The wedding hall seemed crowded with hundreds of people, but none of these folks were there to cheer the groom or the bride on.
They were people that Zane had no relation with, people that had nothing to do with him, and they were people that the Taylor family knew.
"Everyone, please stand for the bride's arrival." The officiator announced.
Soon, everybody in the hall quieted down, then the guests woke from their seats, staring at the wooden door, waiting to see Emma.
The news about her marrying the pathetic, illegitimate son of the Briggs family had been no secret for a week, and people were already gossiping among themselves.
When she stood in the doorway and her grandfather didn't approach her, after a while, Emma's face remained as calm as always as she stared at the faces, gazing back at her, and her fingers tightened around the white roses and she marched down the hallway.
A faint smile curved onto her face, although no emotion was in her eyes, as she kept her head high, heading gracefully toward the altar.
Although Ava hated the sight of Zane, she still felt aggravated that her young cousin was getting married before she did, and it hurt her ego, even if it was to a man she thought of as nothing but a scumbag and a lowlife.
"Why is the Briggs family not attending my cousin's wedding?! We know Zane is nothing but a bastard and is no better than a dirty rat..." Ava uttered loudly, making sure the entire room heard her. "But that still doesn't excuse him from asking his family to be here. What a coward!"
Her words stirred up a loud commotion, and people started gossiping about Zane, not even caring to lower their voices or about Emma's feelings.
A sense of hurt washed over Emma that her cousin was doing something like this on her wedding day to humiliate her.
Desperate for the mockery to stop, Emma stared at her grandfather for help, but Mr. Taylor didn't show any sign of caring about what was happening, so she sighed and kept escorting herself to the altar.
Smirking at the sound of mumbling from among the crowd, Ava continued loudly, "Even if he's a useless child to his family, doesn't he have any respect for us Taylors? At least, even if they look down on him, they shouldn't overlook us-"
"Ava, can you shut up, huh?! Who do you think you are to say nasty remarks so freely? Don't you know how disrespectful and insulting your behavior is to our family?! Or you don't know when to act properly, or how to speak respectfully, and how to behave yourself." Emma snapped as she glared back at her cousin, finally having enough of her nonsense.
The room immediately went silent. Everyone watched Emma, and no one dared to utter even a single word afterward.
Suddenly, the doors opened, and Zane entered the wedding hall, annoyed that he was late to his own wedding because his father and the others refused to agree to attend the ceremony.
Everyone’s jaw immediately dropped as they stared at him, their eyes widening in disbelief.
"Isn't that Zane? The illegitimate son of the Briggs family?" A woman whispered to her friend, still shocked at how breathtakingly handsome he appeared.
"Hmm, that's Briggs’ bastard. But, wow! He is so gorgeous!" The other girl said, awestruck by his look. "That suit…! OMG! I am so jealous! I never imagined that he could look this perfect, especially in those expensive clothes!"
Immediately Emma looked back to see her soon-to-be husband, standing in the doorway, wearing a sleek, slim-fit three-piece white and gold suit.
His hair was styled in a quiff, his skin looked flawless, his lips were nude pink, and his hazel brown eyes seemed to hold a mysterious power over the audience, making them unable to tear their eyes away from him.
For a moment, Emma speechlessly stared at him, her mind completely blank, not knowing where to look and how to react or believe that this was the same awkward man she had met at the cafe.
But she was not the only one confused since Ava could barely believe her own eyes either, that this was the man she turned down marrying.
When she finally got over her shock, Ava stood from her seat as Zane walked down the aisle, and she made her way toward him, not caring about the eyes of others on her.
"Zane, hey..." Ava sweetly said with a forced smile on her face. "I must say, you look extremely dashing, and-"
The rest of her words died in her throat as Zane walked past her, heading straight for Emma, who was still staring at him in absolute silence.
When Zane arrived in front of her, he bowed slightly and whispered, "I am sorry for attending our wedding so late. I hope you can forgive me,”
His words snapped her out of her trance, and Emma managed to weakly smile at Zane before mumbling, "It's fine. You are here now, and that's all that matters, isn't it?"
Suddenly, Zane extended his arm toward her, and she held it gently, her eyes fluttering for a brief second as she glanced up at him, and then he escorted her down to the altar.
When Zane turned with Emma to face the officiator, her gaze subconsciously rested on a brooch on his jacket.
