"What the hell is wrong with you!?" My father asked me, I swear, for the tenth time. Here I was, back in his office and sitting in a chair while he paced back and forth, scolding me for not returning home last night. What was I? Fourteen?

"You've already asked me that like, ten times already." I sighed.

"It's been four times, and I wouldn't have to keep asking if you gave me an answer the first three times!" His dark brown eyes glared at me, and I just rolled my own. Sure, I could be more respectful and all, but if he was going to treat his 24 year old daughter like she was 14? Then all bets were off. "Where exactly were you!? Do you realize that until you marry, it is beyond dangerous outside!?"

"Look, I was fine, nothing happened, just got a bit tipsy and slept it off at the nearest hotel." I explained. Lying to my father for a couple years had been somewhat of a bad habit. He and I for some reason never seemed to see eye-to-eye anymore. I missed the days that we did though, and I did hope that we could get back to that... that was until he announced his plans, which, destroyed all my life entirely.

"You sure!? No strange men following you around?" he pried a bit further, annoying me again. I guess he had every right too, I mean, I was his only child. What got me was that he wasn't asking because he was worried for my safety, but for the safety of my upcoming marriage.

"Positive." I gritted my teeth.

"You are never to do such things again! Are we clear!?" he stated, pshh! Like that would stop me.

"Crystal." I stood up, not wanting to be in this room anymore with the man I no longer wanted to be associated with. "May I go?"

He eyed me carefully, then finally huffed. "Go." Oh, I only wished I could dismiss him as easily as he did me. This was crazy, and I felt as if I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs and pull all my hair out.

"Thank-you." I replied sarcastically as I turned on my heels and headed for the doorway, keeping my tone a cold as possible.

"There is one thing though."

I stopped. I didn't need to look at him to take an order. I stayed silent, my back facing him.

"What?"

"Tomorrow you will attend dinner. You will dress nicely, and you will be on your best behavior."

"Why is that?" I finally peered over my shoulder to see him.

"You're fiance' and his family want to meet you."

You got to be shitting me.

XxX

My room. At least I was in my own damn room, away from it all. It was a simple place really, but I loved it. I had my full full sized bed, puffy covers to boot. My mother actually used to scold me for having so many pillows as well. I smiled softly, remembering the sweet memory. I had a desk with a laptop, a bookshelf overflowing with books and a small patio with huge tall windows. Everything came rushing back within an instant and I growled.

"God! Of all fucking things on my to do list, meeting my 'arranged' future husband is not one of them!" I growled to myself, a bit loudly though. I didn't care, I was in my room, windows open letting in a cool breeze. My father always said it was dangerous out there, in the woods that my eyes were memorized by. I studied them carefully not understanding or caring for what he had drilled into me after all these years. I still hated him, hated the fact that I was in this situation. I wasn't scared of a 'little' wooded area.

"If I didn't know any better, I would think you were upset."

"Oh really? What in the hell gave you that idea?" I asked, turning around to meet the only face in this entire world that I was delighted in seeing. Blonde hair, blue eyes, tall, good looking. "What are you doing here Eric? I thought you wouldn't be back for quite some time." I asked him, walking out and leaning my back against the railing of my patio. I eyed him carefully, still a bit annoyed.

"Well, for one, you're cold eyes."

"Well you heard what I said right? Should be obvious as to why I'm royally pissed." I watched him smile that sweet old smile of his as he met me face to face outside. He was a mer few inches from me, but I didn't care.

"Actually, I didn't. I was coming to see you when I heard your loud cursing. I kind of rushed it at that and didn't hear the rest. What have I missed while I have been gone?" he asked me, as he tucked some of my loose hair behind my ear. I felt my face soften at his touch. I guess I didn't realize just how much he soothed me or how much I missed him. Having to tell him and admit my future once again overwhelmed me. I stood up and threw my arms around his neck, and just hugged him. He seemed shocked at first, but his arms quickly found their way around my waist as he held me.

"My life is over, Eric." I whispered.

"I'm sure your exaggerating." he cooed.

"No. No I'm not. I'm..." I felt my throat get tighter. "I'm engaged." I pulled him closer.

He was silent for a long while, never removing his arms though, which I was grateful for.

"To whom?" he finally asked, his voice shaky.

"I... I don't know who he is."

Eric pulled back sharply, his eyes seem to hold a flair of anger. "You don't know!?"

"I've never met him, Eric." I pleaded with my brown eyes. "I didn't care to remember his name as father was speaking to me of the arrangement. I got pissed, and drank myself into a depressing state out in town." I searched his eyes, knowing quite well his heart was troubled at the words I spoke. I knew he loved me, and I loved him too, at least, I thought I did. His hands gently moved to my arms and he gently ran them up and down, in a way to soothe me I guess. It helped a bit. He kept his emotions in check and I couldn't read his expressions anymore.

