Corporate Bride

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Anderson woke up with the worse headache he had ever experienced. His temples throbbed painful, which played into his ears like drums. Groaning, he rolled onto his side and covered his ears in hopes that the thudding sound would subside. However, no matter how painful his head throbbed, it was nothing compared to the one in his chest. That pain was just overwhelming. He had never felt something so strong in his entire life. He had never known how it felt like to have a broken heart until last night. Well now, he knows that it felt like hell. Tears pricked at his eyes and he quickly squeezed them shut. He did not want to cry. No, he would not cry. He was a man and men did not cry. Besides, he had already shed too much tears last night and do not intend on shedding more.

Uh, last night, damn it. It had been his wedding last night… his wedding to Sydney. Gosh, even saying her name stabbed at his heart. Last night was supposed to be the best day of his life. He was supposed to marry the woman he loved and then live the rest of his life in her arms. Last night, was supposed to be exciting, but she turned it into something else completely. After she runaway and ruined what they spent weeks preparing, it had turned into some kind of funeral ground. The guests had been sad for him. They felt sorry for him. They offered their apologies, which had enraged him. He had not wanted their pity or apologies. He had wanted them to be congratulating him when he had his bride in his arms. In a fit of rage, he had thrown chairs, destroyed all the decorations and chased everyone away. He had thought smashing everything would take the pain that was slowly brewing his chest away, but it did not. He had felt his heat shatter in its cage and pain slowly slipped through his veins to every part of his body making him weak. He had collapsed into a chair and got down to business, drinking all the champagne he could lay his hands on. If Hansen had not stopped him from drinking, he probably would have gotten even drunker than he was last night and would have ended up with an even worse case of a migraine.

Speaking of worse cases of a migraine, it looked like he was already experiencing the worse of it. The throbbing was back and it was breaking his head apart. He moaned and caught his head between his palms. It felt like someone placed two brick against his temples and was bashing the hell out of them. As if that was not enough, his stomach started to churn. He felt bile rose up in his throat and he swallowed it. As soon as the bitterness rode down, a gag reflex threw his head forward. His stomach flip-flopped and then he knew what would be coming next.

Kicking off the sheets, he carefully sat up in bed, making sure not to worsen the ache in his head. Anderson was expecting to find himself in his bed, inside his house. However, he was surprised when he saw grey walls, white sheets and blinking equipment instead of the usual black walls, silk sheets and beautiful black décor of his room. No one had to tell him that he was in a hospital, because the stench of disinfectant told him enough. It even made him want to throw up even more. Without wasting any more time, he ripped the cords from his wrist –which stung him- dropped his feet to the ground and rushed into the bathroom. Thank God, he was in the VIP suit. If not, he would have spilled his guts out on the floor.

Anderson soon returned to the room. Looking around, he noticed that no one was there. He was not too disappointed because his parents were very good at abandoning him the time he needed them. However, the fact that his brother was not there, saddened him. Hansen had never left his side when he was not feeling well, so why was he missing today? Perhaps had he just left when he woke up? Did he go out to get a drink?

The door suddenly opened and a nurse walked in with a tray. A smile formed on his lips when she saw him awake. “It’s about time, you woke up.” He said, moving to place the tray on the only chair in the room. “How are you feeling?”

“I have a migraine.” He replied, the same time he felt a throb.

The nurse nodded. “It’s expected. You came here highly intoxicated.” He explained while preparing a shot. “Can you please lie down?” He asked.

Anderson got back into the bed. While the nurse fixed the cord back into his wrist, he asked. “Where did my brother go?”

“Uh, I think he left this morning.” He replied.

“Okay.” Anderson sighed. “What time is it?” He asked while looking at the light rays seeping through the curtains.

Glancing at his watch, he replied. “Ten minutes after nine.”

“When is visiting hours?”

“4 pm.” The nurse went on with his duties and left the room when he was done.

Anderson lay in bed, dreading the long hours that he would have to wait until his brother could visit him. As he lay there, with his eyelashes getting heavy with sleep, his mind wondered back to Sydney. Her face was clear on his mind as he recalled the last time he saw her. It was the memory of the moment she called off the wedding. Her face was beautiful and she looked flawless in her gown, but tears stained her eyes. She was crying and he wanted to console her. He thought that she was in tears because she was nervous about the wedding. He thought he would be able to get her to stop crying and take her down the aisle with him. However, she cried, “I can’t marry you.” Then before he could get over the shock, she had already run away. He went after her, but found nothing when he searched the compound. It was too late. She was already gone… gone from the wedding and his life. He knew he would never see her again. Why, because, he would not look for her and he would not also forgive her for breaking his heart.

