“Tell me about it. So many people were buying it then and I didn’t get to buy it so many times when I tried to.”
The man smiled at that. “There was one time when you queued for such a long time but it was all sold out by the time it was your turn. You were so upset the whole afternoon. I had to skip my last class the next day just to buy that dish for you.”
“That’s right,” Vivian replied with a nod. “But who told you to get three portions? Were you trying to feed me like a pig?”
“Oh, I wonder who finished all three portions of it and burped in satisfaction in the end.”
He purposely rolled his eyes at her and she gave him a playful slap on his shoulder in return.
Just like that, they talked and laughed as they strolled around the campus. They reminisced about all sorts of things that happened there and would break into laughter from time to time.
At the sight of such a happy Vivian, Fabian wished that they could just go back in time. He wished that he didn’t go overseas and that they were still together. They would have gotten married after graduating and had a kid, and they would their happy life together after that.
But now, all these could only happen in his dreams as she no longer belonged to him.
Joyful times were always short. The sky was already darkening and both of them made their way to the campus entrance.
“When are you leaving?” Vivian asked.
“The morning after tomorrow.”
She nodded. “You have to take good care of yourself, okay?”
She didn’t say anything about sending him off at the airport since she knew that he wouldn’t allow her to go. What’s the point even if I go? I’d only feel even more miserable.
Fabian heaved a sigh of relief when Vivian didn’t suggest sending him off. He didn’t want her to go at all. He was afraid that he might be reluctant to leave if he saw her. But he knew that if Vivian were to suggest it, he would never reject it.
That was why he was relieved that she didn’t say anything about that. This way, I can at least leave without any hesitation. It’d only make it harder for me to forget her if I saw her right before leaving.
“You too. You have to take good care of yourself. Remember this, Vivian, you have to allow yourself to be happy. This is my biggest wish before I leave. Can you promise me that you’ll do that?”
“Okay.” She nodded as she choked out the words, “I’m sorry, Fabian. About Mark, I-”
Vivian was still unable to let go of the guilt she was feeling. If she hadn’t caused such a scene, Fabian wouldn’t have to move away from his hometown to another country. He’d have to start everything all over again. How difficult would that be?
“This isn’t your fault. I don’t blame you,” he consoled her gently. “My father brought this upon himself, and it has nothing to do with anyone else. If it makes you happier, just think of it as his atonement for all the things he has done for himself.”
Happier? Am I even happy?
No. I’m not. Even though I don’t regret it, I’m not happy. So what if Mark was punished? I’m still divorced and Larry still doesn’t have a father. Nothing’s changed.
“Take care,” Vivian looked at him and said.
“You too. I… I’ll get going now.” At that, Fabian turned to leave. The moment he turned around, a drop of tear fell from his face while he took slow but steady steps away from her.
Sorrow and bitterness washed over Vivian as she watched him leave. They had once been so in love with each other, but they were parting their ways now.
At least her love wasn’t in vain. The man really understood her and that was why neither of them said goodbye in the end.
It wasn’t because they didn’t want to see each other ever again, but because they knew that even if they weren’t by each other’s sides, they would still work hard to live a better, happier life.
The jury had finally reached a verdict and Mark had been sentenced to a seven-year jail term for bribery.
On his third day in prison, Finnick planned to visit him. There were some things that he needed to ask Mark and he wanted to personally hear his answers.
His footsteps were heavy as he made his way into the prison. Never in a million years had he expected himself to visit a family member at such a place.
Family? Finnick shook his head and chuckled bitterly when the word surfaced in his mind.