I arrived to work in the worst mood ever. This bout of anger, escaping my being was unusual. I found myself angry at strangers, drivers, the barista at the coffee shop, heck, I was even angry with the stack of papers on my desk. Though I really tried to be pleasant and mask my frustrations, it was becoming more and more difficult as I recalled my recent conversation. Earlier this morning, I got into a huge argument with this guy I’ve been dating for a few months. I didn’t understand why I was so upset; he wasn’t even my man. Sean wasn’t even the type of guy I would normally date anyway. He’s a rapper.
And we know how they can be.
We met in Vegas at a nightclub. I was just there to have a good time with my girls, Rachel and Zoe. It was our annual girls’ trip and we decided to go somewhere where we could cut loose and have some careless fun. Sean picked me out of the crowd and had his security ask me if I wanted to go to VIP with him. I knew who he was and I even had a few of his songs in my music library. I politely declined his offer because I wasn’t down with having one-night stands. That’s just not my thing. I continued dancing and having fun with my friends.
At the end of the night, he personally approached me without his security and entourage. We talked briefly. He’s even more handsome in person. Though he was a bit shorter than I expected. His bright brown eyes and charismatic smile caught my attention. He seemed nice, but I still wasn’t interested. He probably just wanted me for the night and would find a new girl for the next night. After turning him down again, I gave him my business card offering him my accounting services. Then I went back to my hotel room.
When I returned to work that following Monday, he was waiting for me in my office with several bouquets of roses, in various colors. I thought the gesture was sweet. He told me he thought I was the most beautiful and classiest woman he’s ever met. The fact that he came to Los Angeles just to bring me flowers made me like him a little. I figured I could at least go on one date with him. He invited me to lunch and since then we’ve been casually dating and trying to get to know each other better.
Our fun casual relationship changed for the worst when I saw him on my Twitter feed making out with an R&B singer. I was upset that he lied and was playing games. Why bother trying to start a relationship with me if he wants to be with everyone else too. I confronted him about it and everything just got out of hand. It went so left I couldn’t believe the language that came out of my mouth. I normally didn’t use foul language. It always seemed un-ladylike to me.
I sat in my office, festering over our argument and everything he ever said and did. I thought about how I wasted almost three months of my life fooling with him. I definitely should end it. I was in deep thought until my good friend and boss came in. I sat up and tried to appear unbothered.
“Hunter, are you okay?” he asked.
I guess I’m not that good at masking my emotions.
“Hey, Jace. Yes, I’m fine. I’m just tired. How are you doing?” I lied.
“Honestly, it’s been a bad dose... I’m in a bad situation.”
His Irish accent was more prominent than usual. He looked distressed and that bothered me. I wondered what was going on because I haven’t really seen or talked to him all this week and that wasn’t our norm.
“Jace, what’s wrong? Is it anything I can help you with?”
“I don’t know. I’m going to get deported soon. My work visa is expiring soon and the government won’t renew it,” he explained.
I gasped. I never expected him to be in this situation. Jace was originally from Ireland. He came to the United States about 9 years ago due to his position being moved to the new U.S. headquarters from Dublin. So, I thought that he had a green card all this time.
“Oh, no! I’m really sorry. There has to be something you can do. I can be your sponsor so you can apply for citizenship. I’ll help you any way I can.”
“It’s too late for that. But there is one thing you could do to postpone the deportation and in a year or so I can apply for citizenship,” he said desperately.
He was anxious and that made me nervous.
“Okay, what is it?” I asked.
He grabbed me by my hands and pulled me up from my chair. He got down on one knee and pulled out a small box.
“Hunter, would you please marry me so I won’t get deported?”
I was so stunned that nothing could come out of my mouth. He looked even more nervous. His gray eyes seemed darker and filled with worry.
“I promise you I will make it worth your while. Starting with a raise and a promotion. I’ll even give you a lot of money. And you get to pick the house and plan the wedding of your dreams. Please, please, Hunter! I’m begging you,” he pleaded.
