Marriage of Convenience

Chapter 1

"Congratulations on your 18th birthday!" My grand mother woke me up with a smile on her face. She was an old lady, almost in her seventies and behind her stood my grandfather, looking young, even with the silver hair, almost in his eighties. He had a huge smile plastered on his face, not the happy kind, but the I'm going to surprise you and you are not even going to suspect it kind. It gave me the creeps, but I chose to smile instead. My grandmother handed me a glass of milk and patted my hair. She never ever did that no matter what happened, but I let it slide thinking that it was the effect of my birthday. Looking at her closely, she looked very suspicious, but I think they arranged some party of a kind so that was the reason why they were behaving so weirdly. I actually looked forward to it.

"Get ready soon! You don't want to miss college!" She said and I got out of bed. Maybe the surprise was for the later part of the day. I walked out of my room and carefully scanned each and every corner of the other rooms to find something out of place. Maybe I could find some indications about what that surprise was, but unfortunately, I didn't find anything. Sighing to myself, I got ready and left to college on my bike.

The day went brilliantly. Everyone seemed to be in high spirits, almost half of the college wished me for my birthday, everyone knew the one and only gift that I wanted. Chocolate. I got a bag full of chocolates, along with chocolate delicacies, donuts and even milkshakes. I filled my bag with them and smiled at almost everyone. This was perfect. This was my best birthday ever!

As the afternoon came, my phone buzzed violently and on the screen flashed, Grandpa. Wondering what happened, I picked up the call and spoke, "Hello? Grandpa?"

"Angela?" He sounded worried.

"Yeah, Grandpa? What happened?"

"Your grandmother!" He yelled, "come quickly to the registrar office."

"Registrar office?" I frowned. "What happened to grandma?"

"No, the hospital beside the registrar office," he corrected himself quickly. "Your Grandma is very ill. Come quickly!" And with that he hung up the call.

Immediately, I raced out of the college on my bike and to the registrar office. I didn't remember a hospital being there, but I wasn't a good observer, so there might actually be one without me noticing. I parked my bike in front of the office when I saw my Grandpa hurry towards me.

"What happened? Where is she?" I asked frantically. Wherever I saw, I only found government employees and civilians. Where in the world was my Grandma?

"Come with me!" He said and dragged me with more force than what an old man was capable of. We were ascending a flight of stairs within no time. We barged into a room and I saw my Grandma sit on a wheel chair, with another old lady, almost her age, or even more, sitting on another wheel chair along with a few people with expensive suits adorning their body. Both of them looked so feeble that my heart hurt for them, but I didn't understand what they were doing inside a registrar office in wheelchairs.

"Grandma! Are you alright?" I dashed into the room and bent down on my knees beside her. "What happened to you?"

She didn't reply. Rather, she shoved a few papers and a pen in front of me and my Grandpa spoke instead of her. "She wants you to sign them. It seems to be her last wish. Do it when she still has her breath," he quivered.

I immediately scribbled my signature on it and gave them away to my Grandpa. "Is that fine? I signed it. What exactly happened to you?"

By the time she could reply, the door barged open and another guy, who was around my age, ran towards the other old woman in the wheelchair. He was almost on the verge of tears as I was and knelt down beside that old woman.

"Why won't you eat anything? You know that I can't live without you!" He yelled at her and a man beside him, who looked like his father, handed him the similar looking papers to him.

"She wants you to sign them," he said in a monotone.

"But what are these? There are already a few signatures here!" He looked confused.

"Sign them before she dies!" His father yelped and he quickly signed them and gave them away to his father.

"Promise me that you will eat and live healthy from now on!" He yelled and the woman smiled.

I turned towards my Grandmother and saw a smile creep on her face. She looked as if she won a lottery, all the color coming back into her face. She pushed away the blanket covering her and stood up from the rusty old contraption which looked like a wheel chair. The other old woman did the same and everyone in the room except for the boy who came in had wide grins plastered on their faces.

"What happened?" I asked.

"How come you are standing?" The boy asked and looked baffled.

"Sorry, my grandson, I know that I am a lot of trouble to you, but this is the one last time that I would be troubling you in your life," she walked up to me and held my hand.

"What are you talking about?"

"This girl here," she pulled me close to her, "is your lawfully wedded wife from here on until forever," she said and we gaped.

Yes, the only ones gaping were the guy and me and the rest were clapping for us.

"Whoa! Whoa! Give me a break! I think you have the wrong girl here, old woman. I am not married to anyone here!" I yelled, pulling back my hand.

"But you just signed the papers," she said innocently.

"I did, but that doesn't mean-" I paused. "What the hell were those papers about?" I roared, turning towards my own grandparents.

