Marriage: Blurred Lines

arranged marriage
enimies to lovers

"I love someone else. This will always be an arrangement of convenience."

"I accept this arrangement."

Grace and Aaron's families have been friends for four generations. The two share a cordial relationship. Both are old money. Marriages in their families have always been arranged. However, Aaron wants to marry someone he fell in love with while in college. A twist in fate forces Aaron to marry Grace. Will this marriage last? Will Aaron leave Grace to be with the one he loves? What happens if Grace meets a man who genuinely falls for her? Will the lines be blurred and erased? Read on to see what is in store for them.

(Cover Credit:CANVA)

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Grace "Catch me......Aaron." "Grace.....you are very careless. You could have fallen." "No, I won't. I know that you will be there to hold me....like forever." "Silly girl, there is no forever." "No...you and I are......FOREVER." "O.K. We are......" He smiled, and I smiled back......my extra nice smile, the one that I reserved for him only. He would always give in. "It is getting late. Shall we go back?" "Aaron.......pleeeease can we stay back for some more time." "Grace....it is getting late. Both of us must return." "O.K. Aaron." I was seven and Aaron, at thirteen, was already a big boy. But, he was patient with me. He always looked after me. And I was used to his attention. As my small fingers held his large ones, he deliberately slowed down so that we could return together. This was the most beautiful phase of my life. My parents loved me and the boy I had a crush on, for me as a seven-year-old, loved me as well. His kindness, his special smile, his care and the way he pampered me whenever I hurt myself......at that time, this was my understanding of love. ************* I looked out to see the dark clouds that portended heavy rain. Rain had always been my personal favorite. But in this rainy season I lost the most important person in my life. I cried my heart out when Aaron grew up and shifted to another city to attend university. "Silly.....you don't need to be unhappy. Every weekend I will be back." "No....Aaron, you will change. I was sobbing now. My friend said that you will meet a beautiful girl, and you will forget me." "Grace, no matter how many girls I meet, you will always be the most special girl in my heart." "Really........" "Hmm.... This heart has an exclusive place and in that there will be only one person......You know who it is." "I shook my head." "You silly girl. Now wipe your tears." "What about me brother......" my best friend and Aaron's sister asked. "You are a nobody...." "I will complain to daddy." They made faces at each other and when he left in his car.....Emma and I stood at the main gate for a very long time. "I really hope that we grow up quickly,"said Emma. I looked at Emma who was holding my hands. "You know we can become sisters when we grow up." "You are like a sister." "It's not the same." "Both of you....Aaron has left. You girls had better come in." The butler arrived and took us back. We were soaked and later fell sick, but even as I recovered, my heart was empty. I spent the next week attempting to paint Aaron.....the Aaron in my memory. I hoped that I would give it to him when he arrived. I felt happy imagining his look of surprise. But............. "Aaron came." "No Grace, Aaron has a lot to study. He said that he'd be unable to come," replied Emma. "Aaron came......" "No........" Weekends passed in a blur and gradually I stopped asking Emma. I kept hoping but did not ask. I was scared....... 6 months later "Brother, called today. He said that he had met a nice girl. I even spoke to her on the phone." "A girl....." "Yes.......I think he wants to be with her..........." I was stunned. "Grace.........." I looked up. Just don't tell mum and dad o.k They may not like this news." "O.k" ************** An entire year had passed, and I still did not get a chance to meet him. I no longer asked Emma about Aaron. I had already memorized her lines. "Brother is very busy. Daddy says he has to take over the family's business one day. Why does everyone grow up? I miss my brother." These were the lines Emma would always recite. I held myself back. I had seen Aaron returning with a very beautiful girl during the very first Christmas after he attended college. I had accidentally seen the two kissing when I had barged into Aaron's room like always. "Grace....you must knock when you enter an adult's room." "I am sorry...." This was the first time Aaron had drawn a line between us. I was already fifteen years old. Some things made more sense to me now. At that moment, I felt that there was nothing left..... My childhood fantasy was drawing to a close. As I quietly walked out, I ignored Emma, who asked me to stay back for dinner. I knew myself. I was not ready to see the boy I had loved for so long with another girl. It had begun to rain again, and I was thankful that my parents never realized that I had cried. ******* "Daddy, I want to go to the boarding school you have spoken to me about." "Are you sure?" I nodded. I had nothing to wait for. It was time to grow. As an only child, I intended to take over the family business. "And your dream to be a painter." "I'm not interested." Some things in life had to end. My art.....there were too many memories I shared with Aaron. He like me had loved to paint. "Let her go," my grandfather said to my dad. It is time that she grew up. "But...." "No Celia........" my mother's reservations were overruled. That night I locked away my tools,-the brushes, the untidy color palates, the sheets, the paintings of the face I was fond of......." I did not blame Aaron. But, my crush had ended now. He had just treated me nicely because we had been neighbours. I was a foolish kid who had dreamed of more. I left and did not return. Emma and I initially exchanged letters.....but that too faded with time. My best friend and I had different life paths. She would always be the one who grew up in a sheltered environment. I.......there was school. In my spare time I was already assisting a mid-level manager of my company........ Understanding the market, the logistics, the dealers who helped in ensuring that business succeeded at ground level.........there was a lot to learn. As I graduated from school and started university, I was greeted by a downpour on day one. Rain always marked the most important days of my life. "May I help?" I looked up and saw a cute guy with freckles and curls. His dimples made his smile adorable. I don't know why, but I thought of Aaron when I heard his voice. It would have been nice had he come to drop me. "Are you there?" As he waved his hand, I came back to the present. "I'm a sophomore. We decided to help the new students." I looked around and realized that many new admissions like me were being helped by the seniors here. I nodded and followed him to complete the admission procedures. A new phase in my life had begun.

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