MARRIED TO A STRANGER

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT STORY PLEASE READ! THIS STORY IS SET IN THE TIME PERIOD WHEN IT WAS THE NORM FOR GIRLS AS YOUNG AS 13 TO GET MARRIED TO OLDER MEN. SINCE FAMILIES WERE BIGGER AND THE LARGE NUMBER OF CHILDREN WERE DIFFICULT TO SUPPORT, THE ALTERNATIVE WAS FOR TO MARRY OFF DAUGHTERS SO THEIR HUSBANDS COULD TAKE CARE OF THEM. ALSO, IN THIS TIME PERIOD, WOMEN DID NOT HAVE JOBS OUTSIDE THE HOMES. THEY WERE STRICTLY USE FOR DOMESTIC WORK AROUND THE HOUSE. ALSO, AS YOU KNOW IN THIS TIME PERIOD THERE WAS NO ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY! EVEN THOUGH THERE IS ELECTRICITY, ONLY WEALTHY PEOPLE HAD IT AND THERE WAS NO COMPUTERS, CELL PHONES OR IPADS! LOL. I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE INTERESTED TO ADD A PRE-MODERN DAY TWIST TO THE FAMOUS FINAL FANTASY ENJOY!

Chapter One-Some Things in Life You Just Do (MONTH OF DECEMBER)

He straightened his tie for the hundredth time and fixed his silver hair for the thousandth time. He kept gazing at himself in the mirror, reciting his vows over and over again. The more he tried to calm down his nerves, the more they became rattled. Soon, there was knock on the door and Bartholew soon entered the dressing room. "Hey, son. How are those nerves holding up?" Bartholew said with a chuckle and he patted his son of his shoulder. Hope glared at him but soon cracked a nervous smile. "Hey Hope, how it is going?" Hope's father asks this time with seriousness. "It's going good, I still can't believe I'm going through with this." Hope says as he fastens his tie again. "Did you ever have..?" Hope stammers. "Cold feet?" Bartholew gives a hearty laugh. "If you can call it that. Look, son," he puts his sturdy hand on his son's shoulder. "Just do your best, remember happy wife, happy life." He says with a smile as he walks out of the dressing room. Hope remembers when his parents were all happy. Nora would always be preparing something in the kitchen while Bartholew would barge into the house from working long hours at the factory in the city smelling of soot and oil. Hope's father would at times sit him on his knee and say "Hope, look at your mother." Nora would stir the food in her cooking pot with a smile as she hum a little tune as Bartholew would whisper in Hope's ear "remember son happy wife, happy life remember this little secret and when you are married not only will you be happy but there will be no room for negativity the wife rules all." Hope's mind also wondered to the information that his parents gave him about his new wife. Her name was Claire Farron and she was 13 years old. She has pink hair, blue eyes and is 5 feet and 3 inches. He was very excited to see her and interact with her for the first time. He closed his eyes and tried to picture how she looked. Claire was definitely much shorter than him. Hope was over 6 feet tall and was worried that he would scare her with his height. He chuckled at his silly thought.

Soon, Nora entered the dressing room. She just gave a reassuring smile and gave Hope a little peck on the cheek. "Mom, can I tell you something?" Hope says. Nora responds. "Sure baby what's wrong?" Hope exhales heavily and then a whirlwind of emotions overcomes him. "I'm scared, I'm nervous! What does she look like? Will she like me?" Hope just keeps rambling. "Hope!" she demands. "Yes ma'am." He immediately, gets quiet, scared to death of his mother's wrath. "I have met the girl. She is very quiet and polite, good qualities of a good wife. She can cook, clean, and can offer very good companionship. His parents has picked his bride. He had no say in the matter and hasn't even met her. Hope nods in respect and approval. "Treat her like the queen that she is Hope, do any and everything that you are capable of in order for the both of you to be happy together." Hope nods again. "And if you need anything, anything at all," she said as she grabs Hope's hand. "Don't be afraid to let either your father or I know." Hope smiles and breathes a sigh of relief. As she prepares to leave to go back inside the church her said, "Hope do me a favor?" "Yeah, mom?" "Make me some grandkids before I keel over." She said with a hearty laugh and closes the door behind her leaving Hope with a red face. Grandkids was the furthest thing away from his mind until now. He shakes his head and goes back to reciting his vows in the mirror.

Claire gazed at herself in the mirror and was shocked by her own reflection. The white, transparent veil covered her pale face, but her blue eyes still shone through it. Claire nervously clings to the long-sleeve white, satin dress buttoned all the way up to her neck and draped all the way down to her feet. Claire feels a tear roll down her check. "Hey, sunshine. Dry up those waterworks." Her mother said in her thick, pulsian accent as she placed her hand under Claire's veil to wipe her cheek. "You are so beautiful today and this beautiful day will lead to a beautiful life." Her mother said with a smile. "If only your father was here to see this day. First Serah and now you, Claire. And soon, it will be Lumina." Serah got married at the tender age of 15 to a wealthy guy named Snow. Claire was 13 and was to marry a man named Hope Estheim who was 21 years old. Like her sister, she has never seen the guy and only had what her mother has told her about him to go by. Lumina, her younger sister was 10, but would soon have a husband chosen for her. This was the norm and Claire felt like she had been thrown in it too quickly. Claire inhaled and exhaled deeply in a desperate attempt to calm her nerves. "Just be a good wife and live life to the fullest." Her mother said as she tucked her raven-colored hair behind her ear. "Be a good wife to someone who was chosen for me? Be a good wife to someone I haven't even met?" Claire's voice started shaking along with her limbs. Fang looked away from her frightened daughter and she tried her best to keep her own emotions intact. She exhaled deeply and lifted her daughter's veil up so they could meet eye contact. Fang gazed her brown eyes into her daughter's blue ones and spoke gently. "Claire, it is a common age and a common arranged marriage." She said in an authoritative voice. "Yes, ma'am." Claire said as she lowered her head. "Also, I want you to have the chance to live." Fang as she grabbed onto her daughter's shoulder and looked at her with sad eyes. Claire simply nodded and put her veil back down. Then, she and her mother closed their eyes as they prayed. Claire didn't know what to expect or what exactly she was getting herself into. The thought not only scared her, but it delighted something inside her as well. There was a knock on the door and then Claire's siblings walked in. "Oh, Claire." Serah said entered the room with a handkerchief in her hand and her eyes red. Claire and Lumina rolled their eyes at her sister's sensitivity. "Sooo," Lumina started with a mischievous grin plastered on her face. "When is the baby due?" Lumina said with a chuckle and Serah laughed a little also. Claire's hung her head down low so that her embarrassment could be hidden with her veil. "Now, girls." Fang stepped in. "That is enough. Don't make your sister more nervous than what she is."

