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The next day, Rainie stayed at home, working at her upcoming project her father gave her; her first assignment as a new architect. The job was creating her new home that she live in once she is married. Once she was done with the blueprints, she could immediately start construction and so would her dreams. But how could she be happy to build something she desperately fought against? To create and build a physical representation of her forced marriage was an irony all in itself.
As she sat by herself in the study room, fiddling with her thoughts, she saw her father come in with Peter.
“Dear,” he sighed. “Stop working a bit. We have to go to lunch and talk with the lawyers.”
“I don’t understand why we have to eat so many damn times,” she mumbled nonchalantly, looking at her work.
“C’mon Rainie,” Peter added with his own exasperated tone. “I’ll get the car.”
She got up from her seat and walked slowly to the door, where her father stood.
“Honey?” he asked lightly. “Are you mad at me?”
Rainie lifted up her head from the ground with tired eyes, and just shook her head from side to side without any vocal response. Her father knew he had done something wrong…but still. To his knowledge, he was doing something right.
“Rainie, tell Peter to wait in the car for a couple minutes, I have to talk to you for a minute,” he said with a small smile.
“Ok,” she replied back, suspicious of her father.
Coming back inside the house, Rainie met her father in the living room where he sat in his lonesome with a cold and gloomy cloud over his head.
“What’s the matter, dad?” she frowned.
“You hate me, don’t you?” he asked bluntly. “For making you do this.”
“I don’t hate you,” she calmly said. “It wasn’t your fault he didn’t choose me.”
“But I forced him no other choice,” he added regretfully. “Rainie…surely, you must know that I only have the best intentions for your well-being.”
“Mm,” she hummed in agreement.
“Rainie…” he sighed roughly. He got up from his seat and took his daughter’s hands into his in hopes of not losing her in the process. “It was hard for me to lose your mother, I can’t lose you too. Please forgive me for not letting you be with Mike. I know…I know he’s a good kid and I am deeply sorry, but unless I know for sure he will take care of you no matter what the consequence…”
“I get it,” she faked a smile. “You just want me to be taken care of and Peter gives you that reassurance, right?”
“Right,” he nodded back. “I never meant to hurt you. If I have…I am truly sorry.”
“Dad,” she answered. “Let’s eat.”
Meanwhile, Mike, Ariel and Joe were walking down the marketplace to head towards his restaurant.
“Mike, lets go somewhere to eat! You can let your employees manage the restaurant for just one day!” Joe huffed as he tried to keep up with Mike’s pace. “C’mon, you’ve been working nonstop for the past 3 weeks, you have to stop.”
“Yeah Mike,” Ariel continued as she followed behind Mike as well. “Let’s go try a different restaurant, maybe that’ll make you feel better?”
“Nah, its cool guys,” he said with a smile, walking swiftly. “We got to keep up with the demands of the economy! Work will be good for me!”
“Don’t be so stubborn!” Ariel yelled. “C’mon Mike, for one day, eat with us.”
“You don’t understand…” Mike began to say as he turned around to face them. “The best way to go on with life to keep going forward and reaching for my dreams and…why are you two holding hands!?!?!”
Mike stared at his best friend’s odd behavior in awe, as Ariel and Joe just shrugged and pointed to their right.
“HI KIDS!!” Mrs. Lee waved frantically.
“Hi Mrs. Lee,” they all said simultaneously.
“Mrs. Lee made us,” Joe and Ariel said in unison.
“Mrs. Lee?” Mike said suspiciously. “OH! Because she thought you guys looked cute together right? Yeah, the woman can be quite delirious.”
Ariel and Joe looked at each other with fire in their eyes, knowing that they can’t kill Mike because he didn’t know they were dating and that he’d just been heartbroken. But if it were any other time…
“Fine, since you guys insist, I’ll go to eat lunch but we have to come back soon,” he reasoned.
“Ok,” Ariel smiled with glee. “I know the perfect little place.”
“Not the French restaurant right??” Joe winced as he remembered his previous encounter.
“NO!” Ariel made a face. “It’s not as fancy.”
“Sure, whatever’s good is fine by me,” Mike smiled.
The headed towards a nearby Italian restaurant and Bakery, and entered swiftly.
On the other side of the restaurant however, Rainie was busy fiddling with her knife; flipping the sharp metal back and forth onto the table without any real consciousness of what she was doing.
“R-Rainie?” her father asked, sitting across from her with a worried expression.
“Hmm?” she answered in a daze.
