In the Name of Friendship

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Chapter 18: False Hope

On arriving at Shinta’s uncle house, Shinta and Nina saw there was a white car parked in front of the house. They recognized it as Aiman’s. The two best friends alighted from the car and hurried to the front door of the house.

Shinta rang the bell. Within seconds, her aunt, Penny opened the door for them.

“Assalamualaikum,” Shinta and Nina said in unison.t

“Waalaikumsalam, Shinta, Nina,” replied Penny, “Come on in!”

Nina and Shinta stepped in and found Aiman sitting in the drawing room with Rizwan, Shinta’s uncle.

“Oh finally you’re home, Shinta,” Rizwan said as he rose from the sofa, and Aiman followed suit.

“Yes, Uncle,” Shinta responded with a smile.

“Okay then, I’ll leave the three of you to talk.” Rizwan tapped Aiman on the shoulder. “Nice to meet you, Aiman.”

“It’s been nice meeting you too, Sir,” Aiman replied politely.

“Come and visit us again some time, okay Aiman?” Shinta’s aunt, Penny requested.

“Sure, Auntie, I will,” Aiman promised.

Rizwan approached his wife, Penny. He put his arm around her waist, and then they went to another room, leaving the three best friends alone.

“How are you, Shinta?” asked Aiman as soon as Rizwan and Penny were out of sight.

“I’m fine,” Shinta replied, “How about you, Aiman?”

“I’m fine too,” answered Aiman.

“Hi Aiman,” Nina greeted him.

“Oh hi, Nina. I’m glad you’re at Shinta’s house. You know, I actually planned to visit you after I came here. But because you happen to be here now, so It saves me time,” Aiman said.

“Oh, really?” Nina commented.

Aiman nodded his head. “Yeah, because I actually want to meet the both of you.”

“Oh please sit down!” Shinta said.

Shinta, Nina, and Aiman lastly seated themselves on the sofa.

“Have you been waiting long, Aiman?” asked Shinta.

“Not really. I haven’t been here long. Besides your uncle and aunt are very good company, Shinta, so I didn’t feel bored,” Aiman replied.

“What did you talk about with my uncle and aunt?” Shinta queried. She was afraid her uncle and aunt would tell Aiman something embarrassing about her.

“I was interrogated by your uncle and aunt about who I am, where I live, what I do for a living, and what my relationship with you is,” Aiman answered.

“Those are typical questions to ask to a future son-in-law, right?” Nina said teasingly.

Shinta went bright pink with embarrassment. She then gave Nina, who sat beside her, a gentle nudge in the ribs to tell her to shut up.

Nina grinned with amusement. Meanwhile, Aiman gave a nervous giggle.

“So, why do you want to see us, Aiman?” Shinta tried to change the subject.

“Actually, I want to meet you because I have something for you two,” answered Aiman.

“Wow what is it?” Nina asked excitedly.

“Wait!” Aiman pulled out two envelopes from his jacket, and gave Shinta and Nina one envelope each.

“What is this?” Shinta examined the envelope curiously.

“Just open it!” Aiman ordered.

They began to slit open the envelopes. Shinta assumed that the envelope contained a free ticket to the cinema or maybe a voucher for a free meal in a restaurant. Meanwhile, Nina hoped it was a shopping coupon or a free ticket to a two-week holiday in Bali. You might think that Nina was exaggerating, but she’s not. If Aiman could buy his best friends expensive handbags from a well-known brand from Paris, surely he could treat them to a trip to Bali, right? But to their disappointment, they both guessed wrong. Aiman apparently gave them an invitation card.

“That’s the invitation to my engagement party,” Aiman explained.

“En—engagement par—party?” Shinta stuttered.

Aiman nodded his head. “Yes, I and Sandra are going to throw an engagement party next week.”

Shinta’s face fell when she heard the news of Aiman and Sandra’s engagement.

“Wow congratulation, Aiman,” Nina chirped.

Shinta faked a smile to hide the sadness she was feeling. “Congratulation, Aiman.”

