My name is Nadia, and I'm your almost-average fifteen year old girl. I have my mom's long black hair and good complexion. I have my dad's green eyes. They tell me I have my grandfather's nose, but as I've never seen either of my grandfathers, I suppose I'll have to take their word for it. I live with both my parents, who are very much alive, thank you very much, and I even have my own room, of which every single crevice of wall space is now dedicated to the various wall scrolls that I own. Although I don't have any brothers or sisters, both my mom and dad assure me that I'm every daughter they would ever want, and to not get any ideas into my head.

I also have a fiance.
Sort of.

I'm not quite sure how my mom and aunty Lanya figured out how they'd plan it, but apparently, they did. They'd been the best of friends all throughout their college lives, kept in touch over the years, even attended each others' weddings. They were pretty tight back then-- still are, too. So I suppose it's only natural when two best friends get together, that they discuss the future of their unborn children over a cup of coffee or something. And I suppose it might even be fun to speculate how they'll grow up together, or how they'll react to each other's existence over the span of say, a few decades or so. If they were both girls, then they'd be best girl friends, like their mothers. If they were both boys, they'd be best guy friends.

And I don't know how they planned this one out, but they did, and they concluded that if one was a boy, and the other was a girl, the two would marry each other.

And wouldn't you know it, I wound up being the girl.
And Garret wound up being the boy.
And couldn't you have guessed, our mothers even got pregnant at about the same time, so Garret's approximately the same age as I am.
So there you have it.
I've been promised to a boy I don't even know since before I was even born.

I don't think the thought ever really bothered me while I was growing up. It's just something that my parents say, and because it never occurred to me that it could acutally happen, I didn't pay too much attention to it. I still don't think it's going to happen at the rate things are going, but it's definitely something to consider. Especially when I'm thinking of another certain boy right now, and it's not Garret.

They tell me that Garret and I used to play together when we were little, although I doubt it was a coincidence. I'm pretty sure they wanted us to be well acquainted before we said our "I do's" to each other. I suppose I'm lucky to have such interested third and fourth parites with such a detailed sense of propriety. I personally don't remember much, other than what I see in pictures, and all I see are two little kids with goofy grins.

She isn't a very accurate depiction of myself now, and I doubt that's what Garret looks like either.

The last time I saw Garret was maybe five years earlier at another one of our mother's "get-togethers", so it's been awhile. I can almost remember what he looks like, but it's very hazy, and I tend to remember events more than the people involved in them. The get-togethers are somewhat interesting. Both of our families meet up so my mom and Aunty Lanya can have a few days to catch up with each other's lives. Lately, it's become more and more infrequent though, and I see Uncle James less and less. Aunty Lanya says he's been very busy, so it's just her that comes over to visit my mom and my dad and I out on the west coast. Now mind you, Aunty Lanya isn't really a genetically-related aunt. I tag on the 'aunty' as a sign of respect as my mom has taught me to since I could talk, but as I've grown older, I've noticed that it's there as a sign of affection. I love my aunty Lanya more than any of my other blood-related aunts, so there's a special meaning in it when I call her "aunty".

Aunty Lanya comes over, at the very least, once a year, though I wish she'd come more often. I think it would do her injustice by comparing her to a whirlwind, simply because it'd probably be a gross understatement to declare her as such. But really, that's what she is: a human-whirlwind. She literally picks you up and takes you for out for a ride during her entire stay. She's an incredibly fiery person, and her presence alone commands your attention. She brings out that aspect of my mom too-- I can tell. Aunty Lanya and my mom can go for hours just talking with each other. Even now, I still can't seem to stay awake for as long as they do when they're talking, and believe you me, I've tried. My dad doesn't mind too much about aunty Lanya coming over to visit mom. I think it's because aunty Lanya always makes sure that my parents get their alone-time as well when she's here, which is very wonderful of her, in my opinion. She'll bombard my parents to take all of us out to some well-known pub (though I can never quite understand how she would know these things since she doesn't live in the area), and somehow I'll be able to get in due to some connections higher up in the management chain, and then as my aunty Lanya twirls me across the dance floor, I'll see my parents dancing too, and the way their eyes shine when they look at each other... it makes me hope that someday I'll be as lucky as they are, to find someone for my very own, who will look at me the way my dad looks at my mom.

And then there's Garret.
Who's somehow supposed to be my future husband, yet he isn't even my friend.
And I wonder if I really want to go through something like this. I mean, I'm sure this was all very popular back in, what, the seventeenth century, but really. Are they serious?

My mom has alot of pictures of Garret-- most of which I refuse to see. I'm sure there are recent ones, but I won't look at them. I don't want to know what he looks like, since I don't even know him and what difference does it make to me what he looks like anyways?

Natalie tells me I'm so lucky to have a boyfriend.
I. Do. Not. Have. A. Boyfriend.
Let me emphasize that.

