We decided to visit Edward's home. I rang the bell and Mr Jones opened the door, a warm smile on his face.
"Hello, Mr Jones!"
"Oh, my cute girl, it's been a long time since we hung out," he said patting my head.
I smiled widely at him.
"I graduated and I also got a job offer from the National Tropics hospital. I will join after a month." I said, earning praise from him.
"Oh, my two children have already grown up. I can't want anything else than seeing you succeed as much as this world can offer!"
Mr Jones always thought of me as the second child of his, a daughter which he never had. He took care of me, even going as far as scolding his own son. I was blessed in some aspect.
When my father died, he actually financially supported our family for some time until my mom found a suitable job, thanks to his help. Willows and Jones were always there for each other I guess.
Mr Jones invited me inside and offered a drink.
"How come our sweet neighbour is here to meet us?! See Elena, how these two have grown up. It wasn't long ago when society committee actually complained about them breaking people's window glasses, taking stray dogs, singing loudly in public or taking late night swims in water," he smiled mildly.
We both grinned widely and a wave of nostalgia hit us.
"Yes. But I thought I should meet you today. I guess I don't want to lose you now, do I?"
Was it too dramatic?
Edward shook his head, an attempt to say, "You're hopeless"
Now I'm going to destroy my own happiness by myself. Here I go.
"Isn't it too silent in the house? How much better it would be to have a daughter-in-law and very cheerful one at that! Not to mention, having charisma like Barbie, when she walks on the floor, it burns like hell and you couldn't get any better after seeing her smile... Oh her lips, When they open, they talk like a waterfall of Nigeria and when her hands touch something, it's done as real, oh her legs are the masterpiece of Indian redwood tree, and her eyes remind you of those extinct dodos around the world...Oh how much you want someone like that in this house," I said huffing heavily.
All three just gaped at me.
And then they burst into a fit of laughter.
"Honey if you wanted forest and nature so badly, why didn't you just tell us.? We could have gone to some trip!" Mrs Jones said, wiping tears off her eyes.
"If it wasn't for your medical job, I would have thought you were practising some comedy," said Mr Jones.
Oh. Just. Kill. Me. Now.
Edward pulled me by my arm to the next room, his grip on my arm slightly more rougher and urgent than usual.
"What are you doing?!" he whisper-yelled.
"Helping you?" I reminded him, in case his human brain hasn't evolved yet but it came out like a question.
"But you called Lara dodo and her legs tree and rabbit and her lips waterfall. How is that helping?"
"I didn't call her rabbit though! How am I supposed to describe her? I don't know her. You know her. You do it.” I whispered back.
"They listen only to you."
"No buts. You said you would help me."
"Because you are my lucky charm. You know I won all those certificates and matches and trophies because you cheered for me!"
I rolled my eyes at his stupid imagination.
"Or more like 'I taught you late at night skipping my dinner," I filled in.
"Because my biology is weak. You of all people should know that"
"Okay fine, I will do it again."
"Please...Goddess Emily," he said, winking at me. So much for pleading, I thought.
I walked, with him urging me to do my task more precisely. I looked behind, his eyes filled with hope and wrists balled in fists wishing me "fighting".
I mouthed ‘I will’.
And then Thud!
A loud one at that. Since I wasn’t looking forward, I crashed into something. I fell on the carpet, a vase on my head and water seeping into my pants.
Oh hell to this fucking plan now!
I just fell, in front of my best friend who I had a crush on for like, forever and his parents too!
"Honey, sweety, are you okay?" his mother came forward in a hurry.
"I'm fine. Couldn't get any better. I just am....kinda felt like exercising," I said moving my arms in circles, smiling in spite of the pain.
"So Mr Jones, how would you feel if you had one girl to fill in your family? Wouldn't it be great to have Lara as your daughter-in-law? She is an excellent girl, she knows everything, and she loves Edward. They have been dating for five years already. Isn't it high time to include her in your family?"
"But dear, we don't like her. Something is just… off about her,” Mr Jones said, “She doesn't really fit into this family."
"Don't worry, she is a cheerful person, she gets into the atmosphere easily. I am sure you will never get bored with her. She is a good company. A perfect one to complete your rich family," I offered, tasting the bitterness in my sentence.
Okay, I won't cry... I never will... He wants that. Just because I couldn't get his love doesn't mean he couldn't get his share of love.
He deserves everything.
And I'll make sure he gets that.
"Can she cook?" Mrs Jones asked.
Edward looked at me and then shook his head.
"Then how can we marry Edward off to someone who doesn't even know how to cook when you know very clearly that he doesn't eat anything except for homemade ones. Weren't you the one who cooked for him when we were outside for business?" Mrs Jones said, clearly agitated.
"Then I can cook for him like always?" I offered.
"Then why can't you marry him? You know him since you two were kids," Mr Jones said.
I so was not going to have that conversation again. It always breaks my heart when Edward ends up rejecting me not-so-conscious about my feelings towards him.
