S. S. Sahoo
I was so happy to be getting married to the love of my life.
I glanced at myself in the mirror. I was dressed in a long, white wedding gown, adorned with an umbrella cut and a heart-shaped neckline.
Made of lace, the dress hugged my figure in the right places. My light brown curls flowed down my back, with a few flowers artfully placed behind my left ear.
My makeup artist had done a fantastic job. My lips were coated with shimmery red lipstick, and my blue eyes were enhanced with eyeliner.
A white, peep-toe sandal adorned my feet, increasing my 5’8” figure by a few inches.
“Oh my God! You look so beautiful, Juliette!” Kiara, my best friend, squealed as she gathered me in a close embrace.
“Thank you!” I blushed as I shyly turned toward the mirror.
“Aww, look at you! Today is your wedding, and you still seem demure. What will you do on your wedding night?” She elbowed me, making me grow redder by the second.
“Kiara!” I shushed her, as she laughed like a hyena at my expression and hugged me sideways.
“Emmett is just so lucky,” she spoke as she looked at me through the mirror.
Styled in a side braid, her long, black hair looked ravishing. She was dressed in a gold strapless gown, donning red lipstick. Her black eyes looked mysteriously beautiful with her cat-eye makeup.
She stood confidently beside me with her tall height of 5’7”.
In simple words, she was a beautiful woman. Kiara Richmond was known as the hottest girl in town.
Belonging to one of the wealthiest families in New York, she lived in the poshest neighborhood with her parents, and she enjoyed her single life. The only thing was that she never believed in love.
Sometimes, I wondered how we both became best friends. I also belonged to a wealthy family, but unlike her, I was a romantic.
I would study while she partied, and my parties began during exams, while she hid from her alcoholic friends to study.
She was my best friend in college as well as my best competitor.
I met Emmett for the first time at my twenty-second birthday party, which was arranged by my parents. I instantly grew to like him, and soon, we began to date.
A year of dating then led to an exclusive relationship, and a year after that, he proposed. Being a lovestruck woman, I happily agreed.
“I believe the one you fall in love with will be the most handsome man you’ll ever meet,” I said to Kiara, smiling.
“Oh, not again! Juliette, just not today. Please.” She rolled her black orbs, while I shook my head at her childishness. She just didn’t believe in love.
We both turned toward the door to find Jace poking his head inside and watching us with a smile.
“Come here, kid!” Kiara teased him.
Jace Swanson was my only brother, three years younger than me. He disliked it whenever Kiara, who loved teasing him, called him “kid.”
“Please! I am twenty-one, for your kind information,” Jace said. Kiara rolled her eyes, muttering, “Whatever.”
She could be mean sometimes.
“Jacey!” I squealed as I ran to hug him.
“Hey, no. Don’t touch my hai—”
Before he could finish his sentence, I had already ruffled his soft, black hair that he inherited from our mom.
“Aww, Jacey. Don’t be like that. Today is my wedding,” I cooed as I pinched his cheeks.
“Can you at least act like an elder?” He slapped away my hand and furrowed his eyebrow.
“We just love irritating you, Jacey.” I pulled him into a hug. He resisted for a bit before giving up and returning the hug.
“I am going to miss you, Julie,” he whispered into my hair. He was much taller than me, which made me really jealous of him sometimes.
“I will, too,” I whispered as the realization of leaving him dawned on me, making me sad.
“Come on now. Everyone is waiting for you.” He pulled away from the hug as and kissed my forehead.
“You look beautiful,” he spoke cheerfully.
“Okay, guys. Now don’t be emotional. It’s her wedding, and you will just ruin her makeup,” Kiara said to Jace. Turning toward me, she said, “Juliette, come here.”
Taking the veil from the table, she adjusted it on my head, covering my face.
“Here!” She handed me a rose bouquet.
Taking one last glance at myself in the mirror, I inhaled deeply, feeling nervousness build in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t know the reason. Probably because of the wedding, I thought and shrugged it off.
“Let’s go. Dad is waiting outside for us.” Jace held my arm while Kiara helped me with my gown, walking out of the room together.
That’s it. I am going to get married. My life is going to change today. I thought to myself, smiling.
We walked toward the entrance of the church, and I soon saw Dad standing near the entrance with Mom, waiting for us.
My dad, Stephen Swanson, and mom, Jessica Swanson, were my life. They had done everything they could to give me the life I wished for.
I remember a time when Dad was not a wealthy man; he worked day and night to provide for us.
Moreover, I looked exactly like him. Having inherited his brown hair and blue eyes, I was his princess, and I knew he secretly loved me more than Jace.
“My princess.” His eyes watered as he saw me in my wedding attire and gathered me into a hug. “I am going to miss you.”
He cried as I enjoyed his embrace and inhaled his clean scent, which was what I loved the most about him. If there was anything he loved except me, it was cleanliness. He was the cleanest man I had ever seen in my life.
“My darling,” my mom cooed as she engulfed me in her strong arms, a reminder of her athletic self before she had married my father.
“Mom, I can’t breathe!” I managed to huff out, and she instantly let me go, realizing her strong embrace.
“Honey!” My dad scolded her, and she smiled sheepishly at me.
“Sorry, I just got carried away with my emotions,” Mom said.
I smiled at her and squeezed her arm. “It’s okay, Mom”.
