“You’re probably the most beautiful and the most shocked bride I’ve ever seen in my life.”
I feel Avery’s fingers carefully drawing through my neck as she takes a strand of my hair to brush it and curl it. Making me look beautiful, more than ever, but something inside me still keeps me anxious.
Is it a right thing to do?
Is it a right thing to get married?
All of my thoughts have the potential to grow toxic, but my fears are born hungry. It’s not the fear that I used to have a year ago, I’m not afraid for myself, that something will happen to me; I feel strong enough to protect myself. I’m worried about others, Avery and
Maileen, mostly, because we don’t know what will happen next. What Caden’s next move is going to be, and how it will affect us. What if he already knows where we are and he’s planning to do something bad?
I know Kai loves me more than life itself, and my heart belongs only to him. But we really shouldn’t be getting married at this point, when Yellow Eye can strike at any point. When we don’t know what’s written in the script. When we don’t know our next move, and also, his. Because Avery clearly knows that it will be bad, and probably someone will die. Is it okay to relax and have fun with all these bad things happening around us?
I know why Kai is doing this, I know him too well. He wants us all to have a moment of happiness during these days, and I love him even more for everything that he’s doing. I want to become his wife, there’s no doubt about it. I have to relax and enjoy this wonderful day, that I was dreaming of. And Kai did everything for my dreams to come true.
“Hey, are you okay?”
I haven’t noticed Avery’s frowning face, frowning from concern. She looks at me through the mirror; I am a bride, a sad, worried bride, who shouldn’t look like this. Not only this situation got me anxious - I am getting married. I’m going to walk to the isle, to say the vows to a person that I’m going to spend the rest of my life with... and I don’t even know what I’m about to say.
“Yes, I just... I don’t have my wedding vows ready.”
“You want to talk about it? I mean, of course I’m not the best person to talk about wedding vows, I was locked from life for thirteen years, but...”
“I think you’re the best person to talk about anything.”
She looks back up at me; a gentle flush of pink had arose in her cheeks that made her look vulnerable. Avery wrapped another strand of my hair around the curling iron and gave me a smile, just as honest as she is herself.
“I know this was a surprise and you don’t have your vows yet, but I believe you’ll figure them out. Listen to your heart and it will come to you, because there’s no one that can’t see true love in your and Kai’s eyes.”
“Probably you’re right...”
Her words touch deep, making me realize her every word is true. After all, it’s Kai we’re talking about. The man that is, was and will be my salvation, my safe place. The man that I would die for, the man that keeps me happy when it feels like the world is falling apart. There’s no doubt that I want to marry him; a man that I’m in love with.
Isn’t it funny, that if my father had made a different decision I wouldn’t be here now? If he hadn’t put a signature on that paper Morado’s gave him, my fate would’ve been written in different ink. Because I would be sitting here, in a different universe, without Kai by my side, I would have never become complete.
“It’s like a dream come true.”
And as I take a glance at her again, I remember her, in my dreams; looking just the same as she looks right now. Her voice is exactly the same, and she is the light like I thought she is after the first time I saw her. But I never asked her, and neither she was talking about it.
Why did I dream about her. Why me?
“Why have you appeared in my dreams?”
Avery stopped smiling to take a deep breath. She had let it all out in one sigh, watching it float off like smoke in the air. She turned back to me with the most sad eyes I’ve ever seen, swallowing hard.
“I wish I could answer this question.”
“Why haven’t you seen Brent in your dreams? I mean, at least you knew each other...”
“You know, I keep asking that myself.”
“So you don’t know, either?”
“I don’t have the control of them, Beverly. And never ever before somebody saw me in their dreams, too.”
I know she sees the shock register on my face before I could hide it, even if I’m not trying to. She bites her lip in regret; that she’s not able to answer my question. I know that sometimes she’s ashamed of who she is, of her clairvoyance, that she’s not like the rest of us, and especially that she can’t control it. But however, from the first dream I knew I can trust her. I knew she’s something more than a girl that just randomly started appearing in my dreams.
“I’m sorry I pushed you with that question.”
“I wish I had all the answers, but unfortunately, I don’t. I’m just as confused as you are, because our connection made no sense. I was from Miami, you were from Chicago, and we haven’t met before.”
“That’s true. But you know what? I’m glad that we finally met, Avery.”
