'So I'm all of a sudden engaged to be marrying...him.'
I turned my face in Wesley's general direction in partial disgust and annoyance in being tied up in the hospital again in leather restraints.
'Chill C…' Faith started to warn me. 'Keep your voice down man. Do you want everyone to know we lied?'
I closed my eyes partially in due to the terrible pain that was consuming my body, disgusted with my outer appearance completely and in just sheer irritation over the fact that I could be dying here and I'm all of a sudden betrothed to some pompous British ex-Watcher, Demon Rouge Hunter who can barely get a date let alone keep a girl who has any interest in him what so ever. Yeah, you bet I was a little hot under the collar.
Oh yeah, boy was I so hot.
I notice Wesley stiffen somewhat in his stance as he straightened his shoulders and somehow managed to square them, looking at me with a kind pitying look but then changing to one of slight irritation battling with the calm.
'Cordelia really, do you find me all that unattractive?'
He had to go there. Boy did he ever have to go there. What did he expect me to do, lie to him? I mean yeah, so maybe I might have thought he was a little hot pre-here and then there was that whole him showing up wearing leather, riding a motorcycle and referring to himself as the 'Demon Rogue Hunter' sporting that whole, 'A lone wolf never works with anyone' crap. Maybe that was appealing for all what…maybe a nanosecond and a half.
But come on this is Wesley we're talking about. I mean sure he's all 007 in a tux not to mention he made me look extremely hot at the Prom, but at the end of the day…he's just, well you know. He's just Wesley and that's all he's ever going to be. I mean he's my friend, more like my family. Okay that was just wrong on so many levels. So not even going there.
What do I need demons, warlocks, witches and big nasties to give me mental horrors for when I'm pretty much capable of doing that all on my own. See, I just did it again now. And any minute I can stop having these visions now, thank-you please. I think sometimes I'd do my own self more harm than any big nasty wanna sink their claws into me ever could.
'Well you're not exactly mister tall dark and handsome all over hanging forehead brooding, are you?'
I couldn't help it. I was in pain. I could lie and say I blamed it on the medicines they were giving me but that wouldn't be right either. So okay Wesley wasn't exactly a dog either. He was handsome. He had these eyes that had a way of telling you a story all on their own. I'd be lying if I said I never had a crush on him. But that was all Sunnydale. That was pre-here like I said before. And this is now and I'm Cordelia Chase and I've never been one for tact.
What was it Giles had said to me?
'Cordelia, have you actually ever heard of tact?'
Tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass. That's not me. I'm going to tell it to you straight like it is. You don't like it. Tough. Just deal with it or suck it up. I don't give a rat's ass.
Right now only thing I care about is getting out of these leather restraints and getting home to my bed and knocking some demon on it's ass. You bet your ass, I'm more than hot right now. This is just not like me to lie around and watch everything happening, not when I could be helping.
And I needed to be helping because this is my mission. Angel or no Angel I was going to solve this. This was my vision. The PTB gave it to me along with a massive headache and it was up to me to keep the Slayer safe and out of harms way. But it was beginning to look as if I was going to need a little bit of help doing it, which is why I hated trying to be tactful with Wesley when the truth is I don't have a tactful bone in my body.
Lets just face it I'm always going to be let's just tell the truth and get it over with girl and that's something that's never going to change. Though I cringed a little when I saw his face fall slightly and then watched him shuffle off to the side of the room. He cared about me, perhaps more than he let on. I know what he whispered to me when he thought I wasn't able to hear him for all of the what was the word they were using, see this is where I get lost in translation here, big words and me, especially medical terms don't really have a way of meshing well. In fact we don't mesh at all.
Dementia. I think maybe that's what they had said. Something to do with the mind and all and not making sense. And okay maybe I wasn't making any sense but who could make sense of this anyway. If I was the average everyday person, and I'm not because let's face it I never was anyway, this would not be happening to me. There is no way to explain this. And the way they were all looking at me, poking me and talking in hushed tones made me think I was about to become some weird rat assignment.
'Oh please everyone just knows tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass.'
I watched as he did the old Giles Watcher type thing and took his own glasses off cleaning them before putting them back on his face and turning to face me as he stole a glance in Faith's general direction before his voice sounded low and almost defeated, as if I had somehow diminished him and his pride in some unethical way.
