Camilla was a bundle of nerves when the manager told her that someone wanted to have a word with her.
"Who." She asked, grossly aware that she knew no one in New York. She had not been able to make friends due to her work schedule and communication problems. The little time she had was spent on herself.
"Mr. Ethan. He is in my office now.” the manager replied
"Mr. Ethan!. I have not done anything wrong. Have I?" Camilla replied, astounded. "Why does he want to speak to me?" she asked.
"I have no clue." The manager screeched. "But you better behave yourself. Or else your job is gone. He is one of our best customers and I don't want you screwing that up."
Always threatening me with this godforsaken job. Camilla mumbled under her breath.
"What did you say?"
"Nothing sir." She grinned.
"Good. you better tame that mouth of yours when we get to the office. Get rid of the apron and tidy up your hair."
Camilla did as she was asked, and when the manager was satisfied with her look they both went to his office.
The office AC was in full blast and the room had perfect lighting. This was not the first time Camilla had entered the office but the presence of the man inside the office made the difference. He dominated the whole office area with his muscular frame and height. Camilla felt herself perspiring even in the cold office.
"She is here sir." The manager said as they entered the room.
"You may leave us now, I want to speak to her alone."
Camilla shook her head nervously, silently pleading to the manager to stay with her.
"Better behave." The manager whispered and left.
Ethan turned to face Camilla, the first thing he noticed was that the picture Malik his private investigator brought to him did not do her much justice. He observed her even though she was not aware of his scrutiny as she had her head face down. He assumed that she was probably more than 5ft tall, her hair tied in a ponytail flattered her cheekbones and her lips.."stop." He screamed into his head, wondering why he was checking her out.
"Take a seat," Ethan said, he gestured towards the empty seat a few inches away from him.
"I would rather stand," Camilla replied with a shaky voice.
"Seat down," Ethan said with a firmer voice.
Camilla sat immediately and unconsciously fidgeted her fingers.
"Camilla Martinez migrated from Mexico some months ago. Am I correct" Ethan asked, his eyes fixed on her.
"Yes sir." Camilla's head was still bent over. Where was this leading to- she wondered
"Your mother has cancer and needs to start treatment." Ethan continued
Camilla's head jerked up, What was going on, how did he know this.
"My papers are complete and I am here legally," Camilla said.
"Excuse me," Ethan replied confused.
"You work for immigration. How else do you know so much about me."
Ethan frowned in realization. "I don't work for immigration and I know you are here legally too."
"So what do you want from me? Are you suing me for bumping into you the other day?" She said slowly to avoid messing up her words while she made a mental check to remember if she caused him any injury. Coming to America has opened her eyes to how you can be sued for anything.
Was she trying to get on his nerves or was she plain annoying- Ethan wondered.
"I want you to be my wife."
Camilla sat frozen, her lips parted and her eyes twitched as she stared at him with mixed emotions. Camilla did not know whether to be happy or sad.
"W..wh..why do you want to marry me." She stuttered. A rich American man is asking for her hand in marriage. Either this was a prank or someone wants to set her up. But who!
"Why are you looking around the office?"
"What...oh! I'm searching for a hidden camera."
" Prank.. maybe you want to make a fool of me," Camilla replied incoherently.
Ethan observed her for a while, who could blame her. It was an unusual proposal but he was desperate.
"There is no prank, I want you to be my wife. But, there are conditions."
"Our marriage will be for formality, as a contract. You know what contact is."
"Yes." She whispered. Why did Americans judge intelligence with being able to speak good English?
"Great then. We will get married this weekend."
"I have not said yes," Cammila replied
"I know you will, you need lots of mothers for your mother's treatment. I have the money that you need."
Camilla was chagrined "I am not for sale, why..why would I want to marry you." She stuttered.
"Let's say because you are broke and need money to keep your mother alive." Ethan taunted her.
Camilla's eyes clouded at the mention. of her mum. "I don't need your money and I won't marry you."
"Hahaha...you have no choice." Ethan sat up and went to stand beside the window
Camilla wondered at his arrogance if she could wipe away that smirk on his face with a slap. But doing that would cost her her job and maybe deportation.
"Mr. Ethan, I would have to reject your proposal. And I also need to resume my work."
"I will let you go for now. However, I will be back tomorrow and you are going home with me." Ethan gave her one final look and waved his hand in dismissal.
Head held high Camilla left his presence, as soon she shut the door behind her. She leaned on the door and heaved in relief.
When her phone vibrated she jumped in fright. "Be calm." She chided herself, it was unlike her to be jumpy. However, she knew why she was a bundle of nerves, shaking her head to dismiss thinking about what just happened, she picked up her phone at the second ring.
"Camilla, it's me, Mary."
"Mary, hope no problem. I should have called earlier but I had an unusual meeting."
