**The Marriage Clause**
‘I'm getting a new mom?!!'.
‘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.
**The Marriage Clause**(Chapter Six)Elizabeth walked out of the car dressed in casual jean shorts and a white pristine shirt,it was her first time at the ranch which she was going to be staying in for six months as per the contract she signed,and by first glance she just wasn't impressed by what she saw.Marcus helped her with her bags and didn't bother ushering her into the house which she was going to be staying in,so she helped herself in and was bombarded by the smell of fresh hay in the living room.It was surprisingly way smaller on the inside than she expected,the main couch looked like it had seen better days,the curtains looked like that haven't been washed in centuries,the wallpaper needed changing and there was a voodoo doll on the bookshelf that scared the crap out of her.Oh God help me,she gasped loudly as she swore she spotted a tarantula but didn't make a big fuss out of it....first thing tomorrow morning
**The Marriage Clause**(Chapter Seven)‘I heard them arguing few minutes ago. Maybe this marriage is a bad idea after all'.Maurine sighed deeply as she guided the new horse into the stable, she decided to come to work early to get on an early start and just happened to hear Marcus and Elizabeth arguing, from what she could decipher they also had an argument last night.It was funny seeing how Elizabeth's sharp witted tongue matched with Marcus's sense of sarcasm.‘I don't think they know how much they were made for each other'.Tanner chuckled softly which immediately died down the moment he spotted Elizabeth outside the house.She was wearing a wide brimmed hat which was a compliment to the hot Texan weather,with shades and a yellow sundress that made her look expensive.Of course she looked like someone who wasn't from a poor background,and male eyes turned to get a second glance on the new lady of Sheldon Ranch.&nb
**The Marriage Clause**(Chapter Eight)Night came and Emily still didn't come down for dinner, Marcus knocked on her door incessantly and even tried telling a dad joke but she remained unhinged and wouldn't open the door.Elizabeth could hear his grumble from her room and after it died down,she closed her laptop and went down to the kitchen,grabbed Emily's dinner and went back up to knock on the door.‘Emily it's Beth.....open the door'.She muttered and was met with absolute silence,the feeling of hesitancy made her skin crawl and she was on the verge of leaving before the door miraculously opened.There Emily stood,with her hair disheveled and her eyes all puffy from the crying which made Elizabeth's heart shudder—she was only a little girl,she was just too young to be mentally tortured!.‘What do you want?'.Emily asked still teary eyed.‘I brought you dinner.....can I
**The Marriage Clause**(Chapter Nine)Mrs Brown,the thirty nine year old elementary school teacher of Emily's class frowned deeply as Elizabeth crossed her legs in front of the class.The other pupils watched on most especially the male ones as a few of them developed an instant crush the moment they saw her, Elizabeth smiled seeing the satisfaction on Emily's face—she almost felt like a proud mother giving a speech.‘To what do I owe this visit Miss uh....'‘It's Mrs Sheldon'.‘Ohhh you're Emily's new mother'.‘I am Emily's stepmother as a matter of fact and I am here to talk to you about some of the problems my daughter has been facing in school'.Elizabeth almost sneered,something about the tteacher just didn't sit right with her.‘She got into a fight yesterday ma'am'.Mrs Brown argued.‘
**The Marriage Clause**(Chapter Ten)Elizabeth was busy in her room trying to prepare for her flight back to Los Angeles to solve some work problems and also spend a little time with Carl whom she really missed,she was just married for a week and as much as she loved her new area she still missed the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles.Just as she closed her suitcase,she could hear yelling from outside the house—It was the voice of a man she didn't know and Marcus—Marcus,what in the world was he up to now? she thought as she made her way down the stairs and outside the door to find out what was going on.She stopped at the porch and rested on a pole,begging herself not to get involved and just observe from afar.Marcus was standing opposite a very tall and muscular man with a strong country accent,he had an ugly tattoo of a bull at the nape of his neck and the obvious bruises and bad taste of fashion proved he was trouble.Fro
**The Marriage Clause**(Chapter Eleven)The private flight back to Los Angeles was a rather bumpy than enjoyable one,all thanks to the stupid weather.Elizabeth yawned with relief as Mark was waiting right on time with the car to take her to wherever she wanted,she wondered how fast he was since he dropped her off at the airport few hours ago but he was Mark;Mark could do anything.‘To Joan's ma'am??'.He asked and she shook her head vigorously, ordering him to take her to the Goodman Mansion where she would have a great bath and good sleep before preparing for dinner with her new investors,she yawned again and decided to switch on her phone only to find multiple messages all coming from Ella—Oh Ella,the so called best friend who ignored her for weeks is now sending couple of messages.What in the world was going on? she thought as she scrolled through each text that clearly stated that Ella's husband w
**The Marriage Clause**(Chapter Twelve)Hours later and Marcus could be seen pacing back and forth impatiently as Emily giggled like a highschool cheerleader seeing her crush on the playing field over the phone.Just as he prayed silently,she dropped the receiver and headed up the stairs,he followed her just to eager and ready to feed is inquisition,all he wanted was to know the topic of her conversation with Elizabeth.‘What did you guys talk about??'.He asked with a frown on his face.’Stuff...... girl stuff'.Emily shrugged lightly in reply and his brows rose in a mode of sheer bamboozlement.Since when did girl stuff become a thing in his house?? He changed her diapers right from the day she was born and now she was talking about girl stuff because of a woman she's known for only two weeks...Unfreakingbelievable! he thought as his fists balled in annoyance.‘I'm your Dad Em
**The Marriage Clause**(Chapter Thirteen)Not only did Elizabeth frown deeply as she spotted Marcus from afar,she also wondered who the redhead seated next to him was.Great...just great,she leaves Los Angeles for some peace of mind only to find another woman seated next to her fake husband—Even if the relationship was a complicated one,it still didn't mean he had the right to be with other women? she thought as she hugged Emily who eventually got to her.Cherry's brows also furrowed as her eyes studied Elizabeth from head-to-toe which eventually begat a sudden amount of hatred.From the very expensive birkin bag to the wide-legged pantsuit,it was obvious that Marcus's wife was rich and very stunning too which reduced her chances down to a huge million.Marcus could also feel the tension that was so far away but still massive nonetheless, Elizabeth's arrival something that shouldn't bother him but somehow he did—he felt guil