Family Series: The Outsider

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Eva was beside herself with joy when her sister arrived home with good news. Her boyfriend of three years had finally proposed.
“Eva, you won’t believe this. Eric proposed to marry me” Vania screamed after breaking the news to Eva in her room.

Both girls started shouting which drew their mum’s attention into the room. She beamed with smiles when the news was broken to her.

Eric was an amazing guy and everyone in the family liked him so it was with great joy that Vania’s family accepted Eric’s family during the knocking ceremony. A date was immediately fixed for the wedding which was six months away to make way for the necessary planning and preparations. Vania and Eva went about planning and shopping for wedding gifts and surfed the internet for wedding ideas. Eva especially, was a fan of weddings and was really enthusiastic and supportive of her sister’s wedding.

“I bet this wedding will be a hit judging from all this planning. You hardly pay attention to me these days” Gabby, her boyfriend told her one night when they out on a date.

“Oh Gabby, I’m so sorry. You know Vania is the only sibling I have so I have to give her all my support. And very soon, we’ll both go down the same path. I’ll need her support as well. I kind of realized that we’re drifting apart that’s why I suggested this date” Eva said apologetically.

Gabby smiled and hugged her, assuring her of his willingness to support her in the preparations whenever she needed extra help.

It was two months to the wedding and the stress was gradually building up. A lot of effort was being put into the wedding to make it a success. Vania glowed each day with happiness and Eric was extra supportive, helping with the shopping and many others. Gabby, Eva’s boyfriend also helped when needed. It was on one of such occasions that Eva had to go to town with Eric to get some stuff because Vania had other things to deal with. On their way to town in the car, Eva caught him peering at her in a strange manner. She grew uncomfortable with each gaze he cast at her. The next thing she saw, he had stretched his arm to her side of the car’s window to wipe an imaginary stain. He brushed his hand against her chest in the process and immediately apologized. Eva sat up with alertness and was on the lookout in case he tried anything funny. At the end of the shopping, Eva requested for juice. Eric got her some and in the process of handing it over to her, spilled it on her. The spilled juice ended up on Eva’s laps, wetting and staining her skirt. Before Eva knew it, Eric was wiping her laps with some tissues. Eva protested, saying she’d do it herself but Eric insisted and the uncomfortable feeling returned. Their ride back home was awkward as she looked out the window throughout the journey and couldn’t look him in the eye. Eric sensed the tension and apologized to her when they got home. Eva accepted his apology and decided not to mention it to her sister. 

“It was just an accident” she told herself.

A week later, Eva arrived home after picking up stuff for her sister’s bachelorette party. She was tired and lazily dragged herself into the house, carrying the box containing the stuff she had picked up.  She entered the room, dropped the box with a thud and sighed.

“Tired?” Eric suddenly came out from nowhere and asked.

“You have no idea. My back is really aching” she answered as she got water out of the fridge.

“Maybe this could help” she heard him say and suddenly felt him lean in to massage her shoulders. She felt his breath around her and pushed him away. He was too close for comfort.

“Eric, stop it. What do you want my sister to think of me when she walks in?” she asked sternly.

“Vania just stepped out with Carol. No one’s here” he said and brought his hands to her waist. A sinister smile played on his lips.

“Take your hands off me. Are you serious?” Eva shouted and pushed him away again.

“Stop playing hard to get, Eva. You’re hot, you know” he said unabashed. 

Eva immediately walked out on him and drove out of the house in anger and shock and before she knew it, she was at Gabby’s house.

“Are you serious?” Gabby asked in shock after Eva narrated what had happened to him. He started fuming and got up to leave.

“And where are you off to?” she asked.

“To teach that idiot a lesson” he answered.

“Not so fast” Eva told him. “Don’t touch him. I have to inform Vania first”

“Are you sure you can without causing any problem?” Gabby asked.

“I have no other option but to tell her” she said.

“You better do, because you can’t watch your sister end up with such a guy” Gabby said. He was fuming.

When Eva got home later that night, Eric had left. Try as she did, she couldn’t bring herself to telling her sister about the day’s happening, especially when she was happily chattering about a romantic place Eric had taken her that night. She didn’t want to hurt her because Vania was so in love with him. The following days saw Eva being less involved in the preparations for the wedding. She always gave excuses to find her way out of the house to avoid being in contact with Eric. Her mother noticed the sudden change in her behavior and confronted her.

“Mummy I’m so stressed out. My job is quite demanding these days” she lied.

“I understand but it’s your sister we’re talking about here and she needs you. Try and make time for her. The wedding is barely two months away” her mother convinced her.

She nodded and assured her mum that she’d try her best. The next day she had an argument with Gabby about her refusal to inform her sister of Eric’s questionable behavior.

“Your sister is about to make a wrong decision and you’re still keeping your mouth shut. What is wrong with you?” he asked her with all seriousness.

“I can’t tell her. You know Vania and her sometimes fierce temper. She might not believe me and even throw a fit. She’s madly in love with him” she defended herself.

“So what? Just tell her. If she believes you, cool. If she doesn’t, at least you did your best” he insisted.

“This is hard for me. I don’t want to ruin her happiness” she said.

“Happiness? This guy tried messing with you twice. It’s not a coincidence” he said.

Eva sighed and said nothing.

“Okay fine. Until you gather the courage to tell her, don’t come confiding in me. I just don’t understand what you’re doing” he said and got up to leave. Eva felt her eyes well up with tears.

“And one more thing, there’s still time before the wedding. I’m giving you a three day ultimatum to tell her or I’ll confront him myself and you know what will follow afterwards” he added and walked away.

