He grinned and for a moment, she was struck stiff. He looked like he'd won his prize and Annabelle had a feeling she were it. She gulped and leaned further across the table. She moved the tray out her way and rest her forearms across the metal. "That, a good enough incentive?" he asked with a tease in his voice.
Good enough, she thought, it was insane! She rubbed her temples. "I'm not sure what to make of any of this."
He chuckled and then reached for something in his suit near his pectoral. He dug in the pocket on the inside and pulled out a thick stack of papers. She watched curiously as he unfolded the paper with precise bends. When it was open fully, he slid it across towards her. She glanced at it before settling her eyes back on him. "That's the contract."
"For what?" she asked.
"For our marriage, if you agree."
She laughed. "You're serious about that?"
He nodded. "I came here today to find a wife. The other ladies didn't stick around long enough to even see the contract. It's all there and legally binding once we add your name and signature."
She held her head with her hands and stared at the paper in front of her. She was afraid to know what instructions were listed on it. She looked back up at Nick and found him watching her curiously. He held a black pen in his hand. He was serious, she knew that much. It did nothing to make her heart beat slower. This was crazy. It didn't make sense. People didn't just marry a stranger they met in a diner. It just didn't happen.
"I don't know about this." She told him honestly. Jim would kill her if she agreed. Mikayla would probably smack her upside her head.
"Come on, think about. You said that you don't believe in marriage for yourself. This is the perfect arrangement. I get to prove my theory, write a damn good paper on it while shutting everyone up in the process. For helping me, you get $10 000 a month straight into your bank account."
She eyed him warily. "What happens if I do something to upset you?" She knew alpha male types like him. She avoided them like fire to water. Nick's offer was tempting. The added money meant she'd finally be able to achieve financial stability. She may even be able to move out of her crappy apartment. She could finally go to bed with a full stomach. It sounded glorious but, she couldn't allow herself to get too caught up in the trap. If she agreed, she'd be open to any harm that may come her way at the hands of Nick. She had to be smart. She'd survived over ten years by being smart and she wasn't about to be stupid.
Nick stabbed a finger against the contract. "It's all in there. The only thing that can break the contract is infidelity and abuse, from either one of us." Her eyes widened appreciatively. "It protects us both, Annabelle."
She really liked the idea of that. Her shoulders relaxed as she stretched forward to grab the contract. She read the first paragraph and tensed. A cold sweat formed at her hairline as her eyes moved slowly across legal jargon she'd never been familiar with. "Do I get time to think about this?" she asked him. Maybe she could convince Mikayla to explain it to her. She'd just have to pray her best friend didn't kill her first.
Nick shook his head. "The offer expires tonight. I told you, I came here to get a wife. If you have to consider it then I'll need to move on to someone new."
His words stung. She looked back down at the contract and turned the page. A heading reading obligations caught her eye and she skimmed the text. It was confusing. She looked back up to Nick and found him watching her impatiently. "So, what will it be?" he asked her.
She looked at the contract again and nibbled her lip. His offer was the answer to her prayers. Pretending to be married to him couldn't be too hard to do and the money was too much to pass up on. She'd never see money like that working at Jim's diner.
YOU ARE READING
Nick doesn't believe that a marriage needs love to survive, and he's out to prove it by marrying a stranger. But after proposing to headstrong waitress Annabelle, his theory begins to fall apart... ...