An Unarranged Love

Maribel is arranged to marry one of the richest and most handsome sons of the Erickson family - Charles Erickson III. She has the life and fiance that most women in the countryside would be envious of, but her heart is beholden to a different man - Nicholas Watson. When Nicholas is forced into going off to war, Maribel must deal with her pain in secret. How will she love her future husband when her heart isn't in it?

"For the Love and Loss: On Dublin Street competition"


1. 1

Mother drew in my corset tightly, causing me to take a sharp intake of wind. "Mo-ther!" I exclaimed, drawing her name into two elongated syllables. "Must you be so rough?" I rubbed my ribs - they had begun to ache from the force being applied.

"Darling, you have gained a whole half inch on your waist since the last ball, and that's simply unacceptable! Now you must deal with the consequences," she scolded, pulling the strings even tighter on her second round of torture.

I pouted, intaking my stature in the full length mirror. My off-shoulder pale yellow and ivory gown suited me well, showing off my true hourglass shape. The revelation that I had gained an inch in my waist region hit me like bricks, so I sucked in. I pulled up my plunging neckline, trying to cover up any parts that were exposed. 

Mother frowned at me and tugged the neckline down past its starting point, causing my chest to poke out the top. I moaned and pulled it back up in frustration. "Don't you want to look your finest for Charles?" Mother inquired, placing a hand over her heart. It seemed as if the mere mention of Charles Erickson III would make any of the women and girls in my town melt to their knees. 

And "how fortunate", I quote from my dearest acquaintance Joanne, "would it be to marry the man every girl in Beaumont (our town's name) would die just to be looked at by? You'd be the envy of every female within miles of this place, not to mention the wealth! Can you imagine! The Ericksons own hundreds of hundreds of acres."

Was that all that individuals ever worried about these days? Wealth, acres of land, and materials? How could the ones I loved so dear be such, such... puddles? Shallow, is what I perceive of them. I could care less if my husband came from little means or if he was the ruler of the land. 

After Mother powdered my fair skin one last time and made sure my hair was perfectly pinned in place, she smiled at me with her pudgy little face. "Are you ready, my darling?"

"Yes," I lied, forcing a half hearted smile. She led me from my dressing chamber down the hall. A proud smile was spread across her face, while I, on the other hand, felt like vomiting my morning's meal. 

I already heard the bustle of people down below. The house was teeming with excitement for Charles' and my pre marital dinner. Our parents had corresponded with each other to arrange a dinner as our sort of "coming out" debut. It was to announce our courtship and that we were engaged to be married. 

"Papa," I had whined, very childish of me if I do say so now, "I'd prefer something smaller with less people."

Papa petted my head like I was his little sheep dog. "Oh, Maribel, can you not be thankful for what we have done for you and Charles? One day you will thank me for this."

I didn't see myself thanking him for it any time soon.

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