This is a One-Shot, inspired by a PostSecret I came across on the respective website.
The Only Man I Have Ever Loved...Was A Guest At My Wedding
The young woman in the mirror looked, for lack of a better word, beautiful. Just as radiant and gorgeous as every bride looks, or hopes to look, on her wedding day. Except for her eyes, misery-filled eyes that no bride should ever have.
White flowers and pearl jewels were entwined in her glossy, chestnut brown curls. She wasn't skinny as a model but the white wedding gown softly draped over her body showed off her well-endowed figure. A small amount of makeup adorned her face; enhancing her pretty features.
She reached up to clip the second pearl earring into place and the diamond on her engagement ring gleamed in the sunlight filtering into the room from the windows on her left. The radiance made her look straight into her reflection in the full length mirror before her; brown eyes gazed into identical, unhappy ones in the mirror image.
The bride-to-be was me.
And I was a mess, minutes before the big event.
I looked down onto the dresser top and picked up the last item I needed before I was done getting ready. As I reached up to fasten the pearl necklace around my neck, I felt warm hands settle over mine.
His voice was soft. 'Here, let me do it.'
I hadn't heard him come in. But even as my eyes met his green ones in the mirror, I recognized his touch, his voice. He bent his head and brushed my curls away to clasp the necklace in place.
I shivered at his proximity. He stood mere inches behind me in the otherwise empty room.
He looked at me with concern evident in his incredible eyes. 'Are you cold?'
Yes, my heart screamed, frozen and broken into numerous icicle-like shards.
I shook my head, not trusting myself to speak around him.
'How have you been holding up, Meg?'
I felt tears prick my eyes but I refused to cry. I'd already shed too many tears over this.
I forced the words out. 'I feel wonderful, Chris. Absolutely wonderful. You needn't bother yourself with me.'
His voice was shaky. 'Meg, I...'
I choked the words out. 'You lost that right months ago. And if I recall correctly, you willingly gave it up.'
With that, I swept up my bristling skirts and rushed out of the room as fast as my feet could carry me, towards the waiting area where my father stood, ready for the ensuing ceremony.
Chris followed me out minutes later, but I was past caring.
For all I said I didn't care, my eyes still trailed his body ...as he sent me an apologetic smile, which our family and friends pretended not to see, his gaze still lingering on me as I pretended he wasn't there, finally turning around and swiftly striding through the double-doors, both of us pretending we weren't the least affected by the occasion.
I placed my hand on my father's arm and we waited wordlessly for my bridesmaids and their respective escorts to enter the doors into the place where my destiny would be sealed.
Those few minutes seemed to last an eternity. I was still nursing a grudge against my father and I feared if I spoke now, it would only increase the growing hostility between us. It was his fault for initiating the idea of an arranged marriage between his business partner's heir and me. The fact that I loved somebody else wasn't an obstacle in his eyes. Of course, I also blamed Chris for not putting up any opposition to the idea. It hurt that he just let me go like that. I had protested but everyone involved turned a deaf ear.
My 'betrothed' had no clue about my emotions because even though I didn't want to marry him, Zach was a nice guy and I didn't want to hurt him, even my family and Chris had hurt me beyond repair. Some would say he was perfect and he might have been, but he wasn't perfect for me. He had moved back from England only a few months ago, where he had been heading the family business for five years, ever since he turned 21.
There was nothing wrong with him though; he was handsome, wealthy beyond imagination, kind, generous, and charming ...overall, blessed with a great personality. Who knows, if I had met Zach before Chris, things might have been different. But he had been residing abroad ever since he had chosen to go to University there, with not-so-frequent trips back home in between, so there hadn't been the slightest chance of that.
I think deep down, I was at fault too. For letting my parents control every aspect of my life, from what they considered were appropriate manners, appropriate clothes, appropriate behavior, appropriate friends, even the appropriate career...and lastly, the appropriate man to spend the rest of my life with.
