[size13[font "Lucida Calligraphy" Times have changed in the world and some traditions have been broken. People have adapted to the modern day life and tried their best to blend in with society.]]
[size13[font "Lucida Calligraphy" However two certain clans although they have gotten rid of most of their traditions there is still one they stand by and that is arranged marriage, they believe it strengthens the bonds in the two groups regardless of whether the bride and groom have a choice.]]
[size13[font "Lucida Calligraphy" Two people though, friends since they can remember, over the years developed strong feelings for each other, their fates have already been decided for them. Never having the chance to tell one another how they truly felt they must marry someone they do not love. Will they be able to continue cloaking their hearts or will the truth come pouring out?]]
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[size14[font "Harrington" As much as Natassa didn't want to like him and tried her best to keep the conversation as simple and short as possible. His next comment caught her by surprise and she couldn't help but to laugh. It wasn't something she expected the man next to her to say. She smiled a little as he sympathised with her dress as she breathed out a little leaning back on both her hands.]]
[size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" "Well I'm glad someone feels sympathy for us. It's such an outdated and traditional style. I'm glad I only have to wear them for special occasions. I have blended into modern day society whereas my parents are still living in the past".]]]
[size14[font "Harrington" This made Natassa frown bringing up the thought of the arranged marriage she was forced into, glancing to the side she noticed Draegan looking at her. She thought it would be best to keep her emotions tucked away for a while, well at least until their new guest was out of sight, the less her mother suspected the better.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" The conversation between the two carried on for a while and to Natassa's surprise no word of marriage was ever mentioned, this made Natassa relax a little around the gentleman next to her. She smiled to herself thinking if the two had met under different circumstances then maybe they could have been good friends.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Natassa decided it would be better for them to return to the house before her mother died of excitement, which was impossible of course. Draegan offered her his hand which she took advantage of, if she was in her usual clothes she wouldn't have needed the assistance, but in this horrible outfit once you were down there was no way of getting up on your own.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" They arrived at the house quicker than she had hoped to as she knew that her mother would be waiting for them to return with excitement. And lo and behold there she was with her hands clasped together with a huge smile on her face, so big you could see her fangs.]] [size14[b[font "Harrington" "Ah there you two are, I was beginning to worry where you had gotten off to. I was about to send out a search party".]]] [size14[font "Harrington" Shortly followed by a laughter which Natassa laughed herself but of course it was forced.]]
[size14[b[font "Harrington" "Now Natassa hurry upstairs and pick out an outfit we're dining with Aster and his family, you can choose your own choice of clothing as long as it's formal. This will give you chance to meet his fiancee and vice versa, it will be nice having another female to talk to won't it dear?"]]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Natassa clenched her jaw in anger before taking in a deep breath and smiling]] [size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" "yes mother I look forward to it..."]]] [size14[font "Harrington" She turned her attention to Draegan bowing politely before making her way upstairs, she was so angry she could have punched a hole in the wall but decided to bite her lip for now.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" The only good thing to come of this was she could wear whatever she wanted and she always remembered a particular dress Aster said she looked good in. She made her way over to the wardrobe and pulled out a red dress that was tightly fitted and hugged her body in all the right places. Natassa sat down doing her makeup to how he liked and applied a beautifully coloured red lipstick. She let her hair down as it fell around her shoulders and down her back.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Natassa was ready before anyone else so she decided to drop Aster a quick message.]] [size14[i[font "Harrington" This should be fun, I hope you're ready x]]]
The way things were going it seemed as if Anastasia was really pushing for Aster to get close to her in more than one way. Aster gently moves away from the girl that was just hugging him from behind. He turns to face the beautiful vampire. “I don’t want to rush anything Anastasia and to be honest...this wasn’t my idea. It was my parents. I’m not ready to get married, especially to someone I don’t love nor know.” He was trying his best to be honest with her and he hoped she was level headed enough to understand.
Anastasia couldn’t help but chuckle softly to herself. Her eyes seemed to grow brighter as she stared at Aster. [#b21567 “I understand my vampire. I feel nervous about this whole situation. At the end of the day my parents won’t let me get out of this and they will be very disappointed if I don’t end up marrying you. I don’t want to disappoint them but if time is what you need you can have it. I just ask that you give me a fair chance. Please just get to know Aster.”] She said softly and takes his hand. [i Her hand is so soft.] He thought.
