A/N: My first finished project in years. It's short, but I thought I should share it anyways. I really miss writing. Please let me know what you think.
There was something about that day that felt different. It was beautiful, perfect Northwest weather. The mountains just in the distance, the snow still barely hanging on. The breeze that typically rushed in from the water, wasn't there. It was spectacular. She sat looking through the window onto the lake. Long hair tied up in delicate, spiral knots, braiding into a flower.
She looked how she was supposed to. Perfect, just like the endless summer day. Her mother fussed around her, nitpicking the last minute details. Her make-up, her hair, the flowers outside. Everything that kept her from crying. Her only daughter and oldest child, this beautiful woman that sat before her was no longer her little girl.
Alana looked at her mom smiling sympathetically, amber eyes smiling. She was getting married today. Her heart felt thick in her chest. Married. The word felt so heavy and unreal. She pictured her fiance in the next room. His blonde hair freshly cut at the request of his mother, and his blue eyes laughing. Always laughing, but ever mature, he had been Alana's first love.
There had been moments of complete destruction, just like in any relationship, but somehow they always found each other, the relationship growing stronger. They loved each other and you could see it, even when they fought, messy as it was. In those moments, Alana's dark hair would fall in her face, sticking where the tears had come, only to have his warm hands wipe them away. Kissing her, telling her they could figure this out.
They had been that way for five years now. Meeting at the very end of college and never letting go. It hadn't been the easiest relationship, but, from the look on their faces when they danced, it had been well worth it.
"Excuse me," a short knock on the door revealed her brother.
Shane smiled, his eyes, the same shining shade of amber, lighting up as he took in Alana's plain, empire dress. "You look marvelous," Shane laughed hugging his sister, "Doesn't she look great, Grant?" Alana's smile shook a little as she glanced over to see Grant just walking in. His darker shade of blonde much messier than his brother's, but the suit helped him fit in.
The shades of blue didn't even look at Alana's dress, they just stared at her. Her mouth. Her laugh. The curve in her neck. Grant pursed his lips into an agreeing smile, not reaching his eyes as he looked at his future sister-in-law.
Alana smiled at him much the same way, her dark eyes searching his for something, but her mother immediately pulled her away.
"Come on now, you boys aren't supposed to see the bride. It's bad luck," Alana's mother said, not really meaning it. She wanted everyone to see her daughter.
"Mom, I think Maria needs you. She said something about flowers," Shane nodded out the door towards where Alana's cousin was leading the way in setting-up the reception, a self-appointed role.
Alana's mother rolled her eyes, "I'll be right back hon," she patted Alana's shoulder. Alana looked in the mirror, still seeing Grant's looming figure in the doorway. Shane following his mother outside, the door clipped shut.
"I came to get the rings. Mark said you had them," Grant's low voice sent a swift shake down Alana's spine, like a chill in the wind had crept in, as he pursed his lips at her in the mirror.
Alana nodded, not really replying, but getting up, swiftly knocking over the stool she had been on. She laughed, anxiously, her heart pulling at her, as she stumbled picking it up. Grant smiled for once.
"Here," Alana shook herself, turning around with the rings. Grant sauntered to her, trying to appear relaxed, but Alana could see his eyes darting to her face pleading. "You know I thought Bailey was going to hold the rings," Alana said good-humoredly, trying to be friendly to her future brother.
"Yeah, well if you want them to be lost in a matter of seconds, Bailey is your guy." Grant took the rings from her, his eyes searching into hers, "Besides I'm the best man, I think the job falls to me, at least, according to my mother it does."
Alana bit her lip, wanting to answer, but she just pursed her lips into a tight smile again, and sat down, again, on the stool, forcing herself to not look at Grant in the mirror.
Grant watched her, picturing her long soft hair delicately falling from the spirals that wound around her head, and rushing down her spine. Her laughing, pulling its length to one side as she thought. The line of her neck, with one mole just on the top of her right shoulder, the feel of her neck on his lips.
He wanted to reach out and brush for a moment the mole that sat just there. He wanted to fall down to his knees and pull her up into his lap once again, but he couldn't forget Mark.
