2150 Words
Jessica The fact that he suddenly barged in from the front gate caused the event to stop and for everyone to cast their curious gazes at us. “What are you doing, host? Announce our arrival.” This stranger’s request caused the host to snap out from the surprise and clear his throat before lifting his mic. His voice that resonated in the entire hall because of no one uttering a single word, served as a trigger to snap everyone from their trances. “I apologize for the sudden silence. Everyone, let’s welcome, Sir Leon’s older brother, Sir Alexander Morrison, and Lady Penelope’s younger sister, Young Lady Jessica Burberry! Please give them a round of applause.” The claps began with a single guest, followed by another, then another. Soon, everyone is applauding for us. I stood there, dumbfounded. But when he began walking, I was tagged along because he changed the way he’s holding me and made our fingers intertwine instead. With that, the two of us walked on the red carpet, followed by the eyes of the curious lot who can’t help but gape at the sudden change of events. But huh? Morrison? Isn’t Leon’s surname Cross? How come they’re brothers yet they bear different surnames? Not to mention, this is the first time I heard that Leon has an older brother. In situations like this, there are only two possibilities: they are half-brothers who share the same father, or they are step-brothers. He was gentle in guiding me. As he walked and I followed his strides, his pace was slow and smooth, as if he is used with the attention being casted solely on him. Thinking about his privileges despite being a complete stranger for me makes me feel sad and bitter for some reason. Stopping by the stage, the light above us nearly made me close my eyes. Looking up at him, he stared at me as if telling me to trust him. Right now, in this entire room, the person I can trust in the man who brought me in, and that is none other than Alexander. Without breaking the stare, I saw him lift his free hand in my periphery which caused the host to automatically rush and hand the microphone to him. “Believe in me. Just this once.” He said before breaking the eye contact and held the mic to begin speaking. Taking a deep breath, I followed what he did and stared back at the audience who seemed to be overly indulged with him taking over the spotlight. “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.” His voice that speaks power caused the chilly AC air to add up more reason for me to feel all my hair rise up as I heard him loud and clear. “In honor of witnessing the engagement of my younger brother, I left my mother’s side and flew back in here to congratulate him personally. However,” When he lowered his eyes to look at me, I felt how the rest copied him. Trying to be tough, I stared back at the audience. “I found a woman who picked my interest.” Saying that, I felt more and more nervous as the crowd gasped, followed by murmurs and whispers. Then I felt it. Despite not looking at me, he held my hand tighter as if reminding me that in this stage, I am not alone. With that, I felt my breathing starting to get more stable even when a second ago, I felt like I can’t supply enough air for my body because of how suspense things were. “It is a golden rule of the Cross family to allow the eldest son to have the privilege of ruling among the rest. For example, deciding for marriage.” Again, the crowd gasped. But this time, there is a loud response from Penelope who stood up from her seat which is on the front center table. “Are you telling us that you’re ruining our marriage schedule?” she asked, earning the agreements of nearly half of the visitors. But the rest, for some reason, cannot say any rebuts against the words of the man beside me. Is he that powerful? If he grew up in a foreign country and he doesn’t bear his father’s last name, then he must’ve chosen to live with his mother. Does that mean that he’s being stubborn about their family ties? “I am not going to do anything about your marriage, but I will schedule our marriage earlier than yours.” Alexander corrected, surprising everyone, including me. “If Leon hasn’t briefed you enough, then let me tell you this custom of our family: aside from the power of leading the family, the eldest child is allowed to prioritize himself, especially when he proved himself worthy of taking the lead in everything.” What’s this feeling? Am I really stopping myself from smiling because of how furious Penelope is? She looks like she is about to run up here and make a mess herself, but she was being stopped by Leon who’s tugging her arm to forcefully make her sit down. And when she did, another question was asked. “You know your place, don’t you, little brother?” The way he called him sounds like an insult to the person who just glared at him but said nothing. Really? The Leon always brags about his family and power cannot stand against Alexander? For him to be unable to defend himself, that just proves something again: in this business world, his silence just proved that he and Alexander belongs to the second option—they are step brothers and it is Leon who doesn’t belong in the real family line. The silence brought by the lack of response in his question was broken down when the attention shifted to our father who raised his hand. “Speak.” Wow. He impolitely ordered our father like that? Sitting right behind the supposed-to-be couple’s table, he cleared his throat. “I understand your sentiments about your family rules and customs and we have no issue about it. Burberry family respects your decision.” He said quickly earning him the offended look of my sister who turned to him. “However,” when he looked at me, I felt myself getting little again. His