To risk all

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Chapter 10

The next day, the mirror told her she looked very tired. She had a lot to digest before Patricia’s official departure and the young woman had spent her Friday night reviewing her notes. Result: last night, she dreamed of complicated grieves and CSST files opened for too long. It’s like she haven’t slept!

She relaxed the entire morning, despite the incessant calls from her mother who reminded her not to be late for the ceremony. Each time, her mother told her that it wasn’t because she was unhappy she had to forget the happiness of others. And then what? Is it always necessary to put me down? Marriage… To not go to stay at home… It didn’t even have into her mind because she was focused on getting there, but she seriously began to think about it now. After all, nobody would know she wasn’t there. And why her mother wanted to remind her this day? The happiness of some could sometimes be annoying to others…

But since she was goodhearted and she didn’t want to hear about it for the rest of her life, she prepared herself for the wedding. She went without a single minute late. At the church, there were many guests. She wondered how her mother and her sister managed to gather so many people so quickly. Well, they probably had nothing better to do with their days. But the young woman still had to admit they had done a good job.

A faint smile on her lips, she looked at her big sister at the back of the aisle of the church. Victoria seemed cling to her father, smiling nervously. She regretted that Sebastian wasn’t with her. At least he could have made her laugh by turning this scene into something ridiculous. He was in a meeting outside the city. Clara didn’t feel comfortable around all the people she didn’t know or she would have preferred not to see for several years. She chose a quiet place almost at the back of the church. A little more discreet to sleep… Not that she hoped that happen, but anything could happen… It was inevitable that the ceremony goes quickly. After several minutes of reflection, she had come to understand something. Victoria hadn’t asked her to be bridesmaid for the simple reason she was single. She wanted her three bridesmaids to be associated with the three groomsmen. The whole thing would form three small pairs perfectly matched. What a lack of imagination! But why asking Sebastian?

She cast a quick discreet glance around her to make sure no one bears any attention. Since it wasn’t the case, she took her headphones from a small pouch in her purse and then turned on her little iPod. She was glad that her hair was quiet long: they hid the thread of her headphones. Be soothed by the music, her eyelids became heavy and she fell asleep. She started when the applause rang out inside the church. She sat up quickly as everyone clapped their hands, looking around her, still numb with sleep. Did I really fell asleep? For how long? She cast a furtive glance around her and realized that not only she had fallen asleep during her sister’s wedding, but she had slept for almost the entire ceremony. She felt the color rose to her cheeks. Nobody seemed interested in her. So she finally calmed down. The newlyweds were walking in the aisle while everyone was applauding. When they passed near Clara, Victoria looked away without worrying about it. Ah! She dares to look up before me! Clara began to hope that her sister crashed into the stone staircase in front of all guests just before the group photo. That’ll teach her to play the great lady! Why not a hook-in-let? Does the blood would be nicer on her white dress?

The wedding planner had installed an easel at the reception room’s entrance to support a scheme with tables and names. Clara was at a table at the back of the room with people she didn’t know. It looked like they kept her away from everybody, to be stored in the “I didn’t want to invite you, but I didn’t have a choice to do so” category. She took a glass of a nonalcoholic punch pretty much too sweet. A woman of a certain age met her, a huge smile a little too white to be real to her lips in a pink shade.

“Hello!” she shouted in a too happy tone. “Do you know the newlyweds for a long time?”

Clara nodded, trying not to wince at the punch.


“And how long?”

None of your business! She wanted to ask her to mind her own business, but she preferred to stay at a certain level of politeness.

“The bride’s my sister,” she replied with a forced smile.

“Your sister? Are you sure?”

“Uh… Yeah…”

But to tell you the truth, I wonder sometimes. She nodded as if that made a bit more weight to what she had just said.

“But why aren’t you sitting at the head table? Was there still seats to fill in the room?”

