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Arranged Love Marriage

By Sameena Saeed Alvi


“Do you want to go with me?” Brandon asked as he got up from his chair.

“No thanks! I have work to finish, I’ll take the next bus”. Elizabeth said without looking up.

Brandon looked at her bowed head for a while and then left.


Elizabeth sighed with relief seeing Brandon go who became a nuisance for some time.


“Why can’t men get a hint?” Thought Elizabeth with a sigh and started collecting her things. She will have to find another job soon.


Elizabeth is an orphan who has been living in a bedsit ever since she finished her college degree. Without a parent to support you, It was not easy to live on a junior employee salary especially when you have student loans and utility bills.



XXX


“Hello, Mrs Brian!” Waved Elizabeth as she passed by a small flower shop. Mrs Brian was a wonderful old lady who often treats her to tea and biscuit when she was in the mood for company.


Elizabeth was also fond of the old woman and look after her accounts and buys groceries for her when she got the chance. Mrs Brian has a great-grandson whom she says is a Billionaire. However, Elizabeth has never met him as he usually visits when she was in office and that too once or twice a month. However, Elizabeth had doubts about his being a billionaire.


“Hello! Hello! Elizabeth darling! Come have tea before you go. I am very happy today. Noah is coming to dinner and he is bringing a girl. Finally!!!.” Mrs Brian waved at her happily and opens the door to invite her in.


“I would love to but today I have to meet Layla and I am already running late”. Elizabeth replied apologetically.


“But congratulations! Noah finally took your hint and is ready to settle down.” She said casually as she stop to chit-chat.


XXX


Elizabeth was running out in a hurry while checking her purse for keys, phone and wallet when she collides with a wall and would have fallen if two large hands hadn’t caught her.


Looking up she realises that it was not a wall but a tall, handsome man who is looking out of place in his expensive tailored suit.


The man was looking bored but his eyes look into Elizabeth’s expressive blue eyes and instantly sparks interest.


No doubt that Elizabeth is a beauty but what makes her ethereal is the kindness in her eyes that shines like a Northern star.


Instant recognition shone in Elizabeth’s eyes recalling Mrs Brian’s words about her grandson’s visit.


“Sorry! I wasn’t watching where I was going”. Elizabeth said and begin to walk past him.


Noah looks at Elizabeth in surprise as she did not wait to flatter him like all the other girls he comes across. Noah was not easy to ignore and his wealth added to his attraction.


Only his Nonna is bold enough to speak plainly to him and does not care for his wealth. She had always been an independent woman who runs her small business successfully and takes joy in it. Despite his many requests, Nonna refuses to go and live with him in a mansion.


For the past few years, Nonna has been hounding him to settle down and always tells him about the benefits of having a loving wife and children to grow old with.


However, Noah hasn’t come across any woman who can keep him interested for more than a week.


XXX


The following day, Elizabeth woke up late and lazily strolls to the nearby cafe for breakfast before going to Mrs Brian.


Mrs Brian was not her cheerful self which made Elizabeth curious but she waited for the old lady to share her problem. Elizabeth never interferes in anyone’s business.


Elizabeth began to talk about changing her job and tells Mrs Brian about Brendon who has become a pest and was forcing her to make the decision.


Afterwards, she casually tells Mrs Brian that she had met Noah last night in the passing but he was alone.


Mrs Brian sighed and told Elizabeth that Noah has broken up with the woman who was cheating behind his back.


“Don’t know what kind of woman Noah dates?”


Suddenly Mrs Brian’s eyes sparked looking at Elizabeth and she recalls about her looking for a job.


She tells Elizabeth to not worry and that she will ask Noah to give her a job.

Elizabeth looks shocked at the sudden change of topic and told her that it is not required and she will find it on her own.


However, Mrs Brian told her that there is no need and Noah will also make sure to not appoint any creep like Brandon beside you.


Just then Mrs Brian got up and called Noah, ordering him to get a job for her neighbour.


Noah looked at the phone in surprise, as Nonna never asked him any favours, especially for anyone else.


