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SERIES: Knight In Shining Suit (Episode 5)

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I picked out a bright lavender outfit that accented my curves, bared my shoulders and exposed my long perfect legs. I was going to tease Bryan… with something he never had. Something that he should have been having now, had he waited.  

I used to be a little bit on the conservative side when I was with him. But now, they’ve stripped me of almost everything so what have I got to lose? 

I went to the saloon to color my hair. I tried the multi-colored hairstyle. Blonde, red, reddish brown, dark brown and a few black strands. When the hairdresser was finished, I thought I looked cool and my hair looked stylish. As a benefit, no one could tell what my natural hair color really was.


I’m not going to wear contacts anymore. When I wore my gown, it emphasized the violet hue of my eyes, which according to my friends is just beautiful.


I wore light makeup and I curled the edges of my hair. When I slipped into my glass slippers and went downstairs, Dannie and John just applauded. Even Adam was clearly impressed. 

John whistled at me.

“You look fab, sweetheart.” Dannie said.


Adam smiled at me. “I’m glad to see you this way. No doubt you will be the most beautiful woman in the ballroom tonight. Bryan won’t even know what hit him.”

“Thank you, guys!” I said to them.

Apparently, Geena approached Fiona to get an on-site, on-the-day wedding coordinator. I told Nicole to volunteer for the job. It would be nice to have one more ally in the party besides Adam.

I had been coordinating with Ryder most of the week. His cover story is that he graduated with honors at Harvard. He’s an entrepreneur. His family owns a couple of restaurant chains in New York. He invests here and there. I asked him to rent a Boxster for the night and a nice Armani suit. I also asked him to rent a ring for the night or buy a fake one that can pass as the real thing. We even agreed to rent a room in the resort to leave no doubt that Ryder and I were for real. 

Bryan would be eating his heart out! He knew I never, and I mean never, go for super wealthy guys. He knew I preferred a guy who has more time to work on relationships than meet with his business associates. He knew I wasn’t looking for something grand. I wanted a simple but happy life. Quiet and comfortable. And moreover, I would never sleep with a guy outside marriage.


Well, he is in for the shock of his life!  


The doorbell rang. Adam went to get it.


I double-checked to make sure that Adam’s check is in my purse… Ryder’s full payment. 

“I look fine?” I asked Dannie nervously.

“You’re a goddess!” He assured me and John agreed. 

We all waited anxiously for my date to come. I was beginning to wonder what was taking Adam so long. Was he interrogating Ryder already

Finally, Adam came back into the room and behind him was a breathtaking god dressed in a black silk Armani suit. His raven hair combed smoothly in place. He was wearing a pair of dark sunglasses and for a while I thought he looked familiar. He was no longer wearing a stud on his ear and the guy I am looking at now, is ten times classier than the Ryder I met at the bar. It was almost hard to believe that this was the same guy

“Hello, Astrid. We meet again.” He said.


“Oh my God!” I heard Dannie hyperventilate behind me.


“Hey… Ryder.” I tried…hard… to keep my voice steady.


Only Adam seemed not so pleased with my choice and I wondered why. He had a cold expression on his face and somehow I know that he’s biting his tongue to keep his thoughts from spilling out loud… which is obviously painful for him

“Shall we?” Ryder asked.

I nodded. He took my hand in his and gently, he intertwined our fingers. I caught a whiff of his cologne… sweet yet masculine. 

Adam raised a brow at me.

“Oh, sorry. Ryder, this is my cousin, Adam. And these are my friends John and Dannie.”

It’s been ages since I last dated someone new, I completely forgot about the necessity of introductions.


Ryder politely shook their hands. Dannie was quite ecstatic to shake his hand but I could tell the squeeze that Adam gave Ryder was a warning of sorts; probably some macho ‘big brother’ thing. I raised a brow at Adam. He merely nodded at me coolly. 

Finally, we said goodbye to them. Ryder took my bag and led me outside towards a sports car and immediately, my breath caught in my throat.