“I… I don’t know…”

There, the young woman didn’t really know what to say. Was she also a replacement in addition to being a showgirl? She had to admit she was completely unaware. The lady turned and walked away, muttering to her husband – at least that’s what she believed – how sorry she was that this poor girl wasn’t loved by her own family. Always displayed a fake smile on her lips, Clara walked with a firm step toward the bar where she ordered a scotch on ice. She would have done better by staying home. She was so ashamed! A stranger came to judge her because the bride hadn’t placed her at the head table. But why was she still care for others when clearly, others weren’t?

The newlyweds made their entrance into the large reception hall, holding hands. Clara had just emptied her glass where the ice was virtually absent. She again began to hope that her sister broke her face before all the guests. That would have been so funny!

The meal was served about an hour later. Clara had the annoying habit of eating when she was upset and the marriage was a perfect source of irritation for her. She wasn’t hungry, but she gorged herself with bread for not getting drunk too quickly. She felt so miserable. When the waitress brought her plate, she had recoiled. She didn’t know what stood in the middle, but she wondered why the cook had tortured something at this point. Nobody could recognize what it was! Apart from the bread, she ate almost nothing.

The people sitting at her table weren’t big talkers. All foreigners gathered in one place. A superb table of illustrious unknown, it was lovely. She was lucky today! At least, no one asked her how long she knew the newlyweds. Then she realized that her dining companions seemed to be all single… She just touched the bottom. A little fat man with glasses timidly took the hand of the woman sitting next to him. Oh no… Clara was at the table who normally wouldn’t have been invited but who knew that Patrick and Victoria got married. As if the wedding planner would have a pity wave for them. The young woman didn’t care about not being at the head table. But that… It would almost be harassment! Who decided the layout and seats’ assignment? Her beloved mother or sister? She voted for all of the above. They could simply not ask her to come. She would have had much better evening watching television instead of being in the middle of people she didn’t want to see.

Virtually mental cruelty! And besides, even the little fat guy could settle down with a woman… She began to regret not having someone with her. She felt like nothing. She sighed.

During the meal, the guests ate while talking too loudly and occasionally hitting the table for the newlyweds to kiss. Each time, Clara was holding her breath not to vomit. She had always wondered how her sister could be able to kiss or sleep with Patrick. The images in her head gave her a good reason to vomit.

At the dance opening, Clara retired to the back of the room. Heaving a deep sigh, she emptied half of her glass without leaving her eyes from the dancers. There was only romantic music. It didn’t stop! Why hitting again and again on single people who were not dancing at all? She watched for a moment the bottom of her glass, wondering when was the best time to disappear. She painfully got up and crossed the horde of dancers to the bar. She believed it’ll be her fourth glass, but she wasn’t so sure.

“A scotch, please.”

She didn’t dare to turn around. All couples embracing, pressed against each other… it just made her sick. She felt that her sister had invited her to her wedding only to show her how her life was miserable.

Her glass in hand, she no longer had the courage to return when she came. She walked away from the bar and dance floor. She leaned against the wall sipping her drink quietly. It wasn’t the time to get drunk and give another opportunity to her mother and her sister to say she was an alcoholic. A man came and stood beside her.

“Nothing will appear in your glass, you know.”

“Yes, I know. Thank you.”

She drank a long draft while observing him on the corner of her eye. Why does he talk to me? He wasn’t looking at her, but his profile was strangely familiar. She eventually turned directly to him. She frowned, searching her memory where she was well able to have met him. She didn’t remember very well in what occasion if had happened. He must felt observed since he turned his head toward her. He smiled and then she recognized him.

“You’re the delivery guy!”

He proudly nodded, still smiling.

“Mark, right?”

“And you’re Clara. I went yesterday to deliver something, but you weren’t there.”

“I no longer work there.”

He looked almost disappointed to learn it. She bit her lower lip, looking down at her glass. He asked her where she was working now. She told him she had just complete officially her first week in a computer company. They drank while chatting quietly. It was as if they had known each other for years. They made jokes and told stories of all kind. In a way, they kept each other company. The young woman was finally beginning to have some fun after hours of torture. He seemed to enjoy it too. He eventually asked her the silly question for the occasion.

“Do you know the newlyweds a lot?”

She made a little grimace.

“A little, yes. And you?”

“I went to college with Patrick. We had a great time to get into troubles!”

