The CEO's Second Choice
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Elena Wiltshire's dreams were coming true; she just got accepted into her dream school without the sway of the powerful Wiltshire name! But when her twin sister's engagement to Sebastian Dumont, the wealthiest CEO in the UK, falls through due to her shameful ways, Elena is forced by the familial matriarchs to take her place to avoid an upper-class scandal. Will Elena survive being married to the cold, egotistical CEO especially when he's hiding a secret of his own?
Chapter 1 - Elena Wiltshire, Student Of Law?
I stared at my laptop, not believing what I was seeing… Then I let out a shriek so loud that even my mother came running into my room.
“What in the world is going on, Elena?” She cried out, staring at me with eyes as big as saucers. I turn my laptop screen around and point towards it, “I got accepted, mother! Harvard has accepted my application!” I respond with glee, to a perplexed mother.
She raised one expertly plucked eyebrow at me, “Excuse me? Harvard, as in The States?” Fighting the urge to roll my eyes at her, I nodded and could not help but grin. Harvard Law School, my dream Uni has accepted me! Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing could knock me off this high. I’ve done it! I have proven to myself and my family that I could get somewhere without their influence.
I mean, I could have chosen Cambridge or Oxford, but that would be too close to home and the Wiltshire name. I would immediately have been accepted if they knew I was William Wilshire’s daughter.
My face hurts from grinning, and I look at my mother for a reaction, but as usual there is none. And it was not the Botox.
“Well now, we will have to see what your father has to say about this. The States, Elena? Why not Oxford? It is, in fact, your father’s alumni.”
Did I say nothing could knock me off this high? Well, my mother just shot a bazooka straight into it.
I stare at her, a little discouraged. I expected this reaction and, prepared myself for it, but it didn’t hurt any less. Never in my 20 years on this earth, had my mother been proud of me or showed it. The smile drops from my face and I sigh, “Can’t you just be happy for me for once, mother?”
She looked at me as if I had trampled on her favourite Louboutins, “I will be happy when I know you have rejected that acceptance letter and studied closer to home. Come, you need to get ready for tonight’s dinner party. The Dumont’s will be joining us this evening.” With that, she turned on her heels and strode out of my room.
I stare at her back and feel a tear slip down my cheek.
My mother, Susanna Wiltshire, is an upper-class socialite of noble blood so it will always be expected of me to follow in her footsteps. My twin sister, Eliana, slipped into the role much easier than I did. Where I was brash and spoke my mind, she was reserved and soft-spoken. A proper lady.
Speaking of which; a face pops into my bedroom door with a smile plastered on her face, my mirror image. With a few alterations.
Where she had soft honey-coloured curls set in a natural balayage, I had more of a caramel tint to my balayage. Where her eyes were baby blue and sparkling, mine was more of an icy steel. We both had heart-shaped faces, almond-shaped eyes and bow-shaped lips though.
People have said we were blessed with our looks, my sister seemed to think so. Where she got stares and knew she was beautiful, I had the self-esteem of a rock.
“I heard the news!” She exclaims and rushes over to me, engulfing me in a hug. “I am so proud of you, Elena! This is fantastic news!”
Trust Eliana to be my hype girl. I smile against my better judgement and a giggle escapes from my throat. She let go of me and looked me up and down, her blue eyes sparkling with unshed tears.
“You get to live your dream instead of being forced to live the socialite life.” She says, knowing that would have been the bane of my existence. My bottom lip starts to tremble at her words, knowing my father would never allow me to study at Harvard. The sudden realization hits me.
He would never agree to this. How stupid could I have been?
Eliana’s smile drops from her face and she regards me with concern, “I was foolish, Eliana.” I start, “Father would never allow me to move overseas when he could just have easily gotten me into Oxford. Me and my stupid dreams.”
She offers me a thin smile then leads me back to my bed. “You never know, Elena. Speak to him about it. Maybe he wants one of us to experience what the world has to offer.” She said, a knowing smile crossing her lips and I had a feeling she was hiding something from me.
Call it twins' intuition, but I could always tell when Eliana was lying to me or withholding something. In this case, it was the latter.
I decided to not push the subject but nod anyway. “I will after this evening's dinner party. I am guessing Sebastian and his parents will be joining us?” I ask.
Ugh, Sebastian Dumont. The most arrogant man God could ever have created. The man oozed self-righteousness and had an ego 10 times larger than his body weight. The first time he came to our estate to visit Eliana, he didn’t mistake me for her at all, normally people do. He called me ‘podgy’ and said he did not understand why people confused the two of us.
Call me childish, but I never forgot that day. I had never been so embarrassed in my life. Of course, I never mentioned this to Eliana, I did not want her to think any less of her fiance.
She nods happily, “Yes, he is. Just a few last-minute preparations and alterations that were made before the wedding. His parents wish to iron it out before the big day.” She says with calm as if she wasn’t marrying the wealthiest CEO in the UK.
“Ah okay. I will be expected to attend then?” I ask with a grin, already knowing the answer. She gives me a sarcastic look, “My maid of honour wants to sit this one out? I don’t think so.” She responded and got up from my bed to leave my room. Then she turned around at the doorway and gave me another smile, “I truly am so happy for you, Elena. You deserve this little bit of freedom. Speak to father after the dinner party. I am sure he will give you his blessing.” Then she was gone.
I flop back down onto my oak four-poster and sigh out loud. Would my father honestly be okay with me studying overseas? If my mother was anything to go on, that would be a resounding no.
I take my cell phone out of my pocket intending to call my boyfriend, Nicholas. He had been my rock the past two years and was the one who encouraged me to apply at Harvard. This made no sense to me at all, because I wanted to be close to him as we were to be wed in a year’s time. However, I started to realise that I needed to do this for myself, I needed to pursue my dream.
However, on the fourth ring, I put the phone down as my call went unanswered. Weird, Nicholas always answered when he saw it was me calling. I shrug and try to push my emotions down. I would tell him my news later on. The Dumonts would be here soon, I had better make myself look presentable.
Chapter 2 - The Dinner Party From Hell
Dressed in a burgundy empire evening dress with a sweetheart neckline and cap sleeves, I put on my Mary Jane Louboutins and was ready to face the Dumonts. I left my hair to cascade in curls down my back and didn’t bother with over the top makeup. I had no one to impress, so why bother with frivolities?
As I descend our winding staircase, I spot my sister in the foyer. She was on the phone and seemed rather upset. The clicking of my heels alerts her to my presence and she kills her call. Turning to face me, she plasters a fake smile onto her face and walks towards me and catches my frown. “Wedding problems,” she answers with the roll of her eyes. I knew she was lying, but who am I to say anything? She clearly did not want to tell me what was going on with her.
I offer her a tight smile, “Eliana, you know…” I start, but decide against it with the shake of my head, “Never mind. Is everything ready for this evening?”
She looked relieved a
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