“What’s the matter?” Dae asked me.
It was six fifteen in the evening and I was at his flat. After school, I had gone to the library where I spent at least two hours, doing my homework and studying until it was time for me to come and see him.
I was still smarting from my interaction with Veronica and Radika at school that day. Their remarks were hurtful and malicious. “I’m upset with the two girls I thought were my friends.”
His eyebrows rose. “Why are you upset with them?”
I marched over to the sofa and plopped myself down while he remained standing. “I was looking at your photos on my phone and I didn’t know that they were behind me. The next thing I knew was Veronica asking me who you were and when I told her, she was shocked. They both were. At first, they said that you weren’t my boyfriend because they couldn’t believe that a handsome guy like you would be dating me. They even thought that you were a model whose image I got from the Internet and was trying to pass you off as my boyfriend. I couldn’t believe that these were my friends saying these malicious things to me.”
“They aren’t your friends,” Dae said. “Friends wouldn’t say such things.”
“I think they were jealous, envious. They both wished they could meet guys who look like you.”
“Most guys wouldn’t be interested in girls who treat their friends like they treated you.”
“They said that I wasn’t your type–you’re polished and I’m not, I guess. And they wondered why you aren’t dating an Asian woman.”
“Did you mention that I was engaged to an Asian woman but broke it off because of you?”
I shook my head. “No, I didn’t. I didn’t think it was any of their business.”
“You’re right. It isn’t. And they’re wrong. You’re my type. I fell in love with you the first time I saw you.”
“Veronica said that you wouldn’t marry me because we’re from different cultures.”
“She’s wrong. I was going to marry a woman I didn’t love because of family and culture but thank God, I didn’t. I plan to marry for love.”
“I told her that you love me but she said that you would choose culture over love.”
“Your friends don’t know me at all. I chose love over culture, that’s why I’m with you and not still engaged to Min. I broke with my family’s tradition of arranged marriages. I promised myself that I’m going to marry for love and I love you, Sade.”
My heart skipped a beat. “I love you too, Dae.” He stood there, leaning against the table, shirtless. It hadn’t even occurred to me to ask him why he wasn’t wearing a shirt or a sweater. Not that I minded seeing his half naked body which I loved so much.
“I spilled some wine on my shirt,” he said. “And was just putting it in the washer with the other dirty clothes to wash when you came.”
I wondered what Veronica and Radika would say if they were to see us now. They probably would be green with envy.
“What are you thinking about?”
“I was just thinking about my so-called friends and imagining their faces if they were to see us together now.”
“Let’s not talk about them anymore,” he suggested quietly. “Are you hungry?”
I nodded. “Yes.”
“Let me go and put on a shirt and then, we’ll have dinner.”
He moved away from the table and left the room. While he was gone, I got up from the sofa and went over to the window to look out. It was a clear evening. The sun had set but the sky still had a hint of blue.
I loved being here in this flat with Dae. It was my second home. One of these days, it will be my home, I was sure about that. I smiled at the thought.