She had some difficulties imagining Patrick with any sense of humor. She asked him a few stories. He told her some stuff she couldn’t take seriously.

“Are you sure we’re talking about the same Patrick?”

“Well yes… Why?”

She shook her head.

“Forget it…”

“It all changed when he met this girl. I remember that sometimes she almost had a nervous breakdown just because he spent time with us. Can you imagine?”

“That’s the Victoria I know.”

“We always told him to be careful, but he married her anyway. He seems happy now. So I think I can be happy for him. We had lost contact after a brilliant domestic scene she made. I think she doesn’t want him to go out.”

Eyes looking away, he remained silent for a moment. Then he turned back to her and said:

“And you? How did you meet them?”

“Well, the bride’s my sister.”

“No way! There is no resemblance… Sorry…”

She smiled at him. It was the nicest thing she heard all day! She thanked him for the compliment and he frowned, asking her why she said that. She laughed.

“We have nothing in common.”

“That I believe!”

They clinked glasses again before drinking. He waited until she finished her glass to take her hand and asked her to dance. She simply smiled at him and he guided her on the dancing floor. She was happy that she was still able to walk despite a few drinks. She put her arms around his neck and let herself go. The sweet music enveloped them, making her forget about everything. Why had she refused his invitations? Ah yes! He insisted too much. Currently, he asked nothing more than a simple dance. She felt good in his arms. She had a thought for her mother, wondering if she was watching her. There was a time she hadn’t seen her and she didn’t know when her mother will attack her again, criticize her once again. She wasn’t able to criticize her on her outfit, but Clara knew she would find something else.

He leaned toward her ear and whispered:

“You are still pretty.”

She felt her cheeks turn red. It must be the alcohol. As if she wasn’t already embarrassed, he added:

“My invitation still stands, you know.”

His tone was less insistent than last time he had spoken to her, but he still asked her out despite many negative answers. He was very audacious. She had to admit it. After talking to him for a while, he wasn’t so bad company. Dinner with him could be interesting. She looked up at him and accepted his invitation. He showed no reaction. He was just looking at her as if he was in shock. Then he frowned.

“You… Are you sure?”

She nodded, smiling at him. Another rendezvous or not… It didn’t promise to anything and maybe he wouldn’t invite her again. For her, it was only to discover she wasn’t worth the trouble. She opened her bag to pick up a pen. She took his left hand and wrote her cell phone number under Mark’s stunned look. Like her accepting his invitation was the most beautiful thing in the world. Then she kissed his cheek, thanking him for the dance and wished him a good evening. It was time for her to return home. It was almost two o’clock in the morning!

The stairs going up to her apartment seemed endless! She leaned against the wall, hoping not fall backwards. It wasn’t a good time to alert all her neighbors! She ended up in front of the door of her apartment and unlocked it before entering. Her ears were still ringing from the music and alcohol was dissipated quietly in her body. What a day! Fortunately, Mark had been there otherwise she would have gone much earlier. Or died of boredom in the back of the room.

She was almost looking forward for Mark’s phone call. Should she take an appointment with a psychologist? He was very nice so she wondered if she was okay. Maybe something was confused in her brain…

Sighing, she felt on her bed, a huge smile on her lips. She suddenly realized she hadn’t even greeted her sister before leaving the reception. But was Victoria realized it? Surely not because she hadn’t give her any attention throughout the day. She had seen her only when she was about to leave the church and when they arrived at the reception. For the rest, Clara could very well have stayed home. Her sister didn’t care to know she was there or not. Nothing had changed. She still didn’t understand why Victoria had made a scene because she believed that Clara wasn’t going to be there.

But would it have been different if Sebastian would attend the wedding? And what about the bridesmaids? Did Clara would have been part of them if her brother hadn’t been out of town? Probably not since the request was made before they knew about it.

She got up to change, putting on an old shirt too large before slipping under the sheets. Sleep wasn’t very long to wait. She sank without keeping a single memory of any dream.

“It was so boring!”Clara replied, pouring herself a second cup of hot coffee.

“Was there hot guys, at least?” Mary asked.