Now, I don’t know much about cars but I know an expensive, flashy car when I see one.

He opened the passenger door for me.



I smiled at him nervously and then I got into his car. He put my bag in the trunk and then he went around the car and sat beside me on the driver’s seat

“You’re staying at the resort tonight right?” 

I looked at him. “You’re not coming with me?”

“Only if you’d like me to.”

“If you left, that would make this all sound fake, right? Although it is fake. But… they don’t know that.”

“Yeah. They don’t.” He smiled and I had to keep my breathing under control.


He started to drive. It was going to be a long one to the resort where the reception is going to be.

“What… car is this?” I asked him.

He laughed. “What does the ex-fiancé drive

“A Porsche Boxster.”

He nodded. “Don’t worry. If your ex knows about cars, he knows what this car is worth.”


“Yeah, he has a thing for expensive cars. But what is it? Just in case somebody at the party asks what car my…” I trailed off, not exactly sure what to call him. 

“Your boyfriend for now, your fiancé by tonight.” He supplied with a grin on his face.

I swallowed hard, somehow, even I couldn’t believe that I can score a guy like this.

“Okay. Just in case somebody asks me what car you drive.”

“It’s an SLR McLaren.” He said.

“Mental note taken.” I breathed.

“What more do I need to know about you? Brothers or sisters?” 

I shook my head. “Geena was the closest thing I had to a sister. And she tore my world apart. She’s Adam’s half-sister. Adam isn’t actually related to me by blood but we grew up together. He’s a lawyer, which works great for him since he’s probably the most tactless person I know. Says what’s on his mind even though it hurts. He was the only one who dropped hints on me that something’s happening behind my back. At first I thought he just wanted to make me miserable. I didn’t listen. So when the shit hit the fan, he was the only person I trusted. He took me in.”


“He sounds like a good guy.” Ryder whispered

I nodded. “I only realized that now. In fact, he’s the one writing you the checks.”

Ryder just raised a brow at me and then stared ahead. 

“Will ten grand cover all… your expenses? I mean, you offered to rent out a room for us. And this car seemed more expensive than what I asked you to rent…”

He reached out for my hand and squeezed it.

“Sshhh…” He said. “Relax, love. Let’s not talk about it. I got it all under control.”

“And the ring?

He chuckled. He surprised me by pulling my hand and brushing his lips against my fingers.

“You won’t see the ring until tonight.” He said. “Pretend you don’t even know about it.

I laughed. “Alright.”


He intertwined our fingers and it surprised me how relaxed he was. Like he’s known me for a long time.

“You’re nervous.” He said, squeezing my hand. “You need to lighten up a little bit. Remember, you’re on a mission. And you need to accomplish it with flying colors.”


I leaned back on my seat and tried to relax a little. But inside, my heart was hammering wildly against my chest. Whether it’s because I’ll be seeing the two people who hurt me the most or because of the tingle that Ryder’s hands are sending down my spine, I’m not sure.

“Just give me a recap.” He said. “I’m supposed to act in love with you. I can’t get my hands off you and I only have eyes for you in the whole room.”

I nodded. “Pretty much.”


“Okay, so how did we meet?”

I froze on my seat. I realized that I had spent so much time making sure that Ryder had the perfect cover that I forgot that I must also have the perfect love story for us. 

“God! I forgot that!”

“Hmmm… how about at the bar. Oil Rig. You’re there a lot, aren’t you?”

“Yeah I am.”

“Okay, so we met through your friend John. He introduced us and I fell in love with you at first sight.”

“Wow! You believe in that?”

He stared over at me under those pitch dark shades and even though I couldn’t see his eyes, I could feel a blush creep over my face.

“Hey, we’re going for the rebound story of the year, why not go the extra mile?”


I giggled. “I admire your imagination. When did we meet?”