Her lips stretch into a smile and she takes my hand, holding me like she needs a physical proof that I’m here with her, but her smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes. They are lit with sadness, and the forced expression of the contrary on her mouth would look a little funny to me if it didn’t make my heart feel heavy. For a few moments I stare at her, almost sure her expression mirrors mine. It breaks my heart because it feels like I knew her all of my life, and I feel everything that she feels.
“Me too, Bev. And I’m hoping to get all of the answers one day.”
I notice it, I notice hope in the way she puts a shy smile on her face, in the way she falls silent when she reaches out with her eyes. Hope is what keeps pushing Avery, everyone of us forward. And we have to put up with a fact that our lives will never be easy, it will always be dangerous, sometimes we will feel like the ground is disappearing under our feet, but as long as we have hope and each other we’re living the best times we could.
“I think it’s time.”
“To change your last name.”
I watch myself in the mirror as all of my life runs through my head. All of my decisions, were they good or bad. All of the people that I’ve lost. All of the moments I’ve spent with Beverly. Am I the best man for her?
I know Beverly is the one for me, I know I want to spend the rest of my life with her. But what kind of life I can offer to her?
Running all of her life. Protecting herself from all of the people that want to hurt us, and especially, me. Making mistakes. Killing people. Feeling guilty.
But isn’t love worth it?
No, I’m not going to blame myself. I’m not going to blame myself that I fell in love with her, that I decided she has to stay with me, that I didn’t let go of her and made her fall in love with me. After all that has happened, after all that we’ve been through, I know that the only thing that’s pure and true is our love. Our relationship. Our feelings. Like we were flames that breathe all the more deeply for being closer together; it is like we shine brighter, both within and upon one another.
She’s my spark, my chaos of light in the endless darkness.
And fuck, I actually can’t wait to marry her. I can’t wait to see her with her white dress, hopefully, all happy and shining, walking towards me and saying ‘I do’ in front of all our family, in front of Lord. It will change nothing, of course, just her last name, but it’s like a proof to me that she’s mine. Unconditionally. Forever.
I can’t wait to see what this marriage will bring to us, to see our family grow, to see her become a mother, because with all the caring and devotion I already know she’ll be the best mom a child could ask for. Maybe I won’t be the best father - crueless assassin, killing people to survive...
But one thing I know, I will love my child more than I love life itself.
I take a deep breath to let out a sigh; a sigh so quiet that it left me unnoticed, it’s sound and it’s movement disappeared out in the room and made no effect at all. It didn’t leave the tension that’s growing in my body, in fact, it made me even more nervous. The most important day in my life. Though I feel the happiest that I will marry the girl of my dreams, it still makes me feel nervous, because I want this day to be perfect.
From nowhere came the sound of a telephone, a ringtone of my phone, so authentic that it made all of my thoughts go away for a moment. I pulled it out of my pocket, irritated by its loud ringing; expecting Brent to be calling me at this moment.
But the caller is unknown.
“You surprised me, Diabolus.” I haven’t noticed how I stopped breathing, hearing a man’s voice coming from my phone. It’s calm, low, and I’m sure I never heard it before; but it doesn’t mean I don’t know who the caller is. “But after all, you took something from me. I want her back.”
“How about I give you something else in return? Maybe something more painful.”
The chuckle that replies is hard, but nothing funny about it, like it was a dark cloud that darkens the most beautiful day, sucking all of the happiness out of it.
“You don’t scare me, Diabolus. I’m not Leonardo or some other weak dumbass you could look scary to.”
“But both you and Leonardo have something similar, to be honest.”
“And what is that?”
From the shadows of my mind, I feel how brave I’m starting to be. Even if there’s fear somewhere deep in my guts, fear that something bad will happen to the people that I care about; I’m brave enough to do my best to protect them. He’s not my first enemy. Not my last. But sure enough, I will be able to fight him down.
“Soon enough, you’re both going to be dead.”
As much as I’m proud of my words, I don’t hear fear in his voice. I don’t feel that he would be afraid or even worried. That’s when I realize one thing.
It’s like I was having a fight with myself.
“You know how to play with words, don’t you? But let me tell you one thing. I see your every step. I know your every move. And I don’t need Avery’s powers to find you.”
“I’m not fucking afraid of you too, Yellow Eye.”
“Then you’re stupid. Because after today, we’ll meet and I’ll take back what you took from me, together with your life.”
