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Unrequited Love

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Diane will do anything to takes to secure a place in her father's company and that includes getting married to Nicholas Langston. Nicholas Langston, however, has he girlfriend he plans to marry. Getting married to Diane was never in his plans. Nicholas' girlfriend, Ashley and his sister Jenny are enraged by this new development and vow to never let the new couple be together. They spend everyday of their life trying to tear the couple apart, including teaming up with Diane's work rival. Diane and Nicholas are forced to navigate each other's feelings and overcome their challenges while protecting their loved ones.

Prologue

Diane, Malvika and Natasha sat at the edge of their father’s sickbed, tears in their eyes. Their father, Mr. Matthews laid on the bed, his eyes dropping. His arms were skinny and he looked weak, fragile and frail. From time to time, he coughed and his body trembled involuntarily. 

The eldest of the three sisters,  Diane who was about twenty four years old, was already sobbing. Her eyes were red and her cheeks were puffy. The youngest, Natasha, began to cry at the sight of her father dying and her elder sister crying. Malvika, the middle sister, tried to put on a brave face but she sniffed intermittently and a single tear rolled down her eyes.

“Dad?” Diane called out weakly, her voice croaking from tears.

He turned his head slowly. Diane held his hand and he smiled weakly at her. “Di?” he croaked.

“Dad,” Diane whispered again. “Please, don’t die.”

He smiled at her again. “Di,” he called. “Come closer.”

She slowly moved closer to him, her eyes brimming with tears as she held his frail hand. 

“Bring your ear closer,” he said, slowly, his words drawling. Diane bent her ear close to his mouth. He whispered furtively into her ear. Her sisters watched as he spoke to her, wondering what was been said. All they could see was Diane’s face changing form sad and worried to horror.

Then, she raised her head up. “What?” she asked slowly and calmly. “Why dad? That’s basically impossible.”

“It’s possible,” he replied and coughed. Natasha rubbed his arm and he passed her a weak smile. “I’ve spoken to him and he has agreed as long as you agree.”

“Dad….” Diane protested weakly, snot running from her nose to her upper lips. She wiped them away with the back of her hand. 

“Please, Di. That’s my only way of giving you and your sisters a good and befitting life after I’m dead.”

“Don’t say that,” Natasha cried. “You are not going to die.”

With great and painful effort, he stretched out his trembling hands, his face contorting in pain and stroked Natasha’s hair slowly. “Natasha, don’t worry. You will have a better life after I’m gone, I promise you.”

“Dad!” Natasha protested, tears streaming down her eyes.

Their father turned his attention back to Diane. “It’s really important,” he said slowly and weakly. “Please. Think about me and your sisters. Please.”

Diane just stared at him as the tears in her eyelids slowly slipped down her cheeks. 

---------------

The restaurant was quite empty. Very few people could be seen. At a corner in the restaurant, Diane sat at a table with an old man.

Diane ran her hands across the smooth, shiny and glassy table. She just stared down at her fingers on her table, unable to look at the old man sitting across her. The old man happened to be her father’s best friend and most trusted colleague and business partner, Mr. Logan Langston. 

“My son will soon be here,” he informed her.

Diane nodded. “It’s okay.”

Few minutes later, the door to the restaurant opened and a young man walked in. Diane looked up and her mouth parted in surprise. The man was really handsome. Tall and muscular; his wavy curly hair slanted across his face and parted in the middle. His chiseled face looked more attractive to Diane than anything. The way he walked fascinated her. And when he began to walk towards them, she thought she would hyperventilate. 

The man stopped in front of them. He stared at Mr. Langston for a while, then said, “Good evening father.” He pulled out a chair and sat down.

Mr. Langston gave a curt nod. “Nicholas, you are late.”

“Yeah. Sorry about that,” he replied, not sounding sorry at all.

“Well, this is Diane Matthews. Diane meet my son, Nicholas Langston,” Mr. Langston introduced.

Nicholas turned to look at her. Diane tried to stretch her lips to a smile but the glare and scowl on his face made her cower in fear. He gazed at her then, turned back to her father. “Let’s just get over this.”

“So have you agreed to the decision?”

Diane sighed softly. “I don’t know, Logan. I’m really confused right now.”

Nicholas growled. “That makes two of us.” His husky voice sounded melodious to Diane and she nearly swooned.

“It’s very important that you agree to this,” Logan Langston advised her. “The only way the shareholders of your father’s company will let you be part of them or rule them is if you get married.”

“But what kind of a rule is that?” Diane asked slowly, confused.

“It’s only known to the business world,” Nicholas replied unkindly. “Unfortunately, a sheltered girl like you would not know anything about it.” 

Diane shrunk back at the sharpness and harshness of his words.

“Nicholas,” Langston scolded, glaring at him.

“I’m beginning to reconsider my decision,” Diane muttered. “Can’t I just marry someone else?”

“Don’t kid yourself by thinking I want to marry you,” Nicholas said angrily and harshly.

“Di, your father thinks it’s safer to marry someone he already knows and I agree with him. Listen, you can get a divorce in a year. It’s not really important. The marriage is just for you to secure your place in your father’s company."

Diane sighed but nodded slowly. “Fine. I guess I’ll do it.”

Logan beamed. “Nicholas?” he asked.

“What?” Nicholas snapped, glaring at his father. Diane cringed away at the murderous look on his face.

“Are you agreeing to this?” Logan asked impatiently.

“Did you leave me any choice?” Nicholas replied rudely.

“I guess that means yes,” Logan said, smiling. He brought out some documents from his briefcase. “So, here are some agreements of course.” He scanned through the papers. “Nicholas, Diane has two younger sisters and they will live with you for the meantime.”

