Third Person POV
"Claire, come down, now," yelled a furious Nathaniel Henderson holding a love letter that he found in the mailbox addressed to his eighteen year old daughter.
Claire came flying down the stairs, her big electric blue doe shaped eyes with golden specks which twinkled all the time, full of life, her gorgeous long chocolate brown bouncy curls, her curled eyelashes and flawless complexion, her slender figure caused her to attract unwanted attention all the time. Added to her looks was the fact that she was the only daughter of hotelier and billionaire Nathaniel Henderson. Although she didn't have time for the dating stuff that everyone was upto these days at college, she still received a lot of these love letters which sneakily were dropped into her mailbox every now and then. Only dad failed to understand that she didn't have any hand in it. She didn't date her fellow students, who were too immature for her, trying to gain her attention in any way they could.
Her eyes were hooked on to someone else, since she was 12 years old. Her father's best friend Kevin Crawford's handsome son Jason Crawford, who was five years older than her. Six years ago, uncle Kevin shifted to California and took Jason too away with him. That was the last time that she saw Jason.
"Yes, dad," she said eyeing the letter that he was holding. Not again, she thought to herself.
"What's this Claire? Do you goto college to chase boys?" He yelled at her as she seethed with anger.
"Dad, please, I have already told you that I don't give a shit about these guys. They sneakily drop a letter into my mailbox and you go nuts," she said rolling her eyes.
"Young lady, that's not the way to talk to your dad," he said nodding his head in disappointment.
"Dad why don't you get it then and leave me alone?" She said as she turned around to leave.
"I'm not done with you Claire. If this continues, I will have to get you married. I don't want any scandal to the family name," he said with a grim expression.
"Dad, for God's sake why don't you just believe me?" She yelled frustratedly. "I'm not marrying at eighteen." She said as she turned to run up the stairs too upset to continue defending herself.
"Mind my words Claire, one more of these and I will decide," said her father sternly.
"Aren't you too harsh on the poor girl, Nate? Why can't we believe her that she didn't do anything?" Said Audrey Henderson, Claire's step mother. Claire and her twin brother Stefan were just three when Nathaniel's first wife died. Audrey loved them as her own. She didn't differentiate between them and her boys, Tristan, Julian and Adrian.
"You're too naive, Audi. Noone sends love letters without any encouragement," he said as he stormed out to his study and locked himself in.
Audrey sighed heavily and went upstairs to talk to Claire. She knocked on Claire's door softly. Claire opened the door and went back to her bed, lying down with her face in the pillow.
"Honey, tell me everything. Do you know these guys? I will try to put some sense in Nate's head," she said as Claire sat up and placed her head on Audrey's lap.
" I don't know any of them, mom. I'm not interested in their immature antics. I want to be a hair stylist and therapist and have hair salons all over the world. Why can't dad see that? You can't convince him mom. He's too proud and stubborn to see my point of view," said Claire unhappily.
She was focused on her ambition and didn't have any interest in the family business. She wanted to carve out a niche for herself in the world, with her own perseverance. She was enrolled in an undergraduate cosmetology program in a prestigious college as the first step towards her goal.
The next day she told her best friend Nicola everything that was happening, the love letters being dropped into her mailbox, her dad's warning and everything.
" I don't want to marry now, nico," she said with a sigh.
"If your dad fixes your marriage against your will, just run away Claire. Chase your dreams,"she said as Claire nodded.
That evening, "Claire, come down, you're boyfriend's here to see you, " growled a furious Nathaniel Henderson. Claire came downstairs confused. What boyfriend? She didn't have any.
Her eyes turned wide as saucers seeing the notorious bad boy of the college, Aidan Reilly standing at her doorstep with a smirk. "Dad, he isn't.." Before she could complete her sentence Nathaniel Henderson walked into his study and banged the door shut.
"What the hell are you doing here?" She yelled at Aidan.
"Chill babes, I want you to be my date tonight. Jake's throwing a mega party at his place," he said chewing a stick as he adjusted his bike glove.
"I'm not interested, Aidan. Get out before I call in the security," she said, shaking in anger.
"What's got your panties in a twist, babes? Let's elope together and I will give you the time of your life," he said with a dirty smirk.
"No one's eloping. Get off my property before I kill you," yelled her dad as he held his revolver up, aiming at Aidan. He shrieked in fear like a woman and jumped onto his bike and sped away.
Stefan also came downstairs at the commotion and tried to calm dad down. Their mom took the revolver from his hands.
Her Dad glared at Claire,"I warned you and you did not listen. Tomorrow your groom will come to see you. You will get married in two weeks," he said and turned to go.
"Dad, please, it's not what you think. I don't know Aidan. He's the notorious boy of our college," she pleaded with her dad.
"Once is a coincidence Claire. I don't want the likes of him on my property. So I've decided and it's irreversible," said Nathaniel Henderson and left the room, leaving no room for any argument. It was decided that Claire would have to get married to the man her father had chosen and he was coming for her the next day.
With a heavy heart Claire went upstairs to her room. She didn't want to talk to her mom or Stefan. She kept thinking about her upcoming marriage to a stranger. Her ambition would be crushed. She couldn't marry at eighteen. Then she thought about Jason and she cried her heart out. She had always wanted to marry Jason. Even at twelve she couldn't keep herself away from him, but he never even acknowledged her existence when they would meet before.
He never looked in her direction and kept to his circle of friends, sometimes saying a rare hello to her and Stefan was all the interaction she had with him.
These were the words which kept on hammering into her brain. She had to get away. She couldn't marry a stranger at eighteen.
She called Nicola and asked her to book a flight to California, as she didn't have enough money to do it on her own. Her father, Nathaniel Henderson gave very meagre pocket money, which always finished before the month was over. She wanted to go live with her aunt Emily. She was her mom, Audrey Henderson's sister, who lived in California. Both her daughters were married and happily settled. She loved Claire and always invited her to stay over at her place.
Packing a soft bag with only the necessities, she waited for an opportunity. The flight was at one o'clock after midnight and Nicola already emailed her the ticket.
After a silent dinner, everyone went to bed by 11:30pm. By midnight, when she didn't hear any movement downstairs, she quietly opened her door and tiptoed out with her bag.
She crept up to the main door and silently opened it. Letting out a sigh of relief she quietly went out and closed the door. Reaching the gate she realised that she had to face the security guards there. Her heart sank, when suddenly a hand pressed upon her mouth. Panicking, she turned around to find a tensed Stefan, her twin, looking down at her.
"I knew you would escape. Where are you going Claire? Please tell me. I swear I'll keep it a secret," he said anxiously.
"I'm going to California to aunt Emily's house. You can visit me after a few days," she said, hugging him.
He made a call to one of his friends and arranged for an airport drop for Claire. Then leading Claire to the gate, opened it softly over the sleeping security guard and let her out. Her ride was waiting for her and she sped away, all the way to the airport.
Do you think Nathaniel Henderson did the correct thing? Everyone, whether old or young have the right to be heard. As parents we should respect that first before jumping to conclusions.
The close bond that Stefan and Claire share as twins have been seen throughout this story. Though only eighteen, Stefan gives Claire a lot of support, more than their parents.
Read on to find out what happens now to Claire.