My mother believed a woman's priority was to search for a reputable husband. Needless to say, my mother was also an avid traditionalist.
Ever since infancy, mom would polish her daughters to appease an array of men that she, herself, deems suitable: even if it had to be designed.
Moreover, mother's beloved eldest, Allyson and Maxine, had been successful subjects of her drawn out scheme. Allyson, quick to marry, had been shipped off to London with her notable partner: Mr. Sullivan. Mr. Sullivan was a respectable man of thirty five who owned property and establishments across the states, hence, how they met. On that note, it amazes me how Allyson remains so content with such a dull lifestyle.
Maxine, a bit of an unorthodox, married a film star: Bill Sanders. Now, this man was quite the character, to say the least, so much that it took a while for my mother to approve of their engagement. Nonetheless, she was able to overlook his unconventional behavior, and consent to their marriage; after all, he was anything but a poor man. Still, when the holidays rolls around, she sits as far away as possible from Mr. Sanders. It's quite comical, believe me.
In contrast, there is me: the youngest of the Carter sisters. Frankly, marriage has not dawned upon me, despite my mother's constant nagging. See, my sisters were both engaged before their twenty fourth birthday, and here I am: young, partnerless, all while being the brimming age of twenty five. I think it is safe to deduce that my mother is losing her shit.
You see, I don't quite agree with her philosophy, and I believe any progressive being in this day of age would as well. A woman should have the power to chose whether or not she wanted a partner, and honestly, I'd beg for the latter.
However, my mother's rationale does not go unwarranted. Mom originated from wealth and status back where she lived. In fact, her family was almost considered royalty. But in the words of my mother, she "threw all sensibility," out the window, and fell for a poor man. They made the bold decision to elope, and settle in America. Unfortunately, the man she married accumulated massive debt, and left her with three children to fend for themselves.
My mother vowed that she'd never allow her girls to encounter the same despair again.
Yet, I fail to understand how pledging to be single for eternity hinders her goal. I reasoned that perhaps, it's even smarter than marrying rich, considering marriage risks heartbreak. However, she retaliated by asserting that even divorce has its monetary benefits.
Regardless, I am still not convinced that marriage would be in my best interested.
But even in the rare case it was... money should hardly be the factor of my choosing. I've never met my father, but to assume all men would be like him, is simply absurd.
Nonetheless, I am content with a library of books.
"Isn't London beautiful?" My mother marveled at the scenery.
"Stunning," I responded with my nose shoved in a map. "Though I'd rather be back home, wrapped cozy in my bed. A bowl of soup would be the cherry on top."
She clicked her tongue against the root of her mouth in disapproval. "Don't be ridiculous, Annie. Aren't you excited to see your older sister?"
"Yes, I am. I am extremely ecstatic to be invited to her uneventful home, with her expressionless husband who only makes an appearance right before bed. I am unable to contain such excitement."
My mother pierced her lips. "I detect sarcasm."
"And I simply don't want to be here."
She sighed in defeat. "Yes, I understand. But we are going to have to do things we don't particularly fancy sometimes, but responding with attitude is not something a respectable young woman should do."
I bit the inside of my check to restrain another snarky remark. "Point taken. Sorry."
Mother smoothened the wrinkles of her trench coat. "Apology accepted"
Silence overtook us both, eliciting a suffocating atmosphere. Apparently, I had not been the only one who felt that way. My mother cleared her throat abruptly.
"Anyways, your sister and I have been talking over the phone earlier."
"Well, Allyson knows a nice man from Mr. Sullivan's extended family. His parents also owns estate in America."
I cocked a brow, unwilling to assume her intentions. "So?"
"Well," My mother begins fiddling with the lapel of her coat. "He's five years your senior, educated, and stable. Word from Allyson, is that he's also quite charming."
I laughed breathlessly in disbelief.
"Did I do something wrong?"
"Mom, you're trying to set me up, again."
"Annie, you're twenty five."
"So? My age does not give you any right to impose marriage on me!" I felt my blood bubble once again.
"Annie, it's a woman's priority-"
"God mom, I feel like a broken record. Marriage is not in my agenda!"
"But is honor in your agenda?!"
"Since when does honor equate to being dependent on a man?"
"Mom, please," I sighed in exasperation. "Stop trying to find me a fiancee. If you were really concerned with my happiness, let me be."
With that, dismissed myself from the scene.
"Annie! Where are you going?"
"Find Allyson. I'll catch up with you later," I hollered as I distanced myself from the woman.
I made my way down the streets of London to find the nearest library. I hear England has the best collection of books.
Well, the shelves most definitely did not disappoint me. The vastness of its interior left me breathless. Needless to say, I was floored.
I push the doors leading to another chamber, only to be responded with thud on the other side.
"Crap," I muttered under my breath. "Sorry, I did not see you there!"
Kneeling to the floor, I came to the young man's aid. I anxiously collected his fallen books and papers, trying to suppress my complete humiliation. If my mother was here, she'd contend that the only reason why I couldn't find a partner, was my lack of poise.
Once we were able to pick all the fallen objects from the ground, we stood in unison. My eyes were then able to get a full glimpse of his face.
Gorgeous was the only word to describe such a masterpiece.
Now, I wish I can go on to embellish on his attributes but that would sicken me to the core. Partially because this fellow before me can't be described without myself sounding like a love struck idiot.
There is one thing I can't leave out, however: his eyes. It was an odd shade of baby blue, or grey, I'm not too sure. All I know is that I couldn't avert my gaze.
Knowingly, a half smile surfaced on his lips.
"Miss," he begun in a mellow whisper. "You're gawking."
With that, he placed his finger on my chin, to close my jaw. In amusement, he brushed past me, leaving me alone in the room.