I'm obsessed with arranged marriages. My parents and a close family friend seriously considered putting me in one a few years ago, with the friend's son. He was a nice boy, but not my type. I'm stealing his first name, but not his personality. And yes, I have named characters after him before.

I will never write anything more than this. This is designed to make you wonder. If you want and you tell me first, you can write your own ending and post it. It does not bother me, but I want to read it.


"You may kiss the bride."

I watched my husband from under my veil. I had known about him all my life, but only met him twice before the wedding, and although he was kind, he was never terribly outspoken. And now, he was lifting my wedding veil and leaning down to kiss me.

He smiled sympathetically at me and leaned close to me. He paused just before his lips touched mine, and whispered, "I won't kiss you tonight, Katherine." He held his position for a few seconds, then straightened.

()()()()

I watched as Timothy removed his tie and jacket and hung them up neatly. He disappeared into the walk-in closet and reappeared moments later in jeans and a white t-shirt. I hadn't moved from my place on the bed.

He crossed his arms and stood there, watching me. I lifted the veil off and dropped it on the bed. My white dress rustled as I stood. Timothy was tall, and very slender, I realized. Certainly much taller than I was, and I was not an abnormally small person.

We stood there, neither of us saying a word, simply inspected each other. Suddenly, he reached out and touched the deep brown curl that was resting on my collarbone. "You're beautiful," he whispered. The statement was oddly clinical, nothing at all like what I had always dreamed of him telling me on my wedding night.

"Why didn't you kiss me?" I asked, almost inaudibly.

He dropped the curl. "I don't know," he said, frustrated. "I simply don't know. I intended to, you know. But you were looking up at me, so sweet and innocent, and I just couldn't."

I spun to look at the mirror. I frowned at my own reflection. I didn't feel sweet or innocent. At last, I answered, "You'll change your mind about that, you know."

He smiled at me. "Maybe.

()()()()

I curled up on the couch with my book, Timothy sitting in a chair not too far away. He was staring. Staring at me, to be precise. I peered over the book. He winked. I flushed.

"We'll never be lovers, Kate," he told me calmly.

I brought the book down from in front of my face. "Pardon?"

"You and I. We will never be lovers. Friends, yes, but always married in name only."

"After five months of marriage without even being kissed, I did wonder," I said trying to keep the hurt from my voice.

"We won't," he stated firmly.

I nodded and looked at my book again. "I have to help my sister with my nieces again," I mentioned. "Driving them to some church party after they get home from school tomorrow."

"I'll take you."

"Thanks."

"Don't take it personally," he burst out. "I don't mean any harm by it, Katie, it's just that we aren't compatible like that."

"I will take it less personally if you stop mentioning it," I said coldly. I snapped my book shut and stood. "Goodnight."

()()()()

I sat stiffly by Timothy's side as he handed my two teenage nieces some money. "Go inside and order for us, girls. Just a chocolate milkshake for your aunt, and a vanilla one for me."

The girls nodded cheerfully and skipped off. "Thanks, Uncle Tim!" one chirped.

Timothy slid one arm around my shoulder. "When's your birthday?"

"I turn nineteen on the fifth of May," I said shortly.

He stiffened. "You're very young."

"How old are you?

"Twenty-four."

"Not so much different."

He gently turned my face toward him. "Are you still upset, Katie?"

I pulled away and got out of the car. Timothy followed.

"Oh, Kate, don't be angry," he pleaded.

I swung around to face him. "Don't be angry?" I hissed. "When you practically told me I'm not good enough to be your wife?"

"That wasn't what I meant!" he protested, ignoring the looks we were getting. "I meant that our chemistry is all wrong. You're not much more than a child, Kate."

I grabbed his shirt collar and pulled him forward until every inch of my body was plastered to his. He gasped softly. I ignored him and twined my arms around his neck, standing on tip-toe to do it.

"We aren't compatible, are we?" I whispered into his ear. "We don't feel incompatible, Tim."

He sighed and wrapped his arms around me comfortably. "Katherine..." he breathed.

I fled the warmth of his arms for the bright lights of the restaurant.

()()()()

I smiled politely as Timothy led me out the door of the church hall and helped me into the car. I fastened my seatbelt and rolled down my window to let in the summer night air.

Tim started the car and drove away. After a long time, he admitted to me, "Maybe I was wrong, Kate."

"About what?" I asked tonelessly.

"You are a very beautiful girl," he said anxiously.

"Stop the car."

He pulled over. "What's wrong?"

I climbed out. "I'm not a little girl," I said. "You treat me like one, but I'm a grown woman." I began walking away.

"Kate!"

I spun and stormed over to his side of the car. I flung the door open and grabbed him by the shirt collar. "I am not a child, as you seem to think. I am Katherine, your wife, and whether you like it or not, you're attracted to me."

I slid my hand around his waist and unfastened his seatbelt. As soon as it was out of my way, I tentatively pressed a kiss to Tim's jugular. He gasped and leaned toward me, much to my delight. He moaned as I slid my arms around him and kissed his shoulder. I leaned up to French him as briefly as a French kiss can be executed.

Before he regained his wits, I had to have my final say. "I told you so, dummy."