"Jyn, honey. We need to speak with you." My father's voice sounding pained.
"About what?" I wondered, raising an eyebrow. They had only arrived here moments ago for our weekly Sunday brunch which we held at my apartment. Usually news could wait until we had begun eating. My mother looked both excited and nervous, but my father seemed sad. What was so important that they had to tell me now?
"Please, sit down dear. Your father and I have some exciting news to share." I walked over to the couch and sat directly in the middle. "Well, you see darling…your father and I have gone ahead and done something a little different, but everything had worked out for the best. Please be understanding. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and it couldn't have come to us at a more desperate time."
"…I don't quite understand." I looked over to my father, who was staring at the ground and appeared lost in his own thoughts. This only made me worry more. What did they do?
"You have the opportunity to be married to one of the most powerful men in the world."
"What!?" I reacted like Princess Leia had in Episode IV when she heard her home planet was to be destroyed.
"Now hold on, dear. We still have –" My mother began to say, but I quickly interrupted.
"No! You must be joking. Father, please tell me this is a joke!"
"I'm sorry, love, but it is true." He confirmed.
"Father…" How could he do this to me? What was this betrayal?
"You won't be married to just anyone, Jyn." My mother tried to reason. "You will be engaged to the Orson Krennic! Yes, the famous business tycoon. It turns out he has been following you for years now in the society pages and thinks you are the most elegant, beautiful girl with great potential to become someone of even better status."
"I don't care who to. Please reverse this! I can't go through with this! This is absurd! What century are we in?"
"Stop being a child, Jyn! Our profits have gone downhill for many years now and before you know it Erso Shipping Industries will be done for. If you marry this man, this will secure ours and your future. Our companies can bond together and we will be lifted from this nightmare. You have a chance to save this company that your father has worked for his entire life."
"Please, father…" I looked up at him with pleading eyes, beginning to tear up. Please don't do this.
My Mother scoffed, then saying "You are so ungrateful! After everything that has been given to you! Do you really want to see our world pulled out from under us? Could you imagine the humiliation!?"
My father put a hand up, motioning for my mother to calm down, and calmly spoke "Jyn, this is bigger than you or anyone else. This is for you and your mother's security. You must understand. This would not only ensure your stability and Erso Industries' future, but a conglomerate would be formed."
"Listen! Mister Krennic is 'thrilled' and 'excited' for this opportunity for 'not only his company but for all of our futures.' You are not going to screw this up! We've already arranged a meeting for you. You must at least meet him! At least give the man a chance."
"Please don't do this. I'm only twenty-one. A marriage without love no less…" I trailed off, not sure where I was going with my argument. There was no point in arguing with them. Their decision, especially my mother's, had already been made. Nothing I could say would change that. And the look on my father's face. How could I say no? I know he didn't want to have to do this.
I was ultimately defeated.
"You will grow to love him. He is a wonderful man." I didn't even dare look at my mother now, as I was purely disgusted with her. "After all we have done for you."
"Enough, Lyra." My father interjected.
My mother began shaking her head and said, "I am disappointed in you Jyn." My Mother's words hit me like an avalanche.
She was right.
I had a privileged life. I was truly fortunate. If this would please my parents and make up for what I have been given…I should do it. Still, the idea scared me terribly. Normally I might keep objecting, but looking into my father's eyes I couldn't ignore his desperate situation, the likely demise of this company he worked his entire life to build – for my future no less, and my parent's fear of our family losing everything.
"Could you please leave? I am not feeling very well. We can continue our brunch on another day. I just need time to absorb all of this."
I gasped for air, sitting up straight on my queen-sized bed. I looked around the room frantically and saw that I was all by myself. It was just a dream – no a nightmare – of a not that long ago memory. I put a hand through my hair and remembered the memory to its full extent.
I was to be married.
