Corporate Bride

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CHAPTER 31

The night was cool and the moon shone brightly, just the way she had wanted it. However, she did not notice it although, she was watching through the open window of her room because, she was feeling extremely nervous and worried. Rose asked her to take deep breaths to calm down, but it was not helping her either. She did not know what would calm her racing heart and stop her hands from trembling.

“Sydney,” Kathleen called and she looked away from the window, in her direction. Turning the swivel chair about, she faced the sisters fully.

Kathleen smiled down at her. “Come on, don’t be nervous.” She took Sydney’s hand into hers, enveloping it in her warm hands. “You should be smiling because it’s your wedding day.” She cupped Sydney’s face now. “And you’re marrying the man you love. Besides, you are looking too gorgeous to be frowning.”

Sydney knew Kathleen was right. It was her wedding day and she was marrying the man she loved, so she should be happy. However, she had a strong feeling in her gut that something was going to go wrong. Sighing, she nodded to Kathleen and glanced into the mirror before her, at her reflection.

A smile slowly crept up on her face as she stared at herself. She loved the simple yet sophisticated braid the hairstylist made for her hair. Also, she loved her natural yet gorgeous make-up. She was set, except that the dress was not in yet. What was taking that designer so long?

There was a sudden knock on the door and then Rose spoke in a singsong. “The dress is here.” She hurried to the door and pulled it open. A confused expression crossed her face when she saw a man at the door.

“Lance?” Sydney called his name and rose to her feet.

“I am sorry. The bride can’t see any visitors.” Kathleen was going to close the door, but then Sydney spoke up.

“No, let him in.” She said, moving away from the dressing mirror. The door opened wider and Lance entered. Their gazes locked for a split second and she saw worry in his eyes. Her heart skipped a beat as she wondered what bad news he has come to tell her.

“Can we please have some privacy? There’s something I have to tell you.”

“Uh, Kathleen, Rose, can you please leave us alone for a second?” She asked without breaking eye contact with him.

When the door closed behind the sisters, he spoke the words she feared he would speak. “Your mother is gone!”

“What?” Her fingers went straight into her hair to tug. “How, where, when did this happen?” She asked.

“This afternoon. I went out for a shoot and when I got back, she was gone.” He added to which she groaned.

Sydney paced the room, throwing a hand over her mouth to stop herself from screaming on top of her voice. She wanted to scream until she runs out of breath, because she was angry and frustrated. Why did her mother leave Lance’s place? Where did she go?

“She left a note for you.” He retrieved a paper from his breast pocket.

Sydney halted in her steps and slowly turned around to face him. She took the piece of paper and saw it addressed to her. Unfolding it, she saw little scribbles of Adeline’s handwriting.

"Sydney, please do not get married. You cannot marry him, not when you do not know the truth.”

“What does it say, Sydney?” Lance asked upon seeing Sydney’s horrified expression. She looked up at him with tears in her eyes. “Sydney,” he said, as her tears fell out of her eyes. When she remained quiet, he snatched the paper from her and looked at it.

After skimming through, he looked at her again. “What is this?” He questioned, looking puzzled at the content of the paper. “Why is your mother asking you not to get married?”

Meeting his gaze, she stared with glassy eyes. Her lips trembled as her gaze fell to the floor. What was her mother up to? Why does she insist on her not marrying Anderson? Does she not understand that she loves him?

“Sydney…,” Lance reached for her hand, at the same time the door burst open.

“The dress is here!” Kathleen strode in, cradling a big box in her arms with a broad smile on her face. However, it disappeared when she saw Sydney’s tear-stained face. “What’s wrong?” She questioned, leaving the box on the bed.

“Uh…” Sydney left Lance’s hand and turned around. She tried to wipe away her tears, but it was too late, she had seen them already. Kathleen took her elbow and forced her to look at her.

“Sydney, what happened?” Her voice lowered with worry. “Why are you crying?”

“Uh, it’s nothing.” Lance decided to come to Sydney’s rescue, as he saw that she did not want to talk about it. “You know how emotional weddings can get.” He forced a smile, while locking gazes with Sydney, urging her to play along. “Isn’t it?”

“Uh, yes.” Sydney snuffled, while dabbing at her tears with a handkerchief.

Kathleen heaved a long sigh. “Thank goodness, I thought it was something else.” She smiled. “Now let’s get you into your dress and fix your make-up.”

“Alright, I will go.” Lance said, turning around. “We will talk later.” After sharing a secret look with the bride, he walked out.

