Saturday, August 16

Will You Stay (Part 12)

It’s half past four. The clouds started dripping droplets of clear liquid when Ashton left home approximately 50 minutes ago. He is on his way to the hospital to ferry Anne home because they are celebrating their very first anniversary tonight. Aston promised Anne that he will cook her favourite Chicken Pot Pie as a reward after her 36-hours deranged shift. Ashton never love the rain and now the traffic is collaborating with the weather in the game of upsetting him. He is losing so he uses his all-time winning weapon to counteract. Ashton rolls the window down and lights a cigarette. 

“You’ve been smiling all day. What’s the occasion?” “Today is my first wedding anniversary with Ashton. I’m so excited. Can’t wait to go back and celebrate with him” Leo half smirks in reply to Anne’s answer. A small part of him is happy for her though his heart has gone through a terrible process to bring a stop towards his unconditional love for Anne.

 Leo sighs and takes a gulp. He tasted bile. “May all your years to come, bring in loads of sweet and lovely memorable times in your life. I congratulate you, and wish you a very Happy Anniversary, Anne” “Thank you Leo, you’re such a good friend. Ashton is so lucky to have you as his best friend” “Friend huh”, Leo murmured as he faces away from Anne. “I’m so happy to see both of you together. I never imagined that Ashton is going to get married before. He’s not the dating type.” Anne let out a giggle. Maybe she is too obsessed admiring Ashton that she never realized he never had a serious relationship before they were together.

 “Haha really?” “Yeah, but that was before he met you. He never has time for anything other else than his work. He can hardly leave this place, it’s like home to him.” Leo reminisces the past. “And after he met you, he changed. It was hard for me to believe that Ashton, the work machine, changed because he met a girl. But I’m not surprised that he did because, well, it’s you. I know that both of you will be together”. Leo makes Anne awed. “Wow, now a psychologist can predict someone’s future. Are you sure you’re not a seer?” Leo puts his hands inside his pockets when the frosty wind blows. He looks into Anne’s eyes and says, “I’m not predicting your future, my dear Anne. For your information, we never talk about anything other than man’s stuff before. But since he met you, his topic will always have an association with you. Ashton really loves you Anne, he really do.” 

 Anne can feel the warmth of her tears in the corner of her eyes so she hastily blinks it away. “I know Leo. I love him too, I love him so much. And I can’t imagine my life without him”. She takes a quick glance at her watch and realized that she had spent almost an hour on the rooftop with Leo. “I’m so sorry Leo but I really have to get going now, he’s been waiting for me since morning. I’ll catch up with you soon Leo”. 

Anne plants a friendly kiss on Leo’s left cheek and heads to the elevator. Before he left their apartment, Ashton felt a yearning for his meeting with Anne but now he doubts that. He throws the cigarette between his teeth onto the concrete floor and steps on it furiously. Seeing Anne and Leo laughing intimately makes his heart aches. “After all that I’d done, Anne” he monologues. 

Ashton clenches his fist and walks back to his car and return home cancelling his plan to fetch his wife. The first thing Ashton does when he enters the apartment is switching off every single light in there. He sets up the table although he is not sure whether the dinner is still on or not. His encounter with Anne and Leo at the hospital still messes his minds. Once everything is in place, he goes out into the balcony and lights another cigarette, the 20th for today. Ashton hears a knock on the door and he knows that Anne is home. He lets the sound sink into the depths of the silence and enjoys the poison in his mouth instead.

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