With a gentle nod Aster keeps his gaze on her. “I need time. I will try to get to know you but I can’t promise you anything.” [#b21567 “Deal. Now can you please keep me company for the rest of the evening?] She asked. Before he could answer he heard his mother call for him. “Excuse me.” He told Anastasia as he exits the room she would be staying in. Aster made his way down stairs to see his mother smiling. “Natassa and her family will be joining us for our evening drink. She will be bringing her fiancé so now you guys can all meet each other. Isn’t that wonderful?” She asked her said.
Aster instantly felt sick to his stomach. He would have to watch another man all over Natassa and he couldn’t say anything. He knew this was going to be hard for him but he had to play it cool. “Perfect.” He lies to his mother before going back upstairs to get ready for the evening.
[size14[font "Harrington" Feeling his lips on her hand Natassa forced a polite smile as she bowed her head once more. The excitement on her mother's face at her wearing a dress made Natassa feel sick, but again she forced another smile, she would have to do a lot of things she didn't want to, so she could be with Aster.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Turning her attention to the vampire in front of her she smiled as she began to speak. The compliment made her want to laugh, something she had heard many times over, especially in her lifetime you could have put it into a book. Natassa smiled placing her hand on her chest.]] [size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" And you sir are full of compliments aren't you? Mother you didn't tell me he was such a handsome gentleman either".]]] [size14[font "Harrington" This however was very true, he was handsome maybe even at one point to take Natassa's attention, but deep down she knew it was only business and her heart was with Aster's, so the flirting would have to happen, but it would be empty.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" The 4 of them laughed at Natassa's comment as she vampire bent down to kiss her hand once more. As Natassa felt her mother's elbow into her back, she glanced a look at her and smiled]] [size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" So, Draegan? Would you like me to show you the grounds of the house first? It's fairly large with some beautiful places to sit for a while?"]]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Judging by the look on his face he seemed impressed and Natassa returned the smile as she began to lead the way into the gardens. It didn't take too long and she wanted to talk without her parents spying on her. She already didn't want to be here, let alone her parents making things awkward.]]
[right[pic https://i.imgur.com/3SvcUfb.jpg]] [size16[font "Monotype Corsiva" Draegan could tell right away from the way she spoke, she was more modern than her parents were, which made things more interesting in his mind. In the past all the women he had met were as though they were still living in the 1800's. He'd already lived that life he wanted something new and refreshing, maybe Natassa would be the one.]]
[size16[font "Monotype Corsiva" Once Natassa had suggested they go elsewhere Draegan practically jumped at the offer, he could finally relax a little and get to know his future wife better without the pressure of her parents being there. Things needed to go a smoothly as possible if he was going to be spending the week in their company, especially Natassa's.]]
[size16[font "Monotype Corsiva" It wasn't a long walk before they arrived to a fairly quiet spot. Draegan couldn't help but smirk as he watched the young woman trying to sit down in that dress she had on. He sat next to her and smiled.]] [size16[#DC143C[font "Monotype Corsiva" "I feel sorry for you ladies having to sit down in those uncomfortable dresses, I'm guessing your parents still like you to dress formally? Mine are the same, believe it or not this is not something I picked. I much prefer leather jackets and black jeans myself. But I got stuck in this military uniform".]]] [size16[font "Monotype Corsiva" He leaned over a little so their shoulders were touching and whispered]] [size16[#DC143C[font "Monotype Corsiva" "This was my mothers choice, believe it or not".]]]
[size16[font "Monotype Corsiva" He managed to relax a little as Natassa burst out laughing, feeling a little relieved she could take a joke and was able to read her personality correctly. It wouldn't be the first time he'd made that mistake.]]
Anastasia was definitely a beautiful vampire. Aster couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous to be around her. Everything about her seemed to catch his eye. Her sweet voice, her small yet curvy stature, her long reddish hair, the pink tint to her cheeks and lips, her full, pouty, soft lips...the list could go on.
Aster’s mother stood there with the brightest smile on her face. Aster has never seen her smile so hard. “My my. I love the look of my beautiful son and his new beautiful fiancé. You two are perfect together. Once married I’m demanding grandchildren you know.” She said and chuckles. Of course Aster tensed a bit a the thought of having children with Anastasia. [i That cannot happen.] He thought.
Anastasia only giggled kindly at the comment. [#b21567 “Yes ma’am. In due time.”] She said respectfully. “Oh please call me mother my dear. We are family.” His mother insisted. Aster could feel himself getting a bit sick. “Now now. Aster be a gentleman and show her to her room. Then show her around her new home. Make her feel comfortable. If I hear anything negative from her about you I will tell your father.” The older vampire walked away.
