1 I Hope You'll Find Your Very Own Shining Star

"Why didn't you tell me earlier about this?"

The woman sitting in front of him was silent. Not a single peep came out from her beautiful crimson lips. Her greenish-hazel iris stared downwards, hoping that the clean white table cloth would answer in her stead.

Adrian knew about his long-time girlfriend, Rachel's unusual antics. He had lasted this long by forcibly reaffirming himself that all those dark thoughts and doubts about her, was just a baseless suspicion in his head.

Rachel's pearl-white teeth bit down her lower lips while avoiding Adrian's melancholic stare.

...

Six years ago, during an office Christmas party, Adrian was introduced to Rachel, who was then a young, naïve intern by their bosses. As a young, 30 years-old upstart Regional Sales Manager, Adrian proved to have attracted Rachel by his charisma.

They began dating a few weeks later, and the relationship intensified. It set its own course for the next couple of years. Those were the happiest and most beautiful period of their entire romantic life.

Two years later, Rachel landed a promising position in her dream company, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Adrian was excited for his girlfriend, but the position came with a catch.

Rachel must move to PwC's headquarters in London, England. After discussing about their future together, they agreed to a temporary long distance relationship until Adrian finds a job in London.

It was smooth sailing the first year. Coming to the second year Rachel started working in London, Adrian's company sustained a substantial loss because of the fluctuations in the Oil and Gas market. Although he still retained his position in management, tons of benefits were cut off.

With Adrian's financial commitments and expenses, his salary alone could not cover them. His search for employment in London also did not yield any positive results.

As his salaries were cut down, Adrian could not travel to London as often anymore. He even had to take up another job on the side, which meant less time for him to spend with Rachel.

Life goes on, until one fine day in a bar with a group of friends, Adrian's cousin dropped a bomb on him.

"Bro, I made sure. Addy, you're my blood. I just want to make sure you're happy, okay? Whatever happens, we're all with you."

Gerry, Adrian's first cousin on his mom's side, lives nearby his apartment in San Diego. Gerry showed him pictures of what seemed like a man and a woman hugging and eating together.

Disbelieve was written all over Adrian's darkened face. He fell down the stool he was sitting at , and Gerry and their close friends had to help him regain his footing. Adrian was deadly silent, staring at the pictures on his cousin's cellphone and finally uttered, "I've got to see her."

Twelve hours later, he arrived in London.

Half a day in the flight calmed Adrian down enough to not beat up the guy who was seeing his girlfriend, but instead he calmly 'surprised' her by saying that he's right in front of her office. Adrian texted her beforehand if she had any plans for the evening.

Adrian arrived outside her office at 5.20 PM, a few minutes before she leaves her office. Caught unguarded, Rachel hugged him and they went for dinner. They took a cab to a very expensive fine-dining restaurant called 'Marcus' located in The Berkeley hotel.

Upon arrival, the place was almost full but still retained its luxurious and rustic ambience. Dark wood effect walls hold mirrored archways, which frame the tall windows and doorways and there are plenty of wall and ceiling lights to keep the room aglow. Dark glittered pillars and wall panels, which hold small framed artwork add a touch of glamour and varying table shapes sit on a carpeted floor.

"Baa~be! What's the occasion? Um, I mean, are you sure we should, uh…eat here? I mean, it's a two-starred Michelin restaurant…"

A hint of uncertainty shone in Rachel's eyes. Adrian forces a smile to her.

"Honey. Rach, you don't worry about tonight. Tonight, we celebrate…us. We're already here, right? Besides, a few months ago I did took note about you wanting to go dine in one of these fancy English restaurants…I've been doing great lately. I got cash to spare."

Coming up to the reception, the frontdesk officer apologetically mentioned that tonight's tables were fully reserved.

Adrian gave him an indifferent look and came close to him in a humble manner, "Jonathan, right? Mate, me and my sister wants to celebrate our father's 10th year death anniversary. He used to come here every year with our mum when she was still alive. Say, couldn't you maybe…ya know? Help us out?"

Adrian slowly winked and a note of £10 came out from Adrian's breast pocket.

"Sir, as I've mentioned…"

In a flash, another note of twenty british pounds came out.

"With all due respect sir, I…"

Adrian nonchalantly caught the frontdesk officer's hand and four different notes of british pounds was in his hand.

