TWENTY-ONE – RELATIONSHIP
What is a relationship? Is it not going out with someone, to either have dinner or just do something together? Is it not expressing publicly that you are involved with the other? Is it not, getting to know each other and having things in common?
All the things Sydney wrote down matched with the mentioned above and he was not ready to do it. Not now, not ever! He did not want a relationship, either with her or with anyone else. He was never a fun of relationships all thanks to his parents. They made him see that love did not exist: only money and power was important.
“Anderson,” he snapped out of his gaze when he heard his name. It took him a few seconds to realize that Hansen was calling him. He was sitting in the sofa next to him. “Have you made up your mind?” He asked.
“No.” His reply was quick and firm. His brother sighed while face palming himself.
“Haven’t you been listening to everything I have been telling you?” Anderson glanced at his brother and nodded. He had zoned out as soon as Hansen started talking.
“Not a single word.” He admitted.
“Then please lend me your ear.” He told him. “Anderson, you have to do it. Looking like a couple is easy. It involves holding hands, getting to know each other, doing things together and…”
“It sounds like getting attached to me.” Anderson cut in. “And that is what I do not want.”
Hansen grunted. “Come on, Anderson! You will only be acting.”
“Have you not read or even watched movies where the couples who act end up actually falling in love?”
“It won’t be a bad thing if you fall you love. Sydney is beautiful, attractive, sexy, and smart and has a passion to be a prominent actress. In fact, it would be a great catch.” Anderson rolled his eyes and Hansen added with a smirk. “I haven’t forgotten the way you looked at her that night.”
Just like that, images of that faithful night and other days that she looked drop dead gorgeous, flashed through his mind. He found himself recalling every single outfit he has seen her in and admiring her in his mind.
“I see you remember.” Hansen’s words brought him out of his trance and he frowned as soon as he saw his brother’s smirk. “It’s simple, just act.”
Ha, Hansen was speaking as if it was going to be easy: maybe for him, but not he. He has never been in a relationship. He has no idea what to do. Although Sydney wrote about a hundred and one things couples do, he could not bring himself to do even one of them. It was just too… couply.
Sighing, he relaxed on the sofa and threw his head back against the headrest. No matter how much he was afraid of acting, or did not know what to do, or was scared of actually falling in love, he knew he had to do it. He just had to play along, for his own good and for his inheritance.
“Alright, I will do it.”
Hansen jumped out of his chair to squeeze his brother between his arms. “Let go of me, man.” Anderson snapped while trying to get him off him, but no, his brother held on tight.
“You are making the right decision. Sydney will surely break that stone heart of yours that has refused to love.”
“Get off!” Anderson finally managed to get him off him, startled that his brother was starting to act like a girl.
“Ask her out tonight.” Hansen said and his brother’s pupils dilated.
“Are you crazy?” Anderson gasped.
“No, but you will soon be… crazy in love with Sydney.” Hansen gasped, cupping his face and jumping around the room like a child who was gifted money to go and buy ice cream. “Oh my god, your couple name will be Anderney, or Syderson… eww that sounds bad. I will come up with better ones later.”
“Just shut up, already.” Anderson snapped, getting exasperated. He got on his feet and stormed out of Hansen’s house, leaving his brother deep in thought on finding the prefect couple name for them.
Anderson got into his car, heartbeat racing. He placed his head to the steering wheel and took deep breaths. Damn his brother for making his heart race. Why did he have to say such crazy things about him and Sydney? Gosh, he had to get out of there before his heart explodes.
Anderson pulled into his compound later that night and turned off the engine. He looked up at his house and wondered if Sydney will be asleep. Glancing at the gold watch around his wrist, he saw the time: it was thirty minutes past twelve am. She should be asleep around this time right? He asked himself while stepping out.
The early morning breeze blew over him as he walked towards the front door. He did not see any lights on, in the house, so it gave him hope that she was asleep. Good, he did not want to see her. He needs silence to come to terms with the fact that they had to ‘act’ like a real couple, so he needs to be alone in order to do it.
Unlocking the door, he stepped in, making sure to close the door without making any noises. After locking it, he tiptoed through the corridor and into the living room. Darn it, he was sneaking around in his own house. What the hell?
All of a sudden, he heard noises in the kitchen. Turning his gaze in that direction, he asked himself if he heard right. What could be lurking around his kitchen at this time of the night?
Anderson stepped into the kitchen and froze when he saw a figure standing in front of the refrigerator. It was Sydney. The light from inside the fridge illuminated her, casting a long curvaceous figure of her on the floor. He watched as she searched through his practically empty fridge that only contained bottles of water and a few leftovers, without a word.
She removed a bottle of water and turned away from the fridge, closing it with her foot. She opened a cabinet and took out a glass cup. When she spun around, she screamed upon seeing him there. The glass slipped from her hand and shattered into pieces under her feet.
Anderson did not move. He remained in his spot, still stunned by her. She did not move either, as she could not tell who it was in the darkness. Her heart raced in her chest at the thought that it could be a thief or even worst a rapist. He took a step and she made a mistake by moving too.
A piece of broken glass pierced through her feet and a sharp pain suddenly shot through her, reminding her that broken glasses were all around her. He stepped forward again, but this time towards the switch. The light soon flickered on and she saw who it really was.
