Chapter 1 - Second Thoughts
Today was the big day—the day I would become Mrs. Rainstorm. Like most others, I had the option to choose my groom. This marriage wasn’t forced on me, despite the proposal being beneficial for my family’s business.
Perks of being a billionaire—my dad had a lot of power in the business world, just like my best friend, Ace Valentino. However, it wasn’t Ace who I was marrying; it was Simon Rainstorm, the son of my father’s friend. When Dad first told me to consider this wedding proposal, I gave it a serious thought at once since there was no point in putting it off.
After dating Simon for two months, I concluded that he was okay, and we decided to get married once he officially proposed to me.
I glanced at the mirror, fully dolled up like a bride. I was wearing a long white wedding gown with a cascading cape and sweetheart neckline, the gown itself embedded with crystals. My gray eyes complemented the slightly undone bun with some wispy, face—framing pieces.
Despite being satisfied with the way I looked, I sucked in a deep breath. I had a bad feeling about all this, which I knew I wasn’t supposed to feel. Shrugging off the negative thoughts and overcoming my nervousness, I texted Ace.
Ava: Where are you? I’m nervous 😶
Ace replied at that instant.
Ace: I’m on my way. The meeting took much more time than expected. But don’t worry. I’ll reach on time.
I rolled my eyes. He had a meeting which he didn’t reschedule despite my wedding. He was a workaholic, just like Dad, so I had gotten used to his antics.
Ava: Don’t forget to meet me in my room for the last time before the ceremony.
Ace just replied with a small ‘Ok’ and I kept the phone back on the table, checking my makeup.
I heard a faint knock on my door. After I said to come in, the door opened and I found my dad looking at me with a bright smile.
“There is my princess,” said Dad and approached me. When I smiled at him, he breathed out, “Your smile is as beautiful as your mother’s—those same dimples. You know, I always wanted you to get Eleanor’s smile. She would be proud of you if she was here.” He placed his hand over my head, his eyes getting a little cloudy.
“Dad, she is proud, and I know it. I just need you to be happy. Don’t forget what you promised to me,” I reminded him, which made him chuckle.
I insisted Dad find a life partner for himself since, after Mom’s death, all he did was dedicate his entire life to raising me properly and in his business. I told him a lot to find a new partner, but he promised me he would, only after my wedding.
“Yes, Ma’am,” he said obediently, making me burst into laughter. “You look stunning, dear. I am so happy for you.”
“Is Ace attending the wedding, or he got stuck in a meeting?” he inquired, to avoid getting emotional in front of me. He loved Ace a lot, of course.
“He is on his way,” I informed Dad.
“Good to know.” Dad said after a while when I was scrolling through my phone, “That guy should think of his love life too. I had a daughter when I was fully into business, but he’s only twenty-seven and still, no sign of a woman, let alone getting married.”
I sighed. “You know him, Dad. He is arrogant and rude to almost everyone. Just not to his close ones. But women run away right after seeing his ruthless nature. They don’t stick around to see his soft side, and I don’t blame them. That guy takes way too much time opening up. Seriously, I’m worried about him. Is there any woman on earth who can tolerate Ace Valentino?”
“There is,” came up a familiar voice from the door. “You can tolerate me, Ava,” Ace spoke up, his hands in his pocket like usual. He looked handsome wearing the tuxedo. Though he looked handsome in literally just anything.
A grin appeared on my lips seeing him. “Ace,” I uttered and rushed to give him a hug. He hugged me back. “Well, I can tolerate you because you can tolerate me. It’s only fair, right?” He did a noncommittal shrug. “Anyways, now that your best friend is getting married, you have to find a life partner as well.” Obviously, he knew about the promise I took from Dad.
Ace raised his hands in surrender. “No promises.” Then he turned to my dad. “Hi, Robert. How are you?”
Dad smiled as they shook hands. “Doing good for now. Is everything good in business? We didn’t meet much after our deal ended two months ago. I am planning to renew it. What do you think?”
“I have the papers ready. It just awaits your signature,” responded Ace.
I rolled my eyes and pushed them away from each other. “No business talk on my special day,” I said sternly, standing in between them.
Dad chuckled. “Fine, I am going to give you two some time alone,” with that, he got out of the room, leaving Ace and I alone.
I sucked in a deep breath and looked at Ace. “So when are you planning to return to Utah?” I knew he was always running on the clock. Always this meeting, that deal, and so on.
Ace smiled and said, “I was supposed to return three days ago, but I didn’t want to miss your wedding. So I will stay till tonight and leave tomorrow morning.”
A smile formed on my lips as well. Of course, even if he was always busy, he somehow never failed to squeeze me into his schedule.
He grabbed my hand and looked at my engagement ring with a frown. “No offense, but Simon has horrible taste.”
“Excuse me?” I arched an eyebrow.
“Well, not in the case of girls,” Ace added at that instant.
“Good save, or else, you would have found yourself blocked on every social media by me,” I retorted, and he shook his head in amusement. “Hey, how do I look?” I backed off from our closeness and stood farther away, keeping a hand on my hip.
Ace glanced at me from head to toe and twitched his lips. “You look okay…”
“Just okay?” I gasped in horror. “Ace Valentino, I didn’t spend five hours on makeup and two hours on my hair, just to hear I look okay.” I looked at the mirror of my room, trying to find flaws that probably Ace was seeing but I couldn’t.
Was I looking ugly? Why on my wedding day? Oh, my God.
My chain of thoughts was broken when I heard a burst of sweet laughter lightening the tense environment. I could see Ace laughing through the mirror in front of me.
Oh dear God, he was joking. He was impossible!
I shook my head with disappointment and pulled the chair, sitting there with a huff. He was playing with me even on my wedding day. Why does he have to joke with such a serious face? I really believe him all the time.
All of a sudden, I could hear minty breath near my ear from behind. I kept my eyes glued to the mirror. Ace leaned down, placing his head almost over my left shoulder, making my breath hitch.
He had to stop making me feel like that. I was getting married today for heaven’s sake.
Ace pushed a few strands of my hair behind my ear with his cold fingers and whispered in my ear, “You look absolutely stunning, Ava. No one will be able to take their eyes off of you today when you walk down the aisle.”
When Ace looked at the mirror as well, our eyes met for a brief moment. He lived in Utah while I was in Colorado, so our friendship was mostly long-distance. However, each time we met, I felt different with him—which was the first reason I agreed to date Simon—to not overthink about Ace.
You are getting married today, Ava Kace, I reminded myself and averted my gaze.
“Thank you,” I simply mumbled and got up from the chair, making my way to the closet room. “I forgot to wear my bracelet,” and with that, I closed the door of the closet room, with Ace still in my bedroom.
I opened the third drawer and took out the diamond bracelet with three small stars, engraved with my name ‘AVA’, which Ace gifted me last year, on my birthday. He had a busy schedule, yet he came to meet me at midnight by his jet, just to wish me right on time.
I clutched the bracelet closer to my chest, asking myself, Is getting married to Simon Rainstorm a good decision?