I swallow the anger when it starts to taste like fire and there’s a need to drink something cool, but I can still feel it grow in my stomach, waiting for it to came out as hot as anydragon has ever flamed.
“Why wouldn’t you do that today? Come on, big guy. Let’s meet and clear this out.”
“On your wedding day? No, Diabolus, I’m not as evil as you think I am.”
If there was a doubt that he doesn’t know where I am, what I’m doing, it surely disappeared. He watches me, probably his men are watching my every step, knowing everything that I’m doing.
But he has a plan. Definitely. If he didn’t, he would already be here, trying to get Avery back.
“My gift for your wedding is this beautiful day, which you can spend all together, being happy. But as soon as this day ends, I suggest you to watch your back, Diabolus. I will be there to take your happiness away.”
After the conversation with Yellow Eye, when he dropped his phone, I felt anxious and
worried for a little while; even thoughts about canceling the wedding were spinning in my mind. But no, I couldn’t do this to Beverly. After everything, she deserves to be happy, she deserves this day. In fact, we all do. At least for a moment, we deserve to be happy.
I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than the place I chose for our wedding to happen in; and how Brooklyn decorated it. The wedding arch, hidden under tons of pink, peachy and white flowers, wrapped around like they were meant to grow there, to make our wedding even more magical. All the chairs, the walls and ceilings are white, so Beverly could look perfect in here, it doesn’t matter she’s already perfect.
I walk towards the wedding arch, sliding my fingers down the flowers and watching Kevin and Brent, standing just by the altar, smiling at me.
“So, how’s our groom?′
Brent pulls me into a hug, chuckling, smiling, and looking at both of him and Kevin just feels like real happiness; the expressions in their faces, the smiles, their glowing eyes just give me a feeling of happiness and excitement that I haven’t seen in a really long time, or honestly... maybe I haven’t seen it ever before. This day is not only for me and Beverly - it’s for all of us.
“Wow, I just can’t believe it. My brother will be a married man.”
“Hopefully one day I will see your wedding, little Kevin.”
Kevin chuckles shyly, turning his eyes away when the thought about getting married, too, makes him dream about things he never thought might happen. But life is changing, for all of us, and I know that one day we won’t be just assassins, running around and killing people. One day, the darkness will disappear, and we will be happy like we never were.
“Avery just texted me that your bride is almost here. Excuse me, I have to meet the girls first.” As I turn to Brent he winks at me and smiles with the most honest smile I’ve ever seen. “I can’t wait to see this.”
With his last words, he just walks away, out of the place, leaving me standing there even more anxious. More stressed. Just in moments, I will see Beverly. I will see her as a bride, as my bride, and I will have to tell her my vows.
I have never felt so nervous, even scared. The stress spreads through my mind over and over again, like ink on paper. I took in a deep, ragged breath as Kevin hugs me for the last time before he takes his seat in front of me, right next to Brooklyn. I watch all of them, looking at me and smiling, nodding their heads, trying to encourage me, but I still feel like I’m about to explode. Even thoughts about Beverly, leaving me at the altar rushes through my mind.
“You must be the groom.”
A tall priest, probably, in his early thirties stops by me and smiles; even his eyes give me an encouraging look. And I just keep watching the entrance, the place where I will see her, for the last time as she’s not my wife.
I see Avery, entering the place from the back entrance and taking a seat next to Kevin, and like they all do, giving me a honest smile; seeing her eyes glow makes me believe that actually, everything is fine, because she spent the whole day with Beverly.
My hands start to shake and I can’t take any more air in as the music starts to play and I know she’s here. I keep watching the entrance, feeling my palms, my ears burn, everything inside me exploding like there were fireworks inside me, ripping my guts apart.
Until the moment I see her.
I whisper to myself as she starts walking down to me with the most beautiful dress I ever saw; everyone is watching her, holding Brent’s elbow, like she was supposed to held her father’s. But her eyes are only seeing me, the same way my eyes see her. Only her. Forever.
I see the shock in her eyes as she tries to see everyone and everything, lock this memory in her mind, and at the same time, looking at me, for the first time, seeing me as a groom, as a romantic man I should’ve always been. I feel like something was stuck in my throat; the feeling that I might cry from pure happiness stops me from breathing, thinking or doing anything that I’ve planned.
And now I know, that only my heart will control my moves, my words.
