Steel doesn't know how she feels. But aparrently EVERYONE ELSE does.


1. Childish

She was right there. In the room while the arrangements were made. She wasn't there, living, but in her mother's womb. “And your son will marry our daughter at the nineteenth of July, twenty years from now,” He father said in a tone that would make refusal a very hard thing to even think of.


The other couple nodded. And a contract was signed. This wasn't the last time it was seen, both she and her betrothed had to sign it at age sixteen for it to be functional. “They will be raised in the old ways?”


“Yes, of course. It's improper for a Raven to be raised with not.” Her mother nodded in agreement with her her words. With that, the Shrikes signed the marriage contract with the Ravens.



Eighteen Years Later



Steel frowned at her parents. “What did you guys want?” She sat at the edge of the uncomfortable flower-print sofa that sat in the big living room. One that showed off the wealth of her parents with the real gold accents in photo frames and the super ugly million dollar art piece that hung over the massive fireplace.


“You're getting married.” she laughed, but after noticing the look on her father's face, stopped.


“What?” there was a level of fear and apprehension in her voice.


“You're getting married, tomorrow.” Her mother said, with a mile on her face and dollar sins in her eyes.


“Nope,” she said boldly, eying her father. He got a scowl on his face at her refusal.


“You will,” he ordered forcefully.


“Not,” Her father stood and went to stand over her.


“What was that, Steel?”


“No,” Her father's hand flew across her face roughly and she felt the sting and tears start to pool in her eyes. She turned her face away. She was seventeen, too old to childish tears.


“You're getting married, Steel.” She thought about it. If she were slapped again, the tears would fall. So she nodded. How easily are the prideful defeated?




“Do you take Steel Infelicity Raven to be your lawfully wedded wife?”


“I do,”


“Do you take Marks Waters to be your lawfully wedded husband?” Steel looked around, for anything that could get her out. She had to be carried to her current spot, for heavens sake.


“She certainly does not!” A rich voice screeched from the other side of the room, causing all heads to turn that way. There was a woman with chin-length dark hair and angry green eyes. She stormed over to Steel and grabbed the girl's arm.


“Ow!” Her grip loosened.


“Sorry, honey.” she grinned for a moment before turning her head towards Steel's parents. “YOU!” she accused, marching towards them with Steel in her grip. “She isn't even allowed to date! And if she was, never to lower filth!” she scolded. “You've done a horrible job and are relieved from service! Pack your things and leave the Raven estate by Tuesday!” Steel flinched at her tone. “And you, come with me. I will answer every question my daughter has,” she gave Steel a large toothy smile that could have blinded a man.


Steel stopped. “I don't know you,”


The woman's eyes narrowed. “They never told you?”


“Told me what?”


“I am your real mother, Steel. Jeez, I might reposes some items if the job was that good.” Steel took a step back and searched this strange woman for signs her her clear insanity. She sighed. “I would prefer to do this without the big audience, I'm already running away from the press as it is.” Another smile. Before dragging Steel from the room and outside of the church. “distasteful,” she muttered, getting into the open car.


Steel found herself locked in the car with the woman. “My name is Kimberly Olivia Raven. I am your mother. Not the filth that raised you,” Kimberly's eyes strayed to the big white church.


“They weren't filth,” Steel mumbled. Kimberly's eye turned soft and sympathetic.


“But they were. They raised you as their own, and that was not part of the contract. They only wanted you two married, so they could enact the Romeo clause of our contract.” Kimberly spat.




“When we gave them parenting rights, there was a contract. When you were eighteen, you would come live with us and have a formal engagement with Dagger. You two were to sign the contract after your first date, but only if you liked him. We do respect if one of you are homosexual or differed in ways of no compromise. But,” Kimberly clapped, “Now that this shocking offense had occurred, you will live with us now and get a longer time of acquaintanceship with Dagger!” Kimberly gave a blinding smile.


“That is... not cool.” Steel said slowly, again, checking the woman for signs of insanity. Kimberly sighed, and pulled out a cell phone and started doing something on it.


“He looks like this,” Kimberly handed her the phone. Steel stared at the picture on the small screen. He was very attractive in Steel's brown eyes with short brown hair and perfect teeth. That did make the situation better. “He's eighteen now, and you could meet and your wedding will have younger pictures!” She continued excitedly.


Steel shook her head. “I don't know him,”


“Steel, I know. You barely know me. But you've got two and a half years to decide if you don't want him. Although we'd like for you to like him, if you don't, we're not going to force you into marriage. But he knows that if he hurts you, Oliver will rip him apart.”


“Who's Oliver?”


“Your younger brother,” Steel gaped at the woman. “He's sixteen and already working in the family business. He really wants to meet you too. I think you'd like him. Not that I know you well, but he really loves you and hasn't met you.”




“”I have not one idea. James, can you take us to the house?” Moments later the car started and Steel still wasn't quite sure what was going on.

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