“Are you alright?” he asked in a low tone.
“No,” she replied with a monotonous voice. “…Excuse me; I have to use the restroom.”
She got out of her seat slowly, and Ron could see the deadness in her eyes as if her soul were being sucked out by the second. But it all over for her…she shouldn’t waste her energy on something she could get. Passing by the front doors, Rainie caught something in the corner of her eye. Mike?
“Party of three please,” Joe smiled to the hostess.
“Right this way,” she smiled back as she made her way through the restaurant.
“Wait for me Ok guys?” Mike patted Joe on the back for his attention. “I need to call someone real quick.
“Ok, sure,” Ariel answered.
Whipping his phone out of his coat pocket, Mike dials the number slowly until Joe and Ariel are out of sight. He puts his phone down, and sighs heavily. He looked exasperated and dead tired. Rainie saw his expression from afar and felt as if she was in a dream. It had been so long since she had seen him and knowing that he was suffering alone as well brought a deep happiness within her. A bit cruel perhaps, to think so sadistically, but knowing that he was not entirely happy with his awful decision gave her hope.
“He looks so dreadful,” she whispers to herself.
As she continues to look from afar, she can see Mike wind his head back a couple times, to relieve his aching neck, and squint his eyes hard. He sure was stressed. But right when he opened his eyes, he see’s her…with a sad expression of her own. A few silent moments pass by and neither one spoke. Too afraid to not do anything, Rainie begins to approach Mike cautiously.
For Mike, his whole body felt a cold numbness run through him slowly like a waterfall of ice. His eyes, which were locked onto Rainie, were in shock and he couldn’t blink nor shift from his position. He felt like his heart was dying inside of him and everything was going dark. She was approaching more and more, yet he did nothing; possibly because he was too scared of what she might do since everything had happened.
“M-Mike?” she stuttered, still quite far from him. “Is that really you?”
He had no answer. They were standing 9 feet away from each other and yet she couldn’t have been happier being so close to him. She smiled a bit and stepped a little closer as her heart began to beat faster from the anticipation. What would he do if she touched him softly on the hand? How would he react if she brushed her lips against his? What would he say if she told him that she missed him?
“R-Rain…” he sputtered.
“Oh Mike!” she cried out suddenly, covering her mouth with her hand.
He saw the droplets run on her face fast from her eyes like a faucet and realized that she wasn’t meant to live this way; not in the misery she delved in nor in the memory of a failure. Mike gave a deep frown and growled beneath his breath before Rainie came a bit closer.
“Mike?” she called out in fear.
His pulse was rushing out of him as the sweat drench his forehead. Run, he thought to himself. She doesn’t need someone like him to ruin her life. He was a damn coward; a fool, a stupid pushover…undeserving of her, so he ran. Pushing the front doors wide Mike ran out of the restaurant and pumped his legs hard onto the ground as the painful tears ran sideways on his face. Never would he let her be with a man like him; a man that would be so brainless as to walk out on someone who loved him so very much.
“NO!” screamed a voice behind him.
Suddenly just as he almost stopped in his tracks, Rainie grabbed him from behind with a tight grip on his torso.
“I won’t let you leave me!” Rainie screamed with her face pressed close on his back, which was now streamed with her own cold tears.
“No…NO, let go of me!” he said struggling out of her grip. “Let go!”
“I won’t!” she continued to hold him. “I don’t care why you did it, just please…please don’t leave me.”
“Let go!” he yelled at her, ripping her arms off of him. “Don’t you get it, it’s over!”
“No, no its not,” Rainie replied back, with quick gasps. “I know…after everything…everything we’ve been through…”
“It’s too late,” he cried. “IT’S TOO FREAKING LATE!”
“Why do you keep saying that!?” she cried out loud. “Don’t you love me anymore?”
“…I”he tried to reply.
“If you can tell me that you don’t love me anymore then I’ll get over you,” she wept quietly. “I’ll move on. I’ll stop hounding you, stop calling you every five minutes, stop worrying about every second…stop thinking that you’ll be there waiting at the front door…stop wondering when you’ll grab a hold of me at any moment and kiss me and tell me everything will be ok. I’ll just stop…Just tell me, and I’ll stop.”
And at that moment he realized that he had been running away from this for too long. He needed to tell her the truth and give her everything her soul desperately longed for. So, he stopped.
“I…I still…love you, Rainie,” he softly said.
She was silent but nodded for him to continue.
“I just don’t know how to…”
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