Disclaimer: I don't own anything but the OC's you don't recognise.
A/N: I am incredibly sorry for the wait but uni life is rather tough and time consuming but I thank all of you for you lovely support and reviews :) I hope you guys will like this chapter as well. Your reviews always make me laugh. So enjoy the Valentine Day's chapter. One that doesn't have to do with Valentine's Day at all!
"I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle."
- Jane Austen
"Cathy, what are you up to?" Louise hissed in my ear. It had been a week ever since I had convinced Edmund to play along. And it had been a week since I had told my parents about the fact we were "engaged". My mother was still not talking to me, however that did not feel like such a punishment. Though I was certain that for her, the world was falling apart. My mother loved to be in control. She was a rather dominant woman, mind you. And my poor papa was just one who merely gave her everything she needed and kept out of her business. At least he was still talking to me, although there was a flinch of disappointment in his eyes. I couldn't help but feel somewhat sorry towards him. But other than that, I felt perfectly alright.
Edmund, well let's say that I could not have been more excited that he had agreed. He was exactly what I needed to make this whole mess with Samuel Geralds to go away. He was an alright bloke, I suppose. A bit self-centred and conceited, not to mention oblivious about everyone's opinion about him, but other than that, nice enough. Although he was perfect in my mother's eyes. How she saw perfection in him? I did not know.
"Cathy!" Louise hissed again and I let out a sigh. She was glaring at me as we stood in the corridor. It was entirely quiet, though I could hear Betsy move around as she cleaned the rooms. "Honestly, what do you think you are doing?"
"I have no idea what you are talking about." I responded coolly, my neck slightly tilted in the air.
She narrowed her eyes at me. "Don't act stupid with me, I am your friend. The least you can do is give me credit." I let out a sigh and dropped my eyes to the floor. Attempting to feel guilty, though I couldn't help myself. I did not feel that way. Louise was just another person trying to persuade me to rethink my actions. She would never understand. Which is why I could never tell her the truth.
"I am sorry, Louise. I should have told you the truth." She relaxed and brushed her blonde hair out of her face and nodded, looking relieved.
"So it is a lie? Oliver is telling the truth?"
I narrowed my eyes now. I hated when she involved Oliver that way. It was as if he was reprimanding me when he wasn't even there. "No, he is not telling the truth. I am engaged to Edmund Pevensie and yes I purposely kept it away from you."
"Cathy, you barely know him? Is this one of your ridiculous games? You need to stop playing around. You are not a child!" Louise grabbed hold of my wrist as I tried to move away.
"No!" I exclaimed. "No, I'm not playing around. I love him." I was even surprised I was able to sound that convincing. "And we are to be wed. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll have to get ready to meet with Edmund."
I shot her one last look before turning around.
"Cathy, I'm not sure what you are playing at but with the way you are dealing with all of this, someone is bound to get hurt." I blinked.
"What's that supposed to mean?" I wondered, unable to control myself.
She gave me a sympathetic look and suddenly reminded me of the Louise I actually did consider as a friend. One I loved. One that was exactly like me before she met Oliver. One that would've understood.
"I think you know what I mean." I bit my lip in response and she gave me a weak smile before turning around herself and leaving me be.
There were many things going through my head, most of them weren't even coherent. Though I truly doubted anyone would be able to keep their head in such a situation. One that I had evoked upon myself. So technically I shouldn't be complaining. However, it didn't keep the slight dread at bay. Because what was one supposed to tell to one's mother. That I tricked Edmund into marrying me?
I severely doubted that it would go over well.
"Please tell me you're having second thoughts?" Edmund's voice penetrated my eardrums and I turned around, somewhat dazzled by his marvellous looks. I immediately straightened my upper body and gave him a sardonic grin.
"Are you?" Edmund scoffed and rolled his eyes.
"Of course I am." He muttered lowly. I wondered if he knew I had heard him. He held out his hand for me to take as his pale face contorted from the grimace he was wearing before to a more a neutral look. I let out a sigh and grasped his hand, holding his warmer hand in mine made a tingle go down my spine and I was somewhat shocked to see him grip my hand in such a comfortable manner it made me question who this exactly was. Not a week ago was he biting my head off and now this?
Were there more than one Edmund?
"Was your mother..." I sought out the proper word. "upset, when you told her about me?" Edmund kept his face straight ahead as we walked through the grim neighbourhood to his house. Though I swore I could see flicker of embarrassment in his dark orbs when he glanced at me briefly.
"What'd you expect, Catherine?" He never called me Cathy. I shrugged.
"I don't know. Happy perhaps? Most mothers are happy when their sons are to be married." Edmund rolled his eyes.
"Most mothers know in advance that something of that sort is going to happen. They don't surprise them with such news." I blinked and pulled Edmund to a stop.
"You haven't told her?" I asked him seriously. He kept his eyes on my face as I searched for any kind of clue.
"Of course I have. I'm not you Catherine." Edmund retorted sharply before pulling me along again. "Now move. They want to meet you." I let out a sigh. Perhaps I shouldn't have let Edmund take pick me up.
