Ashin Johnstone has never loved someone as much as she loved her husband, Kristoff Washington. She had spent most of her life crushing hard on him and was really elated that she finally married him in a pragmatic marriage. But she knew that he doesn't love her, not the way she wanted him to. She knew that he will never love her like a woman. He will never want her like the way she desires him. As painful as it is, she has learned to understand him and his feelings for her. She was trying to be contented with her life with him. She was trying to be contented with her relationship with him. After all, she is the legal wife. Everyone who would want him would go through her first because she's recognized one. She's the lawful wife.
I woke with the alarm clock blasting on my bedside table. I immediately sat up and rubbed my eyes with the back of my hand. I looked at the watch and it's already six in the morning—an hour earlier than the usual time I wake up.
I walked down to the kitchen to cook breakfast. I am not really the best person to cook but I'm trying to practice. At least for my husband and I…
I prepared what I needed for the fried rice and the sides. I know what to do. I've watched several cooking shoes lately and I believe I am going to really get better at this. I just need practice, like what Lora, our helper, and my mom tell me all the time.
"Practice never betrays you," is what my mother has been telling me. Even when I was just starting to design clothes, it has been my motto. No one was born a genius or skillful, anyway.
I was on the final egg—the last egg standing because I've burned them all—when I heard footsteps coming down the stairs.
I looked behind me and saw Kristoff, walking down with his black three—piece Armani suit. His hair is sort of styled in a messy way but he still looks more handsome than ever. His tall stature had been so helpful with his charisma but I would say that he's cold aura is his signature asset.
He looked at me and smiled a little. His eyes have always been so intense, like he's always thinking about melting whoever or whatever his gaze lands on.
"Done cooking?" he asked as he looked at the pan.
I bit my lip and shut my eyes. He shouldn't see this, alright. He shouldn't see that the egg looked like it was cooked in the lava of a volcano because of its black color.
I heard him snort. I pouted but I didn't show him. I don't want him to know that I am disappointed at how he looked at my cooking.
"Remind me to not let you step into the kitchen next time, Ashanti," he said in almost a chuckle. "You are best when you design clothes. Just stay like that."
This time, I looked at him with a serious gaze.
He smiled and shrugged before taking the fried rice and the eggs towards the dining table. He prepared the table while I watched him. He looked like he was having fun while fixing the table. Well, it should be fun fixing my failed cooking, I guess.
I walked towards the dining area and crossed my arms across my chest. "You don't have to eat that. I don't even know if they're edible." I bit my lip.
I've already accepted that I am not a good cook. But to hear him say that I needed to stay out of the kitchen seemed to have hurt my pride a little. How hard is it to be considerate of others' feelings sometimes?
Kristoff looked at me. "I will eat them, Ashanti. Why would you tell me that they're not edible? You cooked these," he said before sitting. "You should come here and eat with me. We will be late for work."
I took a deep breath and stared at him for a moment before sitting across him.
We seem to be a normal married couple. But no, we aren't. He isn't in love with. I don't think he'd fall in love with me. He probably sees me as a fan girl—someone who admires him so much.
Because I do.
I don't know if it was college when I've fallen in love with him. He seemed to be the perfect guy. No, he is the perfect guy. He is handsome, intelligent, soft spoken and rich. God has given him everything a man could wish for. And I wanted him. I wanted him so bad.
I am not really sure if it's because of my persistence that he asked me to be his fake girlfriend. Yes, I was contented with that. I was his fake girlfriend in college and no one knew about that except the two of us. From what I remember, he asked me to pretend because he doesn't like how the girls flock at him every time. Having a girlfriend is the only way that those girls will stop.
It was really fun. I was known to be Ashanti Michaels, the girlfriend of the infamous Kristoff Marx. Everyone respected me because I wrapped Kristoff around my fingers. Well, no one knew it was all fake and staged. Everything was just for show.
That's why I was so shocked when I woke up one day with Kristoff proposing to me. A lot of questions have been running in my head. Why is he doing this? Why is he proposing to me? Does he love me?
No. He doesn't. When I ask him why, he would always change the topic. He would always escape. And I think that's when I just have to convince myself that I should be happy. Well, I should. I married my ultimate crush.
I bit my lip as I watched Kristoff's expression as he ate the egg. I am not expecting anything good about his expression but at least let him not be mad at me for wasting food like this.
He chewed the egg and stopped halfway. His expression turned dull and black and negative. He looked like he could puke any moment from now.
I immediately gave him water which is the safest of everything in the table, and he gulped it down.
I looked at him with a worried look. "You can skip breakfast. You don't need to eat it," I said it first before he utters a word.
He looked at me and smiled. "The egg is fine, Shan. You just shouldn't place sugar in it though," he said as he calmly took the bacon that looked like a grilled pork belly.
I looked at him in disbelief. It is the first time that I cooked for him and it was a total failure. I am never going to make another reckless move like this again or we'll all end up hungry and angry.
"I'll just get you some lasagna from last night. I'll just reheat it," I told him and stood up when he held my hand, pulling me back.
I looked at him with narrowed eyes and he just shook his head. "I'm going to eat your cooking. This is the first time that you cooked breakfast. I'll eat them all."
It feels like my heart melted that moment. The way his voice soothed my bleeding pride and hurt heart made me adore him even more.
If there was one thing that I am grateful for with our marriage, it is his kindness and chivalry. Our marriage is not like those of typical fixed marriage. Sure, he doesn't love me. I am quite sure of that but he never lets me feel like I wasn't taken care of.
Kristoff would always remember all the important dates in our life together and he would bring me out from time to time.
It is mainly the reason why I kept holding on to the fact that he cares for me. Eventually, I am wishing, it would turn into love.
"The bacon is fine. Tastes a bit weird but fine." Kristoff complimented my bacon.
I looked at him and smiled. The anxiety in me is slowly going away. "Thanks," I said. "Thanks for eating it even though it isn't edible… somewhat," I continued.
He laughed. "Of course, you prepared it. I couldn't just leave it behind like that," he said. He didn't tell it sweetly but it sounded really sweet to me. I can even feel the ants eat me now.
I smiled at him. And I am quite sure, I am blushing right now. "Thank you again," I replied.
He smiled. "But you should not do this again, especially when there are guests. Please, I don't want anyone to know that I married kitchen—illiterate." He joked.
I nodded and chuckled. "Yes. I won't," I replied as I took a bite of my own cooking. Damn, I think it is going to be a tough time for me and my stomach today.