Nick finds himself trapped in by Cassie when she decides to go for the big move in their relationship.
“Text”= Japanese People Speaking
“/Text/”= English People Speaking
“+Text+”= American People Speaking
“#Text#”= Australian People Speaking
For days he has been dodging her. Cassie has some idea in her head that she wants to marry him. It started out with little hints that Nick tried to ignore. A wedding magazine here and there. Cassie watching wedding movies on TV every evening. She even talked about the future. When the first attempts failed, the hints grew stronger. Cassie stared in the bridal shop window day after day. Nick would have to pull her along to keep going. Shortly after that, he just left her there. Soon, Cassie kept hitting at about it in words. Nick would pretend not to hear her. Yet, that woman wouldn’t give up.
At last, Nick had had enough.
“/What the hell is with you?/” he asked at dinner. Cassie gave him an innocent little look.
“/What do you mean?/” she asked. He set down his chopsticks.
“/You keep watching wedding movies at night,/” Nick said. “/Leaving wedding magazines around, and you stare at the wedding store in a creepy!/” Cassie blinked at him.
“/So?/” she asked. Nick frowned at her.
“/What the hell?/” he asked. Cassie drank her green tea milk.
“/So?/” she asked again.
“/Knock it off!/”
Nick breathed to keep from strangling her on the spot. “/Just come out and say it!/”
Nick glared at her by this point. “/Stop playing games and come out with it, already!/”
Cassie lowered her glass on the table. She mumbled her question to him. Nick frowned at her.
“/Say what?/” he asked. Cassie looked him in the eye.
“/Marry me,/” she repeated in a quiet voice. All she got in response was Nick falling over to the floor foaming at the mouth.
“/Nick?/” she asked. “/Nick?/”
Nick awoke moments later on their couch with Cassie sitting at his feet. He blinked for a moment.
“/What happened//” he asked.
“/You passed out,/” his girlfriend replied. He blinked at her again.
“/Oh,/” he said. Cassie turned her head to him.
“/Why did you do that?/” she asked. Nick frowned at her.
“/You said something so wrong,/” he said. Her face didn’t change.
“/What?/” she asked. Her boyfriend lowered his head, sneering.
“/You asked me to marry you,/” he hissed. Cassie leaned in to him.
“/Will you?/” she asked. Nick shook his head after he jerked it up.
“/But why not?/”
“/I don’t want to./”
“/Don’t you love me?/”
Nick snorted at her. “/Marriage is stupid./”
Nick narrowed his eyes at her. “/It’s something you won’t understand./”
“/But…/” Cassie said. Nick got off the couch and walked back to their room. His girlfriend sat there in dazed silence. Yet, she didn’t get the message to stop. In fact, she already had something else planned.
-Two weeks later-
Nick was out at soba bar having lunch with Luke, Hiro, and Ando. He told him the whole plan that Cassie was trying to pull. He sighed and shook his head at the end.
“/Have no idea what has gotten into that woman,/” he said. The others sat in silence. They all knew why from Shuichi, but should they tell him? Nick noticed all of their face.
“/What?/” he asked. The boys didn’t speak at first. He narrowed his eyes at them.
“/What is it?/” he asked. “/Spit it out!/” Hiro finally put out his cigarette.
“It’s a bet,” he said. Nick gave him a puzzled face.
“/What?/” he asked.
“She and Shuichi bet that they could marry you and Yuki by this year,” he admitted. The other two guys stared at him. He only shrugged at them.
“He was going to find out anyway,” Hiro pointed out. Nick took a moment to think about this.
“/So that’s it,/” he said. He would have to get her for that later. Suddenly, three schoolgirls ran by their table. The men looked up when more people ran by.
“+What’s the rush?+” Luke asked. A lady stopped and turned to them.
“A blonde woman’s about to do something crazy from the top of a TV tower!” she yelled. She raced off with the crowd. The boys all looked among each other for a long moment. It didn’t take them long to figure it out.
