Bride for Rent (sample)

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Chapter five

Katherine looked at Felicity who was dressed in a sweet ball wedding gown, her eyes teared up and she dabbed at her eyes with her handkerchief gently to avoid ruining her makeup. Felicity stared at herself in the mirror and was stunned to see the beautiful... Woman.

"She looks so beautiful" Mercy commented and Katherine nodded with a sniff.

"She really is" she agreed. The door opened and a young girl about Felicity's age entered, she was dressed in a long peach colored gown, she has a dark brown hair and light brown eyes.

"The car is here" she said and looked at Felicity "my God Feli, you look...angelic" she complimented.

"Thank you Grace. You helped achieved it by choosing this gown" Felicity smiled before she looked at her aunt with a frown "aunty Katy, I still can't walk in these" she pointed at her heels and the three ladies chuckled.

"Come on my dear, just like you have been practicing. It aren't so hard" Katherine smiled and made her sit down before putting the heels on her feet "it will help you be more dignified and alluring."

"I just hope I won't fall while walking up to littl...Raymond" she bit her lip. She still hasn't forgotten that he had warned her to stop addressing him like that especially in Katherine's presence or any other person.

"You won't. I promise" Katherine looked up to her with a lovely smile and sighed when she saw her beautiful face. If only Raymond is true, then she would have been really happy today but now, she is even afraid of how he will be treating her. Although he had promised never to hurt her but Katherine can't help but worry, it's a good thing Mercy will be going with her though, at least with her there, Raymond won't do anything.

"I'm still not happy with you Felicity for not introducing me to your husband before today" Grace said with a pout.

"I'm sorry Grace, really. I told him my best friend wants to see him but he said some other time maybe when he is less busy and the thing is, he is always busy" Felicity explained with a frown.

"Darling, he is a busy man, you have to get use to that. Okay, take me as an example, even though I'm just his worker, you know how busy I always use to be. Now think of him who is my boss, can't you see he has a lot on his shoulder?" Katherine explained but deep inside, she prayed that Raymond should keep on getting busy, at least with that way, Felicity won't see much of him and will also reduce the chance of her falling in love with him, she hoped.

"I still find it strange that Felicity is marrying your boss aunty Katy, it still sounds like a dream" Grace said.

"Well, it's not" Katherine smiled and helped Felicity back on her feet, she wobbled a little but she got a hold on herself, Katherine held her chin gently and pull her face up "you look wonderful my dear."

"Thank you aunty Katy" she smiled.

"Alright, alright, it's not good to keep the groom waiting. You girls need to go" Mercy said and they all went downstairs to the waiting car where Felicity and Grace, who is her maid of honor got in and Mercy and Katherine got into her own car. The two cars left the driveway to the church where Raymond and the guests were already waiting.

"I don't understand this Mercy, Raymond said it was going to be a fake wedding and all of a second, it's a real wedding" Katherine complained to Mercy in the car.

"He already explained the reason Katherine, he said his grandparents took over preparing the wedding and of course, you don't expect him to tell them it will be a fake wedding right?" Mercy asked.

Katherine let out a deep breath and slowly shook her head "I'm I really doing the right thing Mercy? I don't want anything to happen to my little girl."

"Being with Raymond isn't going to kill her, rather it will give her one or two experiences in life. Katherine, you need to let her live a little. She is a grown woman for crying out loud, just because she has a situation shouldn't stop her from falling in love, getting married or meeting a nice guy."

"But Raymond is not a nice guy. I'm his secretary for crying out loud."

"Are you still that now?" Mercy asked with a raised eyebrow and Katherine chuckled softly.

"Well, not anymore. Right now I'm the assistant director, with my own office and my own secretary" she laughed "it really is fun" she turned solemn again "but when I was still his secretary, you don't know how many girls I had to turn down for him or how many relationship I had to break up for him. If not that I complained saying that with my age I can't treat the girls like that, he wouldn't have pushed the responsibility to Morris. Even still, I know all the times Morris use to turn them down. I'm really afraid for my little niece."

