The water rushed over my bare feet and I watched it, half transfixed by the motion.
I shrugged and looked up at my father.
"If this is what you want, I am fine with it." This wouldn't be the daftest thing I'd agreed to and I doubted it would backfire.
"Wonderful. I'm glad you are not troubled by my decision. In a week's time, then?"
He walked away and I sighed. I'd never cared about anyone before so why start now? Life is easier when you let the flow sweep you away, instead of getting in caught in the eddy of feelings. Decisions come easy.
The idea that I had just agreed to marry a man I'd never met before did not ruffle my feathers in the least. Just another decision, and this one led me to greater places than home. This town had gotten boring fast and I needed an escape. This Francis Bedrou would provide it.
My feet cold and my eyes hurting from staring at the continuous motion of the river, I walked back to shore, letting my hems drift upon the water.
"Emily! There you are! I've been looking everywhere for you." A boy of nine or so bounced toward me across the grass. "I just passed your father and when I asked him why he seemed so happy he told me you've agreed to marry Francis!"
"Yes." Children. Too hyper and troublesome too deal with, I wanted the conversation to end quickly. Really, they can be so pesky.
"But you've never even met him! Aren't you worried?"
I picked up my slippers and trod barefoot up to the path, the boy trailing behind me.
"Go away Benjamin. I agreed to marry him and that's the end of it."
"Are you going to have kids? Can I name them?"
"I expect I'll have children Benjamin," Whether I want them or not, I thought to myself. "But no, you may not name them. I will not be living here any more."
A week's time passed with barely a pause to think. In that time I had many conversations like the one with Benjamin. People wanting to know how much I knew about him, questioning my sanity as they'd done for years, and generally harassing me as village people tend to do. The one boy I'd ever courted followed me consistently, asking how I could do this to him, pleading that I change my mind. My father worried if he had made the right decision and my mother fussed over the wedding details. It was, all in all, a rather stressful week. Too many voices nattering in my ears, too many hands tugging on my skirts. I had made a decision and was not going to go back on it. I would marry Francis Bedrou halfway through my sixteenth year, April 21st.