A silver diamond surrounded by tiny blue sapphires embraces my finger. I lift it up higher to get a better look at the glistening beast. It’s huge, much too big for my small hand. It looks ridiculous on me.
How will we afford a wedding big enough to match the ring? I’ve always dreamed of an intimate ceremony in Italy with a few guests – immediate family only, perhaps a close friend or two. But Luke has other ideas, the least of which involves forcing his entire family to get on a plane.
Three knocks pound on the front door. I slip the ring off and squeeze it into the back pocket of my jeans. I’m greeted by an empty porch. A single blue Forget Me Not sits upright on the welcome mat. I peek around the corner.
I pick up the flower and twirl it around in-between my index finger and thumb. I’m not particularly fond of Forget Me Not’s. Tulips are my favourite. Luke knows that and besides, he never gets me flowers. I bring it inside all the same, thinking about who the sender might be. Nobody comes to mind. I place it on the table and switch the kettle on.
The water boils slowly at first and then bubbles like hot lava. I pour myself a cup of coffee and slump in the chair, gazing at the blue and yellow mystery before me. For most girls, receiving flowers is to be expected. Especially following a recent engagement. But for me, this little flower actually meant something. It meant that someone had gone out of their way to leave it on my porch…but why?
My phone buzzles against my thigh. I slip it out of my pocket. It’s Luke. I take out my diamond ring and squeeze it back onto my finger before swiping the screen left to answer his call.
“Hi hunny,” I say as enthusiastically as I can.
“How are you doing babe?” he asks. I hate it when he calls me that. It reminds me of Babe the pig and no girl wants to be compared to a pig, no matter how cute it is.
“I’m doing great. Still can’t believe we’re engaged.”
“Me neither, I woke up this morning with the biggest smile on my face.”
“Me too,” I say. “Though I’ve been tripping up on this ring all day.”
“Watch your step,” he jokes.
“I will, are we still on for dinner tonight?”
“Melanie sends us her congratulations,” he says. Melanie is his co-worker. Blonde and beautiful. Short and sweet. It’s safe to say that I hate her.
“Tell her I said thanks,” I lie.
“Will do,” he replies. “So anyways, I just called to confirm our dinner. I have to get back to work now.”
“Okay,” I glance down at the Forget Me Not sitting on the table, “Wait -”.
“What is it?”
“Did you send me anything this morning, flowers…or something?”
“I thought the diamond ring would have sufficed, was I wrong?”
I laugh, “No, it’s just someone left me something on the porch.”
“Huh, what was it?”
A voice calls for Luke in the background, telling him to get back to work.
“It’s okay hunny, I’ll talk to you later,” I say before hanging up the phone.
Okay, so Luke didn’t send it. Whoever it was, it’s no big deal. It’s one flower, not a bouquet. Nothing special. One flower doesn’t mean anything.
I wait outside Luke’s shop, ready to surprise him. When he emerges, he looks exhausted with dark circles under his eyes. He catches a glimpse of me and his face softens. I smile at him and he gives me that familiar sideways smirk with a cheeky wink that makes me laugh.
“Luke,” a girl calls him from inside the store. She comes running out with her blonde hair bouncing in loose ringlets about her shoulders. Melanie.
What does she want?
She taps Luke on the arm, causing him to break eye contact with me. He turns to face her and they talk for a few moments. I can’t hear their conversation and they can’t hear my teeth grinding behind my pressed lips. She throws her arms around him, gives him a small kiss on his cheek and glances at me. She must notice my shocked expression because her bright pink lips curve into a small smile.
“Congrats Emily!” she beams.
I’m too stunned to say anything out loud, so I end up saying nothing at all. Did she seriously just kiss my finance’s cheek? She smiles at Luke before returning to the store, half walking and half skipping through the doors like a child. God she’s annoying.
“What was that about?” I ask Luke when we’re alone.
He shrugs, “She was just saying congratulations again and filled me in on Monday’s rota.”
I glance over my shoulder in time to see Melanie peeking out at us from behind the till. She gives me a friendly wave. I turn away from her. Luke squeezes my hand before pulling me in for a quick kiss that takes all my worries away in an instant.
Dinner is delicious. I order turkey and ham; Luke gets the steak. I sip on red wine throughout the meal. It’s quite bitter but I keep gulping it down anyway. I think of Melanie’s face and take another drink. It’s like a game.
“Have you told your family yet?”
I cast my eyes away from him and shrug, “Not yet.”
“And why not? I thought you’d be excited to tell them?”
“I am excited.”
He takes a drink of his water and stares at me, analysing me like he always does. “Doesn’t seem like you are,” he says. I think of Melanie kissing him on the cheek. Frustration and anger boils in my stomach.
“Well I am, maybe I’m just not as theatrical as Melanie was about it. Maybe you should have asked her to marry you instead.”