"Do you think they'd like me?" He didn't even spare me a glance this time.
"I sincerely doubt it." I pulled my hand out of his.
"Edmund, would it kill you to be gentile? I know you don't want to do this, but you've said yes. These were the consequences you knew of when you gave me your consent. There is no need to be such a git. You're not the only one whose parents hate their child. Mine do to. But it's only temporary. I am certain once they get to meet you they'll understand." I told him heartily.
"What will they understand, Catherine?" Edmund practically barked. I never realised that once he got angry there'd be a red tinge to his ears. "How would they possibly understand that you asked me to be your fiancé while you don't even love me." I opened my mouth to reply but Edmund cut me off. "Don't even try that with me. You've put me into enough trouble, now let's just go and get all of this over with. The sooner we do, the sooner I'll be able to get myself out of this situation."
I kept my mouth shut as we walked the short walk to his house.
I could understand his anger, emphasise even. But only because I was in the same particular situation with my own parents. Only, Edmund could never understand why I was doing this. Nor could anyone else for that matter. This was something that I had to do. It was the first step to grasping my own freedom, being in charge of what I'd deem as my own future. Not what my parents thought was proper.
There were more things to life than finding the proper husband.
And it seemed that even Edmund did not see that. How could he though? He was a man, one that only saw things through his own black and white eyes.
"We're here." Edmund announced and I glanced at the box he suddenly pulled out of his pocket. I frowned.
"Edmund, what are you doing?" I wanted to ask but I stopped halfway through my sentence. It was a velvet box, one that contained a ring, of that I was certain. I blinked a few times, trying to rid myself of the fact that despite his angry words, he was holding his end of the bargain.
"If we are engaged you should have a ring." Edmund muttered lowly, in his usual grunting voice and I reminded myself to help him articulate more properly.
"But we could've just used one of my old rings." I began.
"No." He responded shortly. "My mother won't take it seriously if I don't use this ring." I frowned.
Edmund sighed and I tilted my head to the side. There were several emotions all sprawled out over his face. Many of them were exact opposites of each other, maybe that's what made me choose him in the first place. The fact he could contradict himself so accurately. Or maybe it was the fact that perhaps...perhaps there was more to Edmund Pevensie than even he knew.
"This was my grandmother's ring." He replied and my breath caught in my throat. I could feel the instant shift in time. As if someone had thrown another layer of consequence over us. There were many people involved in my little pretence. Many people indeed, and those involved emotions and hearts. And I was toying with them so easily that it made me wonder if I'd be able to see the signs that would tell me to stop.
But it was either that or throw away my own voice.
"I-I don't think I can wear that." I murmured but another pang in my chest told me otherwise as Edmund pulled out the ring. It was beautiful. Full of memories that must've contained love, for I know that love was a prominent feature in the Pevensie family. So unlike mine.
"Well," Edmund stated gruffly. "You don't have a choice." He grasped my hand again and shoved the ring on my finger.
It was a perfect fit.
Noticing the surprised look on Edmund's face, I knew he must've thought of that too.
"Shall we go?" He asked and pulled me with him without waiting for my reply.
To say meeting the Pevensies was nerve wracking would be an understatement. It was more than that. I already felt somewhat anxious but had I known what kind of catastrophe it would've been I would've prepared, as far as that is possible. During dinner I mainly focused on the answers I would give on the questions they fired at me. At least Peter tried to make the situation somewhat bearable, not that it worked, his efforts were futile, but the gesture meant a lot to me. Mrs. Pevensie, was cold and stiff towards me. Not even trying to make me feel at ease. Mr. Pevensie however, tried to ease the tension in the air but even I could see he was mainly doing it because he didn't want to come across as ill-mannered.
Edmund didn't say a word, nor did I expect him to.
His other siblings, Lucy and Susan were rather hard to grasp. Susan I knew of reputation. She used to be a rather clever young girl, but all of that changed one summer and she ended up being more vain than ever. Lucy, who was sixteen, had a childish temper that would make anyone feel comfortable.
I did, mainly because Lucy talked to me. She kept asking me questions, one I did not mind answering and though her perceptive eyes picked up the awkward manner between Edmund and I she didn't react upon it. And that made her my favourite of the Pevensies.
After dinner however, Mr. Pevensie ushered us into the parlour and I sat down next to Edmund as he rested his elbows on his knees. I could see the tension in his hands, he kept wringing them as his eyes shifted between his father and mother.
"Oh for crying out loud." Susan suddenly exclaimed. Her sharp blue eyes moved to Edmund before settling on mine. "Am I the only one who finds this whole thing ridiculous?" She questioned rather rudely.
"Susan." Peter began but was cut off by a glare.
"Shut up, Peter." Susan hissed and I was surprised to see Peter actually doing so. She turned her eyes on me again. "Have you brain washed Peter as well?" I frowned, I could feel the dread set in.
"I-I don't know what you're-"
"You do, Catherine." She stated firmly and opened her mouth again to continue.
"Susan, that's enough!" Mrs. Pevensie interrupted. Her brown eyes were settled on Susan and I could see the restraint in both of their eyes.