“Okay, it’s time now,” my dad spoke as he checked the time on his watch.
“I love you, sweetheart.” My mom said.
She kissed my forehead and Jace hugged me again before both of them began to leave.
Kiara was serving as my bridesmaid. She took her place with the kids and showed me a thumbs-up sign, mouthing, “All the best.”
I smiled at her as I linked my arms with my dad, and we waited for the gates to open.
The music began to play, and the gates opened to reveal a crowded church, awaiting the bride.
Slowly, we began to walk as rehearsed earlier. My legs started to wobble due to nervousness, and my palms began to sweat.
“Relax, princess,” Dad whispered, squeezing my arms and assuring me that everything was going to be fine.
I managed to smile at the people and hummed as a response to Dad.
I saw Emmett waiting for me, confidently standing at the altar in his black suit. His hair was combed back, and his gray eyes twinkled as he saw me.
I knew he was impatient.
He had talked the whole night with me on the phone discussing about our wedding night. He had planned so much and he wanted everything to go just as he has planned.
He was desperate to have me.
I blushed as he winked at me. It had taken me a month to convince my family of this marriage, especially my father and Kiara. I don’t know why, but both of them disliked Emmett when they met him for the first time.
However, I loved him. Finally after so much difficulty I managed to convince them of our marriage.
“Take good care of her, son. I hope you take care of her just like me,” my father spoke as he gave my hand to Emmett.
“I promise that I will take care of her even more than you,” he replied as he smiled at Dad.
Dad nodded, leaving me on the aisle.
“You look beautiful, muffin,” Emmett whispered as he placed a kiss on the back of my hand. “I just can’t wait to get you.” He winked, making me turn a deeper shade of red.
We snapped out of our little moment because of the priest, who cleared his throat loudly.
“Shall we begin now?” the priest asked, and we nodded.
He began to read his book, while people watched the ceremony.
“Now, you may speak your vows,” he told us, and I nodded.
I had waited for this moment for so long. As I was about to begin, we heard a gunshot, and my eyes widened in shock and fear.
I looked at the entrance and saw a man standing there with a gun in his hand. He smiled as several men followed him, pointing their guns at people to stop them from moving around.
“What’s going on?” I heard people whispering.
“Who are you?” My father stood up as a man pointed a gun toward him, asking him to sit down.
My heart hammered against my ribcage at the sight.
I glanced at Emmett to find him sweating, his hands trembling.
What’s wrong with him? I thought.
“Emmett, what’s going on? Why aren’t you doing anything?” I called him, but the man with the gun stood before me, blocking my sight.
He towered above me and stood before me with a hard expression on his face. His brown eyes glared down at me, making me step away from him. However, he held my arm and steadied me in my place.
“L-Leave me,” I stammered, fearing him.
“Emmett!” I called him for help, but when I looked at him, his nose was bleeding, and he was being held by two men who dragged him down the aisle.
“Juliette!” he called, coughing a little. I gasped and tried to run toward him, only to be blocked again by the brown-eyed man.
“Now, you will feel how I felt when you took the most precious thing away from me, you mutt,” the brown-eyed man snarled, looking at Emmett.
“You will see what is going to happen now with your own eyes,” he hissed at him with hatred in his eyes.
“You proceed with what you were doing,” the brown-eyed man spoke, pointing his gun at the priest.
The priest gulped and nodded, continuing again.
“W-What are you doing? Leave me!” I struggled against him as he tightened his grip and glared at me.
Then, he nodded toward the men, who took their positions and surrounded my parents, pointing their guns at them.
Everything was chaos.
“Do as I say, or you lose them.” He hissed as he tightened his grip on my arm. I stood paralyzed on the spot with deadly weapons pointed at my family.
One of the men handed him a piece of paper, which he placed on the officiant’s book.
“Sign it!” he commanded as he gestured for me to sign on the paper.
The frightened officiant handed me his pen, which I refused to take.
The brown-eyed man hissed at my refusal.
“I see. You don’t want to see your family alive,” he said icily, making me tremble.
“No! No!” I cried and hurriedly took the pen from the officiant and signed the paper without even reading it. My hands trembled, and beads of sweat formed on my chin as I wiped them away with the back of my hand.
The brown-eyed man smirked at me and then glanced at Emmett, who was struggling against the two men.
“Leave me. Juliette, no! Don’t do this!” he begged and screamed.
“I, Zachary Udolf Sullivan, take Juliette Swanson as my lawfully wedded wife,” I heard the man speak with a smirk.
Before I could register what was going on, he reached forward and took the paper from the officiant and displayed it for all. To my absolute horror, it was a marriage license with our signatures.
“No!” I heard Emmett screaming.
The brown-eyed man then pulled me to him and captured my mouth in a forceful kiss. I tried to push him away, tears flowing down my cheeks, but he held me in a strong grip.
When he finally let me go, he wiped his lips using his sleeve and smirked at me.
The priest spoke lowly, “I may now declare you husband and wife. May God bless you.”
The man, whose name was Zachary and who was now my husband, pointed his gun toward Emmett.
“Now, it’s time to bid goodbye,” he spoke deadly as he pulled the trigger. A gunshot rang across the church.
I looked down at my dress to see it splattered with blood, as Emmett fell to the floor. People began to yell and scream, while the armed men tried to control them.
However, the only thing that my mind registered was the blood coloring the floor.
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