There *is* a boy that I like though. He sits in front of me in Chemistry, and he has the cutest smile. His name is Daniel and he's got brown hair and brown eyes. He's on the swim team, so he's also really tan. He's asked me to come to his swim meets from time to time, and I drag Natalie with me when I go. She says he looks like mud since he's all brown. I try not to listen to her when she gets like that. But winter formal is two weeks, and I wonder if he's going to ask me to go.

My parents know all about Daniel. Aunty Lanya does too, and she doesn't seem to mind. Much. Anymore. I was in agony the first few times when she would come visit, because I felt I was betraying her by liking some boy other than Garret. But she smiled and said she was happy for me, and heaven help him should he cause me any grief, and then my mom would try to calm her down and my dad would tell her about Daniel. Which was obviously not a good idea, because as soon as my dad began, aunty Lanya kind of took over the conversation and began to tick things off on her fingers as she went through a mental list in her head. And that day, I found out a LOT of things about Daniel. And his parents. And his grandparents too, for that matter. His mom is a house-wife, and used to work as a journalist until she left the work force to take care of him and his brother. His dad is the manager of some manufacturing plant whose name I don't remember. They both have degrees. Their salaries are average. My dad was paying awfully sharp attention to aunty Lanya as she went through her list, and even went to fetch a pen and some paper to take it all down, which she dismissed, saying that she'd email him a copy of this later. I didn't think my mom was listening too, but she was, so I left them in the living room talking about Daniel, while I went to the kitchen to bring aunty Lanya a cup of tropical iced tea. With sugar. Lots of it. That always calms her down considerably, I've noticed. I didn't want her frazzling over-- I still needed her to help me go find a dress with my mom.

No, it doesn't bother me how aunty Lanya knows all this information about Daniel and his entire family. Not too much anyways. She has her sources, as she's so fond of telling me. And if she thought it was important for me to know how she got it, she'd tell me. Otherwise, I really don't ask. I think it's bad form.

Sometimes I wonder what Garret looks like. It's hard to tell from pictures taken way back when, but I look at aunty Lanya and uncle James and I try to imagine what he must look like. Tall, because both his parents are tall. And it doesn't matter whose eyes he has because aunty Lanya has pretty brown ones and uncle James has kind, hazel ones. Hair color is a mystery to me. I personally wished I had my dad's blond-brown hair. It's very fine and very soft. Instead, I got my mom's black hair. Which isn't bad in itself-- it's just very thick and very heavy, and you wouldn't imagine how much money I invest in rubber bands and clips and other hair accessories just to keep it out of my face. Actually, I don't think I'd mind if he looked like uncle James. But that's probably because I can't imagine a male version of aunty Lanya. Trying to piece their looks together feature by feature is difficult, and normally gives me a headache afterwards. I'm sure Garret is probably decent-looking.

I wonder if he even remembers who I am. I mean, really remember who I am and what kind of person I used to be. There's no doubt in my mind that aunty Lanya has as many pictures of me as my mom does of Garret, and I think it'd be interesting to know what he thinks of me and what type of person I am, based on that picture. My mom says I'm too loud. My dad says my volume level is fine. See? Discrepencies everywhere.

The Garret-conversation is most likely initiated as a result of a conversation my mom and I had just earlier in the day. Basically, she asked me if I had a boyfriend, or if there was any boy I was interested in. Huh. Now there's a curve ball for you. And of course, the second the word 'boyfriend' pops out of her mouth, I'm already thinking of Garret, because hey, isn't he supposed to be my pre-destined boyfriend AND husband?

"Who needs a boyfriend when you've already got a husband lined up for you?"

My mom sighs. I know I'm being flippant, but I really don't care. They could at least try to take Daniel seriously. "He would be the preferrable choice, Nadia."

"Preferrable? Oh really. Over who?" I smack my forhead with my hand. "Oh, that's right. Preferrable over nobody else because I don't like any other guys. So he's just THE preferred one. Period."

"I don't see why you're being so touchy about it."

"I am not being touchy!"

"No, you're just aggravating yourself, and you're determined to aggravate everyone else around you too. If you can't keep a civil tongue in your mouth, then I suggest you shut it. I asked you a question, and all you have to do is answer it. I didn't ask for you comments, and I didn't ask for your feelings. I just want one answer, and I want it now." My mom keeps her voice even and low, and if it weren't for the hard look on her face, you couldn't even tell just how close to getting pissed off she was.

"No I do not have a boyfriend. Yes there is a boy I am interested in." I recite this dutifully, lest my sarcasm betray me. And you know exactly who it is, so stop pretending you don't know.

"See? Now that wasn't so bad was it?" She pats me on the cheek softly. "Don't think about it so much, dear. You'll just depress yourself all the more." Humming quietly, she carries the pot she's holding out to the kitchen table.

I'll just depress myself all the more? What the--?? Hurrying out of the kitchen, I track down my mom and find her looking for something in the walk-in pantry.

"See? There you go, obsessing over it again."

My mouth is hanging open-- either from my complete surprise and shock, or the fact that she's left me utterly speechless. Obsessing? Me?? Leading me back out into the kitchen, she opens the drawer full of spoons and forks. "You can set the places for everyone."

I. Do. Not. Obsess.