If it wasn't for the fact that I was basically a puppet in their hands, maybe I would have confessed the whole deal to Zach. Surely, he would not have agreed if he'd known. But I hadn't and here I was...getting married to a man I'd only known for six months, a man who had declared he had fallen in love with me in that short period while I still pined after someone I could now never have.
My father tugged on my hand and the movement shook me out of my thoughts. The time was here, the time was now...
As if in a haze, I followed as he led me towards the door. A sea of grandly dressed people and dozens of lighted candles and flowers greeted me. All the images swirled into one blurry canvas and I had trouble focusing. Then I looked away from the obscure figures and straight ahead.
Zachary stood waiting with a reassuring smile on his handsome face.
I drew in a shaky breath and smiled back at him, resolutely not looking at the man standing beside him, a pained expression on his face. With my eyes trained on his warm hazel ones and fortified by his silent encouragement, I reached him at the altar. His hand reached out to grasp mine, as my father left to sit down after giving me a perfunctory kiss on the cheek, and he drew me closer.
I stepped nearer towards him. Zach leaned down to whisper, 'Hello, darling.'
'Hi,' I beamed up at him, maintaining a cheery smile with some difficulty.
'You look wonderful, love.'
'You look pretty damn good yourself, Zachary,' I replied, genuinely meaning everything I said.
If possible, his smile widened even more before we both ended our little conversation and turned towards the waiting priest ahead.
The ceremony began and ended without a hitch. When the priest uttered the dramatic words 'If anyone objects to this wedding, speak now or forever hold your peace', the customary pause followed and my gaze wandered towards Chris. I guess there was a tiny part inside me that refused to believe in the finality of this whole situation and still hoped someone would stop my wedding. Chris just stood there on Zach's right and stared at the priest; he didn't even move a muscle, let alone voice a protest.
That was the final straw.
Long ago, I had naively planned to just run away if worse came to worse. But when the moment had actually presented itself, I knew I couldn't. I couldn't possibly leave sweet, caring Zachary at the altar. I wasn't that cruel to do that to someone who loved me and wasn't afraid of showing it.
I just had to accept the facts and hope to have a happy future with him.
Our love wouldn't be as tumultuous and epic as the love Chris and I'd shared. No, instead it would be a slow-burning, steady love that would build up over the years. It wouldn't be the heady magic of fairytales; it would be the firm foundation fairytale castles relied on.
And so we both uttered our vows, the words that would bind us to each other for the rest of our lives.
'Mummy, when's daddy coming home?' my eight year-old daughter asked, tugging on my pant leg as I puttered around in the kitchen.
'Soon, darling, soon,' I said, gently fixing her hair which had come out of her ponytail.
'Oh. Okaaaay,' Emma cried out exaggeratedly.
She ran out of the kitchen then. I heard squeals and childish laughter emanating from the Play room nearby shortly after and smiled to myself, before I busied myself preparing dinner.
A little while later, I was drying my hands on a towel when she rushed back inside, this time accompanied by her twin brother.
'Look what I found!'
'I helped too, mummy!'
I smiled calmly and bent down to their level. 'Ok, guys, what is it?'
They exchanged looks and then Ethan proudly thrust a video cassette case into my hands. I was tugging their disordered clothing into place when I saw what the much-talked about object was.
Zach's neat writing on the white label read 'Meg and Zach's wedding video.'
I hadn't seen it even once, since the wedding nearly a decade ago. I distinctly remembered shoving it into a random cardboard box somewhere when we had moved into this new house recently. Somehow my children had gotten their hands on it.
Emma chirped happily. 'It's about your and daddy's wedding day!'
I ran a hand through my hair absent mindedly and sighed, suddenly very tired. 'Yes, darling. I know.'
'Can we see it?' Emma asked.
'Yeah, can we?' Ethan piped up.
How could I say no to those two angelic faces?
Minutes later, all three of us were ensconced on the comfortable couch in front of the large flat screen television in the living room. The television began playing the scenes of the wedding and the twins exclaimed when they recognized someone or made me explain who each person was. Soon enough the actual ceremony was being shown and I fought to keep my emotions in check.
