One Life, One Chance

Rosella’s life has just been turned into a living nightmare, and she’s at a dead end. Can five crazy mofos help her discover her talent, her confidence... while one of them steals her heart?

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1. Arranged Marriage

Disbelief. That’s the first thing I felt as I heard the words leave my mother’s lips. She was calm; she was always calm- she’d never yelled, not as long as I’d known her. My father yelled enough for both of them usually. She sat there, speaking to me not as if I were her daughter, but as if I were one of her clients. There was no love in her tone, no warmth. Nothing familiar. She spoke to me as if she were a stranger.

My thoughts threatened to drown me, a tidal wave of unexpected emotion fogging my brain and blocking my ears, as if there was a wall of water between us and we were trying to talk through it. Mum was still talking, I could see her mouth moving, but the words were as foreign to me as snow to the desert.

All at once, my senses rushed back into function; the static in my ears cleared, my mind cleared, and I was shaking my head in protest as my aggravation grew. “What! You cannot be serious, Mum!” I screamed, standing up from my seat. Shock and anger made my lips twist into a horrible scowl, my eyebrows drawn together. Mum shook her head at me in disappointment as my father simply raised one eyebrow. Normally, this would tell me I’d stepped out of line and that I should stop... but after what they’d just told me? Nothing was out of line.

“Rosella! Sit down!” My dad snapped with a stern look on his face. I saw my mother gently touch his forearm to get him to calm down, especially when I blatantly ignored his demand and remained standing, hands clenched into shaking fists by my side. I was half expecting them to grin and laugh at me falling for their joke, but my parents weren’t the kind of people who joked around. Not about this. Not with such looks on their faces.

“No!” I protested loudly, not quite shouting but very, very close to it. “I am not going to marry some guy that I don’t even know!” How could they even consider that? In a free country like this and everything! “I’m nineteen years old, I won’t go through with this arranged marriage, there’s no way!” I finished, my voice slowly rising until I was shouting at them. I had never shouted at my parents like this before, but I was agitated, absolutely enraged that my parents would even consider making me go through with such a thing.

My father stood, slamming a fist against the table so hard it shook and the flowers in the middle toppled over. Water spilled from the vase like blood from a wound, creating a line across the wood. My parents on one side... me on the other. It seemed strangely appropriate that this fracture be represented so vividly. “Rosella!” he roared, “you will be going through with this wedding and you will say ‘I do’ when you have to!” He started pacing around the table to me and for a split second, I feared what he might do. My mother had remained silently glaring at the table and her lack of intervention hurt me more than anything they could have said or done. She had just shown me that she didn’t care enough to help me when I needed it. I thought mothers- parents- were supposed to love you unconditionally?

“I won’t!” I shouted in my father’s face.

His hand rose and I flinched, the fear entering my eyes so quickly that it knocked my body for six. My knees felt weak and my brain stopped working; I didn’t even breathe... my father’s hand froze before he could swing it at me, and his fingers curled into a shaking fist as he slowly forced it down. I watched, almost wishing he had hit me. Somehow, him giving in so easily made me fear what else he had planned for me. How far would they go to force me into this?

“Dylan will be here with his family in two weeks and I expect you to be more than welcoming when they arrive,” My dad growled, standing so close to me that I could see the weathered skin in fine detail; every crack on his lips, crinkle near his eyes, every vein throbbing in his forehead.

“I will never marry someone I don’t know or love,” I hissed with a conviction I felt right down to my veins. Before they could stop me, or say anything more, I turned on my heel and stormed up the stairs to my room.

With the door slammed shut behind me, I felt free to pace. When I get angry, or frustrated, or scared, I talk, and when I talk to myself, I pace. My hands bounced beneath my chin in little fists, my blood was on fire; I felt strong and angry enough to take out anybody who dared cross me right now. “I can’t believe they would do this to me, an arranged marriage! I have got to get out of here!” I muttered to myself, quickly grabbing my duffle bag from underneath my bed and walked over to my wardrobe. I had no idea where I was going, what I was going to do. I had no job and my friends would be the first people my parents go to. I couldn’t put them through that, I couldn’t ask them to lie for me. No, if I was going to be truly free... I had to go on my own.

Hot tears spilled from my eyes, pulling my mascara and ruining the make-up I’d woken up extra early just to do. I wasn’t the type of girl who liked a lot of it, but every now and then I loved to dress up. It always gave me an extra boost of confidence, made my day a little brighter; this time, however, it didn’t work.

I was furious with my parents. I loved them deeply, don’t get me wrong. But how could they do this to me? Their own daughter? Didn’t they love me even a little bit? Did I really mean so little to them that they could just throw me away when I was done? My anger turned slowly into despair; I had no future without them. They’d always kept me clothed, sheltered, fed. What the hell was I going to do on my own? My survival skills were... well, let’s face it, I had none. I didn’t even own a pair of proper runners!

Grief hit me next, as I angrily yanked my things down off their hangers and shoved them into the bag. I didn’t care what I grabbed. The more the better. If it got too heavy or too much, I could always sell things for a few dollars to buy food. My eyes slid guiltily to the jewellery box on my nightstand; there were a few expensive pieces in there. Things I was supposed to wear on my wedding day- MY wedding day, not the one my parents chose. My little treasures I would wear as I walked down the aisle to the man I loved- the man I chose.

What the hell was an arranged marriage contract doing in this day and age anyway? I thought they were all outlawed! It’s barbaric! It’s cruel!

I stepped back, breathing hard and slightly sweaty, to stare at my empty wardrobe. It looked wrong, like a skeleton with a missing piece, and it sort of creeped me out. I shut the doors, shoved the duffel bag back under my bed, and pretended to be asleep when my parents came to check on me a few hours later.

My eyes were closed... but my mind was in overdrive, planning my escape from the hell they’d put me through if I stayed.

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