The two of them went back to the private room of the barbecue restaurant. The atmosphere there was tenser than Gabrielle had expected. Mia and Austin sat at opposite ends of a rectangular table that was designed for eight people. They sat far away and with so much distance between them. They seemed to be seated at the two ends of the world.
They sat so afar and were barbecuing their food in the baking tray that lay in front of them. This created a weird atmosphere in the room. They were behaving like strangers.
‘What is going on between Mia and Austin?’
Gabrielle wondered as she looked up at Westley. She nodded her head towards their direction, as if to get some information from him. Both of them had just left for a moment, but when they returned these two had completely changed. They were acting strangely, as if they were two people who just happened to dine together on the same table.
Gabrielle felt that if they sat down and joined them, it wouldn’t really help in relieving the embarrassing atmosphere in the room. She had expected that Mia’s easy-going and warm personality would help her get along with Austin easily.
But it looked like she was mistaken. It was not like what she had imagined, rather it was the opposite. The two of them sat separately like enemies compelled to have dinner together.
It was also a fact that Austin and Mia were not friends at all. Indeed, it was normal for them to feel embarrassed to be asked to sit and dine at the same table. Gabrielle realized that probably she was just too naïve to understand these things.
“Hey Gabrielle! You’re back. Come and sit beside me. I’ve roasted pork here for us. It’s delicious!” Mia waved at her and patted the chair by her side, gesturing for Gabrielle to sit beside her.
“Hey!” Gabrielle said as she walked towards the seat. After taking the seat next to Mia, she asked in a low voice, “What’s happening here?”
“If you want to know what happened between us, you’d better ask him. This gentleman seems to be dissatisfied with me!” Mia murmured as she put the roasted meat into Gabrielle’s bowl. She urged her to eat.
In fact, Mia too wasn’t aware of what went wrong. She had entered the room first, and was followed by Austin. Without saying anything to her, Austin moved ahead and took the innermost seat. He said nothing and sat in sheer silence. Mia felt that Austin was deliberately keeping a distance between them.
She was surprised at his behavior and felt that Austin didn’t want to get close to her. ‘If he isn’t interested, then why should I make efforts to be his friend?’
Mia was a straightforward and open-minded person. If someone liked her and treated her well, she would reciprocate in the same manner, ten times more. But if somebody was not nice to her, she would not befriend that person.
She didn’t expect everyone to love her. She was fine if someone hated her too. But she preferred clarity and would never want to be friends with someone who didn’t like her. In spite of all her flaws, she was not a person without friends.
Moreover, she didn’t need friends like Austin.
Sensing that Mia was annoyed and would not tell her anything more, Gabrielle turned towards Austin. “So, Austin, are you all right?” she asked calmly.
Austin glanced at her. “Nothing. It’s just that I don’t know this lady much and may not be a good friend for her.”
Hearing this, Gabrielle pondered if Mia had said something to upset him. After all, Austin was not a man with temper issues. He was calm and composed, and not short-tempered.
He wouldn’t have behaved like this unless he was angry. Something wasn’t making sense here!
“Come on, Gabrielle! Let’s eat first. You don’t have to pay attention to him. He has a bad temper only when it comes to something related to me. I don’t think in future we will appear at the same place together. So, Gabrielle, think carefully about it and answer me. If needed to choose, between him and me, whom will you choose?” Mia raised her eyebrow and put forth an extremely difficult question.
Gabrielle didn’t expect Mia to ask her such a question. She could not give a straightforward answer to it.
After thinking for a few moments, a smile came upon Gabrielle’s face. She decided to play safe and said, “I choose my husband!” She tried to stay composed and made an effort to lighten the mood of the dinner.
Gabrielle was hopeful that her answer would not offend anybody.
However, it was apparent that it had disappointed Austin. He had expected her to answer in his favor.
He thought that Gabrielle would make a decision between him and Mia, and not abruptly bring in Westley. Even if she had chosen Mia, he would have understood it completely.
After all, Gabrielle and Mia were sincere and caring towards eac
But when she chose Westley, it instantly made him feel jealous. He wasn’t prepared for such a reply.
