A/N: Hi there! I'm really happy to finally be able to share this with you. It's kind of a long teaser for my next story and has been written as an entry for the Meet the Mate Contest. Although my result was nothing to write home about, I thank you all very much for reading and voting.
I really need to thank three wonderful ladies who were invaluable to me by helping me sort my thoughts about this story and polishing it into perfection. LaPumuckl, Midnight Cougar and evelyn-shaye, you're the best!
Another special Thank You goes to heartfortwilight for making me a beautiful banner and cover for this story. Girl, you rock!
So, here I give you my Meet the Mate Contest entry, Tie the Knot. Enjoy! See you at the bottom.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or Married at First Sight …
Tie the Knot
"Edward, how are you? This is Dr. Carlisle Cullen speaking." A friendly voice greeted me upon picking up my cellphone in the middle of work hours.
Dr. Cullen … Dr. Cullen? Oh right. He was the psychologist from that joke of a reality TV show / "sociological experiment" I met a few weeks ago. Having lost a bet, my friends had made me go to a casting for a new dating show which was supposed to be filmed here in New York City. As it turned out, the show wasn't going to be much about dating but something that could be called a "blind wedding."
The idea was four experts would do interviews with potential candidates and try to find matches; people who somehow fit together but would see each other for the first time at their own wedding. Of course, I turned tail and ran. I was twenty-eight years old and definitely not going to get married anytime soon — if ever — all the more, not to a stranger who might turn out to look like Frankenstein's Bride but liked the same books and bands as me, and shared my favorite color. Those people were nuts, and everyone who agreed to go along with it was even crazier.
When I returned home and told my roommate, Emmett, and our friend, Seth, about the asinine concept of that show, they burst out laughing. Em even spat the beer he'd just sipped across our coffee table. After a minute or two, they calmed down somewhat, and I was sure the whole thing was off the table — until they started making fun of me for not being marriage material in the first place. They riled me up until I bet I'd get cast if I set my mind to it.
Em was so sure he'd win that he promised to hand his beloved black Mustang over to me if the show wanted me. Seth, not one to stand back, bet his new flat screen TV. We quarreled back and forth about my wager. First, they wanted me to get another tat of their choice, then decided they rather preferred I go on a date with the pimply girl living in the apartment below us. But when I raked my hand though my errant hair in exasperation, Em jumped up from the couch, daring me to shave my head if I lost and go bald for a month.
They both knew I was kind of obsessed with my unruly, always-looking-freshly-fucked mop of weirdly-colored hair; and that made it the perfect incentive — besides Emmett's precious Mustang, of course. So I'd decided to go through with the casting process, have endless talks with the "experts" as the producers called them: a couples' therapist, a spiritual adviser, a sexologist — whatever the hell that was supposed to mean — and a psychologist.
"Are you still there, Edward?" Said psychologist's voice pulled me back when he noticed I'd apparently zoned out on him.
I shook my head to get back into the game. "Yeah, sure. I'm just surprised to hear from you." After all, two months had passed since the last interview.
Of course, with my hair at stake, I'd done everything I could to make them believe I wanted nothing more than for them to find me the perfect wife, lying through my teeth at times, but, to be honest, I hadn't thought they'd actually choose me. Maybe they hadn't, and he merely called to let me down easily. After all, they had to think me desperate to find a bride.
"Well, it took us some time to work through all the material we gathered, but we came to the conclusion that we found the perfect match for you. Would you be free later this afternoon to come to my office and talk to me?"
Dammit! I'd actually done it. Em, I hope you enjoy the last hours with your 'Stang because, tonight, that baby's going to be MINE!
"Are you still with me, Edward?" Carlisle asked; a little worried.
Am I? Huh. What was I going to say? Should I meet with him? Of course, I wouldn't actually go through with that stupid show. Marrying a stranger just because the experts considered her perfect for me and statistics proved that arranged marriages lasted longer. To be honest, I wanted to laugh in his face and ask him if he'd lost his marbles. He was a nice guy, though, and I didn't want to be an ass. But what would I say to him? I'm not interested anymore? Thanks but no thanks? I don't need your help anymore because I found a bride on my own? Maybe this would be easier done in person.
"Of course, Carlisle. When and where?"
At five o'clock sharp I stepped into what had to be Dr. Cullen's office at NYU. There, on the couch, sat the blond man in his mid-forties I already knew from our earlier talk, but next to him was an unfamiliar guy, roughly the same age, with dark hair that was a few inches shorter. That one I'd never met before.