As he slipped into a dark abyss, he felt strings of tears roll out from the corners of his eyes and dampened the pillow under his head. He could not stop himself from shedding the tears in his drowsy state. However, he promised himself this was going to be the last time he would cry. He promised himself not to shed any more tears after this. The wedding did not take place, he lost her and he would move on. He promised himself that he would henceforth concentrate on finding a job. It was about time he starts taking responsibility. After all, he was not getting any inheritance.

Anderson stirred awake, hours later, the smell of disinfectant stronger now than it was before. Light stung his eyes when he opened them and he blinked until they adjusted to it. He hoped it was 4 pm, because he could not wait to see his brother. Slowly, he raised himself to a sitting position and that was when he saw that someone was in his room.

The old man, was standing at the door. One of his hands was on his waist, while the other held on fast to the walking stick by his side. Worry coated his weak features and his eyes stared hard at him. What was he doing here? Anderson thought. He did not want to believe that his father came to see him, but he could not shake the feeling of excitement that suddenly overtook him.

Mr. Niles took a step towards the bed and Anderson watched him. He wanted him to say something… like how are you feeling son? Should I call the doctor? Are you all right? However, he did not utter a word until he was standing at the edge of the bed.

“Something bad happened.”

Anderson saw the expression on his face, the worry in his eyes and knew that they were not for him. His father did not come to see how he was doing. He came to tell him whatever bad thing had happened. One thing was for sure, whatever it was; it must be very serious for him to be here in person to relay the news. Usually, he would just send Hansen to speak to him. However, today… that was when it hit him.

“What happened to Hansen?” Fear cut through him like a double-edged sword.

“He was in an accident.” Mr. Niles replied in a heavy sigh, and then Anderson knew the gravity of the accident. He wanted to know if his brother was fine. Did he sustain any injuries? How serious was his condition? Was he in a coma? Was he… no, he could not bring himself to complete that thought. As if reading his mind, his father added. “He is not dead.”

Anderson let out a breath. “Where is he?” He asked.

Moments later, he was in a wheelchair, strolling behind Mr. Niles to Hansen’s room. His brother was admitted in the same hospital, but on a different floor. After taking an elevator two floors up, they stopped outside a room door.

“He is in there.” He told him.

Anderson quickly opened the door and stepped into the room. Lying on the bed was Hansen with a bandage wrapped around his head. As he propelled the wheelchair closer to the bed, he saw a couple of bruises on his face and arm. His brother was wide-awake when he got to his side.

“Hansen,” he gasped. “What happened to you?”

Hansen shut his eyes upon seeing Anderson. Turning his head away from his brother, he tried to keep his tears at bay. He felt his brother take his hand and then a drop of tear escaped his eyelids. He could not look at him. No, he would not look at him without feeling embarrassed or guilty.

“Hansen.” Anderson called. “Say something, brother.” Worry laced his voice and touched Hansen’s heart to the core. “How did you get into an accident?”

“I was driving.” He replied, hoping that would answer Anderson’s questions so he would leave him alone. However, it did not as he questioned further.

“And then, what happened?”

“A truck ran into us.” He replied.

“Us?” Anderson was confused.

“Who were you with? Where were you going?”

“I was with him.” Mary replied before Anderson noticed her. She was leaning against the wall in the corner of the room, arms crossed over her chest and eyes red. There was no doubt that she had been crying. Her whole face was puffy. Anderson felt a pang in his chest, but ignored it. “We were going home to get you some clothes.” She added, glancing at Hansen.

Anderson returned his gaze to his brother and could not help but feel guilty for his condition. It was because of him that they were on the road, because of him that they were engaged in an accident and because of him, his beloved brother was hospitalized. “I am sorry.” He apologized. If he had not gotten drunk last night, there would not have been the need to rush him to a hospital and then they would not have taken a car to go home to get him a change of clothes. It was his entire fault.

“No, please don’t be.” Hansen turned to face him. “I… I am sorry.” He said.

“For what?”

Hansen wanted to tell him that he was sorry for everything. He wanted him to know that he was sorry about the loss of his mother. He was sorry that his mother, Mary, switched him with his real mother, Hannah. He was sorry for all the bad things his mother had done to him. He was sorry for all the hardships he went through because of him. He was sorry for all the times he suffered including now, because his mother was the reason why Sydney ran away from the wedding. His mother had managed to ruin his life and for that, he wanted to fall to his knees and beg for his forgiveness.

“I am sorry for everything.” Hansen replied simply. Anderson’s brows arched in confusion.

“I don’t understand.” He said.

“Don’t worry about it.” Hansen forced a smile for his brother, while promising himself that he would fix everything in his life Mary ruined, starting by bringing Sydney back into his life.

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