I try not to let him see how shocking I find the revelation that he may have designed this house. "You what?" I ask, hoping I might have missed some part of the conversation while I was stuck in my own thoughts.
"I designed the house," he looked up at the balcony off the second story and smiled. "I'm an architect, I mean. So I designed the structure. The interior design and fancy finishings were all done by a friend of mine who's a designer. Obviously, she is good at what she does."
I'm still trying to hide the shock on my face. He doesn't need me being rude to him when he seems as nervous as I am.
"Is it that surprising?" he asks, because I'm terrible at hiding what I'm feeling.
"I mean, a little, yeah," I laugh in an attempt to hide how awkward I feel. "I mean we met minutes ago and you already seem to have a perfect grasp on my decorating tastes, so it's a little surprising."
"Again," he reminds me, "the decorating wasn't me. So I can't be blamed for it."
"Well, thank your friend," I can't help but smile as I run my hand along the beautiful outdoor furniture, "because it's just perfect."
"I'm glad," he holds out his hand, offering it to me, "shall we check out the rest of the house?"
I don't know where to look, but I feel comfortable with him right now, so I accept his hand and follow him through the glass doors and back into the house.
We hold hands all the way up the staircase, which is surprisingly wide enough to accommodate us walking side-by-side all the way up. At the top of the stairs, there is a small open area with a chair and a lamp — the perfect reading space.
Straight in front of us is a guest bedroom which we tour before making our way down the long hallway which leads us to three bathrooms and three more bedrooms. I casually look into each room as we walk past, but my eyes are focused on the double doors at the end of the hallway, so it's difficult to concentrate on anything else.
"And this is the linen closet," Christopher continues his running commentary of the house as we walk past the last door in the hallway.
We both stop walking as we reach the set of double doors at the end of the hall. He doesn't have to tell me what's behind it. We are both aware that these doors hide the master bedroom. If this were a normal marriage situation, this would be our bedroom. The only thing making this less awkward is the fact that we have four other bedrooms. We won't have to fight over who gets to sleep in the bed.
We stare at the door for a few minutes before I break the silence, "The doorway is very nice." I run my hands through my hair as I try to calm my anxiety.
He looks at me and furrows his brow, "The doorway is nice?"
I want to die of embarrassment. "I just meant . . . because you designed the house," I struggle to find the words to explain myself. "I was trying to compliment you to make it less awkward." I continue to wring my hands and refuse to look at him.
He quietly interrupts my thoughts as he reaches for the brass doorknob that stands out against the white door.
"May I?" he asks quietly. Somehow, he is making me feel calm despite my instincts to be nervous, so I nod and return my hand to his as he leads me through the door.
The room is at least twice as large as any I have seen before. My eyes don't know where to look as I try to take it all in.
Perhaps because of its size, my eyes eventually settle on the large four-poster bed in the center of the room. I don't know exactly what you would call it, but this bed must be twice the size of a normal one. Maybe they knew we would be uncomfortable sleeping close to each other.
I am still admiring the woodworking on the furniture when we arrive at the other end of the room. We are standing hand-in-hand, staring at some curtains. They are nice enough, but I don't know why he's staring at them so intently.
"What's up with the curtains?" I let the question slip out. "They're nice."
"They are," his lips barely turn up in a small smile before he pulls them aside. "It's what's behind them that I'm looking forward to."
Even from inside the room, I can see the beautiful view of the countryside, the mountains, and the ocean all at once. Before this moment, I didn't realize it was even possible to have a view of all three.
"Wow," a breath escaped my lips. When Christopher doesn't respond, I look over to see him smiling at the mountains.
"Did you pick this, too?" I ask loud enough for him to hear. On purpose this time.
"Yeah," he reached his hand up, hovering it near my shoulder. He looked at me and studied my face before asking, "Do you mind?"
I shake my head, and he puts his arm on my shoulder, pulling me a little closer. We are standing very near each other, but our only contact is where his arm rests on my shoulders.
"I've always wanted this exact view," he pointed at one of the mountains. "I'll tell you more about it another time. It's a long story. But I scoured the whole city to find this exact spot. I waited for it to go up for sale. I fixed up the house just how I wanted it. I hoped to find someone to share it with."
I feel a deep sadness for both of us. I'm sad for me because I am married to someone I do not want to be with. And I'm sad for him because he is married to me instead of someone who can give him the marriage he wants.
We stare outside in silence for several minutes, and I feel a tear start to slip out of my eye. I take a deep breath to steady myself and try to distract from my sadness. "So, can we go outside?"
"Oh, of course," he reaches for the handle and opens the door. "After you."
I step through the door and onto a large balcony. It is truly one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen, especially now that it isn't obstructed by the walls of my house.
"I could sit out here forever," I smile and allow him to pull me slightly closer to his side.
"I'm glad," he looks like he agrees with me. "Because I built the whole house around this deck."
I step out of his embrace and sit on the nearest chair, taking in the beautiful scene before me. He stands behind me, so I cannot see what he is looking at when both of our phones ring out with simultaneous notifications.
I look at the screen to see those two unmistakable words: Match Made.
YOU ARE READING
Match Made | ONC 2020 (✔)General Fiction
Chris and Aubrey always knew this day would come, but they didn't think it would come so fast. When their parents sign a marriage contract on their behalf, they are thrown into a situation neither of them ever dreamed of. The two unlikely allies mus...