Love Letters(9)

By: Geraldine Solon

“That’s not the point. What’s so wrong about marrying the man I love?”

“There’s nothing wrong with marrying the man you love. The question remains, does he love you as much as you love him?”

“I am not having this conversation with you.” Angry at the analysis, Chloe bit into Nicole’s lemon parfait, but as soon as she tasted it she forgot her anger and let out a low moan of delight.

“C’mon, Chloe, I’m your best friend. I’m not going to lie to you,” she said, setting her fork down just a tad too hard. “If a man loves you he’s not going to ask you to give up the things you love.”

“That’s what you call sacrifice. The problem with you, Nicole, is that you expect people to cater to you,” Chloe said, raising her voice.

People were turning their heads, so Chloe stood up and paid the bill, then walked outside and waited inside her Jetta. Nicole followed moments later, slamming the car door behind her.

Chloe saw Nicole’s eyes moisten and realized she had been too harsh. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean –”

“Of course you did,” Nicole interrupted.

“All I’m asking is that you give Richard a chance,” Chloe begged while starting the engine.

“What if I’m right?” Nicole pursed her lips.

Chloe said, “You can’t be right. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with compromise.”

“Compromise? Is that what they’re calling it these days?” Nicole closed her eyes and sighed, then opened them again. “It just bothers me that you’re willing to give up everything for him.”

Chloe put the gear in reverse. “What if Matt asked you to do the same for him?”

“Matt respects me too much for that.”

“Who knows, it might be a good thing for Richard and me. It will be a new life for both of us.”

Nicole shrugged her shoulders, but it was clear that Chloe hadn’t heard the last of this subject.

“Don’t you believe in true love?”

“Of course I do, Chloe. Why would I stick it out with Matt if he weren’t my true love? The difference between you and me is that I’m realistic, and I don’t make a whole parade out of my love life. Matt and I love and honor each other. We have an understanding and believe that mutual respect is very important.”

“Are you saying that I’m a drama queen?”

“C’mon, Chloe, let’s face it,” she teased, wiping her eyes with her sleeve, “you act like a princess.”

“That’s what my dad used to call me – Daddy’s little princess,” Chloe said, feeling a twinge of nostalgia.

“Take your parents’ marriage for example. How was it?”

“You know how their marriage was, Nicole. Mom called all the shots. She controlled everything.”

“But did they love each other?” Nicole asked.

“At some level they did. I mean she stayed with him until he died and she has never remarried,” Chloe said, frowning.

“But were they happy?” Nicole asked. “I never saw your parents affectionate with each other.”

“I suppose they were … before I was born,” Chloe said, making a U-turn. “They were together for fifteen years before they had me.

“And after?”

“They had their moments … but they were never really communicative with each other. It’s like they stopped talking and just went through the motions.”

Nicole tapped her fingers on the console. “Why do you think that is?”

Chloe bit her lip, recalling. “Mom always told me that you can’t just marry for love, security counts for a lot.”

“Did she really tell you that?” Nicole asked.

“Well…” Chloe stared blankly at the rearview mirror. “She did confess to me that she wouldn’t have married Dad if he wasn’t established. Her friend from high school, Nina Taylor, eloped with a man she was crazy about who couldn’t support her. She ended up having to move back in with her parents when she had a baby. They eventually divorced and her parents wound up raising the baby.”

Nicole harrumphed. “But what does that have to do with you?”