Chapter: 17

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ELENA

This is it. It was finally the day I was going to get married. I was going to get into a false relationship, deceive everyone.
    
My mind was totally messed up.
    
My reflection in the mirror stared right back at me, looking just as confused.
    
I was feeling a hurricane of emotions, happiness not being one of them.
    
Pretending in front of everyone, trying not to have a breakdown and oh— actually getting married to that asshole. In short I was the happiest bride in the world!
    
And the paparazzi were just the cherry on top of everything. The news of our engagement was the headlines on the day after the party.
    
The day we went to shop for bridesmaids' dresses , the paparazzi were outside the shop and there were a lot of them. Rose had to call her bodyguards who escorted us to the car. And today they were going to be even more in number.

    
"El, I don't get it. Why are you so nervous? It's not like you're marrying a stranger or a monster." Liv chuckled. Only if she knew how true her words were!
    
"I am not nervous."  I shrugged.
    
"Really? But that says otherwise." Liv pointed at my feet as I went on tapping them against the floor.
    
"Fine, I am nervous. I feel restless." As much as I wanted to say everything, I could give out only this much.
    
"Ellie, come here ." Dean pulled me into a tight hug.
    
"Everything is going to be fine and if not , you have us. We will be just a call away." I rested my head on his chest.
    
"I know I can always count on you guys. I love you guys so much." I mumbled in his chest.
    
"Aww , we love you too." Liv joined in the hug. The sound of the door opening had us pulling away.
    
It was Dad. His eyes immediately found me and I saw the look of adoration all over his face.
    
"You look so beautiful.” He whispered. “I still remember the day when as a child you tried your mother's wedding dress." His eyes were glistening with unshed tears.
    
"Dad…" My eyes were tearing up as well.
    
"Honestly, if I could I would have never given your hand to any boy on this planet." Everyone present chuckled at his words.
    
"Don't make her cry, you will ruin her makeup." Mom playfully scolded him while looking at me with moist eyes.
    
"It's time."
    
Well fuck!

Walking down the aisle I had kept my eyes trained on the bouquet in my hand. My anxiety wouldn’t have let me.
    
Would one look at my face give away how unsettled I was?
    
I stared up once I reached the end of it where Rylan stood. Dad put my hand in his before patting his shoulder.
    
The warmth of his hands encasing mine felt oddly comforting which was a bit ironic. Probably it was the knowledge that I wasn’t the only one on the stage, putting up an act. He was as much a part of the performance as me.
    
And for the first time that day, I properly looked at him. Undoubtedly he looked good, well more than good in his black tuxedo. He had the features to look absolutely handsome in almost everything.
    
As I stood opposite him at the altar, my eyes met with his. His eyes were blank, refusing to give out any of what he was feeling and his lips were pressed in a thin line.
    
I forced my eyes away from his face to meet with an unfamiliar face. Behind him stood who seemed to be his best man. He was a tall blonde guy with green eyes, sharp jawlines and his cheekbones were to die for. He was just as handsome as Rylan was.

    
"Dear beloved, we are gathered here today in the sight of God to join this man, and this woman in holy matrimony." The priest started the ceremony. I unintentionally tightened my
grip on Rylan's hand but instead of smirking at me or anything, he gave a gentle squeeze.
    
"Rylan Alec Parker, have you come here to enter into Marriage without coercion, freely and wholeheartedly?" 
    
"I have." He spoke in an instant before looking at me with false love.
    
"Elena Lily Smith, have you come here to enter into Marriage without coercion, freely and wholeheartedly?"
    
"Yes." Yeah, wholeheartedly! I had lost track of how many lies I have told since Rylan Parker had come crashing into my life.

RYLAN

"Do you Mr. Rylan Alec Parker take Ms. Elena Lily Smith as your legally wedded wife to have and to hold, from this day forward , for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do you apart?"
    
"I do ." It sounded emotionless before I put up a smile for the audience.
    
"Do you Ms. Elena Lily Smith take Mr. Rylan Alec Parker as your legally wedded husband to have and to hold , from this day forward, for better, for worse , for riche, for poorer , in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do you apart?" Judging by her tight grip on my hand and clenched jaws, I had this feeling that she wanted to run out of here.
    
"I do."  She spoke after a second or two and I released a breath I wasn't aware I was holding.
    
"By the power vested in me I now pronounce you as husband and wife.
You may kiss the bride."
    
I took a deep breath before I took a step forward. Holding her by the waist, I pulled her towards me. I could tell that her breath was caught in her throat. She released a shaky breath before our lips touched.
    
Fuck!
    
Her lips felt soft against mine, sweeter than I could have ever imagined.
    
Addictive. Easy to get lost in.
    
Took me quite a few seconds to actually pull away. The claps and cheers had by then died down. How long did the kiss actually last?
    
Fuck, if I knew! My mind was still in a bit of a frenzy from the sweet aftertaste.
    
Our families congratulated us on the wedding before we took off in my car towards the reception venue.
    
"There will be Paparazzi, no?" I heard her tired voice.
    
"Obviously." I replied while typing on my phone.
    
"Ugh! I don't have it in me to deal with them." She said in a whiny tone.
    
"Sounds like a "you" problem." I put the phone back in my pocket and looked out of the window.
    
"Do you know what else is my problem?" I slid my gaze back to her.
    
"You! I just wanna kick you out of the car right now." She gritted her teeth in anger. Though I didn't quite understand why she was being so snappy all of a sudden, I must admit she looked funny.
    
"Pray tell me what did I do to get kicked out of my own car?" She looked at me like I was stupid to even ask that question.
    
"What did you not do? You manipulated me into signing this contract and marrying your stupid ass. Just because of you, I didn't get the chance to enjoy what is supposed to be the most magical day of one's life , I didn't get to marry the man of my dreams and start a happy, beautiful family life. And now on top of that you're coming off as more of an asshole than before."
    
She inhaled, out of breath from her mini rant. A familiar strange feeling erupted in my chest, something I couldn’t quite put a finger on.
    
"Who is it?" It was out of my mouth before I could even stop it.
    
Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "What?"
    
"The man of your dreams. Who is it?" Fuck! Why did I want to know?
    
I was feeling this strange uneasiness in me, the desire to know the name of the guy. Maybe because I didn't want her to be seen with him during the span of our marriage and ruin my image. Yeah, that was it.
    
"Most definitely not you." She sassed causing me to click my tongue in annoyance.
    
"Well, now that you have once again re-established the already known fact, can I get the answer?" My voice was a notch higher.
    
"Why would I tell you?" She raised a brow at me.
    
"So you have a boyfriend?" Unknowingly my jaws clenched on their accord.
    
"Does that concern you?" Taking a deep breath, I went back to looking outside.
    
"No." I gritted out.
    
"Then just shut up, why don't you?" I rolled my eyes before silence prevailed over the rest of the journey.

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