The news of Nick Montgomery being engaged to an heiress created a buzz through my university’s campus. I tried to concentrate on my work but even my professors were sucked into talking about it with the classmates.
“Does anyone know who she is?”
“What does she even look like?”
“What is her name?”
“I was gonna be the next Mrs. Montgomery!”
I rolled my eyes at the last statement but said nothing as I continue to scribble more doodles onto my notepad. This was my last semester at Emory University and I was glad because after finishing, I will get that piece of paper named “Business Management Degree” and I will leave to start my own restaurant. And no more hearing of Nick Montgomery.
So, far in the last four years being here, all I hear is Nick, Nick, Nick. From my colleagues, my friends. And now, my professors. But how can anyone not talk about him? He is, after all, the heir to the B.A.C multi-billionaire industry. Adding to that, he is also the second generation to run the industry. Everything we use from technology, housewares, even television were all owned under B.A.C.
His name has always been and always will be in the papers, ranging from scandals, new arm candy, or a new line of products.
Now that the news of his recent engagement to his mysterious bride to be has gotten everyone buzzing about who she is. Rumor has it, she even attends my university.
“Hmph,” I mumbled. “She’s probably running away right now.”
Linda, who was sitting beside me, nudged my leg with her knee as her response to my statement. I stuck out my tongue at her but say nothing else.
“Okay, class,” Mrs. Simmons called, clapping her hands to get the attention back to her. When the auditorium silenced, she continued. “Your assignment is due next week. No excuses. No exceptions. See you tomorrow.” She said, dismissing us. The sound of books and backpacks being packed was the cue for everyone to leave.
I slip my notepad into my backpack and stood up to leave the auditorium.
“Miss Sharpe, I need to speak with you please,” Mrs. Simmons spoke over her shoulder while pulling up the projector screen. Linda and I looked at each other. She shrugged her shoulders and waved goodbye as she started to leave. I made my way down the stairs and to the podium where she was waiting for me.
“Have you consider my offer?” She asked. She turned her chin down so she can look at me through her glasses. She had offered me a chance to study abroad in London but I told her I will consider it which was a few weeks back.
I adjusted the straps on my backpack. “No, I don’t know yet. I mean it’s a great opportunity but…” I pause, looking for the right words. I didn’t want to say expensive since that was the right word for the situation. “Expensive.” I finished. Mrs. Simmons shook her head. Her teardrop jade earrings swinging with the motion.
“And I’ve already told you. Financial aid can take care of it. Plus, you won’t regret it.” She said. She then added when I was about to reply, “And don’t say no this time. See you tomorrow, Catherine.” Mrs. Simmons nodded ending our discussion. After I left the auditorium, Linda was sitting on one of the wooden benches outside the hall, waiting for me. When she saw me, she made her way to me.
“So, what did she wanted to ask you about?” Linda asked. We slowly walk down the hallway, careful not to block anyone’s path by staying near the big windows to our right.
“She was asking about the study abroad thing.” I replied, rolling my shoulders. Linda nodded. The movement made the rays of the sunlight lit up her blond hair giving her an angelic glow.
“Are you going to do it?” She asked.
I purse my lips. “I don’t know. I told her it was too expensive and what was the point?” We stopped outside a classroom which was one of Linda’s next class. I said bye and began looking for the restroom. I turned a corner and push open the heavy blue wooden door.
I thought I was alone until I heard sniffling. It was coming from one of the stalls. Must be crying about relationships, I thought. Paying no attention, I place my hand under the automatic soap dispenser. The white foam form in my hand and I began to wash my hands. The water was so loud I didn’t hear a stall door being opened and footsteps behind me. I was too focus on my hands that I didn’t notice someone was behind me. I looked up and almost scream but jumped back seeing it was just a girl standing to the side.