"I'll talk to your father."

"It's of no use." I sighed, looking down. "He explained that we are failing financially. Marriage to this man and entering his family I guess is the only way I will be taken care of... and him as well."

"He's using you to gain his finances back! How dare him!" he shouted in anger. The sudden roar from his chest made me step back in hesitation. I had only seen him made a handful of times in all the years I had known him.

Each time I had wished I would never have to witness it again.

"Eric..." I whispered. ".. please... your scaring me." I pleaded, taking a step back away from him. He narrowed his eyes at me, but I saw his expression quickly turn to regret at my fear.

"I'm so sorry, Alex.." he whispered. He hated how he lost control sometimes. It was always so sudden, like a raging fire that exploded out of the blue. I waiting, not moving, as he approached me once again and his hand gently reached out to touch my cheek. "I didn't mean to frighten you. I just..."

"I know." I responded before he could continue. He nodded and knew I did understand. This was just as hard for him as it was for me.

XxX

A pounding at the door of Elliot's office caused him to groan in annoyance. "Enter." his voice answered. Eric entered. Shifting in his chair, he avoided eye contact at first, thinking of ways to explain what was happening.

"You betrayed me, Elliot." Eric's cold hard voice spoke, which made him glare at him in response.

"I have done no such thing." He ran his hand through his greying hair and used his desk as a support to stand to his feet. "You were gone, and I had not given my consent yet. There was no words binding my daughter to you." He watched as Eric came walking up.

"I love her!" he growled, slamming his fists onto Elliots' desk. "How could you, a father figure to me, deny me of what I know should be mine!?"

"I owe you nothing" Elliot glared, his voice stern. "I was handed an offer, one which you could never match up to."

"Does her happiness mean nothing to you!? How could you use her for your gain!?" he asked in bitterness. Elliot watched the young man before him and pitied him. He was too immature to understand his reasoning. Too foolish to even realize the situation at hand.

"I am protecting her!" Elliot stated, wanting to end the argument right then and there.

"You are doing the complete opposite!" Eric glared, straightening up, fists clenched. "You'll regret ever making her do this. She will never forgive you."

Elliot knew he was right about that, but he had accepted the consequences long ago. "So be it."

XxX

I looked at myself in the mirror, sick to my stomach. There I was, all dressed in a sexy, elegant black dress. It hugged my curves nicely, well, at least making it seemed as if I had curves to call my own. The dress dipped down in a low v-neck as I hung a thing of silver jewels around my neck. My hair down and curly, actually tamed this night though, my make-up at done and elegant, I felt beautiful.

But for all the wrong reasons.

I felt trapped inside this home, this room, this dress. I felt as if I was struggling to breathe, afraid of what I might see tonight in the dinning area. Was he handsome? Was he sweet? Mean? Gentle? Rough? Did he actually share my feelings of betrayal?

I hated this. I hated my father. I hated him.

How could I come to love such a man, that I have never even met? He probably had a lover of his own anyways... and would that deter him from wanting to pursue a good life with me? Would he hate me?

So many thoughts engulfed me with my emotions of despair. I needed a drink. Fast.

I quickly moved around my room to grab a bottle of wine from my small fridge, pulling off the lid and quickly placing it to my lips. I tipped it up and felt the cold, numbing liquid run down my throat. I closed my eyes and pulled it back down, feeling a bit more on edge.

Did this man drink?

I had a bad habit lately of drinking my sorrows away, which I knew would come back to bite me in the ass one day. Oh well, I didn't care too much about that. In this moment, it's what I needed, and what gave me the courage to make my way down the flight of stairs to meet my father in hallway in front of the dinning room.

"Ahh, there you are Lizzy." he spoke softly, as I could see his relief in the fact I actually did as he asked and showed up. "You look beautiful." he whispered and then quickly turned to a couple standing beside him. "Esther, David, this is my daughter, Alexandria Elizabeth Cross. Lizzy, this is the Andersons, David and his wife, Esther." he smiled softly as she bowed lightly in respect.

"It's a pleasure, Alexandria." Esther spoke first, holding out her hand. I trembled as my hand went out, memorized by the woman who stood before me. Her eyes and skin seemed to glow a radiant glow, her long dark hair fell down straight against her back. She was dressed in fine green silk, showing off her voluptuous curves. I was in awe at such beauty and it only made me wonder how handsome her son would be.

I shook it and then went to shake David Andersons hand. I couldn't believe just how handsome he was. Sharp eyes, a tight jaw and a full strong body... he looked as if he was a warrior that came fresh from the battlefield. His eyes though, I notice, held something familiar about them. "You are as beautiful as your father described. Our son will be pleased and blessed to have such a beauty for a wife."

