She was pretty, she had huge eyes which made hearts melt, she was her dad's little angel, she could never do anything wrong. Raina was packaged with beauty and brains, a rare combination that drew men towards her as much as it scared them off. Drawn by her beauty men surrounded her but when they boasted about their achievements she caught then unawares with questions that picked out the lapses in their stories and made them cringe.
Not many dared to befriend her or woo her. She lived by her own rules, she wasn't arrogant or a snob, she was just the way she was a no nonsense person. She had no clue about the effect her beauty had on men. They fantasized about her all day long. She messed them up for good. All she knew was she hated men who were so full of themselves, the chauvinistic ones. She was her own woman, now 24 years of age ready for the marriage market.
Everyday brought with it the headaches of matchmakers and their silly games, she had no time for them. Her world was her art , her love for nature, her poetry, her photography and her pets. She was happy, fulfilled and had no space for anyone other than her dad. She lived by herself in a one room studio not because she could not afford a bigger home, but because she didn't want to burdened with cleaning up her home. Small is beautiful was her principle.
At the office she was sincere, impeccable in her work and loved by all. All her projects were on time, she was moved up a level each time promotions were due. There was no doubt she would reach the top in no time. However, dad was not so happy with all this, Gerald looked for opportunities to play the matchmaker. He hated partying and yet for his little girl's sake he would throw parties whenever possible. After his wife's death a six years ago Raina became his only preoccupation.
This weekend he had organized one more party. He picked out a hand full of young men and invited them to the party. His daughter as usual was roped in to be the hostess. He was in her dad's home on Friday night. She oversaw all the arrangements. Her taste was impeccable. The theme was white, green, and pink. Plants and flowers were the only decor apart from the hand picked tableware. The house looked breathtakingly beautiful but simple. There were about twenty people who had come, mostly people she had known since childhood, friends of the family. Then there were the rather uncomfortable looking young men who just didn't fit into the group. Raina knew why they were there. She mostly ignored them after the initial introduction by her father.
Uncle Philip's family was always there, noisy, laughing and joking about. Raina went about her duties ensuring that all her father's guests were comfortable. She noticed a young man standing alone near the pergola admiring her plants. His long sensitive fingers gently caressing the delicately hanging vines. He was deep in thought as she approached him. Who was this stranger she wondered. "Hello" she said, "I am Raina, Andrean's daughter, I am sorry I think we were not introduced" she said softly as she offered her hand politely. "Nothing much has changed here expect that the place has gotten more beautiful with time," he answered. "Are you familiar with this place? Raina quipped.
Ramond looked at her with a teasing look on his face which broke out into a boyish grin. "I am Ramond", he said 'Ramond Pinto, you've forgotten me haven't you? Do you still want to marry me?," he teased. "Oh Ray" Raina cried out rather loudly. She threw her hands around his neck and drew his face close to hers as if she wanted to kiss him. Suddenly as if she was hit by a thunder bolt she stiffened, let go of his neck and moved back widening the gap between them. Mentally she chided herself for acting like the twelve year old she was when she last saw Ray.
Ray was without doubt the most handsome among her childhood friends. His chiseled features made him look like a Greek God in the golden light of the sun this evening. His handsome grin never failed to melt her heart. She wondered which lucky girl he belonged to now. Raina's thoughts took her to the time they played in the barn that summer twelve years ago. It was then he broke the news that their family was shifting to the UK just before fall so they could be in school on time. The news made Raina cry like she never before, Ray just held her in his arms and promised to come back soon. Years passed and there was no news of him, no calls not even a post card. Now, he was here twelve years later, as if nothing had happened since then. He was still the same sensitive, soft spoken and kind boy she knew.
He was staring at her face watching the tears stream down, he took her in his arms and gently wiped away the tears. His lips were moving gently as her muttered into her soft silky hair, "I missed you so much". "You liar" she snarled back at him as she broke out of his embrace, "you forgot me. Why did you come back after all these years?" "For you my darling, Ray whispered once again, "Just for you." That is not true, you came here on business didn't you? she asked. "Yes, a very important business, business of a life time" Ray answered.
