Happily Ever After, The End

The bodice of the dress was made from ivory colored satin, while the turtleneck collar that extended from the top of her bust to around her nape was of a baby pink, cherry blossom patterned, lace material. Below her waist, the gown fanned out in layers of white chiffon, accentuating the dip of her waist further. Cindy had been unsure about the sleeveless aspect of the frock (seeing as she considered herself to have rather broad shoulders for a girl), but was quite happy that her sister had pushed and convinced her that it would look stunning nonetheless.

Looking in front of the mirror, with her veil pushed back and a bouquet of pink and blue flowers in her hands, she just couldn’t quite believe that it was really her staring back.

“You look stunning, Sis!” Rory shouted, on the edge of tearing up as she stared awestruck at her older sister’s appearance. The make-up was minimal—making Cindy’s cerulean orbs the center of attraction—and suited the older girl perfectly. The white heeled Mary Janes that peeked out form the bottom of the dress’s hemline gave her just the perfect amount of height to make look model-esque.

The older of the two blushed. She was unable to hide her agreement despite being sheepish about it.

“Henri is going to have a conniption at the altar!” Cindy blushed. She threatened to throw the flowers in her hands in Rory’s general direction after the ceremony. All the younger girl did was laugh at her sister’s embarrassment.

“Mom is going to cry the moment she sees you, you know that? And, oh my gosh, Bella and Ariel are going to have a cow! Do you realize exactly how drop dead gorgeous you are right now?!”

Her blonde strands were curled and swept to the left by a cherry blossom hair pin (something old from her childhood that she and Rory had found rummaging through the attic), stopping a few centimeters above her shoulders with just a few loose strands to frame her face on the right. The only jewelry she wore hung around her neck—at the center of her baby pink choker. It was her father’s wedding ring (something borrowed) and the only thing that her family had left of him.

Cindy’s fingers traced the circumference of the silver band, certain that Rory hadn’t missed the action either. Her baby sister walked up to her then, standing just beside her with a sad smile before she spoke.

“He’d probably sweep you off of your feet and hide you away to make sure Henri would never get to you.”

The sad smile spread across Cindy’s face too, positive that Rory’s words rang true.

“He probably would have walked you down the aisle too though, the moment he saw how sad you were without your boyfriend.”

“Would have been the same for you.” She responded. “Philip would have probably had it worse, major flirt that he is.”

Rory’s giggle was soft, but it acknowledged the truth in Cindy’s statement.

“Dad would have probably brought a guard dog just to scare him off, and then he’d get annoyed about how that idea would fail because Nate could probably cuddle anything into submission.”

Cindy took her sister’s hand and placed Rory’s fingers atop the band beside her own. Both of them closed their eyes as they released a silent prayer—asking for their father to send them a small of his approval, his presence. This was a monumental step in Cindy’s life, and the older daughter felt like she really needed her father to be there for her.

When the moment passed, they opened their eyes with small smiles and stared into mirroring crystalline irises before nodding and releasing a short laugh. It reminded them of their childish antics—holding onto that very same ring and telling their dad stories, as if it were an actual medium to his spirit. Their mother had done it on occasion with them too (and on her own when she thought no one was looking).

“We’re not done yet, you know.” Rory suddenly stated. “We’ve still got something new to cover.”

She blushed. This was exactly the reason why she had asked the other members of the bridal party to leave (aside from her mother who had left on the account that she was already going to cry and she didn’t need to ruin her make-up). Was it wrong for her to have planned out her wedding at a young age? They’d teased her enough about it—thank you. She didn’t need them making a big fuss and teasing her about following the traditional “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” rhyme.

God knew how much trouble she’d gotten from Henri about it.

Rory walked over to the bed and picked up a small velvet box. It housed her engagement ring. The silver band that Henri had asked the jeweler’s to custom make had fit Cindy’s finger perfectly. The sapphire blue gem in the center glimmered under the light like her eyes, while in the dark it was the deep color that oddly reminded her of the vast ocean. She had shed quite the bucket load of tears the moment it was presented to her, and it took her a couple of days to stop staring at it too—as if she was afraid that it would suddenly disappear along with the warm body that had slept beside her.

Had it really been ten months since Henri had proposed? It seemed just like yesterday.

“You ready?” Rory asked, setting aside the case as Cindy slid the piece of jewelry into her finger. In a couple of minutes, another ring would join it. She could barely believe it.

“As ready as I’ll ever be.”

