Chapter 1. Her Scheme
It was a cold evening in early fall. The leaves had just started to turn color, changing from lush green to a dull yet bright orange. Autumn arrived with a buoyant lack of subtly, and how she loved it so. It was as if nature was calling out to the spring, and the trees could not help but become flowers, towering blossoms of flamed foliage to dance into the skies before tumbling as giant confetti to the sidewalks.
Jessica looked down at the white dress she was wearing; it was a stark contrast to the colors of the season. She could not help but sigh. Had she done the right thing?
She had just married. She was now Mrs. Richard. Jessica Richard. Hmm, she thought. Did it have a nice ring to it? She glanced at the man standing near her. He was a handsome man – too handsome, Jessica thought, as her eyes raked over him. The tailored black suit, the slicked-back hair, the light goatee giving off a scruff look – the man met every demand that Jessica had for her future husband.
Yes, Roger Richard was her husband now.
Roger nodded at the two men in black standing nearby a shiny Cadillac. They instantly got the order and stopped Jessica, saying respectfully, "Ma'am, please get inside."
Ma'am? Jessica raised her eyebrows at the rude tone of the security guards. This was how she was going to be treated? She looked back and saw Roger's cold face and understood what he was doing. That bastard was playing a game with her on purpose.
Turning around and looking at the men who seemed to have a good command of self-defense, Jessica simpered and replied, "Oh, thank you for your kindness. I can get inside."
Jessica made her way to get inside when she was practically shoved inside the door from behind. What the f**k?
Roger also got in and ignored Jessica's spiteful look towards him, Jessica thought to herself, how awful his superiority attitude was!
"Hey, where are we going?" asked Jessica reluctantly.
Roger did not look up but answered, "Where else can we go on our wedding night?"
Jessica gulped and looked out the window; that was not the answer she was looking for – or was it? Almost unconsciously, she wrapped her coat tighter around her body. Was he going to take her home tonight?
Jessica rolled her eyes and berated herself. Of course, you are his wife now. What else is he going to do, throw you out in the street? She snickered to herself. "So…" she started off, making sure Rogers was listening even though he did not look up from his damn tablet. "You probably have girls falling over for you, right?"
In hindsight, that was a stupid thing to say, but she wanted to get a reaction out of the robot sitting beside her. It was difficult for him to say even a word!
"Look, Roger, I know I am not beautiful, and my shape is terrible, my skin is flawed. And I had a boyfriend before. I HAD a boyfriend!" Jessica looked over and emphasized the 'boyfriend' part.
Roger's hands stopped typing for once. He looked up and stared at Jessica, who was sitting beside him rigidly, with an indescribable expression. This woman's words were to stimulate his anger. She was suggesting to him to let her go.
Well, he'd never let her go.
He knew everything about her, including the hospital where she was born, when she learned to walk and speak, how many kids she fought with at school and so much more, not to mention her history of relationships.
Maybe she should know more about him.
They looked at each other for a split second before Roger inched closer to Jessica. The tension between them seemed to multiply exponentially as they stared at each other. The fire in his eyes hissed angrily. Jessica slowly backed away until her back hit the door. There was no room for her to escape now.
"Is that right?" Roger murmured, an insolent smirk flitting across his face. Some logical part of Jessica screamed at her to push him away, but a small part of her wanted Roger to come closer. Her mouth went dry and she could not f*****g think.
Suddenly, Jessica sat up and pushed him away furiously. Who knows how many games he played with other innocent girls?
Jessica glared at Roger and bit her lips, "You know the reason why we got married, Roger. If you dare to touch me, I will f*****g kill you!"
Roger sneered and just ignored her words.
Knowing there was no point talking further with him, Jessica turned around and faced the window, watching the scenery flitting away as if pages of a storybook.
Before long, they arrived at the mansion of the Richard family. As soon as the car stopped, Roger smoothly got out of the car. Jessica followed behind, making sure she had all her belongings, which was not much.
She did not have time to admire the beautiful house with the sprawling gardens and vibrant flowers before Roger turned to her and interrupted her awestruck observation.
"Follow my orders after we get inside," Roger said coldly.
The fact that a man was ordering her irritated Jessica immensely, but she kept her mouth shut wisely. Her intuition told her that it would be risky if she talked him back at this very moment. But she would never obey his words. She was her own master, and no man would order her around.
Jessica followed him inside the house obediently. When the front door was opened, she recalled her stepfather's warning.
"Jessica, you must do as I say if you want to save Steve. He is so young and your mother loves him very much…"
"Why don't you save him for my mom, then?" Jessica had replied impudently.
"Jessica, if my company is destroyed by Richard's family, all of us would suffer, including your mother."
Her breath hitched as she remembered that old man’s threats and why she was here.
It was a very luxurious mansion, fancier than anything she had seen. People were seated around the room, young and old, whom she guessed was Roger's family.
As soon as they stepped inside the room, a handsome and lovely little boy ran over and jumped on Roger, raising his hands and wanting to be picked up. "Uncle, uncle, grandpa said you got married today! He said you are finally caught!" He yelled excitedly.
Everyone in the room laughed, except for Roger and Jessica.
Roger took the marriage license from his pocket and threw it on the table roughly in front of the others.
"Yes, yes, I did," snapped Roger in a cold tone.
Jessica could not help but frown. Her eyes flitted around the room, falling on an old man in a wheelchair in a dignified posture. It was Roger's grandfather, Joseph Richard. Though Joseph Richard was aged, she could see the sharp intelligence in his eyes. He raised his stick and pointed it at Jessica.
However, before Joseph could say another word, Roger stepped in.
"I am tired. Good night, then." He then promptly grabbed Jessica's hand and was about to drag her behind him.
Jessica had to stop herself from rolling her eyes and giving him a piece of her mind. She hated being ordered around. Though she knew their marriage would not last long, she still felt it was impolite.
She turned to Joseph and smiled, giving a small wave in response. However, she could not resist Roger's strength as he pulled her behind him towards the stairs.
He led her up the grand staircase and towards the end of the hallway.
They entered a room and the click of the door locking shut made Jessica nervous. She watched Roger awkwardly as he began to untie his tie while walking towards the bathroom.