Savannah's dream was about to come true; the moment she had been waiting for of becoming Mrs. McWhite. Her mind was blocked from all minor things not pertaining to the wedding, which included her sister's brokenness. The ceremony would begin around noon; allowing sufficient time to celebrate before their five o'clock flight to the Bahamas.
Noelia was dressed and ready, adorned with a beautiful ruby red bridesmaid dress. It was simple and strapless, accentuating her lovely figure. Savannah helped style her hair into a messy bun, with strands flowing around her face and Angel Breathe flowers tucked in. Her makeup was natural, only using a small hint of blush and soft red lipstick.
"You look so pretty Noelia! I can't believe my sister is an adult," gasped Savannah.
"And I can't believe my big sister is getting married," she whimpered as they hugged.
Savannah was lovely in her strapless white gown. Her hair was picked up half way, falling in soft ringlets down her back. Also adorned with tiny white flowers and red lips.
It was just about time to start, Ethan was already by the gazebo with the Pastor, and all the guests were seated. While Kate examined her daughter, making sure everything was in its place, Noelia came down stairs to find Evan and happily get this over with.
Evan stared at Noelia; once she stood by his side, her face so serious giving him fake smiles. As they both looked forward he thought it an opportune moment to speak.
"What's going on Noa? Since I've got here, you've been ignoring me. I thought you, of all people, would be thrilled to see me. We haven't even had a chance to talk at all…like old times."
"You said so yourself, we've both grown up," she coldly responded.
"Well, I know this isn't like you…So what did I do?"
Noelia turned to look him straight in the eyes and see if he was serious. She guessed that he didn't have a clue about her feelings for him. How could he, she's never spoken of them. She had only hoped for him to want her, but that wasn't possible, he wanted Vicki. Evan perceived that there was something she wanted to say, but seemed too afraid to share it.
"You did nothing, I guess I'm just stressed out with this whole wedding thing," she admitted.
Evan didn't buy it. If it wasn't because the music had already started, which meant they needed to go, he would have persisted a little longer. When he grabbed her hand to place it around his arm, he couldn't help feel the warmth and softness of her palm and fingers. Leaving his hand upon hers still, Noelia felt like a helpless bird, on her master's arm. When set free, she would be that faithful one to return to him, too scared of the world.
Evan and Noelia noticed the magnetic tension between their touch. This triggered some bizarre thoughts in his mind that he never had entertained before. Till this moment Evan had admitted to Noelia's change, but he hadn't admitted to his changed feelings for her.
As they walked down the aisle, Evan tried his hardest to smile, as though he weren't struggling with the greatest confusion he could have ever brought upon himself. He looked at Victoria, wondering if he had made the right choice in staying because of her. He admired her intelligence and set of goals. She was his first serious relationship, even though she pursued him. But when he thought about Noelia, he was convinced that his feelings for her were of a special friendship. A friendship he wouldn't throw away for anything or anyone.
"Now she's a stunning seventeen year old woman, she could have any guy, and they would be more than blessed to be with her," he thought. "What could I possibly have to offer her?"
He shook his head from the nonsense that was impairing his right judgment.
It was a spectacular ceremony. Kate did the honors of walking her daughter down the aisle, since her father had walked out on them when she was a baby. It was now time for lunch and plenty of dancing.
Vicki joined Evan at the wedding party table; however, for the first time he wished she hadn't. He was contemplating how he could get alone with Noelia to talk. His plans were interrupted when he witnessed Savannah's friend Camry, introduce a young fellow to Noelia. Surprised by the jealousy that boiled inside, he couldn't force himself to look away.
Unfortunately, it was also affecting his hearing, for Vicki had been calling him a couple of times. Puzzled by his focus elsewhere, she tried to follow where his eyes lay. To her disappointment, they led to a flirty young pair as they headed towards the dance floor.
Unsure of what to say, Vicki wanted to hear him confirm that everything was alright and that he was just watching out for Noelia like a good brother-in-law would. If only Evan hadn't displayed such jealousy all over his face, she would have believed him.