However, Noah’s company prides itself in having excellent employees who can keep up with the demands of excellence that he requires.


But he cannot say no to Nonna and told her to send the person to his office the next day.


Nonna became happy and told him that he has made her happy.


The next day, Elizabeth stood outside the vast building and believed for the first time in Mrs Brian’s grandson is a Billionaire.


At the reception, Elizabeth is asked to wait and escorted to Noah’s office for a few minutes.


Seeing Elizabeth coming inside sparked curiosity in Noah’s eyes. Hearing the name Elizabeth made Noah realise that Elizabeth is the same girl whose praises Nonna sings at his every visit.


Elizabeth smiles politely and passed her document to him.


“So why do you want to leave your current job”. Noah asked her while looking at her.


Elizabeth was still unaffected by his charismatic personality and was not trying to impress her with too much smiling.


He also noticed that she was not wearing a lot of makeup and her dress was also professional and unprovocative. Her Porceline skin reminds him of a delicate doll that he had once admired in a glass shop.


“It’s personal”. Replied Elizabeth avoiding eye contact. Elizabeth found Noah's eyes his best feature and look mysterious to her. There was something very potent in his eyes that was making her stomach flutter.


“As you know that this interview is a formality as I cannot say no to Nonna. But You will have to keep up with the demands of the job else I will be forced to fire you”. Noah told her while keeping her documents aside and called his secretary inside.


“Please show Miss Elizabeth to her seat and explain her duties to her”. Noah told his secretary while dismissing them both.


Noah felt attraction towards Elizabeth but he takes his office environment very seriously and despised the idea of consorting with an employee.


A month passed by, and Elizabeth was enjoying working at Noah’s office and was gaining popularity fast because of her unique marketing approach.


There was no direct interaction with Noah since her first day and Elizabeth was content to see him from afar.


Noah also searched her first thing after coming to the office and his day brightens just seeing her.


This unusual feeling started to disturb him while his staff also noticed his lingering glances towards Elizabeth and how he finds reasons to drop by.


Six months passed by, and Noah frequently visit Nonna and enjoy listening about Elizabeth. The long list of girlfriends that Nonna often reads about in the newspaper has practically diminished.


Nonna was happy about the change and felt overjoyed to see the coy exchanges that Elizabeth and Noah often make while meeting at her place. Their old-fashioned romance often makes Nonna giggle.

XXX

It was a cold December morning when Nonna falls sick. According to doctors, Nonna's heart is growing weak and she needs surgery, however, the chances of success are fewer than failure due to age.


Worry lines etched on Noah’s face. He grew leaner and was practically living with her in her small yet comfortable house.


The day before Christmas eve, Nonna called Elizabeth and Noah to her room.

Elizabeth looked at Noah before sitting on Nonna’s bed while Noah was sprawled on the Sofa.


“I want you both to get married to each other”. Said Nonna

Noah sat straight looking shocked while Elizabeth stood up.


My dear children! Don’t be shocked at your nonna’s wish.” Nonna said in a frail voice. “I am an old woman with few days in the bag. I will not be there with you Noah forever, but I want you to have someone after I leave.”


“Elizabeth dear! You are also alone in this world, if you accept my grandson then I'll die in peace knowing you both are taken care of. “


“But Nonna!” Both Noah and Elizabeth said Simultaneously.


“Think of it as a dying wish of an old lady” Nonna said before both objected again.


Noah signalled Elizabeth to be quiet and told Nonna that he will think about it and will tell her later.


Noah had a rough childhood living with an abusive and selfish father who used him as a punching bag when things do not go his way. Noah’s mother passed away when he was very young but his father refused to hand him over to Nonna.


Nonna tried to do her best for him but distance often became a barrier. One day when Nonna paid a surprise visit to Noah and found him badly beaten on the floor. Nonna immediately called the authority and rescued Noah from his father. However, by the time dye had been cast and Noah had turned into an introvert who was suspicious of other people and found it difficult to open up to others. He had no close friends except Nonna and he spent most of his time working.


“I am sorry that Nonna took you by surprise,” said Noah after coming out of Nonna’s room.


