Dr. Adrian Becker POV
I was standing at the altar with a young man whom I had hired weeks ago to play the part of my brother and my best man.
My eyes lingered on the shut double doors of the St. Francis Cathedral, awaiting the arrival of my Mariana.
The nice perfume of incense and essential oils made the atmosphere more welcoming and almost perfect for a wedding.
Then, the doors swung open and Mariana along with her aged father walked in.
The traditional 'Bridal Chorus' played in the background as Mariana gracefully advanced through the aisle. Obviously, I wasn't the only one fascinated by her beauty as most of the arisen attendants watched in admiration.
Proudly, she stood before me and took my hands in hers', then the priest began his work.
A wistful smile possessed my face as I listened to Mariana's vows. When it was my turn, I humbly declined but that still didn't bother Mariana as she encouraged me with a smile.
Then, the priest said, “Mariana Ramos, do you take this man to be your husband, to live together in holy matrimony, to love him, to honor him, to comfort him, and to keep him in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, for as long as you both shall live?“
Without hesitation, she said; “Yes, I do!“
The priest looked at me and said, “Adrian Becker, do you take this woman…”
My gaze shifted to the pews which had been scanty earlier but was now almost fully occupied. There were at least thirty hefty men in black suits and dark shades looking directly at me, and no one needed to educate me of what was carefully tucked beneath their jackets.
At the front row was Mariana's mother and her Aunties who couldn't help but notice the young man sitting beside them. The young man who was putting on an expensive grey suit with designer Italian penny loafers and a hat accompanied by dark shades, doing a good job in concealing almost half of his face.
“ …for as long as you both shall live?“ The priest concluded.
My eyes briefly met with Mariana, who was anticipating a positive response, then it shifted back to the man in grey suit who was having a demeaning smirk on his face.
He mouthed the words; 'Say Yes, if you dare' and then giggled at his own joke.
The priest said to me, “It's best if you give a response, Mr. Becker.“
This time around, Mariana's eyes had lost its initial confidence and was screaming 'terror'.
My heart raced as I knew that whatever words I said next would be detrimental to both I and Mariana, in one way or the other.
Heaving in an irregular sigh of despair, I did what was best for Mariana and her family. “No, I don't.“
The few genuine attendants were in shock and a lot of murmuring and chattering erupted.
My Mariana didn't say anything but yet, her facial expression said everything. I watched her let go of my hands which she had held onto throughout the whole ceremony and then, she ran out of the church.
“¡Bastardo!“ Mariana's father barked at me. “I'll kill you.“ He said, fuming and making his way towards me with his fisted hands.
My hired brother tried to stop him from advancing towards me and accepted a hard punch in the face for his generous efforts.
Mariana's mother was on the floor surrounded by her sisters, yelling and raining curses on me.
Speechless and Numb. Heartbroken, Wretched and Dejected, through a side exit door, I deserted the church building.
“Mariana!“ I yelled as I searched everywhere. “Mariana!“
At last, I saw her sitting at the foot of a bridge, staring at the green lake beneath.
“It's beautiful, isn't it?“ She said, rising up to her feet.
“Mariana.“ I said, lacking words to say.
“Do you remember when you sat me down here and told me how beautiful this lake was and how it's beauty couldn't be compared to mine?“ She sniffed loudly as she wiped away her tears. “I bet you can as it was only a few hours ago.“
“I'm sorry.“ I said, sincerely.
“Do you remember when you told me how much you love me and how you'll love me even after death?“ She said, moving closer to me. “I bet you can, as it was just two nights ago.“
“I know and I meant it.“ I said, assisting her in wiping away her uncontrollable tears. “I've never loved anyone else like I love you.“
To my surprise, she embraced me. “I love you, Adrian. If indeed you meant what you just said, then there's no problem.“ She rose her head up from my thumping chest and smiled. “All we have to do is apologize to my parents and tell them you were overwhelmed with the whole wedding drama, I'm certain that in time, they'll get over it and maybe someday...a year or two, we'll still have our honeymoon on that stunning island in the Caribbeans, just you and me."
