I looked out my bedroom window, putting my hand up to the window and feeling the warm spring weather. I could see the trees across the street coming back to life and slowly more and more people walked the streets of New York City after the cold winter that had just passed. It was a beautiful day. The sky was a perfect crystal blue and the sun poked out through the few clouds that graced the skies. I could see my reflection in the window. If it weren't for the makeup I wore, everyone could see how tired I truly was. Nightmares had kept me up all night. All because of the conversation my parents had with me yesterday.
My parents had sat me down last night in the living room and told me, ever so happily, that they had arranged a marriage for me. Not because I was too old in their eyes, as I am only twenty-one, but because I would be heiress to Erso shipping industries, a huge name worldwide.
As my Mother had said it "This would not only ensure your stability in the future and Erso Industries' future, but a conglomerate could be formed."
Later they told me his name of whom I was betrothed to – Orson Krennic. His name was known all around the globe, as he was the successful international shipping magnet everyone wanted to be. It turned out that my parents had contact with Orson Krennic and had asked of his opinion of meeting their single, young daughter. He was "thrilled" and "excited" for "this opportunity for himself and his business."
I had gagged when my parents told me this. I pleaded and cried out for them to reverse this idea, but they wouldn't change their minds. Not without pulling the disgust card, and how ungrateful I was for being raised in such luxury. My father took no time to remind me how this was bigger than me or anyone else. It was for our future.
I now know how it meant to feel like a caged bird. The bird was lonely, desperate for change, and held little to no hope for a better future than what was already set out for it. Logic and reality took over any hope one held in their heart.
"Jyn! The car is here!" I heard my father yell from the living room of my apartment. I looked back at the long mirror I had in the corner of my room and made sure I looked appropriate. I had chosen a white sundress with a silk green ribbon wrapped around my waistline, complimenting my green eyes, and had kept my hair down. It looked particularly good today. How unfortunate it would be under these circumstances. I grabbed my purse off the dresser and quickly walked out of my bedroom. I saw my mother talking on the phone in the corner and my father now standing up from the couch when he saw me.
"You look beautiful, dear!" he commented. Normally, I would have been flattered by his comment – probably even ecstatic my Dad was actually paying attention to me for once, but I knew otherwise. He was just happy his part of the deal looked the part I guess.
"Jyn, the car is waiting." Mother quickly interrupted before I could thank my father. She had just hung up her phone and placed it in her purse. "Let's go." I nodded and we all made our way to the elevator from my apartment. It was a beautiful pre-war apartment in the River House building on 52nd street. I loved it because it wasn't one of those modern, pretentious buildings on the upper east side. It was the penthouse apartment located on the 26th floor. Again, one might think it at least kind of them to come to my apartment and take me to this "wedding arrangement" session, but it was only because they wanted to make sure the deal went as planned. They didn't trust me enough to make sure things went perfectly.
It only took us about ten minutes for the car to take us to this huge apartment building. I tried to look at the very top of the building, being sure he was living in the penthouse suite of this place. I doubt that it was his only home in New York City either. This man was one of the wealthiest men in the world. He could have anything he wanted.
The driver left the car and opened our doors, helping both my mother and I get out of the car. Instantly, a man with long dark hair came walking towards us.
"Good morning. My name is Bodhi and I will be taking you to see Mister Krennic. If you would follow me, please." My mother nodded and took my father's arm, quick to follow the assistant into the building. I stayed a few steps behind, not really caring to keep up with their pace.
It wasn't long until we passed through the huge, elegant lobby. People all around were walking fast, busy with their own lives. It made me wonder what these people were up to with their lives. Anything to get my mind off of the here and now. Soon, we got to the elevator and the man put a key into the elevator and pressed the penthouse suite. The man named Bodhi, my parents, and I were the only people in the large elevator. Everyone stared at the doors and didn't speak a word to each other.
Once we got to the top, the 50th floor to be exact, the light began blinking and the elevator came to a stop. When the doors opened, we came into a beautiful, large in vastly open almost sterile environment of block furniture and over embellished so called "art". It was brightly lit with a lot of windows and open space, As I was observing the room further, I noticed a man's reflection off a gaudy two story mirror in the corner walking in from the corner with his arms held out.
"Ah! Welcome my guests!" he exclaimed. Bodhi rushed to the man's side and stood in front of us. I walked forward and stood next to my parents. Looking to my side for a moment, I saw that they had on their perfect business smiles.
