“Mom, does this dress make me look fat?” I asked sheepishly while standing in front of the full-length mirror.
“That’s absurd, dear. You look absolutely stunning!” She cooed while walking over to me to place my vail over my head.
“Gosh, I’m so nervous. I hope I don’t puke all over my dress!” I chuckle while putting last minute touches to my makeup.
“Well of course you’re nervous, every girl is nervous on their wedding day. You just have to swallow those butterflies and walk with your head held high. Try not to look down a lot or you will trip over your feet and that would be funny and embarrassing.” My mom laughed.
My eyes widened in fear. “You think I’ll trip over my feet!”
“Honey, I was only kidding. You will be great! Don’t sweat it.”
My mom turned me around to face her and she placed both of her soft hands against my cheeks, which instantly warmed at her touch.
“I love you sweetie. You’re the most beautiful bride to ever walk down an aisle, after me that is.” She grinned. “No matter what happens out there, you are getting married to an amazing guy and you deserve every ounce of happiness you’re feeling right now.”
My eyes began to water as I embraced my mom in a long hug. “Thanks mom.”
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. “Sissy, it’s time! Get your butt out here.”
“Oh Riley, relax. We’re coming!” My mom laughed while spraying my hair with hairspray a couple more times.
“Yes mam!” Riley saluted as he left and went back to the main room.
Both my mom and I rolled our eyes and smiled as we made our way down the stairs.
“Hey pumpkin! You look beautiful!” My dad smiled as he engulfed me in a hug.
“Thanks dad! Ready to give me away?” I grinned.
“Not in a million years, but if I have to, I suppose Landon is a pretty great guy to give you away to.” He chuckled.
I smiled back and grabbed my bouquet of white and light pink lilies that matched my cream-colored gown perfectly.
The music began playing softly, and I watched as Tori and Riley walked down the aisle first. Tori’s smile said it all as she clutched Riley’s arm and I smiled when I noticed the little diamond ring resting upon her left ring finger.
Once they reached the alter, it was my turn. I took in a deep breath and clung to my father’s right arm for dear life as we slowly made our way down the aisle after my baby cousin, who was our flower girl.
Looking up I saw his beautiful face waiting for me. He never looked better than he has right now in his perfect tuxedo. His brown hair was styled to perfection and his pearly white smile spoke volumes on how he was feeling. I grinned at him as we made eye contact and I swear I saw a glint of a tear in his eyes.
My emotions were running wild and I felt like I was going to empty the contents of my stomach at any moment.
We finally reached the alter.
“Who gives this bride away to this groom?” The old man spoke.
“I do.” My father proudly announced as he took my hand and placed it into Landon’s.
I gave him a kiss on the cheek before he sat down next to my mom, wrapping her into his arms.
While the old man spoke, I looked at Landon who discreetly stuck his tongue out at me. I silently giggled and rubbed my thumb against his, smiling at our conjoined hands.
He mouthed the words “It’s you” before the old man was finished with his opening speech and I mouthed them right back to him.
“Do you, Olivia Harper, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband? To have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer or for poor, in sickness and in health, til death do you part?”
I looked into Landon’s eyes as a tear shed from my own. “I do.”
“And do you, Landon Cavalier, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife? To have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer or for poor, in sickness and in health, til death do you part?”
Landon showed his perfect white smile again and started to speak. “I... I...”
I looked at him questioningly and silently started to panic.
All of a sudden, the sun light shining through the church windows went dark and Landon began convulsing as his body fell to the floor.
“No! Landon!” I screamed as I rushed to his side.
“Somebody help! Call 911!” I screamed louder, but nobody would move. It was as if every single person sitting inside the church turned into a statue.
“Please! Somebody! Mom, dad!” I yelled again, but both of them were no longer sitting in their spots.
Tears started pouring from my eyes as I helplessly watched Landon seize next to me.
“Landon... please... stop!” I cried, holding his shaking body in my arms tightly.