“Two months ago. But you’d lost your faith in love then. I was pretty persistent. Let’s say I sent a dozen roses to your apartment for a month until I finally got you to go out with me, and I hadn’t let you go ever since.”

“Have I met your parents?” 

He shook his head. “But you do speak to my mom on the phone a lot.”

“Where are they?”

“They’re in Manhattan. I’m just in town for my latest business venture.”


“Where do you live in Malibu?”

“Let’s say a few blocks from Adam.” He replied.


I laughed. “Okay, I’ll say it’s the three story house with the huge wrap-around deck facing the beach.” 

He smiled. “Yeah. It could be that house.”


“God, I hope no one in the party would know the owner of that house! Otherwise, we’re doomed.”

He smiled again. “The city’s big enough. You have two to zero percent chances of running into the house owner there to nullify our story.”


“Have we slept together?” I asked, laughing.

He squeezed my hand. “Of course! I can’t get enough of you.”

I laughed. “My ex is going to eat his heart out if he hears that!

“Why? Was he possessive of you?”


I shrugged. “Let’s just say that he also didn’t get enough of me.”

Ryder stared over at me, as if asking me to elaborate. I smiled and winked at him.


“Maybe that’s why he cheated on me.” I said rolling my eyes.

“He must be a loser then.” He said.


“Why did you say that?”

“Because if I had you, I wouldn’t think about touching anyone else.”


I forgot to breathe right that instant. When I finally recovered, I forced a laugh. “Right. Keep that frame of mind. You need it to make it all real.”

“Not a difficult job, love.” He murmured.


“I’m twenty-eight years old, by the way.” I said.

He smiled. “I’m two years your senior.”


“I’m jobless right now. But I’m looking.”

He shook his head. “Why not say you’re looking to put up your own business?”

“Me? Put up my own business

“Yeah. With me in your life, I have influenced your entrepreneurial skills.”

“Wow! It’d be awesome if that were true!”

“Why not? Do you want to be an employee all your life? You’ve got the skills, the know-how, the contacts, and even the portfolio.”


“But I don’t have the capital.”

“Ah-ah-ah… Are you forgetting? Your rich boyfriend invests here and there. Why can’t he invest on you?”

“Trust me! My relatives will be watching out for that! And they would know if it didn’t happen within the next few months!”

“In the next few months you would get your act together. You could always say something more interesting and a little bit less risky came up.”


I stared at him and realized how brilliant his plan was. “You really have the answer to everything, don’t you?”

He laughed. “Just years of talking to a lot of people.”

I realized that Ryder is smart. And being a bartender in a classy bar like Oil Rig exposed him to a whole lot of different people. He seemed like the person who likes to listen to people’s stories. And he’s quite a charmer. I felt confident that we would be able to pull this off. And I have the feeling that even Geena will hyperventilate at the sight of him. Bryan will be practically salivating with envy! That is… if John’s right and he still has feelings for me. 

We chatted, polished our plan and then I must have fallen asleep for a couple of minutes. It was at least an hour drive to the resort.


We arrived at the hotel with perfect timing. A bridal car parked in front of us.

“That’s them?” He asked.

“Unless there’s another wedding happening here tonight.” I replied nervously.


Ryder took off his shades and placed them on top of his head.

“So, now, we’re officially together.” He said to me.


I nodded, my heart pounding in my chest.

He smiled gently. I could drown in the deep green of his eyes.

“Permission to become your boyfriend, Ma’am.” He asked politely and I couldn’t help smiling.

“Permission granted, Sir.” I said, giggling.

He stared at me deeply in the eyes. My breath caught in my throat as I watch him lean forward and brush his lips against mine. It was a soft, gentle kiss. When he pulled away, I thought he took my heart with him

“Do… do I need to start getting used to that too?” I asked, stuttering slightly. I felt completely dazzled by this man

He raised a brow and grinned at me. “Oh no, love.” He replied and just before we went out of the car, he said, “Not just that!” And he gave me a rakish wink.

To Be Continued.... 

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