With that being said Aster turned to face the beautiful vampire. “Shall I show you around?” He asked and she nods her head. [#b21567 “Please do my fiancé.”] Aster takes her bags and leads her towards one of the large spare bedrooms up stairs. [#b21567 “I suppose I won’t be sleeping in your bedroom?”] “You suppose right. I don’t know you.” Aster tried to keep things short with her. [#b21567 “Don’t you want to get to know me Aster?”] She asked as she walks up behind him and wraps her arms around him from behind. Aster tensed yet again but didn’t pull away from her. [i I need to contact Natassa...] He thought since he was having a hard time already with Anastasia.
When he gets free he told himself he would send her a text message.
[size14[font "Harrington" Already hearing the news that her fiancée would be staying with her for the week, now she was hearing that Aster's fiancée would also be staying. Natassa clenched her jaw trying to contain her anger at the behaviour of her parents, both Natassa and Aster weren't allowed to stay over at each others houses as they got older, but now they were inviting strangers into their house, whom neither of them had met and they were going to be living there for an entire week! Breathing out Natassa tried to relax herself as best as she could without causing suspicion.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Feeling her heart sink a little Natassa looked to Aster as they were made to say their goodbyes, who knows when they would be able to see or even speak to each other again. How would they even be able to meet up? There wasn't even a time, her parents slept mostly in the day and were awake in the night, however she didn't know the sleeping patterns of her new 'friend' and he might have adapted to the lifestyle Natassa and Aster had. If that was the case then it would be very difficult as someone would always be watching her, whether it be day or night. The only thing that wasn't monitored was her mobile phone and that's simply because he parents didn't like to use them.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" She hugged Aster in the usual way when they were leaving each other, but this time was different, she heard Aster whisper into her ear which caused her to blush. He had said it when they were children, but this time it was serious. Smiling into his neck she whispered her returned feelings back. Then acting natural she punched him lightly in the arm]] [size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" "see you around Aster. Message me what she's like."]]] [size14[font "Harrington" Giving him one last playful wink she followed her parents out of the door.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" The next morning Natassa was woken early by her handmaiden, as usual Natassa rolled her eyes, she hated being woken up but today was different, there would be someone downstairs that she really didn't want to meet. Listening to the instructions her handmaiden had been given Natassa flopped back onto her bed.]] [size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" "Great, I'm forced into this meeting and now I have to wear this god awful traditional dress mother has picked out for me, even worse it's corset lined."]]] [size14[font "Harrington" She hated wearing corseted dresses, it was a good thing she was immortal because how thin her waist needed to be she would have suffocated.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" After what seemed like an eternity she was finally ready. Picking up the weighted dress Natassa made her way down the stairs, her heart pounding for all the wrong reasons. Hearing her mother clasp her hands together in a pleased manner the gentleman turned around. He was truly handsome which caused Natassa to feel even more nervous than usual. Standing in front of him Natassa bowed politely, as he took her hand in his and lightly placing a kiss on it.]]
[right[pic https://i.imgur.com/3SvcUfb.jpg]] [size16[font "Monotype Corsiva" Draegan turned around as he heard his future mother in law clasp her hands together, there she was his future wife who was making her way down the stairs before him. She was truly beautiful which was somewhat of a relief to him. In all truth he was very nervous about being engaged to someone he had never met or even spoken to before. This engagement would secure his future though so it needed to be done. After all this he just hoped she would be able to hold an interesting conversation, that she wasn't a complete air head from a well known family.]]
[size16[font "Monotype Corsiva" As the woman stood in front of him and bowed he gently took her hand in his and lightly kissed her.]] [size16[#DC143C[font "Monotype Corsiva" "It is a pleasure to meet you madam, please allow me the pleasure of introducing myself. I am Draegan, Draegan Nightshade, I've been looking forward to meeting you since your mother talked about you. However she said you were beautiful but I didn't know you were this beautiful".]]]
Aster didn’t like that Natassa’s new fiancé is staying at her home for a week. It made him feel a bit uneasy but he trusted her, he knew they had a plan and that she would follow it. “Oh don’t worry, you two can still be friends but just not as close. I don’t want you two running off your fiancées or making them feel uncomfortable. Now Aster your fiancé will also be staying here for a week. He parents will arrive in a week so she will need a place to stay until the come this way.” His mother said which made Aster tense up. “Oh...well how great. It will give us time to really get to know each other.” He said and forces a smile.
