Corporate Bride

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Sydney could not believe her mother was actually going to reveal the truth. She was scared, afraid, worried and most importantly, a little relieved. The truth was finally coming out. She could not help but wonder how Anderson would feel about it. How would he react? Would he be infuriated? Of course, he would! She would feel the same if she were in his shoes. Heck, she would throw the accomplices in jail without a second thought, if it were she. But would he do it? Would he throw Adeline and Mary into prison? Sydney was worried about her mother. Prison was not a nice place to be. She knew this because she has seen movies. Adeline would not survive it. Oh, how she wishes she could ask he mother not to tell him the truth. However, she could not, because she wants him back. Was it selfish of her not to stop her mother from revealing the truth because she wants him back? Was she?

Sighing, Sydney rolled on her back and stared at the ceiling above her. This was a difficult time in her life. She had reached a point where she was stuck, without knowing whom to choose. Family or love? She remembers some time ago, when she thought family was most important. She had picked her family over money. However, now it was not money, but something very precious. It was a feeling that was embedded so deep in her chest that she could not let it go. It was something she felt so strongly that she had stayed in bed for days crying her eyes out because she so stupidly threw it away. Was her family… no, her mother more important now than her love? She knew the answer all too well, but could not bring herself to admit it.

A knock on her door, snapped her out of her reverie. Without moving, she said. “Come in.” The door creaked open and Adeline walked in.

“Sydney,” there was urgency in her voice when she called to her. Quickly Sydney sat up and looked at her mother, who had a telephone in her hand. Her mind suddenly raced with many questions. Did she call Anderson? Has she told him the truth? How did he react? Oh no, were the police on their way? Before she could voice any of her thoughts out, Adeline spoke. “I just got off the phone. It was the police.” Sydney’s heart leaped into her throat. “Caleb has just been arrested.”

A sigh escaped her lips, as she felt relieved. Good thing it was not her mother. However, worry suddenly coated her features when her mother’s words rang in her mind. Caleb was arrested! “What?”

“He was arrested with some other boys, for cocaine possession.” Sydney gasped, throwing a hand over her mouth. Things had just gone from bad to worse. Uh, what a brother she had! Why did he not turn out to be like other big brothers… loving, caring and responsible? “It is my entire fault.” She heard her mother say, before she saw guilt consume her. “It is.” Adeline’s eyes stung with tears. “I introduced him to this. I made him what he is. He was supposed to go to college, but he did not because of me. I destroyed his life.”

Sydney would have loved to hold her mother and tell her that it not true. She would have loved to say that Caleb brought this upon himself. However, she knew it was not the truth. Indeed, Adeline brought this upon him. Caleb had not always been an addict. No, he used to be a good boy. In fact, he was a very good student, who had a bright future ahead of him. Sydney used to see him as her role model, because he aced his papers and graduated high school as the valedictorian. He even got a scholarship to study abroad. Unfortunately, not all went as planned. Caleb got into bad company and got influenced. His mother, who was supposed to advise him to stop his bad habit, only influenced him to do more. Before Sydney knew it, he was in so deep it was difficult for him to stop. He lost his scholarship and stayed at home getting high with his mother. Sydney had planned for him to go to rehab as well, with the help of Anderson, but he had run away. Now look where he has ended up, in the grips of the police.

“Mother, you are not just realizing that now are you?” Sydney asked Adeline.

“I destroyed both your lives.” Adeline wiped her tears on her sleeve.

Indeed, she was just realizing it now. Before, when she used to drink and throw up all the time, she had only cared about herself and where, she would get her next drink. However, now that she was sober, she was starting to see the extent to which she had destroyed her children’s lives. Her bright son had dropped out of school and her beloved daughter never went to the school she wanted. Her poor child had to work three jobs to pay for her college tuition at this town’s poorly constructed arts university. She endured a lot of pain and now she was the actress she had always dreamed of becoming. Adeline would be lying if she said she were not proud of her child for surviving through the years, because she was. Sydney did not fall into their doom. Instead, she worked hard to carter for herself and them. At a tender age of sixteen, she became the breadwinner of the family and she had been ever since. Adeline did not know how to thank her for everything she had done. Her daughter had always taken care of her, but all she did was cause her pain.

