C1 Chapter - [ 1 ]
I don't want to be the one!
I never imagined my life to come on this turn where I found no way to escape my fixed destiny.All I ever dreamt to pursue my masters's degree at Cambridge and start a new life somewhere far from this city which only gave me deep scars to remember but like I said, destiny always played dirty tricks on me.
I never imagined in my wildest dream that the old Mr. Henry Ashton would propose a marriage between his grandson and me.I only helped him when his blood pressure dropped after the Sunday prayer at the Church.I was present in the church's cemetery to spend some time with my deceased parents when I spotted him sweating and asking for help.I just gave him some water and stayed with him until security guards came to take him to the hospital.
My destiny was written at the very moment.
Last night I was informed by my adoptive parents that they fixed my marriage with none other than the elder son of Ashton family.
God please make them change their mind for me.They don't deserve a prick like me.I quickly got out of the room,led by the maid to the labyrinth like house to the dining hall.
I rubbed my sweaty palms on my thighs. The gigantic structure stood majestically in front me ,was mocking at my poor self.I was definitely not fit in their shoes.
It felt like eternity when the guards ushered me inside the mansion.Nervousness creeped their way into my heart as I stepped further inside the house.
When I entered in the square shaped hall,in the center was a wooden rectangular dining table which can host a couple of dozen people.There sat five people including Daniel Ashton,my soon to be husband whom I didn't choose but my excuse of parents.
No, he was many times more handsome than those contrived men.
I am not a high school teenager girl who finds her prince charming in one of those actors with rare handsome features.His solo attention was fixed on the table.I could see his jaws clenched.He seemed distressed and clearly frustrated.Was he doing it under the pressure of his family?If it's true then my life was completely doomed.
Aderline again rushed into my blood.Those personalities screamed of dominance and power.I felt like a timid creature in front of them.Now I am more eager to escape this marriage charade.
Henry Ashton,the old man's eyes landed on me and a warm smile stretched over his wrinkled face.He was less terrifying than others.
"Felicity come dear."He called out my name affectionately whereas Mariette shot me a menancing glare.Trevor and Edward sat indifferently.
I silently walked to the dining table in a slow calculative pace not wishing to give them a wrong impression of my upbringing which was done by my owm grand parents than my parents.
"Good morning Mr. Ashton."I greeted him politely and did the same to Edward who just nodded his head in response.
"Please have a seat dear."Henry Ashton said gesturing me to take a seat and I intentionally chose a farther seat to make a distance from them.
"I sincerely apologize for not attending you duri the lunch at your house my dear but I am glad that we have a chance to have the breakfast together.Please feel at home."He said very warmly and I could see the same gleam in his brown eyes.
"Likewise Mr. Ashton."I smiled briefly.
"Oh stop the formalities Felicity.You can call me Grandpa or grandfather.After all we are going to be a family in less than two weeks."He said rather laugh on his own statement causing me to cough on the unexpected declaration.
When did it happen?They hadn't asked me about my opinion first?Am I just a lifeless object for them whom they can use in any way or anytime they wish?Tears of hurt formed in the back of my eyes but I controlled them to fall in front of my buyers.
"I really like you Sophia.You remind me of the woman who died years ago.The woman who made this Ashton name worldwide famous because she invested her trust in me,my wife Alicia."Henry spoke pleasantly of his wife whose replica he sees in me but all I am a empty vessel with no hope and desire to serve his expectations as his daughter in law.
"Umm Mr. Ash-"I paused remembering his warning,"Grandfather I want to go back to my house as I have to submit my admission form in next three hours and it is in my room back at my house."I said to him and prayed that he has no issues with me having a wish to continue my studies even after the marriage.
"Oh no problem dear.In fact Daniel will drop you off at your house in his way to his work.'Henry smiled widely in response.I felt delighted and grateful hearing his indirect acceptance of my wish but it was short-lived when I heard Mariette's sentence.
"Dad don't tell me that she is going to college after the marriage?How will it effect our reputation that we chose a bride for our elder son who is under-educated.Dad please reconsider your decision once again."
There goes the dirty tricks of my destiny once again.
"I do not want to hear any discussion over this subject Mariette.You must accept Sophia as your daughter in law because whether you like her or not,she is still marrying Daniel."Grandpa shot her a glare which caused her face to turn red in anger and embarrassment.
"Daniel drop her at her house like a gentleman."Grandpa then ordered Daniel with a hidden warning under his calm words.
He raised his head to glance at me for the very first time since I came here.My breath got stuck in my lungs as soon as his caramel brown eyes bore into mine.He screamed of dominance and intimidation yet warmth radiated the way he read my expression.
I looked away unable to bear his intense stare on me.Oh God!How would I spend the rest of my life with a man whose presence already begun to give me jitters. I felt nervous and scared.
The screeching sounds of a chair being dragged indicated that he agreed on his grandfather's order.So,I quitely rose from my seat.
"It's was really nice to have you over here Sophia.I can not wait for the day when you'll come here to live forever as Daniel's wife."Grandpa's smile was reflecting his happiness.