eyes tell me what he’s about to say next. “I will understand everything if you chose another woman aside from my youngest daughter. I cannot explain nor comprehend why you chose her.” In short, he doesn’t want me having ties with someone like him. Will he regret bringing me to the stage now? Lowering my gaze, I felt my eyes beginning to sting as the warmth of the budding tears overwhelmed me. “You respect our rules but you dare disrespect your daughter?” Alexander chuckled, causing for me to quickly lift my gaze and look at him whose gray eyes were being illuminated by the brownish light from above us. “You are much of a filth than I thought.” I looked at him, totally not believing what I just heard. He’s defending me? “Jessica Burberry has characteristics far from you who cannot see her value because of being blinded by your imaginary standards, or from her older sister who seemed to cannot accept that her pride will get stepped over because someone will marry her sister before her.” He smirked. “What?!” Penelope quickly intervened, but when everyone casted their doubtful eyes at her, she gulped and gave me a glare before averting her gaze. “Camera men, and event directors, I will pay ten times their promised wage for you lot. So, write this down for me.” The moment he said that, loud ruckus from the mentioned staff emerged as the snaps and shots of the cameras began to double in number, causing or the flickering lights to nearly blind me again. “I, Alexander Morrison, the eldest son of the Cross household and the one true heir of JQ Incorporation, announce my marriage which shall occur a week from now. Engagement ceremony will be skipped because it is only a waste of time that prolongs the wait of couples who should make ties.” Say what now?! Having no time to argue or at least ask him what he has in mind, the camera men began flocking in front, covering the guests and the supposed-to-be engaged couple as their attention solely focused on us. The event coordinators have their phone that’s recording and some even have their notes ready to play the role of reporters. “Did you two really just meet today?” “What made you decide this unexpected wedding?” “Questions will not be entertained. I expect you to relay my announcement to the mass media. Now, excuse us.” He looked at me for a short while before turning to toss the mic to the host who nearly missed it before pulling me out of the mess. But this time, we walked through the side of the stage and exited through the door right beside it. I turned to glance at the people that were about to leave—some were following us with curious gazes, some were already busy gossiping with the others, and for my family…all three of them are looking at me with nothing but anger. And what I’ve seen leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Am I really worth that kind of treatment? My attention soon shifted to Alexander when he still didn’t stop even when we’re already far from the venue. Instead, he just continued silently pulling me along with him up to the parking lot where he quickly opened his car and made me enter. Following him with my gaze, I watched as he went on the other side to enter the driver’s seat. Everything happened to fast. One time, I bumped in a stranger whom I angered because of soaking his USB, then suddenly, I am getting married. “I expect you to not play along and make it difficult for me to handle the situation.” He said, looking at me intently which caused me to blink and just focus my eyes on my lap instead. “I learned that overreacting while a major conflict is made will only make the situation worse.” I explained, trying my best not to stutter in front of the man who appears to be dominating no matter where he goes. “Adding fuel to the fire will most likely bring me at a disadvantage more than you. So,” “I expect you to be clever enough to explain your rush actions to me. Especially when you appear to be someone…of high caliber.” I followed through in a hush tone. Taking a deep breath, he brushed his hair which messed it up, but still, he looks good with it. “I want to make amends with that shitty as*hole for being a dirtbag who comes in my way.” For someone like him, I never expected him to say foul words like it’s normal for him. “We bear no physical similarities and I assume you’re not dumb to not realize it, right?” he asked, making me lift my head up to try meeting his gaze. “You and Leon are only step-brothers.” I responded, making him firmly nod at me. I see, ties like that are usually triggers of ugly relationships. “You’re smart, composed, and unlike any woman I’ve met.” He said, and for some reason, I can feel my blood rushing up to my cheeks. It is the first time that someone complimented me without any cameras to fake his reactions or anything. Wait! Stop it Jessica! You know nothing of this man! Clearing my throat, I maintained the gaze before asking him. “Why are you using me for a sudden marriage?” I crossed my arms and looked at him intently, waiting for his response in order to clear the clouds that blocks my brain from functioning completely. “I want to make him pay and you can play a part of it.” He spoke. “I need you and in return, I’ll grant you power. Based on what I’ve witnessed, people disregard you, considering that you’re not in the event when it first started and you’re treated by your dumb father like that.” Saying that, I suddenly have flashbacks of how bitter my life was because of being labeled as a disappointment. “I need you, and you need me.” Suddenly, he leaned closer to me, causing me to quickly move back only to hit the car window behind me. “I have a proposal; will you listen to it?”
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