"I wanted to inform you that your mum started Chemo today, we got the money you sent."
Confused, Camilla asked, "What money?"
"The one you sent through your friend yesterday evening. I had to wait till now to call due to the time difference."
"H..how much did I send?" Camilla managed to ask.
"One hundred and fifty thousand dollars."
"What is the name of my friend that sent the money?" She bit her fingers hoping it was not whom she thought.
"Erm..Ethan. He said you are good friends. Is there a problem, Camilla?" Mary asked
"No. No, I will call you back." She hung up the call. Taking a deep breath, she walked back to the office.
"Welcome back." Ethan grinned at her, "That was quick."
"What do you want from me?" Camilla said under her breath.
"I want you to be my wife."
"But why?. Someone like you dates high profile ladies, I am just an immigrant and a waitress."
"You are exactly what I want."
"What if I say no again."
"It is not possible since you are indebted to me now."
"You sent the money, right? Why? How did you find out about my mother and me?" Camilla was on the verge of tears.
"I have my way, Camilla. You needed lots of money and I needed a wife. I have done my part, now it's your turn to fulfill yours."
"I don't want to be part of this deal, please." Wiping away a traitor's tears from the corner of her eyes "I will pay you back your money."
"I don't want any money from you, like I said before I have enough."
"There are so many ladies out there who would want to be your wife, why me?"
"Simple. You are a lesser complication. We are just husband and wife by contract, nothing would ever happen between us and you are free to have an affair with anyone."
Camilla's forehead crisped in disgust "I can't do this, No."
Ethan watched her struggle with the idea, she was a decent lady from what he knew about her, he was not too thrilled having to put her in such a dilemma but there was so much at stake.
"I will divorce you in five years. And you will be free from me and any contract we have."
Camilla hesitated for a while, she could feel a headache coming up. In five years' time, she would be thirty-three years and would have lost five years of her life to him. However, she did not have other options and had to accept the offer, to keep her mother alive. "Wh...when are...when are we getting ma..married."
"Next week, I will introduce you to the family first. One more thing."
Camilla rolled her eyes, "what."
"No one must know about our arrangement, breach of contract has deadly consequences."
Camilla could feel a cold shiver run through her. What has she gotten herself into, five years suddenly felt like forever?
Camilla stood beside her room window sipping her coffee, it was just three in the morning and sleep had eluded her. Today it has been two days since the proposal from Ethan and he was coming to get her before ten.
According to him, he would be introducing her to his family. She was not looking forward to it, She Hardly Knew him and his mean demeanor always made her jump around him. And Ethan only mentioned his mother and she really hoped his mother would be a bit nicer than him, haven heard so many dreadful things about mothers-in-law, She was a bit nervous not minding that the marriage is a contract, she was still apprehensive and skeptical.
Yesterday, he took her to the mall for some shopping. All the clothes in the store cost more than her rent, she had insisted on wearing what she had, she did not want him buying things for her.
"You will be my wife and you must dress in outfits befitting the wife of Ethan st. James." He moved closer to her, his eyes squinting.
Camilla's stomach fluttered in apprehension, she hated how her body reacted when she was around this mean and ruthless man. The same man that just paid forward for her life for five years.
"But we know it's not really true. Our marriage is just.." Her voice shook as she spoke.
" I would not finish that sentence if I were you. To the world, you are my wife.” He grabbed her by the jaw, his eyes fixated on hers before he lowered it to her lips. Camilla swallowed hard. "Better think before you speak or best keep quiet." He removed his hands as if they were on fire.
Camilla was chagrined at why she was feeling disappointed.
Ethan gathered the heap of clothes he had hand-picked for her and dumped them into her hands.
"Now be a good girl and go to the dressing room to check if these clothes fit."
Without arguing she did as she was told.
“ I want to see the dresses on you,” he shouted at her as she went into the dressing room.
Hesitantly, she took one of the dresses, a simmering Green backless gown, she had never worn anything so beautiful and luxurious before, the fabric was so soft on her skin. It was not surprising though, it cost an arm and a leg -she mused.
When she came out from the dressing room, she could not read Ethan's reaction when he saw her.
“Turn around.” He said to her, Camilla did as she was asked. “There is no need to try the other dresses. They will fit.”
Camilla was stunned by his cold demeanor towards her, she must have looked awful and he was regretting buying the clothes.
“We will take everything,” Ethan said to the sales attendant and asked her to pack all the clothes. He paid with cash and they left the mall.
“I am already running late to the office. Take this money.``He brought out some money from his wallet and gave it to her. “Use the money and hire a taxi to take you home. I will send someone to pick you up at your home by 10 a.m tomorrow.”