Of course his mother was pleased to hear him say that. “Now say your goodbyes. It’s time for you to head to bed. You have a early day tomorrow.” Aster groans. “Mother I’m grown.” He said hating how she treated him like a child. He was embarrassed but Natassa’s parents did the same thing. “Yes, let us go Natassa.” Her mother said. After gently hugs Natassa goodbye. “I love you.” He said softly before letting her go.
Once everyone had left and went to their rooms the large house grows quiet.
The next morning Aster was up bright and early. He was use to the schedule that humans followed since he spent a lot of time with them. It seemed as if time went goes on his kind is slowly adapting and changing to survive. He wasn’t so sensitive to the sun like his parents were but he still had to be very careful. Where they lived a lot of the trees protected them and of course they had different things build to keep them out of the sun.
Aster was forced to dress in the old regal clothing that his parents loved. Even thought he looked really handsome he hated the clothes. As he makes his way down stairs he could hear his mother talking to a young woman. [i She’s here.] He thought and made his way to the last flight of stairs to see a beautiful vampire woman.
[right [pic http://i65.tinypic.com/2d17drm.jpg]]
“Hello.” He said as he steps down from the last step. She smiles beautiful at him and approaches him. [#b21567 “Oh my, so this is the handsome Aster. It’s so nice to finally meet you.”] She hugs him which made Aster tense a bit. He hugs her back trying to be nice in front of his mother. “It’s finally nice to meet the woman I will be marrying.” There was no doubt that she was beautiful and Aster was getting a bit nervous just being around her.
“And your name?” He asked. [#b21567 “Anastasia.”] She looks into his eyes with bright eyes.
[size14[font "Harrington" Natassa pulled Aster a little helping him up, as she felt his soft lips on her cheek, her face became flushed and her heart starting racing. She needed to calm herself down before meeting with their parents, she didn't know what to make of all these emotions and they were hitting her like a ton of bricks. She glanced down at Aster's hand wanting to hold it but she knew it would cause suspicions they weren't children anymore.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Although Aster's garden was huge the walk felt incredibly short and not much was said between the two. Natassa put it down to they both needed to come up with a plan to make it sound believable and to lower suspicions between the two... Now that they were a couple. As they walked through the door their parents were talking away as though nothing had happened which made Natassa both angry and relieved at the same time.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Taking a deep breath she put on a brave face and a bright smile and walked over to her parents taking a seat near them as Aster began to talk. She nodded in agreement and then opened her mouth to speak]] [size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" Aster's right, we need to do what's best for our family blood lines, I think I was just more shocked than anything because I thought I couldn't be friends with Aster anymore. But I'm looking forward to meeting my Fiancee and to see what kind of person he is."]]] [size14[font "Harrington" Natassa could feel her jaw clench as she said this but continued to smile and look happy even though her heart was aching, she glanced at Aster wondering what he was thinking while she spoke about another man.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" As Aster's mother began to speak Natassa could feel her heart ache, if she was truly as beautiful as his mother was making her out to be, was there some chance Aster could end up falling for her? She could feel her eyes water again but blinked a few times holding them back. That would be for later when she was alone in her room. Ignoring his comment about looking forward to meeting her, Natassa smiled more because if she didn't smile she would cry.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" She turned her attention to her parents as they went over the details and times she would be meeting her future husband tomorrow. It was early afternoon which made her a little relieved knowing she wouldn't have to spend the entire day with him. But the next comment from her mother caused Natassa's heart to sink to her stomach and bite her lip.]] [size14[b[font "Harrington" "Oh and Natassa because our house is so large and we have plenty of rooms, your fiancee will be staying with us for the week, so you two can get better acquainted, however you will be supervised from afar so behave yourself."]]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Natassa gulped feeling a rush of panic over her but also feeling completely defeated she just smiled and nodded]] [size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" "Very well mother... I look forward to meeting him tomorrow then. And I promise to be on my best behaviour."]]
Aster was glad that Natassa was going to give their feelings a chance. He wanted to at least try and make something between them that is more than just friends work. They deserved a chance at least. [i I just hope our parents don’t catch on to our plan. I also hope her fiancé isn’t too forceful or more charming.] He thought since he didn’t want Natassa being won over by the other guy.
When they had finished their conversation he knew they needed to head back before their parents started to get suspicious of them. “Yes let’s head back. I don’t want them to think we ran away.” He said softly. He gently takes her hand and stands up. He kissed her cheek before waking back to his large home. There his parents and her parents were enjoying their wine and talking.
