At Any Cost | Book One of Exafortespent

By Alma Azura Celia All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Drama

Ten: "Love At First Sight"

“That’s awesome. If you need some help, let me know.” Colton smiles, his gaze hasn’t averted away from me since I begin to tell him about my job. It makes me look down at my lap, feeling something odd in the pit of my stomach caused by his gaze, as I smile sheepishly.

“Do not hesitate to ask anything from me. From now on, I am one of the people that’s responsible for you. I am your ‘brother’.” He smiles, placing a hand on my shoulder and give it a reassuring squeeze. I look up at him and smile. "Okay.”

“Kids, it’s lunch! Come down.” Aunt Sarah yells from downstairs, making Colton and I look out my room door unconsciously. I look back at Colton questioningly, finding him looking at me calmly.

“I guess we have to go now?”

“Yes we are. Come on.” He gets off the bed and walk out of the room. I jump off the bed and jog after him. I move my feet towards the dining room that's already filled with the great smells of food behind Colton. We step into the dining room, seeing Aunt Sarah, Uncle Henry, and Ellie already have their own seats on the dining table.

“Hey, come take a seat.” Aunt Sarah says, smiling. I return her smile and pull a chair next to Colton and sit myself there.

“So, have you take a stroll around here?” Uncle Henry asks. I swallow my food and look up at him. “Just few places.” I shrugged.

“How are you feeling about staying here? Do you like it so far?” He asks again. And for me, it feels like he’s interrogating me. And it’s a bit scary. But he's probably just curious about how I feel and probably try to make things better for me if I feel uncomfortable here.

“Of course. I love it.” I smile widely. He nods at my answer, smiling back at me. “I guess you have to get ready for this evening because we’re going to a gala.”

What? A gala? Why should I go? It has nothing to do with me, from what I have thought. And I don't want to face people yet right now, especially elites, because I'm not one of them and I don't know how to act like them.

“What? A gala?”

“Yeah. It's an annual gala for any business-related people to gather. Matthew would be there too since his parents are. And I guess, this is a good chance for you to get to know him better in person.” He smiles. He said that like it's going to be great for me but meeting him now just doesn't feel right.

What if I make a bad first impression or making a fool of myself in front of him? I don't want him to go around and tell all people, especially the kids in my new school, that I'm a dumb. It's just going to make school even more worst. Why it has to be now? I just get here this morning; I’m not ready yet.

“In this once-in-a-year event, every businessmen and women gather to discuss about the market, their companies, some of them doing a partnership, some of them bring their children too to make them to make them know the business world better or just to make them making friends, and some of them just talking about their wealth, snooty people.” He scoffs.

“Just ignored people like that. Sometimes, or most of the time, I could say, they say something bad or mean to make others feels bad. And usually, people like that are the people who are new to this kind world, new to this kind of life. And well, some of them is just the snooty people they are.” He shrugs, frowning a little.

Snooty people? Not a problem.

“Okay. So, when are we going?” I ask and shove some fettuccine into my mouth.

“At six. Because I have some people to meet with and at seven there would be some auction too. Prepare yourself and dress nicely. Who knows Matthew would be having a ‘love at first sight’ at you.” He smirks playfully at me and an awkward laugh immediately escapes me. “Uh, okay.”

Why, Uncle Henry? Why?

“Oh. And don’t forget to wear the glasses.” Aunt Sarah reminds me with a smile. I smile back at her. “Of course.”

After I'm done with my lunch, I excuse myself first. I make my way towards my room, panicking a little on what would happen tonight, what should I wear, and all other things that I can't think of but somehow still making me panic and anxious about tonight. I walk into my closet and stop, looking at the dresses hanging in front of me indecisively.

Shit, what should I wear? This is one of the huge event for me. But not for them, of course. They already do this for most of their life while I’m not. And I have to look good for Matthew, to make a good first impression. Well, at least for myself because people will start to talk about the clothes I'm wearing for the occasion and they will talk badly about it if I wear the wrong choice of clothes. And I also have to manage to look good with glasses stick onto my face, too. It’s going to be pretty hard matching the glasses and the dress.

I search for the perfect dress, eyes looking back and forth at all of the beautiful dresses hang in front of me. I keep searching through the many dresses and finally find the right one. Not too sexy and not too ordinary. It's elegant and it's definitely perfect.

I’m going to wear this tonight.


“Sophie, are you done yet in there?” Colton yells behind the closed door of my bedroom. I stop applying my makeup and yell back, “Not yet. I’ll be done in 5.”

“Okay. Don’t be in a rush. You still have a lot of time though.” He tells me. I look at the clock and he's right, I still have at least 15 minutes left before we depart from home. “Okay!”

