NOTE: layout not ready yet, as usual :P
Chapter 4: One Step Closer
“I have a surprise for you.” Richard said while embracing his love. She was cooking breakfast for him, like she always did. It was something she would never stop doing.
“What kind of surprise?” Rachel queried.
“Can’t tell you.” he smirked.
“Oh come on! You can’t just tell someone you have a surprise for them like that and just leave it there. That’s just plain mean!” she complained.
Richard hated seeing her this agonized, but for some reason he couldn't stop smiling.
“I’m sorry but if I tell you, the surprise would loose all of its magic.” Richard said as he gave her another kiss on the cheek.
“If you give me just one little hint, I promise I’ll make you worth it for a while." she returned his favor with a full make-out session. Richard had to catch his breath. “Very tempting… but no.” he sniggered while giving her one more kiss.
As much as he regretted that decision, he knew it was the right thing to do.
“No, no, no, no! This is all wrong! This is a freaking disaster!” Celine screamed while opening a box she just received from the mailman.
“What’s wrong, honey?” Paul asked concerned as he put down his book and rushed over to his love. “I specifically ordered these wedding invitations in cream! Does these look like cream to you?” she roared. “Yeah?” Paul answered. He could not have been more confused.
“These are not cream! These are beige!” Celine shouted.
“Honey, I say this out of love, but don’t you think you’re kind of.. I don’t know… overreacting? I mean, you’re kind of becoming a…” Paul tried to speak as calm as possible, but Celine interrupted him. “Bridezilla! I’m a freaking bridezilla!” and with that she started sobbing.
Paul didn't really understand why she was reacting like this. Their wedding was still months away. “Hey, hey! It’s all going to be okay," he tried to comfort her. "Why are you crying?”
“I don’t know. I’ve just been so emotional about everything lately. But you’re right; I am overreacting. All of this stuff doesn’t even matter. What matters is that I love you, and that I get to be your wife.” Celine said with a little smile.
Paul returned the smile and gave his fiancé a big hug.
“You know what you need?" he asked. "You need to get your mind of this whole wedding thing. Let’s go do something fun today!”
“Don’t you just love the House of Parliament?” Richard asked.
One of their favorite things to do together was to stroll around London, the city they both cherished so much. As they were staring at the Big Bang, Richard bumped into a man, accidentally knocking him to the ground. “Sir, I’m so sorry. Are you alright?” Richard asked concerned. “This is outrageous!" the man snarled. He was tall, properly dressed and had a bold, sharp look on his face. "An assault on a member of the parliament is prosecutable young man! How dare you!" he kept screaming until he noticed the red-haired girl behind Richard: "Rachel?” “Dad?" Rachel was completely startled, frozen. Don't screw this up, she thought to herself. "Dad, hey. This eumh… this is Richard… my eumh… my…boyfriend." Her dad couldn't have looked more severe. “Your boyfriend? Well, maybe you should teach your boyfriend some manners.” he fumed. Richard was nailed to the ground. Rachel on the other hand wasn't that surprised, she was used to reactions like this from her father. Especially towards her ex-boyfriends. But this was different, Richard was the one, her soulmate. She needed both of them to get along. “Dad, it was an accident.” she tried to meddle. “Accidents are preventable.” he replied. After wrapping up his courage, Richard finally spoke: “Euhm sir, we were actually kind of hoping to come and visit you sometime, for you & I to properly meet, if that’s possible… sir." After an awkward silence, he replied: “I’ll let my assistant contact you Rachel. It’s good to finally see you again.” "You too," Rachel whispered. And with that, Charles Leslie ran of to his next meeting.
“Wow, that’s not the first impression I was planning to make." Richard said, still in shock. "Your dad’s a minister? You told me he worked in finances!” Grateful that the worst part was over, Rachel confessed: “He does, he’s the minister of finances.”
“Rach, why didn’t tell me? I thought we were honest to each other about stuff like this.” Richard questioned. Rachel knew she had to tell him. “I’m sorry, it’s just not something I like to brag about. It hasn’t worked much to my advantage before, so I prefer to hide it, even for myself." Before Richard could speak again, they heard a familiar set of voices in the distance: “Hey guys!” It was Paul and Celine, strolling hand and hand as well. “Look who we have here! How are the lovebirds doing?” Paul crowed.
“Well apparently, this lovebird has just made a complete fool of himself in front of Rachel’s dad like ten seconds ago.” Richard acknowledged. “You met Mr. Leslie?!” Celine heightened her voice. “You say it like it’s such a bad thing.” Paul said, while raising his eyebrows. “Well yeah, no offense Rach, but your dad is kind of scary.” Celine admitted. “None taken. He kind of is." Rachel agreed. "Not to me really, but especially to the outside world. He wasn’t always like this though. Ever since mom died…” Celine knew the whole daddy thing wasn't Rachel's favorite topic, so she decided to change the subject."You know what? Why don’t we all grab a bite?” Celine suggested. “That sounds perfect. I’m starving!” both of the men agreed.