“It’s not your fault.” Said Elizabeth while looking at his shoes. Elizabeth finds it difficult to look into Noah’s eyes most of the time.


“However, I would request you to think about it. I will make sure that you are comfortable and never need anything in life while I try to be a good husband to you.” Noah said in a grave voice.


“What are you saying, marriage is no joke. Do you think you can love me?” Elizabeth said looking up in surprise.


“No, I can’t! Love is something that I can’t give you but I’ll treat you well and I respect you and will not demand anything from you.


Elizabeth looked disappointed. She had always thought about marrying for love. So, Noah does not love me, but maybe her love will be enough for both of them.


What! Does she love Noah? A wandering thought surprised Elizabeth and she turned beetroot.

Stopping from making a fool of herself, she told Noah that she will talk to him later and rushed out.



XXX


Noah was having a coffee and thinking about Elizabeth. It had become his unconscious habit. Whenever he is alone, Elizabeth’s face pop into his mind and a sense of calmness enter him. He recalled how he pushes her hair back with her middle finger when she is nervous and how she bites her lower lip when she is concentrating hard on something.


“Would it be so bad if he marries Elizabeth?” Noah thought. What does he have to lose other than his freedom? He is at the stage in life where he wants to settle down but is scared of the unknown.


Noah was lost in Elizabeth’s thoughts when his phone rang. Seeing Elizabeth’s number, Noah sat straight and answered the phone.


“I will marry you for the sake of Mrs Brian but you should know that I am an orphan and do not know who my parents were.” Without any preliminaries, Elizabeth said and cut off the call.


Noah looked at the phone in surprise and a vibrant smile appeared on his face.



XXX


Finally, the wedding day arrived. Elizabeth has left all the arrangements in Noah’s hand except for the dress. She wanted to have a dream dress if not the love she has always dreamt of.


Mrs Brian was eternally grateful to Elizabeth who has accepted Noah’s hand but Elizabeth assured her that it was she who is grateful to her or else she could never confess her love to Noah especially when he did not love her.


As Noah saw Elizabeth walking towards him in her bridal beauty, he stopped breathing. Elizabeth was surely a beautiful woman but today she looked divine. If Noah believed in love, he would have fallen for her.


Elizabeth also look coyly at Noah and admired his magnetic personality and the small smile that is a rare sight.


The reception was not a big affair seeing Mrs Brian’s illness but Mrs Brian insisted on the honeymoon and personally gifted them a two-day stay in Venice which is Elizabeth’s favourite city.





XXX


Elizabeth has made Noah a happy man. He look forward to coming home now and often came laden with gifts for her. Elizabeth was living a content life but some days cloud her happiness when she felt an emptiness inside where Noah’s love should be.


Noah was an astute judge of Elizabeth’s expressions and quickly understood that something is bothering her. Instead of asking her what was making her sad, he showered his attention on her until she forgets what was making her sad.


One day, Elizabeth was driving by a small village area when her car broke down. The area was very remote and not many buildings were there. Most of the buildings were in bad condition and need repair badly.


Just then, she saw a small child running away from one of the houses looking scared.

Elizabeth observed him and the man running after the child with a stick.


Coming into action, Elizabeth ran towards a child and stood up to the man who was about to thrash him.


Seeing the anger and bitterness in the man’s eyes brought back many childhood memories for Elizabeth who had seen and experienced her share of beating while living in orphanages and foster homes until Mrs and Mr Cook saved her and took her under their wing.


The man stopped his hand midway and told Elizabeth to walk away or else she will have to suffer the consequences.


Elizabeth looked at him furiously and told the man to go back or she will call the authorities.


Hearing about the police and seeing Elizabeth’s expensive dress makes the man mellow down and he told her that he was his guardian and was only there to take him back to the orphanage.


The boy shook his head in disagreement but remained quiet.


Elizabeth took the boy’s hand and told him to guide the way while the man followed her behind.


On entering the orphanage, Elizabeth’s eyes filled with unshed tears seeing the dilapidated condition of the house and children scrubbing the floors looking tired and hungry.


