**The Marriage Clause**

(Chapter Five)

‘I'm getting a new mom?!!'.

‘Nah not—'.

‘Thank you so much Dad!!'.Emily kissed Marcus hard on the cheek and skipped her way up the stairs into her room all excited,Marcus breathed heavily as the sense of guilt wavered into his heart.Emily is the sweetest and most innocent child he has ever come across,she just couldn't understand the harsh reality about the woman he was going to marry in a week—He didn't know crap about Elizabeth and he was a hundred and one percent sure she didn't like children....... women like her just didn't.

‘You sure you're gonna be okay??'.Tanner, Maurine's sixteen year old son who worked at the ranch on weekends for extra cash asked and Marcus sighed deeply.Honestly he knew he was making a huge mistake but he had no other choice—the ranch was failing terribly and he had a huge pile of debt to be cleared or he would lose everything at the end of the year,marrying Elizabeth was the only solution but that didn't mean he wasn't going to protect his little girl.

‘Of course I'm going to be okay Tanner,if you'll excuse me I've got a wedding suit to shop for apparently—why can't people just get married in simple clothes??'.He cursed loudly and the sixteen year old's brows rose in question as to what his boss was talking about.Marcus realized that Tanner wasn't going to get the point any time soon,so he excused himself before it got more embarrassing.


Elizabeth yawned loudly as she woke up with a bottle of vodka beside her,a huge bout of headache slammed into her and she screamed in pain just the moment when she heard the doorbell ring.Who the hell is at the door? she groaned loudly as she lazily walked towards the door,looked through the hole and rolled her eyes when she saw who it was—it was Carl,the one person in her life who she could trust with her company more than anyone else.

‘Hey'.She yawned again as she ushered him into the house.Carl Melton, tall and lanky with a face easily mistaken for a younger version of Brad Pitt smiled as he placed a huge bouquet of flowers on the white couch, Elizabeth rolled her eyes again and slumped next to him already wishing he would go away sooner than later.

‘You have been under the radar for days and now I'm the last to know that you're getting married?? What in the world Beth?!'.His smile slowly transformed into a frown and Elizabeth sighed deeply.

’It's a long story Carl but to sum it all up....yes I'm getting married to a man I hate more than anything just because I want to get my inheritance,my life is a mess and I feel like I could die from lung cancer sooner than later'.She suddenly bursted into tears and Carl quickly wrapped it arms around her in a warm embrace.It took a good eye sweep of the house to notice how she wasn't really doing okay,the empty bottles of alcohol and the clothes sprawled in different corners of the house—Elizabeth Goodman needed help and she needed it fast.

‘Are you sure you want to go through with this? Elizabeth I think you need to see a thera—'.

‘I don't need a shrink in my life Carl'.

‘You need therapy.It helps'.

’Thanks but no thanks,I'm perfectly fine'.

’Are you sure??'.

‘Yeah....Just one year Carl,just one year and I'll be a free woman'.She breathed heavily as her eyes darted over to the huge wall clock just above the fireplace.Carl placed his hand on her shoulder as a show of support,even though his boss could be a pain sometimes she was a strong woman—he just hoped she was strong enough to get through her marriage.


(A week Later)

Seven people were present at the private beach reserved for the wedding.Carl, Maurine,Tanner,Ella and three other people from the Goodman family that didn't want to be there but we're forced by the family lawyer.Marcus breathed heavily,tapping his shoes on the ground impatiently as he waited for his so-called bride to walk down the aisle....more like the aisle of doom,but after a few minutes Elizabeth had arrived.

She wore a red Valentino gown with a very intricate patten of Swarovski crystals at the front and a long trail at the back,as much as Marcus hated to admit it—she looked stunning and the word stunning was an understatement as to how she really was,it even made him feel like a pauper with his cheap suit which he got from the thrift store on Downtownlooked Street.

‘You are so beautiful'.Carl whispered in approval as he linked her arm with his so as the hand her over to Marcus,she didn't have a brother or father and he was the closest person to a family she had instead of her cousins or uncles.

‘Let's get this over with'.She muttered as soon as she got to the altar,Marcus looked good she noticed—really good actually,with his all black suit that had a perfectly sewn waistcoat.It was cheap for sure,but it was the right kind of cheap and she noticed that he was clean shaven.....God the man was handsome,she almost said aloud but let her incurred hatred keep her mouth firmly shut.

The ceremony started and after exchanging their vows which didn't mean a thing,the pastor finally pronounced them husband and wife and told them to kiss but Marcus wasn't prepared for that.After much persuasion,he resulted to kissing Elizabeth on the left which which sent more shivers down her spine than she expected,then everyone cheered as they were ushered into the car which would take them to the ranch since there was no wedding reception.

‘Ohhh Jesus have mercy'.She scoffed loudly as she took off her heels which were killing her sore feet much to Marcus's surprise.

‘Don't expect a foot rub from me Mrs Sheldon'.He scowled and her head turned sharply in utter disbelief to his insensitive comment—Well now they were married,she had fulfilled a part of the marriage clause,now she just had to live with Marcus for a whole year.

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