She told Cainan she wanted to visit a local restaurant where she would be able to find what she was craving and he didn’t argue with her and instead asked if she knew where she wanted to get it. She nodded and showed him the direction and he obediently drove them there and once they were seated, she ordered the bean cake, bread and pap which she wanted earlier and couldn’t get. It was a heavy meal to consume considering it was already late, but she couldn’t help it, she was hungry and this was what she craved.
“Shall we begin while your order is on the way?” Cainan asked and Jasmin wordlessly nodded before setting the document down on the table and opening it up.
She stared at the words and she realised that the words were blurry and she couldn’t see them. She looked away from the document and up at him and she tried again, staring at the document and just like the spaghetti can as well as a few other little things she had tried focusing too much on, she couldn’t make out the words written on the page as they appeared mashed up and blurry.
“Is everything okay?” Cainan who noticed her struggle and discomfort asked.
“I’m fine, I just can’t see the words on the page, they were blurry and small.”
Though this had happened to her many times in the past, she didn’t think it was such a big deal and didn’t put much thought into it. She was never a fan of reading while growing up and her teachers concluded that she was just a stubborn kid and always punished her when needed, she remembered having difficulty reading things someday and being able to the next and she shrugged it off as one of her special traits. As she grew older the blurriness of sight became accompanied by headaches and most time she had quit even trying to read especially during the night time or while using dimmed light. Even as an adult she shoved it off and believed it would sort itself out.
“Jasmin, do you have a partial vision impairment?” Cainan asked with a small and somewhat concerned tone.
“She would have given an answer if she knew what that even meant.”
“It means you might be partially blind.”
She laughed but when she saw that he wasn’t joking she raised her voice, “I am not blind goddamnit! I can see you.”
“When you have a partial blindness, you are restricted to sight and you struggle to see clearly just like it’s happening now.” He replied, his voice still calm and concerned, how many fingers can you see? He asks and he held up three fingers close to her.
She almost felt insulted because she could see three fingers, but she stopped herself from responding in a way that would be insulting, “three.”
“Good” he nodded and brought his hands closer “how many now?” He asked, not bringing his fingers as close he did before.
She looked up at him and her eyes up she wasn’t sure if he was holding out two fingers or four and annoyance she blurted out, “Four.”
“There are still three, Jasmin.” He brought his finger closer and she saw he was still holding up three fingers.
“So I’m blind?”
“Not blind, just partially.” He clarified.
They remain silent for a minute before Jasmin finally broke the silence, “What do I do now then?” She looked up at him.
“We will book an appointment with the opticians tomorrow and we will have your eyes checked out to know what exactly we are dealing with here. In the meantime, I’ll read you the contract and you can tell me what you think.” He reached for the document before her and opened it.
He read the terms out for her and she made corrections and declined some of the terms proposed which she didn’t like. He was right when he said she shouldn’t sign without first reading the terms because now that she was reading it, she realised there were a few things she didn’t agree with in the terms.
Her order finally arrived and she wasted no time eating it and she didn’t miss Cainan’s eyes on her as she ate and she could tell that he was contemplating his offer to her probably with what he was observing her do at the table.
She slowed down and swallowed the food in her hand before speaking because one of the rules he had read earlier had to do with etiquette which stated to never speak with a mouthful.
“I’m just hungry.” She excused herself but he beamed and nodded in understanding for her to continue.
When she finished she proceeded to gulp her pap and he continued with reading the contract agreement to her.
“Section Five: Sex,” he read aloud and she slowly swallows the pap down her throat and her eyes becoming a bit apprehensive, but she calmed herself down.
“I thought I was going to be your pretend lover.”
“Girlfriend.” He corrected.
“Yes, that. Why is there sex stipulated in the contract or are you suggesting we pretend to have sex too?”
“We are not pretending to have sex, but we are going to be around each other in the next twelve months surely the need for sex might arise, we are only humans.”
“What if it doesn’t arise?” She asked, but even she knew it was impossible, they had only known each other for three weeks and in those three weeks they’d only been around each other four to five times and yet her little love pot was raging at the closeness of Cainan earlier, so she knew that her need to have sex with him was going to be inevitable.
“That is why it is a mutual agreement, if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen but if it does, then we already agreed and don’t worry I will not force you into anything you don’t want to.”
Her lips curled in a dark smirk and she slowly stirred her cup of pap, “I will try to do the same.” It wasn’t an affirmation, more like a follow-up response he wanted to hear.
“Are you a virgin?” He asked looking up at her.
She was taken aback by his words and didn’t find the answer immediately and taking a note of that he added, “These are questions and answer so we can get to know each other better.”
“But I’m the one that has to answer the questions, why is that?”
“Because you’re the one being paid at the end of it all,” he briefly cited, “you can ask me any questions you want to ask and I will answer them as honestly as I can.”
“Fine, no I am not a virgin, are you?”
He tittered but shook his head, “No, I’m not a virgin either,” he replied before looking down at the document, “Are you pregnant?”
“What?” She blurted, she almost reached out to take the contract and have a look at it herself but cursed when she realised she couldn’t.
“Look it’s just a normal drill, it’s obvious you’re not so I will just tick the no button.” He ticked the box before moving to the next question and the next until they got down to the twenty-first question. “Do you have a boyfriend?”
“Some of these questions are so dumb,” she whined and buried her face in her palm. “I wonder who put them together.”
He pressed his lips together, “Well, you’re looking at him.” He said and she almost regretted her words.
“No, I do not have a boyfriend.”
“Is Faith your girlfriend?” She asked.
“No, she’s not my girlfriend.”
“That’s good to know.” She casually responded even though she felt much relief on the inside.
“I will need you to put your signature here,” he pointed and placed the page before her and she signed on it.
“I have one last question.”
“What is it?”
“Am I going to have to quit my job because of this?” She asked.
There was no indication of that in the contract, but a lot of was going to be required of her by becoming his girlfriend she would have to be by his side on every event, dinner and meeting especially after the third to fourth month of their relationship.
He stays silent for a while, “I am not going to ask you to quit your job, but you might end up having to because of the attention and scrutiny you will have once you step into the spotlight with me. I am sorry it comes with the job.”
“I just signed away my social life.” She mumbled to herself in the realisation of what she had done.
“It’s not going to be forever, it’s just for one year and you will make new friends.” He ascertained he had heard her.
“It’s easy for someone like you to say.” She snorted but emotions flashed in his eyes and she knew she just stepped on the wrong wires.
He did not say anything in response to her word instead he got up and offered her his hand and she sceptically accepted and got up and they made their way out of the restaurant and into his car.
“I will need you to call in sick at work tomorrow.” He instructed her and she was a little confused at his words.
“Why would I do that?”
“We will be going to check up your eyes and get the medical adjustments needed and then we are going to get you a new apartment, one that would befit your new status and then lastly we will be going for medical examination to make sure we’re clean and compatible, I check up for three months to make sure I am safe. You are going to do the same if you are going to be my partner and maybe someday engage in sexual activity with me.”
The last part of his sentence made her heart race. Medical examination meant checking herself up and check every aspect of her health. One of the processes of doing that is by peeing into a cup and she knew well what one of the results was going to say.
Now more than ever she needed to be upfront with the truth to him. It was best he heard it from her than from anyone else and that was what she had to do.
“I hope you’re okay with that?”
“Yes,” she lied and they drove off.