Read Online Books/Novels:
To Have and Hate
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
Beckett. Let me count the ways I loathe him.
1. He’s the bane of my existence.
So why am I standing here, bouquet in hand, about to become his wife?
He calls it a business proposition.
But I can survive this six-month calamity.
All I have to do is keep hating him . . .
|Books by Author:|
Between men and women there is no friendship possible.
There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.
~ Oscar Wilde
I’d always expected to get married in my grandmother’s garden. During spring probably, if I’d given it any real thought at all. The garden would be fragrant with bluebells and tulips, the scene like something out of a Monet painting with colour and fragrance bursting all around our guests. We’d exchange our vows at the edge of the lake as the sun set before spending the evening dancing under fairy lights that would mirror the stars.
It’s funny that I would consider these details now when, a few days ago, I was no closer to finding a husband than I was to sprouting wings. Yet here I am, alone in a hotel, about to marry a man whose first name I don’t even know.
There have been no invites to send, no cakes to taste, and no videographers to vet. I’m not even wearing a wedding dress.
They say your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, but I’d have to disagree. That’s not to say I’m unhappy, though. I’m more resigned to my fate. Today won’t be the pinnacle of my existence, and not for the lack of champagne or the absence of friends flitting around me like butterflies in the room, but more for the fact of who I’m marrying.
Why I’m marrying can wait for another time.
‘Are you ready?’
As my husband-to-be enters the room, his eyes fall over me in a cool sort of appraisal. If only I could share his detachment because how I feel about him is anything but cool.
Oh, Beckett. Let me count the ways I loathe you.
You’re the bane of my existence.
A thorn in my side.
And I’m pretty sure you’re the devil in disguise.
Remind me again why I’m about to become your wife?
I’m late. I’d like to say this doesn’t happen to me often, but I’m always late. Despite my absolute best intentions, and despite setting alarms on watches, laptops, and phones, and not to mention, trying really, really hard, I always seem to be in a hurry. Oftentimes arriving by the skin of my teeth with my hair in disarray and my shirt sticking to my sweaty back. Exactly like today.
But being late for the biggest day in my life so far? That’s kind of special even for me. In my defence, it isn’t my fault. There was a signal problem on the Jubilee line; that’s the Jubilee line of the London Underground. I’d given myself an hour to get to my appointment, an hour for a thirty-seven-minute journey, and I know it takes exactly thirty-seven minutes because I’d timed it in a dummy run last week.
So now I’m running.
Because I don’t have the seven minutes walking time allocated to get me from the Tube to my meeting.
I slide my laptop bag higher on my shoulder as, in my haste, it begins to bang painfully against my hip. I press my elbow tightly to the leather, though not to stop potential bruising but as a means of protecting my handouts—the hard copies of my pitch—from somehow escaping. I really don’t need to invite another disaster today. I must look a horrendous mess, but as the entrance to the building is in sight, maybe I won’t be late after all. But I’ll still be a mess.
The toe of my shoe catches on a loose paving stone, catapulting me forward as my bag skitters across the ground. But that’s not the worst of it; I collide with someone climbing from their car, and the forward motion sends me flying over a large foot. And not a large foot as in a generous measurement, but a large foot as in the thing at the end of a long leg.
Long, sensible legs, I decide as I lie across the ground, staring up at the car’s expensive rims. Sensible is what I should’ve opted for. I should’ve ordered an Uber or a cab. Maybe even something a little more fancy like an UberLUX to travel to this meeting in style. This meeting that has the potential to change my life. I might’ve even gotten a fancy Mercedes like the one I’m staring up at right now. And as if I haven’t suffered enough, I just felt my hair tie snap.
‘Are you all right?’ asks a very English accent, albeit quite sharply. Hands hook under my arms, and I begin to protest as though I’d meant to throw myself on the ground all along.
‘I’m fine,’ I answer ungraciously.
‘Sprawled across my path is not fine.’ The tone and grip leave no room for argument, but I find myself doing so anyway.
‘I am fine.’ Twisting my upper body, I pull away from his strong grip and unceremoniously roll onto my butt.