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Making their way back to their house, Rainie and Ariel steadily walk solemnly on the cold wet pavement. Rainie’s tears seemed to have painted the whole world black by this point on. Huddling close to her, Ariel soothed her a bit by holding on to her hand and squeezing back as hard as she could to lessen the pain in Rainie’s heart. It was official; Mike and Rainie had broken up.
“It’s over,” Rainie whispered as she walks up the stairs.
“Don’t worry Rainie, I’ll settle this for you if it’s the last thing I do!” Ariel nodded as she patted Rainie’s back.
Ariel opens the door and everything is pitch black; from the ceiling to the floor, the world they were about to enter was like a black hole slowly engulfing the two souls in front of it. Slowly, Ariel ushers Rainie in but doesn’t switch on the lights. Perhaps going straight to sleep would help her to be calm again.
“Rainie? Is that you?” said a low and kindly voice.
“Yes, we’re back,” answered Ariel. “We’re going straight to bed, if you don’t mind, Mr. Yang.”
“Bring, my daughter to me for a second, dear.”
Ariel had always been a tough girl, but nothing could match the intensity of Rainie’s father’s booming voice. It didn’t help that she was staying in his house, rent free, so she dared not to stray from his commands or anger him in any way. Yes, this was all his doing, the reason why Rainie would never see Mike again, but this time Ariel has to obey. They walked into the brightly lit dining room and stood in front of the table, where Rainie’s father sat behind.
“You called?” Ariel asked for Rainie.
“Yes, Rainie, it seems as if there has been a disruption within these past few weeks,” he spoke nonchalantly. “You do remember you have a wedding to attend, don’t you?”
Rainie said nothing, but instead looked down to the ground with absolute despair. She heard nothing her father had just said because she was still playing that heartbreaking scene that had just happened a couple hours ago, in her head repeatedly.
“Yes, she does,” Ariel said nodding hastily. “What about it?”
“I have been inquired of whether or not it will indeed happen. Have you talked with Mike?” he asked briefly.
“Yes,” Ariel softly spoke. “We just came from his apartment.”
“Good,” he smirked a bit but not enough to tell that he was happy. “I trust he has told you everything.”
“If by ‘everything’ you mean that they are no longer together, then yes, he has said enough,” Ariel sighed.
Mr. Yang looked a bit uneasy and unsure. “…so…Mike broke up with you?”
Rainie simply nodded once and winced at the newly forming droplets from her eyes.
“I see.” He frowned for a short while and gave a deep sigh. “The offer is still available.”
“What offer??” Ariel asked curiously.
“Rainie?” he asked directly to her, carefully looking for his daughter’s sorrowful eyes. “I once gave you the choice of becoming an architect and marrying Peter, or staying with Mike. You and I both know that I keep my promises. If you decide to go along with my wishes of marrying Peter, then you can become an architect. You’re decision.”
Something was twirling in her head and she didn’t know what it was. For some strange reason, all she saw was a blurred vision in front of her turning darker and dimmer by the second. But as she heard her father give her the ultimatum, she didn’t even blink before she spoke.
“It was you,” she cried. “It was all you…what did you say to him!”
“Rainie, don’t!” Ariel grabbed onto Rainie to prevent her from going completely out of control.
“To who?” he naively answered
“Don’t play dumb! I know it was you who told Mike to break up with me! Why dad! WHY would you hurt your own daughter that way!?” she screamed. “What did you say to him!?”
“Look, he obviously doesn’t care enough about you to stay in this relationship so face reality!” he yelled back. “If you are to blame anyone, it is MIKE! It was his decision!”
“Did you threaten him?” Rainie spoke bluntly. “Did you offer him a bribe, WHAT WAS IT!”
“I gave him a piece of the real world! I offered to pay for his mother’s hospital bills if he stopped seeing you!!!” he finally said truthfully. “I gave him the choice, but it was all his decision.”
“Mr.Yang…” Ariel said as the waves of shock hit them both.
“…how could you?” she wept. “You told him that you’d pay for his mother’s surgeries in exchange for his love for me?!”
“What’s done was done,” he remarked coldly.
Rainie’s knees were getting weak. She felt dizzy and light headed but nothing was stopping her from getting the information she needed to know.
“…You really don’t see me as a daughter do you? How could you do something so dark and cruel to me? To the one I love?” she said calmly.
“It was his decision,” he repeated.
“Like he had a choice!” she screamed back with tears rolling down her face.
“He did!” he said grimly as he faced her. “And he chose neither.”
Suddenly the night turned silent and Rainie’s bones grew stiff.
“What do you mean?” she uttered.
“If he truly loved you the way you think he does, he would have chosen you and figured a way to help his mother. Besides, isn’t his top priority for being a caterer was to help his mother? Am I wrong?”
He was right.
“If he had chosen his mother, he could have run away with you and the both of you would have eloped somewhere and I would cease to exist in your newly found home. Am I right?”
He was right.
“But he chose neither, and still broke up with you,” he frankly spoke. “Now, my dear daughter, what does that say about ‘your true love’?”
Rainie’s heart flopped in her stomach tenfold before she could grasp what her father just said. Nothing had prepared her for that. Mike had broken up with her all on his own, without any incentive. Now what she supposed to think?
“Now do you understand what I meant when I said you needed protection?” he said in a soft and low manner. “I won’t allow for you to be hurt this way any longer.”
What was Mike thinking when he broke up with Rainie? What was going through his mind when he refused both choices? Rainie’s head was pounding and her heart seemed to be unable to handle the shock.
“I’ll marry him…” Rainie reciprocated in a quiet tone.
“Rainie!” Ariel screamed as she caught her best friend’s arm with a tight squeeze. “You can’t!”
“This is your decision, dear,” her father repeated. “Are you certain that you want to do this?”
“…just keep your end of the bargain,” she whispered back.
Ariel pinched Rainie’s arm hard for her stupidity but all Rainie felt was her heart breaking in a million shattered pieces that left her body cold and numb.
“I’ll get the papers in the morning. Make sure you get to sleep, the both of you,” her father ended the conversation and left.
“RAINIE!” Ariel yelled. “HOW COULD YOU!”
But Rainie said nothing, but instead felt the heat take over her before gasping desperately for air as she drops to her knees in tears.
“Rainie!” Ariel screamed as she picks Rainie up.
“This is how it ends, Ariel,” she muttered. “He never loved me…”
Ariel was beyond angry, for she knew that Mike had already paid for his mother’s hospital bills. She remembered vividly that Joe had told her about it the other day. If he had already paid for the bills, why didn’t Mike just choose Rainie!? Perhaps, Mike just didn’t love her friend the way they all believed he did. This was unacceptable. Ariel knew what she had to do!
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