Already my stomach started to turn. So, this is how my morning would start. Whoever said that 'the morning brings a new day' was an idiot. Life was always going nonstop and couldn't be turned off like a switch. Everything is a continuation. I looked at myself in the beautiful white framed beveled antique standing mirror in the corner. My face wasn't puffy like it had been yesterday. At least there was something I could be mildly happy about. Slowly, I made my way out of bed and grabbed my robe off the hanger by the door. I then walked down the small hallway to my living room and into my kitchen, going up to my stove and turning on the burner for the tea kettle to heat up the water. Then I began going through my top cupboards, trying to find my orange pekoe tea to help me wake up yet at the same time calm me down. I needed to come to terms with the inevitable, but it seemed my mind and body wouldn't cooperate. Finally finding the tiny packages, I went onto my tippy toes and reached as far as I could, just barely managing to grab one little box. I took out one tea bag of orange pekoe tea and placed it on the counter, waiting for the water to begin to boil.
I looked at all of the antique furniture and heirlooms I had throughout the house: the Baldwin Ebony black baby grand piano with original ivory keys, a white antique French upholstered chaise lounge and chair, a pedestal Tiffany lamp from the 1930's, and so on. These antiques reminded me of Jane. I always found time to visit the older woman's antique shop since I was fifteen. It was my favorite shop in New York City and it happened to be a five-minute walk away. She was someone I could tell anything too. If anyone would understand how I feel, it would be her. I had to visit her and tell her what had happened these past few days. It might be one of the last couple of times I see her before my life becomes busy with social gatherings, business events, and such.
I made my way to the French doors and opened them up, walking out onto my patio and seeing the breathtakingly beautiful city skyline. It was a misty, hazy morning. Oh how it matched my mood. I remembered how Orson said it was only a matter of time before I moved in with him. I would really miss this beautiful apartment. Just the thought of having to sell the apartment and some of the things I owned terrified me. As cliché as it might sound, I felt like I wouldn't be me without them. They're a part of me.
Maybe I could somehow keep this apartment, then again. I mean, what if the marriage didn't work out or we needed a different place to stay. Immediately, my mind was flooded with ridiculous scenarios. I smiled to myself, enjoying every part of them…until reality settled in again. I really didn't want to give up my prewar apartment built in 1931. In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, unlike Orson's gaudy, modern penthouse suite. All I could do was hope for the best and that one day I could return.
What a stupid word.
After a quick cup of tea and a couple pre-made biscuits, I decided that I needed to get out of my home. Fresh air would do me some good. Being locked up in my apartment depressed all day wouldn't do anything. My paternal grandmother would always remind me how worrying didn't solve anything. I might as well enjoy the little freedom I had left. It took me about an hour to get ready and finish my morning routine and my makeup. I decided on pulling my long, dark brown hair up, putting on cream colored heels and a 1950's styled flower print sleeveless high waist dress with a mainly light blue color along with pastel colors for the different flowers. Putting my phone into my purse and making sure to lock the door behind me, I left my apartment and began making my way to Jane's antique shop. Thoughts of the wedding kept spinning throughout my mind.
I would definitely have to find a dress soon. Knowing my Mother all too well, she will want to come with me to make sure I don't choose something "stupid". Mother would definitely want something like a ballgown, detailed to the point it was unnecessary. Orson would probably agree with my Mom, but perhaps want something even more magnificent and regal. Train or no train? He would choose one with the longest train and veil. I would look like a modernized Princess Diana. Now where to buy the dress? Definitely my mother would want to drag me to an appointment at Kleinfelds. I wonder if Orson would end up coming with me to that to make sure things fit perfectly with his image.
What flowers would I choose? As it is, I knew little to nothing about each type of flower except for your basic rose, lily, daisy, etc. Cassian would have to help me with that. It would be good to be around his calming affect again. Maybe he could accompany me with my mother to places. My Mother would be less likely to act up with him around.
