“Wait, are you proposing to her today?” Eric’s jaw dropped as soon as I told him my elaborate plan to propose to my month-long girlfriend. “What’s the hurry, you’ve only been dating for a month.”
“I know but I can feel it in my heart she is the one” I tried to explain to him my feeling but there were no words for it.
“No it’s what your parents did and their parents before them, you’re just carrying on their legacy in a way by marrying the first woman you fell for, trust me you should give it some time.”
“Nah, she loves me, she’ll say yes” that’s the last thing I said to him before I left the office and went to my girlfriend's favorite bakery to set up the surprise. The owner knew me and loved me like a son and was happy to let me use his shop. His little daughter helped me with blowing up the balloons, placing the ribbons and bringing out the vegan cupcakes my girlfriend prefers.
“Sir, I mean uncle, bad habit, if you don’t mind can you write ‘Iris I love you’ on the cakes” the owner nodded and brought out the supplies, “Thank you.”
I had called Iris earlier in the day and told her when to arrive but she was late and not 5 or 10 minutes late, 4 hours late. She didn’t show up. I tried to call her but she didn’t pick up, this wasn’t like her so I called different hospitals but they had no news. I headed back to my company in case she was there but to no avail. I called her again and left about 50 voicemails before I finished work and headed home. I arrived home half past 6 hoping Iris would be here and she was and after the whole day of worrying I could finally take a breath of relief. I hugged her tight and only let go of her when she said she couldn’t breathe.
“Why didn’t you pick up your phone? I was so worried and…” she stopped me mid way by getting up from the sofa and began pacing around. I knew it was now or never so I
got down on one knee and brought out the ring and said “Iris will you mar…”
“No, I can’t” her hands fidgeted, she was turning red and she was unable to stand still anymore she was losing her balance. She grabbed a glass, filled it with water and drank it within a second. “I can’t marry you because I… I don’t love you. I love someone else.”
“What? Who?” my heart was sinking, wishing it wasn’t true wishing it was just a joke. Few seconds before Iris said no Eric walked into my house, he looked happy. Maybe he thinks she said yes. He walks up to Iris and stands next to her.
“I love Eric, I was about to tell you but…” she stops implying I had it coming, Eric agreed with her and tried to explain but the rage inside of me took over. I punched Eric in the face, and then again and again until he pushed me off. He took Iris by her hand and left leaving me betrayed and heartbroken. That’s the first and last time I decided to never fall in love.
5 years later
Eric and Iris had left the country and settled half way across the world, I on the other hand changed completely, and I built barriers around me, stopped smiling or laughing and concentrated on expanding my company. The management of Iris’s favorite bakery, which I still frequently visited to meet the owner and his daughter, was taken over by a woman a few years younger than me. I wasn’t that old, I have just turned 28. She was capable but she was heavily invested on the idea of love. Only if she knew the hurt of betrayal.
I later found out this woman who’s name I was told was Jade was left by her to-be husband on their wedding day and just like me she had no fate in love. One day at the bakery the owner had pulled me aside to ask me for a favour.
“Son, I need a favour from you if you could?” He pointed at the woman, “That’s my niece, she’s been working here for a year and hasn’t found any other job related to her field. I don’t want to drag her into this bakery work. If you could give her a job, not just because I’m asking but by looking at her résumé.”
He handed me her résumé and gave it a quick look over. She had many internship certificates, recommendation letters and everything to make her a good candidate.
“I cannot promise anything but I’ll look into it, if there is a job I’ll make sure to call her” I didn’t promise, I wouldn’t want to get his hopes up. I hugged him and his daughter goodbye and headed to my company. After the whole day of work, meetings and calls my secretary entered my office. She took small steps towards my desk, a rectangular envelope in her hands and I instantly knew what this is.
“Leave it on the desk and head to HR” there is no convincing them she’s the fifth one this year. I needed a secretary who wasn’t easy going, someone who was hard core and sweet enough to not scare everyone. That’s when I recalled the resume uncle had given me, I could give her my secretary’s job.
I called her in for an interview the very next day. She was calm throughout the interview, didn’t hesitate to be honest and willingly gave her opinions.
“This interview is for your secretary but I was wondering if there is a chance I can transfer to another department.”
“I understand your major is in marketing and as my secretary you will come in contact with all the departments. But I’ll not be unfair after a year when you have understood how each department runs you can be transferred.” This put a smile on her face, I hired her and she began her work from the very day.
A month goes by and everything around me, work, employees and business goes very smoothly. Jade settles into her work and is quick to befriend most of the people in the office. Every day she brings in flowers for her desk and mine and brings chocolate chip cupcakes with blueberry frosting once a week, the bazaar combination somehow is good together. Another month goes by without any mishap until one day in the mid of the second month of her job Jade comes to work upset. She has a fake smile on her face but I can tell she is upset. I didn’t ask her about it, it would be
unprofessional. But the next day she was the same and the day after that and then the day after that. Now I had to intervene because she was less concentrated on work now.
During the lunch break most of the employees had left to eat at the café around the corner but I had asked Jade to come in during that time. “This is none of my business but is there something bothering you, something that happened in the company or is it personal.”
“Its personal sir, everyone here is treating me well. It’s just… It’s nothing.” I didn’t force her to tell so I let her leave. A minute or two after she left, I headed out for lunch as well.
I took the elevator down that opened a little further from the lobby. I took a right down the hallway but a little further down I saw Jade talking to someone.
This was the only way out so I walked towards them, as I got closer I saw the man Jade was talking to was Eric. He was smirking and throwing insults at her and by her domineer it was clear she would burst out crying any moment. Eric looked up as I stopped behind Jade.
“What’s going on here?” I asked with an emotionless face.
“I was just…”
“I was talking to Jade not you” he noticed my distaste for him, Jade looked at me with surprise, she has never seen me angry though she has seen my emotionless face.
“Nothing, this is…”
“I’m her ex-fiancé and this is a personal matter so move along Jullian” Eric with his smirk made my blood boil and apparently was about to make my secretary cry.
“This isn’t your house Eric and neither is Jade willing to talk with you so either leave or I’ll security escort you out”
“I just came to talk with you, fix our friendship…”
“There is nothing to talk about, we aren’t friends, the day my girlfriend cheated on me with you was the day our
friendship ended. So stay away from me and her.”
“Why should I, what is she to you” he yelled and it echoed throughout the hallway.
“She’s my Fiancé” I said without thinking, grabbed Jade’s hand and we walked out of the building without looking
--To be continued--