A £10, a £20 and four £50! All in total of two hundred and thirty pounds! This was more than the tips he would get in a night, if he was waiting tables. All of these easy money made in less than half a minute!

Adrian gazed at the officer indifferently, and the officer stared at him for a fraction of a second.

"Right this way, sir."

'Marcus' was known for the incredibly scarce booking availability, even among the elite restaurants around London! The act that Adrian just pulled made her mouth hung open like a whale swallowing a giant school of plankton.

What happened to him? Tossing out money as much as $300 just to get a table?! Adrian was never this courageous or persuasive like this before. Maybe he really is doing well.

The truth was, Adrian has made the decision to quit his job with a 24-hour notice to his boss. He sold off all his belongings in California and he racked in a total of a few hundreds of thousand dollars. He took the nearest available flight to London in First-Class which costs him a whopping $12,000!

They ordered some amazingly tasty and luxurious food, enlightening the mood between the two. They drank the finest wines, basking themselves in the romantic atmosphere…

But deep down, Adrian was empty. All this façade, is to direct them both into their final moments together as a couple.

Once they have finished their seven-course meal, Adrian spoke up.

"Rach, I'm gonna be honest with you. There's something on my mind recently…"

Oh no, is he going to propose?

Rachel's heart started to flutter. On her mind, she was thinking about how to delay Adrian from asking this 'life-changing question' to her.

"Look, baby…"

Thud.

A rectangular object mildly made a sound when it was dropped on the table in front of Rachel.

She was tilting her head in confusion at one second, and the next second, her expression contorted into a flabbergasted look.

It was a picture of her and Fernandez! She has been going out with him secretly about one a half year ago, out of loneliness and curiosity.

"I-"

Rachel started to tremble slightly as her secret rendezvous with another man has been abruptly exposed.

"Remember Gerry, my cousin? He was in London a few days ago for work. He saw you, and wanted to come up to you and say 'hi'…but before he could do that, this 'guy' came up to you first and…heh, I couldn't believe I'd say this from my mouth…f*cking deep kissing you!"

Veins of rage started to appear on his left temple. At this point, any wrong explanation would ignite a dormant emotional volcano that is subdued in Adrian's heart.

Rachel then started explaining that after Adrian started working at night, he often spent less than half an hour Skyping or Face Timing her. At her most vulnerable moments, a co-worker named Fernandez comforted her and what casually started off as a casual coffee meeting, progressed into an irreversible adulterous affair.

Adrian closed eyelids trembled unnaturally for a few seconds, and he then inhaled a deep, fresh breath of air. The exhalation of the air calmed him down and he slowly opened both of his sky blue eyes…

Looking at Rachel's guilt-ridden face, he could not take another moment of this cold, stabbing truth anymore.

"Do you love him?"

"…."

"I-I don't know…"

All the pieces of the puzzles were almost solved. The fights caused by the slightest things that Adrian does or says, the on-and-off talk about seeing somebody else, the number of times that Rachel purportedly said that she has important work to do on the weekends…

"You haven't answered my first question. Why didn't you tell me earlier about this?"

Rachel gritted her teeth. Both of her hands are clenching hard on her stylish cream-toned chiffon Chanel blouse. She blanked out for a few milliseconds, trying to search deep in her heart…the reason why she kept her cheating a secret.

The puddle of tears that welled up in her eyelids started to trickle down…

"Because I don't wanna lose you, Adrian!"

"I was afraid…I was afraid that if you ever knew…I'd lost you forever. I had some thoughts to cleanly break up with you, and re-think my life over…and at one point, maybe Fernandez was a bad choice. So I…I…I thought maybe that if I end things with him and you never ever had to know, that we'd still be together…like always!"

Like always.

What a simple but abusive sentence. We don't even wish happy birthday to each other anymore, you still think that we'll be together 'like always?'

We don't even ask about how our families and friends are doing anymore, you still think that we'll be together 'like always?'

Hell, we don't even give a talk to each other about our happiest moments and saddest troubles anymore, how the f*ck, please for the love of god, WOULD you still think that we'll be together 'LIKE ALWAYS?!!'

With a heart full of an aching soul, Adrian slowly and heavily stood up from his seat.

"This…was supposed to be yours."

He fished out a dark royal-red box from his trousers' right pocket. Adrian unhesitatingly placed the 46mm wide, 53mm long and 40mm octagonal-ish in the middle of the table.