"Miss Jyn Erso," Bodhi spoke, "May I present to you Mister Orson Krennic." I looked at the tall man standing next to him. He was taller than I imagined him to be, but otherwise looked exactly as he did in the articles in magazines and interviews on television; handsome in a classic way, charming, and well composed. He looked youthful for his forty years of age. It almost felt that I was in the presence of royalty and I was but the peasant granted permission to see him.
"Miss Erso?" the assistant's voice snapping me out of my thoughts. "Are you alright?"
I smiled and fixed my posture, nodding. "Yes. My apologies. It is a pleasure to meet you Mister Krennic."
"And how lovely it is to meet you Miss Orso. You're even lovelier than your pictures. Please, call me Orson. It is only a matter of time before we are engaged formally." The reminder that I was to be married off made me want to clutch my stomach, feeling sick once again like I had last night. I wasn't ready for this, let alone being married to a man I didn't love or even know! I tried to put my attention back on Orson Krennic, trying to distract myself. His smile seemed sincere, but something seemed dark about it. I couldn't quite place why it appeared that way.
"Yes, Mister Kren- Orson. Orson." I reiterated, finding it hard to call him by his first name.
"Now please, sit down. All of you." His voice was calm but a bit too demanding for my liking. I followed my parents and as we walked over to a grey couch and sat down, me sitting across from Orson as he sat on the opposite of me in a red loveseat. How ironic. "Welcome to my home. Well, my main home. This is where I can be found most days when I am not too busy with work. Otherwise I stay in my apartment closer to my official office in Manhattan. My assistant will give you my private cell numbers or people who can direct you to me."
Bodhi immediately took out his phone and began typing.
Orson rolled his eyes and held out his hand toward the assistant "Not now, Bodhi." Bodhi chuckled nervously and put away his phone. "I apologize, he can be rather hasty and rude at times." My parents chuckled as I looked over at Bodhi rather apologetically. He didn't deserve this.
"No, it's fine." My father responded. "We have had our deal with newcomers too." Bodhi looked to the floor, his face red.
"Of course. Can he get you anything to drink? Tea or water? Maybe wine perhaps?" I raised an eyebrow. Who offered alcohol at ten in the morning? My parents both shook their heads "no" and instantly Bodhi's and Orson's eyes went to me. "No, thank you." with a smile, playing the role of a good little girl perfectly. I placed my hands together and began playing with my thumbs out of nervous habit. "Alright then. So let's get to the point, shall we? Your beautiful daughter and I arranged to marry in a matter of months?
My father nodded "Yes, that is the plan."
"Splendid then!" Orson responded. "I am truly honored."
Without question, I stood up. Everyone stared at me awkwardly for a moment until I managed to say something "May I have a look around? I apologize, it's just that I didn't sleep well last night and need to move around."
"Jyn!" my Mother chastised me. Orson raised a hand to my mother, motioning for her to stop in her tracks.
"No, it's fine dear. This will soon be your home anyway so you might as well become accustomed to it." Orson said.
Without a second question, I walked to one of the large windows of his living room and looked out at the city. I could hear my mother making excuses for my rude behavior and Orson politely not paying mind to it. As they went back to their conversation, I drowned their voices out and paid attention to the city once again. The buildings were beautiful from up here. A bird flew past the window and without thinking a put a hand to the window close to where it had been.
Oh bird, how I envied you.
After another half an hour of speaking, my mother beckoned me to come back. I went out of my trance and looked back at the "adults" who were discussing what was to be done with me and the company. They were all standing now, Orson putting on a coat.
"Jyn dear, your father and I are going to leave now. Orson will be taking you to meet the wedding planner and the other hired staff. Afterwards, he offered to have his driver drive you home." I raised an eyebrow and looked back at Orson, who smiled contently. I looked back at my mother who gave me a stern look which told me not to mess this up. I nodded and smiled.
"Perfect." I lied.
"Good. We will see you later dear." She waved as father and she walked to the elevator. Not a hug or a kiss goodbye. Just a cold wave and not a second look back. I looked to the ground, looking at the hardwood floor. I shouldn't be feeling this way, but why did it still hurt? It wasn't like this was anything new. Showing any affection towards me was rare and I hadn't seen it since I was a very young child. Why did I still yearn for it?