I was still in complete shock. I cared about him. We’ve been good friends for years. I knew that if he was deported he would lose everything. He worked so hard for our company. Besides, he’s one of my best friends and I didn’t want to let him down. So I made one of the craziest decisions of my life. It wasn’t like I was going to get married anytime soon or ever at this point.
“Yes. I’ll do it,” I said with a faint smile.
He stood up and hugged me tightly. Then he covered my cheeks with soft kisses, making me giggle.
“Thanks a million! Thank you! You are a lifesaver,” he beamed.
He was so happy. He put the ring on my finger. I looked down at it and realized it was actually a nice ring. A large solitary emerald-cut diamond set in white gold. It seemed to be flawless.
“Wow! Jace, is this real?”
“Of course. It’s a three-karat diamond in white gold. And it’s yours to keep as a thank you gift,” he said.
“You didn’t have to do this.”
“You deserve it. You are truly the best, mo áilleacht seacláide. Come by my place tonight so we can talk details, okay?”
I had no idea what he said. I knew it was something in Irish because I heard him say it to me a few times. When I asked him what it meant, he always said it’s just a term of endearment. I nodded my head and thanked him again for the gorgeous ring. He thanked me again and went back to his office.
I sat back in my chair still in disbelief, almost dumbfounded. Jace, my very handsome best friend, asked me to marry him out of all people. I thought he would ask one of his exes or Farrah, his assistant. I always thought that she had a thing for him. Then again it wouldn’t make sense for him to pick her since he didn’t pay her any mind. I don’t think she even did her work either since Jace was always asking me for favors, like checking his files and accounts. Anyway, he picked me. Since we hit it off from the first day we met, it was a logical decision.
We’ve known each other for a total of 7 years and we’ve been good friends for 6 years. When we first met, I was an undergrad intern and he was an Accounting Executive. We both moved up in the company, him much faster than I. We were assigned an account together and that was the start of our friendship. While working together, we got to know each other and found out how much we just clicked. So, we started hanging out outside of work.
During the last five years, we’ve been extremely close always doing things together. We even went on a few vacations together. He’s always been there for me and I’ve always been there for him.
He’s currently single, but I almost forgot that technically I wasn’t. I didn’t tell Jace much about Sean. Jace didn’t seem to like him. So, I always underplayed what Sean and I were. Honestly, we weren’t much. We just went on dates and texted each other in our free time. So I called Sean to tell him it was over.
“Hey, Sean,” I said nonchalantly.
“What’s wrong? Baby, are you still mad at me?”
“No. I’m just done. I don’t think we should talk anymore. It was fun while it lasted. It seems like you want to be with her more, so it’s over.”
“So, you are going to believe some blogs over me?"
“Sean, we are from two different worlds. It was never going to work anyway,” I said a bit irritated.
“Hunter, I really care about you. I’m sorry, okay? It was a big misunderstanding. I promise those pictures and videos are old. That was before we even met. Can you please give me another chance?” he begged.
I thought this so-called break-up would be easier, but I guess I developed some type of feelings for him. Sean was fun and he spoiled me with gifts, but I knew we would never work ultimately. I knew I had to tell him the truth. It was the right thing to do.
“I’m engaged.” I blurted.
“Are you f*cking serious?” he spat.
“It’s not what you think. I’m marrying my best friend to help him get out of a tight situation. So I have to end things with you. We have to be married for a year or two... I think. I don’t know... Maybe later, we can see if we still like each other. Well, if that’s what you really want to do,” I explained.
“Let me get this straight. You’re marrying him so he won’t get deported or something? What about me? About us? I really like you.”
“We just went on a few dates. It was fun but-” I stopped to look at the notification that popped up on my laptop screen. “I have to go. I’ll talk to you later.”
I rushed off the phone because I had a meeting. I wasn’t comfortable talking to him because I felt guilty about ending things like that.
