The car hummed into the compound of Anderson’s house. Everywhere was quiet, with no traces of reporters or paparazzi. The vehicle pulled up at the front door and Sydney quickly pushed her door open, stepping out. She did not spare Anderson a glance as she walked up to the front door, opened it and stepped inside. The house was still the same as they left it a week ago. Their ice cream cups were still standing on the dining table and the telephones were where they left them.
She ran up the staircase and disappeared into her room. Leaning against her closed door, she slid down into a couching position. Her hands found their way into her hair and she tugged at it, sighing.
The last few days had not gone well at Boti, all thanks to Anderson. He had crushed her heart when he insisted that they go on with the contract and pretend nothing happened. She had not understood why he asked that, until today, when they were leaving the Alistair mansion at Boti and Lady Willow advised her to make him realize what he was closing his heart too, and then she understood him.
Anderson was scared. He was scared of being in a relationship. She remembers when Hansen told her that his brother had never been in a relationship. At first, she thought that he had been busy with work to find time for relationships. However, she realized that he was only scared. He never opened his heart to a woman because he was scared. But scared of what?
She needed to know. She wanted to understand him because she could not pretend that she did not have feelings for him. It would be impossible, especially now that the wedding plans will be starting. They had cut their trip short because Mary wanted them to be around to discuss their wedding plans with the wedding planner.
“Argh,” she had never imagined herself getting married like this. She had always wanted to marry a man she loved and in a ceremony filled with love and laughs.
The sudden rapping on her door brought her out of her thoughts and she stood up. Taking a deep breath, she opened the door. “How can I help you?” She asked Anderson who refused to look directly at her.
“Get ready; we are meeting the wedding planner in two hours.” The words just finished rolling off his tongue, when her door came shutting in his face.
An hour and thirty minutes later, they were leaving the house. Anderson was back to dressing in his usual color, black. When they got in the backseat of the car, he tried not to look at Sydney. However, his eyes always wondered back to her.
Today, she was make-up free and dressed in a casual shirt over jeans. Her hair was in a ponytail, therefore exposing a smooth neck and gorgeous cheekbones, which he did not know she had. She was beautiful, he thought, but could not bring himself to tell her.
After, when seemed like hours, which was actually only minutes, the chauffeur packed in front of a bridal shop. Anderson walked and went around the car to open Sydney’s door for her. He was taken aback, when she greeted him with a smile, while taking his hand.
What happened? He wondered. Was she not angry with him anymore? When he turned to walk with her into the shop and he saw a few reporters taking pictures of them, he realized that she was only acting.
A salesperson led them to a table. There, Mary was seating with two women. “Hello, mother.” Anderson left Sydney’s side to kiss his mother’s cheek, who did not look too pleased to receive it. “You are looking lovely this morning.”
“And so do you.” Mary replied, with a smile while kissing his cheek too. “Sydney, it’s so good to see you again. You are looking lovely.”
“Thank you, but not as lovely as you.” Sydney played along, as she knew this was all a sham. One thing she learnt about the Niles family is that, they liked to look like a happy family in the public eye. How sickening.
Mary introduced them to the wedding planner and her assistant and then they got down to business. They agreed on the flowers, decor and many other things, well, at least Mary and the wedding planner did.
Sydney did not utter a word throughout the conversation, precisely because no one asked about her opinion. At some point, she wondered if she were even the bride. Anyway, she did not mind. After all, she was the pawn in the contract marriage.
“What do you say Sydney?” Anderson’s question brought her out of her trance and she glanced at him, confusion written all over her face. What did they agree on that he was asking for her opinion?
“Mother asked if you will be free to go shopping for the wedding gown today.”
Sydney’s heart skipped a beat at the question. Wedding gown? She looked between Mary and Anderson, without knowing what to say. She had just realized how serious this was. She was really getting married. “Uh…” she wet her lips, out of nervousness and Anderson did not miss it.
“How about, tomorrow?” He suggested. “We just returned from a long trip. I am sure you would like to rest.” Their gazes locked and for a split second, she saw concern in his eyes, for her.
