Chapter 8-

The house was elegant, but also forbearing. Laney's heart raced and she couldn't still the trembling that seemed to control her limbs. Home. The word had once meant a safe haven, a place where the world couldn't reach her, but now this would be her home. Her father had made it clear that she was not to continuously return to her home.

The car came to a stop and she felt Josh's glance. This was not how she had ever imagined her wedding….or wedding night. Just thinking those sensitive words made her shake even harder. What, exactly, would Josh be expecting? And if he did want….intimacy, would she be prepared. In her entire life she had never even been kissed, she hadn't even been on a date! Now she was married though, to a man she barely knew.

Josh silently exited the car, and Laney let out a sigh of relief. And she let the tears begin to fall.

Josh strode away from the brightly decorated, 'Just Married', car. Emotions that he had never expected to feel flowed through him. These emotions were endangering the plans he had been setting so carefully. The vulnerability, the fear in Laney's eyes tugged at a part deep inside him. From the moment she had stepped onto the small aisle at the end of the church, he had begun to regret his hasty decision.

Now out of sight of Laney, he leaned against one of the high stone walls that surrounded his mother's gardens. His mother. Perhaps she had been right to lecture him, to leave. Doubts flooded his mind. He was married. Married to a girl who was barely a legal adult. How in the world had he allowed all of this to come about? After taking a deep breath, he turned. Everything he had done had been for his father.

Lost in her tears, Laney didn't know Josh had returned until he opened her door.

"Please, don't cry, Laney," he whispered. Fear and heartache lined his tired face. Afraid to upset her more, he just reached out and gently touched her cheek. "Please, Laney."

She lifted her dark lashes and studied him sadly. A gently sweep of her delicate hand wiped away some of the wetness from her cheeks. Silently, her soulful eyes simply watched him.

"Laney, I don't want to do anything to hurt you. Please, tell me what I can do to make things better?" he pleaded softly. The honesty in his eyes spoke to her.

A deep breath helped to boost her confidence, before she blurted out, "what are you expecting, Josh?"

His eyes widened at the abrupt question, but quickly understanding shown, his face softened. "Laney, I didn't come into this expecting anything. We barely know each other. Nothing will happen until we're both ready."

Laney nodded and Josh helped her out of the car. Quietly, Josh led her into the house.

"Your bedroom is upstairs, the second one on the right. All of your things are already there," Josh explained simply. "My room's directly across the hall from yours. I can give you a grand tour of the house tomorrow."

Laney nodded. Gracefully, she lifted the white silk of her lovely dress and began ascend the staircase. Josh watched from the foot of the stairs until she was out of sight.

The door was closed to the bedroom Josh had indicated. Carefully she turned the handle and let the door swing open. The room was large. Hardwood floors were covered my soft throw rugs; large windows allowed the setting sun to shine its last rays of light into the darkening room. A canopy bed was centered between the largest windows. Pink pillows and fluffy white coverlets clothed the queen-sized bed.

An armoire and a vanity sat on one wall, but at opposite ends, and two doors led off to a private bathroom and a walk-in closet. Piles of suitcases were loaded around the armoire and closet. Each of them matched the next. They had been a gift from her father.

With a sigh she stepped into the room and closed the door soundlessly behind her. A rustle from her many underskirts was the only sound that accompanied her movement. After a quick search she had located a pair of lounge pants and a non-descript t-shirt. With much difficulty she managed to unzip her wedding dress, the zipper was in the back, and swiftly change into the change of clothes.

Exhaustion clung to every part of her body, not just physically, but also mentally. She was desperately weary of the fear that had clung to her since her father's dramatic announcement.

……………………………

Laney had gone into her room two hours earlier, and Josh hadn't heard a sound since. Afraid to disturb her, he hadn't even gone to the second floor. His tuxedo was rumpled, but his churning emotions didn't allow him to be within Laney's vicinity.

With a sigh, he shoved himself off the couch and slowly climbed the stairs. He paused by Laney's door and listened to hear any sound of her occupancy of the room. It was completely silent. After a moment of hesitation, he quietly opened the door and peeked inside.

Laney lay across the bed, asleep. She had changed from her dress, but hadn't bothered to climb under the blankets.

Cautiously he entered the frilly room and approached the bed. Gently he lifted Laney. Then he threw back the blankets.

After carefully tucking Laney back into the bed, he turned on the small lamp on the bedside table and left the room.


Slightly shorter than I would've liked, but still I was fairly happy with this chapter. Definitely don't like it as much as the last, but overall it's okay. I didn't reread it, so please don't kill me if there are too many errors. lol. Please Review:)