"But can't you see that this is all a joke? Am I the only one who notices?" She waited for an answer and I swallowed the thick lump in my throat. I knew there would be hurdles. Family being the prominent one but had I known the accusations that would be hurled towards me, I would've tried to find some protection. Edmund was no use to me in that particular area. "Edmund, tell us the truth. Tell us that you've been forced by her to do this." I pushed away the indignation that was churning in my stomach.
Edmund didn't reply and I turned my eyes to him. He wasn't even listening.
"I can't believe it." Susan hissed before turning around and storming out of the room. Lucy sighed and moved to follow her.
"Let her be, Lu!" Peter said but Lucy left anyways.
Silence engulfed us and I was shocked at the fact that no one even tried to apologise for Susan's behaviour. Not even Mr and Mrs. Pevensie. I blinked a few times to keep the tears away before finding an excuse to use the restroom.
"First floor on your left." Mrs. Pevensie told me monotonously and I quickly followed her directions before locking myself in.
I could hear the raised voices from downstairs. I double checked the lock. I didn't want to be disturbed right now.
There were many things wrong with this picture. I had gone through it a million times and none of it included the fact that people could be angry. I knew my parents wouldn't be happy. That I had taken in account because that was my goal in the first place. Displeasing my parents was the first step, but I would've reckoned that Edmund's parents would be happy. Why weren't parents happy when their child decided to marry? Why didn't they see the fact this was supposed to be a happy occasion.
I rested my back against the door for a few moments before moving to the sink and turning on the faucet. Feeling the cold water on my wrists made the temperature in the room drop a few degrees, but certainly made me feel a lot better. Especially when I saw the ring sparkle on my finger. It truly was beautiful
As I left the bathroom again and descended the stairs the voices increased in their volume and coherency.
"-I don't care who this girl is Edmund, but you can't possibly be serious to marry her!" Mrs. Pevensie yelled. "You are nineteen years of age."
"I am old enough to decide what I want." Edmund argued back. "Catherine and I are to be married and that is it!"
There was a brief silence.
"Peter, you tell your brother that she is not the one for him." Mrs. Pevensie sounded desperate.
"Why not, what's wrong with her?" Edmund yelled.
"Nothing, Edmund. I am sure she must be a very nice girl." Mrs. Pevensie explained.
"But?" Edmund interjected. "You don't like her?"
"It's not whether we like her or not." Mr. Pevensie took over. "It's about the fact that the two of you are far too young to be engaged. Edmund, you are still at school. How will you support her?"
"I'll think of something!"
"Perhaps, but it will never be enough. Think of what kind of society she mingles with. She is used to far more than you can offer her at this moment."
"So you're saying she's a snob?"
Having heard enough for the moment I quickly descended the remaining steps and caught Edmund's eye. I didn't even realise that I was already running towards the door when I heard Edmund call out my name, followed by a curse.
The cold breeze chilled me to the bone as I quickly ran from the Pevensie house. I knew that people thought I was a snob. Even though that wasn't true. I was not my mother and I always wanted people to see that. I wasn't superficial at all. That was merely a label stapled on me in which I did not have a say in at all.
"Catherine, wait!" Edmund grabbed hold of my arm and I was surprised to feel the dampness of tears on my cheeks. "Look, they didn't mean it. You just have to give them some time to get used to the fact."
"To what, Ed?" I cried before pulling my arm out of his hand. "That they hate me?" I shook my head slowly as a sob made its way out of my throat. "I understand, alright? And honestly, I don't care what they want."
"Then why are you crying?" Edmund remarked and he gestured to my face. I blinked a few times and raised my hand, feeling the tears on my fingertips.
"Because it's a natural reaction, alright?" I argued lamely.
Edmund sighed and put his hand on the back of his neck. "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings." I sniffed.
"You didn't." I told him sharply. Technically he didn't, but his parents did. But I wasn't going to tell him that.
"I told you pulling this off wouldn't be easy." I narrowed my eyes at the accusation.
"Nor did I claim it to be." Edmund snorted.
"Actually, you thought you were going to fool everyone. What was it you exactly said? Oh, I remember." I put my hand on his mouth, shutting him up.
"Don't you dare." I threatened and quickly pulled away my hand as I realised the close proximity between the two of us.
I let out a sigh and wrapped my arms around my stomach.
"What are we going to do now?" Edmund glanced down at me, a mock look of surprise on his face.
"You're telling me you don't know what to do? Now that's something I never thought I'd see." A smile tugged at the corners of my lips.
"Hilarious Edmund. But I am being serious."
"Another miracle." I frowned.
"If you're going to make fun of me I'll leave. I swear." Edmund smirked but didn't say anything. Silence engulfed us again and I dropped my eyes to the floor. I hadn't expected him to follow me. But this was better than nothing, right?
"Ed?" Using his nick name. "What are we going to do?"
Edmund didn't look at me this time, hence I knew that we were being serious.
"Nothing, just wait."
Waiting was never something I had patience for.
A/N: I hope you liked it? Love to hear from you, reviews make my day :)