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I MARRIED MY MOTHER’S LOVER AS A STAND-IN BRIDE

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My mother was a lot of things but I never knew she would dare leave her Billionaire husband on the Alter stranded. My soon to be step-father was a lot of things, but he wasn't one to accept humiliation. And for that reason he made me Amelia, the daughter of my runaway mother to take her place on the alter. Soon I realized I wasn’t just married to my mother’s lover but I had fallen in-love with him. But could such love that started off in the wrong way last? And what would happen to our love when my mother returns.

Wedding bells

"Why are they not finished yet? The wedding is about to start!" Amelia Lawson screamed, tugging her hair in frustration. Why hadn't her mother just let Jane decorate instead of these people?

'I want everything to be perfect Lia.' Her mother's voice in her head replied to her and she hissed.

They didn't even know their jobs. The finished decorations were tacky and sloppy looking.

*Jane would have done a better job.*

Amelia touched one of the roses and sighed. "Jane's would have done better."

*Perhaps there was something Jane could do before it was too late.* She thinks.

Pulling her phone from the only pocket in her shorts, she dialed Jane's number and got her voicemail the first two times. 'Pick up Jane.'

Jane eventually answered on the fourth ring and Amelia sighed in relief. "It's the esteemed maid of honor. To what do I owe the honor?"

Amelia rolled her eyes, fighting back a smile as her best friend laughed at her sorry excuse for a joke. She would have given into the laughter on a different occasion but right now, she was pressed for time.

The wedding had been slated for 10am and it was twelve minutes past 9, meaning she had less than an hour to see to the last minute arrangements and then get ready.

She is the maid of honor and maid of honor never shows up late.

"Lia?"

"Sorry, I spaced out. Hey, do you think you could get here now, the decorations are all wrong."

There was silence on the other end and Lia wondered if her friend had hung up on her. "Jane Austin, I'm in a bit of a pickle here."

"Sure Lia, I'll get there now. I was actually headed there already."

Best friend to the rescue!

****

"And that's the last one of them." Jane smiled, placing the last of the paper roses she had made inside the vase.

Lia watched her wordlessly, not sure how to thank her. Jane had truly saved the day. Gone were the tacky, unprofessional decorations and now they all looked right, beautiful and perfect.

"What do you think Lia? Did I do any better than those guys?"

Lia just laughed and pulled her into a warm fuzzy hug. "You did great."

Jane groaned and pulled away glaring at her. "Don't get all emotional on me now, you're not even dressed yet!"

Lia laughed and blinked, fighting the tears. "I will get to it now. I had to see to the decorations first. Mr Fernando paid alot of money for this, shouldn't he get the value?"

"Indeed. Well the wedding decorations have been saved but if you don't get changed now, the wedding might need saving!" She replied shooing her away.

Lia blew her kisses and ran off in the direction of her room.

The wedding was taking place at the Dreams Hotel, the place her mother and Mr Fernando had their first date. Her room wasn't just the regular room, it was a freaking suite!

Lia chuckled as she remembered how she had reacted when the manager led her to the room.

****

"This is my room?" Amélia choked, unable to hide her shock and surprise. Sure she knew Mr Fernando was rich but she did not expect this.

She did hope for a regular room, after all it was just so she could be close to the wedding venue.

"Yes ma'am. Your mother and her fiancée have their own suites as well."

"Separately of course." The manager added the last part quickly afraid of what Amelia would think.

Amelia for sure, felt her mother was free to do whatever she liked. Besides she was in love and people in love did stuff.

She didn't want to think about what her mother was 'doing' with her fiancée anyway.

"That's okay. She's a grownup." Came her reply with a wink on top, causing the manager to blush a beet red colour.

*******

"It's all good, I enjoyed the one time I had with you." Amelia whispered to the beautiful stall as she wrapped a towel around her body. Thinking of all the good baths she had.

Reluctantly, she stepped out of the bathroom shutting the door after her.

Leaning against the wall of the hotel room, she sighed sadly.., taking in its beauty. She would definitely miss the suite.

Going home after the wedding would be going back to her old boring shower head that only gave cold water baths. And of course her less cozy, spectacular room.

"Alright, time to get ready."

Lia stood in front of her wardrobe staring at her dress for the wedding. She had picked a style that wasn't too simple or extra. It was a gown with an off shoulder bodice while the rest of it was fitted then flared from the hips down.

She slipped into her gown carefully, mindful of the zipper. *There would be no zipper emergency!*

She spun in front of the mirror and felt proud of her look. She looked beautiful.

Her mother would look like a Disney Princess in her own dress. Lia could only hope her mother was ready. Her mother wasn't the fastest dresser there was.

She picked up her phone and dialed her mother's number several times with no luck. The line was unreachable.

Lia chuckled to herself as she went to get her shoes. Her mother would never change. "I guess I'd have to go there personally and get her."

Lia walked out of the room and slipped into the hallway where she had kept her shoes.

She bent to pick it up and stopped halfway when someone knocked on the door.

It was probably Jane checking on her to make sure she was ready. The maid of honor couldn't be late to a wedding.

It was Jane but she didn't look too concerned about Lia's level of readiness. She looked incredibly worried about something.

*Had something else gone wrong with the planning? The caterer maybe?* Amelia panicked.

"Jane? What's going on?" Lia asked as she stepped aside letting her friend walk in.

