To risk all

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Chapter 14

A year later…

“Eddie!” Clara exclaimed, waving at him. “But where were you? We’re late because of you!”

Edward ascended the stone staircase and came near the young woman, completely out of breath. She pulled him by the arm and they began to run toward the large oak door of the courthouse where they were eager to enter. Jeremy was waiting inside. He seemed relieved when he saw them as they ran toward him. He took Clara’s hand and placed a quick kiss on her cheek.

“Come on,” he said.

He let them in a scoot corridor and finally returned to Thomas who was waiting, walking around.

“Is everything okay?” she asked him.

“Very nervous, but I’ll survive.”

“Good,” Edward answered.

They entered the great hall. A tall man quietly talk to Thomas, dragging him a little behind. The young man’s face became a little pale, accentuating the dark circles under his eyes.

“Is he okay?” Clara asked to Jeremy.

“I think he was sick several times since this morning.”

“And where is she?”

“In the small room on your right,” the tall man replied, giving a brief moment for Thomas to breathe quietly.

She gave him a little nod.

“Thank you.”

She ran out to join Mary. The young woman stood before a large mirror. She wasn’t in better shape than her fiancé. Her makeup was a disaster. She had been crying, which had been spilled down her cheeks. In a mechanical gesture, she turned slowly toward Clara. She fiddled a seam of her skirt with her fingertips. Clara notices her hands were shaking. She forced a smile to reassure her a bit. Her maneuver wasn’t really working. Her friend threw herself into her arms.

“It’s okay. I’m here. Everything will be okay. Don’t be afraid.”

“And if he doesn’t show up? What will I do?”

She began to sob like a little girl.

“Don’t worry. He’s waiting for you on the other side. Everything is ready. You’re the only one missing.”

Mary sniffed, looking at her friend as if looking for a hint of lying on her face. Clara smiled again. She wasn’t lying. Thomas was in the room with the judge and he waited until she makes her entrance. Nothing was wrong, except she seemed terribly nervous and perhaps on the verge of fainting. Otherwise everything was perfect.

“They’re waiting for us.”

“Do you think we’re making a big mistake?”

“I can’t answer for you guys.”

“Answer it anyway, please! It’s a mistake, isn’t it?”

Clara sighed, shaking her head.

“Not if you don’t think it is.”

Mary’s face lit up and she laughed in spite of her tears.

“Fix you makeup and let’s join them. Okay?”

Taking a deep breath, Mary nodded and turned to the mirror to assess the damage. Clara handed her a box of tissues. Mary slightly moistened a tissue to clean the mascara from her cheeks.

“I’m glad you’re here.”

Clara frowned and asked her why she said that. Mary replied she meant a lot to her. She turned to her, a sad smile on her lips. Is she really serious? Clara made no reply. She let her talk.

“I want to apologize to you.”

Is it me or she’s sentimental right now? Mary didn’t seem to have done. Her lower lip trembled, showing that she was perhaps about to burst into tears again. Clara spotted the box of tissues in case she needed it. Mary looked down, fiddling nervously the edge of her skirt. She took deep breaths to calm herself.

“I… I remembered that night in college…”

“Forget it.”

“But I’ve never been a very good friend for you! Why have you stayed next to me all these years?”

“Hoping one day you’ll change.”

“Thank you for staying. You were always there for me.”

The young woman didn’t know what to say. She had never qualified herself as a good friend. She was far from being perfect. She would sometimes pass judgment a little too hasty and unfair. She shook her head, ready to move on. It really wasn’t the time to get sentimental because the wedding hadn’t yet occurred. But Mary still seemed to have something to say but couldn’t. Moaning through her tears, she threw herself again into Clara’s arms, weeping.

“Thanks for always being there...!”

Clara patted her back, a little uncomfortable.

“You… you shouldn’t make your fiancé waited any longer, I think.”

“Yes! You’re right! Let’s go before he changes his mind…!”

Clara helped her arrange her makeup and her hair. Standing before the mirror, Mary observed herself a moment.

“Who could have predicted that I would take this plunge…”

“No one,” Clara replied. “It’s time.”

“Is Eddie was able to come?”

“Do you seriously he would have missed that?”

Mary smiled at her before taking a deep breath. They finally came out of the small room to join the others. Thomas laid eyes on Mary and a huge relief came to his face. She walked toward him while Clara remained a little behind. Jeremy slipped his hand in hers, looking straight ahead. Some friends of Thomas were with them. Now they were all there, the ceremony could begin. Everything happened very quickly. Thomas and Mary didn’t want a bit event for their wedding. Then they all went to Thomas’s for a quiet drink. Thomas’s parents arrived a little later in the evening only. When they arrived, Edward had just left them to get back home. Jeremy and Clara were leaving, returning to Clara’s. During the short journey, the remained silent. They went to her apartment and she locked once inside. Jeremy sank into the sofa.

“Mary wasn’t well when you came?”

“In panic.”

He smiled.

“And you’re the one who convince her to get out? What a brilliant negotiator you are!”

She smiled back at him before joining him on the sofa. He put his arm around her shoulders and she pressed herself against him. He kissed her on the left temple. The young woman closed her eyes, decompressing from an emotional day.

“Would you live with me?”

She suddenly opened her eyes and turned to him in great surprise.

“What are you saying?”

“I’m asking you if… you want to live with me…”

“Are you serious?”

He nodded, hesitantly. Clara didn’t know what to say. They spent much time together and they got along very well. No quarrel. Maybe it was time to complete the list she had made last year. She didn’t know if Jeremy was the man of her life, but if she did nothing she would never know. She felt her heart pounding in her chest. Incapable of saying a word, she nodded, smiling at him.

“You really want to? I’m talking about an apartment we’ll choose together.”

“Of course.”

“Something we both love.”

“Yes.”

“I thought it would be convenient not to make reservation when I want to see you, you know… And…”

She put a finger on his lips before kissing him tenderly. He returned her kisses, wrapping his arms around her.

It’s time to become and adult now. Nothing to fear.

THE END


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