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“Where are you taking me?” asked Rainie. “What’s so important that you had to blindfold me, Mike?”
“You’ll find out soon enough,” he said nicely as he directed her from the back.
They had gone out for their second date but this time it was all Mike’s idea. After their lunch, he had a plan to take her somewhere very important. Rainie had no idea where they were headed and it was strange enough to ride on a bike with a blindfold on, but now she had to walk strange hallways as well. She could hear her feet patter echoing loudly as Mike reassured her by keeping his hands on her shoulders.
“We’re almost there,” he said softly in her ear.
“I hope so, I’m getting anxious,” she giggled.
“OK! We’re here,” he smiled as he lifted the blindfold off her eyes.
And before her was a strange woman on a hospital bed. She was as fragile as a delicate flower and as innocent as a child. The scent of death lingered in the air but Rainie knew every hospital reeked of that smell.
“Rainie, I would like for you to meet my mom,” Mike responded.
Rainie walked up to the elderly woman and took her hand with a smile. Surprisingly, Mike’s mother gave her a little squeeze back and a small smile of her own.
“…so…you’re the one my son keeps talking about?” she laughed.
“I guess I am,” Rainie replied sweetly. “I hope all good things.”
“…Likewise,” she smiled.
“How’s the best mother in the world?” Mike interrupted as he leaned in for a kiss.
“…could be better,” she wheezed. “But enough about me…how are the two of you?”
“We’re fine,” Rainie answered.
“I’m glad, hopefully you can keep that happiness going,” Mike’s mother said. “Mike?”
“Yes ma’am,” he replied.
“Am I to be suspected a marriage in the near future?” she joked.
“Mom…” he winced at the embarrassment.
“Don’t be so shy,” she smiled. “I was the one who told him to go after you, Rainie.”
“Mom…” he said trying to stop her.
“So you’re the one I should be thanking,” Rainie quipped.
“I don’t know about thank but just remember that I support you guys…and a couple grandkids wouldn’t kill ya either,” she joked.
“OI!” Mike said slapping his head.
“HAHA, I’ll keep that in mind,” Rainie laughed.
“Ok, enough on that,” Mike said changing the subject. “We’re just here to drop off some more flowers.”
“Oh don’t worry I’ll leave you guys alone,” Rainie said getting off her chair.
“…wait,” his mom whispered. “I want to talk to you for a minute.”
“Me?” Rainie asked.
“Yes,” she replied. “Mike? Can you leave us alone for a bit?”
“Sure, I’ll get some food for you,” he smiled. “Be back in a flash.”
As the door closes behind him, Mike’s mother took Rainie by the hand and softly spoke to her.
“Do you love my son?” she asked bluntly.
“Uh…well we’ve just started dating,” she giggled nervously. “I don’t know if I love him just yet.”
“Well…I’ll tell you one thing,” she said patting her hand. “He really likes you. He’s been talking nonstop about how wonderful you are. From what hear, you’re like his angel.”
“I don’t know about that,” Rainie reassured. “It seems like you’re more of the angel than I am.”
“You’re sweet,” she beamed. “Rainie…I won’t be here forever…I’m afraid I won’t be able to take care of Mike when he needs me the most.”
“Don’t talk like that,” Rainie said gripping tighter. “You’ll be alright.”
“Promise me that you’ll take care of him, when I go…” she asked frankly.
“Mrs. He, I don’t know if I can do that…,” Rainie said genuinely.
“Please…” she interrupted. “Mike has always taken care of me and I feel that if I leave him, he won’t be strong enough to take it. You must help him to be strong…”
“But,” Rainie tried to reason. “I don’t even know what to do when that time comes.”
“Just love him the way I know you can,” she smiled. “Hold him when he feel’s vulnerable, catch him when he falls, get him up when he’s down, love him the way only you know how…that’s all I ask.”
“If you don’t mind me saying, that’s a lot to ask,” Rainie grimaced.
“I know you can do it,” she smiled again. “Promise me that you’ll take good care of him for me?”
“I-I…”Rainie stuttered. “I promise.”
