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Chapter 3 People Make Mistakes

  • The older couple thought they were being so secretive, but Edward’s son Edwin was best friends with Jarred and he could never keep a secret. Earlier that week, Edwin had already told Grace about the proposal. Edward was a sweet and kind man who lived a few kilometers from our house. He was a police officer and had met Grace’s mother, a judge during one of the trials. Edward’s wife had passed away over ten years ago, leaving behind two children, Edwin and Emma.
  • Edwin was a true copy of his father, whereas Emma was miserable most of the time and resentful of her father’s relationship with Grace’s mother, Olivia.
  • "Do you think Aunt Olivia will let me help her with the wedding plans?” Gina asked enthusiastically. Lily laughed softly at her friend’s excitement. “I cried when I found out my parents didn’t invite me to their wedding, remember?”
  • Grace did remember. It was a week of crying until Gina realized she hadn’t been born at the time.
  • “We should go shopping for the special occasion, don’t you think? I am sure you need to look your best when they announce their engagement,” Gina suggested. Grace snorted.
  • “I don’t think that is necessary,” she announced to her cousin. Gina had the decency to look sheepish.
  • “I don’t think it is a bad idea,” Lily interrupted. “I have a book on my list that I want to pick up. A little shopping and dining out sounds like fun.”
  • Grace nodded in agreement. They had worked their ass off for the final submissions and needed the break. Samuel and Jarred were likely working during the weekend as per usual, so it would be nice for just the girls to have an evening to themselves.
  • "It’s a plan, then. Now we just have through the day of classes. Let’s not get excited about the weekend before we have finished our classes.” Grace gave a noticeable wink to her friends.
  • - - - - -
  • Gina forced Grace to prepare for the family dinner the next afternoon.
  • “Gina, it’s dinner with mom and her boyfriend. Why do I need to prepare for it? I could use this time to watch a television series, don’t you think?” Grace whined.
  • Lily chuckled from her perch on the chair. She skimmed through the book she bought earlier.
  • “Grace, mark my words, you will regret not dressing up for dinner. If you have news that they will announce their engagement, you want to be dressed well and ready for the pictures. It shows that you are happy for them and waiting to welcome your new dad into your family.”
  • “And not because you want to be there at the dinner tomorrow, yourself?” Grace laughed.
  • “If it is an engagement, you best believe we will have a family dinner with the whole family soon.” Gina rolled her eyes like it was a foregone conclusion.
  • Grace picked up the strapless dress that Gina had fixed her eyes on since they entered the store. “Gina, Edward will have a heart attack if I wore this tomorrow. I want Mom to be the center of attention tomorrow, okay?” she called from the changing room.
  • “Absolutely true. But you can try it on and keep it for a later date. There is nothing wrong with that.”
  • “Gina, this doesn’t even go past my butt. The only thing I could use this dress for is to wipe my nose after sneezing,” Grace commented.
  • Their conversation was interrupted but a high-pitched screeching sound. Thinking someone was in trouble, Grace poked her head out of the dressing room and saw a little girl, barely eight, clinging onto a fixed rack of dresses and refusing to let go.
  • “I won’t go! I want a new dress. Give me a new dress!” the child shouted at a weary-looking woman, who most definitely was the mother. The mother looked up at the ceiling, hiding the roll of her eyes from the child and jerked the girl by her arm.
  • “Please, I just want you to sit down for a few minutes while I pick something up. Just two minutes, okay?” she said. “I really don’t know why I bother with you…” The woman pulled the girl away from the rack and out of earshot.
  • Grace followed their forms for a while with wide eyes before looking at her friends. Lily looked upset while Gina shook her head with thinly veiled fear. “And that is why I never want kids,” Gina whispered. “They are loud and unreasonable. Just look at the poor mother.”
  • Lily rolled her eyes. “That sort of sounds like you!”
  • Gina grabbed what she had near, which turned out to be a shoe, and tossed it at Lily, chuckling.
  • “But that interaction really upset me,” Lily started. “I know children are difficult, but the mother shouldn’t have snapped at her kid and spoken down to her. She could have handled the child more gently… no need to pull on the child’s arm like that.” Lily sighed. “I have handled worse temper tantrums much better than that. I don’t get some people. Why have children when you won’t be a really good parent?”
  • “Hey, we don’t know what is going on in their lives,” Gina said quietly, not wanting to offend Lily and her passion for children.
  • Grace thought about both those things. She was reminded of her father. She remembered her father as a kind and patient parent, who always brought chocolates home after work for her. The most prominent memory she had of Ben were of him and Olivia yelling and arguing with one another. Afterwards, Ben would take his frustration out on Grace by either snapping at her or ignoring her.
  • When she was young, she really didn’t understand what she had done wrong.
  • “People make mistakes sometimes. Some people think having a child will save their rocky relationship. And many simply don’t use protection. Mostly, I think people go into parenthood thinking that things will be a certain way, but once they really have a child and the reality is much different from what they imagined, their attitude changes. A lot of people hold back and try to do their best. Others turn into cold and negligent bastards who drop their child off at a neighbor’s house and never come back.”