"She's the one, Grant," Mark grinned at him, that goofy, laughing grin, as if nothing of the world ever really effected him. He had said that two years ago, smiling at his little brother. "She's the one." Alana.
Grant could still remember the first time Mark brought her home. It had taken nearly a year of their father pestering him, begging him to invite the damned girl over to dinner. So Mark did, and when she walked in, Grant felt his throat tighten.
She wasn't perfect in the way that would be normally considered, but god did she shine. Her hair, short at the time, flopped in her face when she laughed. She was terrified of their family. Shy as shy could be, but she laughed, and Grant just couldn't help it. All he wanted to do was make her laugh.
Mark held her hand that night, helping her when she forgot she was supposed to talk. Their parents didn't like her very much, too shy, too uncomfortable. Grant couldn't believe they could see that smile, that laugh, the way her eyes shined behind her hair, and not think her fantastic.
Grant laid awake at night the rest of the week, trying to force his brother's girlfriend out of his head. She was older than him, a senior to his sophomore. She had Mark, and Mark was the best guy anyone could know. Smart, funny, forever sweet, that's how everyone knew him, and now he had her.
"She's the one." Grant smiled again, feeling like his knees would collapse. "So are you ready?" Grant asked, not wanting to leave. Now standing so close he forgot to be weary of getting sucked in. Alana bit her lip again, meeting his eye in the mirror.
"As ready as five years can make me," she looked at him, knowing this was wrong. That he shouldn't have been there.
"Four and a half really," Grant corrected pressing his lips together.
There had been a short time when Mark and Alana weren't together. Where a fight had erupted that it was too big to conquer.
"Yeah, and a half," Alana bit her lower lip again looking down at the pile of stuff in front of her. The mole glaring at Grant, daring him to touch it again.
"You think we made the right choice?" Grant said, suddenly, his words unable to stay in.
"And a half" had probably been the best part of his life in the past five years. About a year and a half ago Mark and Alana erupted and fell a part. Alana refused to see Mark, and Mark, in his great flaw, refused to see Alana as well.
Grant watched his brother, as he wasted himself, crying and furious all at once. He kept watching his brother pace the hall in their shared apartment, as Grant would head out. Mark was an idiot. The more he paced and swore, the more idiotic he became.
On his way to class, he passed by Alana's house everyday. Everyday Grant searched for her. He knew the rules. He wasn't supposed to go near her, but god, he knew her smell almost as well as Mark, and he was starting to realize that he missed it desperately. One day, he saw her. Alana's hair stuffed inside a hood, making its way down the front stairs. Grant stopped, watching her for a moment, and, without thinking, called out.
Alana jumped, tripping over the wet stairs, stumbling down to hit her face. Grant swore loudly, bounding over to her, across the short front lot.
"You fucking Dillon boys, so fucking clueless," Alana swore some more as she wiped the dirt off of her face and into the small cuts.
"Are you okay?" Grant begged, his eyes pleading. Alana just shook her head trying to furiously stand up, her anger waning as her ankle rocked unsteady.
"Come on," Alana sighed waving him closer so she could use him for support. "I'll let you make me some tea." And they hobbled up the stairs.
Grant continued to return, checking in on her, making her tea, making her laugh. Her eyes began to light up again.
"You know, you probably shouldn't be here. You would get into so much shit if your mom found out," Alana laughed one night. Sitting on the couch, running her hand absentmindedly through Grant's thick mass of hair. Carelessly tracing the line of his ear with her thumb as he sat at her feet.
"Don't you mean, if my brother found out," Grant quirked his brow, leaning against her knees, feeling the warmth of her seep through his shirt, the sweet smell of her making him dizzy.
"Eh, well either way," Alana laughed out loud, bending over to smile into his eyes. The light hit the amber in her eyes matching his smile. And for a moment they hesitated like that. Just for a moment, and that was all it took. Grant was lost. All the fighting he had been doing with himself, just fell to hell. Turning around on his knees, he reached up to the couch where Alana sat. Her delicate figure slowly moved towards him without recognizing the motion.
She bit her lip, pulling her long hair to the side. It felt so strange, both of them staring at each other like that. Slowly Grant touched her face with the palm of his hand. He hesitated again, the moment pulling at everything in his chest, and despite her thoughts and his colliding into some sort of scarey abyss, she kissed him.
