Brian doesn’t utter a word to me in the car, he doesn’t mention anything to me even when we were at my house; he is so quiet all the time during the car ride that I needed to investigate into him thousand times to make sure he is here by my side. At a point, it feels like he stops breathing, how a person can be this calm? All the time I saw him from far, I never think him as a modest person, to be honest, whenever I judged of him I considered of a loudly bossy character who does nothing but order other people around.

At least that’s what I found out from my circle of people, Luke Hall mostly, my best friend also my family’s biggest enemy, after my marriage I think he will be banned from my life. The record between my in-laws and the Halls can bring blood bath to Chicago. Sometimes I think the mafias of Chicago is not that dangerous, the much McCoy’s are against Halls.

Brian opens the car door for me, holds his hands towards me. For, the first time, I look into his eyes. For the past twenty minutes I stole some glances when he was busy driving. From, time to time three lines appear on his forehead which says he was deep in his thoughts.

I think it’s because of the scene that Hazel causes back at home; I warned that girl to behave the time Brian comes, the evil smirk that she offered me when Brian’s car pull into the driveway was adequate for me to understand my little sister’s maverick nature, however, like a moron I believe in her.

“Now, twirl for me,” I ask him when we are about to make our grand entrance for the first time as a couple in the Chicago community.

He stops abruptly to look at me, the poker face that he retains the utter car ride slips away from his face. The serious face replaces with confusion.

“What?” he asks after a couple of heartbeats.

This is the first time I heard his voice from close, other time I heard or saw him speaking from a distance, maybe one or two words struck on my ears, this deep masculine voice is nothing I expected.

“I need to see if you are right-paired with me or do I need to apply my magic on your appearance.”

He continues glancing at me with no sound, this is weird. No man looks at me the way he is staring, as if he wants to consume me in his blood. I can’t make my mind about Brian yet. I am trying to understand him but I am getting anything out of him. He always carries this deadpan mask. I notice this is not him. A rare person has to be above this veil. Still, I can’t get him. Maybe because this the first time we meet that’s why with time he will be open with me.

“What are you saying?” he pretends not to understand me, so I grab his arm and spin him around to check him, I should have done this at my house but, the little Hazel made good enough entertainment to do such important work.

“You look fine.” I touch up his hair a little before slipping my hand on his arms. “My rose, smile.” He doesn’t. He frowns with wide eyes, as if I just ask his kidney or lungs. “I have a reputation in the society Brian, I am the sweetheart of Chicago. Loved everyone, that will not change just because I am marrying the supercilious bastard of Chicago.”

“You.” I cut him in middle.

“You will smile all the time, be kind with everyone, and no frowning tonight. Okay, rose.” I place his hand on my waist. God, I need to do all the works now. Does he even know anything about romance?

The closeness is what I never experience before with any man. I always wanted to have a romantic relationship but with the right man. A man who will love me, cherish me, respect me, the way men approach me at the parties they were clear about their intention. A night in bed, no promise, this is not who I am, I don’t even think I can move in my life after having some meanness sex with a random man.

Intimacy is private, an emotion that ties two people in a thread. I want that from my relationship. I want that kind of romance where my partner will look at me and could tell I am happy or sad, an attentive partner, a heart for whom I will more than enough, I will do everything he ever wanted.

I wonder, can Brian provide me with that? Even if he can’t, he needs to learn all those things, if is marrying me, he needs to change his attitude first, also he doesn’t need to think much, I am here to help him out from everything.

We enter the ballroom where the party is taking place. Music, people’s chattering comes to my ears, I change my view from Brian’s handsome face to the party.

“Smile rose,” I tell him in clenching my teeth, maintaining a smile on my face.

“Inessa, I think you need a doctor first.” He whispers.

“Don’t say rubbish, rose.”

“Stop calling me rose, first. My name is Brian, you can use that.” he irritated, God, I have no idea teasing this bitter man will be this much fun and interesting.

“From now, I will call you, rose.” I fly a kiss to him. “My pretty rose.”

“You…do your father know the problem of your head.”

As we enter the party all the eyes come and rest on two of us, the laughter dies from some people’s lips, some glance at us with shock wide eyes, suddenly the room goes mute. The pleasant party domain quickly converts into tranquility. We walk into the room and people start to chatter; they are whispering, glancing on our route, we are for sure making it on the front page of every newspaper tomorrow morning, this is a miracle, our grand entry, shouts enough to everyone know McCoy and Simmons are joining hands together. This friendship nobody sees coming yet it’s happening.

