you know him. It's important to me that you two stay in good terms."   He sighs dramatically. "Is there a reason you're yet to figure out that I don't want to be here at all?"   "Actually, that's pretty obvious. I'm just trying to ignore it."   "Why? For the money? Cami, this marriage will leave you with a nasty emotional scar."   "You think so?"   "I know so. My parents are blackmailing me into this so forgive me if I turn out to be a total asshole."   "You're behaving so far."   "That's because our parents are watching us, grinning from ear to ear and drinking champagne like everything is perfect in the world. They suck."   "My parents don't suck."   He c***s an eyebrow. "Really? The last time I checked, they sold you off for a few bucks. They are not exactly the parents of the year."   "Unlike you, I'm here on my own free will. I had a choice, you didn't. We are not in the same position at all."   "That's what you want to believe, but you're stuck with me now."   "You're saying that like a threat."   "I'm just stating a fact."   "I could leave you right now and my parents would happily take me back."   He shakes his head. "Listen to me. We're leaving for Fiji in half an hour. Until then, you don't leave my sight. If you feel the urge to try that, just remember that your family would go hungry without me. Are we clear here?"   "No. Something tells me that your parents really want you to get married. This marriage is more important to them than the money they gave my parents."   "And that's exactly why you're going to cooperate. We both have a lot to lose, so you're going to behave."   "I'll only do that if you don't treat me like crap. I hate being ignored, and you appear to be pretty good at that. Make it stop."   He shrugs. "Fine. Where does that leave us?"   "We can be some sort of friends."   "Friends? I didn't even know you two weeks ago."   "That doesn't count. Can you just try and be nice to me? I know that it's kinda hard being you but you have to do it."   "If I'll be spending the remaining part of my life with you then I guess I'll learn how to be nice. I don't have a choice."   "Good. What are we supposed to do right now?"   "I have no idea."   "You're the husband. Figure it out."   "I'm sorry, but I've never been married before. I have no idea what the newlyweds do at the reception half time."   I c***k a small smile. "Very funny."   "I get that a lot."   "So you actually talk?"   "Yeah. Shocker, I know."   "You know what I mean. You barely said a word to me this last one week."   "I was creeped and grossed out at the idea of getting married to a total stranger. You obviously didn't feel the same way, and that's weird."   "Cami?" Clay's quite voice reaches me, and I turn to look at him. His hands are fisted at the sides.   "Clay?"   "I need to speak to your husband." He clears his throat when I hesitate. "Alone."   "What? You want to threaten him?"   Brent rolls his eyes before he turns to me. "Why don't you rest your feet before we leave for our honeymoon? I'd like a word with your friend."   "That's a bad idea."   He spares me a lazy glance. "Trust me, I know."
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