"Mom! Dad! Not again. You know we can't do that. Just let me marry the girl I like okay?” he pleaded.
"Don't you like Emily?" Mr Jones asked.
"I do! But dad-"
"No. We have a reputation, Edward! You are the CEO of the Jones company. People look up to you. What would they think if you marry some chick who wears dangling tops and chews bubblegum while talking to your parents? All she cares about is her manicures. She doesn't even have the decency to show any love to you in front of your parents. I will never approve of such marriage!!" Edward's dad almost yelled at him, his temper rising.
"Okay. Nobody gets married. Not me. Not Edward. Topic's over. Let's go, Eddie. We have to play rock paper scissors, right?" I said, telling him to leave the topic for now.
I pulled him with me hurriedly to the next room.
"Seriously, rock paper scissors, Lily!?" Edward half-joked.
"Then should I tell them that I was going to break their son's neck off and sew it back over his leg? " I said, narrowing my eyebrows.
He just glared.
"Then what are we supposed to do now?"
We? There was a ‘we’? I never wanted him married in the first place.
"You do the action. I am going to my karate classes," I said, waving at him only to be pulled by him, back at the place.
Five minutes later:
We were sitting in the cafe. Trust me, as much as I love him and want to either kiss him or strangle him, I hate his habit of tagging me along in his problems equally.
I know I won't be able to help him because I am a horrible liar, a horrible planner as well as a horrible walker who can't even walk properly.
Thinking of not being able to walk properly, I think I tasted some clotted blood in my mouth. I guess I hurt my jaw badly. It ached now that I thought about it.
I just glared at him nevertheless. In the need, I started to sip my coffee. Three cups of coffee in a row. This much of diuretics is gonna burst my bladder soon.
"So, what's your plan? Any plan B?" He asked.
"That was plan A? You didn't tell me. I would have done better then," I said rolling my eyes.
"You know how much I love Lara. You said you would help me! What now? "
Ouch. Don’t say the L-word in front of me, dude.
"I will help you," I reassured him, my lips twitching upward, unwillingly, but my heart twisting painfully in my chest.
He stared at me intently, as I continued to fidget nervously under his penetrating gaze and in my discomfort, I started to sip coffee.
"Then marry me."
"What?!" I choked on my drink, coughing violently as I stared at him in blunt surprise.
"I said marry me," he repeated.
"I heard what you said but it's-" I inhaled deeply, trying to calm my raging nerves, before looking at him. "Seriously have you lost your mind, Edward?! This is really..." I trailed off, looking at him incredulously.
"You said you'd help me. I am merely asking for your help."
"But you love...but why?" I narrowed my eyes at him, my mind going frenzy thinking of what he asked me just now.
"Because it's the only way I can get off with this marriage thing and can have my love, Lara!"
"What? Are you crazy? This is... so not fair to your parents!"
"But they want me to marry you. You know that. This way I get Lara, my parents get you as their daughter-in-law. This way everyone is happy." he said, assuring me.
But I am not. His plan was illogical anyways.
"But still, it's too much to-"
"You know I would do it for you."
Quickly, I looked at him, no words shared between us as we locked eyes with each other for a brief moment and I realized he was saying the truth after all.
It's not that I doubted his words in the first place.
Indeed, if I were in his place, he would've done it for me.
He would do much more crazy things for me.
For our friendship.
And this time, he needed my help.
Urgently, that too.
To support his love.
Gulping nervously under his penetrating stare which was asking me for his answer, I averted my gaze to look at the nearby couple laughing loudly at some joke before the man bent forward to kiss her. He slid a shining ring on her fingers to which she squealed in delight and hugged him.
I smiled subconsciously at the sight.
"Besides you can leave this marriage anytime you want. I am not forcing you. But I assure you as long as you are my wife, I will be a good husband and a friend to you. I will do everything to make you happy." Edward took my hand, squeezing them a little. His eyes bore into mine, reflecting honesty and the promise of a better future with me.
I nodded looking down at our joined hands, feeling those lazy butterflies doing somersaults in my stomach.
"So? What do you think? Will you marry me then?"
"I really think it's not right to betray-"
"I assure you, Lily, that we'll be fine." He intertwined our fingers and I stared at him, and then at my hands which fit perfectly over his large calloused ones. "If only you were to agree to this."
"I..." Words got stuck in my throat as I found my voice too heavy with emotions to even respond properly to him. My eyes pricked with tears, seeing his eyes reflecting hope.
The hope of his bright future with someone else.
With my help.
"I will, Edward. I will marry you," I smiled at him through the unshed tears.
I felt him hug me almost immediately, my feet floating in the air. He ducked his head at the crook of my neck before kissing my forehead, his lips lingering longer than usual.
"Thanks a lot, Lily. I promise you I won't do anything which we both will regret. I will make you the happiest wife and woman of this world!"
I rolled my eyes at his dramatic character.
You can never give me the happiness which I want Edward because you already gave it to someone else a long time ago and I am not that much of a villain to ask for it when clearly this is the only thing which you smile and laugh at!