My Dangerous Childhood Friend - Epilogue, Part 2
Epilogue, Part 2
Her imagination went wild as she pictured them together in bed in broad daylight. It was their wedding day after all. This should have been their first night, technically.
“If you’re very tired, it’s fine,” he said.
“No, no!” said Siana, “Just tell me. What is it?”
Siana lied. She was tired but she didn’t want him to feel disappointed. Alan beamed a smile at her.
Siana felt her heart flutter in her chest. But Alan surprised her with unexpected words. “Then, do you want to come with me for a bit?” he asked.
“Oh? We are going somewhere?” asked Siana, “Where?”
“It’s a secret,” said Alan with a sly smile, “But you will know soon enough.” Leading her by her hand, Alan told his horseman to prepare a carriage. She was so embarrassed of her own thoughts that she had mustered when Alan’s intentions were completely different.
She blushed. But soon got curious to know where Alan was taking her. She looked at his face, but it gave nothing away. He is good at not showing it.
She wasn’t as lucky. She felt so embarrassed at thinking about something like that, that her face was a deep shade of red because of shame. But where are we going? Siana wondered.
Siana raised her hands to her face to cool down her burning cheeks and tried to guess where they were headed. Maybe to the gravesite to visit our parents? She knew that was the most likely trip they would take. A wedding ceremony was an important event, and it would be good to take their parent’s blessing.
As the horseman brought the carriage, she boarded it without hesitation. She sat obediently because she was sure they were heading to the gravesite. Still feeling embarrassed, she looked out of the window. A familiar landscape greeted her. This path… this isn’t the way to the gravesite. This is the way to my father’s old mansion!
She double checked to be sure. There was no doubt that they were heading to Siana’s old home. She couldn’t believe it. Alan wanted to go to her old house right after the wedding? But she had already sold that mansion a long time ago!
Of all the places, why there? Siana thought. Thinking of her old home made her feel sad. Maybe this is the way to somewhere else. Maybe we are going someplace else, but it is in the same direction as my old home!
It was certain that this path wasn’t the way to the cemetery. The carriage wheels stopped after a while. Siana looked out to see her old house right in front of her. Why are we here? Siana wondered. Why would he bring me here?
Alan looked over at Siana. “Let’s step out, Sia,” he said.
“Okay,” said Siana and followed him out. She saw the mansion right before her which sent a pang through her heart. She had withheld her tongue in the carriage because she didn’t want to say something harsh on their wedding day. But this didn’t feel right.
“Alan,” she said, “Why are we here?’
‘Because it is the Anetta family mansion.”
“That was before…,” said Siana, her voice faltering, “Before I sold it. Now someone else owns it.” Siana felt her throat tighten. This was the place she had been born in. Her entire life had been spent here.
This had been her home. Only she knew how hurt she had felt when she had decided to sell it. She had seen no way out of her predicament except to sell her home that she had loved. All her memories were in this mansion. It even hurt to admit that someone else now owned this place which once was her home.
“Not anymore, Sia,” said Alan.
“I bought the mansion,” said Alan.
Siana’s mind went blank. She couldn’t make sense of what he had just said. “What?” she stammered, “You bought this mansion?”
“Yes, Sian,” said Alan.
“The new owner just happened to sell it to you?’ asked Siana.
The person who had bought the mansion from Siana had wanted and loved it so much that he had even paid more than the price Siana had initially set. He had seemed ecstatic when the mansion had been transferred to his name. How did he sell it so easily?
She had never imagined it possible. Even more shocking was the fact that Alan had bought it from the new owner. Perhaps Alan saw Siana struggling. He tried explaining first.
“He wasn’t willing to sell it to me at first,” said Alan, “But I begged him, and he relented.”
Siana was curious what Alan had said to change the man’s mind. However, it seemed her lips were clamped shut. She couldn’t bring herself to utter anything.
“Are you curious what I said to him that made him sell it to me?” asked Alan.
“Yes,” said Siana, finally, “Will you tell me?”
“Of course,” said Alan. “I told him that someone I loved dearly had so many memories in this home.”
Siana was speechless. “You grew up here,” said Alan, “You have so many memories here with your father. I have memories that I can never forget in this home right here.”
Alan’s words made her sentimental. “But why,” she said, “Why did you have to go this far? No matter how many memories I have, I sold the mansion. The upkeep of the mansion will cost you a fortune…”
Before she could even finish her sentence, Alan pulled her to him. He took her hand and placed it on his cheek. “You are precious to me, and I want to give you everything that I can.”
Alan said, smiling warmly. His cheeks touched the palm of her hand, his hand pressed the back of her hand, and Siana’s heart pounded harder than ever at his bright smile.