Moving towards the bed, where Sydney sat, looking at her, Adeline said. “I am sorry.”

“Mother, there’s no need to apologize.” Sydney took her mother’s trembling hands in hers and then asked. “So what can we do to get Caleb out of there?”

Sighing, Adeline replied. “Do you happen to know any lawyers, because right now we will need a damn good lawyer.”

A few minutes later, mother and daughter were in a taxi heading to the police station. They arrived shortly after. While Adeline went to see how her boy was doing, Sydney stayed to enquire about his arrest. Apparently, the police got a tip about some drug pushers staying in some house. Therefore, they went to inspect it and once they found the drugs, they made the arrest. The police took everyone who was in the house into custody and charged them with possession of drugs. Sydney could not believe how much trouble her brother had gotten himself into. Indeed, her mother was right. They would need a damn good lawyer, if they wanted to save his ass. Right after speaking to the police officer, she went to see Caleb. He was crying his eyes out to Adeline when she got to his cell.

“Mother, please get me out of here. It’s horrible.” He sobbed, holding tightly to Adeline’s hands, which were wrapped around the rusty metal bars. As soon as he saw Sydney, he turned to her.

“Sydney, my baby sister. Please help me.” He said. “Tell your fiancé to get me out of here. He is super rich right. I am sure he has connections. He will get me out of here.”

Sydney heaved a sigh, while biting her lip. Caleb was unaware of what happened. Of course, how would he know when he is never at home? Stepping closer to the bars, she asked. “Why should I get you out of here?”

“Because, I am innocent.” He said, matter-of-factly.

“That’s not what the police are saying.” Sydney said.

“Yes, because they did not give me a chance to make a statement. I was at that house because there was a party. I was only there for the booze, I swear. I even had no idea that the boys possessed drugs.” As Sydney stared at her brother, she felt deep down that he was telling the truth.

“Do you have any witness to back your claim?” She asked.

“Yes, yes. Marty was there with me.”

“But why was he not arrested?”

“He left the party before the police arrived.”

Nodding, Sydney thought to herself. They could get him out of there. If what he said was true and Marty was willing to testify, he could be set free. “Why should I help you get out of here?” She asked.

“Well… well… well because I am your brother.” He replied.

“No, then you are staying here.” Sydney turned her back to him and he gasped.

“No, please!”

“Sydney,” Adeline called her too, surprised about her reply. “Sydney, please help him out.”

She came back around. “Mother, how sure am I that if I get him out of here he won’t go back to your old habits?” Glancing at her brother, she added. “If he is willing to promise me that he won’t go back to his old habits, I will get him out of here.”

“I promise.” Caleb was quick to say. Sydney shot him a glare and then his head lowered in shame. “I… I promise to be on my best behavior.”

“I am not convinced.”

“Okay, I will…” he paused, finding it difficult to complete his sentence. “I will go to rehab. I will stop every bad habit. I will even go back to school I promise.”

Now, this was what she wanted to hear from him. Her lips crinkled into a small smile before she said. “It’s a deal then.”

Adeline and Sydney soon left the police station. They got in a taxi and were headed back home. Adeline took her daughter’s hand and whispered to her. “Thank you.”

“No, mother. Thank you.” She said.

“I appreciate everything you have done for us.”

“No, mother, stop it, please.”

Sighing, Adeline nodded. “Alright dear, but how do we get a lawyer? We don’t have any money.”

“I do. I have been saving some.” Sydney replied. But I don’t know if it will be enough to hire a damn good lawyer. She wanted to add, but did not. If only she had all her clothes with her, she would have sold the somewhat quality ones. However, they were still in her closet, in her room at Anderson’s house.

