Chapter 3

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Kyle Grant watched Ruby, his fiancée, who, in two days was to be his wife, walk out of the bedroom, and shook his head. Everything had been going well up until a few weeks ago. His future father-in-law, his boss at the architect's office, was talking about making him a partner. Ruby and he were going on a world cruise for their honeymoon, paid for by her parents. When they returned, they were going to buy a large house in a village just outside of York. They had put in an offer for the property, a four-bedroom house with large front and rear gardens, which backed onto glorious countryside, and it had been accepted. And Ruby, who in his eyes, was the most beautiful, sophisticated and glamorous woman in the whole of York, was going to be his wife.

However, things had started to take a downward turn from about a month ago. First, Ruby had said that as soon as they were married, she wanted to have children. This had been a change from what they had decided when they got engaged. They had both been keen on travelling and enjoying their time together before kids came along. Kyle wasn't so keen on having children, but he was prepared to start a family with Ruby at some point in the future. Just not next week. She had also told him that once they were married, Saturdays and Sundays would be "family time." There would be no more going to the pub with his friends to watch football, or nights out with the boys. The weekends would be theirs. He could say goodbye to his social life once they were married. But it was the bombshell that she had just dropped in the bedroom that had really made him consider what he was getting himself in for. She had told him that they would not be moving to the house in the village outside York. They would be moving in with her parents. Without trying to hurt her feelings, Kyle had made it clear that he was not prepared to do that. At the age of thirty-five, he was used to having his own independence, and there was no way he was going to live with his in-laws, one of whom happened to be his boss. When he had asked Ruby why she was suggesting such a thing, she had said it was because she wanted to continue living with her parents. She was twenty-seven and had never left home. She would miss them. The fact that the conversation had been preceded by Ruby moaning about how much time it would take to clean a four-bedroomed house and that she would have to cook, and look after the children all by herself, had him wondering if the real reason wasn't that she was just spoilt. Of course she was spoilt. He had known that since they had started dating three years ago, when he joined her father's company as an architect. He had just moved down from Edinburgh to take a job with one of the most well-respected men in the business, and in the process, had fallen in love with his stunning daughter. He had fallen for her completely, and his rose-tinted glasses had filtered out the strength of her tantrums. Over the past few weeks however, the glasses had started to clear.

When he had refused to even consider moving in with her parents, Ruby had accused him of not loving her, not considering her feelings, and being selfish. She had flounced out of his bedroom and gone into his living room, where he could hear her crying down the phone to her mother, telling her how mean he was.

He sat on the bed and put his head in his hands. "I can't marry her," he thought. "If this is what she's like now, what is she going to be like when we are actually married? When we have kids?"

He saw them, in five years' time, arguing with each other, while his parents-in-law sat bemused in the other room, with a crying four-year-old, who couldn't understand why his mother and father hated each other so much. He would grow older and unhappier. Was that what he wanted? But what about the wedding? He couldn't back out now, could he?

He paced up and down the bedroom. "I can't go through with this. I really can't," he thought. "I can't do it."

He heard Ruby tell her mother she loved her, and then the apartment fell silent. He rubbed his face with his hands, took a deep breath, and walked to the living room. The walk, just a few seconds in the small city center apartment, seemed to take minutes. He heard every footstep, every floorboard that creaked, as if he were walking in slow motion. He turned the handle on the door and walked in.

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