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Stealing the Groom
Stealing the Groom
Author: Sparrow

1 || Midnight Tryst

There are two kinds of brides.

The one who cries at their wedding and the one who cries and screams ‘faster’ while f*cking their wedding videographer thirty minutes before the said wedding.

Fun.

Not for me.

Oh well, it’s too late now.

If I had just mustered the courage to hand the freshly picked flowers the bride had demanded to use for her bouquet at her fairytale-themed wedding to her over-stressed wedding planner I wouldn't have been in this predicament. But no, I had decided to deliver it myself, not out of the goodness of my heart, mind you but because the said bride had been a pain in the butt during our every meeting and I don't want any more hissy fits coming from Michaela Stevenson, the monster in a wedding dress, in the most crucial day of my career. Hence the freshly picked flowers for her bouquet.

Plus I have trust issues and as I said, the bride had been a pain in my butt from the start so handling the flowers to a complete stranger was a no, no.

I know I should have refused them the moment her snotty nose twitched as they entered my humble shop but my beloved shop's sales had been on the decline for the past months and I needed the gig even if it means putting up with the mayor's pretentious, arrogant and snob daughter.

Now, I’m reaping the consequences.

Thirty minutes earlier…

The moment I reached the resort where the wedding will be held, the moon was already high in the dark sky, dotted with twinkling stars while the faint illumination from the moon filtered through the windows of my truck. I blew out a breath. I'm tired and sleepy. David had offered to deliver it in my place but Sonia, his wife is due for labor within the week. 

I can't risk it. David's wife had been my mom's caregiver when she was still battling cancer.  Sonia never treated mom like a client; she treated her with love and respect. And when mom passed away I know she had been heartbroken too. Sonia had been two months pregnant then and with mom's death, they also lost their primary source of income. 

Killiad, my billionaire brother had tried to give a monetary gift to Sonia as a thank you for taking care of our mother but she refused to take it, saying that mom was family to her and she can't take the money for something freely given–love. She only took her last payment and that was seven months ago. David had been doing odd jobs here and there but he can't get any permanent job. I tried telling him that he could ask Killiad for a job but he always refused, saying he'll find something on his own. 

Guess he and his wife have something in common. 

Stubbornness.

As I opened the creaky door of my trusted truck the clamor around the place engulf me in an instant. Who in their right mind would want their wedding at midnight? 

Geez.

I immediately touch the necklace my over-protective brother custom-made for me. It was a compromise when I refused the security detail he’d assigned to watch over me after what happened to his wife.

I immediately spotted the wedding planner and her assistant hiding behind a tent in the distance arguing or probably chatting animatedly while their hands were flying in the air. I shrugged my shoulders not wanting to be anywhere near their business because obviously, it's none of my business. Duh. I tiptoed around trying to find someone I know that I could trust with the flowers but no one from the decor team was present. I craned my neck for any familiar face but the rest of the staff left were from the catering service. Suddenly a heavy feeling washed over me and in an instant, I felt like running away. I have a very bad feeling about me coming here.

“Hi, are you lost or something?” I jumped with a yelp, eyes wide with fright as I faced the stranger who spooked my heart. 

Well, that rhyme. Nice goin' Helena. 

“Did I…scare you?” Well, duh. I mentally rolled my eyes. 

“No. Of course not you just almost put me to an early grave.” I snapped, eyes blazing at the darkness. 

“I'm sorry. I saw you and you look lost.” He's voice. I could get lost in the deep rumbling timbre of his voice. It sends delicious shockwaves throughout my body, making me shiver. 

“I'm looking for someone,” I finally admitted after a while of being speechless. I kid you not, such timbre of voice has the ability to freeze the time, it's not even a joke or an exaggeration. 

“Who? I might know him. Or her.” I bit my lip trying not to contain myself as my blood turns south. 

This is bad. 

“The bride, Michaela Stevenson,” I said finally finding my voice while kicking a considerable large lone stone on the sand to justify my action for not looking at him, to give myself a few seconds of reprieve from his voice sexiness. 

I internally cried as the stone stayed in place, damaging my toe, my stiletto and my dignity. If the man noticed my idiocy, he hadn't commented on it. 

“The bride?”

I nodded my head. “Yes, her.” The urge to rub my sore toe tickles at the back of my brain but I stood rooted in place, my face as emotionless as the losing poker player.  

“Why?”

“I got the last flower delivery for her wedding,” I said pointing at my truck not far from us, where the bride's precious bouquet was safely tucked. 

In the dim lighting of the venue, I looked at the man with a critical eye. I'm sure he's part of the wedding with his custom-made tux and the small flower tucked in the front pocket. One of the groomsmen maybe?

If I could just see his face. 

He looked deep in thought and suddenly the heavy feeling I felt a moment ago rushed back in full force. 

