"Let me get this straight." the first policeman I met said. "Your older sister wagered herself in a poker game and lost to her ex-boyfriend?"
I had cried and begged for help, but none was coming. One of the police officers had even threatened to arrest me for illegal gambling.
Now, I was shivering in the cold in front of a massive penthouse. No one was coming to save Illyra. It was just me and my backup plan.
I had to take responsibility for everything. After all, I was responsible for getting Illyra into trouble in the first place. If I hadn't stupidly accepted my boss's invitation to a poker game, she wouldn't have tried to save me.
Clever Illyra, five years older than me, had been a poker game expert and a con artist in her childhood. But after we abandoned our dangerous life and she began to work as an honest waitress, her skills became rusty. How else could I explain that instead of winning, she had lost everything to her hated ex-boyfriend with the turn of a single card?
Andrei Andreevich separated us immediately after he won. He forcefully sent me back to the mainland on his private jet, and I had spent my last dime to fly back, desperate to get Illyra away from him.
For the past forty-eight hours, I had managed to keep everything together after meeting dead ends because I had one final fallback plan.
But now, I had to actually fall back on the plan, and it felt like falling on a sword.
I looked up at the skyscraper again and studied the penthouse. I had caused my sister to lose her freedom, so now, I had to save her by selling myself in marriage to Andrei Andreevich's worst enemy.
His younger brother. Viktor Andreevich.
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend," I muttered, trying to convince myself that I wasn't doing the most dangerous thing ever.
I would marry the devil himself.
I sighed and forced my feet off the sidewalk to the skyscraper. There was no backing up now, and I knew it.
"Excuse me, how can I help you?" the doorman asked inside the lobby, eyeing my dirty clothes.
I licked my lips. "I am here to see one of your residents. I mean, marry one of your residents."
He didn't bother to hide his disbelief. "You? Marry someone who lives here?"
I nodded. "Yes. Viktor Andreevich."
His eyes widened immediately. "The prince? Oh, you must be delusional. Get out of here before I call the police."
I was beginning to get desperate. "Please, just call him. Tell him that Lyra has changed her mind. My answer is yes now."
"Call him? I would never do that." He narrowed his eyes at me. "If you think you can come in here and..."
I searched through my backpack.
He continued. "Capo Famiglia's presence here is a secret. He is on vacation, and I expect...."
"See." I flung the card desperately to him. "He gave me this card three days ago when he proposed to me."
"Proposed to you?" He snorted. "Like the prince would ever..." His eyes caught the gold embroidery on the card, and he froze. Then he snatched it from my hand and read the writing on it.
"For when you change your mind," the card read. He glanced at me and sighed. "But you're not his type." He said faintly.
"I know," I whispered, although my heart twisted in my chest. Twenty pounds overweight, unfashionable, and clumsy, I was painfully aware that I was no man's type. Fortunately, Viktor agreed to marry me for reasons that had nothing to do with love or either lust. "Please, just call him. Will you?"
He studied me for some seconds before turning away to dial the phone on his desk. He spoke in a low voice, and after some minutes, he turned to me with a bewildered expression.
"His bodyguard said you are to go right up." He said, pointing his finger to the elevator. "Thirty-seventh floor."
"Thank you." I murmured before walking away. I could feel him staring at me as my cheap flip-flops echoed against the marble floor. I walked into the elevator, and on the thirty-seventh floor, the door opened with a ding. Carefully, I crept out into a magnificent hallway.
"Welcome, Miss Bennet." Two grim-looking bodyguards were waiting for me in the hallway. With one swift movement, one seized my bag, and the other searched me thoroughly.
"What are you searching for?" I asked, chuckling. "Do you think I would bring a gun or a knife to a wedding proposal?"
They did not answer me or return my smile. "She's clear." One of them said and handed me my backpack. "You may go in, please."
I swallowed, looking at the massive door before me. "He's a nice guy, right? Can he be trusted? Do you think he is cool? Funny? Anything?" The bodyguards stared back at me, their faces impassive.
"His highness is expecting you. Please go on." One of them repeated without blinking.
"Okay, you robot," I whispered to myself, slightly irritated.
I didn't need reassurance that Viktor was a good guy. I'd just listen to my intuition. To my heart.
Which meant I was indeed in trouble. There was a reason my dying father left me a large parcel of Alaskan land in an unbreakable trust. He had also made sure that I could not receive it until I was twenty-five, which was four years from now, or I got married. Even when I was a child, my father knew that I was too naive and stupid to be trusted. He knew I needed all the help I could get to survive the cruel world.
Sometimes, Illyra tried to make me feel better about it. Like how she would say, having a big heart was excellent and lovely. However, I knew she was trying to make me feel better about myself. I could only imagine what she was going through as a prisoner to that Billionaire tycoon and evil mafia lord, Andrei Andreevich.
"For Illyra," I whispered before opening the penthouse door. I walked in, and my jaw dropped in awe.
The lavish foyer was empty, and I had never seen such a beautiful place. My footsteps echoed as I walked on the marble floor, and I felt dizzy as I studied the high chandelier above my head. My lips parted when I saw the view through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Crossing the foyer to the great room, I looked at the magnificent sculptures and twinkling lights.
"So..........you changed your mind."
A low masculine voice came from behind me. I froze at the spot, unable to move.
Viktor was right behind me.