"WHAT!?" Alexandra shrieked. "No! No, no, no, no! And, no!"
"Now, now, love. No need to be worried. I'm sure Uncle John would be quiet fond of you." He pursed his lips, thinking, before saying, "Or not. Well, it's worth the try. At least we can hope..." there was a little pause, "Or not."
Alexandra was about to protest, but before she could even get the chance to open her mouth, Paul had grabbed her wrist firmly in his hand and led her forward.
Alexandra was determined that when she faced Uncle John or whatever he was called, she would just say honestly that Paul was lying and that she was no wife of his.
Without any introductions and practically no 'hello's, Paul started speaking as soon as they reached John Henderson.
"Uncle John. May I introduce you to my soon to be wife, Alexandra Evans?"
But it was as if her words lost their way down her throat when the man turned his glance on her.
Uncle John was tall and had broad shoulders. Unlike Paul who was young yet had shades of white hair among his hair, John was rather old but there was no sign of any white hair on his head.
John, just like Paul, probably wasn't fond of the idea of a masquerade party, for he wasn't wearing any mask. Just his black suit.
His face was full of wrinkles; mostly on his forehead. But it was obvious that the wrinkles on there were only due to his long lasting frowns.
He had the same eyes as Paul. Deep blue, stone-cold, and yet extremely handsome. But that was only the case when you weren't the one he was looking at.
His eyes pierced Alexandra's soul as his glance fell on her, making her feel vulnerable under his firm gaze.
"It's nice meeting you, Ms. Evans." Alexandra took aback when John Henderson let a small smile take over his face.
He raised his hand and took her hand in his, placing a kiss lightly on her knuckle.
"Er... Thank you, Mr. Henderson."
"Oh, by all means. Call me John."
Alexandra was overwhelmed by his kind smile, thinking that why would anyone even dare to compare such a respectable man to someone as Paul.
"WHAT ARE YOU STARING AT!? CONTINUE THE DANCE!" Paul bellowed and so everyone continued.
"Your temperature is as hot as ever, I see." John grinned, but Paul didn't react at all. Instead, he ignored him and took Alexandra's arm.
"If you would excuse us, Uncle, my fiancé and I would like to have another round of dance."
"Why, so did I. You wouldn't mind if I burrowed your partner, I hope?" He asked Paul.
Alexandra realized that those were the same words that Paul had said when he wanted to dance with her.
Perhaps the two Hendersons had more in common than just their stone-cold deep blue eyes.
"Of course I wouldn't mind." Paul forced a smile.
But for some unknown reason, even though he had agreed, Paul didn't let go of Alexandra's arm; in fact, he merely tightened his grip more.
Alexandra didn't protest. She just quietly hoped that a miracle would save her from that misery.
But no such thing happened.
John lead Alexandra to the dance floor. His eyes never left her face, and she didn't even dare to look up at him for a single moment.
When the music finally ended, Alexandra sighed in relief.
"It was a very nice chance to dance with you, Mr. Henderson. But I would definitely not take your precious time any longer."
By that she nodded and turned on her heels to leave, but she stopped when John's firm hand took ahold of her wrist.
Despise his resemblance with Paul, John's hands was completely different from Paul's. His hand was as cold as his eyes and expression.
But Paul's hands were warm, as he held me against himself... No! Don't. Think. Of. That!
Alexandra shook her head immediately, blocking any thoughts of Paul Henderson through her mind.
She decided to pay attention to John who finally spoke. "Nonsense. I would like nothing more than to spend some time with my nephew-in-law. Stay a bit longer."
"–I insist." His grasp tightened, making her gasp unwillingly.
He then looked away from Alexandra and pointed at the man who played the music, to stop it.
Everyone stopped along with the sound of music, turning to look at John Henderson. He had now stood on a chair nearby with a glass of champagne in hand which he had just took from a waiter passing by.
No one dared to speak.
What was so terrifying about that man? Alexandra wondered.
"Tonight, is no ordinary night." He gave a pause and meanwhile, more waiters offered all the guests glasses of champagne. "Tonight, I am honored to introduce you Alexandra Evans. The soon to be bride of the Henderson family!"
No one clapped and no one cheered. The only sound that came were a few gasps and whispered. But as it seemed, John didn't even want them to cheer either.
"Please join me for a toast, for the sake of the noble family of Henderson." He raised his glass. "To Alexandra Evans."
"Alexandra Evans." The crowd chanted in the lead of John's voice and Alexandra wished that the earth would open up and swallow her down.
That was when her eyes marched among the people. Even Peter was drinking, perhaps because he knew that this was all an act.
But Alexandra caught the eyes of one person; the only one who wasn't drinking.
"If you wish," whispered John. "you can leave now." Alexandra did as she was told to.
"James!?" Alexandra ran toward the crowd, but James was already gone, so she ran after him to find him.
As he was about to exit the mansion Alexandra caught his arm but James refused to look at her.
"James, what's wrong?"
"He had his eyes on you all night." He muttered.
"That bastar–" he cleared his throat. "Paul Henderson. He didn't remove his eyes off you the entire time we were dancing."
"Don't tell me you've believed in any of that fiancé shit–"
"–Of course I haven't!"
"Then what the hell is your problem!?"
"I don't want you to near him! At any case! I shouldn't have had let you dance with him!"
"Oh, for goodness sake– why!?"
James opened his mouth, but closed it again, regarding what he was going to say.
"He's not who he seems to be." He finally said.
"You mean he's not a cold heartless bastard? Please, do enlighten me. Who is he, then?"
"He's worse than what he claims to be, Alex. You have to promise me that you would stay away from him."
"How do you know? You only met him a few days ago–"
He finally turned completely toward Alexandra and placed his hands on her shoulders, looking into her eyes.
"Alex, please. Promise me that you wouldn't get too close to him."
"– Just stay. Away. From. Him."
As Alexandra was about to open her mouth, someone cleared their throat from behind them.
"I would like to have a word with my fiancé. You wouldn't mind, Mr. Anderson, now would you?" It was Paul Henderson.
Alexandra, because of James's words, was expecting him to refuse Paul's order.
But he didn't.
He just let go of her and by a last death glare at Paul, left the mansion.
"Come." Paul ordered and walked away, leaving Alexandra no choice but to follow him.
Paul led her upstairs into an abandoned corridor.
"You had no right to do that without asking my opinion on it." Alexandra snapped.
"Well, it's too late for that. We just have to keep up the act until John returns to London."
"But what if he doesn't return? What if he insists on staying here in hopes of a wedding!? Hm!?"
"You know, for a fiancé, you're quiet feisty." Paul said in a strained and cold voice, nearing Alexandra in a slow and dangerous pace. "Besides, you're not a good actress."
She backed away, but Paul walked to her even further, until Alexandra's back het the wall behind her.
Paul was so close to her. Too close, that she could feel his hot breath against her skin.
"How about we practice a little bit." His voice was in a whisper, but it was like a scream to her ears.
Paul raised his hand and brushed his thumb against her cheek, making her shudder and a chill ran down her spine.
"I know you have no memories, but I'm pretty certain that deep down, you know what goes on between a man and his wife... Specially if they're soon to be married."
Alexandra shivered. She felt vulnerable, and she hated herself for that.
"What's wrong, love?" His voice was dangerous and dark. "Afraid?"
Alexandra didn't answer.
And right at that moment, in a blink of an eye, Paul held Alexandra's chin and leaned forward to connect their lips for a kiss.