Her heart thudded in her chest as a warm feeling erupted from the pit of her stomach. No way, she thought. She could not pretend not to feel anything for him. Slowly, she looked away and nodded. “Yes. Let’s make it tomorrow.” From the corner of her eye, she saw Mary glare at her.
They soon left the shop and got into the limo. Sydney turned her back to Anderson and looked out the window, trying not to put reading into the concerned look she saw in his eyes back at the shop. He is only acting, nothing more.
“Do you want to go somewhere and have lunch?” She shrugged without looking back at him.
Anderson felt a pang in his chest. Confused, he asked himself why he felt hurt. He had never felt this way, not even when his mother treated him badly. “Sydney,” he called, but she ignored him. His features hardened as a frown creased his forehead. “Sydney.” He called again, losing his patience. When she ignored him again, he reach for her arm and spun her around to face him.
He became tongue-tied when he saw tears in her eyes. “What!” She snapped, jerking her arm from his grip. “What do you want?” She asked, blinking back the tears.
“I am not hungry.” She added and then returned her gaze out the window.
“Sydney,” he reached for her arm again. She jerked it away, and did not look back.
Anderson sighed and turned his back to her, his frown returning. He was not going to force her to speak to him. If she wants to ignore him and be upset, well he could do the same thing. After all, she was to blame for making him falling in love with her. If she had not brought up the idea of moving in, or “acting like a real couple,” they would not have gotten close to each other and neither of them would have catch feelings.
“Where do you want to go, sir?” The chauffeur asked to which he simple replied.
Sydney was busy distracting herself when her phone started ringing. She removed it from her pocket and gasped in surprise when she saw the name on the screen. “Lance,” she screamed in excitement.
Anderson’s attention moved to her upon hearing the name. He listened in on her conversation and could not help but feel jealous when she laughed. His brows arched in annoyance as he asked himself. Who is this Lance? Where did they meet? And what is it he was saying that was making her laugh so hard?
“Oh yeah? You are in town?”
“Yes, of course you can come and visit.”
“Yes, I would love to. Where should we meet?”
Shifting, he looked back at her and saw her smiling. Her phone call ended and she stuffed her phone back into her pocket. “Pull up at the next stop.” She told the chauffeur.
Anderson could not help but question her. “Where are you going?”
“Somewhere.” She did not even spare him a glance and that enraged him.
His hands turned into fists by his sides. Taking a deep breath, he tried to control his temper. “Where? With whom?” He inquired, knowing very well that she was going to meet that Lance.
Sydney finally looked his way and he was not happy when he saw the frown on her face. “Why does it matter to you where I go or who I am with?” She asked.
“I am your fiancé. Hence, I have to know where you go and who you meet up with.” He replied, to which she rolled her eyes.
“We are only acting, Anderson. Therefore you do not have any right to demand that from me.” Sydney had barely finished speaking, when he moved across the seat and reached her side, closing whatever distance was between them.
Shocked at his unbelievable closeness, she sat frozen to the spot, not knowing what to do. His breath was fanning his face and she could smell his musky scent. He was angry. She could tell by the look in his eyes and the heart emanating from him. She never thought she could be afraid of him until today. He did not look as easygoing when angry, oh no. His features hardened and he looked dangerous.
“A… Anderson,” she stuttered, heart banging in her chest.
Anderson shut his eyes when her hot breath made his skin tingle. He tried to focus and not get distracted by her intoxicating scent, or the strong urge to kiss her lips. Moreover, he wanted to control his anger, as he did not like the scared look he was in her eyes. However, it was tough and even tougher to resist her.
When he opened his eyes again, he looked calm. “Sydney,” he breathed and she shut her eyes.
“Please don’t hurt me.” She begged and he thought he would get a heart attack.
“No, no, no, Sydney.” He said softly, taking her hand inside his. “I will never hurt you.”
Her lashes fluttered open and his heart skipped a beat at the eyes that stared back at him. “You will never hurt me?” She asked and he nodded. “Then what are you doing now?” He looked puzzled. “Why are you hurting me by asking me to pretend that I do not have feelings for you? Why do you not want to accept your feelings for me? Why are you afraid of being in a relationship? And why are you closing your heart to love, Anderson?” She searched his eyes.