How many people would we invite? Rather, how would we find that many – being around a thousand – people to attend? I guess dragging people off the streets wasn't an option. Orson would probably invite the most recognized business people in the Western hemisphere. Everyone will want to attend this event, so maybe it won't be a problem. There would definitely be many pictures taken before and after the wedding that would be on the front of the society pages. People probably will be fighting over photos to get their names better known to the public, especially with it being associated with the Krennic name.
Where would the reception be held? Either a renowned hotel or a country club is my guess. It then truly dawned on me how little I would have to do with my own wedding. If I were allowed a voice, the wedding would be smaller and more intimate. My dress would not be gaudy or flashy by any means. Rather, a beautiful vintage lace of some sort that would match depending on the location. Also I would be marrying a man I was truly in love with. But, that wasn't my future, so why torture myself which such thoughts? I would have to be pragmatic and work with what I had.
Time to grow up.
It wasn't long until I finally arrived at Jane's shop. I opened the light green door and heard the familiar ding of the bell on the door as I entered. For an antique store, her things were beautifully categorized and placed properly in their correct spots. For example, the few pieces of clothing were nearby the jewelry yet were far away from the furniture. My eyes instantly began searching the room for my beloved Jane.
"Oh Jyn, sweetheart! It is so good to see you!" I turned my direction to the far back of the store. I saw Jane make her way towards me, almost seeming to float as if she were a goddess. She was stunning and looked so many years younger than her true age; a sixty-two-year-old woman who didn't look a day over forty. Her bronzish brown complexion seemed to glow and her long, soft hair pulled back loosely with an antique, embellished comb keeping it together. Having once been a ballet dancer, she never lost that elegant aura surrounding her. I met her halfway and hugged her closely. "I haven't seen you in ages, my dear."
My emotions then began to consume me, my fears and thoughts about the wedding now engulfing me. Before I knew it, I began sobbing and my throat began to close up.
"Jyn?" Jane moved her hands to my shoulders and moved me so I was directly facing her. "What's wrong?" she held one hand up to my cheek for a moment, caressing my now tear stained face.
"I didn't know where else to go." I wept.
"What? What happened?" her voice was full of concern.
"Well, guess who is engaged?" I said with a sickening smile and false enthusiasm.
"What!?" Jane's eyebrows were instantly raised as she was in ultimate shock. I couldn't blame her. I haven't seen her in a month and it wasn't like I had been seeing anyone these past few years. She would have been the first to know. Her eyes averted to my left hand, finding that there was no ring to be seen. "Engaged? To whom?" She looked back up at me.
"Orson Krennic, actually." I sniffled.
"Krennic? The Orson Krennic!? That man? Why and how?"
"Well, it happened a few days ago, actually. My parents arranged the wedding to help our family business and secure our future. My parents revealed to me that he had been quite smitten with me for the past couple of years. I met him for the first time yesterday. He seems like a nice man at least." I was now able to control my emotions a little bit now that I had told Jane what had happened to me ever so recently.
"My dear…" Jane took my hand and gently placed her other hand on top of mine. "Come with me. Tell me everything." I nodded, beginning to walk with her to the back of the store. I looked around the store to see if anyone was around, embarrassed at the possibility of people seeing me blubber like a baby. To my luck, I didn't see anyone else in the store besides Jane and myself.
Not letting go of my hand until we reached the very back of the store, being the storage room, she grabbed a box of tissues and placed them on a desk to the side of us. She plucked one out of the box and began dabbing my face with the tissue, making sure not to smudge my makeup. I glanced at the mirror hanging on the wall across from me and felt a little better when I saw my makeup wasn't ruined.
"What happened and when?" Jane questioned, focusing on drying my face.
"My parents are in a horrible situation." My tears finally stopped, my body calming down. "I guess I am there only hope. My parents…they want to merge our companies together."
"And you are okay with this?"
