Disclaimer : I'm a huge KPop fan and you will come across names and photographs of KPop idols in most of my stories. They are my muse and inspiration in so many ways. The incidents and characters are fictional and have no resemblance to any K pop idol in any manner.
For a girl in her early twenties, juggling part time job with college, Abby was not very different at first glance, till she started talking! She had short hair, wore only jeans and tees, sensible shoes. The only luxury she allowed herself was books! Abby spent most of her hard earned money on books and music! She was well read and well brought up. All the money that her parents sent her, she had kept in her bank account and she never touched it!
Sometimes, Abby felt like a misfit among her peers! Her life revolved around her classes and job! Her part time job kept her occupied all through the weekend! After college, she worked at the supermarket across the road from her apartment building. She had been quickly promoted from a salesgirl to the Store Manager, alongwith another person, in just 6 months. Abby's shift was from 2pm to 8 pm, while the other one did the morning shift from 8 am to 2 pm. Her employers would constantly cite her example to motivate others and her appraisals were always positive!
Sunday was her only day of rest and relaxation which she spent on cleaning her tiny flat, doing laundry and reading! No friends, no parties! There was simply no time! Her 'me' time meant curling up with her favourite book or listening to music.
Today, for some reason, Abby was distracted throughout the day and couldn't concentrate on her class. During lunch at the college cafeteria, she absentmindedly piled her plate with her favourite noodles and chicken and walked towards her usual chair. Someone was already sitting there. She waited, wondering whether to ask that person to shift or just sit on the chair opposite him or to find another table. He barely noticed as she sat opposite him, busy eating his lunch while his eyes were glued to the mobile phone, wearing huge earphones on his head. Abby started eating her food and slowly looked up at him. Dressed in tailored trousers and a shirt, he stood out among the jeans-and-tshirt crowd. He wore formal black shoes and his hair was neatly combed and styled. An expensive looking watch on his wrist, the latest brand of cell phone and headphones, a smart tailored jacket carefully draped on his chair and a branded leather briefcase on the chair next to him.
Abby flinched as he suddenly looked up, feeling her lingering gaze on him. Their eyes locked and Abby looked away, embarrassed, her heart beating fast as her fork stopped midway. The black eyes seemed to pin her to her chair as she looked down at her plate and continued to eat. Her cheeks were flushed as she saw him looking at her, from head to toe. Abby ate as fast as she could and when she was about to get up, a deep voice said," Sit down. Please."
Abby- Do I know you?
Man- No, you don't. But I know you, Abby Baker.
Abby was confused and a bit.... scared. The man had taken off the headphones. He pushed his empty plate aside and kept the briefcase on the table. He took out a file and handed it to Abby, closing the briefcase.
Abby- What is this?
Man- A file. I'm Richard Brown. Charles Brown's son.
Abby gave him a puzzled look and said, "I don't think I know you or your father! I'm getting late for my part time job! I need to go!
RB- If you don't know my father, why would he mention you in his will, Miss Abby?
Abby's eyes were huge as she said- "What????"
RB- Exactly! Now let me drop you to your workplace as I fill you in.
Abby followed him in a daze and sat quietly on the passenger seat, trying to think clearly, but her mind was all fuzzy.
RB- My father, Charles Brown owns the Browns chain of supermarkets and grocery stores. I believe you work in one of those.
Abby- Oh! That's where I work !The one right there, see! Sorry I wasn't aware of Mr Brown's full name, since we always call him Mr Brown!
Abby pointed as Richard stopped the car on the side and said," Oh! So you work in this branch. Did you ever meet my father here sometime?
Abby- Maybe just once when he came for a surprise check! It was a Saturday and I was the only one around that evening. He gave me a very positive appraisal.
Richard was already aware that his father was totally in awe of this girl! Why else would he mention her in the Will?
Abby thanked Richard for the lift and made her way towards the grocery store.
Richard parked the car and crossed the road. As he walked in, everyone stood up and wished him. Abby had gone inside to change into her uniform. When she came out, she was surprised to see Richard sitting in her chair in the Store Manager's office. He asked her to sit.
RB- Abby, I really need you to hear me out. Don't interrupt me when I'm talking and don't zone out! My father passed away last night. I don't think all the employees know it yet....I stopped by your college on my way back from the funeral. I was abroad and returned last week as father's condition was too bad and he wanted me to take over the company. After the funeral, our family lawyer came to me with father's will, which says I take over the company after him with immediate effect, but there's one condition.... I have to marry you in 30 days after taking over or lose the company to my Uncle!
Abby- WHAT??? Are you insane? Why would I marry you? I don't even know you!!!
RB- Listen, Abby Baker. I'm not dying to marry you either but nothing and no one will come between my company and me! If marrying you is the only way out, I'll do that. If you refuse, all these employees will get fired and I will ensure they know it's because of you.
Abby- You can't do that!
RB( raising an eyebrow)- Can't I? Try me! You have 2 days. On Monday I want a positive response!
He walked out angrily from the store as the other employees came rushing to see what had happened.
Abby stood rooted to the spot fighting back tears and anger. She somehow composed herself and finished her shift.
She went back home and called up her parents.
Abby's parents Jerry and Annie Baker lived in a small town which was only 6 hours away. She was tempted to sit on the overnight train and hide in her mother's lap, but it was too late to catch the train!Abby's parents owned and ran their famous Bakers' Bakery which was as old as their quaint little town, famous for its baked goodies. It's really been a long time since she had visited home.... Almost 6 months! Although her parents make it a point to visit her every fortnight, with big parcels of their baked delights! Oh, she was suddenly homesick!
