“Piglet, what would you like to eat?”
“Stop calling me that.”
“But you look like a pig! Oink oink,” he said playfully, ruffling my hair. I glared at him but laughed regardless, feeling no anger in his teasing. I was used to him teasing me everywhere anyway, whether it be outside on our little date nights or inside the kitchen during work.
David Sutter has been my best friend and work partner for years. After University, we started registering a catering service in the heart of the city and since then the business has been going very well. He was somewhat of a mystery the first time I met him; his silence and serious personality gave him that feeling. If it weren’t for that day I was introduced to him, I wouldn’t have known how easygoing he was—and funny.
“Diane. I know you’re–like –in love with me, but seriously staring at me so openly. It’s kind of embarrassing.”
I rolled my eyes at him, smiling slightly the faux Valley girl tone he'd adopted to catch my attention. “Dream on, Sutter. I was just thinking about how incredibly stupid you look with your … pink floral shirt on.” I pinched his cheek from across the table, making him yelp. “How many times am I going to tell you that Hawaiian shirts do not suit you?! Take that off!”
“First off, I did not pick these out. I am meeting my mother later and she wanted me to wear these so she could see them. Second, I’ll have you know that real men wear pink. And lastly, I should sue you for sexual harassment; asking a guy to remove his shirt in a public place. Diane Meer, have some manners!”
“You are so—annoying.”
“Yeah, but you love me for it,” He replied grinning and I couldn’t help but return the smile.
“So... I heard from Summer that you broke up with boy number four. What did this one do wrong?”
I glared at him. “His name is Simon, okay. And he didn’t do anything wrong. It was me.”
“Right; and I’m a rubber ducky.”
“That is odd to the ears, David.”
“Answer the question.”
I sighed and thought about it for a moment. A friend of ours, Summer, introduced Simon to me at a party a few months ago. He was a little older than I was, but we got along so well – a date was almost expected. Simon was a gentleman, attentive, sweet and caring. The ideal guy to introduce to your parents—but something was missing, and I knew what it was.
“I just didn’t like him as much as he liked me.”
That was the truth.
I never felt anything for Simon remotely close to love to consider him as something more. Sure, I was fond of him and cared about him as a friend, but other than that—I felt nothing.
“You’ve seriously got to start seeing somebody for real soon. I worry about you in that aspect.”
“Ugh, shut up will you? Not everybody can have the perfect relationship with your University sweetheart, like you and Yana.”
David held his hands up in surrender. “Geez, don’t be so prickly.”
“Sorry,” I replied sheepishly, calming down. He patted my arm and gave it a soft squeeze, a sign that said that it was okay.
“Oh, by the way, we got another job. This one’s a coming-out party for Miss Monica Sullivan.”
I nodded. Monica Sullivan was the daughter of the founder and CEO of Sullivan Enterprises, the leading company for IT in the city. Getting a call from them would mean very well for our business.
David continued, “Apparently she’s just turned twenty and her parents wanted her to come out to the community as eligible for suitors.”
“Isn’t that a little old-fashioned?”
David shrugged. “Yeah, but the Sullivan family seems to be a pretty old-fashioned family as well, so what can we do? Anyway, I’ll be meeting her parents and the planner tomorrow to settle the menu so you just have to talk things over with Theo to see if he’ll be free to do the job. They asked specifically for him to cook.”
I nodded. “Alright, I’ll talk to him after this weekend. He’s still visiting his family.” I pursed my lips, letting the cap of my ballpoint pen meet my lips lightly and glanced down at my daily planner. “What else is coming up?”
The pen dropped and the oxygen seemed to leave the room. I fought hard to keep my expression in check.
“Are you okay?”
I nod. The air is really thin all of the sudden. “Yeah, what about him?”
Yes. What about the man who stole my heart, ripped it into pieces and never gave it back.
“Jared’s back from Japan. He wants to hang out one of these days and I thought I should let you know.”
I breathe. Slowly. “That’s good.”
It comes out forced and I pray that David doesn’t notice. Thankfully he doesn’t.
“Really? Then I should tell him the three of us should hang out soon, yeah?”
I try hard to smile convincingly, “Sure.”
My phone is ringing somewhere. I can hear it because it’s so loud it woke me from my sleep. I’m too sleepy (lazy) though, to open my eyes and pick it up. I’ll let it go to voicemail, maybe.
The phone beeps and I knew the answering machine has picked it up. Smiling, I bury myself deeper into the bed sheets. Finally. Peace and quiet.
“Jared Wyatt, you lazy son of a- Wake up. It’s me, David. I’m calling to tell you that we should hang out sometime next week. Diane—” My eyes are instantly open at the sound of her name “—said she’ll go as long as it doesn’t disturb her schedule and next weekend is the best time for all of us. Call me when you get this.”
“Diane.” Her name sounds so bitter in my mouth. I’ve wondered how she’s been since University—how is she these days?
It’s a surprise to know she agreed to see me (of course, David’ll be there too but still). During college, David, Diane and I were inseparable. In a sense. Diane never really opened up to me the way she did to David. There was that one time during the summer before graduation but—
“It’ll be worth it when you meet the right person.”
“That right person you’re talking about… that person is not here.”
I shook my head and lay back into bed. “Why am I thinking about that now?” I whisper, closing my eyes again. The bed shifts around me and an arm is suddenly laid on my chest. I open my eyes and a pretty face came into view. Suddenly, I remember where I am.
“Jared? What are you talking about?” Monica Sullivan said, putting her chin on my chest.
Monica Sullivan. My betrothed. Fiancé. The reason why I’m forced to come back to Seoul. I feel my temper rising at the thought and so when she edged closer to me and my body, I roll my eyes at her and stood up quickly. Pulling on a shirt, I sigh when I feel her coming close.
“Monica. I told you I don’t let anyone in my bedroom.”
She smiled sheepishly and edged closer. “I know, Jared. But I have a copy of your apartment key and your bedroom door was open so…”
“Alright. That’s enough.” I said, cutting her off. “You have to leave.”
Thankfully, she obeys and slides off the bed. I motion her to the door but she comes up close to me with a kiss. I’m annoyed.
“I said, leave.”
She laughed in response and nodded. “I’m leaving, Jared. I’ll see you soon I hope.”
She grins regardless of my tone and gives me another kiss on my cheek.
“Oh by the way, who’s Diane?”
I close the door without answering her question.