Kathleen brought back the make-up artist to re-touch Sydney’s face, before the designer helped her into her gown. It was V-neck lace embroidery, stunning fit-flare-mermaid dress. Kathleen and Rose oohed, aahed, and praised her looks but that still did not lighten her mood.

“I bet Anderson’s eyes will pop out of their sockets when he sees you walking down the aisle.” Kathleen joked.

“Totally.” She chuckled with Rose and Sydney only managed a smile.

Indeed, she agreed with them. She truly looked beautiful and now that they had mentioned it, she could not wait to see Anderson’s reaction to her while she walked down the aisle. She imagined his jaw falling all the way to the floor, and then grinned.

Kathleen saw Sydney’s eyes shining once again and she was finally relieved. A moment ago, she had been worried that Sydney was having second thoughts about the wedding, but now her smile reassured her that she was happy to be marrying Anderson. Of course, who would not? He was such a wonderful person.

Glancing at her wrist, she saw that the time for the wedding was almost here. “Alright, let’s go.” She moved to the standing mirror where Sydney was staring at her reflection in awe.

“Yes, you look that damn gorgeous.” She said to which they smiled together. Kathleen gathered the bride’s train in her arms. “Ready?” She asked, as Sydney nodded.

“Not so fast.” Mary burst into the room, saying, with a shopping bag dangling from her index finger. Sydney’s heart leaped into her throat and she turned to face her almost mother-in-law, who was smiling from ear to ear. “Why would you leave when I haven’t met the bride yet?” She said, moving to hug Kathleen. After which, she pulled Sydney into a bone-crushing hug.

“Oh my, you look so beautiful!” Mary gasped while pulling away to touch Sydney’s cheek.

Sydney was stunned. Why was this woman, all excited and complementing her today? Why was she not demanding that she not marry her son? And why, was she looking so damn happy for her? Something was not right, and Sydney felt it. That devil was definitely planning something.

“Here,” Mary begun, while removing a box from the shopping bag and opening it. There was a beautiful diamond encrusted choker inside. Sydney’s lips parted in awe as she saw the masterpiece. “It’s a gift from a future mother-in-law to her soon-to-be daughter-in-law. I want you to wear this for the wedding.” She smiled.

“Mary,” Sydney gasped. “You shouldn’t have.” She really meant it. The jewelry looked very expensive.

“No, I have to.” She brought it out of the box. “Come on. Let me put it on you.” Sydney hesitantly turned her back to her. While Kathleen raised her veil, Mary locked it around her neck. Lowering her mouth to Sydney’s ear, she whispered. “Good luck out there. You’ll need it.”

I knew it. Sydney thought, while glancing into the mirror, a frown creasing her forehead. However, she was not worried anymore. Since Mary has shown that she was still against the wedding, she felt somewhat relieved. Knowing that she has something planned was much better than not knowing whether she was planning something or not.

“Wow, it’s just fabulous.” Kathleen exclaimed.

“Alright, let’s go.” Mary said.

“Not yet.” Sydney interjected, turning away from the mirror.

“It’s time, dear.”

“I know, but I want Anderson to come get me.” Sydney said.

“Sydney, the groom is not supposed to see the bride until…” Kathleen was suddenly interjected, by Sydney who raised her voice above hers, silencing her in the process.

“I want him to come and get me or else I am not leaving this room, period.”

Kathleen and Mary exchanged glances. “Okay, whatever the bride wants.” Kathleen said then left the room, leaving Mary together alone with Sydney. When Kathleen’s footsteps no longer echoed behind the closed door, Sydney turned around to Mary, locking gazes with her instantly.

“There’s nothing…” Mary began but Sydney cut her off.

“I know what you did more than twenty years ago… Jenny.” Blood run out of Mary’s face at Sydney’s words, leaving her pale. “My mother told me.” Her pupils dilated next. “You two used to be friends, in fact really good friends. I know that my mother helped you steal a baby.” This time, she dropped her purse in shock.

Silence fell between them. Sydney could see the thousand and one emotions flashing through her pale face. When Mary finally stumbled backwards, while clutching her pearls, Sydney did not even feel an ounce of pity for her.

“How… how… d… did you?” Mary stuttered.

“Whatever plan it is you have to ruin my wedding… stop it!” Sydney said, sternly. “It’s my wedding tonight and I am not going to let you ruin it. Do you understand?”

“You…”

“If you try something, I will tell everyone here that one of your sons is not actually yours.”

Mary was still trying to recover from the shock. “It was supposed to be a secret.” She said. “Adeline was never supposed to mention it. I paid her a lot of money for that!” She gritted.

“I don’t care whatever deal you had with my mother.” Sydney snapped. “Just don’t ruin my wedding.” With those words, she picked up her bouquet and headed towards to the door.