Without wasting a second, Elizabeth called Noah to come and pick her up and also bring the social worker and police with them.


Noah became worried and left everything behind in a hurry to reach Elizabeth.


Elizabeth got the man arrested in no time and asked the social worker to file a report against him.


Elizabeth looked passionate while taking control of the orphanage and arranging for people to cook and clean before leaving for the day.


Noah was surprised to see the passion in Elizabeth and smiled to himself to see that his wife was no mouse.


XXX


Two months later, Noah was not surprised when he and Elizabeth brought home their first child Henry from the orphanage. Elizabeth had transformed that orphanage and made repairs to make it habitable. She had engaged a caring and loving staff to look after the children. Not only that she made time to read them stories every day.


One night, when Noah was bent on his laptop, Elizabeth was sprawled on the bed with a book and told Noah that she wants to adopt Henry.


Noah looked up at her in surprise and saw Elizabeth’s eyes shining with tears. Noah got up from his place and sat beside Elizabeth on the bed circling his arms around her.


Elizabeth felt comforted and told Noah that she wants to give Henry the chance that she was given so she can pay back her foster parents.


In a light whisper, she told Noah that the abuse that she faced during her childhood is etched in her soul and she had always wanted to be a foster parent herself.


Noah looked at her with a bright watery smile and kissed her on the forehead signalling her approval and thanking Nonna for making him marry a kind soul like Elizabeth.


And today they brought Henry to the house who has become attached to Elizabeth in a short time.


After the arrival of Henry in their life, Elizabeth’s life became complete and Noah’s fulfilled.

Elizabeth still visits the orphanage daily with Henry in tow.


Noah has used his legal team and has created a foundation to look after the orphanages all around.


Noah has also hired an investigative agency to keep an eye on the working of the orphanage and spot the cheaters and liars before they harm children.


A year had passed, and Elizabeth rarely got free time to think of the love that she craves from Noah and berate herself for being ungrateful. Especially now that he had done so much for the orphanage.


It was their first anniversary; Elizabeth dressed to the nines to impress Noah who loves to buy her beautiful things and insists she wears them for him.


At the last minute, Noah called her to cancel their lunch as he had urgent business at the office and told her to reach the hotel for dinner where he will meet her.


Elizabeth is saddened by Noah’s cancellation and went to visit the orphanage to forget the hurt caused by Noah.


When she arrived home, a gift from Noah was waiting for her in her bedroom. A beautiful white dress with matching jewellery and shoes was sprawled on the bed with a bouquet and a note.


“Sorry! For the Lunch. Please wear it for dinner.” Noah’s bold sign made Elizabeth smile, all hurt was forgotten and forgiven.


XXX


The hotel was unusually quiet and the lights are too dim to see anything properly.

A waiter showed her the way.


Just then a spotlight lit Elizabeth, and another followed Noah as he came close to her dressed in a black tuxedo.


Elizabeth looked puzzled and looked enquiringly at Noah.


“A year ago, I told you I cannot give you love. Yet you accepted me for my Nonna’s sake. You made me a very happy man. Your kindness makes me content and gives me hope that not everything is lost in the world.” Noah began.


Elizabeth’s eyes shone with happy tears while she smiles radiantly.


“Today a year later, My dear Elizabeth, I want to tell you that I am in Love with you. You have won me over with your love and had made me a believer too. I want to promise you that I will love you a little more every day till the day I die.”


Noah bent down on her knees and with the eternity ring in his hand he gave Elizabeth her heart’s desire; “Will you accept to be my wife forever?”


Elizabeth took the ring from Noah and hugged him while the tears ran down her beautiful cheeks.


Just then loud applause echoed around them and all the lights lit up to show hundreds of guests while Nonna came and hugged them.


“And now for your anniversary gift” Noah spoke again.


“There is more?” Elizabeth looked surprised.


Noah brings forward four kids elegantly dressed and told Elizabeth that they are the four kids that they will be fostering and accepting in their hearts just like Henry so they could also be loved and cherished in their childhood.


By Sameena Saeed Alvi

























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