“Oh you both are back. Is everything better now? Have you two calmed down yet?” Asters mother asked. She was over their dramatics and rally just needed them to follow through with the plans that they had for them. She didn’t think it should be his hard.
“Everything is fine. Natassa and I talked it over and we think that maybe we should handle this like adults and meet our fiancés.” Aster said softly and looks at Natassa. “Right?” Of course their mothers were even more happy about the news. “Perfect. Tomorrow for lunch you both will be meeting them. Not together though. I don’t want you two scaring them off with how close you two are.” His mother said. “She’s a beautiful young woman Aster. You’re going to love her. You can thank me later because I know for a fact you’re going to be really into her. Long hair, bright eyes and pale skin. Full lips and a curvy figure. Oh and she’s royalty.” Aster couldn’t stand to listen to his mother but he pretended to be interested in what she was saying.
“Well thank you mother. I hope that she and I can get along. I will do my best to get to know her. Who knows, something great might come out of this.” Aster smiles at his mother and she hugs him gently. “That’s my boy. Always so positive.”
[size14[font "Harrington" Natassa wrapped her arms around Aster's neck and cried into it, she was so happy she was able to tell him how she truly felt but also devastated because nothing could be done about it. She doubted their parents would ever let them be together, you would think how close friends they were they would be happy they could become one big happy family, but no they were so convinced their 'tradition' of marriage worked so well it was their way or no way.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" However Aster's embrace was comforting to her, she had received several hugs from him in the past but this one was different... she could feel his love from the way he was holding her, Natassa felt herself blush once more at their closeness as she looked him in the eyes, they're faces close, her eyes widened as she heard Aster speak of a secret relationship. Just like that he stopped her tears from flowing.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Would that... even be possible? More importantly could it work? Regardless Natassa wanted to try, she couldn't bear the thought of being in the arms of another man, the thought of it made her sick to the stomach and also Aster in the arms of another woman made her feel worse.]]
[size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" "I want to try and make things work between us Aster, I can't imagine myself being happy with anyone else, I've kept these feelings locked away for all these years and now I'm finally able to tell you, I won't let our feelings be in vain. I agree if perhaps we can put our fiancee's off us, or even convince them we are not a match, then maybe just maybe our parents will agree to call off the wedding and then we can finally be together. We will just have to convince them we have talked about it and agreed to get to know ours fiancee's better as not to cause suspicion between us."]]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Natassa felt a little anxious at their plan, would it work? How bad would the consequences be if they were found out? But it would be a risk they would have to take if they had any shot of being together. Natassa lightly ran her fingers over Aster's and smiled a little. She knew she would have to go back before her parents became suspicious of the two of them disappearing. Taking a deep breath Natassa crawled out from the bushes and stood up brushing herself off.]]
[size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" "I'm gonna head back Aster before our parents become suspicious, We'll just say we had a talk and decided we were being too rash and we should start acting our age and get to know our fiancee's. I don't want them to separate us."]]] [size14[font "Harrington" Natassa held her hand out to help Aster up and took a deep breath before they made their way back to their parents.]]
Aster felt his body shake a bit by that was just his imagination. He was just that nervous that Natassa was going to reject all of his feelings. He didn’t want to look like a fool and embarrass himself in front of his childhood friend. As she began to speak after felt a bit of relief and shock from her words. [i She feels the same way...] He thought and kept his eyes on her beautiful eyes. Everything she said filled him with happiness but he knew now it was really too late to do anything about it.
They couldn’t be together. At least not how they wanted to at this moment. Aster just couldn’t let this happen. They were meant to be with each other. “I’m surprised you feel the same. I don’t regret telling you how I feel now Natassa.” Aster gently pulls her into a hug. He held her there since she was crying so hard. He felt her pain though. It seemed as if all of their feelings will be lost by the time they are forced to meet their fiancés. The thought of marrying someone he didn’t even know made him sick, especially now that he actually knows that Natassa loves him as much as he loves her.
“There has to be something we can to Natassa. I reuse to just let our parents control us like this. I love you and I’m not ready to give you up to anyone without at least seeing if we can actually make it together I know my parents won’t change their minds.” He sighs softly. “They probably already knew that we have feelings for each other.” Aster gently rubs the young vampire’s back.
