Chapter-2

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Livia started walking towards the altar. Her face covered by a long veil and her hand rested on her father's arm as per the custom. Her father had placed his hand on hers and was holding it a bit too tightly.

'Afraid dad? That I'll run away ? You don't have to worry.. I won't run away... you were the only family I was left with and what I am doing today is not just for your business and employees but also for you and if I am to be honest you are the sole reason that I am doing this... sacrificing myself to a ...stranger.'

They reached the altar where the groom, the great Aaron Rodriguez was waiting upon his bride. Livia was thinking what will he do when he will find that he is being cheated...that he is not getting what he had paid for.

The ceremony started. Livia's stepmother was standing a bit too close and told her to keep her head down and not to do anything foolish.

'I'm already doing the most stupid thing in my life. This act in itself seems foolish enough and I'm not sure if there is something more foolish than this.'

The priest started the ceremony. During the entire ceremony Livia's stepmother stood close to her and would give a pinch or two on her arm when Livia couldn't reply.

'What on earth did I do so wrong that this is happening to me?' Livia wondered.

Finally when they took their vows the priest asked Aaron to lift the veil and kiss the bride. The moment Livia had feared the most had finally arrived. Everything seemed to be going in slow motion for her... Aaron slowly lifting the veil... and coming one step closer to her... she had her head lowered as if she had done something terribly wrong. Aaron tucked her chin up so that he could look at her properly. She slowly looked up, her heart thumping in her chest, her brain ready for rejection and the answers that he will demand.

When she looked at him she could see the anger in his eyes. He looked at her and then at her stepmother and then back to her.

"You may kiss the bride now." the priest repeated. Aaron looked at Livia again and this time his expression had changed. The anger was replaced by some other emotion that she couldn't name.

Livia's heart and brain were working strangely. They wanted him to say no to this, to say that she isn't the bride he had paid for or chosen but somewhere it had also wanted him to say 'yes' to her.

'No! No!No!' she cried to herself inwardly.'He isn't mine!' she looked into his eyes, hers pleading his to let her go. But it seem that Aaron wasn't someone who's an expert in reading one's heart through his eyes and emotions because he lowered his head and pressed his lips to hers.

A kiss that should have been just a small and quick one lasted more than minutes. She wasn't sure how long exactly but never in her life she had been kissed like this. His kiss did strange things to her heart and belly and arose a feeling and a need in her she never knew existed.

When he finally broke the kiss he resumed to his position and crowd cheered for them and the priest finally pronounced them as man and wife.

After that kiss Livia was finding it so hard to even stand straight and it took a lot of effort for her not to run away somewhere hiding her face. How could she feel so needy for him ? And how could he kiss her like that in front of everyone?

When she looked up Aaron was looking at her. His eyes unreadable but she knew there were many questions that he wanted to ask.

As the vows taking ceremony ended Aaron shook hands with her father and as Livia moved forward to hug her father, her step mother was also standing close by. Livia hugged her father and said in a low voice, her words audible to her parents but not to anyone else.
'This is the last thing that I am doing for you. You gave me life and today you took it back and now I don't owe you anything, anymore.'

And with this she stood straight with Aaron on her side.
" Mr. Smith, I have something to talk about." Aaron said to her father. Her father looked at him nervously but agreed for a conversation.

They both went to one side and started talking. Even though she couldn't hear what they were talking about but she was sure that it was something related to Ada or her.

"Even though you made such a scene earlier but now you must be feeling happy that you got to marry a billionaire." Alicia said bitingly,"but let me tell you one thing.. never ever dare to think that he will love you because he is a man who sees and wants beauties. Even though he's married now he can still have any woman that he wants."

Livia was tired and had no strength to argue with someone who thought that she knew everything and everyone the best but she was extremely curious about one thing "Why didn't the crowd react when they saw me in the place of Ada?"

Alicia had expected her acid remark to hurt Livia but now she wasn't sure if it had done it's job because Livia seemed unaffected about it. So she just decided to answer her question.
"No one reacted because they were told that Aaron Rodriguez is marrying the Smith's daughter. They weren't told whether that daughter would be you or Ada."

"But the last time we met it was made quite clear to me that Aaron is going to marry Ada. So why no one else was told about it?"

"That was what he had wanted and that's why the announcement regarding the marriage was made two days before the wedding and neither your dad and nor I were allowed to reveal more than he wanted. The piece of information that was delivered to media and was made public was what Aaron had decided."

"That sounds absurd." Livia thought.

"But it was my daughter who was supposed to stand here as the bride by Aaron's side and not you. You don't even look good with him."

Livia didn't reply to this. It didn't mean that it doesn't hurt because she was hurt but she herself had no confidence in her appearance. She knew that if she and Ada stood together and someone is given a choice it will be Ada whom he will choose and not her. Though hurt but still Livia tried not to look affected by that remark .

Suddenly she felt a hand on her waist and that foreign touch nearly made her jump out of her skin.

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