My Grandpa fidgeted under my gaze, but my Grandma stared back unflinchingly. "You signed your marriage papers with this person in front of you. Meet Raymond Roland Kingsley, your husband from this moment on. And son, meet your wife, Angela Juliet Marlow, my grand daughter. She will be Mrs. Kingsley from now on."

"Hold it right there!" I yelled. "Who is whose wife? I am just freaking 18 years old and that too, just today! How the hell am I married to some guy whom I don't even know? This is a fraud! This marriage is invalid! I'll report it to the police!"

"I have a wife?" Was the all that guy could utter. He was too shocked to comprehend this situation and I really needed to award him for talking at least now.

"This isn't invalid, child," that old woman spoke, "you have signed all the papers willingly and the officer right there is the witness to that."

"Willingly?" I echoed with disbelief etched on my face. "I just did that because he said that my Grandma is going to die!" I pointed an accusatory finger towards my Grandpa and he flinched and looked away. "And you," I rounded my eyes on my Grandmother dearest because of whom we were all in this mess at the moment. "Why aren't you dying yet?"

"I have got a long time before my last breath, so save yours. I just did that because I wanted you to sign those papers," she said with a smirk.

"And you went along with her stupid plan?" I yelled at my Grandpa.

"I had no choice," he mumbled. "This was planned from several decades. I can't stop this now."

"I can't have a wife!" There was an outburst and we turned to look at the guy who now seemed to regain his senses. "I had a girlfriend whom I was ready to marry in the coming years! And, I'm just 21 and I am still in my college! You can't get me married to this awful looking girl! Do you even brush your hair?" He looked at me with disgust.

"Well, excuse me for not being pretty, but you are no prince charming yourself. As you can see, I am already regretting getting married to such a pussy. And, you are not the only one with a life! What about me? I'm still in college as well!"

"That's okay, we already got you an admission in the university in which my son studies. After all, as man and wife, you need to stay in the same house," a woman, who seemed to look like his mother, smiled.

"She isn't going to stay with me!" He yelled.

"I am not leaving my college!" I yelled. "I'm leaving. Do whatever you want!"

"Oh, you can't go anywhere," the old woman said.

"Try me," I sneered and stormed out of the room. How dare they play such a cruel game on me? I just turned 18 and they married me off to a guy who thinks that I am not pretty? What is wrong with them? I am just going to go away and cool my head for sometime. I looked at the spot where my bike was, and saw it punctured. "Seriously?" I groaned.

"Miss?" Someone called and I turned around. Something covered my nose and I struggled. In no time, I blacked out.

I heard voices very close to me. At first they were hazy, but soon, they were perfectly clear. I could hear my grandmother and grandfather from a group of voices and flashes of memories hit my mind. I should have been dreaming. Me and married? Not in another few years! It really should have been a weird dream, I thought and woke up.

It all came crashing down when I saw the old woman and the middle aged couple along with my grandparents and a sulky guy. It was all real?

"The hell!" I groaned and fell back into the bed and the overly soft cushions. The mindless chatter subdued and the attention zeroed in on me. I felt drowsy, my head was pounding and the nightmare came right back into the reality to bite my ass.

"Angela! You are awake!" My Grandpa hurried towards me. "I was really scared for you!"

"Oh, a little bit of chloroform would do nothing to her," my Grandma huffed and rolled her eyes.

"You set them up to do that?" I yelled baffled.

"Well, I was informed of how much of a spit fire you can be, so those were just precautionary methods in case you tried to run away while we still didn't finish our conversation," the old woman smiled.

Suddenly old women really got onto my nerves. Looking at those old women smile at me like I was a baby was annoying and I was getting psychotic thoughts of even killing them. They just played with my life and are smiling at me!

"Before we talk any further, we would like you to cut your birthday cake first. It is almost 9 and we don't want you to miss your cake right on your 18th birthday!" The mother said and a maid came in dressed prim and proper in a maid uniform with a huge chocolate cake.

If the size of the cake didn't baffle me, then the maid did. When I took in all my surroundings, I just realized that I was sleeping on a really huge bed, in a really huge room with really expensive decorations on every inch of the room. The portraits, landscapes and even the curtains had gold trimmings. Surely this was a hotel?

"Where am I?" I asked sitting up properly and the old woman smiled pridefully.

"My mansion."

I got off the bed and took off into the room connecting the huge oak paneled door. I was welcomed into a humongous hall with elaborate decorations and two staircases leading to the first floor and a antique chandelier looming over the hall. I noticed a gold plated lion between the staircases and suddenly I felt like a deer caught in headlights.

"Where is my cake?" I asked with a sigh. I might as well drown my sorrows with a huge chocolate cake and then device a plan to get out of all this mess.

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