“I don’t really remember, but almost everyone was with someone.”

“And your sister? Have you talked to her a little? Your family?”

“Not even! My sister looked up when she saw me at the church and my mom totally ignored me. I’m sure if I was wisely stayed home, I’d have a little more fun.”

“Your family is really weird… Are you sure they didn’t adopted you?”

She thought for a moment about it. She hadn’t really paid attention before now. She had always wondered why her parents had three children instead of two.

“I don’t believe that a family really can exist”, Mary said. “Mine is very different: my sister would have wept on seeing me and my mother would have scolded me on the fact that I should do something good in my life.”

“You’re lucky.”

“Why? I haven’t spoken to my father for ten years! My mother died fifteen years ago and my sister killed herself when she was a teenager. Want to exchange family with me? At least your parents are still alive.”

“And if you were standing in my shoes? Would it change anything? You’ll spend more time with them?”

Mary wondered for a moment before answering that no, she probably wouldn’t. She wasn’t very focused on the family and she didn’t see the value of family dinners that never end. Clara explained that it was a way used to compare the successes and the failures since their last dinner.

“Do they really tell you that you screwed up your life?”

“I don’t really interest them.”

“In short, the wedding was bored to death and you went home late anyway? Did I miss something?”

“I stayed as late as I could.”

“To do what with whom?”

“Personal satisfaction, okay?”

She took a long sip of her coffee before putting it on the coffee table and sitting on the sofa.

“There was a guy I didn’t expect to see there.”

“Who? Don’t tell me that you saw the chatterbox again!”

Clara laughed, shaking her head.

“No! Remember the guy who invited me at the bar? A very strange guy who insisted a lot?”

“Hmm… That sounds vaguely familiar. Keep going.”

“Well this guy knew Patrick from college and he hates my sister! He was at the wedding reception!”

“What a small world! So you’ve talked all evening?”

“Yes and I gave him my number after he invited me again. Then I got home.”

“Wow! You left your number to a guy you barely know… Is it new with you? It’s the first time you do something like that.”

“He’s very nice and everyone deserves a second chance.”

“Well great! When is he supposed to call you?”

Clara raised her eyebrows while telling her she didn’t know. They hadn’t given any rendezvous and she hadn’t asked before she left. She didn’t want to look like the girl who will wait by the phone, waiting impatiently for his call. Mary seemed satisfied by her answer. She had no comment on the fact that her friend would receive a call from a guy she barely knew. She did worse pretty often!

“Did you ask his number?”

“Uh… No…”

“Why didn’t you? You could take the lead by asking his number.”

The young woman hadn’t even thought about it. Would she have done it? She asked herself now that her friend was talking about it. She didn’t know when he would call her and she didn’t intend to stay by the phone until he does. She never allowed herself to do such a thing. She had waited too long for David to make a single move, but he preferred his career. She wasn’t mad at him for that. An opportunity like this was unexpected. But the price was very expensive. She had to disappear from his life and now he had replaced her by another woman he had married.

“He didn’t propose it.”

“You could have asked for it.”

“But no, I didn’t do it. I have no guarantee that he’ll call me either. There was no promise made when I left the reception.”

“At least you didn’t beg him.”

“Who do you think I am? If he calls me, great. If he doesn’t, too bad for him.”

“There I recognize you! Do you want to sleep with him?”

“Why do you ask me that!?! I don’t know! If I survive t our first date, I’ll see for the future. No promises, do you understand? That doesn’t mean much.”

“Very good point.”

“So no sex for quite some time.”

“You can be so prude!”

“And you’re a slut!”

They laughed while insulting each other. There was nothing serious, of course. After a while Mary told her she had spent the evening with a fairly wealthy man. He used everything: dinner at a fancy restaurant downtown, night club for several drinks, a few dance steps to raise the temperature a bit… They finally returned to his sumptuous penthouse where he flatly said he wanted to sleep with her all night. Of course, she wasn’t opposed to the idea.

“He also wanted my number, but I refused when I noticed he was wearing a wedding ring.”

“You… you slept with a married man?”