Is this what they mean by happy tears? Siana wondered. She clenched her jaw and tried to stop the tears welling up in her eyes. She tried to hold them back because she didn’t want to cry today. But she failed. The tears spilled out of her eyes and streamed down her cheeks.
She pulled Alan to her with her other hand and embraced him. She felt Alan flinch. It had surprised him. She didn’t lift up her head to look at him. How did he do this? Why did he do this? This was so irrational, but she was so thankful for him.
“Thank you,” she said, hugging him. “Thank you so much, Alan.”
Alan wrapped his arms around her and pulled her closer, comforting her. After a while like this, Siana calmed down and looked at him. Her eyes were wet with tears. “I wasn’t planning on crying,” she said, “At least not today.”
“Neither did I,” said Alan with a warm smile, “I guess things happen.”
Siana wiped her tears away with the back of her hand. “I don’t normally cry like this… this is your fault.”
“I know,” said Alan, smiling. He stroked her back to soothe her.
She smiled at him gratefully and leaned on him. “So, this place is officially yours now?” she asked.
“Well…,” he said, “Not really. It’s yours.”
“How?” she said, “You are the one who bought it.”
“I told you it’s a gift,” he said, “It’s yours.”
“It has already been transferred to your name,” said Alan with a smile.
My goodness! Siana was shocked at this. Siana was aware of Alan’s irrationality when it came to her. But this was reaching new heights.
“Even though you say it’s a gift, how can I just accept something like this?” asked Siana.
“Then should I call it bribery?” said Alan.
“Bribery for what?”
Alan smirked. “Think of it as a bribe. I am bribing you to stay by me forever.”
Siana laughed. However, it was also true that the burden that had weighed on Alan’s words had completely disappeared.
“Then shall we enter the mansion?” said Alan, “You’re being bribed, so shouldn’t you take a look to make sure you are being bribed properly?”
“Yes,” said Siana, chuckling. Siana relaxed and took Alan’s hands. On the sunny spring day, their face emanating happiness, they entered the house together.
* * *
Yulia frowned as the carriage rattled violently. She felt dizzy and nauseous. If it rattled once more, she might just barf. This is why I don’t like carriages, seethed Yulia, lamenting on her motion sickness.
It was, by far, much better than riding a horse but she still hated it. Anyway, is it good that Siana will soon move down to the Legarde estate? The city had been closer and still Yulia had suffered so much travelling back and forth between Linen estate and capital to meet Siana. She hadn’t told her friend, but it had been painful. She had taken it as her duty to her friend.
Yulia pulled the letter with Alan’s stamp from her pocket. The letters she had received had always been from Siana but this time, Alan had sent one. Never ever in my life did I expect to receive such a letter. He’s even asking me for help…
Yulia scanned the read the letter again which was written in a very casual tone. It hadn’t even been a month since their wedding ceremony. They had just recently moved to their new estate. This was some shocking news. She was pregnant!
Oh, how surprised she was to hear this news for the first time! Siana had just gotten married, and she wasn’t in a hurry to have children. Yulia had thought vaguely that she might eventually have some, but this was rather unexpected! She was very confused, but it was her friend’s first pregnancy and she wanted to be by her side.
Yulia had since then travelled to their estate several times to check on Siana because she couldn’t very well ask her to come to her estate in this condition. Every time she visited Siana, she could see that Alan took care of Siana so much so that sometimes he seemed very fussy about everything.
It’s her first pregnancy so he must me worried… But still Alan wouldn’t even let Siana lift a finger. Yulia could sympathize with Siana. She still recalled Siana’s face when she helpless said, Í can do this by myself Alan!”
The most curious thing was the nausea. It was obvious that Siana would suffer from nausea. It happened to all pregnant women. But at some point, Alan started suffering too. When they had dinner once, Alan had covered his mouth and ran out. Yulia had thought he must be having trouble with his stomach.
But she began to grow suspicious when Siana said, “Again?”
When Yulia has asked her friend if the curse was resurfacing, Siana had replied in the affirmative rather nonchalantly. Yulia had been so surprised when Siana had said, “Instead of me, he is the one who suffers from nausea these days.”
Yulia had been so shocked. How could a man suffer from something that his pregnant wife was supposed to? She had, of course, heard about something like this happening but she had dismissed it as nonsense. But seeing it happen in front of her own eyes, she was so shocked!
Now, after nine months, so many things had come to pass since she had heard about Siana’s pregnancy and Yulia received Alan’s letter requesting her to visit them again. From the looks of the letter, Alan was worried out of his mind regarding Siana’s childbirth. It was obvious that he would have kept this secret from Siana. Yulia knew this because he had also mentioned that Siana had outright refused him when he asked her if he could write to her. So, he had written and sent the letter in secret.