MY HUSBAND AND THE STRANGER
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Jo finds herself stuck in a weird situation with the guy she married but doesn't even know what he looks like. He's always putting work first and neglecting his duty to meet her. They got hitched when she was just eighteen and he was already thirty. Now, at twenty-nine, Jo's feeling restless, especially with a meet and greet party to meet her husband coming up. In an attempt to find some comfort, Jo heads to her uncle's restaurant and, lo and behold, she meets a stranger who instantly clicks with her. There's a crazy connection between them, and Jo can't help but crave more of it. She knows deep down that nothing can happen, but damn, she's dying to see that stranger again. But hold on tight, because when Jo finally discovers who the mysterious bar stranger really is, everything goes haywire. Secrets start spilling out, and Jo's left torn between the safety of her lukewarm marriage and the allure of the unknown. What the heck is she gonna do now?
So, here I am, standing in front of this massive mirror, trying to make sense of the whole arranged marriage deal that my family is so gung-ho about. It's like something out of a movie, you know? They hit you with this bombshell announcement and before you know it, you're signing papers, committing yourself to someone you've never even laid eyes on. Talk about wild.
Now, I've been told a few things about this mystery man of mine. Apparently, he's a big-shot CEO in the hotel investment business. Fancy stuff, right? He's been in the game for a while and supposedly turned thirty when I was only eighteen. Yeah, the age gap is a little eyebrow-raising, but hey, it's tradition, right?
So here's the kicker: I'm twenty-nine now, and I still haven't met the guy. The second ceremony, the one where we finally get to see each other face-to-face, has been postponed more times than I can count. Apparently, he's just too busy with his high-profile life to spare a moment. A real bummer, if you ask me. I've been keeping my head down, going to college, getting degrees in interior design and architecture, and just trying to distract myself from the fact that I'm married but living a single life.
Sometimes, though, I can't help but let my mind wander. I imagine what he looks like, you know? His eyes, his smile, all that jazz. I even pretend to know his favorite food and desserts, just in case I ever get the chance to whip up something special for him. It's a weird mix of hoping for the best and accepting the reality that I don't even know the guy's name.
But hey, life has a way of surprising you, right? The big meet-and-greet party is coming up soon, just before my thirtieth birthday. Not exactly the kind of celebration I'm thrilled about, but it's the moment when we're supposed to finally come face-to-face. I'm nervous, sure, but I guess there's a part of me that's still hopeful. Maybe, just maybe, this whole arranged marriage thing will turn out to be a crazy adventure, with a twist I never saw coming. Until then, I'll keep straddling the line between daydreaming and reality, waiting for destiny to reveal its cards.
I headed to my uncle's restaurant, seeking solace and a chance to unwind from the constant thoughts of my mysterious husband. As I entered, the familiar aroma of spices and sizzling food enveloped me, offering a comforting distraction. Spotting my cousin at the bar, I made my way over, hoping for some light-hearted conversation to ease my troubled mind.
We settled in, ordering our drinks, when two men approached us. One of them seemed determined to win over my cousin, despite her clear disinterest. He just couldn't take a hint. Meanwhile, the other man, tall and intriguing, struck up a conversation with me, his words flowing effortlessly.
Wanting to clear the air, I informed him about my marital status, even though I didn't know who my husband truly was. His intense gaze made me uneasy, as though he could see right through me, urging me to divulge my deepest secrets. It was both unsettling and strangely enticing. I quickly looked away, trying to break free from his captivating presence.
"Sorry if I made you uncomfortable with my gaze," he said, his voice a unique blend of softness and roughness. It sent a shiver down my spine. "I appreciate your honesty about being married. It's something we have in common."
Attempting to deflect the conversation, I replied, my voice trembling slightly, "I hope you're not trying to pick me up. I'm sure your wife wouldn't appreciate that."
He sighed and glanced down at the bar, his internal struggle evident. In a momentary lapse of judgment, I reached out and placed my hand on his bicep, feeling the strength in his arm. I quickly withdrew, reminding myself that we were strangers, having only just met seconds ago.
"Sorry about that," I stammered, trying to regain composure. "That was inappropriate."
He nodded, understanding flickering in his eyes. "No need to apologize. It's been a long day, you know?"
Wanting to change the subject, I introduced myself, "I'm Jo."
He smiled warmly, replying, "Nice to meet you, Jo. I'm Colt."
His name rolled off my tongue effortlessly, as I took a moment to appreciate his commanding presence. Standing at about 6'4" with a muscular frame, As I catch a glimpse of the tattoos peeking out from his wrist, a wave of curiosity washes over me. In that moment, my mind races, wondering where those inked trails might lead. What stories lie beneath those intricate designs? His wavy shoulder-length hair tied up in a man bun, I couldn't help but wonder what it would look like down, cascading over his shoulders. But I quickly dismissed such thoughts, reminding myself of the boundaries between us.
Hours passed as our conversation flowed effortlessly, lost in the connection we seemed to share. Reluctantly, Javi stood up, signaling his departure. The thought of never seeing him again tugged at my heart, tempting me to say something inappropriate.
"I know it may not be appropriate, but I'd love to see you again, to continue our conversation," he confessed, looking up at him with a mixture of uncertainty.
Confusion clouded his eyes as he looked down at me, his height making me tilt my head back. With a faint smile, he responded, "I'm sure your husband wouldn't mind if you had a friend. We're just talking, after all."
There was an undeniable charm about Colt, a self-assuredness that drew me in. Our backgrounds seemed to align, despite the age difference. But a sense of unease nagged at me, warning me to exercise caution. I reminded myself that pursuing this connection would be reckless and unwise.
Returning his smile softly, he leaned in slightly, feeling a shiver race down my spine as he pushed something toward me on the bar. His whispered words carried a tantalizing allure, igniting a fire within me as he said, "You make me uneasy too but in the best possible way."
With that, he walked away, leaving me both exhilarated and bewildered, caught between the allure of the unknown and the wisdom of restraint.
As I lay in bed, the moonlight filtering through the curtains, I couldn't escape the weight of the paper that Colt had slipped to me earlier at the bar. Its presence on my nightstand felt like a silent invitation to break free from the chains of my uncertain marriage.
The room seemed to close in on me, suffocating me with the secrets and unanswered questions that my husband's enigmatic nature brought. Who was he? What did he look like? These questions echoed through my mind, taunting me with their elusive answers.
My eyes were drawn back to the paper, its edges crumpled from my nervous grip. Colt's number lay there, an enigmatic bridge to a world of possibilities, a world where I could live in the moment and pretend, just for a while, that I was unencumbered by the ghostly presence of a husband I barely knew.
Torn between duty and desire, I reached for my phone, hesitating as my fingers hovered above the screen. The soft glow illuminated my conflict
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