“Blonde woman on a TV tower?” Ando asked. The men all rushed along with the crowd. Cassie stood on top of the tower looking at the crowd. She turned to the guard and the man working on the bungee cord.
“You sure about this?” the worker asked. Cassie nodded.
“/I thought about it,/” she said. “/I want to do this./” Then, her cell phone rang.
“/Excuse me,/” she said. She reached into her skirt pocket and pulled out her phone.
“/Hello?/” she asked.
“/Cassie!/” Nick yelled over the other line. “/What the hell are you doing?!?/” The woman smiled to herself at that question.
“/I’m going to bungee jump off of this building,/” she said.
There came a pause on the phone. “/Oh, that’s what that is about?/”
“/Yes,/” Cassie replied. “/If I can’t get my man, then I’ll jump./”
“/You would really do that?/” he shouted. Cassie nodded.
“/Yes!/” she said. On the ground, Nick frowned to himself. He gritted his teeth.
“/Fine!/” he snapped. “/Go on and jump! See if I care!/” He angrily hung up while the boys watched him.
“You sure about that?” Hiro asked. Nick turned to him, glaring.
“/Serves her right,/” he hissed. “/She’s just doing this because I won’t marry her! If she breaks her neck, that’ll be her. Not my problem!/” The boys looked rather uneasy. Nick snorted and looked away.
Above, Cassie hung up. The men looked at her back.
“Is something wrong?” the bungee worker man asked. Cassie turned to him with a fake smile on her face.
“/No,/” she said. “/In fact, I’m ready to go now!/” The worker still gave her a puzzled look.
“You sure about this?” he asked.
“/Yes!/” Cassie insisted. The man shrugged at her.
“Okay,” he said. He helped her strap up. Cassie looked down among the crowded people below. Too late now; maybe he’ll see this then. The woman took in a deep breath and walked over to the edge.
Three… Two… One!
“/ACE!!!/” she heard someone yell on the same level as her. Cassie jerked her head upwards to Nick on the balcony of the adjacent building. He waved his arms at her.
“/OKAY!/” he shouted. “/I’LL MARRY YOU!!!/” Cassie stepped back, smiling. She turned to the guard and worker.
“/You heard the man!/” she cheered. The men nodded at her, uneasy. Good thing they didn’t have to do this in the end. Nick on the other hand, lowered his head in defeat. I sold out!, he screamed in his mind.
Prisoner Nicholas Trent has been sentence to the death penalty.
Cassie grinned all through dinner. Nick did his best to stomach his rice. It could be so easy to smack her right now…
“/Will you stop that?/” he asked. Cassie looked on at him.
“/Stop what?/” she asked.
“/That grinning!/” he barked. “/It’s creeping me out!/”
“/Why?/” she asked. Nick resisted the urge to strangle her right now. He took in a deep breath instead.
“/Just stop,/” he said. Cassie put some rice in her mouth.
“/We’re having a party Saturday,/” she said. Nick paused and turned to her.
“.Why?/” he asked. She leaned in, smiling.
“/.To celebrate the engagement party!/” she cheered. Nick fell backwards foaming at the mouth. Cassie leaned over him, shaking his body.
“/Nick? Nick?/” she asked. Just kept getting worse.
Cassie did most of the planning and setting up. Nick sat around in his misery. She turned to him while decorating the window.
“/Can’t you help me out?/” she asked.
“/Nope!/” he said that Saturday afternoon. His fiancée turned to him, frowning.
“/But why not?/” she asked. Nick’s fists trembled at the table.
“/I didn’t want this stupid party!/” he complained. “/I didn’t even want to get married!/” Cassie forced herself to keep smiling.
“/It’ll be fine,/” she insisted.
“/No, it won’t!/” Nick barked. “/Marriage is like execution! I didn’t want this! Don’t you care or are you too stupid to understand that?!?/” Cassie’s lower lip trembled at such harsh words. Then, the door bell rang. Cassie quickly perked up.
