“You seem happy,” Dr. Grant observed Ted closely.
“And I am. I have good news.” Dr. Grant held his breath. Could this be it?
“I think I’m ready to take the next step.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m going to get married.”
“So soon? Don’t you need time to know yourselves better…?” “Excuse me? I’ve known Anita for years now, okay?” Ted clarified and brought the bottle to his lips. “Anita? You’re thinking of marrying Anita?”
“Yeah, who else?”
“Who did you have in mind?” “Nobody, forget it.”
“No, tell me. I don’t think I’ve spoken of any other woman apart from Anita except Lucia of course so why would you think different?”
“My bad…I guess my mind was on other things,” he said nervously and sipped his drink. Ted got suspicious.
“Are you okay? You seem pretty nervous. Is there something you’re not telling me?”
“What? Don’t overthink things here, Ted. It is nothing.”
“Have you seen Lucia?”
“What? No! Where would I? You know I’d have told you that very minute, right?”
“Uh huh,” Ted said, not convinced.
“So what, you’re giving up on Lucia?”
“Well, I never found her and who knows, I might not even like her when I see her or she might still be with her douche boyfriend.” “But do you love Anita enough to marry her?”
“Well, as the saying goes, the devil you know is way better than the angel in uniform, right?” “Right.”
Ted and Anita went over to the Bourbon’s for dinner.
“So how’s business with the Bakers?” Mr. Bourbon asked. “Good; she’s very professional, I must say,” Ted said.
“And very down-to-earth; really nice.”
“But you realize this is business, right? Not the place where niceties dwell. We need to prove to McLean that we deserve it all.” “We’re working on that.”
“Good. And you two, how are things going?” Ted’s mother asked.
“Great; in fact I’ve news for you all.”
“What is it?” Anita asked, looking at him. He took a small box out of his pocket. He opened it and showed the sparkling ring to Anita. Anita gasped, covering her mouth with both hands. The parents were stunned.
“Will you marry me, Anita Morgan?” It took some seconds for Anita to regain her composure from the shock.
“Of course I’ll marry you, Ted Bourbon!” The parents cheered happily as Ted put the ring on Anita’s finger. She showed it to them proudly.
“That’s beautiful!” His mum said. “That’s my boy! Really good choice.” Anita gave Ted a loud kiss on the cheek.
“I guess we have to start with the wedding plans immediately, don’t we?” Mrs. Bourbon asked excitedly.
“Come with me, I’ve something to show you.” The ladies left the room.
“How do you feel?” Mr. Bourbon asked his son.
“What do you mean?”
“You just proposed to the supposed woman of your life. How does it feel?”
“Honestly, empty. It doesn’t feel like the first time I wanted to, anyway.”
“Is there another woman?”
“It’s complicated, dad. There’s no straight answer to that.”
“What does that mean?”
“I don’t know if there is or not; as I said complicated but I’m not getting any older and I’d love to settle down.”
“Sure but you’ve to be sure in mind and heart that you’re doing so with the right person. Divorce can be nasty.”
“Believe me, I know. But this doesn’t mean I’m tied to her…yet. I pray to be sure by the time I get to the altar.”
“For everyone’s sake, I pray so too.”
“What are you working on?” Ted asked as he bent over to take a look at Lucia’s computer.
“The progress report for Mr. McLean.”
“Okay, good.” He unconsciously smelled her hair.
“What do you think of this phrase? Is it too dry?” Lucia asked, turning her head to meet his gaze. For a moment, their intimate position froze them. “Ted…there’s something…” she whispered.
“Yeah me too.” The door flew opened and Ted stood upright and cleared his throat.
“Hi darling! I can see you came in earlier than usual,” Anita said as she walked towards him and kissed him.
“Yeah, there were some things I had to go over with Monique.” Anita glanced at her.
“Good morning, Anita.”
“Good morning, Monique.” She glanced at Ted.
“Have you told her the good news yet?”
“What good news?”
“Um…no. I was waiting for you.” “Aww…isn’t that sweet? Guess what, we’re getting married!” She said excitedly, showing Lucia the ring. Lucia swallowed as she touched her hand to examine the ring.
“Wow…it’s beautiful. I’m happy for you.”
“I’m happy for me too!” Anita said elatedly as she hugged Ted. Ted and Lucia shared a look which sent different messages to each other. Lucia glanced at her watch.
“I’ve got to leave now. My father’s expecting me. I hope I get an invite to the special occasion,” Lisa said as she took her handbag. Anita turned to face her. A thought struck her. “Actually, I wish you could be a part of this celebration.”
“How?” “The thing is, because of the nature of our work, I’ve lost a lot of contacts and I haven’t been able to make a lot of friends for the past few years. Although we haven’t known ourselves for long, I do feel like I’ve found a friend in you.”
“Exactly what are you getting at, Anita?” Ted asked suspiciously. “How about you become my maid?”
“What?” Ted asked. Lucia blinked hard as she couldn’t believe her ears.
“Please honey, it will mean the world to me if Monique Baker stands by my side as I get married to the most wonderful man in the world.”
“You…you want me to be your bridesmaid, really? I’m sure you’ve other friends you’d like to share this important moment in your life with.”
“Oh trust me, you being there will make my joy complete. And I wasn’t talking of bridesmaid.” “What are you saying?”
“How about my maid of honor?” “I…I don’t know how to respond to that.”
“How about yes?”
“Are you sure about this, Anita? You’re obviously too excited to think this through thoroughly,” Ted said.
“Oh I am sure, honey. So what do you say?” Lucia looked at Ted. “Um…I’m not sure about this but sure, I’d love to. It would be an honor.”
“Thanks, Lucy! You’ve no idea of how much this means to me!” Anita said eagerly as she hugged Lucia. Lucia was stunned. What did she call her again? Anita drew back and gave Lucia a big smile. Lucia smiled back.
“I’ve got to go. See you two later.”
“Wait, you left your phone.” Ted said, taking it from the table.
“Oh thanks.” Their fingers touched as the phone changed hands. They shared another secret-coded look.
“Bye,” she said and walked out. Ted turned to face a grinning Anita.
“I know that look,” he remarked. “Do you? What does it say?”
That you’ve something up your sleeve although I can’t tell what it is yet.” She gave him a sly smile. “All in good time, honey.”