"He looks so...rough around the edges," Lourdes plays with her expensive opal necklace. One of her admirers bought it for her a long time ago. The necklace looks like the ocean. It's the birthstone of the zodiac. It's clean, sophisticated and rare just like.
My friends have gathered in my living room after the matchmaker event. I can tell by how quiet everyone is that they seem worried about my new husband. My husband Ryder is over by the house robot. He's punching it because it isn't listening to what he says. Even up on Scale Mountain we had robots. He's acting really unsophisticated right now. It's kind of embarrassing. It's clear that my friends are a bit worried for me.
"I'm so sorry this happened," Lizabeth tells me.
Her sister and her seem like I've just lost a family member or something. They seem like they are in mourning. Lloyd puts on a smile probably trying to stay positive for me. Then there is Loreal. She is smiling as well but I think she's enjoying every moment of this.
She snickers a little bit, "This is a mess. You're supposed to be the High Liberty and you're married to an Aries. Look. He's about to fight the robot. Look."
She laughs. It annoys me that she's laughing at him honestly. I don't think Ryder is used to the robot. I don't think they have robots in Ram Country. They probably can't afford them. It's probably one of the poorest Zodiac nations besides the City of Crabs. The thing about the Cancers is they actually chose to be humble and live simple lives.
"You aren't helping," I tell her.
"I apologize. It's just...I married a Gemini. Everyone else supposedly married an Aquarius, right?" she asks looking around, "How did you manage to marry an Aries. I didn't think that was possible."
"It's rare," I explain, "Usually Libras only are compatible with Gemini and Aquarius."
"You should talk to the High Liberty about this. I hear they can override these things. There has to be some sort of mistake," Lourdes states.
I look over at Ryder. My friends are outraged. The fact that Loreal is so gleeful makes me realize just how serious this is. This never happened. Aries was the opposite on the Zodiac of Libra. Libras were everything that Aries was not. I understand how it looks. I have to put on a brave face.
I'm not going to let Loreal or the others shake my confidence right now.
"The matchmakers don't make mistakes."
Lourdes looks like she's about to cry, "Be reasonable. What if he...what if he beats you?"
"He's not going to beat me."
"Those people are aggressive people. You don't know that," Lourdes says.
"I hear when they are 8 years old they sent to a ring and have gladiator matches. Only the strong are allowed to hit puberty. The rest are killed," Lizabeth shakes.
Lourdes is tearing up with what her sister is saying. She's always been freaked out by things she couldn't control. Her way of dealing with situations was breaking out in tears. It gets worse when her sister Lizabeth starts comforting her. The two look at me as though I'm going to be next. It's getting a little ridiculous. I never heard that rumor but god knows what these people were really about. Right now it didn't matter. He was my husband. The matchmakers didn't make mistakes. The others just were so sure that I would have ended up with Apollo. Hell, Lourdes ended up with Aeron.
"Ok everyone we need to stop being dramatic and worrying Law," Lloyd says, "Everyone out. Let's go. Loreal. You too. Let's go. Time to go back to your own husband."
Loreal is so amused by this. Lloyd literally has to usher her out of my apartment. The sliding doors close behind the three girls and Lloyd just gives me a wishful stare. I know what he's thinking. He's trying to remain positive for me.
"Thank you Lloyd."
I kind of remember why Lloyd is my best friend after all right now. He's always positive. He's always trying to make the best out of things.
"The matchmakers don't make mistakes. Right?" he asks.
I look over at Ryder. He's completely broken the robot. It's in scraps all over my floor. He's kicking around the scraps now. I'm shocked he was able to destroy something so expensive and advanced so quickly. Jesus Christ, he was like a Neanderthal.
"No they don't make mistakes."
Lloyd pats me on the back, "Get to know your new husband. He looks cute under all of that. I mean look at him. Give him a good bath, change his wardrobe, trim those eyebrows and maybe get rid of that goatee," Lloyd tells me.
Lloyd leans in and gives me a tight hug. The hug lasts for quite a while. He knows me well enough to know that I need the strength right now.
When Lloyd leaves I walk over to Ryder. The first thing I notice is the smell. He smells like he's had a very rough life.
"Your friends clearly are disgusted by me," Ryder states when he notices I'm walking towards him.
Rough around the edges is the right word to describe him. He has wild facial hair. He looks like he never had a haircut in his life. The facial hair damn near covers his face. He's wearing rags. He looks like he's homeless or something. I can swear I see blood on his collar. I'm pretty sure he's wearing the same clothes that he wore when he got into that bar fight with Whistler.