"I'll be right back," Vicki excused herself. Evan just gave half a smile. His arms were crossed, his heart heavy and his stare unfriendly towards the gentleman swaying with Noelia. He too, wanted to be the one to put a smile on her face, and delight in each other's company, in a way better than before.
By the end of the song, Evan had already walked up to the couple.
"Excuse me, but I think it's only fitting that the best man and maid of honor have a dance as well," he interrupted.
Ryan bowed his head in agreement as he handed Noelia over to him.
Tough skinned and guard up, Noelia remained poised and indifferent. Evan placed his shaky warm hand on her bare back. His other hand clasped into hers; he was sure this felt right and natural. At first her other hand lay stiff on his shoulder, but then he sensed her ease up.
"You can pretend all you want, but you forget I can read you like no one else," he stated.
"Apparently you can't, or not as well anymore."
"I really didn't expect for us to get off on the wrong foot."
"I don't know what you're talking about. Why do you insist that something's wrong?" she asked.
Vicki came back from inside the house, alarmed at the sight of Evan and Noelia dancing. She continued over to her seat as though this wasn't tormenting her the slightest bit. She couldn't resist the torture, as she watched them like a hawk.
"How long have you and Vicki been dating? You never mentioned her in your letters," Noelia asked casually.
That question was reason enough to convince Evan of her distance and behavior.
"A little less than a year," he said with a lump in his throat.
"Is that why you stayed? Or did you even have an internship?"
"Both, she arranged for the opportunity of me getting that internship. That's basically how we met."
"Do you love her?"
Noelia asked that question without thinking it through. She was afraid of hearing the answer that would shatter her heart forever, but she needed to know. This question caused him to search his heart for his true feelings for both women. Vicki he knew, but Noelia had grown into her own person, a person he felt enticed to get to know again. In that instance he was forced to think about the future, what would be the outcome of his actions in these next days … next hours.
Evan dared look straight into Noelia's eyes and whispered, "I don't know."
An invisible force had them gravitate towards one another. Selfishly caught in the moment and unwilling to escape; Evan risked to steal a kiss. Noelia was terrified, not wanting him to see inside and know how much she truly loved him. But she had spent years of dreaming of their first kiss, and she wasn't going to waste another second with her foolishness.
They stopped dancing. Noelia gave in to her heart's voice and responded back in nurturing devotion. Unfortunately, not everyone was accepting of their public display of affection.
Savannah and Ethan's jaws were floored, unable to grasp this image or how to react. Savannah's shock shifted into a sympathetic smile; realizing the hidden feelings that were now clearly displayed.
Vicki outraged, ran off out of the house. She didn't know if she should pack her bags and leave or if she should wait for Evan in his old room. Kate was unaware of what was going on; she came out of the kitchen with some more desserts. Setting them on the table Savannah tugged on her mother's arm.
"Mom, did you know about this?"
"Oh dear..." Kate didn't think this was the best time or place for that to happen, but it was out of her control.
Evan and Noelia finally pulled away. Not wanting to commit to the responsibility of explanations to anyone, they kept their eyes fixed on each other. Feeling a connection they never dreamt of before.
"Why didn't you ever tell me...?" Evan whispered.
"It's not something you can really say on a simple card or quick phone call."
"I feel so stupid for not even acknowledging the possibility and showing up with my girlfriend...that I failed to ever mention."
"Yeah, why didn't you?"
"I don't know... I think I was secretly scared of ruining your image of me. It's like you thought I was the perfect guy."
"I still do... but what now? What about Victoria?"
"I know I need to fix this... I'm just not ready to hurt her feelings. But I guess I already failed with that."
Evan began to look around, catching a few pairs of eyes staring back. How was he going to explain what he had just done? Was he going to feel relief or regret? How could he face Vicki without looking like a jerk? And what would be the next step with Noelia?