An Undecided Fate

Decisions. Although many of the decisions you make seem to have little effect on your life, they may just flip your entire world upside down. What you once knew, what you were once comfortable with could be gone the instant a decision is made.

My awareness of this does not help the fact that I am very indecisive. As each day passes, I grow more fearful that I will make the wrong move and screw myself over for the next 50 or so years of my existence. This weight is too heavy and I’m not sure how much longer I can hold it-

“Are you gonna order or what?”

“Huh?” I blinked.

“You’re holding up the line, lady. Place an order or go back to the end of the line,” the cashier at Marty’s Dairy Shop snapped at me. Embarrassed, I darted my eyes around the menu and chose something.

Charlotte's Order
Image Source: Baking Mischief

“Sorry! Uh, I’ll take a small vanilla shake please.” My face flushed as I handed over three dollar bills to the annoyed cashier. I walked over to the left side of the counter to wait for my cool treat.

Tonight was the third date I was going on with Sterling, a devilishly handsome, evidently out of my league 23-year-old architecture major. It took me days to respond when he’d asked me out again. I felt nervous because everything was going oddly well, and also a bit of denial that someone like Sterling would enjoy spending time with someone like me.

A loud, feminine voice shouted my name and I walked over to the counter, grabbing my shake. The chimes attached to the front door jingled as I pushed the door open to leave.

Sterling texted me earlier today letting me know that he would pick me up around 8:30 tonight. We were having dinner at his place; he’s a self-proclaimed master chef. It seemed kind of late for dinner, but I didn’t mind since he was making such an extravagant effort for me. For me.

It took five different outfit changes before I finally settled on an outfit to wear. I looked at myself in the full-length mirror. My favorite dress, a blood-red velvet spaghetti strap dress with a little bit of lace, flowed down to the middle of my thighs. As scandalous as it seemed, a short dress was just a side effect of having an awkwardly long body. Nothing fit right. Even this potential relationship with Sterling fit strangely into my life, not quite right but it works.

Punctuality was another character quality I learned about him as I heard the light honk of a car horn in my driveway exactly as the clock struck 8:30 p.m. My heart pounded, due to anxiety or excitement I wasn’t certain, as I flew down the stairs and out the front door. Despite these mixed emotions, I felt drawn to him. It was almost as if we were attached to an invisible thread. I craved to be near him.

Sterling's car
Image Source: Pinterest

As I stepped onto the porch, I saw Sterling, dressed in a half-buttoned black silk dress shirt and nice slacks, leaning against his shiny midnight blue Charger. We smiled at each other simultaneously. I felt my cheeks turn red as soon as we locked eyes. His piercing blue-green eyes almost hypnotized me.

“You’re perfect,” he said as he brushed his brown curls from his face.

I didn’t know what to say. I’ve always felt the opposite of perfect. A mess, if anything. All I could manage to respond was, “Says you,” and laughed nervously.

He opened the passenger door for me and I slid into my seat. He shut the door and speed walked to the driver’s side door. He got in, brought the engine to life, and soon we were off to his house. It was a 20-minute drive.

Our conversation was light and casual, although my heartbeat was anything but. We asked each other classic questions like “How are you doing?,” “How was your day?.” and “Can you believe the weather today?” Just before we turned into his long, winding driveway, he asked a strange question.

“Are you scared?”

I turned my attention from the passing fir trees out the window to his face, still looking straight ahead at the road. He must either be very observant or equally as nervous as me. I couldn’t tell.

“Is it that obvious?” I asked, releasing another nervous laugh.

He looked at me then and winked.

“I can hear your wild heartbeat through your chest,” he chuckled. Embarrassed, I put my hand over my heart, somehow believing it would muffle the sound. “Don’t worry, I’m nervous too. It’s date number three. That’s a big deal.”

He had a point. Usually, I was too much of a coward to go on more than one date with someone. Sterling was the first person to break down my mental barriers. He was so different from anyone I’d gone out with before. Although, I didn’t know if this difference was positive or negative.

Beautiful flowers growing next to the house
Image Source: Pexels | Tieu Bao Truong

As we approached his house, I was awe-struck. It was two stories, made of pristine dark oak wood. Wide windows stretched up the walls as if the house was inviting nature inside. A forest of tall fir trees surrounded the house as if to guard it against unwanted visitors.

I could hear the peaceful sound of a river flowing nearby. Plump red rose bushes grew around the house’s foundation. I almost fell out of the car, too captured by this picture-perfect scene, when Sterling opened the passenger door for me. My face must’ve been pressed against the glass of the window.

He breathed a soft laugh as he took my hand and led me inside. As we entered the front room, an enchanting floral scent flooded my nostrils. I’d never smelled anything like it. He took me to the dining room and the table was already set.

