Chapter 19: The Engagement Party
Shinta sat down in front of her dressing table mirror, looking at her reflection. She was wearing a knee-length black dress that laced up at the side and a pair of matching high heels. She put on a light make up and wore her short black hair loose.
Shinta dressed up like this because tonight she and Nina were going to attend Aiman and Sandra’s engagement party. To be honest, Shinta was in two minds about accepting Aiman’s invitation. Part of her was happy to see her best friend happy, but the other part was sad that the man whom she loved was getting engaged to another woman.
Now, Shinta was in a quandary— should she go or shouldn’t she? If she had the choice, she would prefer staying at home rather than going to Aiman’s engagement party. But Aiman had been nagging her to come to his engagement party. He told her that it was for the sake of their friendship. Aiman’s pleas made Shinta not have the heart to refuse it. Finally, she said that she would go just to keep Aiman happy. But she regretted the words the moment they were out of her mouth. Shinta cursed herself for her stupidity. She shouldn’t have made a promise that was hard to keep. It was too late to go back on her word now. Thus, she had no choice but to go to Aiman and Sandra’s engagement party.
A light tap on the shoulder pulled Shinta out of her trance.
Shinta swivelled around and saw Nina standing before her. She was wearing a long emerald green dress that was slit at both sides. Her straight black hair fell to the bottom of her back.
“Shinta, are you okay?” Nina asked apprehensively.
Shinta forced a smile. “I’m fine.”
“You’d better not to come to Aiman’s engagement party if you think it’s only going to hurt your feelings,” Nina suggested.
“That’s okay, Nina. I still want to come,” Shinta reassured her.
“Are you sure?” Nina inquired doubtfully.
“Yes, I’m sure,” Shinta replied, “Moreover, I’ve promised Aiman that I would come, so I can’t go back on my word.”
Nina gave Shinta’s back a pat. “I really admire you, Shinta. Even though Aiman has chucked you for another woman, but you’re still willing to forgive him.”
“Of course I have to forgive him, Nina, because Aiman is our best friend. For me, our friendship is very important and I don’t want it to end because of a small problem,” Shinta stated.
“Is it more important than your own feelings?” Nina queried.
Instead of answering Nina’s question, Shinta chose to change the subject. “Hey look at the time! We’re almost late. We’d better make a move now.”
Nina sighed. “Okay, let’s go!”
Shinta rose from the chair. Grabbing their clutch bags, Shinta and Nina walked out of Shinta’s bedroom. After that, they strolled out of the house. And lastly, the two best friends went to the five star hotel where Aiman and Sandra’s engagement party would be held by Shinta’s car.
Aiman was at the door of the ballroom to welcome all the guests warmly as they arrived. He looked incredibly handsome in a white shirt under a brown tuxedo with a bow tie, and a pair of shiny brown shoes.
“Shinta, Nina,” Aiman greeted them with a smile when the two young women just arrived. “Thanks for coming.”
Shinta only responded him with a nod and a weak smile, meanwhile, Nina replied, “Never mind, Aiman.”
“Let’s go inside, shall we?” Aiman said, “I want to introduce you to Sandra, Nina. You haven’t met her before, right?”
Nina nodded her head. “Okay.”
The three best friends were about to enter the ballroom when suddenly they heard someone calling Aiman’s name.
The three of them turned around to find out who had called Aiman. They saw three young men and a young woman making their way towards them.
The three handsome men were wearing white shirts under black dinner jackets, meanwhile the woman was very beautiful in an off-shoulder long rose pink dress with pink high heels. She wore her hair in waterfall braid.
“Hi Guys.” Aiman exchanged a brief hug with the young men and shook the woman’s hand.
“Hey, Man, who are these attractive young ladies?” the man with black hair and darker skin tone, Putra asked while pointing to Shinta and Nina.
“Guys, they are my friends from Karawang. She is Shinta and that is Nina.” Aiman pointed at Shinta and then to Nina.
The three young men smiled broadly at Shinta and Nina.
“And Shinta, Nina, these are Prama, Reza, and Putra. They are my best friends in Jakarta,” Aiman introduced them.
Shinta’s and Nina’s heads nodded in understanding.
“And,” Aiman added, “the beautiful woman over there is Rara, Prama’s sister.”
Rara waved at them. “Hi.”
Shinta and Nina finally shook each of them warmly by the hand.
“Bro, why do you never tell us that you have beautiful friends?” Reza, the man with curly black hair asked in a hushed tone.