“Sorry,” She said very low. “Didn’t mean to scare you.” I shook my head and finished my current task and move to the side for her to get the paper towels. While wiping my hands, I took in her appearance. She was a bit taller than me with brown hair that had a bit of highlight in. She had hazel or green eyes but I couldn’t tell since they were red from crying a lot. She looked like she could be a model.
“Just a little jumpy that’s all.” I said lightly. When she didn’t smile, I wanted to slap myself. Of course, why would she laugh? She’s been crying, for Christ’s sake! I was preparing to leave the restroom when she spoke to me again.
“Do you ever hate it when you aren’t allowed to do anything for yourself?” She asked, sniffling. When she raised her head, she looked at me through the mirror.
I blinked, absorbing the question in. “Well, yeah,” I stumbled. “It’s never fair. Even then, it seems you can’t please anyone…I think?” I mumbled the last part to myself.
She fully turns to me, her eyes wide. “Yea! I totally feel that way too!” She then laughed a bit but it never reached her eyes. She folded the white scrunched up towel in her hand to blot her eyes again. “I hate being told what to do…even if it means being engaged to someone I barely know. Or better yet, never even met!” She threw her hands out to her sides before they dropped, slapping her perfectly tanned thighs.
“Uh huh…” I said, unsure of what she was talking about. Wait...what did she just say? “Wait, wait,” I said. “Are you…that girl who is engaged to Nick Montgomery?” I asked. Her eye rolling and arms crossing confirm it was her. “Oh my gosh!” I almost jumped up with glee. “It’s really you! Wow, I gotta tell my friend about this. Nice to meet you,” I turned on my heels, ready to leave but her hand wrapped around my wrist, enabling me to do so.
“Wait, I want to talk to you about something…” She started to say. I swallowed a dry spit. My body getting into a defensive stance. What’s going to happen? I turn only my head to look behind me. She wasn’t sniffling or crying anymore. She had a serious expression.
Relaxing my stance, I turn around to face her again. “About…” I said.
“Hmm…” She said, tilting her head to the side a bit while looking at me up and down. Her eyes squinted a little at my chest and I stepped back a bit, uncomfortable with this situation.
“What is your name?” She asked, looking at my eyes this time.
“Catherine,” I replied.
“Renee. Catherine, I have a plan…and I need you for it.” She said, crossing her arms. She had a grin that was making me feel uneasy but I lightly nodded my head, curious to know what it was.
“What do you say to pretend to be me, Renee Blanc, engaged to Nick until the wedding?” She asked. I blinked once then twice and then rapidly, repeating the question over in my head.
“Uh-“ I started to say but my mouth was left hanging open. There was no way I could answer that. Renee lifted one dark eyebrow at me, patiently waiting for my answer. What was there to say? Yes, of course, I will agree to be you because that’s what strangers do when they meet each other.
“Please, Catherine. I know this is weird. I don’t know you, you don’t know me. But I just don’t think I can be married to such…a heartless man. For once, I want to do something for me and not do something that someone wants or expects me to do. Do you understand?” Renee asked.
“Kinda…” I said. But I did. To be engaged to someone you hardly know and be the perfect wife should be no one’s duty. But am I crazy enough to agree on this? Apparently I was because I numbly nodded my head when she asked again. She squealed, jumping up and down and wrapped her long arms around me, engulfing me in a tight hug.
“When this is all over, I’ll repay you. I promise!” Renee said, leaving a huge kiss on my cheek. “Okay, what time is it?” She asked, pulling out her cellphone to check. “We have exactly 20 minutes before Nick arrives to meet you. So let’s learn all about me as much as you can!”
I let out a gasp, “T-twenty minutes? What!” I began to shake my head, getting ready to leave the restroom but she had the death grip on my wrist to prevent me from doing so.
“You agreed to this.” She said, pulling me back away from the exit.
“Yea,” I agreed. “But I didn’t expect him to come here. Today. In twenty minutes.” I pulled my wrist back and she let go. She clapped her hands together with a huge smile.
“Which is why I said let’s learn all about me before he arrives!”
What have I gotten myself into?