Why did she have to get married? Why did she have to bind her life to someone else? Men weren’t required to marry. Why did she did she have to just because that she was a woman? The brothers and uncles that come back from war varied so much in age. But married or not, returning generals often lived a life in luxury. So why couldn’t she make a living for herself as a woman? Why did everyone want her to marry so much?
“Sit down!” Her mother shouted at her. “You better behave yourself or you can’t blame me if you become a spinster.”
She sighed, rolling her eyes. So what if she became a spinster? The more her family pushed her, the more resolute she felt on the matter.
“A dream come true.” She scoffed, covering her face with the fan that her mother forced her to carry, before sitting down. As much as she wanted to leave, she knew that her family wouldn’t let her off so long as she didn’t find herself a suitor. Furthermore, the families that her mother arranged her to meet often had powerful backgrounds. They weren’t people that she could simply offend and walk away from unscathed. She couldn’t let her defiance drag down her entire family.
Even if she didn’t plan on getting settled, she had to put on a show of trying. If nothing else, she had to convince the other family that she was doing her best at not botching the blind-date. But all the acting was tiring. She had to put an end to this. If only she could persuade her mother to end these blind-dates.
Then it occurred to her. She smiled at the thought, unaware of the other family seating themselves before her. Her family was only able to force her into these kinds of situations because of her good reputation as a woman. It was well-known that she wasn’t one to associate with men. In fact, she had been trying to avoid them whenever she could.
Lecherous gazes followed her whenever she was in their presence. Well-groomed or not, the leering stayed. And it disgusted her. At least, women didn’t look at her in that way. Since her early teens, she lost the ability to trust men, to distinguish which of their actions and feelings were genuine. In one moment they were extremely kind. But she’d caught them secretly ogling, in the very next, making her question whether they had underlying motives for helping her.
“Lady Soh” The pig sitting across from her addressed, his repulsive intentions overt in his eyes. “Pleased to meet you. Marquess of Keir, Son of Duke of Keirov, at your service.”
“Pleased to meet you.” She answered as politely as she could, opting to stand and curtsy over shaking his hand. With his desires so blatantly written on his face, she struggled to keep the sarcasm from spilling into her words. “Thank you for taking the time to meet with us today.”
“No. No.” He answered, reaching to take her hand. “The Pleasure is Mine.”
“Of course.” She answered, putting her hands together and bowing respectfully. She smiled as the formality of the gesture forced him to withdraw his claw. She had no doubt that his remark could be taken literally. The way that he stared at her as if she were some kind of rare delicacy already told her enough to tell her that he was enjoying this meeting far more than she was.
“Please, feel at home.” He answered. “There’s no need to be so formal.”
She straightened the moment that he lowered his arms toward her. There was no way she was letting the swine touch her.
“I’m sure you’re tired from the long travel.” She answered with a plastered smile. “So let’s keep this brief, shall we?”
“I hadn’t realized it till you mentioned it.” His mother interjected, before he could respond.
She lifted her fan, hiding the grin on her lips. A family as large as his would undoubtedly follow tradition. And tradition said that the decision to meet after an initial blind date would officialize a courtship relationship between a pair, and could only occur under mutual agreement from both individuals of the potential couple. If she could cut this meeting off short, the man would not be able to bother her for another year.
“I’m sorry for the inconvenience” The potential suitor said, as he led his mother out. “I guess we’ll have to arrange for a different time?”
“Until then.” She responded, smiling and waving until they were no longer in sight. Sighing, she collapsed into the chair.
“I can’t believe that not even this one caught your fancy.” Her mother huffed beside her. “He’s such a handsome child.”
“Mother. I told you many times that I’m not interested in finding anyone.” She replied.
“Then give me a good reason.” Her mother said. “Why don’t you want to get married?”
“I already have a suitor that I fancy.” She answered flatly. A lie.
“Oh?” Her mother responded, curious. “What kind of being could pique a stone so immune to romantic advances?”
“Mother!” She shouted, feigning embarassment. But it was the first step in the path that she would take to get her parents and the world off her back. A fake suitor, followed by a false marriage and a fraudulent death. Only life as a widow could grant freedom from the clutches of men. Even if it made all future romances taboo, it was well worth it.
It’s said that every problem has a solution. Likewise, everything has a price. Every action: a consequence. It’s ultimately the individual to decide whether the potential results measure up to the sacrifices needed to attain it. She smiled. Hers definitely did. Nothing would ever be more valuable than her freedom.
This story was inspired by a writing prompt from the “Microcosm” Publication.
This Week’s a Little Darker, A Little Morbid.
Image found on the inspiring PostSecret.com
It’s your choice; take this secret wherever you want. Let’s see what it inspires.
Your story must:
- Tell us a fictional story related to this fake, dead boyfriend.
- Be min 100 and max 1000 words long, excluding the title, subtitle, and any post-story bio/links. (We use Medium’s own word count feature.)
I hadn’t realized that I had come so close to the 1000 word limit, until I was half way through the blind date section! Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in a story. Hopefully, the end wasn’t too rushed!