They settled into the comfy leather chairs and adjusted their sights to the huge screen before them. Arms interlocked, Jess and Bernard were the picture of the perfect couple who had come to enjoy a nice movie at the cinema. They were seated on the topmost row. To Bernard’s right, Jess’ childhood best friend, Paul, sat silently, enjoying the movie. He had just returned from the UK and when Jess suggested that he followed them to the cinema, Bernard had no objections. He would do anything for her. He loved her that much.
Midway into the movie, the screen suddenly went blank and the hall was shrouded in darkness. Then John Legend’s All Of Me began to seep out of the speakers. The screen lit up and pictures of Jess began to slide in and out of view. As the beautiful pictures, with sweet messages attached, danced across the face of the screen, the hall was filled with whispers of “oh, awwwww and wow.”Exactly three minutes later, the slide stopped. The screen went dark again but lit up almost instantly with five words, “WILL YOU MARRY ME, JESS?”
Bernard smiled. It was all going according to plan. He waited for the lights to come on.
Paul frowned. He wasn’t expecting this. He waited for the lights to come on.
Jess’ heart missed three beats. She never saw this coming. She waited for the lights to come on.
Finally, the lights flickered on, bathing the hall in radiant luminescence.
Bernard’s heart fell into his stomach as he beheld the most horrible sight of his life. Paul was on one knee, holding up a ring and asking Jess to marry him. Paralyzed and disillusioned, he watched as she said yes, slipped the ring on and kissed Paul deeply.
Then Paul turned to him and said, “thank you, pal, for keeping my princess company while I was away.” Still dumbstruck, Bernard watched Paul and Jess make their way out the hall.
The world began to shrink as he tried to process what he just saw. He made to stand up but he lost his footing, slipped and tumbled backwards. Seconds later, he lay sprawled-eagle on the bare floor.
Two hours later, Jess, Paul and their friends were in a club, celebrating the engagement.
At that same time, Bernard’s parents were identifying their son’s body at the morgue. They were told that he broke his neck and died in a terrible fall.
Only those in the cinema that evening knew the real cause of his death.