"Edward, great to see you again. This is Demetri Ivanov from the production company. He's here to talk the contract and other legal arrangements through with you. Demetri, this is Edward Masen, one of our lucky grooms-to-be."
I shook both men's hands and sat down. Before I could tell them I wasn't going to be in their show, though, Mr. Ivanov pulled a contract out of his briefcase and placed it in front of me. To organize my thoughts, I started to leaf through it quickly, halting my motions when, in the middle of the last page, the number $50,000 caught my eye. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that money wasn't supposed to be a fine for breach of contract, which I first thought, but a financial compensation for time I'd have to make for the filming of the show.
Fuck! That's a lot of money — and almost exactly the amount we'd need to launch the video game Em, Seth and I developed. We'd worked on our project for three years, and it was in the finishing stages now. We'd run from pillar to post to try to find someone willing to finance the whole endeavor, seeing we'd gain so much more than the relatively low investment. Banks weren't very forthcoming with loans for projects like that nowadays, though. And none of us had the funds to get it done on our own.
Dammit! Could I go through with this whole charade to make our dream come true?
After two hours of information about the details of the show and everything I'd be expected to do, they'd let me go with forty-eight hours for consideration.
"Em, your 'Stang is mine," I greeted darkly when I entered our shared apartment.
"You're shitting me!" A shocked-looking Emmett screamed as he peeked out of his room.
I raised my hand that was holding the papers, waving them in his face. "No, and I have the contract to prove it. Call Seth. He needs to come over ASAP. We gotta talk."
"Wait," Seth stopped me in my explanations. "They're expecting you to actually marry someone you not only haven't met but don't even know her name? That's even crazier than it sounded when you first told us about the whole thing."
"Yes. If I agree to go along with it, I'll have to buy a tux, invite friends and family and meet my bride at the altar. We'll have a reception, spend the night at a hotel, then go on a honeymoon — all expenses paid. After we return, we'll have to move in together and live like the usual married couple — whatever the fuck that means." I probably zoned out on that part. "Anyway, after six weeks, we have to decide if we want to stay married or file for divorce. Four to twelve weeks later, I'll be happily single again and fifty grand richer."
Emmett wrinkled his forehead in thought. "What about prior money and stuff?"
The guys from the production company had it all covered. "There will be a prenup, taking care neither of us has any rights to the other's possessions."
"And your friends and family have to play along?" Seth asked with a raised brow.
"No, they don't. But since the TV people seem to think they can actually found lasting relationships, they, of course, think I'd want the people close to me around for my nuptials." There was no doubt I didn't want that, but I knew I had to play along for six weeks.
Em took a sip from his beer. "We'll be on TV, then?"
"If you agree to help, then yes," I stated, matter-of-fact.
"Man, if you're willing to do that to get us the money, then there's no question. We have to make it as easy on you as possible." Seth looked at me with as much conviction as he could muster.
"Well, seems like our Ed is getting married." Emmett tried to work up some enthusiasm. "Does that mean we'll be having a bachelor party?"
I snorted. "That's not part of the show, but I don't see why not." Who wouldn't want to see a hot-as-fuck chick strip and give you a lap dance?
"Is sex part of the show?" All of a sudden, Seth seemed to get excited.
I ran my hand through my hair in contemplation. "They want it to be a real marriage. So, if my bride's hot, I wouldn't say no."
And like that, the decision was made. I was getting married in four weeks.
"Well, now that you've signed the contract, we'll go through a few things again," Demetri said, taking the papers from me. "The prenuptial agreement will be ready for you next week. You can take it to a lawyer of your choice, if you want, but I assure you, it's bulletproof. Since we will handle the divorce as well, if need be, we're careful to make that as simple as possible on all ends."
Thank God for small favors!
"Here's a list of numbers and addresses for you. The first is the number of a doctor we work with. You're supposed to call him to get a full check-up. We wouldn't want to cause you any lasting damage. And of course, we have to make sure you're not carrying any communicable diseases." He threw me a wink before he looked down to his schedule sheet again.
"Okay. Next address is for a place to buy your tux. It'll be charged to the company's account. Then there's a jeweler on there. Of course, you'll want to get your bride a ring, charged on the company account as well."
Of course I would — not. But it seemed as though I didn't have much of a choice. Nodding agreeably, I let him continue with his list.
"You know, we taped your sessions with our experts during the casting, and you signed a consent slip so we can use whatever we want from it. Now, we'd like to do one or two additional interviews with you as you prepare for your wedding. Maybe we can accompany you on one of your shopping trips or something like that, or talk to your friends."
Hell, no! I'd give them the damn interviews but the shopping trips would stay private.
