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Chapter 001 The wedding night

“It’s getting late. Time to go to bed.” The deep and velvety voice of the man brought Monica Donat into reality from her lost thought. She looked up and caught the elusiveness in his deep-set eyes, which made her squeeze the corner of her dress tensely with a fast heartbeat.

She had been sitting at the edge of the bed rigidly ever since she entered the room, totally forgetting to change the wedding dress until the man finished the shower and went out of the bathroom, which reminded her of the fact that she was going to spend the wedding night with that man soon, though she’d never learnt the knowhow of it, nor was she the real bride he had meant to marry.

Being the illegitimate daughter of a rich family, she had to marry this poverty-stricken man as the replacement of her sister according to the engagement that had been made by the older generation of both families long ago, so as to obtain that substantial dowry with which she could save the life of her sick mother and afford the education of her siblings.

Monica took a deep breath and went to the bathroom tremulously. “I…I’ll take a shower too.” That made something flicker in the man’s eyes.

Monica rushed into the bathroom and was about the bolt the door, just to find there wasn’t even such thing as a bolt in the worn-out wooden door. She paused a little. Nor was the life better in her own home, but she just didn’t anticipate this new one could be so impoverished.

Her eyes went red and she hesitated for quite a while, not willing to take off the wedding dress. The man outside the bathroom seemed to understand her plight and said cooperatively, “I’ll go out to smoke. Take you time.” Monica tired to detect his movement by listening at the door and just heard nothing after the sound of trailing off footsteps and the creaking door.

The wedding decorations on the mottled wall were as bleak as the scene in the streets of this city where a typhoon had just wreaked havoc on it, leaving fallen billboards and snapped trees all over. It was on such a day that Monica got married. There was no delicately decorated wedding car, instead, she had to walked a long distance to get into an inconspicuous van which then drove hours before she arrived the destination — a village of muddy paths that messed up her dress and shoes.

It’s said you could never expect a happy life if your wedding took place in such weather. But a happy life was too luxurious a thing Monica could afford to expect now. She walked out of the bathroom wiping her hair. Her husband hadn’t been back yet. What a cigarette that it took him some long to smoke, she thought. She then observed the two rooms of this rural cottage and found it really a bit shabby, even with a leaky roof. But she believed it would certainly look better if she tidied it up. With a confident smile, she set out to do it before the man went back.

He returned when she was kneeling on the bed and dragging the quilt down. She turned round so forcibly that the knot of the only bath towel covering her body loosened and it slipped down. With an exclamation, she tried to cover her body with her hands out of reflection, which was obviously too late as he had seen everything around her unclad body. In a panic, she immediately yanked the quilt over herself bashfully.

The man swallowed drily, with a flash of complexity in his eyes. He walked slowly up to her and said with a voice which was chilly and hoarse with a specific overtone, “It’s getting late. Let’s go to bed.” His additional stress on “let’s” this time made Monica as nervous as a kitten. She closed her eyes and just felt she waist surrounded by a force which brought her into the man’s arms and got her pressed on the bed…Monica went completely blank, only knowing a fervent chest with a violent heartbeat was pressing against her back, and she was tightly wrapped by his manliness. After taking a deep breath, Monica tried to ease up her rigid body but failed again.

The man stopped suddenly and asked her, “Do you know who I am?”

Monica was stunned. She thought he was getting at the fact that they were a couple now and that it was natural for a couple to have sex life. But timidly, she preferred to answer his question in the literal sense, “I know…you are Chris Morganroth.”

The man squinted his eyes and tilted his mouth at the answer. It was not easy for her to remember that full name, which, however, was not his real name, just like Laura Donat was not hers. He had spotted her as a replacement the moment she entered the cottage, though not clear about the reason. It was utterly impossible for the proud eldest daughter of Donat to marry a rural chap. But he didn’t care about that. Both were substitutes. They were even now.

“Chris…” She said, staring at him with her shy and beautiful eyes which tugged at his heartstrings rightly like an invisible hand, “I’m sorry but I’m too nervous.” She bit her lip and tried to hold his neck with her hand. “You are my husband and you have the right to do anything to me…let’s…start…” With her delicate nose slightly sweaty, she approached him clumsily in a great tremble.

Chris was touched and held her hand when she tried to kiss him timidly. He then pushed her away. Monica was stunned and looked at him in bewilderment, still with blushes in her face.

“Let’s call it a day.” He stared at her, “You look tired. Get some rest.”

“Chris, I…” Monica was embarrassed.

“You just need some time to get used to this. I won’t force you to do anything before you are really ready to have a husband.” He then tossed his body over.

Facing his naked back, Monica fell in a daze. Light snore of the man then came after a long time. She had the opportunity to look narrowly at him for the first time. He looked quite handsome even when he was asleep. His angular profile was highlighted by the masculine rising eyebrows. His head pillowed on his large arms and his body was so well-built that Monica felt the flush again. She turned her back to him at once.

As she became sleepy, the derision her sister Laura and her stepmother flung to her before the wedding resurfaced again. It’s said that the Morganroth family and the Donat family had maintained their friendship for generations and it was true that there was an engagement set by their forefathers. But the Morganroths had to take shelter in a village due to some scandalous event afterwards and had fallen impoverished ever since. Their son was a notorious hooligan who visited the prison as though going to his own home…

“How can I marry a hooligan!” Laura said in a cocky tone, “But it’s a suitable husband for you, Monica. Your mother has had so many men, after all, and your sister and brother are all bastards…an illegitimate daughter matches a hooligan well!”

“Monica, think of that.”Her father said grimly, “If you can take the place of Laura to marry that Chris guy, I’ll reward you an amount of money which you can use for your mother’s treatment.”

Her stepmother pointed her finger at her bluntly. “It’s your honor that we agree to let you marry in the name of the younger daughter of Donat family. Don’t ask for too much that you don’t deserve!”

Monica woke up in a shudder and found it was late morning.

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