Mercy patted her shoulder "you never can tell, this might turn out to be the vest decision you will ever make for her."

"Or worse."

"Uh uh, no negative thinking okay? It will be the best."

"I hope so."

***

"So how did you meet aunty Katy's boss?" Grace asked Felicity in the car.

"He came home one day and he saw me. We talked for a while before he left" Felicity replied, she hasn't forgotten the reply nanny Mercy told her to tell anybody who asked about her meeting with Raymond, anyone including her best friend Grace. Although she doesn't understand why she has to lie to Grace but she has always been the obedient type and not the type to question reasons for anything.

"Oh, is that so. What did he come to do in your home?"

Felicity frowned at the question before shrugging "I don't know" really she doesn't, because nanny Mercy didn't tell her what to say in that one.

"It's okay but can I ask you something Feli?"

"Of course" Felicity beamed at her.

"Do you think your husband loves you and again, do you love him?"

Felicity creased her brows as she thought on it "aunty Katy said he loves me, as for me...I like him because aunty Katy said that I should not fall in love with him."

Grace's eyes sparkled at that "really? Do you know the reason."

Felicity shook her head "no, she didn't tell me."

"But why will she say that? Have you forgotten about what I told you about a husband and wife? The both of them must love each other before their marriage will last."

"Well, it won't be necessary since my marriage with him will only last for..." She was cut short with the car slowing down, she looked out the window and saw a very big building "we are at the church already" her eyes sparkled.

Grace looked disinterested in her enthusiasm "yea we are. So about what you were saying..."

"What is that?" Felicity interrupted while pointing at a big white carriage, her eyes sparkled as recalled what it is "oh my, it's a carriage" she practically wanted to jump up and down in the car "I'm going to ride like a princess" she turned to Grace and grabbed her arm "look Grace, I'm going to ride like a princess. Little Ray listened to my wish that night."

"Little Ray?" Grace asked bewildered "who is little Ray? No, don't answer that yet, what do you mean listened to your wish that night?"

"Um" Felicity bit her lower lip for having to call little Ray in her excitement before hearing Grace's next question "you see, some days ago, Raymond promised to take me to the amusement park after we visited his grandparents. So, the day he chose, I got ready but then he came late and apologized that he had something which held him back at the office. Aunty Katy wanted to shift it to another day but he insisted it must be that night because he won't be chanced again before our wedding so I left with him to the amusement park. On our way back, I saw a shooting star and I made a wish that I will like to ride in a carriage like a princess and now look, he made it come true! I'm so happy."

Grace was shocked at what she said, who let's people hear about their wish? Well nobody except Felicity, she thought.

Felicity was so happy that she opened the car door and got down, she picked her gown in her hands and started running towards the church. Katherine and Mercy's car just arrived and she saw Felicity running to the church, she jumped down from the car immediately "Felicity!" But she didn't hear her, she looked to see Grace just standing without doing anything "Grace stop her!"

Grace seemed to be called into presence and she shouted to Felicity "wait Felicity, stop running" due to being a little bit closer to her, Felicity heard her and stopped, she turned around and saw Katherine running towards her and she ran to her.

"Aunty Katy" she shouted as she ran to Katherine, her face sparkling with her joy, she looked so angelic running with her wedding gown. Her ankle twisted due to her heels and she wobbled, thankfully, Katherine was already close to her and so she caught her. Even though Felicity almost fell, it didn't change her mood "aunty Katy look, little Ray made my wish come true" she gingerly pointed at the white carriage, her face beaming in happiness.

Katherine was still trying to catch her breath when she heard her "little Ray?"

Mercy caught up to them while Grace majestically walked up to them "what's wrong with you Felicity, why did you suddenly take of like that?" Grace asked with a frown.

"Yes, that's true" Katherine looked like she has been called back to her senses and looked at Felicity with a frown "why did you suddenly start running? If I hadn't caught you, do you know you would have fallen and scratch your body and on your wedding day!"

"I'm sorry aunty Katy, I was just so happy about the carriage and I wanted to find Raymond and thank him. You taught me to always say thank you when someone give or do something for me" Felicity said in a docile tone.

