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C11 A Trade

“So, you see, that family member that I have chosen is my son. Trust me, it’s much better than marrying me, is it not?” the boss said, laughing at his own sick joke.

I stared at the document in shock as my hand shook. If I tear this paper apart, will that void the contract? I guess not…

As I was deep in thought as to what I should do next, the boss’s mobile phone started to ring loudly, disturbing the tense atmosphere in the room.

“What? I see…and? We’ll cover it…give her the best treatment,” the boss spoke through the phone.

The conversation came to an end and the boss looked at me with a sad face and I wondered what that whole phone call was about.

“The man that took your grandmother to the hospital just called,” the boss said solemnly.

“How is she?” I asked with worry.

“I think she already knew this but…I guess she never told you. Your grandmother has stage four lung cancer…” the boss said making a regrettable face.

“What…?” I whispered so softly that I bet he couldn’t hear me as my shock took over.

“The doctors are not sure how much longer she has left…” the boss continued.

“That can’t be…she…” I mumbled under my breath.

“I’ve told the hospital to give her the best treatment and of course, I’m willing to shoulder the expenses…” the boss suggested with a smile.

“If only I would marry your son?” I quickly completed his thought for him in anger. Was he seriously using my grandmother to negotiate with me right now?

“You’re smart. You’re catching on really fast. I could force you with the debt contract alone but…since I really like you, I’ll throw in a bonus and take care of your dear grandmother for you too. I mean, there’s no way you can afford her medical bills right now, right? She’s going to have to stay in the hospital for god knows how long…” the old man said with a sad face. I wasn’t sure if he was genuinely sad or feeling completely lucky for having another thing to use against me.

The other thing that had been bugging me since the very beginning was…

“Why me? I’m sure there are plenty of other women for you to choose from. Why does it have to be me?” I asked with a mix of confusion and curiosity.

“It has to be you,” the boss said slowly as he stressed every word.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I’m sure that my son can fall in love…if it’s with you…” the boss replied with certainty.

That’s it. This man is completely out of his mind.

I was sure that his son wouldn’t fall in love with me and vice versa. The other thing I was also sure of was that I couldn’t afford my grandmother’s hospital bills. I also can’t seem to leave this place…alive. It didn’t seem like I had any other choice.

“What if…your son doesn’t want me as his wife? What will you do? Will you…put an end to all this?” I asked, daring to hope just a little.

“I wouldn’t worry about that if I were you…but how about a little trade?” the old man suggested with a grin.

“A trade?” I asked, curiously.

“I’ll forfeit your debt. I’ll pay for all your grandmother’s hospital bills and I’ll set you free. In exchange, all I want is for you to get my son to agree to take over the family’s business as my heir. Do we have a deal?” the boss said.

That sounded too good to be true. Getting his son to agree to take over the gang didn’t seem difficult at all. I mean, he was born the heir so it was obvious that he would take over one day, right?

At least, it was better than being married to him all my life.

“O…k…” I said in a whisper.

“Great! The wedding ceremony is tomorrow. I have everything prepared and ready to go. Your dress, the venue, the guests, and everything else has been prepared. All I needed was the bride and now I have her right here!” the boss shouted happily.

“Wait a second…I thought if I could convince your son to take over the family business you would set me free,” I said confused.

“Of course, that’s the deal. However, you haven’t achieved that yet so until you do, you will marry my son and live as his wife,” the boss said firmly, leaving no room for argument.

“Wait! The wedding is tomorrow…already?!” I cried out in panic at the sudden realization.

How did I get myself into this mess…again?

**Back to the Present**

After changing out of the glamorous wedding dress into regular clothes, I rode in a black limousine as it followed the ambulance that had my grandmother inside to the hospital where she was receiving treatment. As promised, the boss had placed my grandmother in the best medical facility in the capital and was paying for all her hospital bills, which must be massive.

My grandmother wasn’t allowed to leave the hospital anymore. She spent her life in her private hospital room with her body hooked up the multiple machines. I didn’t have any medical knowledge, but I could tell that her condition wasn’t great. However, with the help of the doctors her condition has stabilized enough for her to live comfortably in the hospital…for now.

I watched silently from the side of the hospital bed as the nurses hooked multiple machines to my grandmother’s body after she had been lain down. She looks so frail and weak. After the nurses had left, I asked the men in black, who were in charge of following me around, if I could have a private moment with my grandmother.

When we were finally alone, I took her hand in mine and placed in on the side of my cheek as I felt warm tears sting my eyes. My grandmother had been so shocked when I told her that I have decided to marry the boss’s son. She was so selfless and worried only about my wellbeing like she had done since the first day I arrived at her doorstep. Now, however, it was my time to pay her back. I will protect her with everything that I have.

I must be strong. However, now that the wedding ended in a disaster, I wasn’t sure what will happen now. It was clear that Hayden, just like me, was in love with someone else. However, I bet his love has a happy ending, unlike mine. I took out a heart-shaped locket necklace and slowly opened it. I wiped the tears away from my eyes so that I could see the photo inside clearly.

Inside the locket was a photograph of me and my boyfriend…well, ex-boyfriend now. I really miss you, Ethan...

--To be continued…

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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