“He said he just divorced. As if I would believe that!”

As Clara expected, Mary told her almost everything in detail. She told her that if she had known he was married – because he had eventually told her the truth – she refused his invitation. Married men were out of the question: she didn’t want to break any family. Although he was a lonely man and had a lot of money. She had principles that she respected by the book. Clara was a bit surprised to see her friend true to her principles.

“I thought you didn’t care if the guy’s married or not.”

“He hid it! It’s not as if he had lied.”

“And if the guy pays you to sleep with him even if he’s married? Would you do it?”

“My principles against money? It depend how much are we talking about.”

“Let’s say… a million, like in the movie Indecent Proposal.”

Mary took the time to think before giving an answer to which Clara had expected. Of course she’ll do it. It was worth the trouble to do it for that amount. One million! And it was only for one night, after all. She returned the question to Clara who thought about it a little longer, evaluating the opportunities. After all, it was just sex. She had already slept with men for whom she felt nothing. But for money… Everybody had a price, but she didn’t know how much was hers.

But yes, she could very well survive this.


“It’s not an answer.”

“This is the only one I can give you!”

“Cheater! Your intentions aren’t clear enough. Well, got to leave you. There are a lot of things I need to do before tomorrow. You keep me in touch if you receive that famous phone call, okay?”

“Okay. Have a nice day.”

“You too. Bye!”

Clara pressed the button of the phone, a huge smile on her lips. Sometimes she wondered why she was friend with Mary. They were very far from each other. Since the beginning, they thought very rarely the same things.

Clara also had things to do before returning to work the next day. She got dressed before going to the supermarket for her grocery shopping. She had no list, but she knew exactly what she needed: just about everything. There were many people. She wasn’t in hurry. No one expected her. She paced the aisles, casually listening to music playing in the speakers

Slowly, she quietly returned to her place to store her purchases. It was beautiful outside and the sun shone. A beautiful day despite the previous evening. She had the strange feeling that something good would happen to her. She wasn’t sure what, but it was her impression.

Arms full, she managed to unlock her apartment’s door and got inside. She closed the door with a kick. She laid her purchases on the kitchen counter and began to empty her bags. A quick glance on her phone told her she had no message. Kind of a relief went up inside her. Her mother hadn’t tried to reach her. Maybe she had ended up forgetting she had another girl… She opened the refrigerator to put in what should be stored in there. The pantry was quickly filled.

Now she had to find what to do with the rest of her day.

She put on some music and made herself comfortable on the sofa to read. The sunlight filtered through the blinds half closed. She leaned her head against a pillow and dozed for a moment.

She dreamed that she finally met her prince charming and he really was what she was looking for in a man. Aware that she was dreaming, she was smiling like a moron. When she opened her eyes again, she retained no memory of the physic of her prince charming. He had only managed to make her happy for a few minutes, even if he was just a mere dream.

She was happy that she hadn’t forgotten anything during the weekend. She remembered everything she had learned during her first working week. Everything came back to her when she was doing her research and as the day progressed. Patricia joined her later in the morning, after her doctor’s appointment. She seemed more exhausted than ever. She gave a few files to Clara so she can take care of them as a priority. Then Patricia went out of the office to let her work. She was just a consultant, after all.

Clara was takings calls, doing research and handled everything like a true professional.

“I will not stay with you today,” Patricia told her.

“No problem. Go and get some rest.”

“You think you can manage without me?”

“Yes! Don’t worry about me and go get some rest.”

Patricia painfully rose on her feet, grinning. She rubbed her lower back while moving towards the door. She told her that her phone would remain open throughout the day, if she needed her of if she had any questions. Clara told her she didn’t have to worry, that everything would be fine.

“Can I ask you a question?” Clara asked.

Patricia nodded.

“It’s... how is it to be… pregnant…?”

The question made laugh the future mother who turned to the young woman, one hand resting on her lower back.

“It’s strange, sometimes. There is a little creature living inside my body, after all.”

“And when it moves?”

“A little uncomfortable sometimes. Especially when I sleep! My boy punches and kicks so I don’t sleep much now.”