The camera zoomed in on each of the bridesmaids and groomsmen, the maid of honor and the best man being shown last.
'Who's that?' Ethan asked, pointing at the elegantly clad best man.
'He looks like daddy,' Emma mused.
'He- He's your dad's younger brother, your Uncle C-Chris.'
'Isn't Uncle John daddy's brother?'
I patiently answered. 'Yes, he is. But Chris is your Uncle too.'
We all turned towards the television once more. The vows had elapsed by then and after a few more minutes of footage of Zach and me meeting with guests and well-wishers, the setting changed to the reception and banquet held later that day.
This time it was Ethan who broke the calming silence.' How come we've never met Uncle Chris?'
I thought back to the years gone by. After our honeymoon, Zach and I had moved to England, as the branch of family business he was CEO of was located in London. And we had been living here ever since, often visiting relatives and friends back home in America during the holidays every year. Of all those visits, I had only come across Chris a small number of times. He purposely avoided me at all costs, though he found time to catch up with Zach when I was away meeting old friends.
'You have met him, only you were too small back then to remember. Usually he's busy when we visit. Tell you what, I'll make sure you get to see him when we go this year, all right?'
Both voiced their approval and cuddled closer to me. I pulled a blanket lying around onto us so it covered everyone, as we once again became engrossed in the video.
The dancing had started off on the screen, with Zach leading me onto the floor first. The camera zoomed in on our faces; Zach's was joyous while I looked... content.
Then other couples drifted onto the dance floor once our song ended. Zach was shown dancing with my mother, then his mother, his sister, my best friend while I danced with his father and brothers. For some inexplicable reason, I didn't look as distressed on the video as I'd felt when Chris asked me to dance.
I was lost in my own little world of recollections when the sound of gravel crunching beneath tires in the driveway alerted the twins.
And they both jumped off the couch, throwing the blanket to the carpeted floor in the process as they ran to greet their father.
I stayed to watch as Zach and I were shown simultaneously dancing, though not with each other; I was moving stiffly in Chris's arms while Zach joked around with one of my cousins. I kept staring at Chris and I on the screen, wondering what could have been.
Zach was an excellent husband to me and a great father to our children. But that didn't stop the yearning watching the wedding again had rekindled, despite all those years that had passed away since then.
I just kept on staring at myself and the only man I'd ever loved dancing, as if dumbstruck. He steered us away from the other couples, so our images receded on the screen but were still visible. Visible enough to show him tighten his grip on me, then bending over to softly say, 'Just know that I'll always love you, Meg. Just remember that, baby ...You're beautiful. But it's time to face the truth; I'll never be with you.'
The last words were a mockery of the song I'd once upon a time proclaimed to be our song, back when we had been together. It was a hurtful reminder and at the same time, a final goodbye.
Chris was shown relaxing his hold on me, then letting go entirely and leaving me standing with a dazed look on my face on the sidelines before the song ended. I had watched him walk away...
I had watched the only man I'd truly loved walk out of my life.
I heard Zach laughing nearby somewhere as he playfully teased the twins but I could only sit there mutely as a few tears spilled from my wet eyes, watching myself on the screen and thinking, 'The only man I have ever loved was a guest at my wedding.'
If you liked it, please review! It would really mean a lot to me...
A few lines from James Blunt's 'You're Beautiful' were used in this, belong to the songwriter...the rest of the story is mine though it was inspired by a PostSecret as mentioned before, which doesn't belong to me either.
EDITED 14th March '06-
This lil ficlet has been edited, not just because a few reviewers mentioned grammer problems and such, but also since I'm a perfectionist and bits of it seemed a bit iffy to me. And I wrote most of it while revising Physics for midterms, which is an excuse in itself :P
Anywho, some minor changes here and there and major ones in the beginning, which (hopefully) isn't as boring as it was before and all that changing/long overdue proofreading has brought the Word Count down to exactly 2400 words :)
God, I do ramble pointlessly a LOT. So I'll shuddup up...
But before I do, I want to thank all those lovely people who reviewed D I've never had so many reviews for one chapter. YOU ALL ROCK!