The brooch seemed made of thin stones that got cut into the shape of a crescent moon, and inside of it lay a small gemstone, and Emma immediately recognized them as diamonds, and she suddenly realized a brooch like this cost two million dollars.
'Isn't he supposed to be a poor lowlife man because the Briggs family doesn't trust him to run any of the company or have shares in it?' The thought crossed Emma's mind as she frowned at the brooch, and when she raised her glance, her eyes met Zane’s calm gaze.
Although Emma was hesitant to ask, the fact that Zane wore such a brooch was just not something she wanted to ignore so she asked softly, "Where did you get this brooch?"
Studying her eyes, Zane noticed that although her voice was quiet and gentle, there was a slight tint of irritation to her tone and that made him smirk.
Not losing his composure for even a second, he leaned in closer to her ear and said in a deep, husky voice, "This cheap thing. I borrowed it from a friend. It's not real."
Goosebumps rose all over Emma's body as Zane's breath fanned her neck, making her shiver, and she immediately moved away from him, took a few steps back, and stared at the officiator, blushing.
The officiator smiled at the sweet moment before he cleared his throat, and said, "Let the wedding begin."
The ceremony lasted for a while, and then the officiator made his final declaration, "I present to you all, Emma Taylor and Zane Briggs, newlyweds. You may kiss the bride."
As soon as he said those words, Zane pulled Emma close to him and kissed her, holding her in a tight embrace, savoring every taste and the feeling of her soft lips against his.
The feeling was still surreal to Emma that she was married to Zane Briggs and that she was now a wife to a man she barely knew, but as she gazed into his deep brown eyes which were looking at her lovingly, she was not that nervous anymore about the whole ordeal.
Later that day, at the reception, the Grand hall of the hotel was designed with a high ceiling, decorated beautifully with chandeliers, and since the wedding theme was “simple but elegant,” the tables and chairs were decorated with beautiful white roses that contrasted nicely with the red carpeted marble tile.
The whole place smelled amazing with hints of appetizer aromas, champagne, and expensive perfumes, and the atmosphere was calm as a band began playing some classical music while waiters in waiter uniforms passed us by offering appetizers or other drinks.
Taking in the stunning sight of the architecture of the room, Emma stared around for a while before finally stopping at the large, round buffet table filled with so many possibilities of food options, some of which she hadn't tried yet.
“Emma,” Ava's voice startled her, and she looked away from the table of food to stare at her cousin.
Mad about what her cousin did to her, Emma tried to hold off her anger and said, “What is it?”
“Still annoyed with me?” Ava asked in a childish tone.
“You tried to humiliate me at my wedding... So you tell me!”
“I am sorry.”
The look of shock on Emma's face to hear her cousin say those words were priceless, and she was silent for several seconds, trying to figure out whether Ava was lying.
“Where’s your husband?” Ava said, staring intensely at the buffet around her.
“He’s talking with grandfather.” Emma mumbled.
“Excited about your wedding night?”
When her cousin winked at her, Emma busted into a faint chuckle, and then she mumbled, looking over at Zane a couple of distances away from them, “I barely even know the guy. But I do like him. He seems nice.”
“Here,” Ava said, handing Emma a glass of cocktail. “You should drink and get wasted before tonight, so you won't feel it.”
Giggling at her cousin's sudden friskiness and taking the glass, Emma said, “Thanks.”
Then she took a big sip of the drink, squeezing her face as the alcohol burned its way through her mouth and throat, and she hastily put the glass back down on the table.
“Why does it taste funny?” Emma asked, turning her gaze at her cousin.
“You are so wet behind the ears.” Ava said, making Emma’s pout. “Anyway, excuse me.”
Not knowing much of the people here, after her cousin left, Emma hugged her arm, feeling lost and uneasy.
Suddenly she grabbed her abdomen when she felt a cramp coming on, wondering if her stomach was upset from the spicy drink.
But soon, her face started itching, and she raised her hand to scratch her skin, and that’s when she noticed hives on her skin.
Her face started feeling weird and her eyes lid began to draw together making it hard for her to see, and her breath quickened.
A while later, whispering grew around her, and Emma could hear faint chuckles, but her eyes and mouth were so swollen that it was making it hard for her to see that well, but she quickly grabbed the silver tray and forced her eyes to see her reflection, and the moment she did, the tray slipped from her hand, hitting the tile with a loud, “Clunk!”