Rachel gasped. Her forecast came true! He was going to propose!

Silent muffles started leaking out from Rachel. Her conscience grew restless and grim. She has wronged the one man that stayed true to her for the past six years.

Fernandez was a scumbag, who does not only sleep with Rachel, but other women too. Rachel knew about this a few months after going out with him...but practically did nothing about it.

When Rachel collected 'information' about Adrian from her girlfriends back home, not only that they couldn't find any dirt on him, they even praised and commended her for knowing how to keep her man loyal and what a lucky woman she is.

"Adrian…I'm sorry. I'm sorry, okay!"

She stood up abruptly and paced herself towards Adrian. Strangely, Rachel's steps stopped in the middle.

Adrian's facial feature came into her view.

His kind and loving baby-blue eyes.

His soft, unkempt and short ginger hair.

His pale but youthful looking face, devoid of facial hairs.

His slightly darkening eye bags from overworking himself.

It was the same face that gazed on her when they first met. But right now…the karmic destiny that ties them together...was about to severed.

The words that is about to come out from his mouth...would be the scissors cutting their already fragile string of relationship.

"From the first time I saw you, I've always loved you from the bottom of my heart. I really thought you were the one, Rach."

"I'm not even mad that we're breaking up. Heck, I'm not even mad that you cheated behind my back."

"You know what came off the worst for me? You, thinking that you could just sweep your dirty sh*t under the rug, assuming that no one would ever notice it."

"I'm not going to lie to you. I feel betrayed, and mostly insulted because you actually had the intention to never ever mention this to me in lieu when things between us might get better again. Hoh, I'm actually thankful I got to know about this earlier from somebody else."

"I really might have actually forgiven you...if you had come clean to me. But I guess, this is no longer the case now."

"Rachel, I want you to know...that I forgive you. I'll hold no grudges against you as long as I live, you have my word."

"I just hope nobody has to go through what I went through with you. What we went through."

"I hope someday, you'll find somebody better than me that'll treat you much better than I ever did. I hope you could forgive me for all my mistakes."

"Goodbye, Rachel."

And just like that, Adrian was gone from Rachel's life.

...

After being frozen in the moment for a few seconds, she just realized what happened. Her six-year relationship with him had just ended.

Rachel returns to her table and picks up her bag. She then listlessly exited the restaurant.

"Excuse me, miss! You left your item behind!"

A waiter clad in a black long-sleeved uniform chased Rachel, who was broken-heartedly walking towards the Uber she requested a few seconds ago.

It was the dark royal-red box! She hesitated for a good few moments. With a glum movement, she received the box from the waiter and opened her handbag.

She placed the dark royal-red box inside her bag and took out her own purse and tipped £10 to the waiter.

"Ah, um, has the bill for my table…"

"Table 3? Yes, it has been paid."

Rachel nodded lightly and thanked the waiter. A white Toyota-Prius that stopped a few steps away from the restaurant's entrance which seemed to be Rachel's Uber.

She walked to the car and entered. The Prius' radio played a classic piano piece, Claude Debussy's 'Clair De Lune'. It was a beautiful and soothing sound.

That night, the Uber driver who was usually very chatty and cheerful, kept quiet…as a young maiden of 28 years sobbed and cried behind his seat.

She didn't actually started crying as soon as she entered the Uber. The melancholy began when she opened the dark royal-red box…only to find a tiny little note, and a Cartier d'Amour wedding band made from an expensive metal called Platinum. The ring was encrusted with 56 brilliant-cut diamonds totaling 0.15 carat.

The black velvet-fur inside enhances the diamond ring's brilliance. It shone with such majesty…befitting a $14,000 masterpiece. Rachel curiously examined the ring…and slowly inserted her ring finger inside.

Her already red eyes poured down more tears of sorrow down her flushed cheeks.

He knew. He cared. He's always been there for me…

The platinum-diamond ring fit her fingers all so perfectly…it is known that unless you truly knew your partner's exact finger measurement, the rings would either be too loose or too tight.

Upon gazing the silver-stamped Cartier brand on the top half of the box, a small little parchment was attached to it.

{Rachel, I hope you'll find your very own shining star as how I had found mine…with you. I'll miss you, and I'll always love you.

-A- }

That night, under the starry skies, two human beings named Adrian Redmayne and Rachel Green's paths…would no longer be intertwined.

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