Finally, he stopped and suddenly we were not in the church anymore, we were in the same hospital and Riley, Tori and Claire were all standing around Landon’s bed with sad expressions on their faces. Landon was in his hospital gown and I was still in my cream-colored wedding dress.
That is when the doctor spoke. “Time of death: 1:45pm.”
“NO!” I screamed again, and suddenly I felt Tori grabbing my shoulders trying to shake me.
“No, Landon... no!”
“DAMMIT OLIVIA WAKE UP!”
Suddenly my eyes popped open and I sat up in bed with my heart racing and my palms sweaty. I began crying almost instantly and Tori wrapped her arms around me protectively.
“It’s okay, Liv. It was just a bad dream.” She tried to sooth.
My entire body was shaking with each breath that I took. I clung to Tori and allowed her to comfort me.
“It... It felt so real.” I hiccupped.
“I know. I’m so sorry.” She frowned.
“You’re wrong though, Tor. It wasn’t a dream... it was reality.” I said softly.
She squeezed me tighter and bent over to turn the bedside table light on. She then got up and went to the mini-fridge to pull out a water bottle.
“Here, drink some of this.”
“Thanks” I mumbled.
I quenched my thirst and hydrated my dry lips then placed the water bottle down.
“Do you wanna talk about it?” Tori asked.
“No.” I stated.
“You’ve been having these nightmares for the last couple of nights Liv. Maybe you need to go talk to somebody.” She suggested.
“What? A therapist? Some old women with a clipboard writing down everything I say and judging me. Calling me crazy?” I accused.
“No, someone who will listen to everything that’s bottled up inside of you and give you some real, medical advice. Maybe even give you some medication to help you cope.” She said wearily.
“I don’t want to take any stupid medication while I’m pregnant. I don’t want to put the baby’s life at risk.”
“Liv, the doctor will decide which medication is safe for the baby. I think it will really help you.”
“I don’t know... maybe.”
“Riley and I will help you find a local therapist and we will take you anytime you want to go.” She smiled.
“I’ll think about it...Goodnight Tori.” I turned the light off and laid back down.
A therapist? Has it finally come to this being the only way out of my emotional state? The therapist at the facility I once went to when my mom died really did help me through a lot of the crap I was dealing with. I rather wished I could talk with her again, since she already knew my past.
I heard the faint breathing of Tori and realized that she already fell back asleep.
I grabbed my phone from the bedside table and texted the one person who I needed to talk to.
Riley: Hey, what are u doing up?
Olivia: Can’t sleep. Can we talk?
Riley: Sure, meet me out in the schoolyard.
Olivia: Be there in 5.
“So, another nightmare?” Riley asked as he sat on the top of the picnic table.
“Yep.” I replied, sitting down next to him.
“What was it about this time?” He asked.
“Landon and I were at the church getting married. Everyone was there, even... mom.” I sniffled.
“Oh Olivia, I’m sorry.” He wrapped his right arm around my shoulders.
“But then, just as Landon was saying I do, he started seizing... next thing I know, we’re in the hospital again.”
“Man, these nightmares are becoming more and more regular.” He confessed.
“I know... they really scare me Rie.”
“I um... sometimes have nightmares too.”
My head whipped up to look at him. “You do?”
“Yeah... about the car accident. I still can’t shake them. Each one Landon is screaming ‘It’s all your fault!’ right before I wake up yelling.”
I watched my brother frown and I felt so bad. This hasn’t just been affecting me, but it’s been affecting him too. I’ve been so caught up in myself, I hadn’t even noticed. Watching him now, with the moonlight radiating off his skin, I see the dark circles under his eyes and the paleness to his complexion.
“Maybe... maybe we should go together.” I say.
“To the... therapist.”
Riley looked at me and took a deep breath. “I suppose you’re right. Maybe we should.”
I smiled up at him and he smiled back pulling me in for a side-hug.
“Oh, there’s one more thing I wanted to talk to you about...” I said while sitting up straight on the picnic table.
“It’s about... Noah.”
