Chapter 6 - The Unwanted Bride Of Atticus Fawn

My hand begins to quiver when he takes a step toward me and places one hand above my head. His gaze is severe and intense as he looks at me.

"I've already agreed to marry you, Autumn." He says. "I'm not a man that goes back on his word. This wedding is happening."

I bite my lip, and his gaze lowers to it—my breath hitches at the look in his eyes. I must have imagined it. Atticus would never look at me with heat like that. But he did earlier as well. Didn't he? When I'd barely had any clothes on and my breasts were exposed to him.

I try to breathe through the intense emotions in my heart. I had to be imagining this.

"Why did you agree to marry me?" I ask him. "Just a few hours ago, you hated the idea of it. What could have possibly made you change your mind so quickly?"

He sighs, "that isn't important. All you need to know is that this wedding is happening. If you tell me now that you don't want to marry me, I'll find a way to stop it. But if you don't have any complaints, I will marry you."

My lips part; if only he knew the truth in my heart. If only he understood how much I wanted to marry him, but only if he wanted me. I didn't want this to be forced.

I don't say anything else, and Atticus takes that as my consent to him marrying me. He's still staring at me, making me nervous under his gaze.

"There you two are!" My mother says as she spots us. "There is one more picture that we didn't take."

Another picture?

"Mother," I say. "We've taken enough. More than enough."

She grabs my hand and pulls me with her, "no, it's not enough. This last picture is an important one. We need the public to believe that you're both in love. And this is going to help with that."

I sigh, "I guess there is no point in saying no now. I already agreed to everything else."

"That's the spirit!" She cheers.

It's hard trying to put a smile on my face when I am far from happy. My mother doesn't realize how much this bothers me. She's too preoccupied with her excitement to take a second and look at me. I know she thinks this is the right thing for us, but how can she be so sure?

I fold my arms as Atticus joins me in front of the photographer. He looks just as over this as I am. Even the photographer seems to sense the tension between us. He probably couldn't wait to get this over with as well. He was happier before when he thought we wanted to marry each other. He must know by now that this is an arranged marriage, not one out of love.

"What pose do you want us to do?" Atticus asks. There is no hiding the irritation in his voice.

I try not to let it bother me. I gave him the chance to stop the wedding; he didn't take it. There was nothing else that I could do. I shouldn't feel guilty over this. The only person I had to ask for forgiveness after this was Anya. I had to speak to her and explain everything that took place. This wasn't just a shock to her. It would take me months to come to terms with everything that happened today. It all took place so quickly that my mind is still trying to process it.

"A kiss. That's the last picture I need to take."

My body goes still. A kiss? Are they insane? We just learned that we have to marry each other and suddenly they expected us to kiss.

I can hear Atticus's breathing next to me. It's loud and uneven. He doesn't want to kiss me. I can tell.

"Is that truly necessary?" He asks the photographer.

"Of course, it is," he answers him. "You're going to marry her. It's a simple request. Grooms are usually happy to kiss their brides for a picture. I've never come across a reaction like this before."

Atticus's mother narrows her eyes at him, "there is no need to cause a scene, son; kiss Autumn so that we can have this picture posted as soon as possible."

"I don't think—" I don't get time to finish as Atticus's hand lightly grips my waist and turns me towards him. My eyes widen when his lips come down on mine. And that's how my first kiss with him happened. With my eyes wide open. His are, too; we're both staring at each other as his lips stay on top of mine, unmoving. I'm not prepared for the rush of emotions that flood my body. It's unlike anything I've experienced before with any other man. This time, I feel it down to my toes.

My eyes slowly close as I let my body take over. I have no control over myself as I wrap my arms around his neck and pull him closer to me. Atticus's body goes still at my reaction, and his grip loosens on my waist; it's like he's unsure what to do now that I'm kissing him back. It's almost like he's in shock. I know that this doesn't seem right; I know that I should pull away, but the moment he kissed me, I lost all control. My body has wanted this for so long that it's not thinking straight.

I'm not prepared for the low growl that departs his mouth as he deepens the kiss; his hand tightens on my waist, bringing our bodies closer. I try not to whimper as my belly explodes with a forbidden desire for this man.

Another growl pulses from him as he rips his body away from mine. My eyes widen with horror as he wipes his lips as though to rub my taste away.

Did he hate it that much?