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SERIES: Knight In Shining Suit (Episode 4A)

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Répondez s'il vous Plaît, meaning “Please Respond”.


I’m not going. I’m not going..


At least that’s what I kept telling myself in the last two weeks. Now, it’s one week to the wedding and no phone calls from my mother begging me to go. Not even an encouraging look from Adam.  


So finding mystery Alpha Male is out of the question. Until I received the call that I thought I would never receive.

“Sweetheart, it’s Uncle Jack.” 

I took a deep breath., “Hey, Uncle Jack! How’s it going?”


“Not bad.” He replied. “How are you?”


“I’m…fine, Uncle Jack.”


He sighed. Then he said, “Sweetheart, I know that what Geena did to you is just… unforgiveable. I… couldn’t believe it when I found out. I know how hurt you must have been.”


“It’s fine, Uncle Jack. I’m… over it.” I lied.

“If you won’t make it to the wedding, I would definitely understand.” He said. 

I didn’t answer. Somehow, there’s a hidden message there. Does he or doesn’t he want me to attend the wedding?


“Astrid… I’m sorry. For Geena’s behavior.”


“It’s fine, Uncle Jack. You don’t have to apologize.” I said weakly. 

“You’ve been a daughter to me too. I know your pain, sweetheart. Like I said, I am deeply sorry for what Geena has done. And if you can’t find it in your heart to forgive them… I wouldn’t hold it against you.” 

I took a deep breath and went silent for a while. And then finally, I said, “You must be excited for the wedding, Uncle Jack. You’ll be walking Ge… her down the aisle.”

His tone finally lightened. “Yes. It’s a proud feeling to be walking your little girl down the aisle. It’s… probably going to be the happiest day of my life…” He trailed off, realizing that he probably said too much.

“It’s okay, Uncle Jack. I know you feel very proud. And I will attend the wedding. For you. So your joy will be complete.” I didn’t know why I said that. But I guess, I really love Uncle Jack. Enough to sacrifice my pride… just to make him complete on that day.a while. And then finally, I said, “You must be excited for the wedding, Uncle Jack. You’ll be walking Ge… her down the aisle.”


His tone finally lightened. “Yes. It’s a proud feeling to be walking your little girl down the aisle. It’s… probably going to be the happiest day of my life…” He trailed off, realizing that he probably said too much.


“It’s okay, Uncle Jack. I know you feel very proud. And I will attend the wedding. For you. So your joy will be complete.” I didn’t know why I said that. But I guess, I really love Uncle Jack. Enough to sacrifice my pride… just to make him complete on that day.

For a while there was silence, then I heard his heavy intake of breath. “Oh sweetheart, sweetheart…” He started saying. “Sweetheart, you don’t need to do that.”


“For you, Uncle Jack.” I said, trying my best not to cry. “I will do it for you.”

He sighed again and I thought I heard tears in his voice when he said, “Thank you, Astrid. You’re a wonderful woman. And someday, you’re going to meet somebody who will make you happier than you have ever been.”


Now, I really cried. “Thank you, Uncle Jack. That meant a lot to me. I’ll see you next week.”

After I hung up the phone, I must have cried for hours until it dawned on me that I have a bigger problem now.


If I were to bite every bit of my pride, I would do so with dignity and grace! Even if it’s just for the show.

I stood up from bed and called all of my friends and asked them to meet me at Oil Rig.

Adam has a smirk on his face when I walked past him in the living room.


“Ten grand.” He said to me.



“That’s what I’m willing to pay for your date.” He said without even blinking an eye.

“Wow! Why so generous?”

“Because you’re more desperate now than you were two weeks ago.”


“You’re not kidding, are you?” I asked, narrowing my eyes at him.

He shook his head. “I don’t have a sense of humor, Ash. You know that.”

When I met my friends at the bar, I told them about my sudden problem.

“We could have found the perfect guy by now if you had only decided two weeks ago!” Dannie complained.

“I know guys! Now, I’m just plain desperate.”


“Where are we going to find your perfect guy? And how?” Nicole asked.

“Adam.” I replied.

“Adam? Are you crazy! He’s your cousin! Even if you are not related by blood, you grew up as cousins!” Nicole said, clearly abhorred by the idea.


“No, silly! Adam gave me an idea. He said, I only need to find a super hot guy and the rest is easy.”