“What? Why?” Nicholas asked rudely.

“Because they are young and they have no place to go,so, their place is with their elder sister of course.”

“Continue.”

“Diane, Nicholas’ sister, Jenny has been living with him also and that’s not going to change.”

Diane smiled softly. “That’s okay.”

Nicholas growled again, startling her. She darts a glance at him in shock and irritation. He stared hard at his father and asked, “So what do I get from this marriage?”

Logan sighed. “What do you want?” 

Nicholas raised his brows. “That you will just let me be and I’ll continue my production industry without you nagging at me?”

“Anything you want,” Logan agreed.

“Good.” He placed his hands on the table. “Because I’m really not interested in business. You can give that to Mark. Secondly, Miss Matthews and I should not be forced to have a romantic relationship.”

“Nicholas....." Logan started to protest. 

“Yes or No?”

“That’s fine by me,” Diane spoke up quietly, fiddling with her fingers. 

“Good. Also, I should be allowed to continue my relationship with my girlfriend."

“No way,” Logan protested. “What will the public say? You have a wife and you are cheating on her her with another woman.”

“As far as I’m concerned, Miss Matthew here is the other woman,” he spat out angrily making Diane flinch.

“Nicholas,” Logan warned.

“Logan, it’s cool,” Diane said in a calm and quiet voice, as she peered at Logan.

“Diane, are you sure?” Logan asked worriedly. “I don’t think that is a good idea at all.”

“No, really, it’s cool. He’s right, you know. I’m truly the other woman he is being forced to marry.”

“Good that you know that,” Nicholas replied. He relaxed back into his chair. “Since we’ve cleared all that,when is the marriage date?”

“By next week Saturday, you are expected to be in the registry,” Logan informed them. “It’s not a fancy wedding. Just the both of you and some family members.”

Diane sighed and rested her back on the chair. Here goes my dream wedding, she thought sadly.

-------------

“Logan,how dare you?!” Ashley screamed angrily, hitting her palm on the table. Her hair shook violently as she yelled at him. Her eyes were blazing with anger. She couldn’t stop herself from trembling. She was just that angry. 

“Hey, stop. You will hurt yourself,” Nicholas said softly, holding her hand.

Ashley flung his arm away. “Don’t touch me! How dare you, Nicholas?!” she yelled angrily. “What do you take me for?! A fool!” 

“Of course not Ashley. Why will you say that?” Nicholas felt helpless and desperate. He needed to make her understand his point and see things from his point of view. But she was too angry to even calm down and listen.

“I should be asking you! Do you think I’m really going to let you marry someone else?! You must be joking!”

“It’s just for a year, Ash. I promise, I’ll marry after that," he said, his voice laced with plea and a hint of desperation.

“Oh really, Nicholas? Do you think I’m a fool?” she screamed at him. 

“Ashley, no. I really don’t want to do this. I have to do it. That’s the only way father will let me continue my production career in peace.”

“Oh really? So, you will rather have your production career than me? You might production career is more important than me?” 

“Of course not Ashley. You are just as important as my career.”

“What’s so special about producing anyway?!” Ashley lashed out at him. “Why can’t you just join the family business?”

A look of hurt crossed Nicholas’ face. “I can’t believe you will say this, Ash. You know how important my career is.”

Ashley took in a deep breath, her chest heaving. She touched his arm. “Nicholas, I don’t want you to marry another woman. Is there no other way we can go round this?” she asked softly.

“Unfortunately, no,” Nicholas replied.

“Seriously,” Ashley sighed. “You know what? I’ll just leave. I need to go home.” She turned.

“What?” Nicholas caught hold of her hand. “Don’t leave me Ashley, please.”

She turned and sighed. “I’m not leaving you, Nick. I’ll never leave you. I just need to clear my head."

“You sure?” he asked uncertainly.

“Of course.” She leaned in and kissed his lips. 

“I love you,” Nicholas whispered.

“I love you too babe,” she replied. Gently, she pried his hands off her and walked out of the house.

Nicholas stared at her retreating figure, then at the closed door.

“So, you are seriously getting married to that woman?”

He turned and saw his sister, Jenny, standing by the stairs, her arms folded. “What woman?”

“Diane Matthews," she spat out like the name was some kind of disease that affected her.

“Unfortunately, yes.”

“That’s not fair," Jenny retorted. "You are breaking my friend's heart.”

“It’s not intentional.” He rubbed his face. “Gosh. I’m so confused.”

“You had better start thinking of what to do because I don’t want to see you marry anyone aside Ashley.”

Nicholas rolled his eyes as Jenny turned and walked back upstairs. Just great, he thought, slumping back into the sofa. He rubbed his chin thoughtfully and sighed. My life’s messed up. Thanks to Diane Matthews. 

ONE

The car drove into the compound and parked properly in the garage. The driver got down from the front of the car car and hurried to open the door for Diane and her sisters, Malvika and Natasha. The three sisters got down and retrieved their luggage from the boot of the car. Diane smiled at the driver. “Thanks,” she said. 

The three sisters stood and stared at the magnificent house. 

“Wow,” Sixteen years old Natasha, muttered. “This house is huge.” She clutched her bag tightly as she gazed admiringly at the beautiful house. 

“Huge is an understatement,” Malvika, replied, shuffling her feet. For all her twenty years, she still looked like a dwarf. Not exactly a dwarf really. But she was short; even shorter than Natasha, which she hated.

“Hmm.” Diane turned to her sisters. “Well, let’s get inside now, shall we?” Following her lead, they approached the door and pressed the bell. It was opened by a middle aged woman, who was dressed in a white shirt tucked into a

Heroes

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