“He is too busy to know his children’s activity.” I sigh.

I know almost everyone in this room; I am part of them; I attended thousands of parties with my father from the age of eighteen to know how everyone works in this room. For example, Mrs. Murphy loves showing off her wealth, the gifts her husbands gave her to keep her mouth shut about his illegal works, Samantha Young loves bitching. She is one of Brian’s friends, his ex-girlfriend Olivia’s best friend.

After Olivia’s death, I saw them making out at a party. Samantha was naked, sitting on Brian’s lap while Brian was fully dressed. I quietly left the place, after I come back I never saw them at the party, they never come back, I let my imagination run wild that time, however, right now it’s an unsettling feeling, my stomach is lace in hundreds of knot. I witnessed my fiancé bonking another woman. My throat goes dry, I can’t think of anything, my mind is blank.

“Then I should inform him about this.” Brian touches my lower back gently “Are you okay?”

“I need something to drink.”

I walk towards the bar at first, but I need some air to breathe, this place. The unknown feeling is strangling my throat.

“Inessa, why are you with that asshole?” Luke asks.

He stands beside me, in his white shirt and black pants he looks glamorous as usual. His black hair is a little mess, so I guess he directly comes from the office.

“We are getting married,” I answer after inhaling the much-needed deep breath.

“Is this a joke?”

As expected, he is angry, his voice is higher than usual tone. I am friends with Luke Hall for five years now, he never got angry with me, nor did raises his voice. I am not surprised at all; I knew from the beginning he will behave like a wild animal, and somehow I can justify his rude behavior.

“Nope. Next week, on my birthday we will get engaged.” I sigh.

“God.” He shakes his head in disbelief. Luke pulls me close to him, my eyes are on his chest, he places a finger under my chin and lifts my head to his eyes. “Are you okay?” he whispers.

I nod without thinking. Tears escape from my eyes. I don’t know if I am okay. One minute I am positive to work everything out, the other moment I am doubting myself, this engagement, remembering Brian with Samantha burns my heart.

Luke embraces me in a tight hug without saying a word, I let him hold me, whispering comfort to my ears. He feels safe to me, my friend is always a safe place for me.

“Take your hands off my fiancee.” A roar jerks us apart. I look at Brian, his eyes are red, his hand is clutching into a fist, he is looking at Luke like he is about to split him into two pieces.

God, I am not going to be the reason for McCoy and Hall to fight once again, it will be déjà vu, for a woman they fight again.

“Let’s go inside.” I try to push Brian out of the balcony. This man is solid, tough, he doesn’t even move an inch from his place. “Please,” I beg.

He glances at me. After a few heartbeats he grabs my wrist and marches onto the party. He doesn’t say a word after that. The fun teasing, chatting that was happening between us some time ago is vanishing, the playfulness is gone. We talk with some of his business clients. He discusses something with them while I stand close to him with a smile hanging on my lips.

Then we move to his friends, they are all at the corner of the room; I know all of their names and family status however, I never will associate with them. They are not bad influences or anything, it’s just I am way too different from them.

Brian introduces me as his fiancée to his friends, they all congratulate us, I know Erin Jenkins; he hit on me a year ago. Evan Thomas flirted with me some time ago, the girl Natasha Stone slang off me in a bathroom with her other friend Betty at a party. I heard all the things she said about me. I was inside the toilet stroll when they were discussing rumors and lies about me.

Brian sits on the couch and pulls me on his lap as I am a whore, I say nothing, for now, I don’t want to embarrass him in front of his friends, however; I am not going to give him the rights to insult me this way again. So, take this chance to taste him, his own medicine.

“My rose, I will blow you after this party, or do you want now, my sweetie pie?” I am batting my lashes. “Don’t be so angry, my sunshine.” I set my hands on the nape of his neck and bring his face close to my breast.

All his friends around us in shock, some cough to fill their discomfort, some are looking at us with open mouths, my fiancé is red with embarrassment. And trust me, this the lifetime opportunity for me to see this, I think once in the lifetime thing it is.

“Inessa.” He warns me.

“We will have fantastic sex after this, my rose.” I wink at him.

The party is fun, sorry, more than fun, I love the night, enjoy every bit of the second, did whatever I wanted to, say all things I wanted.

“You are mad, absolutely insane,” Brian says as he drives the car outside my house.

“Sweet dream too, my rose.” i get out of the car without giving him any explanation or a lucky chance to talk. I hear him calling my name, but I don’t give a damn to him at all, get into my house and lock the door.

I guess we will have a pretty entertaining marriage after all.

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