“I know you are all real flirts. That’s why I have never introduced you to my best friends before,” Aiman explained.
“What are you talking about, Man? We’re not flirts,” Prama, the young man with a fair complexion, black hair, and slanting eyes, refuted.
“I agree with my brother, Kak Aiman. He, Kak Putra, and Kak Reza aren’t flirts, but they are ladykillers,” commented Prama’s sister, Rara.
“Oh Rara, how could you humiliate your big brother like that?” Prama chided.
Rara stuck her tongue at her older brother, while Prama’s lips were set in a pout of annoyance.
Aiman, Shinta, Nina, Putra, and Reza giggled at the siblings’ behaviors.
“Okay Guys, let’s go inside now, shall we?” Aiman said.
They all nodded in unison.
All of them finally stepped into the ballroom. Prama, Putra, Reza, and Rara immediately excused themselves and left to get something to eat.
Meanwhile, Shinta and Nina’s eyes roamed the ballroom. It was a huge room, like two big ballrooms joined together, with acres of tables, and thousands of chairs. They decorated the ballroom with flowers and coloured lights. There were lots of women in posh frocks and high heels and men in expensive-looking dinner jackets and shiny shoes.
At the same time, Aiman’s eyes darted around the room, looking for Sandra. A smile flitted across his face as he finally spotted her in the crowd. Sandra was glamorously dressed in a swanky golden ball gown with lots of pretty jewellery. A pair of matching high-heeled shoes completed her striking ensemble. Her hair was set in a crown braid and her make-up was done flawlessly by a professional make-up artist.
“You two wait here, okay? I’ll call Sandra first,” Aiman told Nina and Shinta.
The two young women nodded their heads.
Aiman approached Sandra who was deep in conversation with her friends.
Aiman tapped Sandra on the shoulder. “Honey.”
Sandra spun around and smiled when she saw Aiman standing before her. “Yes, Honey?”
“Would you mind following me for a moment?” Aiman inquired, “There’s some people I want you to meet.”
“Sure thing,” she replied.
Sandra excused herself and took leave of her friends before following Aiman to the place where Shinta and Nina had been waiting for them.
“Honey, this is Shinta,” said Aiman, pointing to Shinta, “Do you remember her? We met her at the mall a few weeks ago.”
“Of course, Honey. I still remember her,” Sandra uttered.
Sandra turned to Shinta. “Hello, Shinta. It does my heart good to see you again,” she said suavely.
“Likewise,” Shinta responded, forcing a smile.
“Who is that woman, Honey? Is she a friend of yours too?” Sandra pointed at Nina.
“Yes, Honey,” answered Aiman, “This is Nina. She is my childhood friend too, like Shinta.”
“Hello, I’m Sandra, Aiman’s fiancee.”
Sandra held out her hand to Nina.
Nina shook her hand. “I’m Nina. Pleased to meet you, Sandra.”
“Nice meeting you too, Nina,” Sandra replied.
“By the way, congratulations on your engagement!” Nina uttered.
“Yes, congratulations, Sandra, Aiman!” Shinta added half-heartedly.
“Thank you,” Sandra beamed. Meanwhile, Aiman only replied with a smile.
“Teh Shinta?! Teh Nina?!” Alya and Adinda squealed when they saw Shinta and Nina with their brother and future sister-in-law.
Nina and Shinta turned to look at the two sisters. Alya looked beautiful in an elegant knee-length royal blue gown, while Adinda was very pretty in a bright red mini dress. Both of them were wearing flat shoes and their hair were hanging loosely on their shoulders in a mass of curls.
Alya and Dinda ran up and threw their arms around Shinta and Nina. The two best friends hugged them back.
Once they pulled away, Alya and Adinda said in unison, “We missed you so much, Teh Shinta, Teh Nina.”
“We missed you too, Girls,” Shinta and Nina responded at the same time.
The four of them finally got into a conversation. Because they were busy talking with themselves, Aiman and and Sandra lastly left them and preferred to greet other guets.
All of a sudden, Prama, Reza, and Putra came up to Aiman. Murmuring something that they must go somewhere to talk, Aiman lastly excused himself and followed his friends.
Aiman queried curiously once they stopped at the other side of the ballroom, “What’s wrong, Guys?”
“Look at the couple over there!” Prama pointed to a married couple across from them.
