The carriage pulled to a stop, and I, Mary Jane Pendleton, miserably stepped down to the ground. My parents, Elizabeth and Jacob Pendleton followed my lead.
“Do you seriously think this is such a wise decision?” I asked them, showing how depressed I was.
“No, I do not, but I agreed to this the day you were born,” Father answered smoothly. “And I am the governor.”
“But that was before you became the governor.”
“Well, as the governor, it is my duty to carry out my promises to the people.”
“Father, these aren’t people…they are rich, snobby, noblemen.”
I sighed dejectedly as the governor of Swahili Island led the way to the front entrance of the manor. Years before, my father had made a deal with Jonathon Leroux. He had saved my father’s life during a war many years ago. The deal was that on the eve of my nineteenth birthday, I would marry his son, James. The only reason the deal was official is for the reason that this certain family is the second richest on the coast and the richest family was full of females…that of course would not work out so well.
At the end of the year, Father would step down and James would take over as governor and I would be his sort of assistant. As you can see, my life was already planned out for me and I did not get any say on the matter. In my opinion, such a thing as this was nothing but absurd. Not only had I never met my fiancé, but also I knew without the shadow of a doubt that I would never be able to love him. I dreamed of love…not fondness. Love was something I had always desired…for as long as I can remember, that was all I wanted in my future. I had a feeling that I would, but now that I knew that my future was already planned for me…well, that would never be possible. Unless, my fiancé died, that is not a bad idea. Know anyone who kills for free? This is nonsense.
I had always looked forward to the adventure of finding love…but being married to a stranger would never fulfill that. Like leaving the mansion behind and living with a normal man would be better than the boring life in the mansion with a complete stranger. But I never considered complaining for the reason that I would disappoint my parents, which was something I did not want. They had been so good to me.
My thought ended when the door swung open, revealing one of the many servants that I knew the Leroux’s had. The young girls eyes grew wide with surprise. It was the normal expression that the normal people had on their faces every time we appeared in public. For my parents were rich and I was a natural beauty.
“We are here to acquire a talk with Sir Jonathon Leroux,” Jacob stated, laying a hand on my back.
“Come in,” she told us before heading down the hall yelling, “Mister Leroux, mister Leroux!”
Mother and I sighed and followed the king inside. My mother was not too excited about me marrying a complete stranger either. She had tried to talk him out of the deal, but once my father’s mind was made up…well, there was no changing it. Even though my parents were married by an arranged marriage. I do not think the idea of an arranged marriage made anyone in my family very happy.
Moments later, I found myself in a library surrounded by servants watching me. While my parents were talking to James’s parents, I had wondered off. Looking around I found that the library was filled with paintings, candles that were gleaming off my blond curls, and bookshelves. But in the center of the room was a sitting area. That was where I found a young man sitting comfortably with a black book in his hands.
I was about to address him when suddenly, a man’s voice said, “Ah! Here you are Mary Jane…or should I call you Miss Pendleton?”
The young man glanced up at me, thinking that he was alone. It was as though he could not remove his eyes from looking at me. His gaze held mine until Jonathon Leroux approached my side.
“Mary Jane is fine,” I answered, looking into the man’s eyes.
“I see that you have met my nephew, Matthew Bromley,” he commented.
“Indeed.” And he is gorgeous I finished silently. We had met. True. But by the exchange of looks…not words.
James’s father linked my arm with his own, saying, “James cannot wait to make your acquaintance.”
With that said, he began pulling me away. The young man and myself did not take our eyes off each other until I had been led out of the room. He had sat with his legs crossed, with the black book in his lap. Matthew’s brown hair was pulled back into a simple ponytail and his dark blue eyes twinkled with excitement. It were as though we had just had a moment…both of us knew what the other thought.
As my parents came into view, I silently hoped that I would get to see that handsome devil again.
James was not the handsome man that everyone claimed he was. He looked more feminine if anything. When he kissed the top of my hand in greeting, the only thing that ran through my mind was how the heck did such a good-looking man have such a girly son?