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SERIES: Knight In Shining Suit (Episode 4B)

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He raised a brow. “You’re not doing porn, are you?”

I stared at him, clearly abhorred by the thought and then I burst out laughing.


“Oh my God! No!” I said when I finally found my voice. “Well, it’s not porn, but it does involve the part of playing lovers.” 

“Now, I’m intrigued. What could a girl like you possibly need a straight guy for?” He asked me.


“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” I said to him. 

“Try me.” He said with a grin.


“It’s a long story.” I said

“I’m here all night.” He insisted.

“Yeah, but you’re working.”


“It’s a lax night.” He said.  


I narrowed my eyes at him. “You’re pretty persistent, aren’t you?” 

He shrugged. “I’m a straight guy. Who knows? I just might be able to help you out.” 

“Oh! As if!” I rolled my eyes. “You don’t strike me as desperate.”


He raised a brow. “Everybody has needs, honey.”


I sighed. “Okay, where do I start?”


“From the top?” He grinned. As he flashed me that gorgeous smile, I couldn’t help thinking, I could go to bed with this guy! Then I shook myself back to reality. I took the last gulp of my margarita.

“Perhaps you should give me another glass of margarita first.”

“Right away, Ma’am.” He said. 

He disappeared for a while and when he came back, he handed me another glass of margarita and a bowl of cheese sticks.


“Margarita and cheese sticks… On the house.” He said.

“Wow! All these for the pathetic story of my life?” I asked, taking a bite of the cheese stick.

“Well, some stories are worth paying for.” He smiled.


I sighed. “Okay. I don’t really see the point why I should be telling the tale of my somewhat… sad life to a complete stranger… but whatever.”

He leaned closer to me and my breath caught in my throat. “What color are your eyes?” He asked.

“Oh… it’s… blue.” I replied.


“You’re wearing contacts.” He said.


I nodded. “My eyes are bluish violet.” 

He took a step back and smiled. “Nice color. Why do you want to hide that?” 

“It’s… too different.”

“Different is good.” He said. “So, what’s the story of your life?” He asked. He picked up the champagne glasses in front of him and wiped them one by one as he listened to me.

“Okay… so three months ago, I… had everything. A wonderful fiancé I was in love with… the job of making dreams come true… a best friend who is also my cousin, who I grew up and lived with most of my life.” I was trying my best not to cry again. 

“My life was perfect. I was planning the wedding of my life. The wedding I had pictured in my head ever since I was a little girl. But… three months ago, I found out that my fiancé was sleeping with my cousin. And he… knocked her up. To cut the long story short, my world fell apart. I lost my job because I can no longer picture the perfect wedding, or… imagine happily ever after… The apartment I was living in belonged to my cousin… I couldn’t bear to live there anymore. I had to crash at my cousin’s brother’s place temporarily… until I get a job or my act together, whichever comes first.” Again, I was reminded about how sad my life was.  


“I was at my lowest point… or so I thought. A couple of weeks ago, I found out that my ex-fiancé and my cousin will be getting married. And to make matters worse, I found out that the wedding I was planning months ago was still going to happen. All of it! From the invitations to the reception down to the florists! All of it was going to happen exactly as I had planned. But not to me.” I took a deep breath. “Everything is going exactly as I had imagined it would be since I was a little girl… except that… I’m not going to be the bride.”


I didn’t know that I was crying until Ryder reached up and wiped my tears with his thumb. He had a sober look on his face. He didn’t say anything but I knew he understood how I felt.


I took another deep breath.   

“And worse, I have to keep a straight, brave face in front of my family. I’m going to attend the wedding.” 

He raised a brow. “Surely they can’t ask that of you.”

“Oh, they can. Her father was like a father to me too. I’m going to do it for him. But God! I can’t be there alone!”


“And what do you need a straight guy for?”


“I need some guy to pretend to be my boyfriend… to pretend that he can’t keep his hands off me… to be so in love with me… so I can keep my dignity.” I replied.


“You not only need a straight guy.” He said, his eyes narrowed. “You need to make everybody think that you were a lot better off.”

I was taken aback by his analysis. Apparently, Ryder’s IQ is higher than I gave him credit for. I admire how immediately he was able to deduce my desperation.

I nodded. “The wedding’s in a week. I’m desperate. I’m… willing to pay if necessary.

He looked like he was taken aback but then he chuckled. “That’s cute.” He said 

“If I ask you, will you help me?” I asked boldly. It’s now or never… while the margarita is still effective in my head, I had to say it.


Ryder seemed like a man who had been through a lot in his life and it would probably take a lot to surprise him but I could see that I had done just that with flying colors.


“I’ll… pay you. I’ll make it worth your while.” I said.

He chuckled and then he leaned his face closer towards mine. “You might not be able to afford me, sweetheart.” He said

“Everybody has a price.” I said, refusing to back down.

“True.” He said leaning away from me. “I’m not sure I’m for sale though.”


“Ten grand. One night. All you need to do is rent a nice suit, come in a fancy car, maybe a Boxster, and rent a diamond ring… or something that will pass up as a diamond ring, at least two carats in size.”


He raised a brow. “You really are desperate, aren’t you?”