On top of white lace, tablecloth were multiple dishes covered with silver lids. Sterling pulled out a chair for me at one end of the table. After I sat down, he went to the opposite end of the table and sat in the only other chair.

Sterling removed the lids from the dishes and delicious smells swirled around the room. Homemade lasagna, breadsticks, and tomato feta salad all laid out before me. I noticed a full wine glass to my right. Sterling held up his glass for a toast.

“To… an undecided fate,” he said.

“Amen,” I replied. I took a sip. Blood orange wine. It burned my throat as I swallowed, but I didn’t mind.

I filled my plate with the attractive food and immediately took a bite of the lasagna. My taste buds screamed at the burst of flavors. This tasted like something a professional chef would cook up. For someone so young, he had a strong passion for cooking.

“You weren’t kidding about being a master chef!” I exclaimed as I took another bite.

“Well, I’ve had a lot of time to perfect my culinary skills,” he smirked.

There was silence for a few minutes as I indulged myself. I could feel him looking at me, but I felt no judgment. As I finished my last bite, Sterling finally spoke.

“May I ask you a question?”

I was taken aback by him asking for permission.

“Oh! Er, yeah, of course.” I smiled as I covered my mouth to swallow.

He paused for a moment.

an infinite unknown
Image Source: WHNT

“What do you think of the word forever?”

I then took a pause to form my answer. What a strange question. He emphasized the word forever.

“The word forever holds a lot of meaning, at least to me. It’s actually my favorite word. I guess I’d say forever is a commitment to an unknown eternity.

We always use the word forever as if we feel certain things stay the same for the rest of time and even after time is no longer relevant. In marriage, people vow to spend forever with each other.

When we’re young, we tell our friends that we’ll be friends forever. That’s just not how forever works. Forever is always changing, which is what makes it unknown. Many marriages turn into divorces.

Friendships fade until we become strangers. People hold onto it forever as if they have any control over it. I think that’s what makes the word so powerful.

Forever is a constant state of not knowing what will ever happen, but having faith that it’ll all work out, even if it’s not what we originally expected or planned. Does that make any sense?”

He nodded, staring pensively in my direction, but not at me. I instantly felt uncomfortable having answered the question that way. Was that the answer he wanted?

“Uh, sorry! I tend to ramble and, usually, my thoughts end up not making much sense... How about I help you with the dishes?” I stammered.

I quickly rose from my seat, grabbing my dish and an empty wine glass. I went over to Sterling’s side of the table to pick up his dishes and realized he hadn’t eaten or drank anything. He was still thinking, presumably about my answer.

“Oh! Are you not hungry?” I asked. He turned to me then, realizing he’d gotten lost in thought, and smiled.

“I’m just saving room for dessert.”

“Oh, okay.”

I walked into the kitchen and set my dishes to the side. As I filled the sink with soapy water to begin washing, I began to feel more uncomfortable. Something felt off, though I wasn’t sure why. Did I upset Sterling?

Was I not the kind of person he was expecting? Anxious thoughts swarmed my mind. I was half-concentrating on washing my plate when I heard a whisper in my ear. “Charlotte.”

Charlotte dropped the plate
Image Source: Pinterest

I gasped, dropping my plate to the floor. It shattered. I turned around and there was Sterling, standing right in front of me. He placed his hands on the counter now behind me, trapping me between him and the sink. We locked eyes. My heart pounded wildly as I stared into his color-changing eyes.

His usually beautiful blue-green eyes were now the color of a golden thread. The color of the thread that somehow connected us. I wanted to scream, but I found myself speechless. Sterling slowly brought his face to my neck and brushed his lips against it. He did that a few more times.

My head began to spin. I was almost okay with this terrifying and sudden situation until I felt a sharp stab in the side of my neck. Then, it went dark.

When I opened my eyes, rays of sunlight shone through the kitchen window. It felt as though a year had passed, although it had only been a few hours. I was lying on the kitchen floor, surrounded by the broken ceramic from the plate I dropped earlier. I cautiously got up, not wanting to push myself in case I hit my head from the fall. Sterling watched me from the entranceway to the dining room.

“Forever,” he said with a smile.

When he said that, I knew my forever had changed drastically. I felt a fiery burning sensation in my throat, similar to the effect that the blood orange wine had. I ran to the nearest mirror I could find in the hallway. My eyes had altered from their typical shade of hazel. They were now the same color as the golden thread I had seen in Sterling’s eyes last night.

Sterling was forever.

Now, I was forever too.

Everything had changed because I decided to go on a few dates with a charming and hypnotic immortal.

23 | uni graduate | aspiring author | overthinker | theatre kid

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