Chapter 9 - The Unwanted Bride Of Atticus Fawn

~Autumn ~

A ring?

I didn't once think we would have the opportunity to choose rings together. I knew we were getting married, but I never thought that Atticus would personally take me with him to get a ring. He was doing everything I've dreamed of at least once in my life, and it made my heart fill with joy.

How perfect would this have been if he'd wanted to do these things with me? It would be like living in my crazy dreams.

Dreams that were all filled with him. I don't understand how Atticus never noticed the way my body came alive in his presence; I'm not sure how I've managed to keep this from everyone for so long. But Atticus knowing that I had feelings for him would only make all of this worse. He was already unhappy with the marriage; he would hate me if he knew how much I wanted him. To know that all this time while he was with my best friend, I've always loved him. Even I was ashamed of this. I wouldn't blame him for hating me if he ever found out. I wouldn't blame them both for hating me. It's possible that Anya already hates me.

"Your parents forced you to do this, didn't they?"I ask. He wouldn't have decided this on his own. I knew that much. He was too in love with Anya to willingly go ring shopping with me.

He nods, "but it's expected for you to have a ring. It would be suspicious if you didn't. Whether they forced me or not doesn't matter, I would have gotten one for you eventually."

I try not to let his voice affect me, but it's hard when his voice strikes my desire for him. It's deep but somehow soothing at the same time. I felt like closing my eyes and asking him to keep talking. It doesn't matter what he says; I'll enjoy whatever comes out of his mouth.

"We're here." He says suddenly. I'm disappointed that the drive was so fast. I wanted more time alone with him in the car. I knew that Atticus would wish to limit the amount of time he spent with me as much as possible. We both wanted different things.

I follow him out of the car, and we walk into the store named Promise Of Gold—the most expensive and popular jewelry place in town.

"While I want you to choose whatever you want, I should warn you that my father wants it to be expensive. Preferably the largest diamond available. We're already doing everything they're asking us to do, why not this as well?”

"I can't do that." I immediately begin to say, but he cuts me off with the look he gives me next. I don't think he's willing to take no for an answer. I think he mainly wants to avoid any confrontation with his parents.

"You know how stubborn our families are. There's no use trying to do anything different at this point." He notes. "Besides, money is not a problem for me. This is nothing for you to feel uncomfortable or guilty over."

Money was not a problem for me either, but I didn't like to accept expensive gifts when I didn't deserve them, especially when someone was being forced to give them to me.

The employees scramble when they spot the two of us.

"Mr. Fawn," Brent, according to his name tag, greeted Atticus before turning to me with a slight nod. "Miss Rivera. It's a pleasure to have you both here with us. Congratulations on your new journey together. Everyone is looking forward to the wedding of the year. We're so happy that you chose here to purchase your rings."

I smiled at him, letting him know that I appreciated his words. Atticus, on the other hand, looked impatient and was constantly checking his phone. Was he looking for a message from Anya? Were they speaking to each other again? I knew she was ignoring him like she was doing to me, but I wasn't sure if that had changed. I tried to contact her to apologize and explain what happened, but she wouldn't let me.

"Show us your most precious rings," Atticus tells the store manager.

Brent nods and nervously guides us to a private room with their priciest rings. The collections were beautiful, but I couldn't see anything that caught my interest. I wanted a ring that would make me feel closer to Atticus. And none of these were doing that for me. I knew that Atticus wanted me to choose a ring quickly so that he could get this over with, but I couldn't do that. I wanted to at least love it before I allowed him to spend all that money on me.

"Choose what you like." He says softly. I don't want to be the only one to choose; I would also like his opinion. But would he give it to me?

"Which one do you think would suit me?" I ask him. "I'm looking, but I don't think I see anything I want with me for the rest of my life."

Atticus looks surprised by my words, but he quickly masks his reaction.

"She's the first I've seen that asked for her partner's opinion. You're lucky. She loves you plenty." Brent points out.

The blood drains from my face. I know that Atticus wouldn't believe his words but what bothers me is how valid those words were. I try not to look at Atticus. I didn't want to see his expression after hearing what the manager had to say.

Atticus surprises me when he pulls his chair closer to the display. I continue to search along with him, and I spot something that catches my attention—the first ring to do so.

"Can we see that one?" He asks, and my gaze follows where his finger is pointing at.

I'm surprised when he's chosen the same ring that first caught my eyes—a diamond in the shape of a heart.

Brent hands it over to us, and it sparkles under the yellow light.

Atticus takes my hand in his and puts the ring onto my finger. My hand feels warm under his gentle touch. He stares at it for a few seconds before lifting his face and looking straight at me. My breath hitches, and it's almost difficult to breathe with the darkness in his eyes. Does he also feel the connection that I do? He breaks eye contact suddenly, and I try not to pout because of it.

"Do you like it?" He asks.

This was the one. There was no doubt in my mind that this was what I wanted. It wasn't the most expensive in the store, but it was unique and felt like it was made just for me. I don't think either of our parents would kick a fuss since it was still highly pricey. And it was beautiful. Even more beautiful to me now that Atticus was the one to choose it for me.

"I love it." I finally answer.

Atticus looks pleasantly surprised, but he doesn't say anything to me. He hands his card over to Brent, who happily takes it from him.

"Aren't we also getting a ring for you?" I ask him.

"You don't need to worry about that." He says. "I'll take care of it."

"No," I disagree. "You got me a ring. I will also like to get one for you. I'll be happy to choose one like you did for me."

He's about to respond when something on his phone catches his attention. His face turns pale, and what it was must have frightened him.

"I have to go." He says suddenly. "Something happened to Anya."

Anya? I immediately stood up from the chair.

"If something is wrong, I need to be there as well. I want to be there for her."

"It's just not a good idea, Autumn. The last thing she will want to see is the two of us together. I'll call Griffin and ask him to drop you back home."

I'm about to protest, but he's already out of the door before I can say anything else. Brent gives me a look of pity. I knew he wouldn't be the only one to look at me like that from now on. Atticus would always run to Anya. I didn't know how to ever get used to something like that.