Lauren walked along the sidewalk with a bounce in every step, she had a small smile on her face, had her i pod playing her favorite song and just felt like she could sail off the ground in her ecstasy. A man going in the other direction bumped into her and scowled at her in irritation and even though they were both at fault, she flashed him a big smile and apologized, completely forgetting all about him even before she had fully turned back around…she was lost in her daydream…she was actually getting married to her best friend, the absolute best man she had ever known, she could just imagine what their life would be like, she tried to imagine it starting at the beginning; from the wedding ceremony to the honeymoon but she was just too impatient and she skipped to them having children, hmmm… Perfect! All she knew though was that their life together was going to be a blast, I mean how could it be anything less, the man was her absolute best friend in all the world and he had been since the 4th grade, they had seen each other through so much; from knee scrapes to heartbreaks and somehow she had always known that she would end up with him. She had been in love with him all her life and even though it had hurt terribly watching him give his heart to various girls and women, she had held on tight to the saying “if you love something, set it free and if it comes back to you, then you know its yours”. That had definitely proven true now. There was absolutely nothing they didn’t know about each other. Their relationship had always been special, they had even shared a kiss in the 5th grade just so they would be each other’s first kiss. She loved this man so much, she felt like she had sprouted wings. She had a huge smile on her face.
She was completely oblivious to the gathering ominous clouds hovering above her just waiting to let down the worst kinds of rain upon her…
She was on her way to Luke’s apartment, he was at work right now and she thought she would go over and prepare a nice, romantic dinner for when he gets off work, he would be so surprised, she could hardly wait. She could still hardly believe that he had asked her to marry him, they had been in the middle of their traditional once a week hang-out when he had suddenly turned to her and spoken words her heart could hardly contain, Yes he loved her, he always had and he had been getting more and more convinced that they were meant to be together, he didn’t want to waste any more time as he couldn’t wait to start their life as a couple and right there on the sidewalk in front of the movie theatre, he had gotten on one knee and asked her to marry him, she was shocked speechless that she could only nod repeatedly while tears of joy streamed down her face, her heart had sprouted wings at that moment and all the butterflies in her tummy went crazy as they fluttered around. The fact that he didn’t have a ring just then didn’t even daunt her, in fact it just seemed to enforce the fact that it was completely spontaneous and she couldn’t have asked for a more romantic proposal.
She got to the apartment, got his spare key from the top of the door post to the left where she knew he kept it. She got to work immediately preparing all his favorites, she opened a bottle of red wine and put it into an ice bucket, when she was done with the meal, she still had about 2hours to spare before Luke would return home, so she decided to take a long luxurious bath, just as she finished preparing the bath, she heard the door to the apartment open and her heart skipped a beat in excitement as she realized Luke was home early, she was about to call out to him when she heard a woman sobbing and realized he wasn’t alone.
She didn’t mean to eavesdrop, she really didn’t, she just seemed to sense that something was very wrong and she couldn’t will her body to move, Luke seemed to be trying to console the sobbing woman who seemed to be crying so hard it was difficult for her to get any words out, eventually though, a few words filtered to Lauren “don’t do it, don’t marry her, our baby…”, Lauren’s mind refused to comprehend what she had just heard even as another part of her mind tried to make sense of that statement but then Luke’s voice floated to her and her heart almost stopped “we need this darling, you’re the only woman I love, I’m doing this for you and our baby, we’ve been over this, it will just be for a while, 6 months at the very most and then we can go start our lives somewhere far away”. Lauren began shivering violently, feeling hot and cold all at the same time, goose bumps covering her entire body, she couldn’t seem to do anything other than stand there, listening, not really hearing, mind blank, thoughts running around her mind, she couldn’t seem to make any sense of what she was hearing, she couldn’t accept what this meant, she was struggling desperately to come up with an explanation that didn’t imply that her best friend was a monster, that there was no love. There was no love?
Lauren’s mind kept running around trying to understand, trying to make some sense while her body still refused to move from behind the bedroom door where she was slightly concealed.
The sobbing lady who Luke called Veronica finally stopped crying and said “walk me through it once more, tell me why and how long, I need you to convince me again”, and from Lauren’s spot, she listened to Luke talk about investing all his money in the telecommunication company that he had gotten inside information about, how the company had collapsed just two days later and his shares in it became worthless, how he’s been trying to get himself back on his feet as he was virtually on the brink of bankruptcy, she listened to Luke talk about her and how she was such a sweet naïve girl whom he really didn’t like taking advantage of but whose long infatuation with him just proved opportunistic as she had just turned 24 and gotten her huge trust fund and since they have always been best friends (he gave a harsh sounding laugh here) she would definitely trust him enough with her money and assets and all he would need was a few months, six at the most to hide away some money and then when he had enough, he would go away with Veronica and they would get married and start the life he really wants. It had to be six months at the very most because he wanted to be married to Veronica before their baby was born.
Laura stood rooted to that spot, tears streaming down her face, pictures and thoughts of her and Luke growing up together running through her mind like a slide-show.
He was her best friend, she knew him. This couldn’t be happening. She knew him. She loved him. He loved her. She knew him. She knows him. Her best friend.
The oven timer sounded indicating that the roast was ready and Luke knew they weren’t alone.
©Adeola Matemilola 2012
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