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The Engagement Party
The woman loved to show off the ring. It was noon, and she and her fiancé were hosting a small party with only their closest friends: their lawyer, an actor, a few senators, and his company’s executives among others. The woman lifted up her glass of champagne and, as she did so, she made sure to clink her ring lightly (but not too lightly) against the glass. The people next to her promptly leaned forward and admired the loveliness of the diamond ring.
“She fell completely in love,” her fiancé said, “with the ring, and she just had to have it, so, of course, I bought it.”
“It was so kind of Anthony to get you that, Evelyn. So kind,” said one of their friends whose name Evelyn had forgotten.
“Don’t be silly. I have to have a ring. You simply can’t get engaged without a ring.”
“Of course,” the friend immediately responded.
Evelyn looked away from the friend, and instead locked eyes with the actor. The actor, though Evelyn doubted he could honestly be called that, gave her a forced smile and walked towards her. Evelyn had first met him at the premiere of some romance movie that he had a very minor role in. Evelyn suspected that he could not afford a ring that was even comparable to hers.
“Hello Ethan. Are you enjoying the party?” Evelyn said when he was in front of her.
“Can we talk?” He asked.
Evelyn nodded and turned to the friend, who was staring at Ethan as if she could not comprehend why he thought it was appropriate to speak to them, and told her to leave. The friend’s eyes widened, but after a second she got up and left.
“Is there any point in asking you not to do this,” Ethan whispered.
“I have no idea what you are referring to,” Evelyn replied.
“Don’t marry him.”
Evelyn sighed. She knew that they were inevitably going to have this conversation again, but did he really have to do this at her party?
“You love me,” Ethan insisted. “You’ve loved me for longer than you’ve known Anthony. You can’t deny that.”
Ethan reached out to grab her hand and she quickly yanked it away and glanced around to make sure no one had seen. If anyone had seen that, especially Anthony, her life would have been over. Evelyn got up and quickly walked away from the party with tears filling her eyes. She twirled her diamond necklace and wished that somehow things would change. Maybe if Ethan was in another movie...
A hand grabbed Evelyn’s arm and spun her around. Realizing that is was Nathaniel, she kissed him.
Nathaniel was a lawyer for Anthony’s company. He was the best that there was, which could easily be seen. He lived in a house near theirs that was almost as big and beautiful as their own. Nathaniel even had his own boat, though it was not nearly as great as theirs. He was far too rude and condescending for Evelyn to ever even consider marrying, but he was more interesting and had much more free time than Anthony. Anthony did not know about her relationship with Nathaniel, or Ethan, but he was so barely around that she could not bring herself to feel remorseful. She did, however, feel bad about lying to Ethan. He had no idea that she was having an affair with Nathaniel. It seemed silly to feel bad for not telling the man you’re having an affair with that you are having another affair with someone else, but for some reason her heart hurt every time she thought about it.
“Your fiancé is looking for you,” Nathaniel told her. “It sounds important.”
She nodded and kissed him again before going back to the party. He never tried to convince her not to marry Anthony like Ethan. He knew that she was going to marry Anthony and, honestly, he did not care. As she walked into the middle of the party, Anthony stepped in front of her with a scowl on his face.
“What is this?” He demanded as he held out a piece of paper.
Anthony was whispering, yet still every single person was watching them. Evelyn grabbed the paper out of his hand. It was a letter. It was not signed, but it did not matter. She knew who it was as soon as she started reading. It was long and sweet. Full of “I love you”s. A glance at Ethan confirmed it.
“You’re having an affair,” her fiancé said.
“Where did you get this?” She asked.
“It was in your purse. I was looking for your phone to show our friends pictures of the ring, considering you were wandering around and doing who knows what instead of celebrating our engagement with our friends.”
Evelyn struggled to find the words that would make everything alright. She wanted to be angry at Ethan, but none of this was his fault. All he had done was written her a beautiful letter.
“With who?” he asked her.
Evelyn knew what she had to say. There was only one way that she could answer that question without ruining everything. There was only one answer that she could convince her fiancé to forgive. There was only one answer that her friends would not judge her for. There was only one answer that stopped the only person that she loved from being judged.
“Your lawyer, Nathaniel”
Her fiancé nodded and went back to his friends. It was not worth fighting and ruining the party. The friends, disappointed, went back to their own conversations. Evelyn looked at Ethan, but he refused to meet her eyes.