Now, she was acting desperate and it was hurting me more than I had anticipated.
"You don't understand," I said bitterly as I withdrew from her embrace. "I can't do that."
"Why?" She asked, with her eyes looking wild and sore.
"Because today will be the last day you'll ever see me."
"Yes." I said. "This is it. Goodbye, Mariana!"
She fell to the ground and began sobbing. Although my heart wanted nothing more than to embrace her and tell her that everything will be fine and that we will still be together like we'd planned but I knew that i couldn't and that realisation wrecked my heart.
"What did I do to you?" She wailed. "Why are you doing this to me?"
"Don't tell me you're f**king sorry!" She yelled at me. "Don't tell me that as you weren't telling me sorry when you were promising heaven and earth to me. You weren't also apologising when you went on your knees and asked me to marry you!"
I sighed. "There's nothing I can do, Mariana. If there was, believe me, I'll do anything."
"Believe you??" She chuckled bitterly. "I was foolish enough to do that once and see where it got me."
"I'm sorry for the pain I've caused you." I said. "I just hope that oneday, you'll move on and I'll be nothing but the past. You'll find someone else who will give you true happiness and joy and you'll forget about me and the pain I've caused you."
"Forget you!!" She yelled at me, with her eyes red and furious. "How I wish I could do that! How I wish I'd just sleep tonight and wake up tomorrow without knowing that any Adrian Becker existed!" Her harsh voice faded into a sob. "But I can't... I'd have to live with you in my mind forever."
"That's not true."
"You don't understand." She said, sobbing profusely. "No one knows about this but… I'm two months pregnant."
"Yes, Adrian." She said. "I'm carrying our child."
I could feel the blood draining from my face, leaving me pale and lifeless.
"That can't be true." I said, defensively.
"So what?" She snapped back. "You're going to deny the child after denying me so disgracefully. I'm hundred percent certain that I'm pregnant and you are responsible."
She chuckled angrily. "How? Should I begin to teach you simple biology?"
I shook my head in utter dejection. "I don't know what to say."
She rose up and wiped her tears with her ruined makeup making her look almost as horrible as I was. "Well, you don't need to say anything." She came face to face with me and smiled. "I don't ever want to see you in my life and neither will my child. Go to hell, Adrian, it suits you best."
With that, she stormed away and headed back to the church.
After a few seconds of dreadful silence, I heard a resounding laughter behind me.
I turned around to shoo off whosoever the clown was and I wasn't surprised at all to see him.
It was the young man in a grey suit.
"Oh, that was tragic!" He said with fake sympathy.
"Enzo, what do you want from me?"
"Adrian??" He laughed again. "Is that what you call yourself now?"
I resisted the strong urge of grabbing him by the collar and smothering him with his ridiculous hat.
"Adrian Becker? A fancy name." He said, mockingly. "You did well in tossing away our family's name."
"I wouldn't ask you twice!" I growled, warningly.
"Now, that's the beast I've been looking for." He said. "Anyways, I don't want anything from you. Standing over your unmarked grave would have been quite delightful for me but it seems like father still has you in mind."
"Tell the Don that I'm not interested in him nor his family."
"His family? You're one of us whether you like it or not. As long as father considers you as family, you're still a Lozano." He paused and then brought out a pack of cigarette which he lit with a lighter having the family's logo on it. "About being uninterested, that's something you'll have to discuss with the Don himself."
A black Mercedes stopped at the other end of the bridge and the driver rolled down the tinted window, signalling to Enzo.
"Well, that's our ride." Enzo said, stepping on the lit cigarette. He held my shoulder and whispered into my ears, "I also recently heard that we have a new Lozano on its way."
My heart stopped beating for a while as cold chills spiraled throughout my body. Damn it! He overheard our conversation.
He chuckled as he breezed past me and strolled to the car.
Laying a few curses at no one in particular, I followed compellingly behind him and sat down in the exotic vehicle, beside my younger brother.
"It's good to have you back, Ciro." He said.
Then the tinted windows rose up and my vision of the St. Francis Cathedral darkened and so did my poor heart.