"Here, try to eat something." I told dad and gently placed the tray on his thigh.
I opened the dish while he stared intently at me.
It's about a week after his surgery and I guess he's fully strong now. not that strong but okay.
The past few days had been horrible for me. I had to work long hours take care of the family at the same time.
I was already loosing weight and was gradually fading and as if it's not enough, Brian keeps on reminding me of our deal.
I know that he already has, a right to me now but shouldn't take it slow. he doesn't expect me to just rush off and get married to him.
Ben on the other hand, had started applying for jobs and going for different interviews.
maybe he has had a change of heart or probably feels like everything would be on his shoulder once I'm gone so he has to prepare for the worst.
"thank you Ciara. your mom told me everything that you did. thanks for not letting me die" he tells me and I slowly nod
"Thanks for also giving me a, place to call a home" I say and noticed the perplexed look on his face.
"you don't need to worry, mom told me everything. but it's alright. I mean I'm literally bad luck and I'll be changing that very soon. I'll leave so that you don't have to face more hardships that my presence may cause for you" I tell him without any form of expression.
he held my hand "having you wasn't a, mistake Ciara. you are everything and more than what we ever hoped for"
"you're saying that now because you're alive. I'm sure that if you were dead then, you would haunt me for eternity. you won't be saying all this to me" I tears trickled down my cheeks "but it's okay. I'll be fine. if there's anything I've learnt so far is that you can't have everything you wished for"
"Ciara" he calls me
"she told you about everything right? about the deal I made for you to survive? I have to get married to a man who doesn't love me. After everything I wished for myself, this had to happen. I had to take this risk because of the love I have for a family who considers me as nothing. I have to work for long hours just so that we could have a decent meal and I did all that for nothing." I say wiping my tears
"Please don't cry Ciara."
"just eat and have your medicines. I would've cooked you something different but the doctor said you can't have any hard meals until you're completly okay" I tell him
"Ciara" he calls but I ignore and walked out of his ward to be replaced by mom.
I got a call from Brian Telling he how far he's planned our marriage and future together. All lies.
But can I actually say that anymore. A deal is sadly, a deal.
I took a cab to work with the sole purpose of quitting. cause if I eventually get married to Brian, he won't let me do the things I love, he's gonna restrict me from everything and before that happens, I have to take the first step so that it doesn't hurt later.
I told Darren I was quitting and when he, asked for a reason, I just couldn't give him a straight forward answer.
"you don't like to work here anymore? are you kidding me Ciara. you love your job more than anything, it's your dream to work in a radio station and now you're saying this?" he asked
I gave a, weak smile
"I wish I could tell you everything but sadly I can't. so sorry. I'll get in touch if need be. thanks for everything" I tell him and placed my bag on my shoulder. I quickly opened the door and walked out so that Darren doesn't see the tears that were forming in my eyes.
I went home and quickly locked my door and cried my eyes out.
I wanted to take my stuff but Brian forbade me from doing so "everything has, to happen the way I want it. you're my puppet now Ciara" he keeps on telling me. I wish I could go to the cops and make a complaint but that will only make it worse since Brian has a lot of power.
so I just dropped the idea.
I later got a call from Ben telling me that dad would be discharged today so I quickly set to work to cook dinner.
I cleaned up and set the table.
I was able to cook something good with my little savings. At least they should have one decent meal to remember me by.
Some minutes later, Dad came home accompanied by mom and Ben.
All through dinner, he was trying to make small talk but I didn't want to listen. he's better I keep my distance from him cause I'll be leaving his house soon enough.
when everyone finished having their meal, I quickly cleaned and ate mine from the kitchen then I washed up the dishes.
I had, my bath and changed my clothes.
I later went outside to sit down on the wooden porch and fixed my eyes on the stars.
Somehow I thought, what if wishes were real?
"Hey can't sleep" Ben asked lightly tapping my shoulder. I quickly wiped my tears and said "yeah somehow"
he smiles and sat down next to me.
"he's okay. already asleep. I know you've been avoiding him" he tells me and I glance at him
"I don't have a choice"
"who wouldn't. you have a good heart Ciara. it took me a while to notice but now I have. you tried to pick up the pieces of our broken family even though we never tried to make it easy for you" he tells me and I couldn't help but cry.
"it wasn't easy at all"
"yeah I know. getting married to Brian was something you never wanted. I mean you literally sing praises about the guy you wanted ever since you were five?" he teased
"shut up" I playfully hit him on his arm and he let out a low laugh.
"I know what you're capable of Ciara. you can do it. I'm always right by your side so you're not alone." he tells me and I smile
"thanks for believing in me"
"check this out" he said and caught a firefly in his Palm shutting it tight so it doesn't escape
"remember what grandma used to say before she passed" he asked and I gave a puzzled look
"can you see it" he asks showing me his clenched fist
"No it's tightly shut"
"exactly. but one day, no matter what happens" he paused and opened his hands letting the firefly go. "he's gonna fly free" he tells me "you're gonna fly free Ciara, no matter what happens" he adds
I quickly wrapped my hands around his neck hugging him tightly.
"I love you Ben".
" it's alright sis. I love you too. now have some sleep " he said and I nods
We stood up and walked inside, and after saying goodnight to Ben, I shut the door to my room and went to bed.
Maybe Ben was right.
I don't know what might happen but I do believe that one day I'll be free to fly... Again!