Marrying the jerk you just met

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Life in a luxury suite never seemed so abusive. The foods that the humans gave Number 31 were saturated in fat, from French fries to steak. It was clear that she was expected to gain weight fast, and the idea disgusted her. Number 31 was basically a lamb humans were trying to fatten up before being sacrificed.

Still, as the weeks went by, Number 31 finally left the starved look she had since birth, and after a little cosmetics, she was ready for show. As the humans slipped her into the back of a food truck, other indentures like herself stared pityingly at the girl. They had all heard of the game Master Charles had purchased, and a few girls ventured to put a comforting arm around Number 31. She had immediately brushed them off.

Number 31, dressed in the same black gown as everyone else, was later ushered out of the truck and herded into a tall brown building. Inside, disciplinary humans smiled falsely at the long line of girls, giving them numbers on large circles of papers to hold.

"Just go up when the announcer calls your name and look pretty!" Number 31 heard a lady with bright red lipstick say to one of the girls.

"You," the lady turned with a smile at Number 31. "Come with me."

What happened next, Number 31 couldn't even remember. She had been led to a sterile white washed room, where a man with a long needle had greeted the two. After he had injected her with the strange stuff, Number 31 had slowly watched the room burst into colorful butterflies.

Number 31 was then somehow on stage a few starry explosions later, and presented to an audience in a spotlight. She vaguely remembered two old men yelling high prices over each other, but as she saw the faint outline of a young man stand up, Number 31 blacked out.

When Number 31 woke up, she was swayed gently and staring at a midnight sky. The man who was holding her looked down as she fidgeted, and smirked.

Number 31 gasped and tensed a little. This man was a little older than her, and had dark black hair that contrasted with his relatively light skin. What was more, Number 31 realized as she stared closer at the handsome boy, was that he had red irises with flecks of black.

A royal. She had only seen a handful of royals in her lifetime. The ostentatious nobles had spent thousands of dollars to hunt in the grounds, and had taken down a large percentage of indentures, including her mother. Their physical capabilities outshone normal humans; the monsters couldn't die unless you ripped their heart to shreds.

These guys were high class nobles, their blood unmixed with the Shadows who had inevitably breeded with the original humans. Royals were pedigrees, and even intermarrying was of the norm when it came to them.

So what was she doing in the arms of one?

"Looks like you're a bit confused," the guy chuckled, and he set her down, propping Number 31 against the wall of an market place of sorts. Number 31 pressed herself against it, feeling her blood turn to ice. She was genuinely afraid; an emotion Number 31 hadn't felt since her mother had been killed.

"Basically," the royal drawled arrogantly, "I bought you during the auction. You're officially the property of Nathan Walker. And as my property, I command you to marry me."

"What?!" Number 31 asked in outrage, raising an eyebrow. "Why would I do something as retarded as that?"

Nathan rolled his eyes, and explained his ridiculous and vague statement. "I'm a royal, right? Well, I turned eighteen about a week ago, and since I'm officially an adult, I need a bride. I told my parents on my birthday that I had a secret lover, but really, I just don't want get stuck with some rich pansy. I have to introduce my girl to not just to them, but also to the entire social world by next week."

"And where do I come into this?" Number 31 asked heatedly, although deep inside she knew what was coming.

"I put you through etiquette lessons, I introduce you to society, and we get married under the pretense that you're some poor girl I whisked off the streets. All you have to do is stay out of my way after we're married and act out your part."

Number 31 just gaped at him. Who did this guy think she was?! Sure, Nathan was a rich man who could offer her food and roof for the rest of her life, but what about her pride as a daughter? As a big sister?

"No way," Number 31 growled after a while. "Not for anything."

Nathan slammed Number 31 against the wall, his beautiful face inches from hers. No one noticed the two despite it only being eight o'clock. In this part of town, even assault was nothing to raise and eyebrow about.

"Look," he sighed with annoyance. "You can choose to marry me or not. You can choose to live freely after about ten years of being my wife, or you can get through back into the slave trade."

The guy smiled with malice. "You do know that female slaves do more than laundry, right?" He learned forward and brushed his lips against Number 31's ear with meaning. He chuckled darkly as she tensed immediately.

"So what will it be?" he murmured into her ear.

Number 31 swallowed, and weighed her options. She could tear her pride into shreds, shove all her dark memories and pains inflicted by the "humans", and marry him. She would only have to convince the entire political world that she was a "human", not an "indenture". Sure. Just pretend you're another species and fool the smartest people in the world. No problem. Besides, if it went badly, all she would have to face was death.

But then, Number 31 told herself, she could go back to the slave trade. This guy would sell her to some other corporation, and she'd be bought again. She'd have to work for her new owner until the day she died. And by work, it meant... Number 31 recoiled at the thought. Making love to some stranger possibly fifty years older than her? Not slapping his filthy face when he caressed her? Death would come first.

"Alright," Number 31 growled. "I'll marry you."

The guy pulled back, just enough so that he could see her face.

"Excellent," he smiled. He kissed her with a sense of smug triumph, and Number 31 kissed back. With that, their pact was sealed, and she was officially the mistress of someone she hated most. Too bad he couldn't die.

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