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Chapter 26

Rainie parked her car in front of the marketplace where Mike’s restaurant was and ran out like her feet were on fire. She had to find Ariel and do…something! What was that exactly? Well…she didn’t know at the time but she knew she had to do it and fast. It didn’t help that she was to marry Ariel’s ex-boyfriend whom Ariel still wasn’t completely over, so how could she tell Ariel without it breaking her heart.

Frantically, Rainie peered in at the restaurant to find Mike, but the restaurant had closed already. All she saw was a pitch black room. Now what was she supposed to do? Ariel’s phone wasn’t on, Mike wasn’t anywhere to be found, and she didn’t even know how to get in contact with Joe. Quickly she ran from street to street to see if Ariel would be wandering around aimlessly. What was she to do? Helpless and alone, Rainie felt like she was going to cry.

Too many thoughts were roaming into her head as he looked at the stop sign quickly and started walking. The possibility of losing Ariel as a friend, losing Mike for some jerk her father’s forcing her to marry and ruining her future. It was all going down to hell. It was too fast and nothing could stop it…

“AH!!!” she suddenly screamed loudly.

A car braked in front of her and the lights beamed in her eyes, causing her fear to intensify. Too frightened, she fell down onto the street. Her legs were weak and the shock had startled her. As if her heart couldn’t beat any faster, the car started blasting its horn in her face.

“GET OFF THE ROAD!” the woman in the car yelled.

But nothing helped her. Rainie started crying on the middle of the road and the woman just continued yelling at her.

“You stupid girl!” she yelled. “Get off!”

Suddenly more and more people huddled around her trying to get her up. Some yelled at her calling her ignorant but some even tried lifting her up, but nothing helped. She just cried harder.

“Move…” said a soft voice, from behind the crowd. “Let me in, I know her.”

Rainie huddled her body together and cried into her hands and didn’t recognize the man. He patted her head for her attention but that did nothing.

“C’mon,” he whispered. “Everything will be ok.”

Carefully he lifted her up and carried her on his back. She didn’t even get a look of his face, but she knew who he was. Never thought he would help her in a time like this. She wept silently on his back as she clung onto his shirt.

“Thanks, Joe,” she managed to whisper.

“Mmhmm,” he hummed.

Back in the apartment, Ariel was watching a bit of TV with the blanket still wrapped tightly around her shoulders as Mike made his way into the apartment.

“Hey Joe, I’m back!” he said locking the door behind him.

“Joe’s not here,” she said softly, still sniffling from her cries.

“WHOA!” he screamed. “Oh geez Ariel! I forgot you were here.”

“Sorry, I must seem like a pest huh?” she smirked nervously.

“No, it’s alright,” he smiled.

Well this was awkward. Mike and Ariel had never formally met before. Sure they knew each other but they never had to spend time alone together. The silence was killing Mike. He grew nervous and antsy as Ariel looked at him with a smile.

“Sit,” she asked, patting her hand on the sofa.

“Right,” he nodded anxiously.

He sat far from her and twiddled his fingers. He knew Ariel was a nice girl and Rainie’s best friend but he didn’t want to seem like he was cheating on Rainie. He was to not look at her, at all times! Talk was fine, but needed to be formal.

“You seem nervous,” she said softly.

“Nervous?” he said, as the crack of his voice pitched through the room. “HAHA, never.”

“Don’t worry,” Ariel said to herself. “It’s not like anybody would like me in the first place.”

“What?” he asked as he faced her.

“Am I not pretty?!” she asked bluntly.

“UH…” he said concentrating in front of him and not at her. “It’s all relative.”

“Then am I not smart enough?” she continued to ask.

“Eh…it’s all relative,” he said again not knowing how to answer.

“Then why?” she asked. “Why would he leave me like that?”

“Oh!” he nodded. “You’re talking about your ex-boyfriend!”

“You know what he did?” she explained. “He pretended to be the perfect guy and then all of a sudden he disappeared. For years he was the love of my life and suddenly…he was gone.”

“Really?” he said interested. “He sounds like a jerk! Why would you cry over him?”

“Because it still hurts,” she replied. “Everything he did before was so sweet and genuine that I can’t forget it. But just a while ago he just told me to stop loving him because he was getting married. MARRIED!”

“WHAT?” Mike said scooting closer to Ariel. “That’s so trifling!”

“I know!!” she agreed wholeheartedly.

Throughout the night, Ariel and Mike talked about her breakup and slowly she was able to recover from it. Mike had kept a heartwarming atmosphere as they talked and at times he would cry with her. He would make her laugh from his overly exaggerated expressions of shock and sympathy. Apparently he was more touched than she was. It was like having another girlfriend to talk to. As they got into their second hour of nonstop conversing, Joe came home with Rainie on his back. He slowly got her off and walked into the living room as she took off her shoes.

“I’m home,” he sighed with a joke in his arsenal. “I have a present for you Ariel.”

“Come here then,” she laughed.

He walked in and saw Mike and Ariel with tissues all over the couch. Ariel was smiling back at Joe as Mike was sobbing uncontrollably.

Joe stared at Mike closely and asked, “Are you CRYING?!”

“I can’t help it,” he bawled. “Men are just so stupid!”

“You fit into that category of ‘stupid’ people ya know,” Joe said mocking his antics.

“Mike’s here too?” asked Rainie from behind Joe.

Ariel suddenly felt an explosive amount of joy rush from her blood and screamed “RAINIE!”

Rainie widened her eyes in bewilderment and asked, “Ariel what are you doing here?”

Without answering, Ariel ran towards her and hugged her harshly and soon enough Mike joined the party. They were all tearing up so badly and Joe couldn’t help but wince at all the emotion running around the room. Worse of all, it was like he was the only man here.

“Why don’t you just wear a bra, Mike, and complete the transformation!” he whined.

 

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