When Zane heard the noise, he turned away from Mr. Taylor and his eyes grew wide with panic when he saw her entire face swollen.
Immediately, he rushed over to her, pushing through the crowd that was surrounding Emma, holding back his anger when he heard the faint sound of laughter and whisperings around her.
When he reached Emma, a sharp pain stabbed through her stomach, making her bend over and clutch her abdomen, moaning in agony, and he grabbed onto her shoulder, asking, “What’s wrong, Emma?”
Her vision grew even more blurry as tears rolled down Emma's cheeks and she clutched at her stomach, screaming out in agony.
Fear glowing in his eyes, Zane lifted his wife, carrying her in his arms, and as he ran with her out of the reception hall, the traumatic memories of his mother's death instantly flooded back into his head.
Just thinking about it was enough to make him lose control as the tears started streaming down his face, dropping on Emma as he pushed his body, speeding like a madman through the hotel.
When Zane got into the parking lot with her, he rushed for his car, carrying Emma inside and laying her carefully on the passenger seat, closing the door in a hasty.
"Hold on, Emma... I am taking you to the hospital!" Zane assured her after getting behind the steering wheel.
Then he stepped on the gas pedal and sped into the street, ignoring everyone who was yelling at him for driving recklessly.
The moon was lit when they got outside the parking lot of St. Mary's Hospital and the light illuminated his face as Zane rushed with Emma in his arms towards the building, holding her close to his broad chest, and his strong arms wrapped securely around her.
By the time they arrived at the front entrance of the hospital, Emma's eyelids were completely shut together, swollen, and she shivered violently as he pushed the door open, shouting, "I need a hand!! Help!"
The moment the nurse saw the critical state Emma was in, they didn't waste time rushing to get her from Zane, and once they had her on the stretcher, they rolled her away in a haste.Rushing after them, Zane followed closely behind them, a sense of worry washing over him like waves. When they reached the door, a nurse stopped him in his tracks, saying, “We will take it from here, and we have already called Dr. Roberts, and he will be right with us. Just sit in the waiting room.” Even though Zane was hesitant, he nodded his head and took a step back as he watched her rush into the room.As time slowly drifted by, the silence in the waiting room had Zane pacing back and forward, constantly glancing at the clock on the wall, praying for something to happen, anything, but as time passed, he just kept thinking the worst, dreading the worst.A guy in a white coat walked up to him a few minutes later, saying in a soothing voice, “You are the husband?”“Yes,” Zane answered with a nod.“Oh,
The silence in the room sent an unsettling sensation down Emma’s spine, and she opened her eyes, realizing that even after sleeping for so long, she was still in the hospital.When she sat up and looked to her right, she saw Zane sitting in the chair by her bedside with his head resting on the sheet, sound asleep.“Isn’t this position uncomfortable for him,” Emma mumbled with a pout, reaching her hand over Zane’s hair, wanting to touch it so badly, and yet, hesitating at the same time. She didn’t want to wake him up, but she also wanted nothing more than to run her fingers through his hair.Suddenly, Zane’s ringtone echoed, and before Emma could pull her hand back, he had raised his head, and it hit the palm of her hand, causing him to stare into her eyes.“Sorry,” Emma whispered, yanking her hand to her side, looking uneasy, thinking he was going to get mad at her for waking him up.The small smile that suddenly played on his lips made her a bit relaxed and shocking to her, he reache
“Is your pillow fluffy enough?” The nurse sweetly said to Emma, making her even more uncomfortable.But she didn't want to seem rude or ungrateful for the kindness they had shown her. It's just that, well, she had never been so comfortable in a hospital room before and it freaked her out at how kind the staff was suddenly being.A weak smile made its way to her lips as she tried hard to hide her embarrassment from her. “Yes, thank you. It is very soft.”The nurse looked up from her notepad with a happy smile on her face. “Great! We have more fruit and juices if you are still hungry and want-”“No, thanks. The sandwich, the soup, and the fruit were enough along with the cranberry juice.” Emma softly said, wondering why they were being so freaking kind to her. it was not her first time being at a hospital, so to her, from past experiences, it was really strange that they were dotting on her like this.When Emma caught the nurse giving her that hesitant look, she felt awkward, knowing th