Mike was making his way back when Rainie closed the door, softly and he could see the worry written on her face.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Nothing, I was just tired,” she lied. “She fell asleep and there wasn’t much I could do.”
“Oh, well I’ll take you back home then,” he nodded. “But first I have to give this to mom.”
Amazing, she thought. How much Mike and his mother looked alike. He mirrored her smile in almost every frame and Rainie couldn’t help but giggle at that. As if this man before her couldn’t get anymore endearing…
When he dropped her off, she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and Mike rode off to work on his bike. Rainie was about to open the door when it flung open and her father was in front of her, staring with a grim expression.
“Where have you been?” he asked sternly.
“Out,” she responded coldly, as she made her way through the door.
“Out with who?” he probed.
“That is none of your concern,” she quipped, without looking back at him.
They enter the living room and all she could see were documents left and right, all over the tables, and floor.
“This house is a mess,” she winced.
“I’ll ask only once more; who were you out with?” he asked again.
“Who I go out with shouldn’t be of any importance to you,” she snapped.
“It is important! You are already betrothed Rainie!” he yelled. “How can you be so ignorant!?”
“I am only betrothed to a man you have yet to choose!” she yelled back. “You only want me to marry off some arbitrary guy who you deem fit and no one else, but I have chosen someone and I might not marry him, but I have fallen for him. So stop this whole arranged marriage crap and let me live my own life.”
“If only you have proven to me that you are worthy of my trust. You still haven’t chosen the right career even after I gave you my full approval to take over the company when I retire! You are the last of the Yang family to be married and I will not let my daughter to be a poor spinster!”
“I have chosen a career,” she nodded. “But you still refuse to see it as one, because it’s not YOUR chose! I have chosen a man, but he is not YOUR chose! Will you continue to be blind till the day I take the company and marry the man of your dreams?”
“He’s waiting for you in the kitchen,” he replied fiercely. “No if’s, ands, or buts. You will marry this man and take over the company!”
“I will do no such thing!” she yelled back.
“You have no other choice. As long as you live under this house, you’ll obey my rules!” he snapped.
Suddenly a figure merged from the kitchen. The man whom she would to be married to, walked up to her and all she could do was build up a fist full of rage.
“Rainie?” he asked.
It was, of all people in the world, Peter. What was going on?! How did Ariel’s ex boyfriend become her fiancé? This was wrong. This couldn’t have happened this way. But none of that was going through Rainie’s mind when she stared at the man before her. All she could think about was shoving her fist right into his face without hesitation.
“How dare you show your face in this house!” Rainie growled at Peter. “After everything you put Ariel through!”
“If I knew it was you whom I was to marry, I would have never broken up with her,” he hissed. “It’s not like I wasn’t hurt either when we broke up!”
“You left her!” Rainie yelled. “How can you be that selfish!?”
“I left her because I was betrothed to you!” he snarled back. “You think I wanted to leave her?! I STILL LOVE HER! God knows I do! But this is for my family and nothing can make me think otherwise.”
“You bastard! That’s no excuse to hurt her that way!” she ridiculed.
“It had to be done so she could get over me,” he reasoned. “What was I supposed to do? Let her believe that there was a chance that we could be together?”
“I don’t believe you! Get out!” she screamed. “You don’t belong here!”
“Rainie!” her father screamed. “He is our guest; we should treat him as such.”
“He is no guest of mine,” she frowned. “If Ariel ever finds out…”
“Don’t worry about her,” Peter interrupted. “I already told her everything.”
“What!?” Rainie said taken aback.
“I saw her just a couple minutes ago when I was heading over to your house,” he bluntly explained. “I told her to get over me as fast as she can because I was getting married.”
“How can you hurt her again?” Rainie shook her head in confusion. “Why would you do something like that?!”
“Because when I saw her, she still had that glimpse of hope in her eyes,” he responded. “Don’t worry though. I didn’t tell her that I was marrying you. I wasn’t going to hurt her that badly.”
All Rainie could think about was how Ariel felt. What was going through her head at a time like this? What would Ariel do? How would she have dealt with this? Quickly Rainie got her coat and keys.
“I’m going after her,” Rainie deduced. “I have to make sure she’s OK.”
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