It was Sunday morning and a month had passed since Nolan’s return. I was helping Ruth in her shop as she once requested and I happily obliged. As I took the money from the last customer that was in the store, Zeno walked in. He became a good friend of our family, not a talkative one though, and Oriana was the big reason how. She and Elara hit it off as best friends and it proved that age didn’t matter in friendship. Zeno looked around, left and right until his gaze was fixed in my direction. He seemed like he was looking for me and I got confused. “Good morning, Evelina.” He greeted me with a calm expression on his face and I smiled at him.
“Good morning to you too, Zeno!” I replied in a cheerful tone and he finally smiled.
He scratched the nape of his neck and then he cleared his throat. “Can I ask for a favor?” He asked me and I nodded with the -keep going- look. “So, tomorrow is my dad’s best friend’s wedding and I need a date. Would you possibly escort me, tomorrow night, at the wedding?” He asked and I thought about it. I had nothing to do after school so I had no reason to decline.
“Yes, I’d love to. What should I wear?” I agreed and then I asked. Every family had their own traditions about dressing up and I had to respect it.
“Yeah... about that...” He trailed off and I frowned. We sat on the chairs near the cashier because it was easier than standing up. Ruth told us that she’d go to the connivance store to buy some stuff for herself and we told her not to worry about it and we’d be in charge if a customer came.
“Now, tell me what do you mean?” I asked and he looked me right into my eyes. Why was I feeling nervous?
“The groom’s dad died yesterday night...” He began and I gasped. That was awful, I wanted to comment but waited for him to finish what he wanted to say. “His dad’s will was for his only son to get married and not to stop it just because his old man passed away. It was too painful for his whole family to do the wedding tomorrow however, they couldn’t overlook his dad’s only and last wish. So, I want you to wear a back dress if possible. I hope I’m not asking for too much!” He explained and I gave him a sad smile.
I closed my eyes for a moment and then opened them again. “I once read this quote on a wall in Virginia and I loved it because it touched me and altered my way of thinking. It said: And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. I think this quote suited this complex situation and it really described life nowadays.” I said with a painful expression on my face. The situation was indeed complex. Having a funeral and a wedding on the same day for the same family. It hurt.
Zeno nodded with a sighed. “I agree, life is all about the ups and downs and you can’t predict what will happen if you close your eyes for just one second.” He responded and I agreed.
“And that’s why I will go with Zeno tomorrow after school. I need a black dress that is suitable for a funeral and a wedding at the same time. Mom, do you have one?” I asked her after I explained the situation to my parents. They felt sorry for the groom and agreed that I should go. Even if they said no, I wouldn’t have listened to them because I already said yes to Zeno. Sorry mom, dad.
“I do, actually, I bought it last week. You could wear it, just let me go and grab it for you!” Mom exclaimed as she clapped her palms together and I thanked her as she rushed to her room. I looked at dad and saw him typing furiously on his laptop. I walked behind him to see what was he typing and it turned out to be an approval to go on a field trip real soon, for the seniors. I let him be and walked to my brothers’ room. They shared one room since mom took the last available one.
“Hey guys,” I greeted them and then dropped myself on Nolan’s back. He groaned and Andro and I laughed out loud. “I’m heavy, I know!” I stated as he was trying to move me from his back.
“Get up, Eve! You are heavier than when you were a little girl. You need to stop eating the caramel that Ruth gives you almost every day and give us some of them.” He countered in a kind of a bitter tone, nevertheless, I knew that he was joking.
I rolled my eyes. “Boho, you hurt my feelings, Bomba! Ha, I’d never give you my sweets.” I replied and then got up and walked to Andro’s bed. He had his laptop on his legs, so I couldn’t crush him with my weight. I just sat next to him. “Tomorrow I will attend a funeral and a wedding at the same time,” I declared. Nolan stopped reading his book, he looked at me and Andro closed his laptop.
Their eyes were wide open. “what?” They both urged and I chuckled.
“Zeno asked me to escort him to his dad’s best friend’s wedding and it happened to be the groom’s dad’s funeral. It’s a messed up world.” I explained in a sad tone and they both looked down. They were in deep thoughts so I decided to break the tension. I clapped my hands and mom entered the room at the perfect moment.
“Found it,” she handed me the dress and I smiled in gratitude.
“Thank you, I should try it on. Bye guys!” I told them and fleed from the room while holding onto the dress. I just hoped it suited me well. I walked to my room and as I opened the door to my room, Elara jumped from behind my door and scared the shit out of me. “Elara!” I yelled while putting my hand on my chest to check my pulse and it was going crazy. “Why would you do that?” I asked her. I grabbed her and started tickling her. Her little giggles were heard throughout the entire house, and my family came rushing to my room to see what was happening.
“It was dad’s idea!” She admitted between laughs and I glared at dad. He just laughed with Elara and eventually, we all laughed at her laughs. Laughter was contagious and I thanked God for these beautiful moments. I thanked God for everything.
It was Monday and the school day was almost over. After I told Franky and Emilia about Zeno and his plan for me, they squealed like little girls. They said that he liked me. I denied that but they insisted that he liked me, otherwise, why would he ask me to escort him? I told them that we were good friends yet they weren’t convinced so I just left them with their fantasies and headed home with Andro.
After an hour of preparing myself, Andro and Nolan entered my room. They looked at me without saying anything and I felt self-cautious. “Do I look that ugly?” I asked as I gazed at myself in the mirror. I simply wore mom’s dress, it reached my knees and the sleeves reached my elbows, it was nice. I curled my hair and let it cascade down my back and added a little foundation and mascara. I didn’t even put lipstick because of the funeral plus I was not a big fan of lipstick.
They both shook their head. “No! You look beautiful!” Nolan stated as he shook me by the shoulders and Andro nodded.
“Indeed and if anyone, even Zeno, makes a move on you, please tell us! We would deal with him. And by the way, he’s downstairs, waiting for you. We chatted for a bit and he was understanding.” Andro cleared with a tiny smirk that made me feel worried. I didn’t dare ask what they told him so I just got out of the room with my little purse for my phone in my hand. I walked down the stairs in a hurry. But I forgot that I was wearing heels due to that, I lost my balance and was ready to take the blow on my face yet it never came. I opened my eyes and saw myself in Zeno’s arms. “You look fascinating.” He commented and I blushed.
My brothers rushed to my side and when they saw that I was unharmed, they patted Zeno’s shoulders with relieved expressions on their faces. “Nice catch!” They said in unison and I laughed.
“Thank you for saving me from having a broken nose and lost teeth! You are a life saver indeed.” I exclaimed still bewildered about the situation. He let me go and I stood up, took a deep breath and then I smiled. “Let’s go!” I spoke and we left to the first church, to the funeral.