I don't even mention my friends. The last thing I want to do is lie to my new husband or make him feel insecure. I have to make this thing work somehow. It would have been so easy if Apollo was my husband but he wasn't. Ryder was my husband. I had to find a way to deal with it. One way or another.
"So..." I start with a smile, "I know that the two of us may have started off on the wrong foot but..."
Ryder looks at me hard for a moment. He crosses his arms, "Save it. I'm not your type. You're not my type. We aren't compatible."
He says it bluntly at that moment. I am kind of shocked by it. He glares at me with those eyes of his that seem to stare intensely into my soul.
"The matchmakers don't make mistakes."
"They made a mistake today. I don't even know you and you're probably the person I dislike the most in this whole goddam city. I found out that there was a way for us to file for a divorce. We have to pay 30,000 credits. I hear you Libras are given money just for breathing. I know you got it. We just have to go to the Justice building and file for it and..."
"I'm not agreeing to a divorce," I respond
Ryder looks at me hard, "Excuse me."
"I'm not agreeing to a divorce. I believe in this system. The system says that you're my husband. So I'm going with it. We don't even know each other enough to know that it's not going to work out."
He looks me up and down. The Aries circles me. I don't know what he's looking for but he's trying to read me. His eyes are glaring at me as though I'm something to eat. He doesn't seem impressed. He just crosses his arms the entire time. I don't get it. I'm a Libra. We lived our life to be fair and balanced. We lived our life being beautiful. The fact that he was acting like he wasn't admiring me is ridiculous. Who was he fooling here?
"I don't see anything here I want," Ryder tells me bluntly. His words hit me like a stab in the heart.
"You can go down to the Justice department if you want. I'm going to deny it. I'm not paying that money either. Can you afford that many credits?"
Credits used to be called Dollars years ago. Soon paper money went extinct in the wars. The only thing that stayed around as far as currency was credit. The credit system was similar to the dollar system. In fact, 1000 dollars from the past was probably similar to 1000 credits now. There was a time of inflation but that had all stabilized with the Zodiac System.
"No..." he states.
"How about this?" I ask Ryder, "We spend a month together. We get to know each other..."
"It's not going to work," he cuts me off quickly.
"If it doesn't work then I pay for the divorce. I'll be working full time as a Liberty as well. I'll be able to get the divorced approved."
He pauses. He sighs a little bit. I can tell he's resistant. I don't know why the guy hates me so much. It can't have to do with the train. Maybe it's because Whistler messed up his finger at the bar. He still has his finger wrapped up right now. The way he is looking at me though is almost like he really hates my guts. I've never had someone look at me with such malice and hate before. Not even Loreal. This was something different.
I was worried on how this would work out.
"I'll sleep in the spare bedroom..."
It's not ideal. Usually I would think that my husband and I would sleep in the same bed. I feel embarrassed by the thought of it. Then I think about how he smells however. Maybe it wouldn't be that bad to have him sleep in the spare bedroom at least for tonight.
"I'm going to start work tomorrow. I was wondering if you can do something for me. I made an appointment to get you a...makeover and some lessons on personal hygiene. I'm willing to pay for it."
"Are you serious?" he asks.
"You can buy a whole new wardrobe too. I'll give you my credit card. You can use it for anything else that you want. I'll give you 10,000 credits to do what you like with. "
I offer him my credit
card. I can see the resistance. He walks over, jerks the credit card out of my
hand and starts walking towards the spare room in my apartment. He realizes he
didn't come with any clothes. Maybe he never planned on staying here. Maybe he
didn't have anything to bring with him. I kind of feel sad for him but it's
hard to feel bad when someone has such a bad attitude.
"Just like a Libra..." he tells me.
I'm not even sure what that means and I don't get the chance to ask him before he goes into his room and slides the door shut behind him. He doesn't come back out for the rest of the night.
The next day is Orientation for all the new Liberty's. My friends are all excited but honestly I can't focus. I keep thinking about this new situation that I'm in. I can't get it out of my head. I spend the majority of the day in class with Whistler standing at the back of the class watching me like a goddam hawk. She isn't the only one watching me either. I notice some of the other Libras in orientation staring at me. Either it's a good thing and they know that I am supposed to one day be High Libra or it's a bad thing and they heard that I was married to an Aries.
Either way I zone out. I ignore the first day lessons. I couldn't repeat a single thing from Orientation. I'm just...depressed.