“Can you calm him down?”

Patricia nodded a smile on her lips.

“And I don’t regret anything, if that’s your next question.”

Clara felt her cheeks turn red. They wished each other a great day and the young woman was officially alone in her new office for the first time. She consulted her emails regularly. For the transition to occur smoothly, Patricia’s emails were redirected to Clara’s new address. She received many resumes for various positions within the company. She had created an automatic reply as soon as she opened her email. She has to make herself known.

Everything went very well and she was happy with her decision. She hated having regrets when she decides something. Conscience remorse gave her the impression of having done things only partially.

Back in her apartment, she began looking for something easy to prepare while listening to messages on her voicemail. There were only four. A gardening company – again – who wanted to offer a discount on pesticides and a woman in fury left a message for a certain Bill. She threatened to leave him if he dared to cheat on her.

“Bill, you’re going to have problems!”

The third message was from her lovely mother. She only wanted to be sure the young woman had attended Victoria’s wedding because she hadn’t seen her. She ended by telling her she would call her later, since she was still at work.

“I’ll try to get you there.”

Clara looked at the ceiling, sighing. They she frowned. Nobody in her family knew she wasn’t working at the same place. She had told anyone. She burst out laughing at the fourth message. Her mother panicked after she called her former boss’s office.

“Clara! Call me immediately! What have you done? Why have you been fired? Call me! This is an emergency!”

She wondered why her mother kept calling her. She must have suspected she was working during that time. Even if the young woman had changed job, it made no difference: she worked outside her apartment! And why she said I have done something wrong and lose my job? She looked at the clock, wondering if she should call her back immediately or let her panic a little more. She didn’t know if she could stand the hysterical cries of her mother when she would try to explain what had happened. Her mother had already a script inside her mind. It would be very difficult to convince her otherwise. It took a lot of energy and she wasn’t sure she had enough to do so. She closed the pantry and then deleted all the messages on her voicemail. She poured herself a bowl of cereal while searching on Internet. A new idea had come into her mind: she wanted to buy a condo. It wasn’t because she lived alone she couldn’t get her own little piece of heaven.

And she was only looking, of course. She knew if she happens to find something that would please her and she could afford. She had no problem at the end of every month, but she wasn’t rich.

She finished her bowl before grabbing the phone to call back her mother. Her beloved mother immediately recognized her voice and began to ask lots of questions hysterically. As I expected…

“How come you lost your job? What have you done?”

“Mom, no one fired me…”

“They told me you didn’t work there anymore. Why didn’t you say anything?”

“With the wedding…”

“You have debts or you stole their money? Is that it? Why did they fire you?”

“Nobody fired me: I quit my job…”

“QUIT!?! How can you have left your job? Who forced you to do such a thing? Oh! You’re pregnant? Oh my God… No… You’re pregnant and the father refuses to let you work…”

“Mom, can you let me talk for just five minutes?”

“But I’m only trying to understand what happens to you!”

“So let me explain!”

“You didn’t have all the attention because of the wedding, is that it?”

“I don’t give a damn about Victoria!”


“I quit my job because I found something else. I saw an interesting offer and I got it.”

There was a long silence at the other end of the line. Clara couldn’t believe her mother was speechless. But she never believed the truth even when it was explained several times. She probably was trying to find another thing to throw in her face.

“You just left your job for another?”


“Why you haven’t said anything?”

“With the organization of the wedding, I simply forgot. That’s it, mom. I improved my working conditions and the pay is a bit higher. I have a little more responsibilities…”

“Do you have money problems?”

“No. Why?”

“You can tell me everything, dear. Do you have a gambling problem in addition to alcohol?”

The young woman suddenly stiffened.

“I have no problem with alcohol or gambling debts!”

“But you said…”

“It’s not because my salary has increased a little I have officially money problems! Why not congratulate me instead of putting me down? I improved my life quality and you, you’re looking for problems that don’t exist!”

“Clara! Please!”

“No need to find a reason why I hate our family dinners! You accuse me and compare me all the time with Victoria. She’s so far from being perfect!”

