“I do,” Asher whispers as he grabs my hand. I smile as I look up at him and his deep brown eyes. Okay I promised myself I wouldn’t cry but when that tear came slightly out of my right eye, I couldn't help it. “And do you, Esther Bennett take Asher Lipton to be your husband?” the priest says as he notices my tears. “I do!” I say as I lock my hands into his. “By the state of New York, I now pronounce you husband and wife.” As he ends his last words, Asher grabs me and kisses me. I swear I just ripped this out of the page of a fairy-tale, but by the end, it turned into my worst nightmare.
Now, you could see that Asher Lipton came from a family of money, Hampton money. I come from city money. Growing up at a private school downtown, the scandal, gossip, and the money can sometimes be a lot. Asher understood me.
I look up at the twinkling lights and my friends and family. We walk down the stairs as husband and wife for the first time. His father looks at him with a grin that I’ve never seen. Less approving, maybe even a little scandalous. Oh whatever, I am not going to let anything ruin this day.
Asher and I met at a party in the Hampton during my 23rd year. His father and mother were hosting and I somehow got an invitation. Yes, sure I was like NYC royalty, but not so much, Hampton royalty. And the Liptons definitely were. Our families kind of split the state in half, they got the top half and we got the bottom. When we met, call it what you will, fate or destiny, but I felt in the back of my mind it was more of an ambush. Like this boy was looking for me. He somehow knew exactly what to say and more about me than I thought a total stranger would. He blamed it on my social status. I don’t know what to blame it on. Since then, his father kept a close eye on me. I was only in the Hamptons for that summer then I had to return to the city, but I felt like Harrison Lipton and his son knew more about me then I did.
Asher and I spent the next year together, living in the city and the beach, sharing each others lives and secrets.It was basically everything anyone could ever want. He listened to me and I listened to him. All of our secrets and family drama was always shared with each other. Asher knew what to say to everything and how to make me me feel good about myself. The two elite families in New York have a son and daughter who are madly in love. Who knew?
The night that Asher purposed is such a blur to me now. My eyes were filled with so many tears that it was so hard to process it all. We were in Paris to check on my father’s ever growing business and right after dinner we took a stroll to a garden outside of the eiffel tower. Then it happened! It was so magical and so captivating. Again, ripped right out a fairytale, but this was my fairy-tale and I was going to spend the rest of my life with the one I love or the man I thought I loved.
After his father turned his head back around I looked at Asher. He just looked back and smiled at me. The best man, Asher’s best friend Chandler, said his speech. It was very nice and heartfelt, but the whole speech, he was looking at me while talking about Asher. To the point where I was uncomfortable to look into his sea, blue eyes. After that, my maid of honor said her speech as well. Her name is Tiffany and she had been my best friend in the city for as long as I could remember, it was kind of like a Blair and Serena friendship from Gossip Girl. She was my best friend that knew everything about me. What Tiffany did probably hurt me the most. Not Asher, not Chandler, but Tiffany.
The music starts playing to our favorite slow song. Asher grabs my hand and pulls me into his warm embrace. Our feet start moving and he whispers. “This is like your fairytale, right?” “Even better,” I whisper as my smile becomes even bigger. “Then good, I’ve done my job. Now it’s your turn Esther,” he says as his voice becomes less warming and more cold. “Wha-what do you mean?” I say as my eyebrows start to become more tense. “This is all a show Esther and you're right in the middle of it. I don’t actually love you, are you kidding? My family has been living in your family’s shadow for too long. There can only be one royal family of New York and you have been proven too weak to hold that position. Thought you would been more clever Esther, thought you would figure it out,” Asher hardens that paragraph right into my brain and my face is in awe. “H-how bu-but why?” I stutter as he puts his finger over my lips. “We are married Esther. You are no Kim Kardashian and you cannot break off this marriage. Do you know how much that would ruin your reputation? Esther, look at me,” he says as he brushes his finger at my chin. My eyes start to fill. “I will destroy you. Your family too. Look, Chandler and Tiffany seem to be happy,” he says as he points to them. They both smile and wave. The rest of the guests just look with happiness at both of us. I look into Tiffany’s eyes. They are piercing into my skin. She wants me gone more than Asher does.
I glance over at my parents. My mom is crying and smiling. I burry my head into his suit as my smile turns to a sob. Tried to pretend like the tears were coming from the right eye and not from the left. “Smile. Smile for the cameras. Everyone is watching. We are married and you cannot do anything about it,” he says as he gives me a fake smile. Our life is ruined and I don’t know what I can do. I ruined my father’s company, all of my family’s hard work because now it is going to be destroyed. I let Asher in, I let his family in. It’s like his father hired a PI to investigate us, but didn’t spend any money. Just let his son do it and made everyone around me feel the same way he did.
How did I not know that when I play with fire, I was going to get burned. I’ve gone up against enemies and those private school girls who tried to go up against me on the social ladder. I always came out on top, but I don’t think this is something I can buy my way out of. I put everything we have on the line and I don’t know if we can get it back.
After the dance I swiftly grab Tiffany’s arm and pull her aside. “Are you mad? Why would you even do this to me? After all that we’ve been through! After all that I have done for you!” I scream at her with a tongue full of hatred, trying to make it as calm as possible. “Queen Esther Bennett, didn’t get her way. Oh boo ho. Look, you always been on top and it is time for you to be taken down from your rein. After your family is taken down, it will be mine and Asher’s families on top. I will get the spotlight that I have always deserved, as the new Queen of New York. Your time is up Esther, there is a new royal in New York,” she spits at me with the same hatred. Tiffany walks away and I am just in awe. I have been her friend through EVERYTHING. How could she betray me like this? Just for the power, the fame that I have. She just wanted to take it all away as much as the Liptons.
I loved him, I thought he could be my happy ending. All he ever cared about what his money, his name. Asher extends his hand out from a distance as I turn around with a face of disgust. His father is staring me down. I take a deep breath and walk into his arms. I must play his game until I find a plan to not lose everything I have.