The soft ticks of a grandfather clock filled the silent air of a rather huge kitchen. Ariadne was just about done with preparing her anniversary dinner.
Dusting her hands of any food crumbs, she reached for the device when the melodic sound of her ringtone broke the silence.
It was the call she had been waiting for.
Beaming brightly, she answered the phone. “Yeah, hello?”
“Mrs. Ariadne? We’ve called to inform you that the custom order you made a few weeks ago is now ready. Would you like us to deliver it to you?”
“No!” She instantly objected upon instinct, one could almost call it an everyday routine.
Although she had been married to Lucien Albrecht, a big shot in the business industry, for years- five years. But to be precise, no one in the outside world knew she was his wife.
In other words, she, being his wife, was on papers alone.
After so long of marriage, Lucien had never for once shown her the love she wanted. Not that she expected him to; after all she was just a woman he had married five years ago to meet his mother's last wish.
Ariadne knew their marriage didn't get a perfect start, but she was willing to wait, waiting for the day when Lucien would look back and see her love.
If nothing else, that was her only wish.
Now, after all that time, she had finally gotten her husband to agree on having dinner with her on the night of their wedding anniversary and she absolutely didn’t want her efforts to go to waste.
“I’ll pick it up right away, so don’t bother.” She responded, hoping this anniversary night would give their marriage a new start.
On arriving at the watch store, Ariadne took one look at her reflection, adjusting a few stray locks of her brown hair before heading inside. However, when she had just about made it pass the front desk, the conversation of two female workers caught her attention.
“… I’m not joking. I saw Mr. Albrecht at the Rose Garden Restaurant, and he was with a very pretty female.” The first female, a chubby and short brunette voiced.
‘Lucien? With a woman?’
Ariadne' ears perked to a stand, conceiving news about her husband. But last she remembered, Lucien hated interaction with women, herself included.
Surely this employee was just making up a rumor to get attention.
She dusted their conversation aside, about to continue on her way. Yet the other female employee, a prettier brunette, squealed.
“Is this her?” The female had her index finger pointed towards the screen of her friend’s phone which held the photo of a beautiful noirette with red eyes, whose features could only be defined with one word.
“Yes. Wasn’t she his lover years ago? Octavia Barrette, the rising star?” The chubby brunette excitedly screamed as soon as she recognized the woman in the photo.
Ariadne felt the ground beneath her feet sway momentarily and the voices became muffled.
No. She refused to believe what these people were saying.
Lucien and Octavia had already split up a while before their marriage due to her so-proclaimed illness.
She remembered how much Lucien suffered from her but Octavia was so determined. There was no way he’d still go back to the woman who had abandoned him all those years ago.
But as much as Ariadne had tried to convince herself otherwise, the next second she found her fingers dialing the number of her so-called husband.
Standing in silence, the brunette listened to the line ring, but no one picked up. She tried calling again, only to have the same fate, and on the third dial, she caught herself and instantly hung up.
‘What are you doing, Ariadne Albrecht?’ She thought and snickered as she lowered the device.
‘Instead of picking up Lucien’s present, you’re here listening to rumors. Get it together.’ She inwardly scolded herself and adjusted her posture the next second.
After convincing herself that the employee must have seen someone similar, she didn’t waste another second, and strode towards the main shop, picked up the gift then headed straight back home.
By the time the brunette had arrived home-due to all the traffic, time had flown by and it was pretty late. Seeing this, and realizing Lucien was soon to arrive, Ariadne quickly got about setting up the atmosphere for their anniversary dinner.
She decorated the table with beautiful pedals of red roses, lit aromatic candles around each corner and had the best non-alcoholic wine served.
It was going to be the first time in years since they had celebrated the day of their marriage and the brunette was more than happy as she sat by the table, awaiting the return of her husband.
However, an hour soon turned into two hours, and two hours into three. And after trying to reach Lucien several times, Ariadne was starting to feel dejected.
Once the clock struck twelve, the brunette sighed and buried her face into the center of her palm.
‘Of course he forgot. Is there ever a time he remembers?’ Tears pricked at her eyes as she thought.
This wasn’t the first time Lucien had forgotten about an important engagement of theirs. Be it her birthdays, his birthdays or their anniversaries, the man consistently seemed to put a curtain on each occasion.
And each time, it left Ariadne with a new reason to doubt her love for him.
Was all she had endured over the past five years really worth it?
How much more would she have to endure before it all ended?
The sound of the door clicking open drew the brunette out of her world of self pity and in walked Lucien.
'He's back!' Just seeing him for a glance was enough to eliminate all her previous hesitation and sadness like it all never existed.
“Welcome home.” Ariadne greeted as she rose from her seat, trying her best to hide the truth that she had cried for him before.
Lucien hated those crying women, she was well aware of that tiny fact.
Her words, however, fell on deaf ears as Lucien walked… staggered towards the stairs, wanting nothing more than to head to his room.
Ariadne quickly noticed this and rushed to his side, placing an arm on his shoulder to support his movement. The scent of alcohol radiated off his entire being and this caused the brunette to scrunch up her nose.
“Lucien, did you… did you drink?” She asked surprised, remembering clearly that the male didn’t like the taste of alcohol.
But midst the scent of alcohol, Ariadne could smell something else.
The feminine scent of a perfume?
It definitely wasn’t hers, and Lucien’s everyday smell was more of after shower grape smell and expensive sandalwood cologne.
‘So who…’ The brunette’s train of thought was silenced as her gray orbs landed on the fresh red lipstick planted on Lucien’s white office shirt.
This took her by surprise and her heart twisted in several wrong ways.
The one thing she was always so sure would never happen, was happening!
How in the world was there a lipstick mark on Lucien Albrecht’s shirt? The very man who refused to have contact with women, his very own wife included.
Involuntarily, Ariadne remembered the conversation she had overheard back when picking up Lucien’s present.
Her eyes fluttered in disbelief as they stayed trained on the lipstick mark, lips moving unconsciously.
“Lucien did… were you…” No matter how hard she tried, the words just couldn’t leave her mouth. It was like a painful bile stuck in her throat, one that she wanted to get rid of desperately, but couldn’t.
Why? Was it because she was afraid?
But afraid of what? The way Lucien would react to her question? The outcome of her question? Or both?
While Ariadne was in a little world hers, Lucien wriggled out of her hold and stared down at her with icy orbs.
This did not shake Ariadne one bit as soon as she noticed. If after five years of cold marriage she couldn’t get used to this much, then she wouldn’t be her mothers’ daughter.
“Ariadne…” Lucien’s voice was cold, devoid of any emotion towards her, just like his eyes.
Ariadne held that gaze, feeling her heart twist the more. She saw the way he clenched his jaw before uttering his next words- one that shocked her to the core.
"...I’ll send home the documents, so let’s get a divorce.”