"Even if you want to thank him about the carriage, you have plenty of time to do that. Why run now and almost hurt yourself? You just acted foolishly and stupid" Katherine was angry.

Felicity's eyes welled up in tears immediately and they threatened to fall at any minute "you called me stupid, you are mean just like the lady in the café shop" she looked so wronged and her face turned red.

Seeing what she has caused, Katherine heart ached "no my dear, I didn't say you are stupid. I only said your attitude..."

"Let me take it from here" Mercy intervened and looked at Felicity, she cupped her face in her hands "if a single tear drop from your eyes then you will look ugly and Raymond won't marry you anymore and then you won't even get a chance to ride your carriage neither say thank you to him."

Hearing her words, Felicity fought hard to keep her tears from falling but she still felt wronged in her heart "aunty Katy said I'm stupid."

"No no my dear she didn't. You just didn't hear what she said."

"I only wanted to find him and say thank you, just like she thought me" her voice was full with grievances.

"I understand, which is a very nice thing to do but just at the wrong time. You see, now, everybody inside there are all waiting for you to walk in like a bride, if you go running then Raymond will be embarrassed and your aunty Katy doesn't want that, that's why she is angry. You will have plenty of time to say thank you to him. And the perfect time will be when you both are riding in the carriage, don't you think?"

Felicity thought on what she said and nodded, she sniffed and wanted to wipe away her eyes but Katherine stopped her. She smiled to her and used her handkerchief to dab at Felicity's eyes "I'm sorry aunty Katy" she apologized.

"It's alright my darling. I understand how you feel but now you need to look beautiful like Raymond's bride okay? Now smile for me."

Felicity smiled then and Katherine hugged her "I'm so sorry my darling."

After the little episode, they escorted Felicity to the door before leaving to enter through another door. The big door opened then and the man that opened it smiled at Felicity and shifted aside for her to walk in. The piano started then, playing the traditional tune 'here comes the bride' all head in the church turned to watch her and she got nervous. Her eyes darted around the room and spotted Raymond who was standing at the altar, he was smiling at her and she felt her heart move, remembering the carriage outside again, she recovered her enthusiasm and just like her aunty Katy taught her, she followed the tune and walked slowly but gracefully to Raymond.

Raymond was stunned to silent when he saw the lady at the door, she looked so beautiful that he felt like shielding her from the eyes of everyone in the room, he wanted only him to look at her. Even he was surprised at his heart longing but unknowingly, he was already smiling to her. He watched her with his heart in his throat as she walked towards him, he knew she doesn't walk well in heels and he fears of her falling down now and not only embarrassing herself but him too.

He reached out his hand to hold her immediately she was closer and only then did his heart rest, they both walked up to the priest while everywhere went dead silent and the priest's voice rang out "dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the joining into a holy matrimony of Raymond Baldwin and Felicity McCarthy..."

Although she could hear the priest's voice in her ears but it was faint, almost like a background noise. Her mind concentrated on the man beside her, he looked so handsome that she feels like he was taking her breath away, her heart started beating fast and she wanted to touch her chest to know why her heart was beating so loud in her ears but she couldn't because of the flower she was holding and again, she doesn't want to do something that her aunty Katy will call her stupid again.

A man's deep but captivating voice rang in her hear "I do" she looked up at the man beside her but his gaze was at the priest, she heard the priest call her name then and she turned to look at him "do you take Raymond Baldwin to be your lovely wedded husband, in sickness, in health, in richness and in poorness till death do you part?"

From the corner of her eyes she saw Raymond looking at her and her heart missed a beat, she had been practicing this with her aunty Katy but why does it seem like she has forgotten what to say? She knew her delay is dangerous and she decided to copy what Raymond said a while ago "I do" immediately after uttering the two words, she remembered that that was exactly what her aunt had told her to say so why did she forget in the first place?

While still lost in thought, she felt someone grab her hand, she looked at the man opposite her to see him holding a ring "I vow to be by your side in your good times and bad times, to be a pillar of support to you, to love you truly without forsaking you in your time of needs, with this ring, I thee wed" and then she watched him slid the ring on her finger. It felt so serene to her, so this is how the brides she use to watch in the television used to feel?