"What choice do I have?" my hands grabbed the ends of my dress, tightening their grip. "I have to do this for the sake my family. I can't let my father down, especially after how I have been so fortunate; the best schools, the best university, the best apartment… You had to see his face, Jane. My father did not want to ask me to do this. My Mother on the other hand…" I trailed off, not wanting to go on a negative rant about my mother.
"Darling, you always have a choice. Can you handle this?" Jane threw away the tissue once she finished dabbing my face of tears, now leaning against the desk.
"I have to be able to. This is for my parents and our family. I can't let them down. Not after everything I've been given throughout my life." Jane looked to the floor, showing an emotion I couldn't quite place. Was it disappointment? Sadness? Confusion? It was so complex that I couldn't be sure. It took her a while to finally look back at me, a soft smile gracing her face. I furrowed my eyebrows slightly, trying to read her, though it was impossible.
"Jyn, my dear, I have faith in your strength and ability to find your own way – which will not be easy. Don't lose hope. Sometimes these situations take a mysterious path that you would least expect. I know you will find your way. Don't despair. You'll find your clarity."
I nodded, not quite sure what else to do. Did this mean she was okay with this? It didn't sound like a ringing endorsement to go through with this, but it definitely didn't sound like the opposite. Our heads both turned towards the storage room door as we heard the sound of the bell over the front door ring. I wiped away imaginary dust off my dress, trying to compose myself once again.
Jane put a hand on my shoulder "I will take this. Just remember, your answer is waiting for you. You just have to trust it." Before I could question her as to what she meant exactly, she walked away to the front desk. It wasn't long until I heard her soft voice welcome a customer. I walked closer to the mirror in the storage room to evaluate myself, making sure I looked proper. However, only after a couple of seconds, I heard a voice that took me out of my self-conscious thoughts. I knew that rough yet melodic voice. I couldn't quite place who's it was, but it was definitely familiar. Taking one last glance at myself to make sure I looked presentable, I walked over to the door to see who it was. That's when I saw him. Cassian Andor.
"I am just looking around, thank you." He spoke. What was he doing here? I wouldn't expect him to be into antiques, but then again, I didn't really know him.
"Alright, dear. Tell me if you need anything." Jane responded. Cassian nodded and walked over to the nearby glass cabinet that held watches. Gaining some confidence, taking a deep breath, I walked over to the man that would be arranging my flowers for the wedding.
"I didn't take you as an antique person." Cassian jumped a little at the sound of my voice, quickly looking up and meeting eyes with me.
"Jyn! I didn't know you were one either, but I wouldn't necessarily call myself a collector of antiques." His accent thick and smoldering. "I just collect antique watches."
"Oh really?" I questioned.
"Yes. I've been doing this since I was six years old. But enough about myself. What are you here for?"
"No reason. Just to chat with an old friend of mine." Cassian looked over in Jane's direction and then quickly aligned eyes with me again. "I've known Jane for many years."
"Is that so?" he grinned, looking down at the watches again.
"Yes." I watched his eyes search through the watches ever so carefully, examining them thoroughly. His russet brown eyes seemed to shine with the reflection of the lights coming off the glass. He was dressed in a white polo shirt with a light denim jacket, the cuffs folded up on either side, and straight very dark blue jeans and a nice pair of top siders. He was dressed much more casual than when I had met him yesterday. The outfit suited him. It showed off his personality well; a relaxed and well put together man.
"So what is it that you are fond of?"
"Excuse me?" I was taken out of my thoughts.
"Well, you are in an antique store. There must be something you like." His eyes were on me again, his hands now in his pockets.
"Well, I like many different antiques from different eras. I'll buy anything that fancies my interest." I looked down at the floor, a slight blush coming to my face. "Though, I guess a specific favorite of mine would be antique pearl jewelry."
"My mother loved antique jewelry. She owned a lot of it." Cassian chimed in, his voice a little softer. My eyes moved back to his, noticing a subtle expression of pain. Why was what he said in past tense? I knew better than to ask, though.
