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Married to Wealth

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As the eldest, Alessia Harris had accepted that she needed to become Mrs. Robinson for the sake of her younger sister and to save their family business from bankruptcy—the only thing their parents left them before they passed away. But how could she achieve her goal when, with each passing day spent with Claude, she found herself falling more in love with him, despite his constant displays of disloyalty?

Chapter 1: The Decision

"Auntie, what are we going to do now?" I was on the verge of tears again. To be honest, my eyes had been stinging since we left the restaurant earlier, ever since I heard the news dropped by Mr. Martin. Not only were my ears ringing, but my eyes were also hurting.

Because I refused to comply with what the old man wanted, he dragged Lia along and took her away. I couldn't do anything to stop him. Aside from my sister willingly going along, the old man also threatened that no help would come if Aunt Edith tried to prevent their departure.

"There's only one way I can think of to save your sister," Aunt Edith replied.

"What is it?"

"Ask for help from your father's friend, the owner of Artisan Furnitures. If your parents arranged you to marry their son, maybe they can also help you now," my aunt suggested.

I wanted to protest what my aunt was saying. If I asked my father's friend for help, they might demand something in return for their help.

The question now is, am I ready to marry someone I didn't know and hadn't even seen before?

"But, auntie, they might force me to marry their son if I ask for help. What about me?"

"What do you want to happen? Which one do you prefer to be arranged in marriage? You or your sister? Do you have anyone else in mind who you can ask for help if you don't want to approach your father's friend?"

I couldn't give an answer. No matter how I looked at it, one of us would be in danger with Mr. Martin. Who should sacrifice? Maybe it should be me because I am the eldest. Lia was too young to just marry Mr. Martin, who seemed to be older than my parents.

So after my conversation with Aunt Edith, I searched on social media for information about Artisan Furnitures. Luckily, I found the telephone number of the company. I called and got an appointment to speak with the owner and president of the company.

Three days later, I was ready to go to the office. We had an appointment at ten, but I arrived at nine-thirty in the morning at the entrance of the Grand Artisan Pavilions where my father's friend's office was located. The guards let me in when I said I had an appointment with the president.

"Ma'am, please wait for sir. Your appointment isn't until ten, and he's still busy," the secretary informed me when I reached the owner's office.

"Okay, miss. I'll wait."

While waiting, I kept myself busy with my phone. I was nervous because I was going to face someone I hadn’t talked to. I hadn't met Mr. Robinson in person yet. My father never mentioned that he was friends with the owner of Artisan Furnitures. I had some idea of who the business associates of my parents were, but I only found out now that my father and the owner of one of the most famous furniture manufacturers were friends.

But come to think of it, our companies have similarities. The names of our companies are similar. My parents' company is Artisan Pages Corporation, while my father's friend's company is Artisan Furnitures. They also both source their raw materials from trees. It's a mystery that my parents never mentioned this to me. Even their conversation about the arranged marriage was never mentioned by my parents before. What could be the problem?

"Excuse me, miss."

I suddenly looked up when I heard someone speak beside me. I was surprised to notice the elderly woman standing right in front of me. The woman's face was unfamiliar to me, but she had a broad smile as she gazed at me.

"Are you Miss Alessia Harris?"

"Yes, ma'am."

The woman's eyes sparkled. "I’m so happy to see you, dear," the woman said before she bowed and hugged me tightly.

Although I was surprised by the elderly woman's reaction, I still felt compelled to hug her.

"Oops! Sorry. I forgot to introduce myself, dear," the woman said as she released me. "I’m Mrs. Lavinia Robinson," the woman introduced herself to me, extending her hand.

I was pleased to hear her name. I stood up and shook the woman's hand.

"Nice to meet you, ma'am. Are you Mr. Donovan Robinson's wife?"

"Yes, dear. Come, I'll take you to my husband's office." The woman took my hand and led the away.

As we entered the office, we approached an elderly man who was just putting down his cellphone.

"Donnie! Sia is here!" Mrs. Robinson happily announced as she approached the elderly man.

The elderly man immediately stood up and greeted his wife with a kiss on the cheek.

"Are you Sia? Greg's daughter?" the elderly man asked me.

"Yes, sir. Do you know me?"