'I see. That's how you feel.'
He paused for a moment his eyes betraying his every emotion before he straightened himself up and put his quiet resolve face on.
'Wesley, no...um I mean...that's not...damnit!'
I cursed quietly. That's not what I had meant to do. I hadn't meant to make him feel like he was that worthless, because he wasn't. He was one of the of the two, well
three people that I could absolutely trust my life with and the last thing I wanted to do was make him feel like he was worthless like he didn't belong there.
Oh he belonged there. Oh boy did he belong there.
'Cordelia,' his voice was older and British as he spoke slowly and evenly, 'it's okay, really. I'm used to it by now.'
Fred. I thought of her when I looked at Wesley. I knew he loved her. I'd known it all along. The two of them just sort of somehow fit, made sense. I remember the dinner party he invited everyone to just so he could be close to Fred. I even remember encouraging him to tell her of his feelings he'd had for her. He wouldn't though. He'd told me that he'd strike when the iron was hot. But he didn't get the chance, because somehow she had ended up with Gunn. That was the last person of all people I expected her to be with.
I felt sorry for Wesley. Every time he looked in Fred's direction he seemed a little pained and every time the two of them got all researchy and stuff, Gunn seemed to turn all possessive and crap. It made for some tense times in the hotel. And sometimes it almost threatened to interfere which was why sometimes I had to play referee and send them to their opposite corners despite the childish behavior and manly testosterone they proceeded to parade around daily when it came to her.
'Wesley,' my voice was soft and I did the best I could to motion with my two fingers since my hand was strapped down, 'I'm sure if you just tell her she would feel the same way. I know that her and Gunn aren't together anymore. Their own the outs. That came from her. But you didn't hear it from me. She swore me to secrecy.'
I did my best to give him a small comforting smile and the relief that became apparent in his eyes mirrored the somewhat relief I felt for having gotten it out there. What was a little match making in the ICU while we waited for the supplies and the rest of the demonology report to come back on our big bad.
My eyes turned from him momentarily to Faith and I studied her. I found myself studying her composure. She was now sitting in the chair not saying anything. It was almost as if she were trying to shrink back and give Wesley and I some privacy. I seriously didn't want her thinking that she was taking a back burner to the former Watcher when all he was to me was just a friend. I mean sure maybe once upon a time pre-here I would have looked at him with different eyes in a different way, but now it was eyes through a Seer and the visions seemed to be killing me.
Or at least they weren't until this big bad nasty had somehow gotten a hold of me. Whatever was happening was turning out to be a lot more scarier than anything I'd ever faced and I knew I was going to need someone next to me for the long but the thing is, I hadn't realized that that someone was going to be Faith until I had finally let myself go the night before, you know with the whole passing out and being brought into the ER by a couple of crazy people who probably managed to make the insane look more sane than the two of those had been, and told her that I cared about her.
I remembered that. I wasn't so delirious that I hadn't realized just exactly what I was doing. The truth is I had wanted that kiss that Angel had walked in on and interrupted. And a part of me was both happy and relieved that I had gotten the chance to be so forward as to kiss her that night. It was just barely a whisper of a touch but the last thing that I remember was the soft feel of her warm, full and moist lips against mine and then her breath baby soft against my skin. After that it was pitch black and touch and go until I woke up in an ammonia soaked atmosphere in leathers being poked and prodded to death with little sterile sharp thingies or whatever.
His smile was soft as he leaned down and placed a soft kiss to my forehead. It was innocent really but the look I saw crawl across Faith's face was one of almost jealousy. Was she jealous? Oh boy this was going to be so much fun. We weren't even a thing or whatever and here was already acting like a jealous
girlfriend. I would have to remember later to assure that Wesley would never be a threat. I think she realized that when she caught my look and flashed me one of her wry smiles.
Girl's a little strange but she's
mine and I gotta admit I kind of like the sound of that.
'Shh,' he said softly, 'don't worry about that right now. We'll talk about that later or perhaps we won't. In any case I have some more research to do and I need to consult another book, so I am going to leave for a bit.'
I watched as he turned to Faith and nodded in her general direction. She was already on her feet and standing towards the foot of my bed in a protective manner. Was there anything she couldn't do without making herself look intimidating or threatening?
'I trust you'll see no more harm comes to her.'
