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For the Camera

For the Camera

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"Lights! Camera! Action! Kiss and Hug, please. Okay, that's it, we are done." "Now get your filthy hands off me!" He whispered to me. "Oh please! I would not touch dirt like you if not for the pictures so don't flatter yourself." I whispered back, whilst giving a fake smile. _________ Ruby Coker understands what it means to be compared to her sister all her life. She has always been the neglected one and used as a consolation price. She however didn't forsee getting married to her childhood bully just for a business alliance. Not ever would she have seen it coming and the worst part was that she had no choice. Toby Daniels is a man who's used to getting all he wants. Fame. Power. Wealth. He however didn’t have a say in one thing, his bride. And that infuriated him. They took their vows, acted like a loving couple for the cameras, and in public, while in private they hated each other. But we all know what they say about that thin line between hate and love.

Chapter 1: An Unappealing Bride.

TOBY.

"Dad, you wanted to see me? Well, I must say, it's quite surprising considering how rarely you're home and how little you seem to care about your child. I mean, when was the last time we had a conversation like this? Wasn't I around five years old?" I blurted out as I walked into my father's study.

Being the sole heir to the vast Daniels' conglomerates, a sprawling group encompassing numerous industries, manufacturing a wide range of products, and operating various service-based companies, there are undoubtedly perks and drawbacks. Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks is my father's absence from our lives. He is constantly overwhelmed with responsibilities, given that we also own a prestigious network of schools including Daniels Elementary, Daniels College, and even Daniels Private University. Additionally, we have a highly successful fashion line under my mother's management, as well as a multitude of hotels, restaurants, modelling agencies, and guest houses.

We are practically wealthier than the country's president, and the paparazzi relentlessly shadow our every move. Despite our affluent lifestyle, my father has always been adamant about me acquiring numerous degrees, just as he did. He has always insisted on me obtaining countless certificates. After completing my bachelor's degree, he coerced me into pursuing a master's degree as well, which is where I currently find myself. However, I despise studying and find it utterly irrelevant.

Perhaps my father would have wanted me to aim higher and pursue a doctoral degree, but I made him promise that a master's degree would be my final destination. He places such great importance on education, and I fail to comprehend why. Most people attend school to secure a lucrative future, yet we already possess wealth beyond measure. So, why subject me to unnecessary stress? I fail to see any practical value in it.

Just as I was about to speak again, hoping for a response from my father, my mom walked into the room. "Sweetheart, how was your night?" she asked, and I gave her a peck on the cheek.

My mom was undeniably one of the most beautiful mothers out there, and I'm not exaggerating. She had been a model in her younger days, and she still maintained her physique through regular workouts. She had a deep admiration for herself, often taking moments to appreciate her reflection in the mirror. She showered me with love and spoiled me, being that I was her only child.

"I don't know, Mom. I was fast asleep!" I replied with a hint of humour, which made her laugh.

"I don't know why I keep asking you every day, knowing your answer will always be the same. Can't you just say it was fine like any normal kid?" Mom asked, taking a sip of her coffee. She was quite addicted to that liquid and insisted on brewing it herself, never allowing the maids to do it.

I rolled my eyes. "You seem to forget that I'm twenty-five and a grown man."

"The grown man who still relies on his mom for so many things? Oh, please. You'll always be my adorable baby," Mom cooed, pinching my cheeks playfully. I swatted her hands away, feigning annoyance.

"Ugh, can you tell your husband to talk to me already? He's so engrossed in those darn papers!" I complained to Mom, who just smiled and settled herself on one of the couches.

Mom and Dad didn't communicate much with each other. I had grown accustomed to their distant relationship. They were like fire and ice, harbouring no affection for each other. The only time they would display any semblance of affection was when there was a camera or a third party present. Otherwise, they treated each other as if they were invisible.

When Dad continued to ignore my greetings and remain silent, I began to lose my patience. Mom and I sat there for over thirty minutes, observing Dad as he diligently wrote on the papers in front of him. Finally, my patience wore thin.

"Mr. Bankole Daniels!" I shouted, catching his attention as he lifted his head.

"Why do you have to shout my name like a woman?" he retorted.

"You ignored us, and we've been sitting here for over thirty minutes. Can we please get on with whatever you wanted to see me for? I have things to do," I urged.

"And by 'things,' you mean going to parties, getting drunk, sleeping with strippers and models, and leaving behind more scandals for my PR team to handle the next day?" Dad responded with heavy sarcasm in his voice.

"No, Dad, I have some classes," I defended, although deep down, I knew he wasn't entirely wrong.

"You must think I'm foolish. Do you believe I'm unaware that you don't attend your classes or complete your projects? Just because I stay silent doesn't mean I'm oblivious," he snapped.

"Bankole, he goes..." Mom attempted to defend me, but Dad dismissed her.

"I'm not speaking to you, Clara! I'm talking to my son!" Dad snapped, causing my mom to flinch, and I simply rolled my eyes. This had become a familiar occurrence since my childhood, so I had grown accustomed to it.

"Okay, okay! I'm sorry! Is that why you wanted to see me? Can I leave now?" I responded, standing up to make my exit.

"Toby Daniels! Sit back down in that chair before I lose my temper," Dad's voice thundered, prompting me to quickly sit down.

