Chapter 4

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Chapter Four

Back in a professional dress and heels, I step into the large fancy building, listening to my heart beating rapidly. I couldn't sleep last night thinking how if all goes to plan, I'll likely never see Jake again.

Despite never having expected to see him again five days ago, it's a weird thought now. We get on well and while eight years ago I never even thought about contacting him again, despite my curiosity, this time feels different.

"Hey," Jake greets when I round a corner. He is back in a suit and I can't help but let my eyes roam over him.

"Hey," I repeat, my brain momentarily shutting down. He had been sitting in the seats opposite the judge's office, yet stood when he saw me. He now gestures for me to sit in the seat beside him, making my heart swoon.

I tentatively sit down, setting my handbag by my feet. Without looking, I know he is tense. Is he finding this all as weird and confusing as me? Please tell me he is as I need someone to get me out of my head.

"Are you staying until Wednesday?" He asks after a moment of awkward silence, the first moment of awkward silence we have had.

"If we get the annulment today, I'll likely fly home tonight or tomorrow, depending on when I get a flight," I reply, frowning.

"Right." He mutters, sighing. I sit there, thinking of something to say to prevent another awkward silence when the judge's door opens and a middle-aged woman with short brown hair and a motherly face appears, wearing a black cape thing.

"Mr and Mrs Brown?" She greets and it takes me a minute to realise she means us.

"Yes, ma'am." Jake greets, standing and offering his hand. "I'm Jake and this is Nicole."

The judge smiles at him, taking his hand before she offers me her hand to shake. "Of course. Come on in."

Once we are in and comfortable on the seats opposite her big one, which matches the grandness of the rest of the room, which looks like it belongs in some grand Victorian house.

"So, I hear there was some mix up of papers and you two are still married. Let's see..." she says, opening a file before reading out a section. "Married in Vegas eight years ago, Nicole you were eighteen and Jake you were nineteen. Filed for an annulment two days later." She summarises.

"Yes, ma'am." I agree, somehow feeling like this is wrong, just like it did the first time we tried to annul this marriage.

"Right, why don't you take me through the story from your point of views." She starts, first looking at me. I nod and tell the story of Vegas and then Andrew and I going to the lawyer and then me flying out here. When I finish, I see her merely look at Jake who then tells his side, which is identical to mine.

"Why did you need to get home, if you don't mind me asking?"

"I..." Jake starts and it's the first time I've seen him look uncomfortable. He shifts slightly in his seat and coughs. "Mum had lost her job and I was working to help out. The trip had been booked before she lost it and the tickets were not refundable so she told me to go. But, she had interviews all that week and my brothers needed to be collected from school and I had the job..." he mutters. I instantly feel guilty. I had never even asked why he had to leave.

The judge nods, glancing between the two of us before surprising me when she asks, "why did you marry him?"

"Excuse me?" I ask, seeing Jake look surprised by her words as well when I glance at him to make sure I wasn't the only one surprised.

"You heard me. You don't remember most of the night, I understand that. But go back to before that. You said you remember being at the bar. So, go back to then and tell me what might have made you think marrying him was right."

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