Seven Months Later
"I can't believe we graduated." Pru said still in disbelief as she sprawled on the couch in my living room.
"I know." I agreed. "It still doesn't feel real." I said sitting in the chair across from her.
"So are you excited for your graduation open house today?" Pru asked as she sat up.
We just got back half an hour ago from having a big breakfast with just us girls. We haven’t had a lot of one-on-one time since we’ve been busy with our significant others. We acknowledged that we needed to make more time for girl time so today was it.
As we continued to lead separate lives, we knew that if we didn’t make an effort, we might started to drift apart and that was something we definitely didn’t want. So we made an agreement to have girl time at least once-a-month; going on a double date with Artemis and Andy didn’t count.
"Yeah, of course! I'm just excited to be done with school and see everyone gathered in one place." I said enthusiastically.
"Uh huh. And that's it? There's nothing else?" She asked with a knowing smile as if she knew something that I didn't.
"What's with you today?" I narrowed my eyes at her. "You're acting odd and so was Artemis this morning. Do you guys know something that I don't?"
She shrugged. "Nope. Nothing at all."
"You still didn't tell me why Artemis asked you to pick me up instead of him taking me to the party himself." I said still scrutinizing her.
"He said he had to check some stuff out and made sure your party is prepared to perfection so he had to leave first." She answered nonchalantly.
When Pru and I graduated a few weeks ago, Artemis had asked where I would want the party and I naturally said the summerhouse. He had looked relieved as if that was also where he would want the party to be.
I loved the outdoors and since it was the first week of June, it would be perfect to have a party outside in this nice spring weather.
"Alright. Come on. Let's go." Pru rushed me as she stood up.
"What's the big hurry?" I asked, looking around for my phone. "It's only 8 in the morning and the party isn't til 1 in the afternoon."
"Yeah. But the drive alone is already 2 hours long and we need time to get ready." She said adamantly.
"Get ready for what?" I stopped searching and looked at her. "It's a casual graduation party, what's there to get ready?"
She waved her hands off as if to not mind the particulars. "Just get what you need and let's go."
I was so confused as to why she was trying to hasten me to get out of the house. "Fine." I said as I found my phone and grabbed my purse.
Ten minutes into the drive, Pru asked, "So you guys still haven't heard anything concerning Theo?"
"No." I answered easily. "Artemis said that his sources told him that they haven't seen Theo anywhere. The only lead they had was him flying out of state and that was it."
"Are you worried?"
"Not really. I mean he hasn't bothered me for half a year and I felt safe with Artemis around. Maybe he had an epiphany and realized that Samantha had been using him this whole time. I even got rid of the bodyguard a month ago seeing how it was kind of pointless having him around."
"I hope you're right." Pru said not too confidently.
"I'm sure I'll be fine. If he wanted to do something, he probably would have done it by now. Anyway, how are you and Andy doing?" I tried to change the topic. Talking about Theo was making me depressed and I wanted to talk about a happier topic.
The moment I mentioned Andy, Pru's face instantly brightened. She looked like a woman in love and she was. After eight months of dating, Andy popped the question on the day of our graduation which brought Pru to tears. She had no idea he was going to propose and it completely surprised her in the best possible way.
Even though they had a wonderful relationship and loved each other deeply, Andy's parents still haven't quite accepted Pru for her lack of family background.
However, with Pru's personality, I knew she would fight all the way to the end for her happiness. She definitely wouldn't let some snobby people telling her she wasn't good enough for their son—even if those people came from old money.
"We're good. Andy is really good to me. Even though his parents are still really against me, we're not going to let it affect our relationship." She declared with certainty. “If worse comes to worse, we would just get married without their blessing.”
"I'm so proud of you, Pru." I said with love and admiration. "Don't ever let anyone tell you you're not good enough." I grabbed her hand and gave it a supportive squeeze.
"I won't." She turned sideways to look at me and smiled. "Especially, not my in-laws. If I give them that power from the beginning, I will be miserable until the end."
"Exactly!" I laughed. We had heard many horror stories about in-laws and we had already had many long discussions on how to handle such situations.
The two hour ride went by fast as we talked about relationships, weddings, marriages, honeymoon locations, having kids, horrible in-laws, and an eclectic of topics.
As we neared the summerhouse, Pru took out a blindfold from her pocket and told me to put it on.
"What? Why?" I asked incredulously.
"It's a surprise." She said with a big grin on her face and I didn't trust it.
"You know I don't like surprises." I whined.
"You will like this one, I promise." She said mischievously. When I refused to put it on, she begged. "Please Grace, just put it on."
I sighed. "Fine.” I grumbled.
After I put it on, my mind went crazy with thoughts of what the surprises could be. Maybe my friends or relatives from overseas could make it to the party after all, or my father came back early from his business trip to surprise me, or Artemis might finally put a ring on my finger and surprise everyone by declaring that I was his wife.
I immediately scratched off the last thought since Artemis wasn't the type to do something like that—he wasn't the type to display such behavior in front of a crowd. He might do it in private but not with an audience.
Before I could come up with more possibilities, I felt the car stop and Pru got out. She came over to my side and opened my door and led me somewhere.
I heard the door opened and closed and our shoes hitting against wooden floors—we must be inside the summerhouse. I heard more voices, whispers and muffled giggles.
What the heck is going on? Is someone playing a prank on me?
"You better not be pranking me." I gave Pru a warning tone. "I am not in the mood."
"Relax." She said and I could feel her rolling her eyes. "You'll find out soon enough."
I felt her hand on my arm stopped me from taking another step as she pulled off my blindfold.
"Surprise!" People in the room exclaimed as I stared at their faces. In front of me stood my mom, Angela, my mom's hair stylist and her makeup artist. Pru was still standing next to me as I looked at her and then back at everyone else.
"What's going on?" I asked my mom. "Why are you dressed like that? Isn't it a little over-the-top for just a graduation party?"
My mom had on a beautiful gold short sleeve A-line floor-length gown with gold beadings. Her hair and makeup were both done beautifully.
Angela was also in a floor-length gown. She was wearing a yellow no sleeve V-neck satin dress.
Before she answered, my eyes caught a breath-taking-gorgeously-detailed-lace wedding dress hanging in the back corner along with another yellow satin dress similar to the one Angela was wearing. My eyes went wide. "Is someone getting married?"
They all started laughing at me as if I had just asked the funniest question in the world.
My mom finally spoke up after having a few good laughs. "Who do you think is getting married dear?"
I couldn't bring myself to answer since I didn't want to jinx it.
"Duh. Who else?" Pru hugged me excitedly. "You are the one getting married silly!"
I stood there with my mouth open while my brain froze and couldn't process further. "Uh...What?"
They started laughing again.
I pinched the bridge of my nose as I asked again. "Can someone please tell me what's going on?"
"Here. Sit down." My mother motioned me to a chair in front of a makeup vanity. "Let's get you ready because we might not have enough time. I'll explain while you get your hair and makeup done. Pru still needs to get ready as well and Angela will help her."
My mom started telling me how Artemis had started planning this wedding since the day we signed the contract. He had hired the best wedding planner and even picked out the designer for my dress. He had only asked for her advice on a few things but he did everything himself claiming he knew me well enough.
"How did he know we were going to last long enough to have a real wedding?" I asked curiously.
"He had said something along the line of: it wasn't IF the wedding was going to happen, it was more of a matter of WHEN." My mom smiled lovingly at me as I looked at her reflection in the mirror. "So he knew he wasn't going to let you go no matter what."
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