“Sydney,” he sighed, letting go of her hand. “I do not want a relationship.” He told her.
“Why?” She took his hand this time. “Why Anderson? Tell me, why. I want to understand you.
He shook his head. “You can’t understand my decision to not want to be in a relationship. My mind was made up since I was a child… and it was because of certain events. Events I do not wish to talk about.”
“Anderson, please tell me.” She begged. “I can’t live like this for a year. I can’t live with you and pretend that I do not have feelings for you, for a whole year.”
Anderson sighed, saying. “If you can’t…,” he paused as his heart ached at what he was about to say. “…then you can leave.”
At the same moment, the car came to a stop. Sydney did not hesitant to open the door and step out. Anderson caught something like tears in her eyes before she banged to door in his face. He leaned back and hissed, cursing himself for getting in such a sticky situation. This was not what he bargained for.
“Where do you want to go next, sir?” The chauffeur asked to which he heaved a long sigh.
“I don’t know.” He replied, moving his eyes to gaze outside the window. He quickly shot to an upright position when he saw Sydney, not too far away, getting into a man’s car. His blood boiled with rage, just seeing that and he quickly grappled for his phone.
Upon retrieving it, he dialed her contact and waited. Oh shit, what was she doing getting into the car of another man? She was engaged to him. Therefore, she had no right to see other men, much less get into their car.
He saw her remove her phone from her pocket and then stuff it back. Glancing at his phone, realized that she just rejected his call. Gasping, he watched them take off. “Follow that black car.” He instructed the chauffeur.
Anderson was at the edge of his seat as they followed Sydney and the man. They went to a restaurant and conveniently decided to sit by the glass window. From the car, he saw them eating a having what seemed like a lively conversation. How did he know? Well, she could not stop smiling and that jerk had a satisfied smirk on his face.
Anderson’s hands bulged at once. Oh, how he would love to knock that smirk off that bastard’s face. That jerk was making Sydney laugh and he was so damn jealous -jealous that he was hurting her instead of making her happy, jealous that she preferred having lunch with another man and not him and jealous that, that man, was touching her.
He could not hold himself back any longer. Opening the door, he stepped out and marched towards the restaurant. He saw Sydney getting up from her spot and he became alarmed. Where was she going? He stepped up his pace.
When he was entered the restaurant, he saw her moving further inside. A waiter approached him with a menu, but he ignored him and continued walking. Sydney disappeared in a corner and he rushed towards it. As soon as he rounded that same corner a few seconds later, he found himself in a restroom, and then he saw Sydney.
Her pupils dilated when she saw him and he did not blame her. She might be wondering how he found her or what he was doing there, but he did not give her the chance to speak or allow his brain to process what his heart was screaming to him to do, and he went on ahead to do it anyway. He cupped her face between his palms and claimed her lips in a swift motion.
Sydney did not respond to his kiss at first, as she was shocked. However, a few kisses later, her hands went around his waist and she kissed him back. His lips were tender and he kissed her so gently, her skin tingled with excitement.
He pulled back to gaze into her eyes. “Who is he?” He asked.
“Why do you want to know?” She asked to which he groaned.
“Just tell me.” He insisted.
“Not until you tell me why you followed me all the way here and then kissed me.”
Anderson knew what she wanted him to say, but he was afraid of saying it. However, he would go crazy if he did not, because he did not want to lose her to that scoundrel sitting out there or to any other man.
There was no turning back now. “Because, I love you.”
Sydney initiated the kiss this time, taking him by surprise. Her hands cupped his face and she willingly parted her lips and allowed his tongue entrance into her mouth. A sigh escaped her lips when his hands moved to her nape to angle her head so he could kiss her even deeper.
As if that was not enough, he lifted her off her feet and sat her down in the sink. His hands wrapped around her waist and held her possessively against him. Sydney’s heart was hammering against her ribcage while goose bumps rose on her skin. She felt as if she were floating on a cloud because no one had ever kissed her this passionately. Even the kissing scenes she acted out could not compete with this.
At that moment, everything faded into nothing, as she knew only him. At that moment, she forgot all about her sick mother in the hospital, or her addict big brother, and all her problems. At that moment, she knew Anderson was hers and she was his.