She picked the second ring which looked so big in hand but she paid no mind to it, she fought to remember what her aunt told her to say, she just don't know what is wrong with her today, why is she forgetting things? No, she will just follow little Ray's footstep again "I vow to be your second half" as she opened her mouth, she started remembering what her aunt taught her and she couldn't explain her happiness as she let the words roll out of her tongue "to be a support in your difficult times, to cry with you during your hard times, to laugh with you in your happy times. To be loyal and fruitful to you and to let my love solely belong to you, to love you today, tomorrow and forevermore, with this ring, I thee wed" she slid the ring on his finger, she looked up to him and beamed.

Raymond was dazzled at that moment, her happy smile seem to etch in his heart, watching her sweet heart shaped lips that was smeared with light pink lip gloss, he felt this urge of leaning forward and kissing her with or without the priest's go ahead, 'what is wrong with you?' He questioned himself and just then he heard the priest "by the power vested in me by our most high father, I hereby declare you man and wife. You may kiss your bride" now that was the line Raymond has been waiting for without even knowing, he leaned forward with his hand on her chin, he slowly claim her lips and he found himself delaying to let her go because he wants to savour the feeling of her lips.

Remembering that he was in the church and not just that, a lot of eyes are on him, he reluctantly let go of Felicity's lips, he looked at her to see that she was staring at him with something in her eyes that he wasn't able to read because someone started clapping and the rest joined, making Felicity to look away from him and to the audience. He cursed silently but still faced the audience and smiled.

Raymond grabbed Felicity's hand and they walked down to where family and friends came to hug and congratulate them. They made their way outside the church where they stood to take pictures with friends and family before only the both of them.

"Little Lee" Hana called and Felicity's eyes brightened when she saw her.

"Grandma" she let go of Raymond's hand she was holding and hugged the older woman who hugged her tightly as well "I missed you grandma."

"Me too my darling, me too" Hana said before releasing her "you look so beautiful my dear."

Felicity blushed and replied rather bashfully "thank you grandma."

"Little Lee" Desmond called and Felicity hugged him too "welcome to the family. You are now officially a Baldwin" he looked at Raymond "you finally decided to do the right thing, congratulations."

"Thank you grandpa" Raymond replied.

Katherine, Mercy and Grace walked up to them "congratulations" they all said.

"Aunty Katy" Felicity hugged her "I will not be living with you anymore" her eyes welled up with tears and few escaped.

Katherine smiled and wiped away her tears "it's a day every woman must experience in life and you are a beautiful woman my darling."

Felicity sniffed "promise to always come see me?"

"Of course, I promise."

"You are Katherine, her aunt" Hana approached them "I have always wanted to meet you and to say thank you for not giving up on her. You have my word that I will see to it she enjoys her stay with my family."

Katherine smiled "thank you Mrs. Baldwin, I couldn't ask for anything more."

"Please, call me Hana. Felicity is like a granddaughter to me now so I have to make sure she is happy."

"Thank you so much Hana."

"You are welcome" Hana said and squeezed Felicity's hand, she smiled lovingly to her before retreating to stand beside her husband. Katherine wiped away Felicity's tears and together, they all took a picture.

"Em Felicity, aren't you forgetting something?" Grace asked as her eyes darted to Raymond shyly.

Felicity grasped her hand and dragged her to Raymond "little Ray, meet Grace, my best friend."

Raymond frowned when she addressed him as little Ray but decided not to shun her in the presence of her friend, he smiled and shook Grace's hand "nice to meet you Grace, she has told me a lot about you."

Grace darted her eyelids shyly and she chuckled in a flirting manner "too bad she never said a word about you to me but I'm happy she let you know of me" she smiled.

Raymond, a man who has a lot of experiences with women caught her intention and smiled, he still got his charm "then I hope we see more often so that you can get to know me."

"I will be delighted" Grace smiled.