After the meeting, I went back to my small office and checked my phone. Sean texted me. He told me wasn’t happy about it, but he agreed to wait for me. I was surprised that he said he wasn’t going to get involved with anyone else until we could be together again. I didn’t expect that but it was nice to know he at least cared about me.
I continued to work on my assigned accounts. I ended up staying late because I just can’t leave anything undone. Then I headed to Jace’s condo in Hermosa Beach. He lives close to our office in El Segundo. I knew his code, so I let myself in. He was already dressed casually and watching something on Cheddar. We briefly greeted each other. Then I went straight to his kitchen and poured myself a glass of red wine. After getting comfortable on his couch, we got straight to the business of our fake marriage.
“So, we are getting married,” I said a bit nervous.
“Yes. Don’t worry. It’s not going to change what we have. It will probably make us closer.”
“So, you still trying to get in that number one spot as my best friend I see,” I joked.
“Real funny,” he said sarcastically.
We looked at each other for a few moments and then broke out into laughter. I could tell that this marriage was going to be fun. Then we started to get serious since we had so much to discuss. We talked about our plans in great detail.
He said that absolutely no one could know that we were only getting married to avoid deportation. I confessed that I told Sean. He’s the only person that knows and I felt that he would keep our secret safe. I also felt it was fair to let him know. Jace wasn’t too happy about Sean knowing. He also didn’t like me being with Sean in the first place. He always thought I was too good for him. Maybe I was but Sean was the only guy at the moment checking for me like that.
Jace and I decided to get married in three months. That was just enough time for him to get everything resolved. He told me we would live in a house of my choice. I would receive my promotion in a few months with a twenty percent pay increase and a yearly bonus. He’ll give me access to one of his checking accounts to pay for the wedding and anything else I wanted. After he became a U.S. citizen, we would file for divorce a year later. I would leave the marriage with whatever he initially gave me, the ring and the money in the bank account.
I thought that all this was too much except for the promotion and pay raise. I felt that I actually deserved that regardless if I married him or not. I worked my big fat butt off for MIG Worldwide Inc.
I really do have a big booty though so you know I really work hard.
I wasn’t going to use his hard-earned money except for the wedding. I didn’t feel that’s right at all. Almost everything was discussed except what was and what was not expected in our marriage. I didn’t want to leave without that being settled.
“So, do you expect us to have sex?” I asked.
“No. Only if you want it. I’m really good at it. I think you’ll be missing out.” He grinned.
“Umm no. Not going to happen. I advise that you get well acquainted with your right hand. And you couldn’t handle all this anyway,” I said jovially.
He frowned a bit but then he smiled at me.
“That’s gas, Hunts. Whatever you say. Anyway, we just have to be believable that’s all. I want everyone to think we’re deep in love, so I won’t have any problems getting my citizenship.”
“No problem. Oh, before I go. What does that thing you always say in Irish to me mean? And you better tell me the truth or I’m calling this off,” I threatened.
He blushed a bit and smiled. I finally had something over him to make him tell me.
“Chocolate beauty. I hope that’s not offensive,” he said shyly.
“Now that I know what it means, it’s weird that you would even call me that. Maybe it’s the whole historical context; a white man referring to a Black woman as food. It can come off as objectifying and fetishizing... I don’t know. And it just seems kind of an intimate thing to say.” I shrugged.
“I never meant it that way. You are beautiful. Your skin is like smooth dark chocolate. But I’m sorry and I won’t say it again,” he vowed.
“Thanks. I’m just not comfortable with it.”
“Sorry.” He grimaced.
“It’s okay. I know you and I know you meant no harm... well, I have to go.”
I got up to hug him so I could leave and get ready for work. He walked me to my car, and we said goodnight. We got a lot accomplished that evening. I still couldn’t believe I was going through with this. I hoped that I’m making the right decision, and this wouldn’t ruin or complicate our friendship._________________________________