"Of course!" Both the husband and wife replied simultaneously.

"How could we forget you when Greg and I agreed a long time ago that you and Claude would get married when the time was right?"

My jaw dropped at what I heard. Who was Claude? Do I know the person Mr. Robinson was referring to?

I cleared my throat nervously. The last thing Mrs. Robinson said didn't sit well with me.

"Ma'am, Sir," I said, shifting my gaze between the couple in front of me, "I didn't come here for the agreement between you and my parents. Actually, I have another purpose."

The couple exchanged glances. "What is it, dear?" Mrs. Robinson asked.

I took a deep breath before speaking. I needed to gather my courage. I had no one else to turn to for help.

"I would like to ask for a favor from you, if possible. When my parents passed away, we found out that they had a large debt with Horizon Bank. If it's not paid, they will foreclose on the house and land they left for me and my sister. Additionally, Artisan Pages is also at risk of collapsing, so we have no other resources. We tried talking to the bank owner. But he will only help us if my sister marries him. In fact, he already took Lia the other day. I don't know how to get my sister back now."

The woman gasped. Mr. Robinson released a heavy sigh. "To be honest, I've known about your father's problem for a long time. I even offered help, but he refused to accept it. Then I heard what happened to him and your mother. I didn't catch up with him. We didn't even attend the wake and burial because we were in Europe at that time, taking care of Claude, who was in critical condition. I don't know how we can help you now because it's hard to go up against someone like Martin."

I wanted to collapse upon hearing what the couple said. Was there no one else who could help them?

The couple exchanged glances again. "Let's do this, dear. I'll talk to Harding,” Referring to Mr. Martin. “I'll help you lift up your father's company and take back your sister as well as your house and land. If I can do that, I hope you can also help me and my husband."

I felt hopeful at Mrs. Robinson's words. "Okay. I'll do whatever you want as long as you help me."

"That's settled then. I'll call you once I've sorted everything out, dear."

After thanking the couple, I bid them farewell. When I got home, I tried to call my sister. But as usual, I couldn't reach her. The operator always answered with "out of coverage area." So I had no choice but to wait for Mr. Robinson's call. It took two more days before I received it.

"Dear, I've spoken to Harding Martin. Come to the office, and let's discuss everything," Mr. Robinson said on the other line.

"Really? Okay. I'll just change my clothes. I'll be there soon," I replied excitedly.

"I'll send my driver to pick you up so you won't have any trouble. There's also a surprise waiting for you."

"Okay." I couldn't tell if I was excited or nervous about the surprise Mr. Robinson mentioned. But whatever it was, I hoped it wouldn't put me in danger. I feel different now. I hoped my instincts were wrong.

I dismissed my concerns. I hurriedly dressed and prepared myself. Less than half an hour after I spoke to Mrs. Robinson, the driver arrived to pick me up.

I quickly bid farewell to my Aunt Edith before leaving and getting into the car. Upon arriving at the Grand Artisan Pavilions, the receptionist escorted me to Mr. Robinson's office.

I was moved to tears when I saw Lia there with the Robinson couple. I quickly approached my sister and hugged me tightly.

"Thank God you're back!" I exclaimed joyfully.

Lia bit her lip while wiping her tears. "Sia, sorry to disappoint you but I just go with Uncle Donovan and Aunt Lavinia to properly bid farewell to you. I'll also leave and return to Mr. Martin," Lia said tearfully.

"What?" I almost ruptured my eardrums hearing that. "Are you kidding, Lia?"

My younger sister shook her head vigorously. "I'm serious, Sis. If I don't go back to that old man, not only will we lose our house and land, but your life might also be in danger."

My eyes widened. "W-what do you mean?"

"Harding Martin knows people. He can make anyone disappear. Your sister is afraid that you'll be in danger if she doesn't return to Harding's side," Mr. Robinson answered my question.

I almost ran out of breath at what I heard.

"What about you now, Lia? Can you get along with that old man? Who knows what might happen to you in his company." I was also afraid for my sister. It felt like the entire sky had fallen on our shoulders.

"Don't worry, dear. Harding promised not to harm Lia. I saw that he's really interested in your sister. Who knows, maybe he'll learn to love your sister just as he loved his deceased wife."