~  ~  ~

Henri was pretty sure that his groomsmen included Eric and Philip, while Adam, of course, dutifully played the role of his best man. Why Cindy’s bridesmaids were suddenly invading his suite was unknown to him. Bella and Ariel had just burst in with pouting faces and explanations of “We got kicked out” before deciding to make themselves comfortable. The ravenette actually felt one of his nerves swell up. He had half a mind to throw them back out into the hallway, and was wondering he wasn’t already doing so.

“—And man did she look beautiful! Adam, she looked like a princess out of a fairytale! Bella, show them the picture, come on!” Oh, right, because Ariel was providing good commentary on Cindy’s very secretive preparations in revenge for getting booted.

Henri expectantly turned to his fiancé’s best friend, but saw that Bella did not seem to the least bit interested in participating in Ariel’s vengeance. If anything, she was glaring at the redheaded woman.

“Do you really want to make her cry on the day of her wedding?” Ariel raised a brow, and Bella sighed as she realized that she probably needed to clear that up. Cindy was definitely going to cry on her wedding day. “Fine, do you want Cindy to cry because she’s upset on the day of her wedding?”

“But, but—!” Bella was the one to inquisitively look at her friend this time. The redhead deflated almost immediately. “Okay, okay, I get it! No more bride spoiling to the groom.”

Okay, now Henri didn’t know why he wasn’t throwing them out yet.

Deciding to leave the troublesome women to Adam, Eric, and Philip, he turned around and gave himself one last lookover at the mirror. It wasn’t like he had a say on his suit (Cindy had gone to all his fittings and made sure that it was perfect—something Henri protested seeing as he was never allowed to participate during her trips to the bridal store) or had any complaints. But he did wonder if Cindy was going to have a fit at the fact that he hadn’t styled his hair at all. It was it’s typical black and down self.

The three-piece suit had a black jacket with a matching pair of black slacks. The vest inside was a navy blue color lined with a more sky blue-ish shade on the outside, and had buttons on the outside. Henri had chosen to leave his jacket open despite Eric’s earlier protests to have it closed. Adam had fixed his matching light blue tie and finished everything off by adjusting the collar of his white button-up shirt. Henri wasn’t quite sure what Cindy saw when she looked at him in it, but by the way her eyes sparkled during the fittings made him think that it suited him rather well.

“So, Henri, have you and Cindy discussed having kids yet?”

There was a resounding thump that followed Philip’s question, but Henri coolly turned around and shrugged. It wasn’t like they were stupid to not have considered it, they had agreed to accept what came if something decided to.

“Cindy obviously wants to though, right?” Ariel piped up. “I mean, my younger sisters are eleven now, but Cindy still spoils them rotten with candy. You can just sort of imagine her as a doting mother, you know?”

“I think Cindy would be strict when she needs to be though.” Eric added. “Especially if they end up loving junk food as much as Henri does, or as stubborn as both of them combined. She’d probably make sure they weren’t bratty.”

“Whereas Henri would probably go running out the door the moment the baby started crying.” He glared at Bella for the comment, but didn’t really fine much offense in it. He knew that his friends were teasing him, trying to get him to speak more about his thoughts on his and Cindy’s maybe future children, but it wasn’t going to work.

“I’m pretty sure they’ll end up cute though.” Adam suddenly stated, offering his two-cents and successfully making Henry tinge a light a pink. “I mean, a daughter that looks like Cindy? She’ll have Henri wrapped around her little finger.”

Philip was just about to open his mouth again when a knock echoed inside the suite.

Rory’s head popped through the open door with a teary smile plastered on her face, Philip whistled at her appearance, clearly appreciating the maid of honor’s dress that Cindy had picked out for her. Rory didn’t react. Her blue orbs were directed at him, as if scrutinizing him for the last time—making sure that he really was worthy to be called Cindy’s future husband. He offered her a small smile of assurance (one that Ariel seemed to over react seeing as she almost fell of the couch) before she returned it with one of her own.

“She’s ready for you.”

“Finally!” Philip shouted, standing from his seat with Ariel hot on his heels. “We can get this wedding started!”

Rory chuckled at her boyfriend’s antics before exiting the room with Ariel and Bella in tow. The men stayed inside the suite for a couple of moments more, all eyes trained on Henri and conveying different emotions. Adam’s pride and happiness, Eric’s adoration, and Philip’s excitement—he allowed himself a sigh of relief and a deep breath.

“Let’s go.” He stated bravely. “I’ve gotta get married.”

~  ~  ~

The wedding was a rush of wide smiles and silent tears. Henri’s mind had been reeling with curiosity about how he had gotten his beautiful bride to say yes, while Cindy’s heart felt like it was on could nine as butterflies fluttered inside her stomach and filled her with immense happiness.

From start to end, it had been nothing but perfect.

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