I couldn’t believe what I was hearing across the black door. I lost all concentration, until, “Two teaspoons Laura!” My little sister Amanda gently tapped my arm, trying to get my attention. “Huh!” I turned towards her abruptly, causing the jar of sugar to slide off the table and shattered to pieces on the ground. I just nearly flooded my Father’s tea with too much sugar and now broken glass all over the floor? “Goodness!” Amanda backed away immediately but blood was already gushing out from her left toe. “No, no, no, oh my God!” I gasped rushing to clean the mess, “I’m so, so sorry” I said as gently as I could still looking across the black door. “LAURA!!!!” She called, making me to jerk again. “What are you even staring at?” she asked. Ignoring her question, I sat her down on the table and covered her bleeding toe with a towel. “Where did Mother keep the first aid kit” I asked. “My bedroom, in one of the drawers” she answered gnashing her teeth in pain, “Stay here, don’t move, I’ll be right back okay?” I pat her laps slowly and rushed out of the kitchen. No one was at home at that time but Father. He was ill and had to stay home until he recovers. My two brothers; Peter and Ark both followed my Mother to work, for a secret project they are all working on, leaving Amanda and I with father. But as Amanda and I entered the kitchen to make his tea, I overheard him talking to ‘Tony’ the supposed man I was betrothed to behind the black door leading to our balcony just a few feet from the kitchen. I really wanted to hear what they were both talking about and I could get some information before Amanda kind of saved me from putting too much sugar in my father’s tea. Turns out my Father and that ‘man’ are planning the wedding, a wedding that I’m forced into, but was the last part I heard just my ears or was it real. “By this weekend the contract will be done” My father’s voice played back in my head I frowned at the thought with soo many emotions flooding my head but I had to control it. I got the first aid kit and rushed back to Amanda. “I know what you were looking at” she said as soon as I entered the kitchen. I halted immediately and stared at the trail of blood leading to the black door, then glared at her. “I told you not to go anywhere, God!!” I exclaimed, grabbed the mop and bucket that was sitting around the corner of the kitchen. “I know you don’t want to marry Mr. Andrews, Laura….” “…..stay out of that Amanda” I snapped, sealing Amanda’s mouth completely. I started to wipe the blood trails off, “they are still in there you know” she smiled a little. “Amanda!” My voice sounded more like a warning, “I have finished making father’s tea” she said in a very low tune, but I didn’t answer her. After wiping off the trail of blood from the floor, I looked at the door, then at her “Listen, Laura…” “…Not a word about him from you” My glare was enough to silence her. She kept silent as I cleaned up and dressed her injury. I noticed that she kept on looking at the black door and I frowned at that, “The tea is cold already” I pointed out. “Well, make another one yourself” she said, jumped off the table, and landed on her cut “Ouch!” she screamed and I rushed to her immediately but she gently pushed me away. “I’m fine” She said and limped her way out of the kitchen. I furrowed my eyebrows, looking worriedly at Amanda until she slammed the kitchen door shut and was out of sight. “Great!” I sighed. Then I put another kettle of water on fire to boil and leaned against the cupboard waiting for it to be hot. As I stood there, I remembered father and Tony Andrew’s conversation, well part of what I heard before the whole Amanda incident. “So my marriage is based on a stupid contract” I thought “father is selling me off?” it sounded as good as a question, but the thought of it coming to reality was suffocating. “He thinks I’m some kind of material” I scoffed. As I emptied the hot water in the kettle into the flask, I heard the black door open behind me. I tried not to look back “Laura?” My father called forcing me to turn. I stared at him and Tony, trying my very best not to turn it into to a glare. “Have you been here?” He asked. I then gave him the ‘isn’t it obvious’ look as I gestured at the tea I was making. “Oh!” Tony gently exclaimed, but I didn’t want them to know I heard what they were saying so I decided to act like I wasn’t eavesdropping “Oh? Oh What?” I asked, giving them the curious look. “Well, um it’s nothing” father quickly said. “Go dress up” He added. “......and why should I?” I asked and quickly regretted asking him that, his stare was enough to shatter my soul. But he immediately softened “The Andrews are having lunch here