“Thanks, Guys,” said Aiman.

“You’re very welcome,” Nina replied. Meanwhile, Shinta only gave a nod as a response.

“Are you two coming?” Aiman asked hopefully.

With a smile, Nina answered, “Sure thing. We’ll be there. Right, Shinta?” She turned to look at Shinta. Her smile faded when she noticed a look of sadness crossed Shinta’s face.

Shinta thought for a moment before replying, “Thanks for your invitation, Aiman. I wish I could come, but I have a very hectic schedule for the next few days, thus, I’m sorry it seems that I’ll be very busy—so much so that I won’t be able to go to your engagement party.”

Nina knew perfectly well that Shinta was lying. However busy she was, Shinta always spared time for her family and friends. So the reason why she declined Aiman’s invitation not because she couldn’t come, but because she didn’t want to. But Nina couldn’t blame Shinta if she didn’t want to go Aiman’s engagement party. She understood it must be very hard for Shinta to watch the man whom she loved getting engaged with another woman.

Aiman found it difficult to hide his disappointment when Shinta turned down his invitation. “Could you possibly forget about work just for one night, Shinta? It’s my engagement party we’re talking about. I really wish you can come, Shinta, because you and Nina are the guests of honour,” he pleaded.

“Because it is your engagement, that’s why I can’t come, Aiman. How could you expect me to come to the engagement party of the man whom I still love?” Shinta thought sadly.

She was on the verge of tears, but she quickly gulped back her tears and forced a smile. “I don’t know if I can come or not, Aiman, because I must ask my commandant first if I could get off work early on your engagement day. I’ll let you know next week, okay?”

Aiman sighed in defeat. “Fine.”

The three best friends were quiet for a moment until Aiman lastly broke the silence, “It’s late. I must be going home now.”

“You’re leaving already?” Nina looked disappointed.

“Sorry, Nina. I wish I could stay longer, but my sisters have been waiting for me, so I have to go home as soon as possible. You know, I’ve spent the whole day with Sandra, sending out the invitations to her friends. So I want to spare a little time for my sisters too tonight,” Aiman explained to them.

“So you sent out the invitations with Sandra today? But why didn’t she come here with you now?” Nina questioned curiously.

Shinta’s curiosity was aroused too. She asked herself mentally, “Is Aiman afraid Sandra will be jealous of me that’s why he didn’t bring her to meet me and Nina tonight?”

“Oh Sandra has something else to do that’s why she can’t come with me here,” Aiman replied. But Shinta didn’t believe his excuse.

Nina nodded her head in understanding. “Oh I see!”

Aiman rose to his feet. Shinta and Nina stood up too, and then they both saw Aiman to the front door.

“Give your sisters my regards, Aiman,” said Shinta.

“And give my love to Alya and Adinda too, Aiman,” added Nina.

“Okay, I will. Say goodbye to your uncle and aunt for me, okay, Shinta?” Aiman said.

“Sure, I will,” Shinta promised.

“Later, guys!” Aiman waved bye-bye as he walked out of the house.

Nina and Shinta waved back and said at the same time.

“See you soon, Aiman!”

“So long, Aiman!”

Aiman hopped into his car and started the engine.

“Be careful, Aiman!” Shinta and Nina called out as Aiman’s car pulled away.

After Aiman’s car disappeared from view, the two women went into the house and shut the door behind them.

Nina noticed there was still a hint of sadness in Shinta’s face. It made Nina feel guilty because indirectly she had given her best friend a false hope that shattered Shinta’s heart.

“I’m sorry, Shinta. I shouldn’t have told you that Aiman still loved you. I swear I didn’t mean to give you a false hope,” she apologized.

Shinta gave her a weak smile. “That’s okay, Nina. It isn’t your fault. I should never have expected of Aiman in the first place. I have been deluding myself that Aiman still loved me. But everything is clear now. Aiman doesn’t love me anymore.”

Before Nina could reply, Shinta turned on her heel and left the room in tears.

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