"I'll think about it." That was all the answer he'd get for now.
"That's okay. Just give me a call to let me know what you decided. So, after the wedding, there will be a camera team coming to watch you for one or two hours every day, and on top of that, you'll each get a hand-held camera so you can tape whatever seems important to you. You are required to give a statement of at least five minutes each day. There will also be a few tasks we'll ask you to complete."
That sounded doable.
"If, at any point — now or even after the show is finished filming — you feel like you need help or to talk to someone, you can always call one of our experts."
For that, the four were listed with names, professions and numbers.
"If you don't have any questions, we'll be seeing each other in three and a half weeks for your wedding. If there's anything else you need to discuss, my number's on the bottom of your sheet."
I folded up the paper, stuffed it in my back pocket and got the hell out of Dodge.
Getting my parents to attend the TV wedding posed a real problem. My dad, Edward Masen Sr., a judicial officer at the Newark, NJ, Family Court and my mom, Elizabeth, a piano teacher, had been high school sweethearts, getting married the year after their graduation. They'd just celebrated their thirty-second wedding anniversary, and every time I visited, they let me know they were waiting for me to tell them I met the perfect girl for me and would finally settle down. Little did they know I wasn't even really considering ever having a family of my own.
With that being said, it shouldn't come as a surprise that it hadn't been easy to convince them of the concept of an arranged marriage for the entire world to witness. Telling them it was all a deception on my part was out of the question, because, to them, the institution of marriage was sacred. So, I ended up feeding them the same crappy lines I'd used to convince the team of "experts." I told myself the end justifies the means and was relieved they agreed to attend.
I had completed each of the tasks Demetri had assigned to me. After my appointment with the doctor, where I was pinched and prodded, I was glad to at least learn I was squeaky clean and healthy as a horse.
Next point on my list was buying a tux. Not having to mind prices, I was free to get whatever I wanted, and had to admit I looked pretty damn good in the dark-gray Armani suit with the silver vest underneath.
When that was achieved, I took Emmett ring shopping with me. I didn't have the faintest idea about jewelry and wasn't the least bit interested in it. Emmett, on the other hand, had been in a relationship for the past three years. His girlfriend, Rosalie, was a demanding diva, very high-maintenance, so he had some experience with buying bling. The sales clerk asked about materials, cuts, designs and the like and Em answered for me. Again, money wasn't an issue. The only question I answered — with a vehement "no" — was whether I wanted to wear a matching wedding band. That would definitely be too much. I wouldn't be caught dead with a big neon sign like that on my finger.
In the end, I had a ring I wasn't sure I'd actually looked at before the middle-aged jeweler stuck it in a box and put it in a bag.
Somewhere in between it all, I gave the two damn interviews I was obligated to do; stating how excited I was to finally meet my bride and how I couldn't wait to tie the knot. In all actuality, I really couldn't wait, because the sooner the whole joke started, the sooner it would be over — and I could get my divorce.
A week prior to the big day, my friends threw me a bachelor party with all the essentials — meaning we went to a strip club where we drank expensive liquor, saw lots of T&A and the highlight of the evening was Candy; a tall, voluptuous blond, who gave me a stimulating lap dance. Fun times!
"So, can we still see each other or do you have to be all faithful and shit?" Vicky joked as we lay in my bed, naked and sated for the time being, two nights before my wedding day.
We'd been fuck-buddies for almost two years — not exclusive but pretty regular. She was a friend and fun to be around, had a smoking hot body with perfect tits and a nice round ass. She could drink me under the table, and did so frequently, didn't actually date and enjoyed her life to the fullest. She was so much like me; there was no chance for us to ever be anything more. We had sex with no strings attached, and it was great — every time.
"No, Vic, I think we should lay low for the time being. Even though I'm not serious about the whole thing, I still need to look as if I were; otherwise I'll have to pay a contractual fee instead of getting the funds the guys and I need."
She knew what I needed the money for, and we were close enough as friends that she would support me in this, wholeheartedly.
Regardless, she showed a playful little pout. "Then I think we should make the best of tonight. Who knows when will be the next time you'll be getting some."
With a dark chuckle, she scooted down my body until I felt her hot little mouth around my already hard-again cock. Dammit, I'll miss this.
Finally, the big day had arrived.
"You sure you want to go through with this?" Emmett, my best man, asked as I was fighting to bind my neck tie.
Frowning in concentration, I did the last wind and stuck the end through. "Sure I am. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to get the money we need. I'd be stupid to run now."