“Are you forgetting? We want super hot, super rich, evidently smart and successful?” John reminded us.

I shook my head. “We only need super hot and maybe desperate for money!”

They all looked at me as if I just lost my mind.


“Adam is willing to pay a guy like that to pretend to be smart, rich and head over heels for me.”

“How much money?” 

“Ten grand.” I replied.


Nicole sucked in a deep breath, Dannie’s eyes went wide and John almost choked on his drink. “Wow! That’s a lot of money!

“Well, he will have expenses. He needs to rent a suit and a nice car. Plus he needs to… act. And act well!”

“What’s in it for Adam?” Dannie asked.


I shrugged. “Like you, he’s was my punching bag too, remember? He sleeps next door to me when I cry at nights. It must have been excruciating to live with me for months now. If I know him well, I think he’s willing to pay ten grand for a change of scene. Or maybe he’s hoping this is the push I needed to get my act together soon so I can move out of his crib and move on with my life. Plus, he’s rich. Ten grand is nothing to him.

“Okay, so your guy only needs to be sexy and handsome and must have a little bit of education?” John asked.


I nodded. “He must be in on the deal. He must pretend to be smitten with me.”


“And you won’t mind if this guy kisses you all over, puts his tongue down your throat, and his hands all over your ass?” Nicole asked.


I took a gulp of my beer. “If he’s super hot, maybe not.” I know that once I see Bryan and Geena all lovey-dovey, I just might put my tongue down this stranger’s throat!

We all agreed to scout for that hot guy who will be perfect for our scheme.


“Remember, he must rent or borrow a luxury sports car, if he doesn’t already own one. And he must come in an expensive suit.” Dannie reminded everybody

“Oh, oh! Wouldn’t it be nice if he rents out the most expensive hotel room in the resort where Geena and Bryan will have their honeymoon?” I asked.


They all stared back at me.

“And what if he proposes to me on the same night? With a big diamond ring! A real diamond ring! That would really steal Geena’s thunder! And that’s only fair since she stole my wedding anyway!”


“Ten grand? Not going that far.” John chuckled.


“I’m sure there are rental diamond rings out there. We’ll return it after a day.”


“Ash, don’t you think that’s going a little too far?” Nicole asked with a worried expression on her face.

“They went too far, Nic! They cheated on me and they stole my dream wedding! Plus, they made me pay for their florist! Every single discount they got for their wedding was because of me! Because those suppliers thought I was going to be the bride! Now, that’s cheap!”

John shook his head and took a gulp of his beer.  

Dannie nodded “I’m sorry, Nic. But I agree with Astrid. The only way she can get back at them for what they did to her, is to shine brighter than the bride on her wedding day, and to make the groom ask himself, ‘the hell was I thinking?’” Dannie smiled at me. “I’m with you, Ash. Let’s find you the perfect man for the job!”

I was all set and excited for the next day. We were all supposed to reconvene at Oil Rig Bar with pictures of prospects that I can choose from.


I’m going ‘men shopping’ and for the first time in months since Bryan proposed to me, I actually felt a tingle of a thrill go down my spine. 

The next day, as I was rushing to Oil Rig, Adam handed me an envelope.


“What’s this?” I asked him

“A down payment.” He replied.  

I looked inside the envelope and found a check amounting to five grand.

“You’re really serious, aren’t you?”


“I keep my promises, Ash. And I know you need this more than ever. You can give this to your guy as an act of good faith. He can rent a suit and a nice car with this. The other half, he’ll get after the party.” He said. 

“Adam, seriously, why are you doing this?” 

He put an arm around my shoulder and pulled me towards him. “I hate weddings! I’m willing to pay for a little entertainment.”

I laughed, then I reached up to give him a peck on the cheek.

“Thanks anyway.” I said.

“Good luck. Make it worth my money, Ash.” He called in a teasing tone. 

When I arrived at Oil Rig, none of my friends were there yet. I sat in the bar and ordered a margarita.

“The best margarita in town for the beautiful lady.” I heard the bartender say.


I looked up and found myself staring at the most striking green eyes I have ever seen in my life. His eyes were framed by long dark lashes. He was wearing a white cap over his dark hair and had a stud earring on his left ear.