A dizzy feeling overwhelmed them that neither knew existed. A single touch filled with something so close to love that it burned through them with fervent desperation. Grant pulled her from the couch into his lap and before they knew it he was on top of her, and everything that was boundaries, that was "like a sister," that was "my big brother's ex-girlfriend," came and went for the night, and then the next, and a month passed.
Whispering feelings of guilt would creep up into Grant as he crept into his apartment at night. Mark sitting in the living room, watching TV. "Where have you been, man?" Grant burnt red, the feeling eating at him that he was going against all the laws of nature. Everything right and moral that he had known had left for a moment when it came to Alana.
Alana was marvelous. She shined when she smiled at him, laughing when he kissed her shoulder from behind. The days were bright and quiet and smooth, ever flowing into the next. Grant laughed with her, kissing her fervently at night, holding her to him, knowing it was only going to last so long.
The guilt grew, and Alana felt it too. Moments when she would stop and look at him in the daylight, he could tell she was looking for Mark. They fit so well, but nothing was quite the same as it had been for them.
"She's the one." The phrase weighed on him the more he held onto her, his grip tightening on her sweater.
Then that one day came, that one day when he came back to his apartment and found Mark gone. Mark was allowed to leave like any normal adult, but today something in him knew his time was up.
His brother called him an hour later to tell him he was engaged, laughing in the way only Alana brought out. Perfectly ecstatic as only Alana could do.
She was the one, but not for him. For Mark. Grant knew with all his brother heart deserved the absolute best. And she was that, the best.
That night they went out to drinks and everyone was so happy, swearing they knew Alana and Mark would get back together. Everyone, including Grant's mother, who was so thrilled at the prospect of grandchildren, she didn't care that Alana wasn't her favorite.
Grant couldn't look at her that night, nor the next few. She would come over to their apartment, Mark begging her to spend the night, but she wouldn't. She would just look at Grant, sad and guilty.
"I'm sorry," she said always with her eyes, "but he's the one. You always knew that."
Grant stared at her now, her mouth pressed together, looking at him with sad eyes. "You think we made the right choice?" The question hung in the air helplessly waiting for something to happen. Anything. A hesitation, again. Alana's amber eyes closed, savoring the sound of his voice, for a moment going back to when he kissed her shoulder in the dark.
"Grant," her words broke the room. Grant, eyes desperate and pleading, kneeled down next to her. Looking up as she turned to face him. "I will always care about you." Grant pressed his lips together nodding, feeling the weight of his heart sink further in his chest. "But I can't keep looking at you and thinking of him." She touched his face gently with both of her hands, one finding its way into his mess of hair. "I love Mark," tears started to glint in her eyes, "I will always love Mark."
Grant looked down at his feet, holding back all the things that had been haunting him for months. "He's the one," his voice vibrated through them with the acknowledged feeling of absolute truth.
"Yes," she smiled, a mix between a laugh and a sob escaping as she looked down at him. "He's the one, Grant."
Grant smiled at her, touching her face with the back of his hand, slowly standing up with her. "Then I'm happy for you." Alana bit her lip playing with the side of her dress.
"Alana," her mother called from outside. "Come on, we have to start lining up." Her mother beckoned, grinning with happy tears from the doorway. The door clipped shut behind her.
Alana looked at Grant, taking in a deep breath as she turned away to take her veil. Grant smiled down, as she shook. "Too much for one day, huh?" Grant quirked his brow at her, moving away, bowing out.
"You could say that," Alana's laughter again a mix between a sob.
"Come on," Grant offered her his arm, "It's time to go see Mark."
Alana looked at his arm, then up at him. Hesitation, and with one quick moment of release she kissed him one last time. The dizzying feeling there, but the finality in it pure. Alana tilted her head. Smiling ruefully, she walked away.
Grant, for a moment, almost reached out to her. Almost went out to touch her again, pulling her back to him like those nights before, but then, as he followed her to the door, the light outside brought him in. And the perfect Northwest summer took him, as Alana's mom placed the veil on top of her daughter's delicate head. Grant smiled again, the light reaching his eyes.
"She's the one," he nodded to himself. "She will always be the goddamned one."