14. MATRIMONY

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Victoria&Albert Museum: Renaissance City
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     "Josiah, can you get the house phone?" Dahlia asked. "It's been ringing for the past three minutes."

"Hang on!" he shouted, running down the stairs in a half buttoned dress shirt. When he picked up the phone, he held it between his head and shoulder to button the rest.

     "Hello?"

He heard a small gasp on the other end. "...Josiah? Sweetie, is that you?"

"Mother..." he said, removing his hands from his shirt to grasp the phone.

"Oh dear," her voice sounded soft, almost as if she were on the verge of tears, "I'm so glad you're okay."

"Of course I am."

"I'm so sorry...for everything. Promise me you'll return home soon," she pleaded. "Tell me you're coming back!"

From the tone of her voice, Josiah thought perhaps her intentions were genuine. That maybe for once in her life it was real salt tears staining her designer blouse, that she put physical appearance aside to allow herself the indulgence of an ugly sob—but true intentions are always hard to recognize when they're hidden behind a phone. "Mo-"

"Honey, I haven't said anything to your father. We can fix this—he'll never need to know. If it was Charlotte you didn't like we can find another suitor I-"

Aha.

"-the Fitzgeralds can be intimidating and I understand-"

"Mother."

"Yes dear?" She was frantic.

"I have to go now. I have a wedding to attend."

"O-oh, okay."she said. She also tried to say goodbye, but he hung up before she could add anything else.

✧・゚: *✧・゚:* ✦ *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

     Dahlia's friend was named Autumn and, like the season, she smelled of pumpkin with a hint of warm vanilla. Freckles dusted her skin like cinnamon powder, and her brown hair twisted about like vines—she was a real-life woodland pixie. Her husband, on the other hand, although named Floyd was the epitome of winter. His eyes were like ice, his skin sickly pale, and there were flecks of silver in his otherwise jet black hair. They were a hideously beautiful dichotomy. They were evidence of the famous phrase "opposites attract". They were...

     ...your average arranged marriage.

Nonetheless, that was a good thing for them, because no amount of love could pay for the cost of the grand wedding anyways. The outdoor reception was filled to the brim with foreign luxuries. White satin and velvet roses adorned the layout, while the seating arrangement opened up to the vibrantly blue Adriatic Sea. And above the dance floor hung strands upon strands of bright lights that twinkled like fairies. It was such a raw, magical place for such a phony event.

Thoughts heavy with his mother's phone call, Josiah sat a table, now empty because everyone had left to dance.

We can fix this, she had said.

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