He sat there trying to think of a plan. He had to come up with something. This can’t be the last time that Aster sees Natassa. “Why...why don’t we keep our relationship a secret. As long as we see each other than we can be together. We can’t let our parents or our future fiancés know that we love each other. Maybe if they see that we are not interested at all in our fiancés and make them unhappy that might call off the wedding or the parents of our fiancés will. It will never be a happy moment with me and my fiancé. I will have my mind on you Natassa.”
This was all based on hope. Hope that their parents might cancel the wedding. Hope that their fiancés will be too unhappy with them to call of the wedding. It all seemed impossible at the moment but they had to try.
[size14[font "Harrington" Natassa laughed a little at his comment on him not going either.]] [size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" "I'm glad you feel the same way Aster, for a second I thought I was being childish but I'm relieved to know it's not something you want either. But it's an awful idea, it's so old fashioned 'arranged marriage' even the thought of it makes me want to run as far away from it as possible. Even if they gave us time to find someone of our choosing would be better than forced to marry someone we don't even know! But I feel the same Aster you've always been there for me since I can remember and when we were kids and we used to play, those times were so carefree for me you made them feel like we were just normal kids."]]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Natassa's smile faded once more, those days were long gone, she just hoped with this arranged marriage she would still be able to see and talk to her friend whenever she wanted. If her parents were mean enough they knew they would use their friendship against her. She would rather be married to someone she hated than never be able to speak to the man she loved ever again. The pain would be unbearable.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" As Aster began to talk Natassa felt her cheeks flush, she'd never heard him talk that way about her... ever, she didn't know what to make of it other than he would never be able to tell her this again. Maybe she should tell him how she feels? Would she ever get another opportunity? They were alone, no one knew where they were. But what if he didn't feel the same way? She could potentially throw their friendship out the window and never be able to correct herself. But she felt it was something she needed to say before it was too late...]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Just as Natassa was about to open her mouth to tell him, Aster said something that caught her off guard, he placed his hand on hers which caused her heart to start racing. Natassa looked up as she heard the words 'I love you', her eyes widened in shock... hearing those words from Aster words she never thought she would hear come out of his mouth.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Her face bright red now she couldn't hold back anymore, tears streamed from her eyes as she cried, trying her best to talk so he could understand what she was saying.]] [size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" "Aster... I've felt the same way for so long, but I was so scared to tell you because I didn't want our friendship to end, the thought of losing you was unbearable to me, if I never got to talk to you again because you didn't feel the same way would have been very selfish of me, so I kept my feelings locked away all these years, being close to you was enough for me... And now... I have to marry someone I don't love!"]]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Natassa became inconsolable at this point, she buried her face in her hands and cried, why couldn't she have told him sooner? Maybe her parents would have let them get married, now they would never forgive them if they told them. Natassa didn't know what to do, she knew she would have to head back soon but she didn't want to leave Aster, especially if this would be the last time they would be able to be this close again...]]
Aster noticed the tears falling down her cheeks. Even though she was laughing and seemed able to joke about the whole situation Aster knew that she was hurting. He could feel her pain because he was hurting too. [i Not only do I hate what is happening but I’m going to lose my best friend and the woman that I love.] He thought. Aster smiles a bit at Natassa. “Of course I will always find you. You’re not so hard fine Tassie.” He mutters softly.
When offered a seat by her he sits down, the two were really close since there wasn’t much room. He didn’t mind it though. He really wanted to be close to her so that he could comfort her. As she began to cry again he noticed she turned away from him so he couldn’t see her face. [i Did I do something wrong? She must be embarrassed.”] He gently turned his body a bit to face her.
“I’m not going either. Their good news is always bad news to us. I can’t believe they really think this a good idea.” He sighs softly. “I would run away with but you’re right. They will drag us both back here and keep us separated for no telling how long. I don’t want to be separated from you Natassa. You have been my friend for so long.” His eyes never leave her face. [i Tell her. Tell her how you feel. Maybe this might help the situation.] Aster wanted to tell Natassa exactly how he felt but he wasn’t sure if he could.
The male opened his mouth to speak but then he closed it. “I hope the man you’re forced to marry treats you right. You deserve the world. You’re so amazing you don’t even know it.” He sighs softly. “I hope he doesn’t have a mind like your parents...I wouldn’t want him to fault you for your free and fun spirit. It’s what makes you you and you should never have to change yourself for someone to like you. That’s just ridiculous.” Aster moves his hand to hers. He gently takes her hand onto his. “Tassie, with all that has happened throughout our lives I can honestly say I’m really happy that you and I have become so close. I also want you to know that...” he paused for a moment. “That I love you. More than you know. Everything about you is perfect to me and I don’t like the fact that I might not ever have a chance to be more than just a friend to you.”