She was about to ask him how he would locate her home but remembered that he knew almost everything about her but she knew absolutely nothing about him. Avery, Clara, and Stephanie had been jealous when they heard Ethan requested to speak to her privately, they had wanted to know why he wanted to speak to her, if only they knew that she would gladly change places with them. Why is this happening to me- she wailed
It took Ethan over 20 minutes to arrive at Camilla's home. It was all shabby: the building, the parking lot- in fact, the entire street. It looked to him as if the entire apartment building itself had not been painted for years. The windows, if they depicted the interior of this place, showed a lack of care as well, since many sported no drapes. The curtains Ethan did see were torn and stained.Camilla had been waiting for him beside the grocery store on the down floor of her apartment building. When she saw him she hesitated, unable to decide whether to walk towards him or wait till he noticed her.Luckily for her, he noticed her almost immediately and signaled her to come to meet him."Get into the car." He did not bother opening her door for her. "This place is a dump."
CHAPTER SEVENCamilla Could feel the beads of sweat break in her forehead and her Palms felt cold and wet. She tightened her hands around the bouquet that she was holding. If circumstances were different she would have taken time to inhale the lovely scent that rose from the petals in her hands.From where she was standing at the center of the door to the cathedral, she could see her soon-to-be husband Standing tall in all his 6-foot frame at the altar waiting for her, she had to admit that he was a sight Ior sour eyes. The melodious sounds from the piano keys rang inside the church signaling that it was time for Camilla to march forward towards the altar and her groom.As soon as she started the long walk down the aisle alone as she had insisted on,
CHAPTER EIGHT"Take it easy on the drink." Gaius chided his wife. "You don't want to do something you would later regret." He said through gritted teeth."You are such a joy killer, today is our wedding day, so we are supposed to be merry and have fun." Fiona laughed and gulped down another glass of campaign.Gaius shook his head "Just drink with caution okay.""Oh! Please stop, will you? Look at your friend and his bride, I wonder what he saw in her." Fiona smirked"It's his choice, mind your business.""I want to dance, let's dance Gaius.""We just f
On the first ring, her mother answered and it took all of Camilla's willpower not to start crying even though tears filled her eyes."Hello, mother.""Oh, my darling, how are you well?" The voice was breathless with worry."I am fine, mama. I wanted to hear your voice and also to tell you that I…that I wedded today.""Yes, I remembered. I believe it all went well.""Yes, it did.""Are you happy?"Camilla was not expecting the question and for an instant, she did not know what to say. She heard her mother crying and fought back her own emotions. She waited, knowing that her mother would need a few minutes."I'm sorry." Camilla's mother gasped "I have missed you so much, sometimes…sometimes I wish I had insisted you stay here with me."
Ethan started walking towards Camilla, she retreated backward as he drew closer to her. When her body hit the wall she knew there was no escaping him. Ethan trapped her in by resting his palm on the wall, leaving no space between them."And who said you can make rules in my house, Camilla." He gave her a hard stare, he could feel the warmth of her breath on his face.Camilla's lashes flickered, she could feel her skin cover up with goosebumps. "No touching." She blurted out. "Please." She added."And if I refuse." Ethan sneered, he bent his head and sniffed the nape of her neck. She smelled good, too good. He acknowledged to himself.
It was just a few days after their wedding and Camilla was already bored. Ethan had forbidden her from resuming her work at the restaurant, "everything you need is in the house." He told her when she complained."What if I get bored, I am not used to staying idle.""Watch Netflix or any other show on tv. What is that popular soap opera common with Mexicans?" Ethan appeared to be thinking "yes. Watch Telenovela." Ethan replied and walked out on her.Camilla was frustrated by his behavior, even though she enjoyed Theresa's company it was still not who she was, she had worked almost all her life since becoming an adult.Camilla was an early morning person, she was usually awake as early as five in the morning. But since she married Ethan and started sharing his
CHAPTER TWELVECamilla was restless after Theresa's comment about having a child someday. She knew in America children could tell their parents to mind their business, but that was not the way she was raised, her mother would smack her if she did something like that, especially to her mother-in-law notwithstanding the circumstances behind the relationship.The only time she forgot to think about the conversation was when the kids came back from school and she told Sophie that she watched Barney and her friends with grandma. The little child squealed her heart and Sophie forgot about her problems for the time being.The rest of the day was spent
Chapter thirteenEthan could not believe that he had agreed to bring his wife along. "His wife" the words continued to play out in his mind till he reached home. He hated the sound of it and the intimacy it suggested.Camilla was not his wife, she was just playing the part for a while. Yet everyone seemed to continuously want to put them together, first, his mother insisted they share a room, now he was getting invited to parties alongside her.He could easily go to the party without her and make up excuses to his host as to why his 'wife' was absent. However, he also had to think about his business and good relationship with clients and prospects were important and a tiny mistake could be costly and have adverse effects.Latest chapter