He looked so unlike the man he had been such a short while ago. This man in the mirror was so different, in the most amazing kind of way. He couldn’t refrain from smiling again. He was now one step closer to his goal, his goal of absolute and unmatched success. He was proving the world wrong, his status and everything else that opposed him. He was almost there, he could feel it burning perfectly in the core of his soul.
“Are you ready, Mr. Leto?” Lucas asked, looking in from outside the room. “The guests have all arrived.”
Jared turned around and met the boys eyes. He looked downcast. It had been one week since Nightingale’s opening and ever since then Lucas had been so removed from his work, from Jared that he could almost sense what exactly was going on. Something had happened between the boy and Farrah, he was most sure of it.
“Why so downcast, Lucas? Are you not happy for me on this most blessed of days?” Jared exclaimed, taking a drink from the glass set atop the dresser.
“I am, Mr. Leto, of course I am.” He said civilly but without much feeling.
“Do you worry about Farrah?
Lucas looked up at him with alarm in his eyes. “Whyever would I worry for her?”
Jared shrugged. “Exactly my question. Do you fear the girl will not be taken care of with me?”
“I would not assume-“
Jared scoffed. “Oh but I think you have assumed plenty of things, boy. I think you have assumed yourself a new role in my house. The comfort for my ever ailing wife. Is this not true?” He was still keeping a light expression on his face but he did not hide the sharpness in his voice.
Lucas hadn’t a word to say, he just looked up at Jared with a bit of shock in his eyes.
“What has my fair Farrah told you? What have you given your impressionable ear to?”
“Nothing, Mr Leto, absolutely nothing.” The way he began to stumble on his words betrayed what he spoke.
Jared smiled and lightly cupped Lucas’ cheek in one of his hands. “I don’t want you to stop being her friend, her lover, or whatever it is you are. Continue as you have been, Miss Farrah should have all she wishes.”
“Mr. Leto please, I would never overstep my boundaries.”
Jared held up his hand to stop Lucas from talking. “Enough. I said what I said and it stands. Now, like you said, the guests have all arrived. It would be rude to keep them waiting.” He said, pushing past him and walking outside where the ceremony was being held.
Flowers in blood red adorned everything, the seats were red as well and Jared smiled at the discomfort it caused his guests. He loved the scandal of it in a world where everything was pale and gentle. He had different ideas about things. He had come from a different world, had he not? He could not wait until they saw what he had in store for the reception. His wife would no doubt faint at the display he would give.
He moved down the red aisle, his black suit standing out sharply against the color. He didn’t look at anyone in their seats but he knew what was in their eyes. They were looking up at him like he was something foreign, something damned. Hell, perhaps he was.
Once he got to the pew the music began, a low and mournful sound that he had chosen himself. Farrah walked down the aisle, her gown sumptuous and full. She looked beautiful, her face shining through the lace of her veil. Jared watched her. If she was any other woman she would be an absolute vision but he couldn’t feel anything but hatred for the woman that was going to meet him. Here was the woman who was to be his wife. Here was the woman who he was going to destroy. He hated her and he wasn’t even quite sure why. He saw too much of her father in her, too much of his superiority and he hated it.
She finally came to stand before him. His virgin bride in glorious white. She handed her bouquet to her bridesmaid and turned to Jared with quivering eyes. He didn’t hear anything the priest said, he simply went through the motions and said a monotonous “I do”. She said it as well, her voice strained and shaky. He took the ring and slipped it on her finger and she did the same to him. He held her hand longer than needed, smiling down at her almost triumphantly. Yes this was his day of victory, this was his life blossoming up and spilling over in abundance.
The music soared again in a melancholic sound and he turned with Farrah to the crowd. She was stiff, rigid next to him and he had to suppress his laughter. Not merely because she was already so tormented over this ordeal but because of the surprises he had in store for his guests.
He whisked everyone inside, ordering Farrah to change out of her bridal whites despite her protest. The reception began sweet enough, dainty and refreshing until he gestured for the music to end. He stood up where the musicians were and gathered everybody’s attention.