A wife.

My heart stopped, my chest tightened, and I could no longer speak. Words were all lost from me as I tried my hardest to think clearly. I was too be a wife... to a man I didn't know.

I instantly felt sick, and yet I held my ground. I wanted to scream, yet I stayed calm.

"Come, have a seat at my table. Now, where is your son?"

"He's running late, I do apologize. He should be here soon, I'm sure." Esther quickly answered, but I saw the dark look and anger in my future father-in-law's eyes. Elliot ushered them into the room, and I, feeling sick, didn't move. My eyes focused on the ground as if I was going to find my peace in it.

"Lizzy, what are you doing?" my father asked, eyeing me carefully. "Come sit."

"Um..." I had to think of something quick! "I must use the restroom, if you don't mind. I'll return in a moment."

"You sure your alright?"

"Just peachy." I lied.

Nodding he went into the dining room, shutting the doors behind him. I couldn't do this! My heart was beating so damn fast! My blood wanted to freeze in place, but I couldn't do it. Not now, not ever! I turned and found my feet were pushing me out of the front door of my home, as I stopped suddenly and removed my heels, then continued barefoot into god knows where.

I just couldn't be here anymore.

XxX

I tried to catch my breath as I stood by the railing on the pier. The water splashed against the sides, crashing and causing soothing sounds of peace. Normally they would help me, but my insides felt twisted and torn. My life was over. I tried my best though, to calm my thoughts and my body after that long run. My feet throbbed, stepping on who knows what, but I didn't care. It wasn't of any importance.

My chest rising and falling quickly soon returned to normal, as I looked up at the night sky. I was alone, and my shoes dangled in my hands. Why did this have to happen to me? I wish I had some rum.

"Fancy meeting you here."

I quickly turned a sharp eye to focus on the tall man that walked up to me. I felt heat rise to my cheeks, my heart pounding faster. Damn, and even sober this man had made my body react. Why the hell was that?! I could feel my body getting hot just from the words and how they sounded oh so sweet flowing out of his lips...

"Likewise." I quickly spoke, shaking off the thoughts that just entered my mind. "You stalking me?"

"You wish." he smirked. Ahhh so he was being charming tonight. Hmmm, maybe he was more alive during the evenings.

"I beg to differ." I quickly looked away, not really too amused by his gimmicks. I leaned onto the railing a bit more, taking in a deep breath, knowing his eyes were watching me carefully. "Something wrong?"

"Nothing of any importance." he walked closer to me, standing beside me and leaned himself against the top rail. "Why are you so finely dressed and out here alone? Do you have a date?" he asked me. I scoffed.

"Like I would put the effort into it." Looking over at him I noticed he was in a suit. His tie was loose, around his neck though, and his top a bit undone. "Looks as if you had a good date tonight though, was she beautiful?" I asked. I wasn't really too curious I guess, but something inside of me wanted to know. What did this man find attractive?

"Well, she was, but she didn't please me as I thought she would." he answered honestly. My stomach sunk a bit, but I pushed it aside, not wanting to even think as to why it did. "So why are you out here alone? Last I saw you was in a bar, drinking your life away, wearing a oversized shirt and a pair of jeans. Tonight though, you wear a sexy dress that even tempts me."

I blushed. "Blunt are we?" I narrowed my eyes at him, glad it was dark out so he couldn't see me blush like a little teenage girl. "I have no reason to want to tempt you, so drop it."

"That's not what I remembered you being like before." he smirked. I groaned inside and wished that night would disappear from my memory.

"I regret that night." I lied, but didn't want to lead him on any further. I was bound to another man, and I didn't have a say in the matter.

"So you say." he took in my words. I felt his eyes travel down my body, causing a shiver to go up my spine. His eyes fixed on my feet. "Would you like a ride?" he asked suddenly, and I looked over at him in question. His eyes still bore into my soul and I felt a bit defensive.

"Don't you remember what happened last time? Why offer?"

"You need one don't you?" he hadn't lost his grin.

"I'm not drunk this time, so I don't know why your offering still."

"I know your not. I can smell you're sober."

He could... smell me being sober? He hadn't even been close enough to me to know for sure if I smell of alcohol or not! How did he do that?

"So you see me a whore then!?" I glared. He only sighed.

"No, I merely wished to give you a ride." I watched him study me some more, his eyes luring me into whatever trick he had planned. "Your not one to trust easily are you?" he asked me, and I stiffened.

"Says the man who took me in for a night, then treated me like shit the next morning." I stated, my eyes still searching his own. I still couldn't help but to be drawn to this man... everything about him said pure sexiness, yet there was something else calling her... something inside of her.

Although, I wouldn't forget how he treated me.