He looked back down at me and then back towards her, a concerned expression on his face. It was as if he were almost afraid to leave me alone for fear of what might happen to me. But I know that deep down he knows that I'm a strong woman, I've been through things similar to this, so it's bound to be all right to leave me in the capable hands of the Slayer.
'Sure thing Wes.' Faith nodded to him. 'Got it all under control here. Unless C gets some wicked idea she wants to bust out of this place and I have to restrain her even further.'
She cast a wicked glance in my direction and I just shook my head. To tell you the truth that's all the strength that I had to do. I was so tired from all the drugs and fluids they were pumping into my system, not to mention the non-stop oh hey did I mention fun little stroll through painville that I was experiencing to do anything else.
'Pretty sure that won't be a problem.'
Wesley's voice still filled with concern, he turned to look back at me again.
'Well, if you're sure.'
'I'm fine. Go.'
I said and nodded once again firmly. I had that look don't ask again and go get all happy researchy with Fred because I know that's what you want to do look in my eyes and I swear I heard him chuckle softly. I don't know if Faith caught it or not, but I did. I knew Wesley just about as well as I knew Angel and maybe sometimes that was a little too well. It was common knowledge just how much he adored Fred. And I could see the two of them together. They were absolutely adorable they way they would talk in scientific rambles and hunker down over the books and get their research on.
'Well, okay then. I shan't be too long.'
He returned once more to his former Watcher status and old British gentlemanly ways. I couldn't resist flashing him the best lopsided smile I could give him.
'Take all the time you need. Now get out of here before I have Faith throw you out.'
I watched as Faith stepped up to him like she was ready to take him down and he sort of backed of with a soft grin of his own, his eyes warm with enthusiasm in her little attempt to accost him.
'Wouldn't want that to happen now, would we Watcher man?'
Faith's voice was borderline serious with an underlying tone of jealousy to it and half jokingly with light amusement at our repartee.
'No, we wouldn't.'
There was a slight pause and another round of grins before Wesley's voice filled the room again on his way out of the door to my private room.
'I will return soon. I just have a little more research to do,' he ignored my knowing look I cast him and continued with his next stream of thoughts, 'Cordelia, do you need anything while I'm out?'
He asked in a polite way.
I hadn't given much thought to it but I figure why not, I needed some clothes. Thing was did I really want Wesley going through my lingerie drawer knowing what I wore underneath-um okay really not going there the thought alone was getting way to disturbing for even me to entertain. It was a picture of disturbing. A whole freaking canvas of disturbing painted all over it and um, no. I think I would have Faith do that or whatever. Later, you know.
'Well...' my voice was a little hesitant but then I plunged right in thinking maybe it would be the perfect opportunity for him and Fred to have an excursion out even if it was to my apartment so they could pick up some clothes for me.
'There's this kind of blood soaked pile of well not so cool clothes anymore over there in a heap in the chair and I can say that I'm pretty much not a vision of hotliness in this hospital garb they have me in, not to mention my hair is all oily and ratty and my face feels dry and of course I'm just looking pretty rough. I would like to be a little cleaned up, do you think you could get Fred to go with you to my apartment to pick me up a fresh pair of clothes among some other personal effects? Please?'
I turned my pleading eyes towards him and he smiled like the gentleman I always knew him to be.
'Of course. That won't be a problem at all. Let me go now and I call Fred from the car, we'll meet there at the Hyperion, do our research and then we'll stop by your apartment to pick up a few personal items for you on the way back to see you in the hospital. If I know Fred, she'll be worried sick about you and insist that I bring her along to see you. I think it will do her some good to get out of the hotel these days.'
I smiled gratefully at him once more. Whew. Thank goodness, that went over pretty good.
'Right, then. See you soon.'
He smiled as he exited my room and we watched him disappear around the corner. Faith watched as the door shut behind him, standing at the foot of my bed for a few long moments. I wasn't sure if she was going to say anything or just keep staring at me the way that she was. It was almost scary in a way and I felt more nervous now than I had when Angel walked in on that almost that had almost happened.
'You know, C…' she started in her usual typical Faith undertone. 'You're really something else, don't you?'
I rolled my eyes at her. Here we go, the same old boring routine the two of us had somehow sort of fallen into. There would be a point to this right?
'What now, Faith? My near death experience and visions manifesting too much for you to handle now? You read to bail on me?'