“So, how’s the wedding planning thing going for you guys?” Richard queried. “Dude no…” Paul was too slow, Celine had already started crying again. “What? Something I said?” he asked confused. “It’s not your fault Richard. It might be better to avoid the w-word for today perhaps.” Paul reassured him. “Celine, I know you get emotional pretty fast, but get a hold of yourself girl!” Rachel added. “I’m sorry." she whimpered. "I really don’t know what’s wrong with me today, you guys." “You’re not pregnant are you?” Rachel asked amusingly. Everybody started laughing. “Of course not.” Celine laughed as well. But yet she couldn’t help counting the days in her head…
“That was fun.” Rachel said while entering their apartment. “Even with my dad acting all alpha-male towards you plus Celine’s outburst. So was this the surprise you told me about earlier today?” “Not exactly” Richard said. Suddenly, Rachel’s sight got blinded a pair of hands. “Missed us?” “Peter! Pedro!" Rachel screeched. "Oh my god! I can’t believe you guys are really here!” Peter and Pedro were Rachel’s best friends since childhood. She grew up in a peaceful town far away from London. She used to be the only girl in the neighborhood and that’s why it was always easier for her to connect to boys. Even though she had Nikolaj, she always considered Peter and Pedro to be her brothers as well. And she was their little sister. When her dad wanted to move to London to pursue his political career, she had no choice but to leave them behind with a heavy heart. But through all of the years, they always remained contact. “What we can’t believe is that we had to hear from this guy that you were getting married." was the first thing Peter said. "He hasn’t even had our stamp of approval yet.” “Yeah, how can we let you marry this guy without us even knowing him?” Pedro agreed. “Okay buddy, here’s the deal. Answer the following questions without thinking please.” Richard sighed. Well, I already messed up once today, he thought to himself.
“What’s Rachel’s favorite color?”
“What’s her favourite food?”
“When’s her birthday?”
“Is Richard your real name?”
“What?” Richard exclaimed confused.
Rachel decided to intervene. “Guys, stop it. I appreciate you looking out for me, but Richard’s not a serial killer. If there was something wrong with him, Nikolaj would’ve already killed him by now.” “Speaking of Nikolaj, where is he?” Peter questioned. “He’s coming… very soon.” Rachel answered. “Good, because we need him for the bachelor party.” Pedro added. “You guys are going to plan my bachelor party?” Richard asked, still confused.
“Of course we are!" both of them shrieked. "We made a pact. Right, Rachel?”
“No, we didn’t." Rachel remembered. "I’m not sure if I’m such a fan of this idea by the way.”
“Oh come on Rach, you know us!" Pedro pleated. "We would never harm your boy!” Rachel knew very well what her friends were capable of, but she could never say no to them.
“Alright them, but no strippers!” Rachel implored. “Fine, no strippers.” Peter promised.
He turned back to Richard: “Now dude. As important as the planning a wedding is, the planning of a bachelor party is even more." Pedro continued: “We were thinking Hangover… part 4.” “Oh god, please no." Richard replied. "The whole hangover thing didn’t work out very well for me last time.” Seeing the worried look in Rachel’s eyes, Richard added: “You know what guys? Maybe we should wait with this bachelor party thing until Nikolaj and Paul Salvatore get here.” “Who’s he?” both of them asked in perfect harmony. “A very good friend of mine.” Richard answered. And maybe even my best man, he thought to himself.
Paul and Celine had just arrived at their apartment as well. “What for?” Paul asked.
“You know what for!" Celine growled. "I made a complete fool out of myself today. In front of the entire restaurant, didn’t you see the look on Richard and Rachel’s faces? I was so embarrassed!” She decided to look down.
“It’s okay.” Paul said as he was trying to met her gaze.
“It’s okay? God, why don’t you ever get mad at me?!” Celine yelled.
“I could never get mad at you." Paul confessed. "But I do know a way for you to make it up to me.” He whispered something to her ear. Celine just wanted the day to be over. “You know babe, I’m getting kind of tired” she said.
“But It’s only 9 PM” Paul insisted. “I know, but I don’t really feel that well." Which really isn't a lie, Celine thought to herself. "Maybe tomorrow. Good night.” she said while giving him a kiss on the cheek. "Goodnight sweetheart." Paul whispered as he watched her walking towards the bedroom. He wanted to give her some space and decided to finish the book he was reading this morning.
“You are amazing.” Rachel said while gazing in her fiancé’s eyes. They were cuddling in bed. Luckily Peter and Pedro decided to stay at a local hotel. “You are even more amazing.” Richard returned the feelings. “No, I’m serious. What you did for me today was unbelievable. I was expecting some sort of expensive gift, but you gave me the greatest gift of all. No one has ever done that for me.” she confessed. Richard couldn't stop gazing. “I would do anything for you Rach. Climb mountains, swim across oceans,… Nothing is impossible for me when it comes to you. You give me so much every day, it’s the least I could do for you.” he declared. She never believed him when he said things like that, but somehow she just knew it was true. “I love you so much.” she said with a gentle smile. “I love you more.” he smiled while stroking her hair behind her ear. Then they both leaned in for a passionate kiss. Despite everything, they knew it had been a good day.