Jane would have fallen just as in love with the suite as she had if she had stayed the night. Her fiancée had just arrived last night from a two weeks trip so Lia understood.

"You should sit down for this." Jane murmured, pulling out a chair for her.

"What's going on? Is it Austin? You're scaring me." Lia asked, letting out a chuckle that sounded as fake as the synthetic press on her nails, she had taken great pain to set on her fingers last night.

"You have to sit first."

Lia nodded and gulped taking the chair Jane offered. "What's wrong? Is it Austin?"

"Fernando can't reach your mother." Jane dropped.

"I can't too, probably because her phone is dead or something. I don't know if she has a thing against charging a phone." Lia said laughing and Jane sighed.

"Her suite is empty. I think your mother...."

Jane didn't get to finish her sentence before Lia was out the door running down the hallway barefoot. She didn't care who was looking or how she looked with her hair flying in every direction.

Her mother had gone missing!

***

"I don't understand this. My mum was so excited about the wedding, she couldn't have run off. Something is wrong, I can feel it." Lia sobbed, her tears blinding her vision.

Jane pulled her close and Lia would have thanked her if she had the strength to speak, but she didn't so she just placed her head on Jane's shoulders and cried.

She pulled away after some minutes, to acknowledged her mother's fiancée for the first time since she walked into the room. "Mr Fernando, I'm so sorry about this. I promise you my mum would never do this on purpose. I think something is wrong."

She sniffed and blinked back tears. This had to be a prank. *Where are the cameras?*

"I mean my mum has been talking about this wedding nonstop. Since you proposed, it was all she could think or talk about."

Fernando shrugged nonchalantly in response and Lia narrowed her eyes. He was acting like he didn't care.

"That's all well and good but what will happen now Amelia? Your mother has run off and I am left looking like an idiot on my wedding day."

"I'll be outside, Lia." Jane slipped out after giving her hands a gentle squeeze but she almost missed it.

Lia felt she had been slapped. Gone was the loving man her mother had brought home for the past three years. The man who had paid for the amazing suite she had slept in, the wedding, the other things she now had. That man wasn't the one standing in front of her, she was looking at a stranger.

Where was the man who had been completely in love with her mother?? The man who had been reserved about meeting her for the first time? The man who had sought her blessings so he could ask her mother to marry him?

"I don't understand. Don't you care that my mother could be lying somewhere in pain and hurt? Is your reputation and your guests all you can think about? What about my mother?"

He sighed and Lia suddenly felt guilty for yelling at him. He was hurting too. They were both victims, and so was her mother. There was no way her mother had run off.

"I love your mother Amelia but I have to think about myself, since it's obvious that she must have been thinking only about herself when she bailed on our wedding."

Lia opened her mouth to speak but he wasn't finished.

"That hall with all the decorations is filled with my guests. My family, my friends are there. My business partners are there and I'm sure a few of my enemies and competition are in that room waiting to see the outcome of this.

He wasn't shouting but Lia felt the power in his voice, in each word.

"We should tell the guests that the wedding has been postponed then. They'd understand that things like this happen from time to time." She sniffed and stood up meeting his eyes. "Surely that could work."

His chuckle sent icicles rolling down her back. It wasn't pleasant.. it was rather dark and cold. "Sure but that's only if I were some shoemaker in the middle of Manhattan that no one knew but I am Fernando, even you know what that means and we're in New York not Queens."

Lia sighed, exhaustion washing over her. Worrying for her mother was too much already, but what Mr Fernando was saying.. is on a different whole level of worries.

She closed her eyes. *Was there really no way to prevent this honest man from getting tagged in the media? All he had done for her and her family was take care of them, he didn't deserve this. Only heavens knew what condition her mother was in but since she wasn't around, no one would really see it. Mr Fernando was a different story. He was like he said 'The Fernando ' the media would have a field day with this type of news.* She thinks.

She could only imagine the headlines; 'influential billionaire left at the altar after spending a fortune for the wedding '.

She wished this was something she could fix if she closed her eyes. She would give anything for all this to be one big fat nightmare. One she would wake up from and laugh after crying profusely at how real it felt.

But as she opened her eyes, she was face-to-face with Mr Fernando and he looked p*ss*d.

"What other alternative is there?" She asked, her voice coming off as a whisper. "Is there anything I can do?" She tried again.

It wasn't like she could marry him in place of her mother, that would be too absurd.

"Stand in for your mother."

Lia wasn't sure she had heard him. She looked at him shaking her head. "What do you mean stand in ? I don't think I'm following."

"You have to marry me, Amelia. There's no other way."

Stand-In

"Is this some kind of dream?" Lia asked no one in particular, as she staggered backwards holding a chair just in time before she fell.

"I am perfectly aware of this situation, it's real-life."

Even his voice sounded robotic and stoic. She was definitely dreaming, she had to be. That would mean she had misheard when he proposed, she takes her mother's place and get married to him instead.

"Of course Lia, it's a dream. Wake up now!" She chided herself and pinched herself yelping at the pain. She gasped and hung on to the chair for support as her legs turned to jelly.

She wasnt dreaming, it was all real. Her mother was nowhere to be found and her mother's fiancée had just asked her to stand-in for her.

"Time is of the essence Amelia. I have important matters to attend to so I suggest we get to it." Fernando reminded her, staring at his wristwatch unaware and seemingly unbothered by her state of di

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