Aster felt nervous but he didn’t show it. He had just confessed to his childhood best friend. There was a bit chance that she didn’t feel the same but he didn’t care at this moment. He just had to let her know how he truly feels about her before he couldn’t ever speak to her again.
[size14[font "Harrington" Placing her head into her hands, she couldn't help but cry floods of tears, it was though she was living a nightmare she couldn't wake up from no matter how much she screamed or shouted or called for someone. This was reality her freedom was over, the thing that pained her the most is that she would never be able to tell Aster how she truly felt, there would never be a right time and he was to marry another girl, someone he could potentially fall in love with and be happy with while she was stuck in this never ending nightmare.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" It's not like they were mortals either, she would end up spending hundreds of years with this person, hundreds of years with someone she hated! Natassa leaned her head back and looked up the the sky, hidden away in the rosebush surely no one would be able to find her. And the groundskeepers would definitely avoid her after what she rode in on today. However Aster was pretty good at guessing her hiding spots so it wouldn't surprise her if he found her easily.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" At that moment she heard footsteps, Natassa looked up as though he didn't even need to think where she was there stood Aster, with tears streaming down her face Natassa couldn't help but let out a laugh as she looked back up to the sky]] [size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" "I should have known you would be able to find me so easy Aster. Wanna sit with me for a while, I have to warn you though it will be a tight squeeze".]]] [size14[font "Harrington" She shuffled over a little making room for her and her friend, she didn't bother wiping her eyes after all he'd seen her covered in mud and her hair all over the place, if he though differently of her now something would be wrong. The thought caused her to smile, even though she felt awful she still had Aster.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" But that smile soon faded as she knew deep down she wouldn't be able to be like this with him in the future, which caused her eyes to fill up once more, this time however she turned her head to the side, she felt embarrassed about crying in front of him for him, she felt as though if he looked at her she would either blush or confess her feelings to him which would be the last thing she wanted.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Instead she took a deep breath and began to speak.]] [size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" "Next time our parents call us together for some 'good news' I'm not going"]]] [size14[font "Harrington" joked Natassa.]] [size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" I just wish we could run far away somewhere together, but I know for a fact they would track us down within a week and bring us back and most likely separate me from you as punishment. Calling me the ringleader behind it."]]] [size14[font "Harrington" Natassa wiped her eyes and looked at her friend smiling, he always kept his calm through everything and even just his presence alone made her feel better, she just wished they could stay in this rosebush forever and not have to worry about anything else. Natassa brought her knees up to her chest and rested her head on them continuing to look at her friend,]] [size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" "how do you feel about all of this Aster? Do you think you could learn to love this woman you're going to marry?"]]] [size14[font "Harrington" Natassa awaited eagerly to hear his answer.]]
Coming to terms with all that was going on wasn’t happening for Aster. He sat there, shocked and disappointed by his parents and Natassa’s parents. [i I really don’t understand how they think this a good idea and will make such a great bond between parent and child. This just makes me angry with you guys.] He thought. There was no way Aster was going to be able to just do what his parents want him to do. He was never one to just get along with people easily so he knew meeting this woman he was to wed was going to be very awkward. [i I wonder how she feels about all of this.]
As Natassa’s mother began to speak Aster could only feel his blood boil. The disrespect that was directed to Natassa made him very uncomfortable. He had the urge to stick up for her but knew it wasn’t his place to. [i She’s always like that to Tassie. I don’t get it. She’s never given her parents any kind of trouble. She isn’t your average royal daughter...I don’t understand why that is such a bad thing.] Aster felt like the difference in her is what made her so special. Natassa has always been so carefree as a child and she was always scolded by her parents. Aster has always made sure to tell her that she was awesome just the way she was. He loved Natassa for her free spirit.
The speech about marriage being for power and to form bonds and not for love was something Aster’s parents told him all the time. They were engaged due to an arranged marriage when they were young and it seemed like they wanted to keep the tradition going. “It’s true. I didn’t love your father when we met. But as the years went on I grew to love him. You guys think it’s so hard. It’s really not. I swear our children are so sensitive.” Aster’s mother said. “I wanted nothing to do with your mother. She was mean and all of my friends knew she was. My parents wanted me to have my own life of riches and by marrying off to your mother I would be well off for as long as I live. I do not regret the decision my parents have made for me. Eventually I too fell in love with her and Aster you will do the same. No if ands or buts. Do I make myself clear?” His father asked.