I knew I was wrong for saying that as soon as it was out of my mouth but the old Cordelia sort of creeped back in, the one that had her pride and wouldn't let on how much she needed someone to help her survive and how scared she felt even though she knew she was so much stronger than she gave herself credit for.
I snapped in fear. I can't help it. Sue me. I never believe that I would ever care for the Slayer the way that I do.
Her face was incredulous. She looked between angry and half relieved at sinking back into the old routine the two of us had going for us. And maybe there was a little hurt there in her eyes but if there was I didn't get the chance to see it any further when she shook her head and looked down at her feet before coming around to the side of my bed and glaring down at me.
'You know you have got some nerve, C. You know that? This is crap. You know that's not the deal. That's not even what I'm talking about. I went through hell and endured Wesley just to get your ass to the hospital so I wouldn't lose you. Damnit!'
I could tell she was definitely hurt. I had wounded her pride somehow, tapped into that last vestige of humanity that she still had but held on reserve. You know the part that she held back from everyone, well everyone that wasn't Angel. But see he was Soul Boy to her, the great redemptionist on a mission to save her soul, to give her a choice and stand by her if she made the right one.
'Then what the hell are you talking about?'
I raised my voice slightly agitated at the whole idea of this conversation even taking place in the first place. It wasn't as if I needed the added stress. I mean hello me lying in a hospital bed near traumatizing and not to mention life altering state of consciousness.
I watched as she moved closer and hesitated slowly before coming to rest a little closer at the side of my bed, feeling the weight of her body as she slowly sat down. She could look anywhere but at me. I think if the truth be known she was concentrating on a crack in the wall while I was studying the crack in the ceiling that had somehow magically appeared out of nowhere.
Magic. Boy I had had enough of that for one lifetime. I don't know how much more my mind, body and spirit could take it. And did I have a spirit? I didn't think now was the time for me to be contemplating my spiritual attributes that I'd either acquired or hadn't when Faith was obviously struggling with something she thought was important enough to tell me in her little tirade she had launched herself into since Wesley had left.
I wondered had he reached the Hyperion yet and told Fred? I was giddy about that. I just hoped he didn't let it slip who told him. Fred couldn't say mad at me for that long. She was like the younger but slightly older sister that I'd never had. Or maybe that was the other way around and she deserved to be happy. Or well maybe, at least one of us did.
Maybe I would if I would just shut-up long enough to listen to what Faith was trying to tell me. But this is Cordelia Chase we're talking about her and she always has something to say whether it's ditzy or meaningful or just plain chalk full of spitfire.
I did my best to wrap my fingers around Faith's hand through the leather restraints and whispered softly to her,
'Go on, I'm listening.'
'Chill C,' her voice was nervous. 'I'll get there. Just give me a minute, okay.'
'Okay.' I whispered back.
I could feel my eyes misting over and I felt like and probably looked like the world's most horrid sight. Suddenly I felt embarrassed, open and vulnerable. I knew that I didn't look like the vision of myself I had been before. Now I was ugly, punished and just plain scared. And that feeling shook me to the core. The shock of what happened had finally wore off and my resolve was beginning to crack but I told myself that I had to hold it together long enough to hear what Faith had to say and then maybe I could fall apart and she would help put me back together.
Because that's what I wanted wasn't it? It's strange to think of it that way, when oh say if it had been a few months ago I would have never entertained the thought of it. But so much had changed within the last year that who we had been was not who we were now. And maybe that part was a good thing. Maybe the new would be better than the old. But sometimes, I find myself missing you know, but it's again with the what we can't haves and that doesn't matter as much as the what I want to haves right now.
And what I want is Faith.
I drew in a breath and let it out slowly as I thought silently.
I just hope she wants me to.
What finally seemed like hours but was only a few agonizing minutes later Faith's voice filled the room. It was so raw, honest and open than I'd ever heard be that it almost hurt listening to what she had to say.
'See, I'm not really good at this type of stuff, C.'
She started and I could see the look of fear and panic washing over her face. Her eyes gave away betrayed her even further with their look of total embarrassment and shock at what she was to admit next.
'What type of stuff, Faith?'
I encouraged her to speak freely. I figured if we couldn't be honest with one another now when it really counted, after everything we'd been together in the last few days then we would never be able to be honest with one another and what good would be without that?