To be honest, I'd had to talk myself off the ledge a few times over the last several days, convincing myself that everything would work out and a starter marriage wouldn't ruin my life. And I wasn't only doing it for myself. I was sure, being in my shoes, the other two would do the same.
Emmett sighed. I knew there was something he wanted to say, but I didn't want to hear it, so I didn't ask and, instead, turned toward the mirror to check my appearance for the last time.
"How do I look?" I asked, feigning enthusiasm.
"Your clothes are great but your facial expression is that of a dead man walking."
Just then, we were interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Edward, are you ready? We're supposed to start in five," a production assistant I'd seen a few times already asked, sticking his head into the room.
Taking a deep breath, I answered, "As ready as I'll ever be."
With Emmett by my side, I entered the room where the wedding ceremony was supposed to take place. About fifty people were sitting in rows of white, cloth-covered chairs. The people on the left side I knew. They were my friends and family, with my parents sitting front and center. The right side of the nicely decorated aisle was occupied by people I'd never before seen in my life. They were all eyeing me speculatively; some with excited surprise, others with skepticism clear on their faces. There were also five cameras placed strategically around the room. That was something I had to get used to and fast.
I took my designated spot in front of the altar with Emmett next to me, giving me all the support he could offer. I threw him a tight smile, which he returned, then focused my attention toward the double doors at the other end of the room. All of a sudden, the traditional wedding march started and the doors opened slowly, revealing first a giant Native-American man in his mid-twenties. On his arm was a petite woman. Her dark curls were pinned to the top and from the back of her head a long veil emerged. Only a few curled strands fell freely around her heart-shaped face, whose paleness accentuated her mesmerizing dark eyes, which were framed by long, dark lashes.
As my gaze traveled downward, I noticed her shoulders were bare as the bodice of her dress was tight around her torso and down to her hips. From there, it flared out wider and flowed lightly to the floor. Around her waist, there was a twinkling belt that made her look even slimmer than she already was and enhanced her perfect curves.
She was a vision. I was sure, had she been at the same bar or club as me, I'd have spotted her in a crowd of hundreds of people, because she would be the most beautiful woman in every room, and not in an artificial or forced way. She looked very natural, with only the smallest amount of makeup, but her beauty was mesmerizing.
As my eyes roamed up her delectable body again, I noticed her gaze was fixated to the floor; her full, rosy bottom lip caught between her teeth as she bit down hard on it.
The man who was supposed to walk her to me leaned down and whispered something into her ear, which made her look up at me and gasp as her eyes widened in shock for a second. The corners of her mouth began to twitch upward, and they finally started their slow approach toward the altar and … me.
My stomach was doing somersaults; my blood racing in my ears. This woman resembled nothing like Frankenstein's Bride. She was gorgeous — and supposed to be mine.
They halted in front of me, and Native Guy released her hand, kissed her cheek, then sat down. The music stopped and my blushing bride — blushing indeed — smiled at me nervously as the celebrant started to speak.
"Isabella Swan, meet your husband-to-be, Edward Masen. Edward, this is Isabella, your bride."
Oh. My. God. She's perfect. How in the hell will I ever divorce her? …
To be continued — and prefaced ;)
looong A/N: I was beginning to feel desperate when Two Blue Lines was coming to an end, and I was still waiting for the right idea for a follow up project. Then a German TV station started to air the first season of Married at First Sight, and immediately, the plot bunnies attacked. Yes, there were several ideas how this story could play out, and it wasn't easy to pick one of them over the others. After a long evening of bouncing ideas back and forth with LaPumuckl, the outline was more or less done.
When I read about the Meet the Mate Contest, I decided to write this synopsis of sorts to see how you all like the idea. Once the whole story begins to post, it's going to start before this OS, and the it will continue until long after the OS ends ;). I hope you're going to be along for the ride. If you're interested, you should put me on author's alert.
I have to tell you that I only took the basics from Married at First Sight and made up most of what my blind wedding show entails. For example, I have no idea if there's any money involved in MaFS. I really hope there isn't. I also don't know what the production company really pays for or what expectations had to be met by the participants. So please, look at this as my imagination running wild.
Now finally, how did you like it? Edward's an ass — for now — but isn't he hot, nevertheless? And what do you think are Bella's reason for doing the show? There is a piece about her I initially wrote for this OS but which was later deleted in the editing process. I might post it here some time to shorten the wait for the whole story, but I can't make any promises right now.
Anyway, please, tell me what you think, here or on Facebook in my group Payton79's Fanfiction. You can see heartfortwilight's wonderful banner there. Also, any news about this story will be posted in the group first and probably some teasers, too. Hope to see you there.