"I've loved them since I was little. I can't quite remember the age I was though when I started collecting them, but I must have been very young. I didn't quite get a taste for other antiques until I was in my mid-teens." I quickly brought the subject back to myself, trying to save the conversation from going to a dark place. Cassian snapped out of whatever pain he had been in and was fully himself again.
"Oh really? Then again, I can picture it. You seem to be a thoughtful woman. Not someone who follows a simple path." I smiled, now looking down at the floor in embarrassment because he complimented me out of the blue.
I turned my head towards the front counter, catching Jane watching us. She had a smile on her face, making me raise an eyebrow. What was she thinking? What was so funny about this. Jane could be an odd woman, so I tried not to pay much mind to it. Looking back at Cassian, I saw him point to a watch.
"That's the one!" he exclaimed, looking up at me and grinning like a child who just found the perfect toy. I couldn't help but grin back at him. He seemed so innocent and sweet. It was kind of heartwarming. "That's the watch I was looking for." I took a few steps closer to him and looked closer at the watch. It looked like something out of the 1930's perhaps. However, instead of guessing I read the description next to it. It was a Longines 13ZN. I didn't know watches, but it sure looked magnificent and probably really expensive.
"Ahhh, you found a real beauty there." Jane walked up to us.
"How much is it?" he asked, his enthusiasm and excitement still apparent.
"For you…$500 dollars." Cassian was clearly taken aback by this and shook his head no.
"What? Ma'am, I can't accept that. I am aware of the prices of these watches and I couldn't possibly pay so little in exchange –"
"It is fine, child. I have been looking for someone worthy of owning that piece. I trust that you will treat good care of it and appreciate it for what it's truly worth."
"Are you sure? I am willing to pay the price it is worth…"
"It is fine. I give you my word. Take the watch, dear." Jane walked up to the glass cabinet and took out a large key chain, scanning each key for a particular one. Once she found it, she was fast to open the cabinet and gently remove the watch from the display and offer it to Cassian. Very carefully, it took Cassian a few of seconds to reach out and kindly take the watch from her hands.
"I will return the favor, ma'am. I promise." Jane smiled and then walked to the front desk, Cassian quick to put on the watch and follow her. I stayed behind and watched from afar, simply observing. Cassian seemed to be a really good person. He had an innocent charm to him that I couldn't help but admit I was quite fond of. I admired him a bit.
Cassian took out his credit card and gave it to Jane, who looked at it for a moment then immediately swiped it and handed it back to Cassian.
"Have a wonderful day, Mister Andor." Jane's voice sounding like a song.
Cassian then walked over to me, a smile plastered on his face and asked "So, have you decided what you want exactly for your wedding?" Reality then hit me again like a punch to the gut. That's right, marriage. I shook my head.
"Actually, I was hoping I could have your help picking out the type of flowers. I barely know anything about flowers and I have an idea of Orson's taste already."
"Yes, but do you know what you want?" I was instantly taken aback by his words. That was the first time someone recognized my opinion about this wedding. He didn't seem to care what Orson's opinion was, but rather valued mine. Why? Orson was the man making the decisions for this wedding, not me. Orson was paying for the wedding, not me. What did my opinion matter at this point?
"Well, I guess I really haven't thought that through, but knowing my taste something classic and white. Something pure." Cassian nodded, putting his right hand to his chin. "You know, I think I know the perfect flower for you. Would you mind coming to my flower shop with me? It isn't too much of a walk and we could take a cab if you'd prefer, all on me of course."
Once again, I was taken aback by his words. He wanted me to come to his shop to choose the flowers? Then again, I am the bride and this was only normal. Though, I could feel a slight blush begin to settle on my cheeks.
"Sure. That would be lovely." I responded, deciding I might as well see what beautiful flower he envisioned for the wedding.
Now I would get to know Cassian Andor and who he truly is.