Okay so a bit redundant there but you get the point. At least I hope it had been gotten across.
She gestured with her other hand.
'Look around, you, me and Wesley. And even Angel. That kiss that almost happened back at the apartment, the gift that you gave me and even that weird bonding thing with Wesley. I don't understand…suddenly I have all these feelings going on inside and that's so totally not like me to have them. I'm always the one to run away from this kinds of stuff. I'm more of a loner. I'm not a homemaker, in fact usually I'm the home wrecker.'
My eyes widened at her words. My voice cut her off softly as I asked curiously.
'Wait a minute,' I was slightly confused partially due to the medicines they were pumping into my system on overload and partially due to her words and thoughts being so choppy it was almost hard to follow along, 'what are you talking about, Faith?'
She turned her face towards mine, her eyes resting on mine as she spoke again, this time her voice a notch lower an almost incredulous look appearing on her face.
'You can't really tell me you're too ditzy to realize that some things going down between the two of us, can you?'
Before I even had a chance to interject with any thoughts of my own or come to my own ditzy defense she continued, her hand squeezing mine momentarily.
'The kiss, C. I'm talking about the kiss that you gave me last night. You know the one where you said you cared about me, that there are people that do care and then you leaned up and kissed me before you blacked out. Geeze, C. I don't know what you think you were trying to do or what you were thinking but, playing with a girl's mind like that. It ain't…'
My voice was raw and almost hurt, my words thick on my tongue, 'It ain't what?'
I whispered hoarsely.
'It ain't right, C. You don't play with someone's mind if you don't mean it. Because where I come from, that'll get you straight hurt. You gotta be honest and follow through. You don't get to wake up and decide one day I'm going to dress up pretty, buy a girl a nice pointy thing and then say at the end of the day how much you care about her and then kiss her like that if you don't intend to make it real. That's the way it's gotta be, C. I'm not a half way girl, never been and never will be. I'm the way I am, Faith. You know, the Slayer. Take me as I am or don't fuck with me again because you're killing me here.'
My mind whirled with all of the possibilities of the things she had just expressed to me. A part of me wanted to be angry with her for doubting my sincerity in that kiss but another part of me understood where she was coming from. Faith had been alone for pretty much all of her life and so it was just natural for her to rely on herself to get by. She didn't need anyone else's help as long as she had herself and now her Slayer powers.
My kissing her changed all of that though. It opened something up to her that scared her. And even though she was still too proud to admit it and probably never would. She liked it. I know she liked it or she wouldn't still be here sitting on the side of my bed, holding the hand of a woman who looked like a gigantic crater face whatever other adjective you could possibly use to describe my hideous appearance now, telling me how she really felt about that kiss and the events of that night.
She was worried about me naturally and not just because I'm the Seer and hey lets face it she needs me to survive if she doesn't want to get her Slayer ass kicked by this demon that's been vying for her blood and seems to now want a piece of me. But still that part of her that's scared well that part's still doing what it knows how to do best when it's defenses are down, it's lashing out at me and I just have to keep telling myself I have to be understanding because if it were me in her situation I'd probably do the same thing to.
Truth time now. She probably hates me for kissing her and forcing her to figure out what it all means. Well tough, I'm still trying to figure out what it all means too. I just figure what could it hurt, you know we do the whole figuring things out together routine. It seems to be what we do best these days. Still there's the hurt look on her face. And it's almost more painful than what my body's going through right now to look at. I turned my face away as a small tear escaped my eye and rolled down my cheek.
'What are you talking about, Faith?'
I ask again as I turned my face back towards her, my eyes scanning over her features. She's changed the scared look in her eye with one of slightly annoyance at my obvious obliviousness towards her point.
'You don't know, do you?'
She asked me. Was that just me or was there a little bit of contempt in her voice? What the hell was going on?
'Know what, Faith? How can I know anything when I don't understand the whole point to this?'
I was frustrated and confused all at once. That seemed to be a feeling going around all of these days. It was pretty much size. Oh yeah, I wore it well.
Vision of confusion.
'Think I'm blind to the way you look at him?'
Her voice was had a slight edge to it, almost icy.
'Him who, Faith?'
And I thought about it for a second. Only the obvious.