"Little Ray, Grace is free to visit me at home right?" Felicity asked, unaware of what was happening.

"Of course, she is welcome anytime" Raymond replied with his gaze on Grace who also couldn't get her eyes off him.

Felicity was happy hearing that from him and didn't conceal her happiness. From where she was talking with Mercy and Hana, Katherine noticed the eye signal Grace was passing to Raymond and how he was willingly accepting them. She looked at Felicity who was in their midst but unaware of what was happening and her heart ached for her while she boiled in anger as she watched Grace and Raymond "excuse me please" she told Mercy and Hana. She approached Raymond and the rest and grabbed Grace's arm "come help me with something my dear" she looked at Raymond "I hope Mr. Baldwin will remember today is his wedding day and shouldn't keep his guests waiting at the reception" then she walked away with Grace.

Raymond's gaze followed them with a sly smile on his lips, he would be a fool if he says he didn't understand Katherine's warning. He looked at Felicity then who was busy counting the petals of the fake flowers she was holding and sighed, he really wants to be with a real woman, someone like...his gaze went back to Katherine's and Grace's leaving back and his smile became more pronounced, he knows she wants him and the good news is...his game.

When Felicity saw the carriage approaching, her eyes sparkled and she forgot all about the flowers, she picked up her gown in her hands and ran to it, stopping when she saw the carriage slowly coming to a stop in front of her, she looked at the magnifying horses and they took her breath away, they were just like the one she saw in Cinderella's book, she caressed them and wanted to bury herself in their mane but she knew she shouldn't, she turned to look at Raymond with eyes filled with gratefulness and face filled with joy and there it was again, Raymond was hit with the same urge he had when they were at the altar, he felt himself being pulled to her and he know not why.

"Just how did you know this will make her this happy?" He heard his grandmother's voice behind him and tore his gaze away from Felicity, hoping upon all hopes that his grandmother didn't notice how he felt just now.

"I heard her make a wish of it and I know surprising her will be the best" he looked at his grandmother then with a smile.

Hana chuckled and her face went to Felicity again as she was walking around the horses, a loving smile on her face and Raymond was forced to look at Felicity too "I hope you really care for this girl."

"Grandma I love her, that's why I married her."

Hana looked at him "then it better be true. Don't think I didn't see the way you looked at that Grace girl."

Raymond was stunned but a sweet smile appeared on his lips a second later "she was the one who looked at me grandma, I only returned the look."

"Well I don't like it, why do you think Katherine had to drag her away. Felicity might be unaware about what you two did but her aunty is not. I don't want her thinking that that's how her niece will be treated in our home. Her husband making out with her best friend on her wedding day" she looked disapprovingly at him "I don't want such to happen so you better restrain yourself. The Baldwin men are not known as cheats, don't let it start with you" she looked at Felicity again "the party will be starting soon, you two need to be there" then she turned and walked away while Raymond followed her with his gaze.

After his grandmother had walked a good amount distance from him, he withdrew his gaze and looked at Felicity who was still admiring the horses, a smile curved on his lips and he realized that one don't need to do much to make her happy, unlike the other girls who will request for expensive jeweleries and trending clothes, bags and shoes. It took only for him to hire a carriage to make her shine like Christmas moon.

He strode to her then and Felicity beamed at him when she saw him approaching "thank you little Ray."

Raymond smiled and for once, he wasn't angry at being addressed as little Ray, her happiness was infectious and he forgot his taboo for some seconds actually "you really love it that much?" He asked and she nodded like a chicken picking grains, his heart moved at her honesty "then it's all yours" why he did that, he had no idea but he knew he was compelled to keep that smile on her face.

Just as he wanted, Felicity's happiness intensified and she threw herself in his arms "thank you so much little Ray, thank you."

"Alright let's go now, our guests are waiting for us. Or do you want to only admire it without riding?" He asked with a smile and she shook her head immediately before laughing softly.

"I want to ride" she said cheekily.

"Then humor me" he opened the carriage door and helped her enter before entering and sitting beside her. Felicity looked out the window as they started moving before looking at Raymond and laughing, she felt really happy.

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