Aster could only clench his jaw. There was no way he could answer his father. Just as Natassa stood up angry Aster knew she was going to run off. [i Dammit...] He thought as his childhood friend ran off with teary eyes. Aster felt his chest tighten even more so than before. This whole situation was wrong in so many way. Aster looked at his parents and Natassa’s. “Well some of us don’t believe in marriage the way that you all do. I prefer spending the rest of my life with someone of my choosing that I actually can say I love. What’s so wrong with that?” With a soft sigh Aster stands up.
“Please excuse me.” He said sternly before walking off. He knew he had to find his childhood friend. He figured she was crying her eyes out somewhere and doesn’t want anyone to see her. Too bad for her Aster knew exactly where she was hiding at as he entered the garden he looks around for a moment. “She’s never by the pond.” He mutters and looks towards the willow trees. “Hmm they’re not long enough to hide her since they’ve been trimmed.” Aster smiles a bit when he realized she was hiding in the rose bush area. He walked over there quickly before spotting Natassa.
[size14[font "Harrington" Shaking the thought out of her head both Natassa and Aster were taken into his living room. She had a nervous feeling come over her which was an emotion she rarely ever felt, but for both their parents to be here to tell them something at the same time Natassa couldn't help but feel uneasy. She at least hoped it was something as close to good news as it could be.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Natassa placed herself next to Aster opposite both parents as they began to speak. They sounded so excited and usually when their parents sounded excited it was bad news for the both of them. Never the less though she decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and sat quietly listening to what they had to say.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" When she heard the words 'marriage' Natassa almost choked, she blushed bright red and looked at her childhood friend who was smiling at her. Strange why would he be smiling at the two getting engaged? Maybe it was because they were such good friends he could fully relax around her. Aster asked the question she was dying to know, would they be engaged to be married? After all she may be able to finally get closer to him and eventually have enough courage to tell him how she truly felt about him after all this time of keeping it a secret.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Natassa's eyes widened in shock, they wouldn't be getting married? Natassa felt disappointment wash over her, it was like her worst nightmare coming true. She was going to be separated from the man she truly loved and thrown into the arms of another. Someone she didn't even know. Natassa wanted to up and run as far away as she could, her chest began to tighten, what was happening to her? She couldn't leave though she needed to hear what else was going to be said, so putting on a brave face she looked down at the floor in fear of crying, she would make her point known soon enough.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Natassa looked up in surprise at Asters words to his mother, he never spoke back to her so this news must have shocked him just as much as her. He was soon silenced though by his father, now her own mother began to speak.]]
[size14[b[font "Harrington" "This is a joyous occasion for the both of you, you are at the age to help with this clan, if it wasn't for our arranged marriages you two wouldn't be here now, we must keep the blood line going but also be able to expand our clans. Now Natassa before you say anything I know this is a shock to both of you, but you knew eventually this would happen. However you will meet your future partners separately so you can get to know them better. Do not disappoint us, you're already too free with yourself so hopefully this marriage will calm you down, however I can't say the same for Aster he has always been so well behaved I'm surprised you've put up with her for so long".]]] [size14[font "Harrington" Natassa's mother let out a polite giggle along with her father.]]
[size14[font "Harrington" At this point now her mother had humiliated Natassa enough, she stood up furiously blushing bright red from embarrassment with tears in her eyes.]] [size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" "Well I'm sorry to be such a huge disappointment to you mother! However I will not agree to this! We are the only clans left that still agree to arranged marriage, how am I supposed to love someone I don't know!"]]]
[size14[font "Harrington" Natassa's mother let out a laugh]] [size14[b[font "Harrington" "Oh goodness me child! What a silly thought! Marriage is not meant for love it is solely for helping our clan grow larger, however I had the same reaction when I was your age, over time though I grew to love your father and I'm sure the same thing will happen to you. But this marriage will happen."]]
[size14[b[#B22222[font "Harrington" "I don't want to hear anymore!!"]]] [size14[font "Harrington" Natassa picked up her bag and ran out of the room with tears running down her face, she refused to hear anymore of what her mother was saying, she wouldn't let her parents decide her fate, she would not put her life into the arms of another man! Natassa ran to where they would always play as children, luckily Aster's garden was huge so there was plenty of places to hide when she didn't want to be found.]]
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