Hope was about to leave the dressing room when his little sisters barged in. "Hope, I am so happy for you." A small and fragile girl with blue, shiny hair and green eyes greeted him with a warm embrace and a warm smile. "Yeah, our big brother is finally growing up." A girl with short, blond hair and blue eyes spoke with a big smile on her face. "Thanks, Yeul. Thanks, Alyssa." Hope said as he ruffled his Yeul's hair and poked Alyssa on her forehead. Hope walks out of the dressing room along with his sisters and makes his way into the main sanctuary of the church. Unnoticed by Hope, Vanille watches as he walks inside the sanctuary. She was dressed in a sleeveless black dress with black heels and is sitting down in the lobby of the church. Her orange hair is pulled down with a few strands covering the side of her face. Her eyes are red followed by a small tear streaming down her flushed cheek as she admires hope from a distance. Meanwhile, Hope makes his way down the aisle and runs into a guy with purple hair and eyes. He was as tall as Hope and much more built. Accompanying this man was a slightly shorter male with brown hair and blue eyes. "Hello, Caius. Noel." Hope greeted his in-laws with a smile. "You can finally enjoy the simple pleasures of being with the opposite sex." Caius said with a smirk. "Nothing pleases me more than to see the beautiful smile on Alyssa's face." Caius said with a sigh as if thinking of her smile. "Yeah, it is the same thing with Yeul. It's like, you can't be happy if they are not happy. They just have that skill." Noel said with a chuckle. Soon, the two joined their wives sitting on the benches. The time was nearing for Hope to meet his new wife and welcome his new life. The church is hardly packed but it's a meaningful crowd. Claire's and Hope's families are both here and can't wait to mingle with each other after the wedding. The organist plays here comes the bride in Hope's ears. It is a reminder to him of his new life beginning and he can hardly contain his excitement. Everyone stands at attention and faces the aisle, the ushers open the doors and stand at attention everyone is smiling as the bride enters the church.

Claire slowly walks down the aisle trying her best to keep her legs moving and her hands from being too sweaty and she clutches harder to the bouquet of flowers. Fortunately, the crowd was small. Only the immediate families of both the bride and groom were present. On the right side, Claire recognized her family. Fang, Serah, Snow and Lumina. On the left side, was a slightly larger crowd but not by much. Claire could tell by the unfamiliar faces this was the groom's family. At the end of the aisle, was a pastor and a silver-haired man dressed in a black suit with a white, dress shirt. Claire immediately knew that this was the groom. Her soon-to-be husband. Claire tried her best to contain her excitement so she could steady herself as she neared herself to stand beside her groom. Hope stole a few glances from his bride secretively. She was tiny and fragile, just like he figured. It was also evident that she was just as nervous as he was. Hope could tell she was trying to keep her body from trembling and her eyes from wondering. Hope's heart immediately felt for her and he wished he could see her beauty behind that veil. Claire also stole a few glances herself. She was immediately taken back by his solid muscles. She could see that he was nearly all muscle and his height just added to this feature. She saw that his hair was silver-colored and his eyes were the color of emeralds. Claire knew right away that his eyes was going to be what captivated her when they looked straight at her. Claire snapped right out of her daydreaming to hear Hope say "I do." Soon, it was her turn to say "I do." Her lips started trembling as she turned to face her groom to kiss him. She had to hold herself up with all her strength to keep her legs from collapsing. She slowly closed her eyes and she felt her veil being lifted from her face. Damn. Hope thought. She is so beautiful. Hope leaned down to Claire's level and gently touched her soft lips. They were trembling and Hope slowly deepened the kiss a little in hopes to get her more comfortable. Claire suddenly felt something awaken inside of her. He tasted like honey and Claire could tell he was putting a lot of feelings in the kiss to show her just how deep this was for him. When the kiss over, I sense of disappointment seeped through her. Hope could sense it and smiled at her to reassure her that there was more to come. It didn't scare her, but it only made her feel more secure. She immediately knew that she was in good hands.

After the kiss, the crowd in the church starts clapping their hands and then the two families are mingling with each other with the bride and the groom right in the middle of course. Claire quickly learned who Hope's little sisters were and their husbands. Now they were considered her brothers and sisters. Also, Hope learned about Claire's sisters and particularly Serah's husband, Snow. Hope could tell right away that was the 'goof' of the family. "Ok, I am sure the bride and the groom want some time to get to know each other." Fang said with a smile as she led the rest of the crowd over to the cake and food, leaving Claire and Hope alone. Claire was too scared to make eye contact or to start off conversation. Hope knew right away that he was going to have a long way to go with this little girl.