Jameson Fox

By: Nina Levine

“I take it our honeymoon is canceled.” She appears anything but disappointed.

“Yes. Something’s come up at work. Once I’ve got it under control, I’ll look into a weekend away to replace the honeymoon.” Bill’s eyes will be on us, and I know he’ll be looking to see us take some time away alone.

She undoes her seat belt. “My weekends are busy, Jameson. That may not work.”

“It’ll have to work.”

With a purse of her lips, she gives me one last annoyed look before gathering her belongings and standing.

Adeline has been particularly argumentative today, from the minute she told me not to enter her dressing room this morning, to the minute she engaged in a pointless conversation with me on the way here. Although she’s barely said a word to me after that conversation, I felt every word she didn’t say.

She keeps it to herself, but I sense every ounce of tension vibrating off her. The time I’ve spent with her the past few months has taught me to spot it.

Proposing our marriage contract to Adeline wasn’t something I did without a great deal of consideration. After shortlisting five women for the marriage, I believed her to be the best option. I’ve since discovered the issue with marrying a woman you don’t know intimately: you can’t foresee the problems that will arise from who they are underneath the mask they wear in public.

Adeline’s mask is perfect.

She embodies everything I’m attracted to in a woman.

Strength, determination, grit, confidence.

Not to mention beauty and an easy way of getting on with people.

That ability, however, does not extend to me.

She can barely stand us being in the same room.

This wasn’t news to me.

The fact I haven’t been able to change that has been news to me.

I didn’t predict that outcome correctly.

I assumed three months of working together to convince everyone that we were in love would end with her coming around to me. At least enough for us to live together for a year with some semblance of friendliness and civility.

It escapes me why she won’t let go of her issues and just get on with the job at hand, but she seems intent on carrying on with her hostility and making both our lives difficult.

Adeline’s mask is firmly off when she’s around me these days, and hell if it wasn’t hiding a whole storm of problems that could ruin my chance of inheriting Bill’s company if I don’t manage the fuck out of them.

I exhale a long breath and rake my fingers through my hair as my phone rings.

Pulling it out, I see it’s my mother calling.

I answer the call, putting the phone to my ear while I follow Adeline off the jet. “Hi.”

“Oh good,” she says, “I wasn’t sure I’d catch you two before you leave for Rome.”

“We’ve had a change of plans. Rome has been canceled. I have to head into the office instead.”

“Oh, Jameson. Why? Surely your work can wait. This is your honeymoon. Adeline must be so disappointed.”

“My work can’t wait,” I say. Then, changing the subject, I ask, “How are you?” She was tired last night after a long day at the wedding and reception.

“I didn’t call to talk about me, darling. I called to see how you and Adeline are. It’s not every day my son, who swore he’d never get married, gets married. I’m dying to know everything.”

I’ve done a good job of containing my mother’s excitement over my marriage throughout the last three months, but now Adeline and I are married I haven’t got a hope in hell of containing it any longer.

She isn’t aware the marriage is fake.

I’m not proud of myself for this.

Lying to my mother isn’t something I’ve ever done.

Until now.

The only people who know the truth are Hudson and Adeline’s best friend, Natalie. We agreed to keep it to just these two because the less who know, the better.

“Adeline is good,” I say as I watch my wife slide into the back seat of the car, my eyes glued to her legs.

“Pfft, Jameson, that tells me nothing about how she is. I really should have done a better job of teaching you how to get in touch with your feelings. I want to know how happy she is to finally be alone with you and how excited she is for your honeymoon.” She stops abruptly. “You are still going to take a honeymoon, aren’t you?”

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