The Billionaire's Arranged MarriageBy: CJ Howard
“You have been raised far better than to honestly think you could be anything more than acquaintances with a little gutter tramp like that! I’m shocked. I’m outraged! Marriage. Don’t you even consider dating anyone, let alone speaking to anyone about marriage unless your father and I have already approved of it! Think of the dishonor you would bring this family! Think of the dishonor you would bring to our name! I cannot believe you would do such a thing!” Kimiko placed her hands flat on the table and glared at her daughter.
“I forbid you to see him or speak with him ever again. You will not act in such a haphazard way. You know we must approve of any young man interested in you, and you will not date or marry anyone that I have not chosen for you. Do not dare to defy your parents, your family or your culture. You owe us everything. Do you hear me? Everything. You will date who I allow you to date, and I am telling you right now that you will date Carter’s son, and there will be no discussion about it.”
Jillian tried to keep all of her emotions in. She knew she must not treat her mother with disrespect. “Please don’t make my life part of your business dealings, Mother. Our family’s company is doing fine without Mr. Carter. If you want to do business with him, then do business with him, but my life shouldn’t have any bearing on it, and the marriage I enter into should be for love, not for money.”
Kimiko scoffed again. “You know so little. You are young and you cannot see into the future like I can. You are thinking with a child’s mind and a child’s heart and it will make a fool of you and of all of us.” She leaned slightly toward Jillian. “Think, my daughter, think carefully. Who will inherit our family’s business here in the states? Who will run it? You will. You have an obligation to your family and a responsibility to the business that your uncles in Japan have worked so hard to build up. You would throw all of that away for some idiotic romantic notions you are too young to understand? I won’t hear of it. The wise move is to align you with a family who can help our business grow into the future, not with someone who will bring no honor to our family nor benefit to your life. Carter’s son carries a good strong name and he is from a family wealthier than ours. His father has a thriving business that could one day be merged with ours.
“More good business opportunities could be achieved if the families are close. This is your duty to all of your family. We have technological advances in Japan that have no equal in the world, and Carter is interested in them.
“You and his son could carry those advances into the future and be the foundation of the technological world to come. Look beyond your ridiculous childhood fantasies and focus on the future, make your family a priority and uphold your obligation and duty to all of us. Do not even consider shaming or dishonoring us by going against my instructions.”
Jillian heard the words coming at her like hail stones in a freezing blizzard that she could not escape. Honor. Dignity. Respect. Tradition. Obligation. Responsibility. Family. Business. She felt as though her mother’s hands were so enormous that they could fit around her whole body and squeeze until Jillian had no room to think or breathe or live at all. She knew there was no way out of it. She knew she could not go against her mother’s wishes. Her heart felt like every bit of light in it had been squeezed out and there was nothing left but the outer skin of it.
She looked straight forward as her mother spoke on, but she didn’t hear the words her mother spoke. She was thinking of Wilson. She thought of how much she loved him and how much he loved her. She thought of how he had gone on and on talking with her about marriage and their life together. She knew he had nothing to offer her but his love, and she believed that would be enough. Jillian thought of stories she knew in which the lovers ran away together, but she knew that she could never desert her family. She could never leave.
She realized that her mother and father had never actually spent time with Wilson. They’d only met him at the house on a few occasions when he was coming by to pick Jillian up to go out. The tiniest sliver of hope began to glow within her. Perhaps if they got to know him better, perhaps if they spent some time with him, they would see what a good and loving young man he was and then they would realize that it would be a good match for her to be with him. The hope of it lifted her spirits a bit and she determined that she would try to make it happen before she had to meet Carter’s son.
Kimiko picked up her purse and looked through it, then set it back down on the seat beside her. “I’ve left my cell phone in the car. Let me use yours so that I can call your father.”
Jillian reached into her purse and then handed her cell phone to her mother who excused herself from the table and disappeared. She took the welcome solitude to take a deep breath and try to relax her body from the shock and hurt she had just experienced.
How could her mother try to make her date a man she didn’t know or care about? She disliked the boy intensely from the incident they had experienced when she was a child and now her mother wanted her to date him! It was unthinkable! She would just have to bring Wilson to the house to have him spend time with her parents so that they could see how wonderful he really was. He would change their minds. They would see. Then she would be able to be with him and marry him.
Her mother was gone for a long while, but eventually she returned and silently handed Jillian her phone and took her seat again.
“Carter is going to have his son call you. Be ready for the call, be polite and friendly to him, and if he asks you out on a date, go with him. Do you understand?” she asked pointedly. Jillian took a deep breath. She was going to have to work fast. “I understand,” she said quietly.
They finished their tea and drove home. Kimiko disappeared into her office and Jillian walked to the garden and sat on her favorite bench beside the koi pond, underneath a weeping willow tree. She pulled her phone from her bag and called Wilson.
It rang several times, but finally, he answered.
“Hello?” he said in a sullen voice.
“Hi, it’s me,” she said, a smile spreading over her face as his voice sounded in her ear and reverberated through her heart.
“I was thinking that it would be good if you got to know my parents better. They haven’t really spent any time with you and they don’t know you very well. They’re kind of protective of me. I want you to come over for dinner tonight so you can talk with them and let them become more familiar with you. Can you come please?” she asked, all her hope beginning to soar.
There was a long quiet moment and then Wilson said softly, “Jillian, there’s something I need to tell you.”
It didn’t sound good. She had talked with him that morning and he had been fine; he had sounded happy and in love, but now he only sounded empty. “Oh no, what is it? What’s wrong?” she asked, concern swelling in her.
He sighed audibly. “I don’t think we should see each other anymore.” His voice remained low.
Jillian’s heart stopped mid-beat. “Wha…What?” she stammered.
“I don’t think we should see each other anymore,” he repeated a little louder.
“What are you talking about?” she whispered, as everything in her began to spin like a cyclone; her thoughts and feelings whirring about her out of control.
“Well, I didn’t know how to tell you this, but there’s this other girl I met, and I’ve kind of been seeing her on the side, I guess. She’s uh… she kind of wants to get serious with me, and I want that with her, too.” He stumbled through the words.
Jillian felt like lightning was cracking through her head and heart, and her soul was being ripped in half. Tears stung her eyes and blinded her, spilling out onto her face in streams. Her voice was suddenly gone and it cracked when she tried to speak.
“What are you talking about, Wilson? We were talking about getting married this morning! What other girl?”
He sounded miserable. “Just another girl. You don’t know her. You don’t need to know her. I really think I’m falling in love with her, to tell you the truth. She’s prettier than you, she’s sweeter than you, and she lives in my neighborhood; she isn’t a richie like you are. I don’t feel like I have to live up to her lifestyle when I’m with her. Listen, I know we were talking about getting married and all that, but I didn’t really mean it. I don’t feel like I’m good enough for you and I never will be, so I think it’s best if we just call everything off right now, okay?”
She choked on a sob and trembled as she held the phone against her ear, her eyes shut tight, trying to hold in the riptide of pain that was coursing through her. “How could you?” she whispered. “I love you!”
He was quiet as she began to sob. Her chest heaved with the weight of her broken heart and sorrow, and she covered her face with her hand, sliding down off the bench onto the grass beside the pond and laying on her side.
Wilson did not cry, but his breath grew very short and raspy. “Listen, I gotta go. Don’t call me anymore, okay? Just… just go live your life and be happy. I’m glad I had you while I did. I’ll miss you,” he said quietly.