The Wrong Bride: Chapter 69


I walk through the home Ares and I built, my heart heavy. There’s no trace of Hannah left — our cleaners ensured it. Yet I can still feel her here. I wonder if the scars she left will ever fade.

I’m trembling as I sit down on the sofa, still reeling from the news that was released about her. Countless affairs, and irrefutable proof that the child she’s carrying is not Ares’s. Climbing her way to the top like that… I never would have expected that. I can’t wrap my mind around it. It’s like I never really knew her at all, and it makes me feel even worse for sacrificing so much for her.

I feel like an idiot, and I’m ashamed of my subservience. I catered to her all our lives, feeling guilty for having had the childhood she’s always wanted, when it was obvious that she lacked for nothing.

She’s always had this way of making me feel inferior, and if not for Ares, I never would’ve been able to untangle myself from her web. I don’t even dare think about what would have happened if she hadn’t walked away from her engagement. Ares and I would both still be unhappy, secretly pining after each other. I felt so guilty for wanting him, when it’s her that should’ve felt remorse for the way she manipulated us both.

“Mrs. Windsor.”

I look up at the guard standing in the doorway and tip my head in question.

“Your mother is here to see you. Mr. Windsor instructed us not to let any of your family members in without your express permission. What would you like me to do?”

I hesitate for a moment before nodding. “Send her in.”

I sit back as I wait for my mother, a dull ache spreading from my heart. In the week I spent with Silas and Alanna, I’ve thought about her a lot. Hannah isn’t the only one I’ve been making excuses for.

“Raven,” Mom says, a hint of panic in her voice. I frown as I take her in. Her clothes are wrinkled, and her hair looks disheveled. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mother look anything short of perfect. Despite her age, she still conducts herself as the popular actress she used to be.

“What can I do for you, Mom?”

She approaches me with fury blazing through her eyes. “How could you be sitting here so quietly when there are countless rumors circulating about your sister? I can’t leave Dreamessence to you if you can’t even handle a PR crisis.”

I cross my arms and smile at her. “And what exactly did you do to handle the PR crisis I experienced just two weeks ago? You didn’t even call me to check if I was okay. Did you know Dad tried hiring Silas Sinclair to find and protect me when he couldn’t reach me? What did you do?”

Mom hesitates, surprise flickering through her eyes. “Well, it was hardly a crisis. I knew you had Ares to help you take care of it.”

I laugh, the sound hollow. “I was getting dead threats. People were burning my designs on the streets, calling me a home wrecker, declaring they could never support a woman like me. All of that, and you didn’t even think to check up on me?”

Mom nods slowly. “You made it through just fine, didn’t you? Since you were able to dispel the drama, you should be able to do the same for your sister.”

I smile at her. “Why would I, when it’s my husband who created this scandal in the first place?”


“If you’re just here for Hannah, I’ll need to ask you to leave. I won’t help her.” I pause for a moment. “And if you want to remain in my life, you’ll need to respect that. You have your moments, Mom, but for the most part, you’ve never really been a mother to me. Your only concern has always been Hannah, and I’m tired of it. I don’t need you to prioritize me, mother. But I do need you to stop tearing me down in favor of her. I’m tired of the constant comparison, the snide remarks. If we’re going to have any kind of relationship at all, it’ll be on my terms.”

She stares at me wide-eyed. “What has gotten into you, Raven? I know you’ve always been jealous of your sister, but you’re being unreasonable.”

I huff and shake my head. “It’s clear you heard me speak, yet you’re not listening. Maybe you will, someday, but I’m not going to sit around and wait for a moment longer.”

I rise to my feet and nod at Ben, who is standing in the corner of the room. “Please see my mother out. Deny her access to my home going forward.”

“Raven!” she snaps. “Have you completely lost your mind? If you’re going to continue acting this way, I won’t give you the shares I hold in Dreamessence.”

I smile and lean back on the sofa. “I don’t need them. I never had any interest in your company, Mom. And let’s be real. You never wanted me to inherit it in the first place. This is just another excuse to give Hannah the company. She’s welcome to it.” I stare her down. “I suppose that does mean Ares will walk away from the merger, but so be it. Anything for your precious daughter, huh? Good luck to both of you.”

I nod at Ben, and he approaches her. Unease flickers through my mother’s eyes, but I don’t have it in me to care anymore. I have nothing left to give.

My heart breaks as I watch her walk away. Part of me hopes that she’ll eventually realize how she pushed me away, but a larger part of me knows she won’t.

“I’m proud of you, Cupcake.”

My eyes widen, and I look behind me to find Ares leaning back against the wall. He pushes off it and approaches me with a sweet smile on his face.

His eyes never leave mine as he kneels in front of me, his hands reaching for mine. “There’s somewhere I want to take you today. Will you let me?”

I grin at him. “Surely by now you know that I’ll follow you to the ends of the world?”

He smiles back at me and grabs my chin, leaning in. “I’m counting on it,” he whispers, his lips brushing against mine.


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