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Chapter 1: DO YOU LIKE ELIAS DEAR?

Fernandez Manor

"Good morning Dad, Aunt, and Petro," Esmeralda said to her family members when she arrived at the breakfast table.

"Morning dear, hope you slept well." Mr. Fernandez replied and asked his daughter.

While smiling her aunt Vanessa greeted her back, "Morning Esmeralda."

"Morning to you too cousin." Her cousin Petro answered.

Smiling at her father Esmeralda said, "I did sleep, well dad.''

"Aunt Vanessa, Petro how were your nights?" Esmeralda asked her aunt and cousin.

"Oh! Esme, I slept well." Petro was the first to reply to his cousin's question.

Then Aunt Vanessa with a smiling face.

"My night was wonderful dear." Aunt Vanessa replied.

"Aww! Aunty you and that beautiful smile of yours are just too cute,'' Esmeralda said and commented to her aunt.

"Thank you, Esme," Aunt Vanessa replied to her Niece.

"hashAuntt Vanessa you are looking younger and younger by the day, tell me please what are your secret beauty tips, I need to know because am so envious of you..." Esmeralda said to her aunt in a playful turn with a slit pout on her face.

Esmeralda always used to ask her aunt why she smiled all the time. Her aunt's answer to her will always be, "I have the best and perfect family that is peaceful, dear that's why am happy and smile all the time when I see all of you guys every day dear. With what I just told you, you can say all of you guys are my happiness."

One thing Esmeralda and everyone else in the family knows is how much Vanessa Fernandez her father's only sister loves getting compliments. And she always never fails to give them to her every time.

"aww! Dear, thank you, and don't worry when we are done with breakfast, since today is Sunday day and you don't have work at E & F Cooperation."Aunt Vanessa said to Esmeralda.

"hmmm! When we are done okay, I will make sure not to forget." Esmeralda said while looking at her aunt.

Aunt Vanessa replied, Of course."

"Remind me when I forget Aunt, please!" With a pleading expression, Esmeralda said.

"Don't worry dear, I will make sure to." Her aunt replied.

"Will you two please have mercy on us and stop talking about beauty alone, include us as well so we can also shine as well." Mr. Fernandez said jokingly while making a little sad expression.

Everyone at the table laughed after listening to what Mr. Fernandez said and the maid finally brought in their breakfast for them.

Even she couldn't help but laugh at Mr. Fernandez's remarks.

The atmosphere in the Fernandez manor is always lit and full of happiness and she can't help but pray this family stays like this always.

The atmosphere used to be even more than this when the late madam, May her soul raised in peace was around. Also when their second young Miss Linda was around, the house atmosphere used to be incredible as well.

***

Esmeralda was sitting on the swing in the garden reading a book when her father appeared, "Can I sit with you miss?" Mr. Fernandez said while smiling widely at his daughter.

"Of course Mr. Fernandez you may," Esmeralda replied to her father while smiling back at him.

"Ok! Ok! Let's drop the formalities since we are not in the office and today is Sunday too dear." while holding his daughter's hands in his with a smile that never left his face since he came to meet her.

After taking a deep breath Mr. Fernandez said, can, we talk sweetheart?"

"Yes of course and, what happened?" Esmeralda asked her father.

While looking straight into his daughter's eyes Mr. Fernandez asked, "What do you think about Elias?"

Esmeralda blinked dumbly at her father, her mind turning blank.

Noticing his daughter's expression, the older man chuckled. "I had a conversation with Patrick yesterday."

Hearing the name of her father's dear friend, Esmeralda's heart dropped. She didn't have a good feeling about where this conversation was going.

"He had brought up a brilliant suggestion." Her father's eyes practically sparkled with excitement, a direct contrast to the building dread in Esmeralda's stomach. "My dear, how do you feel about marrying Elias?"

Elias was Patrick's son, someone that Esmeralda had grown up with. However, that was all he was to her. Elias is just a friend and nothing more to her.

"I don't like Elias that way, Dad." Esmeralda frowned.

"You don't?'' Mr. Fernandez asked after hearing his daughter's reply.

Esmeralda exhaled. "Dad, look, Elias and I are just friends. Nothing more."

"But you two were so close growing up. It would be a good match, Esmeralda," her father said.

Silently, Esmeralda tightly clenched her fists at her sides, trying her best to contain herself. Her father was always like this-- once he had made a decision, he wouldn't listen to any other suggestions, even if he was the one who had asked for those differing opinions in the first place.

"But Dad--"

"Who knows?" Mr. Fernandez cut in before Esmeralda could finish her sentence. "As the saying goes, no good relationship starts without a good friendship first. After your marriage, you might both develop feelings for each other."

"Elias and I--"

Ignoring her, he continued, "The boy might even welcome the arrangement. We always thought that he had a thing for you."

With a wink, Mr. Fernandez stood up from his seat.

"Try talking to him first so that we can get an idea of what he feels about this arrangement, alright? If he has feelings for you, it wouldn't be too bad an idea to get married," he said.

Walking over, he gave his daughter's shoulder a light squeeze. All Esmeralda felt were the chains on her body tightening. She didn't want this marriage; she didn't need to be bound by it. However, nothing she was saying was getting through to her father.

"I'm sure that after you see how much he loves you and how good he is, you will eventually learn to love him too."

With those final words, Mr. Fenandez left the room, leaving his daughter to simmer in the aftershock of the news he had just dropped on her.

Robert Fernandez left his daughter to think of what he just said to her.

chest tightness and heavy breathing are Esmeralda's current feelings, she feels so bad, is this how it's going to end?

'But I don't like him, Dadd.' Esmeralda utters to herself after her dad leaves, but her dad is also right she should see Elias and ask him how he feels about this arrangement that their parents have planned.

And if he is okay with the arrangement then she knows the answer she has to give her father.

'Every good relationship starts with a good friendship also I don't want to break his heart either because I know he thinks if I marry Elias then I will be very well taken care of by him and the rest of the Watsons as well since Uncle Patrick and Dad are best friends, besides aunt Ivy, Diane they both also like me a lot. So it won't harm to marry Elias Watson after all. And if he likes me and is okay with the arrangement done by our parents.' Esmeralda tried all she could to convince herself marrying Elias was not bad because it came with a lot of bonuses, she would gain a mother, another sister, and a second father as well.

Although he is also a good man and she has also seen how much he loves and respects his parents a lot and how he loves and takes care of Diane his younger sister so much all the time or she should say too many times.

The last thing she wants is to disappoint her father even worst break his heart, he will be heartbroken if she is to refuse this alliance,e and disobeying to join is the last thing she wants right now.


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