But fate had dealt a cruel hand. Theodore had been in a horrific car accident three months prior and was now comatose, unlikely to ever recover. His life hung by a thread, and it was uncertain how long he would last.
The Anderson family, known for their fixation on succession and legacy, was desperate to ensure Theodore's bloodline would continue. So his father, Darian Anderson, took it upon himself to get his son a wife. The sperm that Theodore froze years ago was going to be inseminated into the bride's womb before he died.
As Ariana looked down at the consent form in front of her, her complexion was ashen, and her eyes betrayed a subtle sense of panic.
"Please, can you give me some space to collect my thoughts? I need to read through it carefully," she said to the lawyer, her voice trembling with emotion.
After a few seconds of silence, the lawyer nodded and left the room.
The lawyer's departure left the room in an eerie silence. Ariana immediately placed the consent form on the table. She had to call Jasper Anderson, her secret boyfriend, for help.
As fate would have it, Jasper, Theodore's half-brother, was the mastermind behind this wedding.
Ariana's life had been turned upside down by the recent passing of her father, and the ruthlessness of her stepmother, Glenda Edwards. Ariana was left with nothing, not even her deceased mother's belongings which were also taken away.
Just when Ariana felt cornered, Jasper came to her with a proposition: she would pretend to marry Theodore, and they would find a way to sabotage the surgery. After Theodore's death, Jasper would become the sole heir of the Anderson family, and in return, he promised to marry Ariana and help her reclaim her mother's belongings.
Ariana, under Jasper's spell, initially agreed to the plan. However, as the wedding drew closer, she realized that she couldn't go through with it.
Desperately seeking Jasper's comfort and counsel, Ariana tried calling him, but to no avail.
In a state of anxiety, she sneaked out to look for him. She took off her high heels, held them in her hands, and walked down the corridor, her heart racing with fear and anticipation.
Ariana's footsteps came to a sudden halt as she approached the last lounge at the end of the corridor.
A faint noise could be heard coming from the slightly open door. It was the sound of a familiar giggle.
Through the crack, she heard a familiar voice. "Stay with me for a little longer, Jasper. Ariana doesn't have time to look for you now."
Her heart sank, and she inched closer to the door, peering inside through the small opening. She saw Brielle Edwards, her half-sister, straddling Jasper on the sofa. Both of them were half-naked.
Jasper spoke impatiently as he pushed Brielle away to get up. "I need to keep an eye on her. I'm afraid she will have cold feet about the wedding."
But Brielle, carelessly dismissing the concern, gave him a kiss and said, "Oh, stop worrying so much. She always listens to you. Besides, we have her mother's belongings with us. She wouldn't dare to run away."
Without wasting a moment, Jasper flipped Brielle over and leaned in to kiss her. "You're right. Thank you, baby. I will dump that married bitch when I finish the plan. I only want you..."
Ariana watched in horror as they started to have sex, their moans and gasps filling the room.
The reality of the situation hit her hard, and she was left reeling, struggling to maintain her balance as she stumbled backward.
The betrayal was too much for Ariana to bear. Her heart shattered into a million pieces as tears streamed down her cheeks.
Fury surged through her veins, and she balled her fists so tightly that her nails dug into her palms. She listened to the sounds of the couple's lovemaking with a mix of disgust and rage.
But Ariana was not defeated. She had to take action. She would not let Jasper and Brielle get away with their treachery.
With newfound determination, she wiped away her tears, slipped on her high heels, and strode back to the room. Without a moment's hesitation, she signed the consent form, determined to become the true daughter-in-law of the Anderson family.
And she would make sure that Jasper and Brielle would pay for their betrayal, no matter what it took.
* At night, the Anderson family's residence was illuminated by bright lights, casting a glow over the extravagant surroundings.
Ariana was escorted to Theodore's room by the housekeeper, just after the wedding.
This was the first time she was meeting her so-called husband.
According to Jasper, Theodore was a man with a terrible temper, a bad character, and a cruel personality. He was even cold to his own family. Jasper used every insulting word to describe Theodore, even "ugly."
Ariana had believed Jasper's words and was mentally prepared to face a husband who was anything but handsome. However, when she saw Theodore for the first time, even though he was ill, she couldn't help but notice his inherent nobility and incredibly handsome appearance.
Ariana stood motionless beside the bed, admiring Theodore's stunning features, and began to doubt everything Jasper had told her.
At that moment, Jasper, who was drunk and carrying a bottle, pushed the door open and swaggered into the room, speaking loudly and with no regard for Theodore's condition.
"I'm sorry, Aria. I was too preoccupied today, and I regret not answering your call," Jasper uttered, feigning remorse.
Ariana had to play along with Jasper's scheme for the time being, so she replied, "It's alright. Don't worry about it."
Jasper took a swig of liquor, his smug grin widening. "I knew you would forgive me; you love me too much," he said confidently.
Ariana clenched her fists, containing her fury. "It's late now. We can talk about whatever you wanted to discuss tomorrow."
Jasper locked the door, plunging the room into darkness, and slowly approached her.
Ariana retreated nervously, questioning him, "Jasper, what do you want from me?"
With a wicked smirk and the scent of liquor on his breath, Jasper pounced on her, saying, "We shouldn't waste time. If you carry my child, our child will become an Anderson heir."
Jasper didn't take Theodore seriously. How dare he want to have sex with his sister-in-law right in front of his brother!
Ariana fought back, shouting, "Let me go!"
Jasper abruptly halted, and Ariana gazed up at him, dazed. She saw his expression shift to one of pure terror, as if he had seen a ghost behind her.
In a trembling voice, Jasper muttered, "Theodore..."