The next day was a Saturday and Eva stayed in bed all day. She was distraught. She still hadn’t told her sister and Gabby was also mad at her for her silence. There was a knock on her door and the next moment, Vania had entered the room.

“What’s wrong with you? Why are you still in bed at this time?” Vania asked.

“I’m not feeling too good” Eva replied.

“Have you forgotten that you’re supposed to accompany Eric and I to the mall today?”

At the mention of Eric, Eva cringed.

“I’m sorry Vania, I don’t think I can make it” she said and turned away from her sister.

“Eva, what’s with this weird behavior? You’ve been acting funny of late”

“There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m just tired and stressed out. My job is quite demanding these days”

“No, it isn’t. You’re purposely not participating in my wedding preparations anymore and it’s obvious. And save me from that excuse of your job being demanding. I know it’s a lie” Vania countered. 

“Are you monitoring my movement now?” Eva sat up and asked in a cheeky tone.

“Why would I with all the busyness in my life right now? You’re acting really strange and it’s got nothing to do with your job”

“Tell me what it is then?” Eva shot at her sister.

“You know what, if you don’t want to be a part of this anymore, let me know. I can’t stand your negative energy” Vania shot back.

“Oh really? Okay fine. I’m taking my negative energy away from your wedding plans. Just leave me alone” Eva said and turned away from her sister.

“So you’re really backing out. What’s wrong with you? Are you jealous of me?” Vania finally said what was on her mind.

“Me? Jealous?” Eva said as she got up to face her sister. “Perhaps you should ask that boyfriend of yours the kind of person he really is” Eva spat out.

Vania blinked several times before finding the courage to speak.

“And what do you mean by that?” she asked softly.

“How well do you know Eric? Is he who he says he is?” Eva asked.

“You’re still not being clear and you answered my question with another question” Vania said, quite shaken.

“Eric to me, is not who he claims to be. He touched me inappropriately a couple of times and since then, I’ve not been happy with him” Eva gathered courage to say.

Vania stared at her, shaking her head. It took some seconds before she found her voice to speak.

“Is that what all this is about? And what proof do you have? Tell me” Vania asked sternly. She was losing her cool.

Eva only sat not knowing how to defend herself. Vania looked at her disdainfully for some time before opening her mouth to speak.

“I see. So you’ve decided to ruin my wedding for me by formulating this lie? Eva, I’m sorry but it won’t work. Eric is not like that. I refuse to believe it” Vania said.

Eva hung her head, not knowing what to say. She was shocked at the level of trust her sister had in Eric.

“It’s clear you’re not happy for me. You know what, stay away from me and all the preparations. I don’t want any form of negativity around me” Vania said and walked out.

“The fact that I don’t have proof doesn’t mean I’m lying” Eva said in a shaky voice.

Vania kept walking away and didn’t turn back.

“And make sure you don’t go round spreading this lie to others to destroy my wedding. Keep your lie to yourself” she warned when she got to the door and banged it.

Eva cried after listening to her sister and told Gabby about what had happened.

“Don’t worry. At least, you warned her. She can’t blame you in future in case he decides to carry on with his shameful acts” he comforted her.

The following days saw both sisters avoiding each other as much as possible. Their mother detected the friction between them and spoke at length about it. Both girls were not willing to say what the problem was and kept up an appearance when she was around. The day of the bachelorette party finally arrived and the house got busy since Carol, Vania’s best friend had chosen their house as the venue. Eva locked herself up in her room and refused to go out. After everything was set up and she heard music blaring downstairs, she dressed up and quietly left the house through the back door. She was going to spend some time with Gabby before attending a party they had been invited to.

“So you meant it when you said you were not going to stay for Vania’s bachelorette party?” he asked upon her arrival. 

She nodded.

“And what about being her bridesmaid?” he asked.

“We’ll just keep up an appearance on that day. We can’t put our mother through another trauma after our father’s death. After the wedding, we’re done” she said and shrugged.

“You guys are unbelievable” he said and sat by her on his couch.

When they were about to leave, Eva fidgeted around for something.

“I think I’ve left the necklace meant for the birthday girl at home” she said.

“Too bad, you have to go and get it” 

“Shoot. I really do not want to go back to that house till after midnight” she said and sighed.

Gabby drove her home to get the gift for her friend before going to the party. Instead of meeting a merry party in the living room, the atmosphere she met was a sullen one. She scanned the room and found her sister sitting on the stairs sandwiched between Carol and another friend. There was no other person there aside them and she wondered if her friends didn’t show up to the party. It looked like she was sobbing. Impulsively, she walked over to them. Vania lifted up her head to see her sister and ran to embrace her while weeping some more. Eva was confused and held onto her sister. After a while, Vania explained to her the reason for her tears. Eric had tried acting funny with Carol too and it took enough courage for Carol to finally spill the beans. She had presented their chats and voice notes of Eric professing his love to her while putting Vania down as proof. Vania wept through her narration and apologized profusely to her sister.

“I’m sorry for being hostile and not believing you. I should have given you the benefit of the doubt. I should have believed you rather than letting this outsider come between us. Find it in your heart to forgive me” Vania cried as she apologized.

Eva hugged her sister tightly and nodded while Gabby looked on. He was thankful that the truth had finally come out and there was peace between both sisters. Eva, Gabby, Carol and Vania’s other friend took turns to comfort her till she was calm. Calls were made to cancel reservations and plans which had been made towards the wedding the days that followed. Vania had decided that she wasn’t going to go on with the wedding despite the desperate pleas from Eric and his family. She eventually cut ties with him and moved on with her life. The bond she shared with her sister deepened as she made a conscious effort to make up for doubting and distrusting her. Things eventually went back to normal.

Discover Challenge – Open Minded

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