“Can you sign, Ma’am?” He asked. It took me a while to realize that he had already asked me the question twice.

“Oh.” Was all I could say. He nodded slightly and his lips curved into a crooked smile, revealing a deep dimple on his left cheek.  

I was pretty sure that my hands were shaking as I signed the slip he handed to me.


“Thank you.” I said. 

“You’re welcome, Madam. Enjoy your drink. Just call for me if you need anything else.” He said, grinning.

I might have been in a relationship for too long because, for the life of me, I could not tell whether he was flirting with me or not. But since I have almost lost everything I have, there’s nothing I can say to him that could make me sink any lower. Bryan and Geena have totaled me out, thank you very much!


“And what name would I ask for?” I asked, mustering all the confidence I could manage, and hoping to God that my voice didn’t sound squeaky.


He flashed me a brilliant smile that made my world turn upside down and every nerve in my body tingle. His aristocratic face suddenly turned boyish and mischievous with his perfect smile that showed another deep dimple on his other cheek, and his perfect set of teeth

“Ryder.” He replie

I nodded. “Alright. Thanks, Ryder.”

He stood there for a while, and I knew he was waiting for me to say my name. Then after a couple of seconds, he figured out I was not going to give it to him. I grinned back at him instead.

“Alright. Perhaps when I bring you your next drink.” And he gave me a wink.


I knew I was blushing from head to feet. How could I be flirting with a doll like that? When I was with Bryan, I didn’t care about how I looked or who looked at me. I always thought I’ll be with Bryan until the end of my life. And what he thought about me is the only thing that mattered.  

But now, flirting with the bartender who looked like he just stepped out of the covers of a magazine gave me a new string of confidence. I actually felt… womanly… beautiful!

I sipped on my drink, trying to get his face out of my head, but I just couldn’t. The memory of his perfect smile and his perfect features are playing in slow motion in my head. I almost forgot that it’s been an hour and my friends haven’t showed up yet. 

“Fancy another glass?” Ryder came back and asked.


I looked up at him and because he was so breathtakingly beautiful, I nodded instead of saying something.


My phone rang. It was John

“Sorry, doll. I can’t make it tonight.” He said. “My sister had a little emergency and I needed to go take her.”

“Is she okay

“Yeah, she’s fine. Just a little cut on the elbows and knees. But other than that, she’ll live.”

“Okay… what about the prospects?” 

“Well, I can’t find anybody else who would agree besides Jonathan. And I thought Jonathan was… not extraordinary enough for your taste.

“Besides the fact that we never got along? He’s an ogre!” I muttered.

John laughed. “Easy, Ash. Beggars can’t be choosers.  

I sighed. “Find somebody else okay?”


Nicole sent me a text message that she couldn’t make it too. She had to work on some presentation that needs to be finished by tomorrow.

When I saw Dannie’s number appear on my phone, I was getting hopeless

“Sweetie, I’m sorry.” It looked like he was going to come up with an excuse then decided to be honest. “Who am I kidding? I’m on a date. I didn’t mean to be, but you know Jasper? I’ve been dying for him to notice me in the office and finally, he asked if I wanna hang out tonight! You understand right?”

“Do I have a choice?” I asked.

“Don’t worry. I might find some prospects for you! I’m going to a house party tonight!”

“Dannie! Chances are, you’re going to a gay house party! And there’s no hope for me there!”


“Well, you said your guy just needs to look the part! And act it out! You didn’t say anything about being straight!”

“Oh, that would just be nice!” I groaned. “Just enjoy your party! And please… find me a straight guy!”

I heard a suppressed chuckle from the counter as soon as I hung up. I saw Ryder smiling crookedly, and although he was not looking at me, I knew the smile was for me 

I raised a brow. “You shouldn’t eavesdrop on other people’s conversation.” I said sipping my margarita, not looking at him.

“I wouldn’t have, if your voice wasn’t that loud.” He said, approaching me.


“Oh, sorry.” I said. “People talk loud on bars, you know. Well, you should know.” 

“Yes. I know.” He grinned. “So, what’s the quest for a straight guy 

Lie! I told myself. But somehow, the liquor in my system and the frustration I felt for being stood up by my best friends were wearing me out.

“Not just a straight guy. But a straight guy who’s willing to do anything for a couple of grands.

To be continued... 

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