“Aha! Let me barbecue something for you now!” Westley said. Upon hearing his wife’s words, he was extremely happy. With a broad grin on his face, he began to roast meat for his wife.
Mia silently picked up pieces of meat with a fork, and felt a little sad for herself. “So, why should I have dinner with you and your husband? You are a couple in love. And are always ready to show your love to the world! Why should I be here like an intruder?”
Mia started regretting her presence there. She shouldn’t have come to dinner with them. In the end, she was the one who was getting hurt.
“Mia, I thought you knew about my relationship with Gabrielle. It was you who insisted on having dinner with us. So what’s the problem if you have to watch us show off our love?” Westley asked in a calm manner.
“Mr. Morris, what you’ve said just now, really hurts me. I think I’d better have meals with only Gabrielle from now on. I will never dine with both of you anymore,” Mia said seriously. Though she sounded serious, there was a mischievous tone in her voice.
Gradually the atmosphere started to ease up because of Mia’s grumbling and complaints in a joking tone. Austin moved a little nearer and nearer. By the middle of the dinner, Mia and Austin’s barbecue trays were finally placed together.
“Austin, this piece of beef is mine. So, leave it alone.”
“Austin, what’s wrong with you? Why don’t you roast your own food? Don’t touch mine!”
Probably it was true that Mia and Austin could not get along with each other. The two of them quarreled continuously even after sitting closer to each other.
Gabrielle had no idea what to do about them. The only thing she could do was to leave them alone to fight with each other. After all, those were not real quarrels, but childish tiffs. Sometimes, those added fun to the atmosphere.
“Mia, you know what, you are really ungrateful!” Austin said as he turned over her meat, which was on the verge of getting burnt.
He was helping her. As a result, it annoyed Mia, who was already a short-tempered lady.
“Whatever you do, it must be done with purpose and attention!” Mia glared at him in disgust and said, “You do this deliberately, right?”
Deliberately? Women like Mia were really hard to get impressed and if you kept pointing at their mistakes, they would never look back at you.
“Come on, Mia. Don’t be so mad at Austin. He really wants to help you!” Gabrielle could not help but interfere. She wanted Mia to give him a chance and not be so critical of him.
“I don’t need his help. Men like him are very bad. They always dream to have things which they can never have.” She just blurted it out. One thing was evident that Mia was very good at annoying and enraging the other person.
“Honestly, I don’t want to argue with you!” Austin decided to ignore everything Mia would say and do. He made up his mind not to help her in barbequing also. Even if she barbequed the meat to charcoal, he was not going to touch anything.
“Even I do not want to argue with you anymore. You just pay attention to your own food. Why did you have to stretch out your hand so long? Did I ask for your help? I’ve always told you, do not dream for things that you will never have! Mmm! This is delicious meat!” Mia picked up the roasted meat on her plate and stuffed it in her mouth. She then had a quick glance at Austin with a defiant look.
Sitting before the fire and handling the meat on the barbecue, Austin had not felt so hot or flushed. But he did feel furious by Mia’s aggressive words.
If it weren’t for the fact that he was not her acquaintance, he would have really beaten her. He’d not have cared that she was a woman.
“Austin, you must be feeling so angry!” Mia smiled with a smirk on her face.
Indeed, it was clear now that she had said those words intentionally. She wanted to annoy Austin, because she wanted him to understand and accept the fact that Gabrielle and Westley were in love now.
It was important for him to know what he could do and what he could not. He had to imprint it in his mind not to dream for things that weren’t destined to be his.
“Listen Mia, I don’t want to talk nonsense with you. Please go ahead and enjoy your food.” Seeing Mia enrage him by her words, Austin finally understood why some men were scared of women.
Mia was an epitome of such women.
She had a face of an angel but the soul of a devil. She was so wicked and could hurt a man more with her tongue than with her hands.
“Oh dear! So Mia, shall we dine in peace now?” Gabrielle felt helpless in front of them. She was tired of their childish quarrels and felt it was time she put an end to it.