This is a dark romance retelling of Hades and Persephone. Nothing is at it seems. All is dark, and all is NOT fair in love and war.
P.S. I did mention this is a dark romance, right? So in lieu of traditional trigger warnings, you know yourself best and may proceed with caution.
Four years later and a wedding
“Power is not given to you. You have to take it.” Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
I spent the last four years at an all-girls boarding school. The Sisters of Mercy, more like purgatory, nestled between the Canadian border and Lake Champlain. Adam Huntley stranded me on Isle La Motte. An island with one bridge and seasonal access. He shipped me north as close to the Canadian border as he could without validating my passport. I think he was secretly afraid I’d find a way across the border once the injuries in my feet healed. There wasn’t a hateful word strong enough to describe how I felt about that man, despite his strong jaw, patrician nose, and eyes so intense he made the nuns contemplate sin on the rare occasion he visited.
Four times in four years.
I spun the promise ring on my finger feeling the jagged edges now smooth, given the time I had to get used to this…situation.
Over time, I listened to my peers prattle on about the happiest day of their life. Pending nuptials. Unrealistic fantasies. Most were arranged by their parents, the odd guardian or two, even a Russian oligarch. We never heard from the girls who left the Sisters of Mercy with stars in their eyes and hopes filled with flowers, pearls, lace, and fanfare. Maybe balloon arches, and evening fireworks, or a silly bet placed with their loving and doting fiancé.
Since the island had restricted internet access, it had been a great unsolved mystery, until today.
Today, I nursed a hangover, and an ulcer the size of Lake Champlain downing pink chalky shit to keep from throwing up the mimosa I’m not of legal age to drink. I dry heaved in the car. In the bathroom. In the basket next to the confessional amid tittering smiles of my hair and makeup team thinking I was excited for the night to come.
Or possibly pregnant.
Apparently, eighteen-year-old virgins were a novelty.
The thoughts circling my head like a toilet bowl made me ill.
Sequestered away with a bunch of nuns in the woods, I might as well have been in a Victorian novel. For the longest time, I thought my biggest threat had been bears. Boys were banned from the campus as well as my access to them – teaching staff included. I didn’t have friends at school, mostly because of the whispers of being Adam Huntley’s ward, now bride. I should have known. The biggest threat had always been the same. The man himself.
I felt like the bride of Frankenstein and after reading so much fan fic in the dark on a stolen ereader passed around like more men than Mondays…well, I kind of wished there was an alternative ending to my story–but there wasn’t.
I avoided the staff of wedding preppers who speculated I might be knocked up by the dark prince. A baby. That was so far down on my list of things to avoid like the plague. I had ninety-nine problems. A baby wasn’t going to be one of them. Survival mode didn’t allow for anything else and if I could have gotten my hands on some birth control, I would have been popping it like Skittles.
The flowers smelled cloying, as if anticipating a funeral. I finally had a strand of pearls perfect for clutching. The shiny perfect gems of clam spit choked me. The lace itched like pins and needles. The only fanfare happening were the silent screams inside my head, and definitely no cheap balloon arches. There wasn’t enough alcohol and opiates in the world to get me through today. None of my schoolmates from the last four years had been invited. Adam didn’t think they were worthy enough. It didn’t matter anyway since I didn’t have a single thread of contact left.
It always came back to him. The man who would be my husband in just a few short hours. The man who waited until my eighteenth birthday to send me an iPad with the Wi-Fi password, limited internet, a selection of interesting books to read, along with a box of inappropriate toys to prepare me for today. Did you ever see a shocked nun’s face after being caught googling anal play and butt plugs on the school’s moderated internet network?
Yeah, me either until about a month ago.
My knees were still sore after saying about a thousand Hail Marys.
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