Emily's POV:

I was stunned for a while, standing intact and erect, not moving an inch to waver my gaze at him. When I blinked for once, I found my dream still going on.

Only it wasn't some dream.

He really said those words I imagined him saying so smoothly only in my dreams!

Once reminded of the cruel reality, and the way he still was gripping my finger gently, I tried to pull it out of his clutch. My eyes furrowed an inch to see he still wasn't letting it go. I tried to turn my stares into glares and he pulled me closer, his nose almost touching mine.

I could feel his cinnamon breath combining with my own chocolaty breath. Without my consent, my lips parted slightly and my throat went dry finding him too close to my comfort.

Did I use a mouth freshener after when I ate like a cow? Did I wash my face carefully when I did my makeup?

My mind was flooded with all kinds of thoughts, trying to sort out the dirtiest ones in order and throw them ruthlessly in a nearby trash can.

"Don't lean back! Linda is watching us with eyes of a hawk! One wrong step and she'll get suspicious!"

What?!

I tried to turn around inconspicuously and this time he left my finger to grip my head, cupping both of my cheeks, his fingers curling below my chin. I could feel my heartbeat increasing to a higher rate. I lifted my eyes to meet his and found that he was trying himself not to look behind me where probably Linda was sitting watching us.

"Don't turn around, Lily! This angle would make her think we're kissing like a couple in love!"

No, you're wrong, buddy. Only I'm the one who’s in love here! And though you may also be in love, it's most probable, I am not that person your heart craves for!

I was shocked to learn that he touched me like I wanted him to, in like, forever, played with my feelings, and promised me all that cheesy lines which turned out to be just his game of ‘pretending’. I wanted to be angry with him, maybe slap him but my inner conscious knew better.

What did you expect, Emily? It was always a marriage of convenience. It has nothing to do with love and happiness!

I nodded bitterly, staying in that position against my will of heart but my body sure wanted to embarrass me in front of him. I shifted a little, trying to roll my eyes somewhere else, avoiding him. My lips were all dry from the tension and I bit them in nervousness. Lifting my gaze once more, I found him staring at me and I blinked.

His eyes shifted from my face to my lips once I darted my tongue out to lick my dry lips, lingering there longer. His eyes turn a shade darker, gripping my head tighter, his fingers digging the flesh of my chin and then slowly he slid his hands down and his fingers curl around my waist. I felt a slight tug before I fell on his chest. He pressed me firmly in a hug as if he was afraid if he didn't do it, he might get in trouble. His fingers dug in the bare flesh of my arms.

"You're hurting me, Edward!"

I struggled slightly, not wanting to make Linda suspicious. He loosened his grip, moving his hands around my back to pull me closer. I could feel my breasts squished firmly against his hard chest, leaving my cheeks burning hot with fire. It was too intimate for any hug which we shared before.

After Linda was gone, we broke apart almost in an urgent manner, avoiding each other's eyes as if we just did the most embarrassing thing in the world.

Having my chosen item packed beautifully, we were just about to leave the shop when I heard someone call for me. Or it was most accurately like, “Lady, wait for me!"

In a second, the black haired man I had known in this past hour as George was in front me, huffing from all his caterpillar running.

"You forgot your handkerchief, lady!" He held the blue cloth in his hand, bringing it to his face to sniff it in a playful manner.

"Mmm. It's so sweet. What perfume did you use, ma’am?"

"I don't actually know ‘cause I didn't buy it. It was gifted to me by my mom!" I laughed nervously at my own lie.

"Oh yeah. It smells like a mother's heart mingled with strong grape wine and squeezed in a strawberry thistle!"

Strawberry thistle?

Man, I was really going to drag this person all the way over to have his head examined thoroughly before throwing its dysfunctional part in a river on my way home!

“Never mind. What's the name of this peculiar beauty, might I enquire?"

I smiled at his genuine compliment. I felt hot eyes glaring at me, ready to eat me to death anytime. I shrugged. Well, it was time I also got a young and handsome friend who'd help me out of my depressive feelings. And maybe help me, move on, even.

Edward was fast to answer.

"It's Emily J-"

But I was faster than him.

"Miss Emily Willows to you!" I grabbed my hanky from his hands now forgetting to present him with my best smile ever.

"Well, well. What a lovely name you have my lady! And this man next to you? What's his honourable name?"

I looked at Edward whose face was twisted in a deep frown.

"He is Edward Jones. A good friend of mine!"

"Mr Jones? The youngest eligible bachelor of Jones company? Really! It's a pleasure to meet you, sir!"

George extended his hand, expecting for a generous handshake and when Edward didn't move even a bit from his place, I stepped on his shoes trying to send him my best death glares at possible.

Hesitating slightly, he took George's hands in a handshake and I could feel the temperature rising around us in the way Edward glared at the poor man who was trying not to wiggle with a hard handshake. After a minute or two, they broke the contact.

"I know we just met an hour ago but if it isn't too much Emily, would you care to have a coffee with me this Friday?"

It was my turn to hesitate now. I looked at Edward who was standing too cool and composed for a person who was nearly on the verge of killing someone with a mere handshake!

Something snapped in me.

He really didn’t care who I went out with or what the person did to me, be it a good or a bad man?

But at least, he should pretend to care since I was his wife even though a ‘pretend’ one at that. I sighed.

You could never ‘pretend’ to care for a person!

Would it make me a cheating wife if I went out with a guy behind Edward's back? It wouldn't be cheating, per se. He was also doing the same! And didn't he marry me to continue his relationship with Lara? So technically he was the one cheating in the real way.

But I was not even his real wife to start an argument with this ‘cheating’ thing anyway!

"Yeah, sure. I would love to, George! You're a funny person and I can't wait to spend and learn more about you!"

Was it too much? Did I exaggerate?

But I never really replied to anyone asking me out before, because Edward never allowed me to even wander near any guy whoever he thought might have an interest in me saying I was still too young to handle a man and he wouldn't let me sell myself to just any guy out there!

He specifically told me to bring the guy who I liked or wanted to date, first to him for a thorough profile check.

And what I learned from my experience was that no guy ever survived his survey and decided it was better for them to date some other girl rather than go through fire to get a girl like me!

But now I was old enough to take care of myself and I just have to show this to Edward who still thought I was a stupid five years old!

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