“Anderson!” she gasped, throwing a hand over her chest and releasing a heavy breath.
“I am sorry for startling you.” He apologized while taking off his jacket. “Don’t move.” He added while moving into the storeroom. He brought out a broom and shovel.
Sydney watched him go down on his knees and swept the glasses around her feet. While he disposed of it in the bin, she lifted her injured foot and hopped to a stool. After sitting down, she flung the injured leg on top of the good one. She saw the glass sticking out of her flesh and fresh blood oozing out.
She was about to pull out the piece of glass when Anderson spoke up. “Let me do it.” She raised her gaze and saw him standing before her with what looked like a first-aid kit. She nodded.
Anderson knelt before her, lifting her leg so he could see the glass. Shivers shot through her from the spot his fingers touched her skin and her stomach did flip-flops. He raised his gaze to meet hers and she held her breath.
“Ready?” He asked and she nodded.
In a swift movement, he pulled it out and sighed as relief swept over her. He went ahead to clean and dress the cut. In less than fifteen minutes, they were in the living room. Sydney was finally drinking her water and Anderson was trying to convince himself that he was not attracted to her.
“So,” Sydney spoke to break the electrifying silence between them. “What do you say about my proposal?” She asked and his gaze met hers.
“Let’s do it.” He said and she smiled. His gaze moved away from hers as he added. “However, if any of us starts to feel something for the other, the deal will be off.”
Sydney’s heart sank at his words. For what reason, she did not know. His gaze met hers and she saw that he was not kidding. “No feelings should develop from this.” He added in a form of a warning and she found herself nodding in obedience.
“I hope you remember that it was stated in the contract we signed.” She kept on nodding without a word. “And you remember everything in it.”
Anderson rose to his feet with his jacket on his arm and then added. “Goodnight.”
Sydney watched him move up the stairs and then disappeared in the darkness. She felt something tickling her throat and she hoped it was not disappointment. Why would she even feel disappointed? It is not as if she intended to fall in love with him.
Although he was handsome, had beautiful eyes and great body, she herself understood that he was way out of her league. They were two very different people. He was from a rich family and she was not. He was on top of the social ladder and she, well, was at the very bottom. Therefore, she knows exactly where she stands and will not cross any lines.
Sydney went straight to her room. As she lay in bed, she recited every line he told her, so as not to break any rules.
* * * * * *
Anderson tossed and turned in bed all night long, so when he stared in the mirror the next morning and saw an extra from a zombie movie staring back at him, he was not too surprised. He washed his face and brushed his teeth before moving downstairs.
Today, there was no need for him to run away early as he did yesterday, because, he had already spoken with Sydney about her proposal. The smell of fresh coffee reached his nostrils when he descended from the stairs and a smile formed on his lips. Coffee never smelled so wonderful, he thought, already salivating.
Sydney came out of the kitchen holding two cups of coffee. “Good morning.” She sang and handed him one cup, while moving to sit in the sofa closest to the television, turning it on.
“Good morning.” He said and raised it to his lips. He stared at her above the steam rising from the coffee and was glad that she was not wearing anything that would drive his male mind crazy.
“Sorry, but we only get coffee for breakfast.” She said, eyes glued to the TV. “It’s all I could find in your kitchen.” She propped an arm on the headrest and turned so she could look back at him.
He quickly lowered his gaze before she caught him and took a sip. The liquid that entered his mouth watered his taste buds and he found himself asking if she made the coffee with the same coffee beans he had in his cabinet. His coffee never tasted this good. He continued drinking until she spoke and he almost choked.
“Let’s go shopping.”
Sydney jumped out of the sofa when he started coughing uncontrollably. “Are you alright?” She asked, worried and contemplated whether to go and pat his back or let him be.
When he had his coughs under control, he stood from the bending stance he took when he went into a coughing frenzy, with tear at the corners of his eyes. “W… what?” he asked.
“Let’s go shopping. As your future wife, I have to cook for you. And I can’t do that when there is nothing in the fridge.” She spoke, with hands on her hips.
Anderson’s coughs started all over again and this time, Sydney could not stop herself from patting his back. “Sydney,” he said, moving back from her. He did not want the feels that shot through him when her fingers rubbed his back.
“Yes?” She held her hips and stared at him with big beautiful brown eyes.
He became speechless and could do nothing but admire her eyes. Those orbs became prettier and more captivating with each passing day. Concentrate! His mind yelled to him and he tore his gaze away from her so he could think.
“Sydney, you don’t have to cook for me.” He told her.
“But I want to.”
“But I don’t want you to. I did not bring you here to be my slave.”
“Cooking is not slavery. It is part of the responsibilities of a wife and as your future wife, I want to do it.” Anderson was stunned to silence.
“You agreed for us to act like a real couple and a real fiancée cooks for her husband to be and takes care of the well-being of the house. As your future wife, I want to take up those responsibilities and you…” she pointed a finger to him, “can’t say no to it because you agreed to do this. The only exception was falling in love. I hope you understand.”
As Anderson stared at the woman standing before him, he asked himself if he made the right decision. He agreeing for them to ‘act’ like a real couple, was it a good or bad idea?