“Whose car is this?” I asked Zeno as soon as we left our neighborhood and headed to the church. It was a nice car, the color black gave it the elegant vibe and I loved these kinds of cars. He glanced at me for a second and then looked back at the road. He was a man of a few words and that was one of his unique qualities.
“My dad’s,” He replied and I raised my eyebrows in confusion. He chuckled. “I know, I don’t talk about him so you assumed that he was dead, am I right?” He cleared and asked me.
I gazed at him and nodded, feeling a bit guilty for jumping to conclusions. “Well... Yeah, sorry!” I apologized and rubbed the nape of my neck and let out an awkward laugh. I decided to not ask him about his dad because maybe he was a touchy subject and I didn’t want to intrude on his life. People deserved to have some privacy, in our world that had everyone under the control of the technology. There was no privacy with technology, you are open to the wide world the moment you hold a smart device in your hands yet you could not let it go. It became an addiction.
After a few minutes, Zeno cleared his throat which made me look at him and give him my full attention. “You look very pretty and this dress suits you well.” He commented unexpectedly and I felt that he had done that just to break the ice that crept into the car. So his dad was a touchy subject and I felt bad for even bringing it up.
I beamed at him because I respected his silent request. “Thank you, Zeno, and this dress is for my mom,” I stated then played with my fingers. “I hope it goes well with the theme!” I joked and we both laughed. After half an hour, we arrived at the church.
As I stepped foot inside the church, I admired the scene because it bestowed the contradictions of the world. Most of the people there were wearing black attires, however, they were also suited for a wedding. No one was over the top with makeup which made me feel relieved. Zeno linked his arm with mine and guided me to -who seemed to be- the groom. As I observed closely, I saw the bride in a simple wedding dress sitting next to her husband to be. She was beautiful and they were an attractive couple. “Hey man, I’m so sorry for your loss,” Zeno said in a kind tone the moment he hugged the groom.
The groom was crying and his eyes were red from the anguish and I felt torn. He was placed in a difficult situation by fate and he couldn’t do anything about it due to his father’s last wish. “Thank you for coming, Zeno, I appreciate it!” He replied in a shaking voice and I then turned my gaze to the bride. She was crying as well. I could tell that the father was loved by all.
“Hello, I’m Zeno’s escort and I came to offer my condolences for your late father. I know that I’m a stranger here but I’d like to say that life doesn’t end here. You have to move forward and enjoy your wedding afterward because I know that no father in the world would want his son to cry at his own wedding. So, promise me that you will smile when you put the ring in your woman’s finger,” I countered in a serious tone because I didn’t want them to be swallowed by the darkness of this world. “And you too, do the same when you put the ring in your man’s finger. Smile!” I grabbed her hands and waited for their reply. They seemed bewildered by my speech and I felt nervous, all of the sudden.
Zeno smiled at me and nodded in approval. He grabbed my shoulders and cleared his throat. “I agree with Evelina, promise us that you two will smile when the time is right!” He stated his opinion and then requested the same. The couple joined hands and nodded. “Thank you!” They both replied in a firm and a serious tone. I felt that I said the right words on this occasion and we all sat and waited for the ceremony to start.
The funeral went smoothly and so did the wedding. Nothing bad happened and I thanked God for that because the groom’s day was not easy. It was complicated in so many ways but it passed and we went back home. Zeno came to my house as well because Oriana was playing with Elara. “Welcome back, how was it?” Mom asked us as soon as we entered the living room.
I looked at Zeno and saw that he was busy talking with Elara and Oriana so I sat with mom. “It was good, no drama but it was hard for the groom yet he managed to smile when he placed the ring in his wife’s hand. It was lovely yet sad.” I explained and she hugged me. Nolan brought a big bowl of popcorn and we sat to watch a movie together. The minute the movie began, Elara stood up in alert. “What’s wrong Teddy bear?” I asked. We all looked at her.
“I heard a scream!” She stated in a panicked tone. We all went quiet and turned the volume down and listened. A second later, we all heard the scream. It was faint however it was audible and desperate. We jumped from our seats and headed outside. When dad opened the door, we saw a very familiar and frightening scene unfolding in front of us. The flames danced and leaped in the air, reaching hungrily for anything that they could consume to fuel their wrath. The next door house was being swallowed by the fire and I began sweating with fear.
“Help!” Another cry for help was heard from the house and Andro gasped.
He shook dad’s shoulder who was on the phone calling 911. “It’s the little girl, they have a little girl! She’s inside the house!” He yelled in a panicked cry and I was about to run to the house though I was grabbed by the waist. Zeno tightened his grip and I started fighting him.
“Ugh! Let go! She will die!” I shouted and he didn’t let go like he didn’t hear me. Before I could say or do anything else, Nolan took off his cotton sweater and was about to run towards the house when mom grabbed his arm.
“No! I won’t let you. You will die!” She told him in a strict tone, dad agreed while he was calling for help. Nolan smiled at them and we all were confused. He was calm and collected, he seemed like he had made up his mind.
“I will die either way. So, let me die knowing that I saved a soul.” He abruptly spat those dreadful words and mom let go of his hand uncontrollably. His words left her frozen in her place, not just her, dad as well. Nolan took that as his chance; he grabbed the hose and let the water drench his entire body and then he dashed to the blazing fire leaving us with his back to us.