I know that by the time it's over I'm going to have to go back home. I'm going to have to face Ryder.
"Have you heard from Apollo?" Lourdes asks me out of nowhere, "Have you heard who he's married to?"
I shake my head, "That's none of his business."
"You guys can still be friends."
I sigh a little bit. Thinking about Apollo hurts right now. I see Lloyd give me a little sad face. He knows the most how I feel about Apollo. I wouldn't have to work this hard with Apollo.
"I'm married now. I'll have to talk to my husband about being friends with my ex. I'm not sure if he's the jealous type yet," I state.
They look at me like I have 5 heads. Maybe I sound fucking stupid to them. Maybe I am stupid. At this point I'm just attempting to make the most out of this situation. I was supposed to be the High Liberty at some point. If I wasn't playing by the rules, then who the fuck was? I needed to set the example. I needed to be the example.
"I mean your husband is a caveman," Loreal tells me, "Of course he would be jealous of other guys."
"Shut the fuck up!"
I scream louder than usual. This is unlike me. I never scream. I never get out of character. It's not classy. It's not sophisticated. Loreal isn't used to it. She just sits there. She swallows her spit and her face gets a little pale. The only color is the blush she has on caked on her cheeks. I can't take it anymore. Until I get a divorce from this guy he was my husband. Still. I was losing it. I realized that. I was fucking losing it.
"Are you going to be OK?" Lloyd asks me, "Law. If you can't do this marriage, maybe...maybe you should get out now..."
"Not you too," I state, "You know what. I'm heading home. I'm going to work this out with my fucking husband. You guys can fuck off."
I don't usually curse that much. I never curse at my friends. I am beyond pissed though. I speed off before they get the chance to say something. Loreal doesn't have anything nice to say. Lloyd isn't trying to be sweet. The twins aren't giving me any warnings and spreading weird rumors. I have to get out of here.
I make my way outside. I'm waiting for my driver. The city is booming at this time of day. Whistler and I are standing at the corner of the platform. We're waiting for a cab to pull up. The cabs around here seem to be able to fly as well as ride around on wheels. As one pulls up I walk forward but I feel Whistler grab my hand at that moment. She looks around. It's weird how she just stares.
It's almost like she is picking up on something.
"What? What's wrong?" I ask.
Whistler is looking around. That's when I see it too. In this distance this weird looking man is watching me. Whistler's eyes lock on him. The man seems to panic as soon as he sees Whistler notice him. He is dressed in all black. The only thing I see is some sort of tattoo on his neck before he takes off running away from me as fast as he can. Whistler starts running towards him but he Justice building empties and a bunch of people are emptying out.
She returns 5 minutes later. My heart is racing.
"Who the fuck was that?" I ask.
Whistler doesn't answer. I don't think she knows either way. The only thing I remember is the person's tattoo. A scorpion was on his neck.
"Hey Ryder! I'm home!"
A million times I imagined saying that. A million times I imagined that it would be Apollo I was saying that to. It wasn't Apollo though. I walk into the apartment. Whistler stays over by the door and keeps guard. She never really fully walks into the apartment. Whistler stands at the door and I just make my way in. I call Ryder's name a few more times.
Maybe he took the 10k credits and ran for it. I wouldn't be surprised. Lourdes used to tell me all the time that Aries love to steal.
I walk into his room not expecting him to be there but he is.
My mouth drops open. Ryder is butt naked. He has washboard abs. His skin is smooth. I believe he got a full body wax as well. He's drying off his skin probably fresh out of the shower. The entire room smells like aloe. I can finally see his real skin tone under all that Aries hair. His skin is smooth. It's a golden copper color like it's been sun kissed very slightly. It is the color of fresh honey. He has these broad shoulders and waist so small that I get a little jealous. I can see that he probably lives a very physical life just by the cuts in his legs as he stands and poses. He runs the towel over the water beads on his crotch area. There is a slim V neck section that goes down to his crotch. His dick is fat. It's an average length but I've never seen something so thick around. He wipes at it with his strong muscles.
Then I see Ryder's face. His hair is dark and he has these solemn thick brows that have been perfected by whoever gave him his makeover. His face is modelesque, but in a timeless manner. He could give any Libra a run for their money. His beauty could take your breath away. Matter of fact it did. I find myself gasping so loud that he jerks his head up and notices me.
"Fuck..." he says.
"Get the fuck out perv..."
I shut the door behind me at that moment and return to the living room. I'm embarrassed as fuck. Luckily I brought take out for us to eat so I have something to focus on while he is getting ready to come back out.