I focus myself back at my reflection, hair already gathered into a loose bun, few strands of my blonde hair framing both sides of my face. I pick up an eyeliner and begin to apply it on my eyelids. I draw the line slowly, so so slowly my arms begin to feel weary. But it doesn’t matter, this line should come out to be perfect.

I let out a sigh and put the eyeliner down. I pick a mascara and apply some of it onto my eyelashes carefully, trying not to smudge it. I put the mascara back down and sigh. One last thing: lipstick. I apply a not-too-light-and-not-too-dark red lipstick smoothly across my lips and smack my lips together. I smile at how I look and feel low key proud about it.

Never thought I would look this gorgeous before.

I walk over to my bed and take the dress of my choice. I put it on in a swift and take a quick look at myself in the mirror.

The dress is a silver floor-length dress with spaghetti straps. It fits my upper body perfectly and cascading down elegantly from my waist and all the way down to the floor. And now I feel so gorgeous in this and hope I'm wearing the right dress for the event.

I grab a pair of black heels (you could never go wrong with the basic color) and put it on. I walk back to the dresser and takie the thin-framed glasses. I fold open the glasses and put it on, adjusting it onto my face.

Wow, the glasses feels oddly comfortable for my eyes. And it's great!

I take a necklace with a little heart pendant and clasp it behind my neck. I stare at my own reflection once again, stun by the girl before me. She doesn't even look like me. Who are you?

I walk out of the room, snatching my black purse as I go. I descend the stairwell, with the sounds of heels clicking on the marble floor accompany me. I walk towards the living room and the chatter of Aunt Sarah and Uncle Henry can be heard more clearly as I get closer to the room. I step into the room, with a wide smile already has it place on my face.

Colton is the first one who notices me walking into the room since he sits at the armchair that facing the entrance of the living room. He stares at me, looking stunned by my appearance, and the other follow his gaze and look at my way. Their faces covered with amazement within a second, with smiles forms on their faces. Ellie makes a run towards me, grinning widely.

“Sophie, you look like a princess!” She exclaims, looking up at me excitedly. I look at her appearance and smile. Her hair gathered up into a ponytail. The ends of her hair ironed into a bouncy curls. Her clothes, which is a white dress with silver tutu and a black flat shoes, coincidentally match with mine. That makes us even more look like a sister!

Oh my god she looks so cute! I can’t handle myself to look at her any longer or else I’ll pinch her chubby cheeks!

“Thanks, Elle. You too.” I smile at her.

“Sophie, you look amazing.” Aunt Sarah compliments me, smiling as she stares at my appearance. A sheepish smile has it way to my face and I look down to the floor. “Uh, thank you.”

God, what’s wrong with me? I never get this sheepish with anyone before. This is so weird. All the compliments I get from people making me feel so overwhelmed.

“Oh, don’t forget to call us mom and dad. And from now on, your name is Ashley Pemberton.” Aunt Sarah reminds me.

“Okay.”

“Ready to go?” Aunt Sarah asks, more to Ellie than all of us since she looks down at her with wide grin stretches across her face.

“Ready!” Ellie cheers, making us laugh at her adorable reaction.

“Let’s go!”

“Yay!” Ellie runs towards Uncle Henry and he hoists her up, smiling as he looks down at her cute little daughter of his and then walk out of the room with Aunt Sarah by his side. I laugh quietly, shaking my head slightly, and walk with Colton.

“You look beautiful.” He compliments me. I turn my head slightly and look at him for a quick second, smiling lightly at him. “Thanks. So do you.”

We keep walking in silence and stop outside of the house and wait for him to close the front door as I wonder what makes Ellie so excited about tonight's gala. “What’s with Ellie? She seems excited about this.” I let out a little laugh as I replay how excited she looked when Aunt Sarah asked her if she was ready to go.

“She has a friend, a boy friend. He’s one of dad’s friend’s son.” He smiles and we start to walk towards the car waiting for us. He leans his head closer to mine and whispers, “And I guess she likes him.”

“Oh, really? A first crush for her, isn’t he? Wow, I barely like boy when I was her age. I hate and afraid of boys. And that because of you.” I narrow my eyes angrily at him.

“Hey, I already apologize!” He protests with a frown showing on his once happy face.

You think you can get away from this with just an apology? Hell no, Colton. No way in a million years I will let you forget about what you had done to me three years ago and back.

“I know. I say it so you would feel more guilty about yourself than ever.” I cross my arms over my chest and keep looking forward, avoiding his sad stare.

I’ll make you feel so sorry.

Why am I so evil?

“You’re so mean.” He says with the tone of hurt in his voice.

Don’t act up, big boy! You were even meaner to me years ago than I am now.

“I don’t care.” I stick my tongue out at his sad face and hop into the limo quickly.

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