Status: In Progress.

Cheating Across the Pond


How am I supposed to tell Stephen that I’m going to Manchester for a year? We’re supposed to get married in the fall. “No, I haven’t,” I replied softly.

“Well you better, ‘cause last time I checked Stephen’s your fiancé and you leaving for a year isn’t the best for a relationship,” Sara added.

I merely nodded as I tried to imagine Stephen’s reaction, would he be angry? Happy? Upset? Would his eyebrows knit together, like they always did when he was mad? Would his sapphire eyes sparkle, proud that I had been chosen out of many? Would the corners of his perfectly-shaped lips turn down into a frown at thought of me leaving for a year? I pondered this as I changed out of the red dress and into my street clothes. I barely left the dressing room with the red dress in hand, with the intent of returning it to the racks, when Sara grabbed- no, snatched- the hanger from my hands and marched to the cash register.

“What are you doing?” I asked as I chase after her, hoping to intercept the purchase.

“Buying you a dress,” Sara said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, adding “Duh,” with a roll of her eyes to the end.

“No, I mean why are you buying me a dress that I’ll never wear?”

“Oh, trust me you’ll wear it. Not only will you wear it, you’ll wear it Manchester!” Sara said with a cheesy grin as she handed over her credit card to the cashier.

“Where in Manchester? At work? To the games?”

“To a club, there are like tons of them there,”

“How would you know?”

“Trust me,” Sara added a wink to her cheesy grin before taking the shopping bag containing the dress.

“Sara, you’re going to be the death of me,” I groan as we make our way out of the mall and to Sara’s car.


After carefully hiding my purchases, I started on dinner. Stephen was, yet again, late. As the lasagna baked, I stared at the ring that was on my finger. It was a simple, clean, solitaire diamond set in a platinum band. I was mesmerized by the way the light played off of the white diamond. The diamond wasn’t large, but it was classy and practical. The ring just oozed Stephen. It exuded his pragmatic efficiency and his clean-cut business, all things that made him successful in the business world, but that didn’t exactly scream romantic. But it reminded me of him and of what we have and that’s all that mattered.

I remember the start of our relationship.

It was towards the end of my freshman year. I had just entered college and he was just leaving. We met at a Chinese takeout place of all places. It was a popular place for college students, and apparently for companies to send their interns to fetch their lunch, as well. He had a nonchalant coolness about him. Just the way he stood there, smartly dressed in his suit, screamed ‘I know who I am.’ He stuck out like a sore thumb, dressed in his Italian suit and his Blackberry, in the sea of casually dressed college students like myself. I was waiting in line behind him, I remember he smelled richly of cologne, Hugo Boss or Armani, I think. He was constantly tap, tap, tapping on his Blackberry.

“Do you have a presentation or something?” I couldn’t help but tease him about his formal attire.

He gave me a sharp look, almost condescending, “Do I look like I still go to college?”

“Yeah, kind of,” I simply shrugged my shoulders after taking in his boyish good looks and youthful features, aside from the suit he would have fit right in with one of the frats on campus.

“Well, I’ll have you know that I graduated,”

“Okay,” I said with a roll of my eyes.

“Look, I’m sorry, it’s the first day of my internship with this really big company and I just want to make a good impression and instead of sitting in on meetings and undertaking projects. They’re sending me to fetch their lunch and make them coffee. It’s all in all been a pretty shitty day for me,” He sighed as he ran his fingers through his hair.

“We all have those days, but that doesn’t mean you have to take out on the first person you see,” I grumbled as for the first time I noticed how brown and warm his eyes were and that they reminded me of milk chocolate.

“I’m sorry,” He sticks his hand out, asking for a handshake, “Truce?”

“Truce,” I agreed as I shake his hand, “Alyssa, Alyssa Giggs,”

“Stephen Parker,” He smiled broadly, so broadly that outside corners of his eyes crinkle and his cheeks dimple.

“Well, Mr. Future-CEO-Parker, you’re up,” I said gesturing that it was his turn to place his order.

We swapped numbers after that and everything just fell into place. We went from coffee in the morning to Sunday lunch with his family to his company Christmas party. It was absolutely perfect. We would stay up at night and talk, about everything, about nothing. Next thing I knew, my mom’s calling me telling me that Stephen had asked my Dad for permission to marry me. It was only a matter of time before we were engaged.

I remember how he proposed.

We were back at Chop Chop Shanghai Bistro, the infamous Chinese takeout place where we met. I can close my eyes and remember that I was wearing my now-well-worn UCLA sweatshirt and basketball shorts and plain flip flops, that the smell of stir fry and greasy food hung thickly in the air and mixed with Stephen’s omnipresent cologne, that Stephen was wearing khaki shorts and a gray cotton T-shirt that had a hole in it and signs of wear around the collar.

“Ally,” Stephen started softly.

“Yeah?” I turned my head towards him.

He was tense and fumbling for something in his pocket. I could see his Adam’s apple bob as he swallowed, “You know I love you, and I’ve never felt this way with anyone before,”

“Stephen, you’re scaring me,”

“Don’t, I don’t think anything can compare to what I feel for you or that anything or anyone could equal, what we have. That’s why…” Stephen ran a hand through his hair, a sign that I’ve learned to recognize to mean that he was nervous. He awkwardly went down on one knee, “That’s why I want you to marry me. I want to spend every morning waking up to your face and every evening holding you close.” He took out a small, dark blue, velvet box and opened it. Inside was a diamond ring, “What do yah say? Will you marry me?”

Granted I was expecting for Stephen to propose, but not like this. Not in a Chinese restaurant, not in flip flops and khakis, not in a million years. It went against Stephen’s Type A personality and his perfectionist sensibilities, but that was what I loved about it. I loved that it was spontaneous and unexpected, I loved how he cool, calm Stephen was replaced by nervous, awkward, fumbling-for-the-ring Steve.

“Ally!” The deep, rich voice that I recognized in heartbeat called out followed by the closing of the apartment door.

“In the kitchen,” I replied as I took the lasagna out of the oven to cool.

“There’s my lovely fiancée,” Stephen was leaning against the entrance to the kitchen, he was holding a bouquet of delicate, pink camellias, “I saw them on the way home and they reminded me of you.”

“Thank you,” I felt my cheeks warm to a shade similar to the camellias. I couldn’t help but smile at the romantic gesture. Stephen had been so cold recently and seemed nothing like the guy who proposed to me. I took the bouquet and started filling vase with water.

“I know haven’t been the best fiancé as of late, but I want to make it up to you. It’s just that work has been so hectic and crazy with the director of the Manchester branch stepping down,”

Manchester, I need to tell him about Manchester. “About that,”

“About what?”

“Manchester,” I could feel my throat constricting as I had to tell him, tell him that I was going to be leaving for at least year, “I got the year long internship with Manchester United.” I closed my eyes, not wanting to see his expression whether it be anger, sadness, or happiness.

“What?” I heard Stephen choke out. I didn’t have to see his face, it was all in his voice. It was a stomach-churning mixture of anger and realization.
♠ ♠ ♠
First and foremost I want to thank jamie092 for convincing me to write this chapter, even if it did get posted in like an eternity. This story is set in the 2008-2009 season, Ronaldo's last year with Man U. Hope you guys like it! Reviews and messages are always loved!