"Ahem." Krennic cleared his throat. My eyes widened as I realized I was lost in my own thoughts again and I looked back at Orson. He smiled and offered me his arm. "Shall we?" I walked over and, perhaps a bit too cautiously, took his arm and began walking to the elevator, Bodhi following behind us.
It was only about fifteen minutes until we came to a stop. The entire car ride Orson was talking about his company and how far it has reached in the past few years especially. Then I saw the beautiful cathedral. I was surprised at how amazing a church we would be married in. If only it was a sincere wedding, I could enjoy it more. Grey clouds began to fill up the sky.
"Oh pity. It looks like it is going to rain." Orson said before getting out of the car as Bodhi had opened the door for us. Orson helped me out of the car and we began up the steps and into the cathedral. Once we got inside, I was astounded by its beauty. The inside looked even grander than the outside.
The ceiling seemed as high as the sky and was surrounded by stained glass windows. There were so many marble pillars that led down a long corridor, seeming endless, until one spotted a beautiful, golden altar. Everything was intimidating. She couldn't imagine herself walking down this corridor. This place could easily fit thousands of people…how would Orson and I even know enough people to fill it? Then, I remembered. It didn't matter. This was an arranged marriage. It was just for show.
There was a woman towards the far right side of the cathedral making her way to us, saying "Welcome to Saint Patrick's Cathedral! I am Nicole Welch, your wedding planner." She had her dark red hair tied up into a bun and wore a green business suit and thick, black glasses.
"Ahhh, ! I would like you to meet my bride to be, Miss Jyn Erso." I smiled towards the woman, who grinned and gave me a slight wave, quickly turning her attention back to Orson. "We have the florist that you requested here ready to talk to you."
Immediately, I knew what was going on. I wasn't going to have much say in this wedding. Orson probably had it already planned out in his head and knew what he wanted. I was so easily brushed aside by this woman. She had no intentions of seriously consulting with me.
I was just Orson's arm piece.
Needing to get away immediately, I looked over at Orson and quickly spoke before the woman could say another word "Orson, may I have a look around?" I tried to fake the most sincere of smiles. Orson smiled and nodded. Apparently it worked.
"Of course, my dear. Have a look around."
The woman raised an eyebrow at me, but didn't pay much attention to my absence. I could feel my face begin to burn, my eyes itching just to tear up even the slightest. This was all too much. My world is crashing down too fast. I couldn't take it. Not sure of where else to go, I walked where the woman had come from, passing her on my way, where I came to a spiral staircase. Quickly, I took my opportunity and walked up the stairs fast, yet calm as I could. Once I made it to the top, I overlooked the entire massive church. So, this is where the organ and choir were to be set up. Stored away and not to be seen…just like I truly felt.
My heart couldn't hold much longer. I was about to break down into tears, which would only ruin my makeup and get me into more trouble. I walked over to the middle of the balcony and looked down at the floor. Slowly, I could see rays of light begin to peak through. I looked up at the windows surrounding me and saw sunlight shine through each window one by one until it finally hit the window closest to me and a ray of warm light landed on me.
"I wish I could just go home." I whispered to myself, leaning my body on the railing and rested my head on my arms. "Escape from this world."
"Why would you want to do that when you are about to be married?" I immediately turned around at the sound of a man's voice.
"I'm sorry." I instantly apologized "I didn't know anyone was up here. If you will excuse me." My eyes stuck to the floor, not daring to look at the man who just witnessed me acting strangely. What a coward I was, indeed.
"No, you are fine." I heard his feet hit the hardwood floor as he moved closer to me until I saw his shoes right across from mine. I looked up and saw the man for the first time "My name is Cassian Andor. I will be assisting you with the flowers for your wedding for the next couple of months. I'm the florist, you see." His voice almost musical with his heavy Latino accent. He was much taller than me, but who wouldn't be when I was only 160 centimeters tall (5'3"). His skin was a light tan and he had beautiful brown doe eyes. He was a very handsome man.
"Oh, it's a –" I sniffled and dabbed away any unshed tears near my eyes with my fingers. "–a pleasure to meet you. I'm the fiancé, Jyn Erso." I replied weakly. I wanted to curse myself for looking like such a damn fool in front of this stranger.
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Miss Erso." Cassian said. I looked back up at Cassian, my smile never leaving from earlier.
"It is a pleasure to meet you too, Mister Andor."
"Please, call me Cassian."
"Okay, Cassian." His name easily slipping through my lips. "You can call me Jyn."
