Substitute Groom

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Good Dream/Nightmare

“Do you want your brother to know about his adoption?” Papa threatened me, in his low voice.

I froze at my spot. I knew it.

He would use the same reason he used to force me into this unwanted marriage after Ryan ran away.

Joseph. My biggest weakness. My eyes filled with tears.

There is a secret between papa and me which if revealed, would completely destroy me.

My brother’s adoption. Yes, Joseph isn’t the Belford family’s real blood.

He was adopted by my mother for me because she was unable to have a second child due to her poor health.

I was a girl who was alone from childhood and always had people who would hate her.

In my school, I was called a rich bitch even if I showed kindness to my classmates.

Joseph made me realize a loving brother’s existence. A friend’s existence.

He gave me the happiness of being a big sister. Joseph has only cherished one thing in his life.

His family. He was emotionally attached to me, papa and momma.

My mother’s death gave us a big shock and he even tried to suicide.

Since then I have been taking care of him as a responsible sister.

How can I let him know that the family he is so proud to say his, has adopted him?

I don’t know what effect his adoption papers will have on him but I won’t take any risk. I will do anything for him.

I clenched my fists secretly causing my palm to bleed due to my fingernails.

I hate papa… Why are you doing this to me and Joseph?

Don’t you love us?

“Fine… I will do what you say.”

“Good, now take care of your husband. He has been suffering from fever for two days.” After forcefully making me agree, papa and Butler Ray left Ashton and me alone.

I glared at him dreadfully, sending him killer glances.

It was all because of him that I had to agree to papa’s condition.

“Wifey, please at least try to live with me. I will not force you if you dislike me later.” He smiled, making me angrier.

“What do you even know about me?” I asked him in despair.

“Do you know the pain I’ve gone through? You just want to glue yourself to my status.” I yelled at him throwing my coat on the floor.

“You will never be able to love the real me.” Saying this I came out of his wardroom and left the hospital in haste.

“Wifey. Listen. Please…” There is nothing to listen to.

No one understands me… No one wants to give me freedom.

Only if I could run away from here taking my company and Joseph with me.

I just want to work as the Ceo of Belford Enterprise and live a normal life. Is that too much to ask?

I drove my car to Belford mansion and straightly went into my room, not listening to any of the housemaids welcoming me home.

What I needed was a warm bath and a good sleep to digest everything that happened today.

After relaxing in the bathtub for 2 hours I wore my comfy pants and sweatshirt, looking at my tablet.

Day after tomorrow, I had to attend a foreign meeting which was very important to invite big investors to invest in our cosmetics branch.

If I want to be free that day, I will have to do all the shifting and things tomorrow.

That’s a lot of work.

Papa texted me that Ashton would come here to fetch me.

I sighed in tiredness and lied on my comfortable bed. Closing my eyes, I took a long breath.

How uncertain is life…

I used to believe that there was no greater power in this world than the power of love but it seems that I was completely wrong at that time.

Money is the greatest power, not love.

Love is something that is not made for me.

******

I opened my eyes and found myself in a garden filled with several flowers.

Where am I?

I observed my surroundings and realized the beauty of the garden.

It was filled with a pleasant odor and the birds chirping in it made it lively. Only if my life could be bright like this…

Wow, how beautiful. I looked at the different colors of the rose.

Blue, red, pink, and whatnot.

The whole garden had cute puppies and cats. I took them in my hands, they had soft fur.

“Siena, did you miss me?” I turned in the direction of the voice.

A very cute boy was standing in front of me, grinning brightly.

I stared at him in confusion. Who was he? What relations did I have with him?

“I love you.” He hugged me, making me startled.

“I have come now, dear. Sorry for leaving you alone all these years. My princess, I won’t let anything hurt you now.”

I smiled at his cheesy words which he said while kissing me on my cheeks again and again.

I could sense his pureness.

The cute boy played with me for hours and I just smiled at his childishness. Whoever he was, he soothed my being.

I wanted to remain in this beautiful garden with him forever.

Though I was with him for a very short period, I loved being around him.

“Will you be my wife?” He confessed to me when the starry night came.

We were still in the beautiful garden.

“Yes,” I gave him a grin and tried to hold his hand.

But he, he started fading in fragments, giving me a sudden shock.

“You have tried to kill me. I cannot be with you. You deserve to be alone for the rest of your life.” His face had a sad look.

What? A few minutes ago we were so happy but now? The cute boy is fading slowly?

“No don’t leave me. Please. Please I beg you…” I cried loudly trying to stop him but he smiled in despair, disappearing in the thin air.

No, I don’t want to lose something precious to me again.

Please don’t go…

I woke up breathing fast…

After realizing that I was in my room I kept a hand on my forehead.

That was a sweet dream but not so soon it turned into a nightmare.

All the memories of my life started flooding in my mind.

I, Siena, was very happy with my family after Joseph came...

I felt like the luckiest person but after my mother’s death and Joseph’s attempt to suicide, I ended up having grave depression.

One night I was walking on the road hopelessly and a car hit me, almost ending my life.

Since then I have been having nightmares about a cute boy who always appears happy in my dream but at the end dies saying that I tried to kill him.

I have even gone to a psychologist but she said that it was a trick of my unconscious mind and that nothing can be done.

She said that I was traumatized by the car accident and that I should take care of myself.

How can a dream feel so real? I don’t know.

I got up from my bed and got ready after packing my bags for two hours. The last thing I packed was some novels because they were my favorite.

Today I have to shift with Ashton in his apartment. He would be coming any time around 12 pm to 1 pm.

I better see whether I have packed everything or not. In between my busy schedule, Marie also came to check on me.

“So you are saying that you are married?” She asked me lazily, sitting on my bed.

“Yes… I married Ashton two months ago but hid it because I wanted to have a personal life.” I have to hide the fact that Ashton was my Substitute Groom and that we were married two years ago.

I also have to hide the fact about Ryan from everyone.

“Get off the bed first,” I asked her annoyingly.

She has just been asking questions after coming here rather than helping me in packing some of my luggage.

“Oh Siena, why are you so harsh?” She pouted and sat on the chair.

May I say properly, not like a crooked person…

“You are lying, right? Till yesterday you were so against marriage and opposed everyone who talked about it and today you are suddenly married.” Marie smiled, seeing right through my lie.

Whatever happens, I cannot let her know the truth which is between me, papa, and Ashton.

But how should I answer it?

“Sister, here is your candy jar.” Joseph entered the room, stopping Marie from asking questions further.

Well, you were asking me about the reason, right? The confidential and most important reason has walked into my room by him.

“Thank you” I took the candy jar from Joseph who was staring innocently at me, not knowing anything.

Thank god he was at his college trip two months ago, otherwise, I wouldn’t have the nerve to lie to him.

“Fine. I respect your privacy but do tell me if you have any problem.” Marie stood up, keeping a hand on my shoulder.

I nodded.

“Sister, you even hid your marriage from me.” Joseph pouted.

“But it’s fine. I know you would have had some reason for doing that. I just want to meet my brother-in-law.” He said excitingly.

How understanding is Joseph. I smiled.

*****

Everything was ready. Dad, Marie, Joseph, and I were standing in front of the mansion for Ashton to come.

Not very soon, his car came.

Was that a taxi? So he doesn’t have a car?

“Hello, Wifey.”

*****

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