To my ears, Mr. Robinson's last words sounded like a pipe dream. If only I could do something, I wouldn't want my younger sister to be in such a situation. Lia's all that's left for me besides our aunt. Despite being the eldest, I couldn't do anything for my sister.

"O-okay, I'll let you go back there. But call me all the time, okay? I want to know what's happening with you every day. Don't keep anything from me," I instructed.

Lia nodded. I hugged my sister tightly again. We hugged for a few more minutes while crying incessantly. When our feelings calmed down, we parted ways.

"I'm leaving now, Sia. Don't worry, I'll endure this for both of us. I'll study hard and finish college so that when the time comes that I'm tired of that old man, I can still support myself."

I forced a smile. My sister was braver and stronger than me. She may look weak on the outside, but she's stronger than me. our personalities were the opposite. I looked brave and strong when looked at, but I was just pretending. I pretended so I wouldn't be bullied by anyone. 

After my sister left, I remained silent for a few minutes, quietly shedding tears. I couldn't understand what mistake we, as siblings, had committed to deserve such a fate. As I wept, the Robinson couple watched me silently.

When I finally stopped crying, Mr. Robinson spoke up.

"I did everything I could, but this is as far as I can go, Sia. I'm sorry I couldn't save your sister."

"It's okay, sir. I understand," I replied.

"Thank you, dear. Don't worry, I'll help you revive Artisan Pages. I'll invest a significant amount of capital. While you're studying, I'll appoint a temporary manager for your business. Once you graduate, you'll undergo training for a few months, and then you'll become the CEO. Is that okay with you?"

I nodded quickly. "Yes, sir. What do you want in return for your help?"

Mr. Robinson hesitated at my question. He glanced at his wife.

"I won't ask for anything in return for my help, Sia. Your father and I were friends, so it's only right that I help you. Besides, I also failed to fulfill my promise to save your sister."

I sighed. I didn't want to owe anyone, especially since I wasn't close to this friend of my father's.

"I insist, sir. Even if you couldn't save Lia, you still did your part. I don't want to have debts to others. If I can afford to pay, why should I borrow?"

Mr. Robinson let out a deep sigh.

"We don't want to force you, dear. But if you insist, perhaps you'd like to continue our deal with your parents," Mrs. Robinson said.

I seemed to know where the lady's words were leading. "Alright. I'll marry your son," I said courageously. The influence and power of the Robinson family would help me recover my sister one day. I needed to strengthen myself too just like Lie.

"Are you sure, dear? You haven't even seen or met my son," Mrs. Robinson asked, seeking reassurance.

"It's okay. My parents probably wouldn't agree if your son were unattractive. They'd probably be pleased with my decision if they were still alive."

Mr. Robinson glanced at his wife. "Call Claude. He needs to come here right away."

"Excuse me. I'll step out for a moment," Mrs. Robinson said before leaving us. "I hope you won't regret your decision, dear. You don't have to do this," she added.

I looked at the old woman. "Thank you for the reminder. But I've already made my decision. I will fulfill the agreement made by my parents."

Mr. Robinson remained silent. He just turned around quietly and approached the glass wall.

Mrs. Robinson returned shortly.

"Is Claude on his way here?" he asked, then turned to me.

"You can still change your mind, dear. Just think of us as your second parents, that's why we're helping you."

I raised an eyebrow. "Ma'am, it almost sounds like you don't want me to marry your son."

"Of course not, dear. We agreed to the arrangement with your parents because we want you for our son. But we're just worried about you. Claude can be difficult to deal with. We only just realized that you might have a hard time with him."

"I'll do my best to get along with your son," I promised.

"You'll only be together for a year. After that, you'll go your separate ways. We just want to teach Claude a lesson. If you happen to have children, it's up to you whether to leave the child with us or take them with you. What's important to us is to get to know our grandchild and spend time with them occasionally," Mrs. Robinson said.

"That's a deal, ma'am and sir," I quickly agreed. I could repay my debt of gratitude to the couple and help them if needed.

"I'll call a lawyer to draft the contract," Mr. Robinson said. He returned to his desk and made a phone call.

Mrs. Robinson sat beside me and asked about personal matters concerning me. We had been talking for a few minutes when the office door suddenly opened.

