Ted stood at the window staring outside in deep thought. Anita entered his office. He turned around to face her.
“Ted, are you all right? I’ve been calling your phone for more than an hour,” she said as she walked towards his desk and took his phone.
“Oh yeah, I noticed. Why, what’s up?” Anita dropped her jaw. “What’s up? We were supposed to meet at the counselor’s office, remember? I thought you either forgot or something was wrong at the office. And it is obvious it was neither. So why didn’t you turn up, Ted?”
“Anita, we need to talk.”
“Okay; couldn’t we have done that after the counseling session?”
“No, I’m afraid not.”
“And if you weren’t in the mood, why didn’t you just call to tell me so? I waited the whole hour hoping you’d show up.”
“I’m sorry; please have a seat.” Anita sat. He also sat and began wringing his fingers.
“Anita…I don’t have any easy way to say this but…”
“But what, you’re getting cold feet? What happened, Ted?”
“I think we should put the wedding preparations on hold for a while.”
“Define ‘for a while.’”
“Indefinitely.” She nodded.
“May I know why?”
“I don’t think I’m ready to commit…yet.”
“Why, are you having second thoughts? Have you met someone who is making you rethink your decision to marry me?”
“Do I know this person?” He glanced at her.
“Does it matter?”
“Oh yeah it does. I want to know which conniving slut decided to seduce you right under my nose.” “No, you don’t.”
“Oh yeah, I choose to believe otherwise. You know why, because I know your schedule and I know for a fact that you don’t have the luxury of time and chance to meet and hang out with ladies so it must definitely be someone from around here. Let’s see…”
“Is it Monique?” He half-chuckled.
“Why would you think it is her?” “Because she’s the only one you spend much time with apart from me and the one you care for more than you care to admit.”
“It is not her.”
“Really, who’s it then?”
“You’re not going to get a name out of me, Anita so drop it.” Ted stood up and walked to the window. Anita stood.
“Is this about Lucia?” He turned. “What? What has Lucia got to do with this?”
“Are you having second thoughts because she stills occupies your heart and thoughts?”
“No…not entirely but this has nothing to do with Lucia. Far from it.”
“Then it must be Monique.”
“For the last time, I’m telling you it is not her.”
“Swear to me, Ted…look in my eyes and say it to my face that Monique isn’t the reason for your change of heart.” He locked gazes with her.
“I’m not going to swear; all I’m saying is that it is not her. Take it or leave it.” Anita took her bag and turned to leave.
“Where are you going? There are some reports you need to submit to me…” The door slammed so hard he startled.
“My best guess, she’s upset. Oh women,” he sighed as he dropped himself on his seat.
“You look down today. Why, is your stylist giving you problems?” Lucia inquired.
“No; I’ve worked so hard to get here yet it seems I’m not going to get the happy ending I’ve been searching for all these years,” Anita said dolefully.
“Why, what’s up?” Anita looked at her with tears in her eyes.
“What about him?”
“What do you think?”
“He…is he cancelling the wedding?”
“No…putting it on hold…indefinitely which is synonymous to termination, I know.”
“Did he say why?”
“Apparently he’s met someone.” “He has? For how long? You two have been dating for years, right?”
“What does it matter? When someone from nowhere just appears and snatches me from me.”
“I’m sorry; he didn’t terminate it so there’s still hope. You don’t have to give up on him. I’m sure he’ll come around. Just give him time,” Lucia encouraged her.
“I never felt love…till I met Ted. My childhood memories…well, I prefer to keep them locked up in my subconscious mind so I would not have to recall them. I went through life virtually alone and most of the guys I met along the way…let’s just say were not raised gentlemen. But for the first time in my miserable life, I felt hope when I was hired by this company and got to know Ted. He was sweet, decent and very honest. His family practically took me in like a daughter so I got to feel what family love was all about and I cherish every blessed moment of it. And now, everything I’ve gained so far is about to go down the drain.”
“I’m sorry, Anita. Stay strong, he’ll come back.” Anita held her hand.
“Yeah, you’re a lovely person and you’ve been at his side all these years. Sooner or later, he’ll come to realize that. No one is capable of loving him more than you do.” “Yeah; thank you, Monique.” Lucia gave her a smile.
“If you say he’s mine, then I believe you. If you tell me he’s going to come back to me, then I’m certain that he will.”
“Um…I don’t understand why…” “Thank you, Monique!” Anita hugged her tightly. “Thank you so much. I’ll never forget this, Lucia.” Lucia froze. Anita drew back. Anita put on the broadest smile Lucia had ever seen. She took her handbag.
“I’ll see you later and I know by then, I’ll have my sweetheart back.” She left the room. Lucia was confused. Anita wore a sly grin after she closed the door behind her and walked away. Lucia took her phone and stared at it. She sighed. She dialed Ted’s number. He answered at the first ring.
“Hey.” She swallowed.
“Made up your mind yet?”
“And…the answer is no.”
“May I know why?”
“What you think is going on between us might end up not being anything at all. I’m sure it is just a temporary feeling which will soon fade away. And Anita has been with you for quite a while now; no one deserves you more than she does.”
“Did you just speak with her?”
“It doesn’t matter, Ted. I think you should go ahead and be with her. You deserve to be happy and so does Anita. You two will be a great couple.”
“You cannot make a valid decision if you keep adding Anita to the picture. This is about just you and me,” Ted said.
“No, it’s not, Ted. It’s her; Ted. You make her happy. You should see her hopping around in glee with the mere thought of being with you forever. It’s heartwarming.”
“Okay, stop trying to make me feel sympathy for Anita because that’s not going to happen. Why settle to be a bridesmaid when you can very well be the bride?” “We can’t be together, Ted. We are not meant to be.”
“And you know this how?”
“When fate says the same thing twice, it must be the real deal. Goodbye, Ted.”
“No, wait!” The line went dead. Tears trickled down Lucia’s face. “I lose him twice…and that’s it. I’m not going to fight for this anymore,” Lucia told herself, wiping the tears from her face with her fingers.