Aiman stared in their direction. The couple looked very posh in their tuxedo and gown. The husband had a gold wristwatch dangling from his left wrist, meanwhile, hanging from his right wrist was a heavy gold bracelet. His wife was also dripping gold.
“Do you recognize them?” Putra asked.
“Yes, I recognize them. The man is Ongky Alexander Tan, Sandra’s father’s business partner. And the woman is Mr. Tan’s wife, Daisy Tan,” Aiman elaborated.
The three men nodded their heads in understanding.
“Why do you ask me about them?” Aiman enquired in bewilderment.
“I think they are suitable to be our next target,” Reza replied in a hushed whisper.
“Come on, you guys, it’s my engagement party. Don’t talk about work here! Just enjoy yourselves at the party!” Aiman protested.
“Sorry, Bro. Okay, we’ll discuss about this later,” Prama said.
The four men finally parted ways. Prama, Reza, and Putra went to see Rara. Meanwhile, Aiman returned to his fiancée.
“What were you and your friends talking about, Honey?” Sandra questioned out of curiosity.
“Nothing,” Aiman replied, “We were just talking about our business.”
“Oh Aiman! Could you and your friends possibly forget about work for a while in our engagement party?” Sandra complained.
“I’m sorry, Honey. It won’t happen again. I promise,” Aiman assured her.
Raden Ayu Safira Kusuma Diningrat, Sandra’s mother suddenly marched over to them. She was dressed in a long-sleeved cream gown with a pair of matching wedges.
“Sandra, Aiman, can we announce your engagement now?” Safira asked her daughter and future son-in-law.
“Sure, Mom,” answered Sandra.
Safira wheeled around and gave a thumbs-up sign to her husband who was standing by the stage. His hair was slicked back and he wore a white dinner jacket with a bow tie and a pair of jet-black shoes.
Hendra Kusuma Diningrat, Sandra’s father nodded his head in understanding and lastly mounted the stage.
“Ladies and gentlemen! Can I have your attention, please?” Hendra spoke into the microphone.
All the guests turned their attention to the stage right away.
“Good evening everyone,” Hendra began, “Thank you for coming to our party. All of you must have known why you’re invited here, right? Tonight, we are happy to announce the engagement of our daughter, Sandra, to a very good man, Aiman.”
The spotlights landed on Sandra and Aiman.
The announcement of their engagement drew loud applause from all the guests, except for Shinta.
When the applause had died down, Hendra said, “Sandra, Aiman, please come forward!”
All eyes were on Aiman and sandra as they walked on to the stage. They were applauded as they came on stage. At the same time, Hendra Kusuma Diningrat left the stage to prolonged applause.
Cameras started clicking as soon as Aiman got down on one knee in front of Sandra. He then pulled out a small red jewellery box from his tuxedo pocket. After that, he opened the jewellery box to reveal a pair of engagement rings with diamonds in it.
“Sandra Kusuma Diningrat, will you marry me?” Aiman popped the question.
“Yes Aiman, I will,” Sandra trilled.
Sandra’s Answer was greeted by a roar of applause.
Beaming, Aiman got to his feet. He then pulled out the engagement ring and slipped it on Sandra’s left ring finger.
Now, it’s Sandra’s turn. She removed the ring from the box, smiling as she saw her and Aiman’s initials engraved in the interior. Sandra slid the engagement ring on Aiman’s finger.
Watching the romantic scene that was happening on the stage, Shinta tried to smile though tears were in her eyes.
“It should be me who stand on the stage with you, Aiman, not Sandra,” Shinta thought tearfully.
Sandra and Aiman turned to face the guests. They raised their left hands, showing off their engagement rings to the guests and journalists who were busy taking their pictures.
Aiman looked down at the sea of smiling faces before him. His eyes came to rest on Shinta who was standing among the crowds. He noticed that tears formed in Shinta’s eyes. But she desperately fought back her tears as she showed a plastic smile.
Nina was also aware that there were tears in Shinta’s eyes. She leaned over and whispered something in Shinta’s ear, “Are you okay, Shinta?”
“I’ve got to go now. I can’t handle it any more, Nina,” Shinta spoke in a hushed voice.
Without waiting for Nina’s response, Shinta spun on her heel and started walking away.
“Wait for me, Shinta! I’m coming with you,” Nina shrilled as ran after Shinta.
From the stage, Aiman could see Shinta and Nina leaving the ballroom. A wave of guilt swept over him. “I’m sorry, Shinta,” he said inwardly.