I didn't want to break his heart but what about my dreams?Will my husband allow me to persue my career because his mother already objected.Will he listen to his mother and forbid me to give up on my dreams?
"Miss Stone..."He called out my name bringing me back on the earth.
My heart fluttered the way my name rolled out in his thick honey like voice.It was slow yet clear enough to be heard.
I bade a quick goodbye to Grandpa and Mr. Edward Ashton who simply gave me a polite nod of his head whereas his wife stormed out of the place hissing in anger.
He took long strides out of the house while I had a great struggle to match his pace.I was nervous for the ride. It was going to be only him and I.Would he try to ask about my opinion or try to threaten me to say no to this arranged marriage charade?With these insecurities running in my head I didn't realize when the driver opened the door for me.
"Miss Stone please sit.We are getting late for our destinations."His voice floated in my ear.I again zoned out in less than five minutes making a fool of myself twice.
I looked down in embarrassment and quickly slipped on the backseat followed by him though there is a huge gap between us,yet his close proximity and his strong perfume was making it very hard for me to concentrate on anything.So I decided to look outside the window and prayed this car ride to be over soon.
The air inside the car felt suffocating and cramped albeit the minus degree temperature outside.The atmosphere was dripping with tension.
Oh God!What he would think of me?
He would reject me after this. Who wants to marry a clumsy and orphan girl like me?Certainly not someone as rich as Daniel Ashton who could marry any perfect girl he wished.Nor I was complaining, I would be happiest girl on the earth if he reject me and marry my elder sister instead.
After an excruciatingly and suffocating drive which lasted for about twenty minutes,the car finally took the turn in the street where my house was located.I felt em,he would hwd never entered in such a down trodden area if it wasn't for his future wife.
The driver opened the door for me. I hadn't waited for another second and climbed out of the car.I had to run away from his dominating presence,the other reason,his expensive car had already gravitated unwanted attention. It's better for him to leave before my house will be bombarded with the neighbors' endless enquiries as they saw me coming out of a rich man's car.
"Miss Stone..."He called out my name after a long silence.My heart flattered again.
Oh! I hate it.
When did he come out of the car and why the hell I failed to notice him standing dangerously close to me.I felt a sudden heat waving in my blood despite of the killer icy winds.
"Ye...yess..Mr. Ashton."I meekly responded.My teeth clattered while I tried my best to keep myself protected from catching hypothermia.
All this while my eyes were fixed on my lap.His deep breathing could be heard in the brief space between us.
"Are you free in this evening?"He asks.His voice held no hesitation or confidence unlike me who stutters like fool and couldn't stand properly in Ashton's presence.
We are one thousand percent mismatch.
"Umm..I guess no.I..mean..I have to attend a friend's house warming party."I lied.I know it was very wrong of me but I couldn't deal with this,at least for some time as I was still trying to wrap my mind around this whole marriage thing .
"Then what about tomorrow?"He raised his brows at me as if he was warning me through his passive way that he didn't like to be refused.
"Tomorrow?"I knitted my brows together.He didn't object on today's offer but what excuse should I give for tomorrow and most dreading past was,if he would tell my parents?I will be gone for good.
"Look Miss Stone..."His voice trailed off.I could sense frustration flaming from those obsidian black eyes,"I don't know what is running in your mind regarding this marriage but I want to be sure because for me,it's a lifetime commitment and I do not want to take a chance with someone who is forced into it against her wish.So, if your family has pressured you into this,then simply tell me,I promise you that I will cancel it no matter what consequences it will bring upon me but I guarantee you that no one from my family is going to blame you or your family for this."He stated each and very word very clearly in a firm and determined voice.
I saw no trace of seconds thoughts or uncertainties in his facial expressions.
I wish I could had the same leverage as him but my so called parents had left me no room for any negotiation.Backing out from this marriage means digging my own grave.Those money fed leeches could go to any extent.
"No Mr. Ashton..."I took a deep sigh keeping a stone on my heart,"I am not doing this under someone's pressure. I respect your grandfather.If he assured me that we are a good match for each other then I trust him.I know it's a very short time.The wedding is...fixed in..no less than two weeks so I hope we can try to adjust after marriage."I somehow manage to express myself without fumbling. I wish he could peek into my heart but why was I expecting the impossible.
"Are you sure because there is no backing out in future?"He narrowed his gaze at me.It looked like he still had his fair share of doubts on my statement.
Well I didn't care for his opinion.Wasn't it quite obvious on my face.
"Yes Mr. Ashton...okay good bye and thanks for the ride."I nodded my head affirmatively not knowing what to say anymore.I wasn't comfortable in standing with him alone under prying gazes so I hurriedly made my way in my house's direction.
"It's Daniel to you."I heard him say and stopped in my track.
"What?"I gave him a confused look.
"It's not Mr. Stone but Daniel for you,Sophia."He repeated and before I could react,he slipped in his car and it disappeared from my sight in seconds.
Did I hear him right?