"Good morning! Why did you call me here?" a baritone voice said.

My attention immediately shifted when I heard the newcomer's question.

My eyes almost bulged when I saw the man who had just entered. He might be the most handsome man I had ever seen in person. He is handsome in the most rugged way. He looks like a bad boy from head to toe.

His hair was thick and long, almost covering his eyes because of his long bangs. He also had thick eyebrows and round eyes that seemed to be always angry when he stared. His shoulders were broad, and his white T-shirt hugged his chest tightly.

As my gaze lowered to his body, I quickly swallowed. I didn't know if his tight jeans were just too tight or if he was hiding something big inside because I could almost see the bulge in front.

I lowered my eyes to the floor. I noticed that the man facing me was wearing leather boots. What did this man ride to the office? A motorcycle, perhaps.

I didn't like these kinds of men. I preferred those who looked harmless like Jaime. Sh*t! Why did I remember him again? I hadn't seen him for years. I should have forgotten him because no matter what I do, he only liked Nienna. He would never like me.

The man stepped forward. I thought he was coming towards me, but he approached Mrs. Robinson instead. He kissed the woman's cheek and then approached Mr. Robinson.

"Who is this girl, dad?"

I raised an eyebrow at what I heard. Did this guy consider me a child? Shouldn't he call me a lady or a woman?

I looked at my outfit, a mini-dress and flat sandals. The hem of my flowery dress reached only to my knees. Didn't I look like a young lady in my attire? Did I need to wear a plain-colored short dress and high-heeled shoes to be considered a lady?

"She is your fiancée, son," Mrs. Robinson answered his question.

The man turned to me.

"Excuse me, miss. You’re not my type. You’re skinny, and you look more like a girl than a woman. Besides, I have no intention of marrying anyone."

I almost fell off my seat. Thankfully, I held onto the armrest. The son of the Robinson couple spoke too frankly and brutally.

The young man wasn't done yet. He approached me and stood in front of me.

"What do I have to do to change your mind about marrying me?" he asked, his hands on his hips.

I couldn't respond. I just stared at him, drowning in his gaze.

He leaned forward and placed his hands on the armrest of my seat. I was forced to put my hands on my thighs because one of his hands brushed against mine.

"How much do I have to pay you to disappear and not show up in front of me again?"

I was mortified.

"Claude!" the couple called out simultaneously.

But it seemed like the young man didn't hear them. He was still staring at me. His eyes were almost ablaze.

"I'm asking you! Why won't you answer me?"

His voice was almost deafening. I was nervous, but I didn't want to back down.

"I'll still marry you even if you don't want to. Your money will be my money when we get married," I replied in the softest voice I could muster.

The young man's eyes narrowed. He was about to raise his hand and strangle me, but Mrs. Robinson quickly stopped him.

"Claude, that's enough! Don't scare Sia!"

"D*mn!" Claude cursed loudly before backing away and leaving the office.

I wanted to cry, but I held myself back.

"I'm sorry, dear. That's just how my son is. It might be better if you don't marry him. Who knows what else he might do to you," Mrs. Robinson suggested.

I smiled bitterly. "I will still do it, ma'am. I won't back down. After all, it's only a year of marriage, right?"

I decided to leave it up to fate. If I could get closer to Claude, perhaps he could also help me forget about Jaime once and for all.

The couple sighed deeply at the same time.

Chapter 2: Forced Union

"I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride," said the judge who officiated our wedding.

I blinked when Claude took my hand. I thought he was going to kiss me, but I was surprised by what came out of my husband's mouth.

"Excuse us. We'll go ahead. We have a lot to do," Claude said seriously.

He didn't give anyone a chance to react. He simply grabbed my hand and hastily exited the office of the judge.

I almost stumbled with Claude's fast pace. I was wearing four-inch stilettos and my white dress was quite long, making it difficult for me to walk fast. It felt like Claude was dragging me along.

"Hey! Slow down. Where are we going?" I asked nervously.

"Don't speak. Just follow me." Claude said without even looking at me. He quickened his pace and held my hand tighter.

Even if I wanted to protest, I couldn't. I was scared of what I saw in his demeanor. His jaws were clenched


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