I stated the obvious that must have been there between the two of us and I didn't even stop to realize how that would make her feel. She's probably upset because she feels like she's coming in the on the heels of something that might have been when the truth is it could never be and for reasons that I myself am not even sure let alone him. She probably just feels like another rebound social thing of the moment that when Cordelia Chase has had her fill of the girls she's going to run back to the boys.
And even I have to admit that maybe in the beginning that's what this might have been but the truth that's not what it is now. And I have the difficult task at making her believe that. But the question is.
How do I do that?
'Sorry C, hate to burst your little bubble there but Soul Boy ain't got nothin' to do with it this time.'
'Wesley...' I whispered softly as I chewed on my lower lip.
I couldn't believe she would even think in terms of my thinking in terms of him that way. There's just absolutely no way. I don't get why-okay maybe I can get why she might think that. I mean we are probably a little too affectionate for the occasional on-looker but he's, Wesley…I mean he's well…he's just Wesley. He's like a brother to me. A brother that I happened to think was insanely handsome and probably still do to a point once upon a time pre-here and okay a little after here too…but that's just, no. That's disturbing. There's nothing like that going on between the two of us.
Faith's snark interrupted my stream of incoherent thoughts.
'Ding, ding, ding. Ladies and gentlemen we have a winner, Johnny tell the little lady what she's won.'
'Faith,' I struggled to sit up but couldn't and rested my head back against the pillow my vision still focused on her, 'don't do this. I don't even look at him that way. It's not right. He's one of my best friends. I told you last night, I care about you. I meant it.'
She shook her head as she forced herself to look at me.
'Meant what C?'
Her tone was almost accusatory.
'I meant the gift, the talk, the whole 'I care about you…' and the kiss. It was a good kiss by the way, you're lips are soft. I liked it. I wouldn't mind…'
She stopped me as she pressed her finger softly to my lips.
I mumbled slightly as my body convulsed with involuntary spasms as another rippled of pain tore through me, I cried out in pain as another vision hit full on force this time and all I could see, taste and feel was darkness. It was burning, I was burning and it hurt beyond anything I'd ever felt before.
Oh God, why now. Why me. This hurts. It hurts so bad. It's not supposed to be happening to me, this is not the way it's supposed to be.
Tears pooled in my eyes and all I could do was squeeze them shut until the blinding painful effect ended and I was able to re-open them only to see Faith's face positioned above mine as her hands were holding my body down. She wore this I'm so scared you're going to die and leave me all alone look on her face followed by that and if you do that then I'm just gonna have to look up in the afterlife and kick your ass for leaving me alone one.
'I just needed to hear you say it, C. That's all.'
I nodded at her as I felt her lips against my forehead where I was burning up. It felt soothing, cool to the touch and gentle. I'd never felt her this way before. I'd always only known the hard double-edge Faith that she presented to the world, not this kinder, a little tamer Faith that she was presenting to me now.
And then there was softness being pressed against my mouth and she was kissing me. She was really kissing me and there was salty tears flowing from my eyes as I struggled with one of my hands but couldn't get it out of the leather restraint and all I wanted to do was run my fingers through her hair. I just wanted to touch her face, cup her chin in mine and tell her that she's all that matters to me right now that I know she needs me as much as I need her.
And in that moment I never really understood exactly what I needed until I looked into Faith's eyes and saw that she had relinquished all control to me, for the time being. There was no doubt that she would take that assertiveness back and be as tough as ever, but the softer side of her, the side that let down her fears, the one I was beginning to dig a hole into, that was crumbling and in a matter of time she would be mine, if she wasn't already.
And I wondered…
Were we both ready to pass this test?
Because isn't that what the PTB are all about?
Tests of strength and endurance. Tests to see what you will do when put in a life or death situation. Tests to see what you will do or even if you will sacrifice what you could have with someone you love for the greater good of the world?
At least that's what they had taught me the night that Angel sunk to the bottom of an ocean in a box that had been welded shut and I had gotten taken up to the Powers That Be.
'I'm scared. But I know I'm all right. I know it's all going to be all right.'
I never stopped thinking those words. Strange to think that now here I am lying in a hospital bed strapped down with leather restraints, pain beyond imaginable pain ripping through my body and a tough dark haired Slayer my only hope at happiness.
Boy, reality does bend to desire.
...reality bends to desire...
'So I'm all of a sudden engaged to be marrying...him.'