“My dear guests, thank you all for coming. I’ve been waiting so long for this day.” He smiled widely as he looked at all their faces looking back at him. They were judging him, adoring him, hating him. He loved it all. “And for your coming here I have prepared a special performance for all of you. To show you my gratitude.” He clapped his hands and moved off the platform.
The lights dimmed and the guests hushed. A slow, hypnotic rhythm began to play. Jared stood on the sidelines, watching the dancers come out slowly one by one. He noticed Farrah descending the staircase, dressed now in a voluminous gown of purple. She looked at the performance with curious eyes.
The dancers began their performance in bejeweled costumes, navels and legs bared. They danced as if the slow music had begun to flow through them, moving their bodies in a seductive way that shocked everyone watching, yet none of them looked away. Once the music died down and the lights rose again the dancers scurried away. Jared looked over the crowd, his eyes watching them curiously.
No one spoke, shock was written on their faces and Farrah watched Jared with disbelief. This was going to be spoke about. This wasn’t the way women of high society got married. This was shocking, this was beyond what she had imagined he would done. He had humiliated her, he had ruined the one day of her life she had always dreamed would belong to her.
Jared laughed and turned away, walking through the crowd and entering the drawing room.
“Jared that was amazing!” Tom called out, turning Jared around to face him.
“Yes. I don’t think those hypocrites quite know what to make of my boldness.” The smile was still on his face as he took a crystal glass of champagne to his lips.
“Does it matter?” Tom questioned and Jared slowly shook his head. “You are truly prepared to rock this society to its core, aren’t you?”
“Quite. And I’m not afraid of anyone either.” He replied, looking behind Tom and noticing that the reception was slowly starting up again.
“Good because everyone is afraid of you.”
“Excuse me.” Jared said, moving past him and rejoining the room where the reception was.
He went straight to Farrah who was sitting near the piano with a drink in hand. She looked up at him, anger and embarrassment on her face.
“I’m tired of this go around, let us go upstairs.” He said, speaking over the music as he took the drink from her hand.
“Already? The reception has only just begun.” She seemed scared as she spoke. She knew what he meant and it was definitely not something she was looking forward to.
He only smiled and reached out, taking her hand and pulling her up from her seat. He led her off towards the staircase despite the discomfort he was causing. He closed their bedroom door, locking out the sounds of the reception outside.
Just as if he were performing a task that had a deadline he rolled over onto his back with a sigh. She gathered the blankets over herself and turned onto her side. Jared stared up at the ceiling a moment before he sat up on the edge of the bed. He pushed his hands back through his hair and looked down at Farrah. He could hear the reception continuing downstairs and he figured it was time he join it again. He fixed himself, looking at his reflection in the mirror once he stood up.
“I’m going to go down again. They might be hungering for some more of me.” Jared said, a twitch of a smile on his lips.
“I wish I could tell them all what you’re really like.” She was crying, he could tell by the way her voice shook.
He smiled to himself and shook his head. “Well then I wish I could tell them that you weren’t much of a blushing bride.”
She looked up at him with shock. “What are you talking about?” She demanded, her eyes teary.
“My fair Farrah, do not lie, it is not very becoming. But tell me, what is it that you and Lucas have been doing in private? What have you been hiding? I’m sure everyone downstairs would love to hear it.”
“How dare you.” She sneered, looking up at him with sudden anger.
“No, no….How dare you.” He replied, leaning down on the bed and planting a kiss on her lips. “Now rest, you wouldn’t want to exhaust yourself, would you?” And with that he left the room and went back to the party.
He was learning more and more and he was glad for it. He was rising higher he could feel it, soon enough he would be on top of the world. He wouldn’t be able to knocked down, he wouldn’t be able to shaken from his position. That didn’t happen to men like him. No one would dare do such a thing. As Tom had said, they were afraid of him, shocked and drawn. He was going to keep it that way, now if only he could find Jaqueline.