After a few awkward minutes he comes back out. He doesn't have a shirt on. Libras never walk around shirtless. Hell...Aquarians never did either. Seeing him walk around the house with nothing else on but a pair of jeans I have to admit is sexy even though it isn't really sophisticated. I'm pretty sure that he doesn't have underwear on. The jeans are shorter than usual. Libras don't wear jeans either. We usually stick to our togas as symbolisms of our role in society. Aquarians and Geminis always wore their business suits. Seeing a man in jeans wasn't something that I saw too often.
"I'm sorry I didn't knock," I tell him, "I just assumed that you left."
"We had a deal. Believe it or not all Aries are not liars and thieves."
"I never said you
were," I explain, "I brought us something to eat. Some dinner. I'm not sure how
you feel about seafood. I should have called and asked but I realized I don't
have a number for you."
I don't even finish what I'm saying before he is sitting at the table. He's already eating. He doesn't thank me. He doesn't even look at me. I can't take my eyes off of Ryder though. He's fucking flawless. It made me wonder if all the Aries looked as good as him under all that scum and dirt from Ram Country that piled up on them over the years.
He ignores me and sits down, "Not picky. Not like you Libras."
I attempt to smile and change the subject, "So. Are you starting your job soon? Construction right?"
He nods, "Yeah."
He's being short with me. He's being very short with me. He still has an attitude problem but at least now he's pleasant to look at. He doesn't exchange glances with me at the table though. He's just staring down at his food and eating the lobster that I brought him.
"That's exciting. How's the lobster?" I ask him, "The store I got it from was owned by Pisces. They know their seafood. He promised me it's the best. I hope you like it."
He drops his fork at that moment, "MARS! Help me."
He was calling for his sign ruler Mars. The god of war and bloodshed. The funny thing about it is in Roman Mythology Mars and Venus were lovers. Right now he looks highly irritated. It's far from a lover.
"Did I say something wrong?"
"You say everything wrong," he responds before shaking his head, "Everything you fucking say irritates me."
I'm getting a little irritated myself. I'm actually trying here. I'm trying to make this stupid fucking match work and this guy is just making it harder and harder for me.
"Listen. I didn't want this either," I respond to him, "But it happened. You've had a problem with me forever now. I don't know if your sign just holds grudges. Libras aren't like that. We're actually the romantics of the zodiacs. We're fair and balanced."
"Fuck you and your stupid fucking sign," he tells me, "I don't like you. You understand that right? I don't care for you people. Do you understand being stuck up? You know what? I'm not the only one either. Libras are the most hated sign. You sit on your mountain like you're the Gods on Mount Olympus. You are so pretty and so sophisticated. You have no idea how life is really like under this fucked up Zodiac system."
"Nothing is wrong with
the Zodiac system," I tell him.
"Everything is wrong with it and the fact that you don't realize it is why this marriage would never work. You can't see past the clouds from your mountain in the sky. I could never love someone like you. Ever."
The way he says the words are final. It's almost as though he is past disgusted with me. There is a deep rooted problem here and I'm not even sure personal anymore. He hates Libras. That's what his problem is. Ryder watches me as though wanting me to feel pain and animosity at that moment. I get up at that moment. I want to break down but I'm not going to give him the fucking satisfaction.
I just run outside as he glares at me from behind.
I go the only place that I know to go. I go to Lloyd's apartment. Lloyd's apartment is not too far from mine. He showed me it the first day we got to the Zodiac City. I can't help but to go to him. I need to understand what I'm doing wrong. I need an idea on how to fix this failing relationship. Or I needed someone to tell me one more time that it was OK to get out of it.
I knock on Lloyd's door. I'm desperate. He opens it up.
"He hates me!"
"Hey..." Lloyd said...
Lloyd is sweating. He is in a bathroom robe when he comes to the door.
"This isn't a good time. My husband and I were..."
I raise an eyebrow and let out a little laugh, "At least someone is enjoying their new husband. I'm sorry I just had to vent. My husband hates me. I guess you clearly aren't having that problem though. I should leave."
Lloyd nods, "Yeah we'll talk about it in the morning."
"OK. Have fun alright," I laugh.
Just at that moment I hear the voice behind me.
I turn at that moment. Apollo is standing there. MY Apollo is standing there in Lloyd's apartment. He exchanges looks with me. I'm shocked. I'm confused.
Lloyd simplifies it, "I was going to tell you. I was going to tell you that Apollo and I are married now..."
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