This is a bad idea. Maybe I could give the flowers to this man and flee. He seemed decent enough and he might be related or friends with the bride or groom.

“Do you perchance know the mayor's daughter?” I asked again filling the silence between us. 

The side of his mouth quirked up on a smirk and dammit, my fingers were itching, seconds away from dragging his face away from the shadows. “Yes, but superstition has it that it's bad luck to see the bride before the wedding.”

Oh, damn. He's the groom.

“The groom! Yes, you're the groom. Matthew Hartwell, right?” I vaguely remember seeing a snapshot of him leaving his construction company in the Weekly Business Insider. It’s an article hailing him for his hard work and determination in building his own company even before graduating college. My kind of daily dose of inspiration.

Matthew Hartwell’s family came from old money, but rumor has it that they were on the verge of bankruptcy. I heard Matthew was stripped of inheritance for refusing to help the family’s crumbling company. A pity.

Perhaps it's just a business marriage or maybe I am about to witness the truest form of love. Eh. Though, I'm not gonna stay and watch them suck each other's faces into oblivion. There are a lot more delightful things to do at home than watch them make a vow on each other's faces only to break it off the next day. The idea of it happening was quite amusing and exciting. Admittedly, it was out of spite to wish their marriage ill on all the bad experiences I had gone through trying to please the witch Michaela. 

I don't want to judge which I actually did, obviously, but Michaela's attitude leaves much to be desired and Matthew, I don't know him but his attitude seems acceptable enough or human enough since he didn't call for the security to haul me out for trespassing on his wedding. I'm shallow like that. Hah!

“Yes, and you are?” I beamed at him, my right hand outstretched and the incident where he almost sent me to my grave forgotten. How I wish I could stay mad at him for scaring the life out of me, but when you're presented with golden opportunities you ought to grab them with both hands without hesitation. 

“I don't believe we have met. Helena. I'm the floral designer.” 

“Helena. It's a pleasure to finally meet the woman behind all these gigantic and beautiful flower arrangements and for putting up with my fiancee.” He meant atrocious. Seriously. There's no way in freaking hell he'd call Michaela's newfound talent in flower arrangement beautiful. Yes, I'm the florist but like Michaela had said while we were in the middle of an argument, they just bought the flowers from me and I'm just a hired help. I was ready to call quits that day but the bills I have to pay stopped me from bolting out. So, like a good girl that I am, I sucked it up. Maybe it's a good thing that the wedding was at midnight because honestly, the flower arrangements Michaela demanded me to do would only give a bad press to my business. 

His mouth curled up in what I thought is a mocking smile, though I can not be sure due to the dim lighting of the place and the fact that I couldn't even see his face clearly. 

Anyways, I'm sure he's handsome enough for snatching that beautiful but loathsome woman off the dating market he'll be calling his wife in approximately twenty minutes.

Though I must say his silhouette leaves little to the imagination. Yum!

Bad, Helena. Bad!

“It's no bother, really,” A lie. “but if you could point me to her room…” I trailed off, not wanting to appear like I'm ready to bolt any second. Of course, that's also a lie. 

Gosh. If only I could turn back the time and just reject them. I could always use Killiad's black card to keep the shop running for all eternity but I would also be breaking a pledge I made to myself a long time ago. It was to I built my own dream from the ground. It is bad enough that I have to rely on my brother's money for my grocery and house bills. Though I know he wouldn't mind providing for me for the rest of my life but a girl gotta have some pride right? Right!

My attention snaps to my ringing phone. I took out my phone from my back pocket and turned off the alarm while mentally reading the caption I know by heart. 

Michaela Stevenson's Bouquet Delivery

F*ck I'm running late. 

“I'll take you there.” ‘No! I want you to take the flower so I could leave on my merry way!’ I internally screamed, my eyes begging, and was practically the exaggerated size of an anime character.

I gave him a fake grateful smile as he started to walk toward my truck. “But you said–” I was cut off when he suddenly stopped in his tracks and turned to face me again. 

“I'll just be outside,” he said in his you-can't-argue-with-me tone featuring his deep rumbling voice. 

Oh, gosh. What was this man doing to me? 

‘He was turning your womanhood into a slick starving monster, that's what.’ Came a swift quipped from the back of my mind. I hushed it with a shake of my head while I discreetly pressed my legs together, suppressing the building pressure at my core. 

“Are you sure it's okay?”  I mumbled, opening my truck before pulling out the box containing the bride's bouquet. 

He cleared his throat. And oh my, even the sound of him clearing the mucus off his throat sounded sexy and stimulating. “Everyone is busy putting the final touches and you might get lost finding her. I'm sure she'll throw a fit if her bouquet won't be delivered in time and trust me it'll be ugly.”

“I'm sure,” I murmured to myself as I followed Matthew. 

There's no turning back now. 

•••

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