“Don’t say things like that, you know I love you.”
“Do I?” I widen my eyes at him, perhaps the wine is hitting me harder than I thought. But I can’t help it, “You two looked pretty cosy. What was that kiss about?”
“I don’t know why she did that but it’s nothing to get worked up about.”
I run my hands through my hair and take a deep breath. What if he is cheating on me? What if she always kissed him like that? What if they’re secretly in love? I feel hot, my dress sticks to my legs and my legs stick to the chair. Oh God, I need air. I pull my arms through my coat and stand up.
“I need air.”
“Emily come on, don’t ruin this.”
“I haven’t ruined this, you have.”
I turn and head towards the door, ignoring Luke’s desperate pleas for me to return.
Cold air lashes hard against my face. I take deep breaths, trying my best to calm myself and my troubled thoughts. Why did I have to make such a fuss? I’ve ruined our night. Luke would never hurt me. He loves me.
I make sure to stand just beside the main window of the restaurant, well out of Luke’s viewpoint. I wipe away the tears from my cheeks and thrust my hands into my pockets. Time to go back inside and face the music.
“Spare some change Miss?” An old lady with leathery skin holds out her hands to me. She wears a long pink and yellow cardigan with a black skirt and brown sandals.
I rummage around in my bag for my purse. There’s nothing inside. I was depending on Luke to get the bill. “I don’t have any change, sorry,” I say as I wipe my wet cheeks with the back of my hand.
“Please Miss,” she urges, taking a step closer to me.
“I don’t have any money, I’m sorry,” I turn away from her. I have to get back inside.
She grabs my arm and yanks me towards her.
“Let go of me,” I pull away from her, but she’s strong for an old lady and her grasp is surprisingly firm. She spots my engagement ring, grabs my hand and grins.
“Young love shall be no more, once you forget the world, he and the world forgets you,” she laughs hysterically, her grey eyes widening with amusement.
“What are you talking about?”
“The handsome man in the restaurant shall be your finance no more. He does not know you, your love has been forgotten just as you and the world have forgotten me.”
She takes something out of her pocket and forces it into my hand.
A blue flower. A Forget Me Not.
The woman begins cackling like a witch. My stomach twists into a tight knot. I stumble backwards and she turns on her heel, laughing as she walks into a crowd of passer-by’s. I stare at the flower. Did she just curse me?
I storm back into the restaurant, frantically searching for Luke’s face.
My hand trembles as I take out my phone. I scroll through my list of contacts until I reach Luke’s number. I’m sent straight to voice mail. Where could he be? He hasn’t actually forgotten me, has he? That old lady is crazy. I’m not cursed. I can’t be.
Luke. Where would he be on a Friday night if he is not with me. Roser pub? Of course. He must be there. Friday nights were always Roser pub nights. It’s where we first met. He bought me a drink, a glass of champagne to be precise, and the rest is history.
I find him sitting with a group of people I’ve never met. He wears a dark grey suit with a white shirt and black tie. There are seven people around him, each of them dressed to the nines. He is the centre of attention, everyone leans in to hear him speak, hanging onto his every word.
He looks…happy, happier than I’ve ever seen him.
My heart drops to my stomach. I go to the counter and order a glass of vodka and coke. I gulp it down and order a second. Is this really happening? Has he really forgotten me, forgotten us?
“A pint of Guinness and a glass of champagne please,” it’s Luke.
My head flashes around to face him. His hair looks fuller, his face cleaner somehow. He shines without me.
“Hi,” he smiles at me.
His eyes linger on mine for a moment, oblivious.
“You don’t know me?” I confirm.
He shakes his head and grins, “Should I?”
I part my lips but before I can speak, a pair of tanned arms wraps around his chest. On the left hand is a silver diamond ring, surrounded by dozens of blue sapphires. Melanie pops her chin on his shoulder before kissing his cheek. Her blonde hair flows down past her shoulders. He rests his hand on hers and my heart smashes into a million pieces at my feet.
“Come on baby, everyone’s waiting to celebrate your big promotion,” she says. Her green eyes study me and once she decides that I’m not a threat, she smiles and pulls Luke by the arm. He gives me a quick smile before passing her the glass of champagne.
They return to their seats, him with his arm around her tiny waist and her with her free hand sporting her engagement ring. It was once Luke’s mothers ring and then it was mine.
Now it’s hers.
Someone tells a joke at their table and everyone bursts out laughing, all except Luke and Melanie. Their eyes linger on each other before they both simultaneously lean in for a long kiss.
He’s happy. Happier than he ever was with me.
I swirl my drink around in my hand, watching the petals of the blue Forget Me Not break apart and disperse throughout the drink.
Bio: Aspiring Irish writer, currently working as a content and copy writer. You can contact me via email if need be: firstname.lastname@example.org :)
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