“/I’m going to go get that!/” she said. Then, she rushed all the way to the door. Nick lowered his head on the coffee table. What was he going to do to get it through her marriage-obsessed head?
Turns out, he wasn’t the only not in a celebratory mood. The whole atmosphere of Cassie and Nick’s engagement party that afternoon in one word: Dead. No actually in two words: Stone dead. Nobody spoke a single word in the living room over their drinks and snacks. Sid felt rather lonely without Arisu by his side. Simon and Casper still hadn’t gotten their relationship back to good just yet. Everyone else felt like they just wanted to be somewhere else than here. Only Shuichi showed true happiness for her. Cassie looked around at all of their friends. She forced herself to smile again.
“/Well,/” she said. “/This is lovely, isn’t it?/” Not a single person spoke up. Cassie pressed her lips together and looked around. She clapped her hands together.
“/Okay then,/” she said. “/I’ll turn on the music./” The woman got up and walked over to the radio. Fat Boy Slim floated from the iPod into the air. Nick clutched his glass the whole time. Why doesn’t she understand? Why doesn’t she f***g understand? He just can’t seem to take it anymore. Nick rose to his feet and stormed out of the room. Cassie and the other looked up when they heard footsteps.
“/Nick?/” Cassie asked. “/Where are you going?/”
“/Just leave me alone!/” he snapped. “/You’re being annoying!/”
“/Nick…/” Cassie called again. The bathroom door slammed shut. The woman sat down at a loss for words.
“/Oh…/” she mumbled. The British girl turned back to her guests. She put on a fake smile before their worried eyes.
“/So,/” she said. “/Who’s hungry?/”
Nick spent most of the party locked in the hall bathroom. He gritted his teeth to himself. Damn it!, he yelled in his mind as he slapped his fist against the wall. Damn her! Damn the whole concept of marriage! The man reached into his shirt and pulled out his cell over the thumping music out in the living room. He dialed the one number he really didn’t want to end up calling.
“/Hello?/” a gentle voice asked.
“/Effy, it’s me,/” Nick said.
“/Oh, Nick! So surprised to hear from you! I heard the news./”
Her brother frowned to himself. “/Yeah…/”
“/You don’t sound too happy about that. Is everything okay with the two of you?/”
“/No! Everything is crap between us!/”
“/Shhh, please keep your voice down. Nicky is sleeping in the other room./”
“/Now, tell me exactly what is the problem./”
“/Are you asking me as my sister or my therapist?/”
Nick groaned and rolled his eyes. “/I don’t want to get married./”
“/There why are you engaged to her?/”
“/She threatened to bungee jump off of a TV tower./”
Nick nodded. “/Yeah. I said yes to stop her./”
“/Well, do you love her?/”
“/I guess… Yeah, something like that./”
“/May I say something?/”
Her younger brother frowned. Would it even make a difference, anyway? “/Go ahead./”
“/I remember something you told me a while back after Robert left me. You said, ‘Why waste your time with a loser like him? You should find yourself a good man that will make you happy./”
Nick made an odd face at those words. “/I don’t remember saying any of that./”
“/The point is Cassie is a good woman. Don’t let her slip away. Was that good enough for you?/”
For some reason, his sister’s words made the man not want to strangle Cassie anymore. “/Funny,/” he said. “/You actually made a rational point there./”
“/I’m glad I could help,/” she said. She knows somewhere in her heart, that it wasn’t going to work, but she humored him enough for the time being, so no real loss there.
“/Yeah,/” Nick lied. “/Thanks./” He hung up the phone and rose to his feet. He stuck his head out of the bathroom door. He happened to look down the hall to see Cassie happily chatting with the girls as she held wedding magazines to her chest. Nick frowned to himself.
F**k me…, he thought. Kind words aren’t enough to get away to take away the fact that he still has to get married. Plus she won’t listen to any other objections either?
F**k me…, he thought again as he hung his head.