"Is Jyn short for something? It's a very pretty name."
"Thanks, and no, just Jyn." I responded, moving a couple of loose strands of hair behind my ear. His smile was contagious, making it hard for me not to grin like an idiot.
"Alright, Jyn." I tried to ignore the goosebumps that crawled up my body as he spoke my name.
It wasn't long until I heard footsteps coming from the stairs I had walked up from minutes ago. Cassian and I both looked over and saw Orson walk up.
"Ahhh, there you are, darling." He said, walking up to me and crossing his arms. "I was beginning to think you left." Had he not paid attention to where I had left? Then again, I shouldn't be that surprised.
"Yes. Oh, Cassian, this is my fiancé, Orson Krennic."
I could see how uneasy and nervous Cassian had clearly become for some reason, yet he still played his part calmly and attempted to be as smooth as possible.
"Oh, splendid! I'm sure you already know who we are." Orson responded, clasping his hands together. I wanted to roll my eyes at his comment. Cassian Andor looked Orson Krennic up and down, squinting his eyes as if trying to see Orson clearly. Orson raised an eyebrow at the man and immediately wore a scowl on his face. I lowered my head, using my hair to hide my face as I couldn't help but suppress a chuckle.
"I'm kidding!" Cassian put his hands up in the air as if surrendering. "I know who you are. You are the Orson Krennic of Krennic Enterprises." He lowered his hands and put them in his pockets, grinning ear to ear like a mischievous cat, having got the reaction he wanted. His eyes never left Orson's, as Orson's never left his.
Orson then barely smiled, not trying to hide his disgust in Cassian's joke.
"Funny." Orson Krennic responded curtly.
"Mister Krennic! Your driver would like to have a personal word with you!" Orson's assistant, Bodhi, came up the stairs and interrupted the conversation. The assistant looked at the awkward positions everyone was in and tilted his head slightly, clearly confused as to what was going on.
"I'm sorry, excuse me for a moment." Orson quickly recomposed himself to his normal confident, proud affect. He then turned around and followed the assistant down the stairs, leaving Cassian and myself alone once more. I looked up at Cassian, who seemed a little more placed now that Orson was gone.
"Well, it was a pleasure meeting you, Jyn. I look forward to working with you and making your wedding as beautiful as I possibly can." He grinned, making my heart flutter for a moment. Why was I acting like such a schoolgirl? I smiled and nodded.
"Yes, it was a pleasure meeting you too, Cassian." He gave me one final look and then walked to the stairs, now leaving me by myself. Cassian seemed to be a calm, down to earth person. Maybe with his help, I could survive this wedding.
A little while after Cassian had left, Orson came back upstairs and began to explain how he had to leave. Apparently, someone at work wasn't doing their job properly and he had to attend the problem immediately. He insisted on driving me home, even though I could just call a cab to get home. Orson Krennic was definitely a stubborn man.
I let Orson drone on about his responsibilities and duties to his company on the ride home. He only stopped when I insisted walking up to my building on my own.
Once I had returned home, I could feel all of my emotions bursting through like a broken levee. They were flooding out now and I was unable to stop it, instantly collapsing on the closest piece of furniture. I looked out my living room window, tears making it hard to see anything.
I was truly trapped and nothing could save me now. I would become a trophy wife, sealing the deal on a business merger. It was hard to believe that this type of situation still exists. I would be leaving my beautiful apartment, which my beloved grandmother left to me. I would be losing my individual self; my eclectic furniture, my beautiful view of the river, the sweet, unique shops that were nearby. No longer could I come and go as I pleased with all the social engagements Orson has lined up for us. I know there were women who would jump at the change of this opportunity, but that just isn't me.
It was eleven o'clock at night now and Cassian was locking the doors of his florist shop. Cassian was mentally exhausted after hours of working with Orson Krennic's wedding planner, Nicole. He still needed to come home and take care of his specialty flowers that he had been studying and growing for years.
Cassian found Nicole pretentious and unhelpful. She needed this to be better than perfect so that Mister Orson Krennic would be most pleased with her work. She knew her reputation depended on this. Though, this woman seemed to take everyone's ideas and claim them as her own which bothered Cassian to the core. Suddenly, Cassian's mind switched to someone else.
Someone in particular.
"She doesn't remember me…" he whispered to himself, putting an arm up against the door and leaning his head against it.