“How dare you!” Mary raged. “No one can force me into doing something I do not want to.”

Sydney turned around, shrugging. “Well, I guess I am an exception.” A genuine smile formed on her lips for the first time this evening. After catching the deep frown on Mary’s forehead, she pulled opened the door with confidence and stepped out.

“Oh, don’t stay too long in there. You might miss the wedding.” With those words, she banged the door behind her and left.

Sydney held the bouquet close to her chest and moved through the corridor, her heart still racing. She could not believe that she just blackmailed Mary. Her smile extended from ear to ear as she made a turn at the staircase.

The sound of footsteps reached her ears and her knees suddenly turned to jelly. She quickly gripped the banister for support and fixed her eyes on the doors. When it burst open, she was surprised that instead of Anderson and Kathleen entering, it was Lance and Adeline.

“Wow!” Lance gasped, while admiring the gorgeous bride on top of the staircase. He was not the only one dumbfounded. Adeline was too. In fact, she stopped walking upon seeing her daughter looking so magnificent.

“Mother!” Sydney gasped, and then started her way down the stairs.

“My dear, take your time.” Adeline was worried that she would trip and fall if she did not slow down. However, her daughter never listens to her when she speaks, so she rushed down to meet her.

Adeline wanted her to throw her arms around her, but she did not. Instead, she asked. “Where the hell, did you go?”

She quickly remembered where she had been. “I went home.” She replied, much to Sydney’s surprise.

“Home! What did you go all the way there for? Did you not know that I was worried sick about you? I was going out of my mind here, thinking that something bad happened to you.” At that, she flung her arms around her in a hug.

Adeline was more than glad to hold her daughter in her arms. She wished she could tell her how beautiful she was looking and bless her union with Anderson. However, she could not. She could not wish the best for a wedding she was here to ruin.

Pulling away, she took Sydney’s hand. “Come, let’s go.” She said.

“No, I can’t leave. It’s my wedding.” Sydney smiled.

“No,” Adeline hated herself for what she was about to do. “You cannot marry him.”

Sydney’s smile vanished from her face, now leaving a frown. “No, I won’t let you do this!” She raged, jerking her hand away from her Adeline’s hold. “I will not let you stop this.” She gathered her dress in her hands and started moving towards the backdoor, where the ceremony was going to take place.

“Sydney,” Adeline run after her. “He will hate you if he finds out what I did to him, don’t you understand that?” She raised her voice.

“I am in love with him, don’t you understand that!” Sydney yelled.

“I do.” Adeline raged. “I see it in your eyes.” Her voice became soft and understanding. “However,”

“No, no! I do not want to hear it.” Sydney was stomping her way to the door when Adeline yelled.

“Anderson is the baby we stole.” That stopped her in her tracks. “She was the lover of a billionaire, who was married to Hannah …Anderson’s mother. Both of them became pregnant and went to labor at the same time. Anderson’s mother did not make it, so Jenny got me to switch the babies. Because there is, a will that says Hannah’s son will become the hire. She wanted her son to be the hire. Hansen is her real son, not Anderson.”

Sydney spun around to face her mother. “What?” She asked, tears pouring out of her eyes.

“Jenny is very ambitious.” Adeline said.

“Mother,” Sydney’s knees buckled and she fell to the floor.

At that same moment, the backdoor opened and Anderson entered. “Sydney, what happened?” He asked upon seeing her crying on the floor.

Sydney’s head snapped up when she heard his voice. A worried expression crossed his face as he run to her. Falling to his knees, he gathered her into his arms. “My love, what is wrong?” He asked.

Adeline was right after all. He would hate her when he finds out what her mother did to him. Even she was feeling guilty now. Her mother snatched him away from the arms of his real mother when he was only a baby and handed him to an ambitious woman who did nothing but mistreat him all his life.

“Sydney,” he pulled back to look into her eyes, but she looked away. “Please my love, tell me.”

She did not feel worthy to be called his love. She was the last person he should be calling his love. “I can’t.” She said, removing his hands from her face. “I can’t… marry you.”

Sydney did not give him time to react and quickly shot to her feet, gathered her skirts and run towards the front door. She heard Adeline call her name, but she did not stop. Bursting out the front door, she rushed through the compound, heading for the front gate.

A few arriving guests were puzzled, seeing the running bride. However, the bride did not even take notice that people were watching her as she was determined to get out of there.

“Sydney, get in.” Adeline said and she spun around to see her mother driving a car. She did not have time to ask where she got it as she was focused on running away. She opened the door, got in the passenger seat and they went out of the house, disappearing into the night.

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