I took a deep breath and stared back at him. But I didn’t say another word

“Why the ring?” He asked.


I took a sip of my margarita. “You wouldn’t believe it if I told you.”

“I find a lot of things you’ve said to me tonight hard to believe, but damn, I still believed you. So try me again.” He replied.

“My fiancé gave me a two carat diamond ring when he proposed. He said he worked hard for it and that it represented how much he valued me. When we broke up, my friends convinced me to pawn it to get back at him. I was jobless anyway, and I could use the money. I went to the jewelry shop and had the ring checked out… it turned out to be cubic zirconia, gold plated. I couldn’t believe it. What a fool I’d been! I rushed out of the jewelry shop crying like a baby.” I didn’t realize it but tears were rolling down my cheek.

Again, Ryder reached out to wipe my cheeks with his fingers. When I looked up at him I saw that his expression was soft, like… his heart just broke for me too.


“Do you really think I’m capable of making your ex-fiancé feel like a dwarf?” He asked softly. 

I giggled in spite of my tears. “Needless to say, you’re a hundred times better-looking than he is. Plus, he’s already just an inch taller than me. He’s short to begin with.”

He chuckled. Then gently, he squeezed my nose

“Alright. I’ll help you out. You name the time and the place.”

I looked up at him and searched his face. And somehow his expression was warm and genuine. It seemed that my story moved him and he was helping me out just to… help me out. Not just for the cash.

“You need to rent out a nice suit. I might be wearing something violet in the wedding. Their motif is green. I want to make sure I will stand out.”


He laughed. “Alright. I’ll be your knight in shining Armani.”


“Plus, you need a good cover. Tell them you graduated with honors in an Ivy League school. Doesn’t matter where exactly. Just make something up. You invest money here and there. You have a six digit monthly income.”


“You really are going to murder your ex, aren’t you?”


“I want to make him cry!” I muttered. “As much as I want to save myself from a little humiliation.”

He laughed. “Then I won’t disappoint you.”

I took out the envelope in my bag and wrote my name and contact number on it.


“This is… a sign of good faith. You’ll get the rest after the party.” I said, handing him the envelope, He stared at it for a while and then he took it. But he didn’t open it to see what was inside. 

“How will I find you?” I asked him. “What’s your full name?”


“I won’t be here for the rest of the week. But I’ll be back in time for your wedding.” He said. He took my hand in his and wrote something at the back of my palm. I stared as he wrote his number gently. Then slowly, he brought my hand to his lips and gave it a gentle kiss. “It’s Ryder … Ryder W-woodson.” He whispered.

I knew I was blushing from the kiss he gave me. He saw my expression and he laughed.

“You better get used to it.” He whispered. “Your knight in shining Armani will be doing more than that at the wedding.”

I swallowed hard and I know I couldn’t control my blush anymore.


“Okay. So, I’ll get my bill now.” I said 

“On the house.” He replied.


“No, no. This is separate from our deal.

He shook his head. “I’ll just take it out of your deposit.

I stared back at his handsome face and I realized that he was serious.


“Th… Thanks.”


“You’re welcome, Astrid.” He said, saying my name for the first time. I realized I hadn’t given it to him but I had written it on the envelope.

“I… better go.” I said. 

He nodded. “Are you going to be alright? Do you want a ride home?”


I shook my head. “I’ll be fine.”


He nodded again. “I’ll see you next week then.” 

I’m pretty sure I was still shaking when I got out of the cab in front of Adam’s place. In fact, I was still shaking when I entered his house. He was there, having some drinks on his deck.


“So, how did it go?”

“Well, my friends all stood me up.”


“So not good?”


I shrugged. “I can’t really say. Because… since they left me alone, I got to chat with the bartender. And… oh my God, Adam! He is hhhhooooootttt!!!” 

“Boundaries, sweetheart. Boundaries!” He scolded me.

“Alright, I’m sorry. What I’m saying is, this bartender was so pretty. Like he just stepped out of the covers of a magazine. He looked classy and aristocratic and yet when he smiles, it seems like a million fireworks just burst into the room.” 

“Ash… I get it, okay?” Adam looked at me sternly.

“Right. So, to make the long story short, I ended up telling him that I needed a guy to pretend with me for this wedding. And I ended up asking him if he was up for the job.” 

“And he was?”


“At first, he wasn’t. But then I told him the story of my… fake ring. He must have realized how pathetic I am and… how desperately I needed help. So he agreed.”


“And you gave him my check?”


I nodded. “Yeah. I’m sorry Adam. I didn’t bargain anymore. Ten grand.” 

He shrugged. “You’ll get the rest next week. So, you told him he needs a cover?”


I nodded. “I will call him tomorrow when I’m not too tipsy anymore. Just to give him the specifics.”

“Great! I can’t wait to see the look on Bryan’s face.”

I smiled at Adam. Then I reached forward and gave him a peck on the cheek.

“Thank you, Adam. I don’t know what I would do without you.”

He smiled back at me and ruffled my hair. “You’re welcome.”

When I went to bed that night, I was smiling. I remembered Ryder’s handsome face and how he looked when he kissed my hand.

With a grin still on my face, I thought, where have I been all these years?

Watch out for Episode 5

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