Title: What Matters Most

Chapter One: The News

"I can't believe this. I can't freakin' believe this."

That was exactly how I reacted when my father told me 'the news'.

'The news' being that I was to marry some guy who I'd never met before in my life, for a stupid business deal.

Oh, and apparently I was marrying him on that same day.

"I know it's last minute, and I apologize for the inconvenience. If I had the choice, I would have requested more time for you to get to know each other naturally, but it seems that the directors' son was quite adamant about it happening as quickly as possible." My father had a sad look in his eyes, and I could see that he wasn't happy with this arrangement either.

"Well, then just say no." I offered, standing up and off our couch. "N-O. You know, it's quite an easy word to say. You say it to me all the time actually." I felt sarcasm dripping into my words, but I couldn't help myself. I knew that this was the worst way to ask my father for something, but I was so upset at this point that I didn't really care.

My father's gaze darkened instantly, and I couldn't say that I was surprised. "Young miss," That's what my father called me when he was angry, "Sit down this instant." I felt helpless. I felt that my once free wings were being chained down. But I couldn't do anything, and that's what angered me the most. I couldn't do freakin' anything. I sat down with a huff. My parents were sitting across from me, dual white leather couches facing each other with a fireplace at the end of it. When football season came 'round, me and my friends would push the couches together and watch the T.V. above the fireplace. Everything was so happy at that time. This time, not so much.

"I understand your feelings. But I'm afraid this is for the best." For the best, he said. Ha! I couldn't help but let out a snort of indignation. Like he knew what the best was. The best for ME, would be me not marrying some random guy I'd never met before. That was the best for ME. He was talking about the best for himself, for the business. When had I ever been once included in that picture?

I couldn't say anything though, so I just silently fumed and gritted my teeth together in a rather un-lady like manner. My mother gave me a pointed look, knowing I had that bad habit, and I stopped instantly. My mom may have been a push-over when it came to my dad's wishes, but she wasn't when it came to me.

"The dress and everything have already been prepared. The maids will help you get ready." I didn't say anything. I didn't dare open my mouth lest profanities come gushing out. "That's all." My father got up, leaving the room at a brisk pace.

"Dear, please, try to understand where your father's coming from. He doesn't like this arrangement either, but it's for the best." She reached across the coffee table and rested her hands on my hands that were folded into my lap. "For his best." I muttered darkly, biting my lip to stop the tears from coming out. Speaking definitely wasn't a smart thing to do. It just made me want to spill out all my emotions at once. "Oh honey. Please." My mother looked at me with pleading eyes, and I looked away, nodding slowly. I couldn't do this. But I couldn't tell her no either. She was my one weakness. "Oh, dear." She got up and went around the table and hugged me, her familiar scent bringing me back to my childhood, when I would get a 'boo-boo' and she'd wrap me in her arms and kiss the pain away.

I don't think any amount of kisses would take this pain away.

So the morning went on, and I only half-understood everything that was being done. The wedding was at night, at seven, in a non-denominational place. Then the reception would be held for a small amount of people, all business associates I assumed, at a hotel. And it was winter already, so it was dark by five.

So it was at six-thirty and I was standing in front of the grand-looking building in my wedding dress when I realized what was happening.

I was getting married.

To someone I didn't even know, at that.

I couldn't do this. I couldn't do this AT ALL. I thought I would be able to put a brave face on for my mom, but as I stood there, the escorts coming out of the limo to help me into the building, I realized that it just wasn't possible. It wasn't possible for me to get married to someone I didn't love.

"Young miss?" The escorts stopped and looked at me upon seeing my delay. That snapped me back to reality. "Huh? Oh, yes." I lifted up the front of my dress and the others lifted the tail and helped me up the steps. They opened the wooden double doors and escorted me down the hallway and into what I assumed was the dressing room. They were bustling around like madmen, and I felt so confined, like I was trapped in a cage, staring at my dolled-up self in the mirror almost hypnotically. I was starting to feel like I was going to throw up, there were just too many people. "Um, everyone." I spoke, turning and getting up. This somehow grabbed everyone's attention, and they all stopped and looked at me. "Can I have a moment alone?" I asked, shifting my weight uncomfortably. They paused for a second, before nodding and leaving the room. "Yes miss, as you wish." Was all they said.

I stood there, watching as they all left, and with one click of the door I realized that I was alone.

And now I had my chance.

I stared at myself in the vanity mirror one last time. My brown hair was swept up, my bangs delicately framing my face. The dress was beautiful, a little bit too done up for my taste, but beautiful none-the-less. It was strapless, and had intricate beading and detail all throughout it. A delicate real-diamond necklace was laced around my neck, rhythmically following the beat of my heart as I breathed. I gingerly placed my hands to my chest, closing my eyes as I lost myself to the rhythm.

This was what I had to do. My freedom was at stake. Listening to this sound was what was most important right now. I wasn't a sappy person, but right now I needed to listen to what my heart said.

And it said run. Run like you stole something.

So that's what I did. I opened the back window, cringing as I felt the icy blast of cold air caress my skin. I quickly grabbed the coat I had brought with me and jumped out of the window as discreetly as I could in a big white wedding dress. Worse come to worse, if someone saw me, I could just fall on the ground and match the snow perfectly, I thought.

I didn't know where I was going. I didn't know where I could go without my father finding me, but I just knew I needed to go. No one was going to decide my future but me. That was the one thing I knew for sure.

So, now, here I am, walking down a lonely highway in the middle of the night in a big wedding dress and coat, my hair already fallen from it's once beautiful and graceful bun. My breaths were coming out in steady, even puffs of smoke. And for once in my life, I felt free. That I could do anything, go anywhere, and not have to answer to anyone. And despite the freezing air that was only getting colder, it was honestly the nicest feeling in the world.

A/N -- You got it! I'M BACK!!! haha, NaNoWriMo's over, and so is my busy schedule. Well, sort of. x) This lately has been my guilty pleasure, but I'm going to really try and get back into Apathetic, So Pathetic and my other stories, but for now I really am enjoying working on this one. :) I hope you enjoy it too!