The sound of her family's voices in the dining room had Emma's heart rising in her chest as she slowly walked past the doorway, heading for the kitchen.When she got there, the servants were not startled by her presence because sometimes, her grandmother punish her by making Emma help out in the kitchen, washing dishes, cleaning the floors, and doing other jobs that the rest of the servants did."Hi, Abner,” Emma said, approaching the head chef with a hesitant look on her face.“What is it?” Abner asked, raising an eyebrow when he noticed Emma's troubled expression. “Why are you looking at me like that?”“Can I ha-ve so…me… food,” “What?!”Nervous by the raise in Abner's voice, Emma began to fiddle with her hands, her mind was spinning, and her stomach felt uneasy. “I am hungry. Can I have some food?” Emma mumbled softly.“I have already served the table. So, why are you not in the dining room with your family, instead you are begging in here like some common servant?”Hesitantly, Em
Confused about the rage burning in her grandfather's eyes, Emma hesitated, feeling Zane squeeze her hand as she tensed up.“Come here now!” Mr. Taylor commanded sternly, making Emma flinch.Feeling like she was being told to make a choice here, she darted her eyes to Zane and then mumbled, “I am not divorcing my husband!”A dry laugh escaped Mr. Taylor's lips as he shook his head and then said, “I am disappointed in how much you turned out exactly like your mother... ignoring all the training, and discipline that I fought to instill in you!!”Seeing that this situation was about to escalate, Zane stepped in, saying humbly, “Grandfather, what is the-”“Don’t you dare refer to me with such a title, you no-good worthless piece of trash! Your lying father just broke off the agreement we had for your arranged marriage! So, I am taking my granddaughter to court to get a divorce, and when we get back, your ass should be out of my house!” Mr. Taylor barked at him.It didn't shock Zane that hi
Silence engulfed the room, and Mrs. Taylor frowned before she cleared her throat and said, “We trusted you and give Emma to your bastard, and you betrayed us the moment your son-”“He’s not my child anymore.” Mr. Briggs coldly interrupted.“Well, the moment he rebelled against you, you turned on our family... So how do you expect us to trust you when you have the means and ability to back out from any deal you make?” “Well, that's why I drafted out a contract. Mr. Alfred is offering fifty million for the project, and if we settled on Theo marrying your granddaughter and living with you, I will offer you fifty percent of the fifty million.” Shock by her husband's sudden decision that she knew nothing about, Deborah cried, “Honey-”“Stay out of this woman.” Mr. Briggs sternly replied, shooting his wife a deadly glare , and then, his gaze shifted to Mrs. Taylor as he added, “What do you say to such an offer?”“Also, you wouldn't need to feed me like that bastard or worry about me beco
A soft hiss from Emma made Zane immediately raise his eyelid, seeing her seated on the bed, staring at her finger. “What happened?” Zane asked, his voice gruff with sleep, and he reached out to take her hand in his. “I must have slept wildly that the blister has burst,” Emma whispered, meeting his eyes.A frown settled on Zane's face before he left the bed and walked over to the dresser, asking, “Where do you keep the first aid kit?”“On top of it,” Emma replied, pointing to the side table.After pulling the side drawer open, Zane grabbed the kit and went back to the bed Then he sat next to Emma, looking into her eyes as he opened the lid of the box. “Should we move out?” Zane asked, locking eyes with her.“Like rent a place of our own?” Emma mumbled. “I am a university student and you are unemployed. Can we really pull that off-”“I had some money-saving before my dad fired me. We can start on that and I can find a new job.” “That’s a huge step. Can you...” Emma trailed off.Nodd
First, Sophia walked into the living room, followed by Theo, and then finally Leon, seeing their father seated on the couch, his face itched with worry and concern as he looked up at them and then mumbled, “Take a seat.” Even though they were all baffled by his sudden mood shift and they couldn’t understand why exactly he wanted them there, none of them questioned him further and went to sit on the two couches adjacent to him.“I tried to push this out of my head... But it keeps hunting me.” Mr. Briggs sighed before looking between Theo and Leon again. His voice and expression were so deadpan and it made even the three of them uneasy because they had never seen their father like this before… Never.“How did Zane get Mr. Alfred to agree to the contract when all you three failed to get Mr. Alfred to even see you guys?” Mr. Briggs spoke up, a frown etching onto his face and his eyes focused on his children.“How should we know? After all, Zane was the one that got the contract and not