Ayu took a deep breath, the taste of beer still lingering in her mouth. She had been drinking since lunch time for no apparent reason. She squeezed her eyes for a better vision as she slowly walked while trying hard not to drop on the ground every time a passerby bumped into her. She felt her way to the wall and leaned against it, breathing heavily. She shouldn't have drank that much, she thought. Her hands were getting numb, her feet losing their strength.
I'm going to faint right here if I don't find somewhere to rest, she murmured to herself.
Risa abandoned her when she saw the long crowded street and even her blurred sight was a hindrance. She knew the street very well and she was pretty aware that there was not a place to rest.
Fine, I'll sit anywhere then. Squinting one eye, she walked toward the nearest store and dropped on the bottom step, trying to keep her head high. If she dropped it any lower, she'd definitely throw up right there and then. Her phone started ringing again. She didn't answer. She knew it was her father and he had been asking to see her since last week. She thought she should call him tomorrow, once she was back to her sober self.
Ayu didn't have a problem really-she was just like that. She did anything that came to her mind without thinking. When she had ordered her first bottle, she reasoned she wanted to celebrate her upcoming exhibit. When the second one came, she thought she was celebrating life. On the succeeding bottles, thoughts of celebration flew out the window.
She stood up after her head cleared a little bit. She needed a cup of coffee, and she knew just the place for a perfect one. The rest must have done something good for she found it less difficult to find her way to the coffee shop.
"My head is throbbing, I need a strong one," she told the lady behind the counter the moment she entered the shop.
"What would you like?"
Ayu looked up at the menu, the letters merging into one. "Just...fix me something strong."
"Okay, one really strong cappuccino coming up," the lady smiled.
She fumbled in her purse for some coins, handed the lady a handful and said, "Just get the exact amount. I have trouble counting at the moment,"
The lady looked at her curiously but did as she asked. She handed Ayu the rest of the coins and said, "I'll serve you your coffee if you want." She must have noticed her customer struggling to stay on her feet.
"Thanks. That will be great." Ayu went to the nearest table and made herself comfortable, resting her chin on her hand.
"Ayu Suar?" a male voice said over her.
"Hmm?" was all she could muster. She sensed some movement across the table from her and when she peered through her heavy lids, she noticed that a man was sitting at the empty chair facing her.
"I'm Roy Punda and I need to talk to you."
"Come back at a good time," she slurred and closed her eyes once again.
"Now is the best time," the voice was now etched with irritation so she opened her eyes once again to look at the man, her bluish gray ones meeting his blue ones.
"Best time for what?" she asked, not really in the mood for a chat.
"To give you an offer you surely won't resist."
She snorted, "And what is that?"
"To be my wife."
The alcohol that had been flowing like crazy through her veins stopped and drained down her head as she looked up at the handsome stranger in disbelief
"Let me tell you something you may not know, Mister," Ayu tried very hard to spit out each word separately. "You don't play funny pranks on drunken people."
He peered down at her, his blue eyes narrowed. She was in an awkward position with her upper arms resting on the table, her lower ones framing both sides of her face, and her hands were making motions over her head.
"You're drunk?" his voice asked with disbelief.
She gave out a throaty laugh and buried her face down her arms, "Oh God, you're such an idiot," she said, her voice muffled by her limbs.
"What did you say?"
"Nothing." She glanced up at him with squinted eyes. "Please find someone else to have a crazy conversation with because I'm not just up to it."
He was about to speak up when her coffee arrived. She gave her thanks to the lady who hastily left to go back to the counter. She savored the warm feeling the hot liquid offered when she took a careful sip.
"As I've said before, I'm here to talk to you," the stranger said once again this time with a forceful, patient tone.
Her vision was getting clearer now and she had time to study the man. She straightened on her chair looking at the handsome creature in front of her. She guessed he must be in his late twenties or early thirties, his hair was brown and everywhere-it was like messy but not at all because it gave him a rugged-clean look. His nose was just perfect and his lips were just plain edible. His divided chin was cleanly shaven she could even smell his aftershave. Overall, his rugged face and his formal attire-in dark blue tie and black coat-gave off an aura of power and confidence.
"What? About marriage?" she chuckled, finally remembering what he said earlier about some offer he had for her. "Nah-ah, not gonna happen."
"Really? But I was just being nice earlier by saying I have something to offer you because in fact, you don't really have a choice."
"What do you mean I don't have a choice? And what's your name again?" she leaned on her arms.
"Roy Punda," he answered, leaning forward so their faces were inches apart. "And yes, you don't really have a choice. The contract is sealed."
Ayu's face contorted in confusion, the coffee finally had its effect for her vision cleared instantly. "Wait, stop right there. What contract?"