Uh… Anderson. Even saying his name tugged at her heart and caused a bitter taste of regret to rise in her mouth. She swallowed hard and tried not to think about him. Unfortunately, all her efforts went down the drain when she got out of the taxi and saw a familiar black Ferrari parked in front of their house. Her heart stopped almost instantly. Her legs became rooted to the ground and tears rushed into her eyes.

“Whose car is it?” Adeline asked behind Sydney, who could not bring herself to answer the question.

Right before her glassy eyes, the car’s door opened at the driver’s side. Her heart leaped into her throat when the person stepped out. A tear rolled down her cheek as she saw Kathleen. Many questions raced through her mind while she watched her walk around the car to the booth. She opened it and brought out suitcases … Sydney’s suitcases to be precise.

“Hello, Sydney.” Kathleen greeted with a straight face.

Sydney quickly wiped her tear and cleared her throat. “Kathleen.” She said, trying to sound nonchalant as Kathleen did, but her voice failed her.

“I will go inside now.” Adeline excused herself so they will talk alone.

“Here,” Kathleen pointed to the suitcases. “… your clothes and everything. Anderson does not want them in his house anymore.”

Sydney’s heart broke at her words and more tears rushed into her eyes. A lump formed in her throat and she found it difficult to swallow it. She did not want to believe that Anderson really said those words. Did he really say that? Shaking her head, she decided to ask. “He really said that?”

“I only came to deliver your clothes and that’s it.” Kathleen said, turning about.

“Wait,” Sydney called and she stopped in her tracks. “How is he doing?”

Kathleen turned, a look of disbelief crossing her beautifully made up face. Holding her hips, she said a little too harshly. “What do you expect? That he should be doing great, because you runaway and smashed his heart into a billion pieces?” Her brows furrowed as she added. “If you knew what he was going through right now, you will not be standing here.”

“I know what I did was wrong…”

“Wrong?” Kathleen interjected her. “No, what you did not wrong. It was a disaster! You humiliated him in front of a thousand guests, you broke his heart and because of you, he was hospitalized!”

“What?” Sydney gasped, getting worried instantly. “Oh my God, what happened? How is he doing?”

Kathleen chuckled bitterly. “You know what Sydney, I deeply regret allowing him to fall in love with you. I should have stopped him, but how was I supposed to know that you would smash him into pieces?” Her voice lowered. “Sydney, I thought you loved him. However, I was wrong. You don’t love him.”

“I do!” Sydney yelled, tears pouring down her cheeks.

“That’s what you should have said to him at the altar.” Kathleen shook her head and turned around. Without looking back at Sydney, she added coldly. “Anderson does not ever want to see you again.” With those words, she got into the car and drove off.

Sydney did not move as she watched the car go. More tears filled up her eyes, but she bit her lip to stop them from falling. She did not want to cry. No, she would not cry. She was not going to allow those words to hurt her. They are not supposed to hurt her anyway, because she broke up with him. She should not be regretting it, but why did she feel like she made a mistake letting him go?

“Sydney,” Adeline called and she turned to her mother. “Are you okay?” She asked.

“No.” She shook her head and blinked back the tears.

“Come inside, it’s getting late.”

Sydney soon found herself back in bed. However, she was not crying this time or thinking about Anderson. Instead, she was thinking about how to put her life back together. It was time for her to move on. It was time for her to let go of everything that had happened this past five months. It was time to get back to her old life… the life she had before the Niles. It was time for her to get back to her career and focus on being the great actress she had always wanted to be. It was time to start calling local directors again. Maybe there was a role available for her to pick up.

Sitting up in bed, she took her mobile phone. She had decided to call her director and hope that the man still recognizes her. After locating his number, she was about to dial it, when a call came to her phone. She froze as the caller ID flashed before her eyes… “Hansen.”

She hesitated, and then swiped the screen to answer. “Hello,” she said.

“Sydney, can you please come to my place. I want us to talk.” He said.

“I am sorry, I cannot.”

“Sydney, I know why you did not marry my brother.”

She swallowed. “You do?”

“For starters, I know that Mary is my real mother.”

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