"Okay then go about your business, don't pretend that you came here for me" said Raina as she turned to walk away. He caught her slender hand and and pressing his lips close to her ears he whispered, "You are my business, I have come to make you mine." Saying which he went on his knees and asked in his baritone voice, "Will you marry me?"
"No" she yelled angrily as she walked away. "You are a liar and I have no regard for liars". She made sure that she was no where near Ray till the end of the party. Raina went to he room after she saw off the last of her guests. She was tired, but she was emotionally drained. What did Ray think of himself, did he think she would still be waiting for him after all these years? Why did he even come here she though as she washed her face. Tears threatened to flow down, Raina hadn't cried in years, she thought she had forgotten how to cry. For the first time in years she realized how much she loved him and how much his disregard for her had hurt her. She swore she would never see him again as she cried herself to sleep.
In the morning as she strolled into the garden with a steaming mug of coffee in hand as was her habit whenever she was at her father's home she sat down at her favorite table in the pergola. Raina noticed a book lying there on the table. Ray must have left it there she thought. The cover seemed familiar, it was her book of poems, 'The forgotten one', she had published it six years ago on Amazon. She had even forgotten the poems that were part of the colelction so she flipped the pages, her eyes fell on, 'The lost part of me' she flipped some more, 'In vain I cry' it read. Her eyes then fell on a scribbled note, 'I cry too because I miss you', it read. Intrigued she looked through the pages where Ray had responded to the pain in her heart with such sensitive words describing the pain he felt.
Raina wondered if he felt so strongly about her why did he not contact her at during the last twelve years. Why now? Ray appeared from the main entrance of the house and walked toward the pergola heading straight for the table. She looked at him as if waiting for an answer, his eyes were searching for something on the table. Raina brought the book from behind and said, "Is this what you are looking for?" "Yes", he answered. Giving the book to him "Why?"she asked. Ray knew the meaning behind her"why" he slumped down into a chair. "My father was dying" he said. "What?" she asked in a shrill voice. "Yes my father was diagnosed with cancer within a month of us reaching London. We were battling a major financial and emotional crisis then. He died six years ago. We struggled to make a living. There was no time to think of me or my life in all those years. I tried to forget you."
Ray went on gazing into the farther end of garden as he spoke, "When I decided to write to you I heard about your mother and her battle with cancer I knew it was not the time to talk about us. It took me so many years to heal so I wanted to give you the time." Raina nodded trying to stop the tears in her eyes. "You did not even tell us when pa died" she said in a mournful voice. "I did, I informed your dad, but I guess he had his own sorrow to deal with at that time." Sighing wearily got up and he walked back in the direction of the house.Tears threatened to fall, he did not want to go back to that place of desperation again. He was hoping to find love, healing and comfort and all she had was questions. What happened to the Raina I knew he thought as he darted across the lawn. Maybe he should drop the big plans he made and take the next flight back to London.
"Ray" the agonized cry reached his ears "will you forgive me?" In one step he turned back and had her in his arms. "I am sorry darling for keeping you out of my life. You are my life and this is all I want", Ray said as he kissed he and held her close to his heart. Holding his tears no more. They clung on each other afraid that if they let go there would be no more second chances.
Raina felt complete for the first time. Ray the man she always loved was finally here. She could taste the salt of his tears in their kisses.
Dad breathed a sigh of relief as he drew the curtains back in his room, he knew he could rest easy now. No more parties for him after that one last grand party he was waiting to throw for years.
This is my entry to@adelan_o 's story of a lifetime contest
Finally, I have an opportunity to enter your contest Adelan, no sharing on two social media sites this time. Hehe. Thank you.
This is the place to write your own fictional and non-fictional stories, including novels, biographies, short stories, etc. If you want to write a poem, you can do so in the dedicated POETRY community.