"I had a lot going on." he admitted, finally dropping his gaze and looked out back at the waves. "The water calms me." he began. "It's a strange soothing feeling, makes me feel at peace... even though my world is nothing but that."

I didn't understand why he was telling me this. I wanted to say I didn't care, but I knew part of me did and was curious still. "I understand." I whispered, looking out at it myself. A strange sense of warmth washed over me as he slid a bit closer to me.

"Do you now? Please, do share." his musky voice sent my body into fits. Why did he have such control over me? I hated it. Sighing I looked at him.

"Apparently there are two clans or what not that are at war. My family is in the middle, and my father has made some arrangements to join forces with one or something like that. There are other things, but I don't wish to speak of that."

"Sounds like you need a good distraction." his smile returned and I could feel my heart leap.

"Sorry, I don't really think jumping into your bed would solve anything." I stated flatly, trying to hide my longing. I didn't know this man, and I really should be careful... especially with how me makes me feel.

"Always assuming the worst of me." he shook his head and stood up straight, holding out a hand to me.

"After what you just told me about your little... 'date', what did you expect?"

"A chance to prove myself. I can show you a good time, without all the sex."

I studied him for a moment, straightening myself up as well and crossing my arms. My eyes saw he meant it, and I didn't know why, but I trusted him. Sighing, I gave in, taking his hand, causing a chill and spark to run between the both of us. I could see it in his glowing brown eyes, he felt the same thing I did.

"So... where to?"

"You'll see my dear." he smirked. Oh hell, I knew then I was going to regret this.

XxX

Daniel watched closely as I danced. I could feel his eyes on me, but I didn't care. The music loud, a few drinks in me, and I was off. I felt so free right now, getting lost in the throbbing beat of the music. He was right to bring me here, but didn't do much dancing himself. I saw women passing by, eyeing him carefully throughout the night, and even flirting with him constantly... but he did nothing but look at me with those amazing eyes of his.

I felt a bit flustered at first, but I didn't let it stop me. He bought me the first round of drinks, and then I continued with only a few more, just enough to relax. I wasn't planning on drinking away my sorrows tonight, I wanted to throw them out of my soul, grasp for happiness and let loose! The beat then changed, one to a more grinding song, and I felt those around me closing in, and I slowed down, feeling a bit uncomfortable as a few men began to press up against me. I wanted to tell them to fuck off, but a sudden force drew me to someone, and I instantly felt the peering eyes disappear.

Arms around my waist, a strong build pressed against my back, I felt at ease, and then turned my head to look at the one who held me.

Daniel.

His eyes dark, his breathing a bit labored, his sharp features drawing me into him. He leaned forward, his lips stopped just before my ear. "You alright?" he asked softly, and even though I couldn't hear a word in this large building, I could hear him. It was as if his voice could reach to my very soul.

"Yes." I whispered back, hoping that he could read my lips.

"Come with me." he spoke again, and I heard it clear as day. I allowed him to lead me out of the crowd, to the bar side where he ordered another drink.

"I didn't realize you encouraged my drinking habit." I smirked. His lips curved into a small smile. A glass was placed before me, and I looked down to see just what he had ordered me.

"It's water."

"Oh." I blushed, but tried to hide it. Maybe he would think it was just because of all the dancing. "Thanks."

"You seemed to enjoyed yourself."

"Very much."

"I should get you back home."

"Already?" I asked shocked. I didn't want to go back just yet! … I would then have to face my father once again, and I was so not ready for such a thing.. "I'm not going just yet."

"Well princess, my car, my rules." he lost his smile and stood. "Let's go."

"No."

"What?" he glared at me. "Why the hell not!?"

"Why the hell can't we stay or do something else?!" I asked sharply. Damn, now he was acting like I was a child!

"It's not up to you." he said darkly, and grabbed my hand. I pulled it free, glaring myself at him. "What the hell is wrong with you!?" I asked him, rubbing my wrist. He actually had grabbed it pretty hard, and it hurt a bit. "You don't control me! I am NOT a damn child!" I snapped, turned and grabbed the water, took a drink, and then as I sat it down I glared it once more. Then I just left him there and headed towards the dance floor once again.

Damn him.

Daniel cursed under his breath, knowing he was over reacting. But as soon as he saw those other men surround her, and had a look of lust in their eyes, his body reacted, and he became angry and full of rage. He knew why, but couldn't believe it was so. He didn't find her the best looking, compared to the women he had been with, including the woman he was with before this. He didn't think that what he felt could really exist, that what his parents had told him all these years were true. One thing was for sure though, and he knew all too well.

He wanted her.

Author's Note: So you liked the story huh? Well I hope this was appeasing to your wants! I have a crazy turn in this one, so review and let me know what you think! It's going to truly be interesting! :) Thanks so much! Until next time!

LeRato