While talking to her parents, Abby suddenly burst out crying and told them about Mr Richard Brown and his father's will. Her parents tried to calm her down as she heard her mother's soothing voice," Abby darling, we are on our way. We'll be there tomorrow before Mr Richard shows up! Ok? Now stop crying sweetie and go to sleep! Leave all the worries to us!"
Abby calmed down when she heard her mom's words and finally fell asleep.
After her classes, Abby quickly went back to her flat. As expected, her parents had already reached and she could smell her mother's delicious cooking! Her parents hugged her as she walked in. Abby felt her tense body relax into her mother's loving embrace. She was so happy to see them!
Annie Baker's legendary baked goodies made Abby feel much better and she went back to work, promising to eat dinner together with her parents. She was cheerful at the store till she heard a commotion and came out of her office.
Richard Brown glared at her from a distance as the staff ran around fussing over him. Abby was too shocked, her smile frozen on her face and eyes wide with fear. As Richard took angry long strides towards her, Abby backed up till she hit the wall. Richard's menacing face was inches away as he spat out," You can smile? You destroyed my life and you can smile?!!! You...."
Abby flinched at his harsh words and turned her face, expecting to be hit. He was dead drunk! He stank of alcohol! Richard was pulled away by his chauffeur back into the car. Abby was holding her breath and finally exhaled when she heard the car drive away. Everyone was staring at her with questioning eyes.
Disturbed and tearful, Abby went back to her office and stayed there till it was closing time. When she reached home, her mother's warm and loving hug made her cry her eyes out. Her father's soothing voice made us stop crying as he said," Abby darling, eat some of this yummy pie and tell Annie how it tastes." Abby took a bite of the mince pie and quickly finished 3 of those! She was famished! Her parents smiled at her cuteness and she seemed to cheer up. Abby slept hugging her mom as her father stroked her hair, thinking about his daughter's predicament. He made up his mind to speak to Mr Richard tomorrow.
Sunday dawned bright and clear, making Abby happy. It felt good to wake up to the appetising aroma of Mommy's freshly baked bread and cake! She sighed as she remembered the incident in the store last night, but decided not to let it affect her. She cheerfully went about her Sunday chores, humming and smiling, when the phone rang.
She picked up the phone.
Abby- Hello! Who is this?
RB- It's Richard. I'm sorry about yesterday.
Abby- Good morning.... I... It's alright...
RB- Abby, have you decided or not?
Abby- I still have time till tomorrow afternoon.... My parents are here to help me....
RB- Your parents? I would like to meet them. Can I come over?
Abby- Well.... I need to....
RB- I will see you all in an hour's time.
Abby- But.....do you know my address?
RB- I know everything about you Abby....
Abby hung up, feeling goosebumps all over her body as she heard Richard's words. She got up and told her parents that Richard will be home in an hour's time. Her parents set about getting the house in order and sent her off for a bath.
When Abby came out all dressed, her mother had laid out a feast for Richard's arrival. She was hoping he doesn't misbehave with her parents!
The sound of the doorbell made Abby jump. She opened the door to let Richard in, wondering why he looked different today. He seemed calmer, more handsome somehow.... Her parents welcomed Richard and he was quick to notice the beautifully laid table. As they all sat down, Abby's father spoke first.
JB- Mr Brown, may I please see a copy of the Will ?
As Richard handed him the Will, Annie brought some coffee for everyone. Abby sat quietly. After reading the Will, Jerry Baker looked at Richard and sighed.
JB- As I see it, your father thought highly of my daughter and probably thought she is suitable to get married into the Brown family! Seeing her at work must have impressed him.... Abby is any employer's ideal employee after all! Her promotion to a store manager within 6 months of joining speaks volumes about her capability!
Annie- Mr Richard, my daughter is a gem and I think your father saw that! As a mother, I would only want my daughter to be happy.... Your money means nothing to us, we just want you to be good to her.... This isn't how I wanted her to get married!
RB- Mr and Mrs Baker, dad's company is important to me! It's his hard work and all that he stood for all these years! I did try to find out about Abby after reading the Will and I have only heard good things. I do realise that this isn't the way anyone should get married! But it's my father's dying wish and I have to fulfil it! At least I have to try....
JB- I realise it's not easy for you either....
We can have a marriage contract for a few months and then.....
RB- Oh no no no! We can't! If Uncle gets to know I will lose the Company!
Abby- Father, mother, do you both trust me? I thought about this a lot in the past 2 days... I still don't know if my decision is right but I know you both are always there for me... Right? If this turns out to be a mistake, will you still support and love me?
Annie- Of course darling! Nothing can make us love you any less....
Jerry- Abby, you will always be our baby and we are with you, no matter what!
Abby- Well, Mr Richard, I agree to the marriage only because I really respected your father a lot and it's Mr Brown's last wish...But it's just going to be a paper marriage.... I will continue working and supporting myself...
RB- Abby, I promise it will be exactly that! I will not make things any worse for you than they already are....
Richard sampled, appreciated and complimented Mrs Baker's feast and left.
The Bakers sat hugging on the sofa and wondering whether they should feel sad or happy.... Richard didn't seem that bad but he didn't love Abby! Abby didn't love him either!! What a mess! What was that old man thinking!!! His Will was forcing a union of two young people without their free will..... Or maybe he saw something in this union that they can't see yet! For now, they had decided to just accept that whatever happens, happens for the best and is probably the almighty's will! Only time will tell................