Dad had a temper as short as my pinky finger, and it was not something to be trifled with. He easily became angry and consistently displayed rudeness, even toward his own family. He always insisted on things being done his way, or else you would face the consequences. I couldn't even count the number of times he froze my account, confiscated my car keys, or threatened to disown me and remove my name from his empire. However, I believe I inherited his temper and rudeness to some extent.

"So, I'm just going to inform you that you're getting married next month," Dad casually dropped the bombshell.

Wait, what?

My ears must have been playing tricks on me. "What did you say?" I asked, trying to confirm.

"What exactly did you hear?" he retorted.

"How can you just inform me that I'm getting married? Just like that? Who the hell does that?!" I snapped in disbelief.

"You heard me correctly, and I won't repeat myself. You're getting married," he reiterated. I knew this day would eventually come, considering the tradition of arranged marriages in the Daniels family. It had been the norm for generations, and I knew it wouldn't change during my lifetime.

"But Dad, you can't just drop such a bombshell on me like that! I'm only twenty-five; it's not the right time! You got married when you were thirty!" I shouted, my frustration evident.

"Do not raise your voice at me, Toby! Don't! I married at thirty because I was never reckless, spoiled, and foolish like you. Your scandals have caused more harm than good to my empire, and I can't keep taking risks. I believe you've had enough of your youth," Dad retorted sternly.

"But you can't do this to me! It's unfair! Fine, can I at least choose my bride? Can I marry Yasmin?" I asked calmly, attempting to negotiate.

"Who the hell is Yasmin? Who's her father?" Dad questioned with a mix of confusion and disapproval.

"Well, I don't think she has a father, but she's a well-known actress. You should be familiar with her, Yasmin Blake," I tried to sugarcoat, well aware that Dad would never approve of me marrying someone without a prominent background.

"An actress? You must be joking! And she doesn't even have a father? Why would I allow you to marry someone without a respectable lineage? Actresses are not suitable marriage candidates. They will never give up their careers or endure anything. In the Daniels family, we have the privilege to do and have whatever we want, except for choosing our brides. Do you think I chose Clara myself? If I had the chance to choose a wife, she wouldn't be sitting here," Dad ridiculed, causing my mom to interject.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Mr. Daniels! Do you think if I wasn't chosen to marry you, you would even be able to touch my fingernails?" Mom retorted sharply.

To prevent their bickering from escalating further, I intervened. "Alright, so who am I supposed to marry then?" I asked, hoping for a more reasonable answer.

"Your childhood friend, Coker..." Dad struggled to recall her name.

"Sapphire?" I suggested, trying to jog his memory.

"What? No, Sapphire is too young. It's, um... yes, Ruby Coker," he finally remembered.

"Ruby?" Mom and I questioned simultaneously.

"The same Ruby Coker? How on earth do you call Ruby my childhood friend? We only hung out because you were friends with their dad. And I clicked with Sapphire, not Ruby. Ruby was overweight, unattractive, and messy. She still is," I expressed my disapproval.

Ruby Coker had been an overly clingy and foolish girl back then, always following me around. She had an absurd crush on me, which still seemed evident whenever we occasionally visited their family. However, I had never reciprocated those feelings. I didn't like her at all; she was unattractive and bore no resemblance to her younger sister, Sapphire.

I couldn't believe my dad was selecting such an unappealing bride for me. Hell no!

"I don't care! That's your bride," Dad said dismissively, returning to his tasks as if he hadn't just dropped a bomb that could potentially ruin my entire life.

My entire life! The mere prospect of getting married was already an issue in itself, but being forced to marry Ruby Coker? That was the worst thing that could ever happen to me.

I'm Toby Daniels. I don't settle for average women, let alone someone unattractive. I'm used to being with top models, actresses, and the most beautiful girls from all over the world. My impeccable reputation would be tarnished with Ruby. Despite her innocence and lack of any wrongdoing towards me, I disliked her solely based on her appearance. Now that I was informed of our impending marriage, I already despised her. Ruby Coker had better be as opposed to this nonsense as I was.

Filled with anger, I stormed out of the lounge and hastened toward one of my luxurious cars.

P.S. My cars were among the things I cherished most in this world; they held more value to me than Yasmin did. Speaking of Yasmin, I retrieved my iPhone and sent her a text: "I need to see you right now. Can we meet?"

She responded almost immediately, saying, "Sure, we can meet up and continue what we started yesterday. I'm filming a movie at DeBest Hotel. Meet me there."

I didn't bother replying as I ignited the engine. Typical Yasmin, always offering nothing more than sex. Not that I was complaining, though. I needed to clear my mind from the news I had just received, and sex seemed like a suitable distraction.

Chapter 2: An Arrogant Husband.

RUBY."But Dad, how could you do this to me? Who still practices arranged marriages? Why would you choose a husband for me? I don't have a problem!" I shouted, tears streaming down my face. At that moment, I must have looked like a shattered soul, as I had been crying non-stop ever since Dad dropped the shocking news."You can't continue living your life as such an introvert! Are you going to marry your books? Can't you understand that this is for your good? You're entering into the prestigious Daniels family. You should be happy!" Dad replied, adjusting his glasses and remaining focused on the paperwork on his desk."Happy? Did you just say happy? Do you even know Toby Daniels? He's a jerk, an arrogant womanizer, a heart-breaker, a cocky idiot! Numerous newspapers are filled with scandals about him. He's so full of himself and his arrogance knows no bounds! And why does it have to be me? Why not Sapphire, huh?"

Heroes

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