There were many things her parents didn’t know about their beloved daughter. At the time, the young woman had been silent. She had promised Victoria not to tell anyone. On the phone, her mother laughed a little.

“Come on! Victoria is beyond reproach.”

“Oh yeah? And did you know Victoria lost her virginity in YOUR bed when you were traveling to France? She was fifteen. She borrowed me money to buy identical sheets to hide everything. You knew that?”


“She also stole money in dad’s wallet. I guess you knew that too.”

Her mother seemed very offended to learn all those things about her so beloved daughter. Every teenager was doing mistakes one day or another, but sometimes they didn’t do much. Clara had practically done nothing. She had smoked on the edge of the window of her room and told lies about where she went. But Victoria won all trophies to herself!

“You’re lying, my dear. And it’s not good. You did all those horrible things you’re talking about. Not Victoria.”

“Did you forbidden me to see Carlos Perez?”

“Our former neighbors?”

“Yes! It’s not me who decided to climb the gutter near the window to join him in his parents’ shed.”

“Clara! How can you say such things?”

“There! You still defend her!”

“You must calm yourself, Clara…”

“I’m tired that everything I do is never enough for you. You have two completely different daughters and I don’t want to be like Victoria. So when dad and you actually want to talk to me, call me.”

“You mustn’t think about these things, of course!”

“Have a great week.”

And she hung up without allowing her mother to tell her anything else. Years of accumulating frustration and anger came like a burst. She would have had much to tell them, but she had no strength. She had enough. She was tired of staying in the shadow of her older sister. She existed, too! She didn’t like to have all attention, but this must stop. Nobody was perfect and her sister was so far from being like her parents seemed to think.

She got back in her research for the perfect condo, based on the price she agreed to pay and the location she wanted. All eyes on the screen, she virtually visited and started daydreaming. She imagined how she could arrange her next little paradise. She hoped that this project will ever materialize very soon.

Very focused on her research, she barely heard the phone ringing. She took the phone, still looking at the screen.


“Is it Clara?”

The young woman frowned, leaning against the chair, curious to know who was calling. She didn’t recognize the voice.

“It’s me… Who is it?”

She could hear a giggle at the other end of the line. She became a little more attentive to her interlocutor. She thought now she knew the voice, but she wasn’t sure.

“It’s Mark. Do I bother you?”

“No. Not at all. How are you doing?”

“Good and you?”

She stupidly smiled without being able to help herself. She replied that she was fine. He asked her if she still wanted to have dinner with him. She nodded and immediately found herself stupid because he couldn’t see her. She said the situation hadn’t changed.

“Of course.”

“Are you free tomorrow?”

She was about to answer him, but he adds with a nervous voice.

“We could go out for dinner… and I don’t know what you think, but…”

“That’s fine with me. Where do you want to go?”

“We have at least twenty-four hours to decide. Do you want me to pick you up?”

“I prefer to reach you there, if it doesn’t bother you.”

“No, of course not. I’ll call you tomorrow night to decide the restaurant. Is that all right with you?”

She smiled.

“It’s perfect.”

She thought it was nice of him to respect her decision. She only hoped that he was sincere. Men who didn’t believe a word of what they were saying repulsed her.

He asked her what kind of restaurant she liked and what food she loved to eat. She replied she had no food allergies and she didn’t care where they would go. She was sure to find something she liked. She wasn’t very difficult. Apparently, he wasn’t either. In fact, he loved everything called food. He ate just about anything. He trained a lot, fortunately for him.

“And you? Do you exercise?”

“No, not really. Apart from your training, you do a lot of sports?”

“I exercise a lot because of my job. I sometimes have heavy loads to carry so I have to protect myself. My boss refuses to fill out CSST forms. I have no choice if I want to survive my workday! It’s the law!”

They laughed. She understood what he meant: his work could be very demanding physically. It was a good thing he was training to keep the shape. She wondered if she would see him naked one day… She was suddenly a little curious by the images that flooded into her mind. They talked awhile before they wished a good evening. She kept her eyes on her phone, not knowing what to think. Does this story would go somewhere?

Only fate could give her an answer.

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