with us” he said and walked towards the kitchen door, “Behave yourself” His voice sounded more like a warning. After he left, there was silence for few seconds before Tony decided to break it off with clearing his throat. “I can’t wait to see your family once and for all Laura” He said as he gently touched my cheek. That stupid gesture to seal my fate forever, “Say something” he held my hand, I wanted to push his hand away but my father’s words kept coming back in a very scaring tone “Behave yourself”. “Well” I said gently pushing his hand away to prepare the tea tray. “What is there to say” I added. “Hmmmmmm” He sighed and gave me a gentle peck on my cheek. “Fake” I thought but managed a smile. “See you in a few hours’ time” He smiled and walked out of the kitchen. Immediately he left, I busted into tears. “So I can’t control my own fate, the kind of life I want to live” I thought. Just as I delivered the tray to Father’s room, Amanda dragged me back into the kitchen and before I could protest, she pulled me down and put a finger on my lips. “Shhhhh, goodness you are soo loud” She said and closed the door behind us. “What the hell Amanda!” I called but she just stood there and folded her arms. “I know what is putting you off Laura” She said and walked towards me with worry. “Contract marriage Han?” I stared at her in awe “What?” “I overheard everything Laura, no need to hide your feelings, that’s why I’m here” She said with so much concern making the tears to roll out again. “So I am now for sale” I said but Amanda walked up to me and reached up to rub my arm. “Nobody, and I mean, NOBODY, is meant to treat you like you are some item ready for display” She said. “Well father was so serious on me getting married so soon, I wasn’t expecting him to go this far, I mean to the point of selling me” I cried, but Amanda handed a napkin to me and I used to it wipe my tears away. “Yeah, father is such an asshole” “Wow!” I brightened up a little, for Amanda to curse is something else, she was really pissed at father. “Does Mother and the boys know about this?” I asked and Amanda shook her head. “Even if she knew, she would never, ever accept it” she said. “I’ll get you out of this, I promise” she patted my arm. “….and exactly how will you do that, may I ask?” I asked folding my arms. Then she gazed at the tea bag across the counter. “Sorry, how will making a tea help my problem?” I asked and she gave a wide grin, “I have an idea” “….and what is that idea called?” I asked. “Signing a contract off with a tea” she smiled.
When it was time for lunch, we all seated at the dining table, my whole family with Tony’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Andrews. We sat like one happy family as if there was nothing to worry about and I sat beside Tony. Father talked about our engagement and the wedding plans, with the Andrews nodding to his every statement. “So what will you do with her after the marriage?” Amanda asked and my brother’s burst into laughter. “What do you mean?” Tony asked, “I mean will you just sell her off again?” she asked with a smirk. “Amanda!!” my father called furiously. “Let her talk Ronald” Mother said, then she faced Tony. “What is she talking about?” she asked, “Will you just use and dump her like you’ve done over the years, just for money?” Amanda asked and my father cleared his throat. “It’s probably something she watched on TV” he said smiling nervously. “Alright let’s eat shall we?” Mother called and we digged in. The conversation went on until it was time for tea. I made Tony’s tea and passed it to him, as he was about to take it, I poured the whole thing on his suit. “Oh sorry!” I acted as nice and polite as I could, but unfortunately he didn’t, he stood up immediately and screamed at me, “I thought you were meant to be perfect” he called, “Son?” his parents tried to calm down but within a minute he bloated out all his and my father’s plan in fury making the silence that followed awkward. “What?” My Mother screamed and glared at my father, “You weren’t sick, were you” Ark asked. “Laura what is this?” father asked nervously. “Showing you that I’m not an item” I answered then turned to Amanda and smiled at her, my brother’s looked at me proudly while my mother stared at my father in shock and horror “You want to sell off our daughter?” she said furiously. I stood up, took my own tea and bathed Tony with it. “What are you doing?” The Andrews asked worriedly. “Signing off this contract, if you want to buy something perfect?” I threw the tea cup on him, “Go to a store” I added, turned and glared at my father “I am indeed ashamed” I said and walked away to my room with the uproar of argument behind me.