Riley looked at me with a cold expression, but then as he noticed my sincerity his face relaxed.
“What about him?”
“What really happened? Noah told me that he never wanted me to get an abortion, and that he suggested adoption or keeping the baby. But for some reason I don’t believe him. I remember him telling me that he wanted nothing to do with me. I just can’t quite get everything right in my head, so I was wondering if maybe you knew any other details about it.”
Riley looked down at his hands and fumbled with the end of his shirt.
“Well, I remember you crying a lot. I remember dad freaking out when he found out you were pregnant. I remember him yelling at first, saying you wouldn’t finish school and that this would ruin your future... something along those lines. Then I remember sitting in your room with you when you called Noah and you only said a few words to him before you hung up the phone on him.”
“Wait, I hung up the phone on him?” I asked, not fully believing.
“Yeah, I remember hearing him still talking as you pulled the phone away from your ear. Then you said you were going to his place to talk to him face to face. I remember you looking angry.”
I took in Riley’s words and tried to think back to that night, but I couldn’t remember what he was telling me and I don’t know why.
“Then again, you probably don’t remember from the alcohol you drank.” He stated which made my stomach churn.
“I... I was drunk?” I asked trying for the life of me to remember that night.
“Yes. You said you were going to talk to Landon so I drove you over to his house and stayed in the car while you went inside. I should have known that was a bad idea on my part. It was only about six years after mom died and you were doing so good after you got back from the facility, but I don’t know. You just decided to drink after you found out you were pregnant. You just didn’t tell anyone you were drinking until we figured it out by your behavior.”
After Riley explained, it was as if all the memories of that night came flooding back to me.
“So I went to Noah’s and basically told him that I couldn’t have this baby because we were too young... and dad told me it would ruin my life. I guess I believed him. So, the argument I had with Noah is what lead me to getting the abortion...”
“Yeah I would assume so. Then once you came out and got back in the car you were crying and you told me to take you over to Landon’s house where you spent the night.” Riley said while turning towards me on the picnic table.
“That’s right... then the next morning that’s when Landon and I... well, you know.” My heart wrenched at the thought of Landon and I’s first kiss.
“Yeah that’s what you told me. You also said that morning is when you told Landon how awful Noah was to you and that’s when he beat up Noah the next day at school.”
Suddenly everything made sense. I made up the story of Noah telling me to abort the baby because I was drunk and the following days after I didn’t want people to know that he wanted me to keep the baby... because I didn’t want to keep the baby. I completely turned Noah into the bad guy and I didn’t even talk to him about it after the fact.
“I’m such a terrible person.” I sobbed.
“Hey...” Riley put his arm back around my shoulders. “No you’re not. You were just young and scared and didn’t know how to deal with all the emotions you were feeling. Deep down you felt that an abortion was your best option at the time and you don’t need to feel bad about that. Maybe you could’ve handled things better with Noah, but I’m sure if you explain your side and apologize he will forgive you.”
“But... what if he does forgive me? What if he thinks this is me wanting to get back together? I can’t Riley... I just can’t. I don’t want to have this conversation with him.”
I wiped a tear away and sighed.
“I know Olivia. But I think you should have this conversation with him. You need to find out what all was said during your argument and you need to at least get closure on the whole situation. You will feel better after, trust me.”
“O-Okay... then after I do that, we can start therapy?” I asked with tears still visible in my eyes.
“Of course, Liv. Anything will help. We both need it.” He confessed.
“Thank you for talking with me about this... and sorry for keeping you up so late.” I smiled.
“It’s alright, I was playing Call of duty anyways. Crap, it’s after three in the morning though... we should go get some sleep.”
“Ditto.” I gave Riley a hug and then walked back to Tori’s dorm room.
Tori was still sleeping peacefully on her side of the futon so I quietly closed the door and got back into bed.
“Have a nice talk with Riley?” Tori suddenly asked, scaring me in the process and making me jump.
“Dammit Tor, you can’t do that! And yes...” I chuckled.