She reaches the altar and stops in front of me and I can finally take a better look at her. Her flawless skin. Her curly golden hair. Her eyes that glow with happiness and a thin layer of tears, and a smile, shyly playing on her lips.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God, and in the presence of family and friends to join together Kai Woods and Beverly Greene in Holy Matrimony, which is commended of St. Paul to be an honorable estate, instituted of God and therefore is not to be entered into unadvisedly or carelessly, but reverently, joyfully and in the love of God. Into this holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Celebrating the uniting of two people in this way proclaims in public what was decided in the private corners of the heart. It proclaims the couple’s belief that they are meant to be together, and that they are ready to embrace the future together. Kai and Beverly wish to pledge their vows to each other before us today.”
I clear my throat as my stomach starts to hurt from seeing the most beautiful woman in front of me. From her smile, her eyes and the thought that after today, we’ll be together forever, just how I wanted it to be. Just what I dreamed about.
I take her hands in mine, feeling they’re a little sweaty, but soft. Realizing how perfectly her hands fit in mine, her long and thin fingers, completing the space left in mine. Not only in my hands, but also, in my heart.
“You are the love of my life. You are my best friend, you’re my lover, you’re my inspiration. You make every day better and you make me better. I promise to love you unconditionally through thick and thin and sickness and health. I promise to accomplish one of the greatest streaks any human could ever wish to pursue to tell you I love you every single day for the rest of our lives. I promise that as we adventure though the rest of our lives together, through all the dangers and obstacles, I’ll always be by your side loving you, pushing you and celebrating with you. I will always put you first and give you my absolute best for the rest of my days. I love you, with all of my heart, Beverly Greene.”
A tear falls down her cheek but she keeps smiling, and after she opens her mouth, her voice is shaky, but happy.
“Kai Woods... I found it hard to express my feelings for you. But after all, I realized, that I feel like everything in my life has led me to you. My choices, my heartbreaks, my regrets. Everything. And when we’re together, my past seems worth it. Because if I had done one thing differently, I might never have met you. And today I love you with all your faults and all your strengths, as I offer myself to you with all my faults and all my strengths. I want to share my life openly with you, to speak the truth to you in love. I promise to show up every day and try. I promise to honor and care for you, to cherish and encourage your own fulfillment as an individual through all the changes of our lives. I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life, and love you unconditionally.”
I listen as if her words are golden, perhaps some elixir I’ve been waiting all my days to hear, the words from her heart, the day that’s meant to celebrate our love. And in her words are a kindness, a honesty that is so quick that, for her, it is natural. This attentiveness is a part of who she is and that is, honestly, the most attractive feature I’ve seen in a woman, ever.
“May these rings be blessed as a symbol of your union. As often as either of you look upon these rings, may you not only be reminded of this moment, but also of the vows you have made and the strength of your commitment to each other.”
The priest hands us the rings as I take the one with diamonds in my hand, stopping for a moment before putting it on Beverly’s finger. The ring is so thin, with little diamonds on it, but it means so much. All our love in physical form, small, but shiny, glowy and beautiful.
“I, Kai, promise to love and support you Beverly and live each day with kindness, understanding, truth, humor, and passion. With this ring I thee wed.”
For a moment, Beverly just keeps looking at a new ring on her finger, that she never saw before but from the look in her eyes, I see that she likes it. She takes the other ring and holds it between her fingers, before her eyes lock with mine again.
“I, Beverly, promise to love and support you Kai and live each day with kindness, understanding, truth, humor, and passion. With this ring I thee wed.”
The cold silver surrounds my finger but Beverly’s touch, her eyes keep me warm and as happy as I never thought I will be. Seeing her as my bride. As my wife. The woman I fell in love with, and I will never stop loving.
“Go now in peace and live in love, sharing the most precious gifts you have- the gifts of your lives united. And may your days be long on this earth. I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
Though the silence covers the place, and everyone keeps watching us, waiting for our first kiss as husband and wife, I see her crying. Crying with tears of joy; joy that fills up my stomach, too, as I finally know she’s my wife, forever, till death do us apart.
I link my fingers into Beverly’s hand as she shot a look that is all love, just the right hint of softness, a crease at the corners of her eyes. Both of us smile, like idiots, as I wrap my arms around her and I let her body rest upon mine. All my thoughts stop as if my heart took over from my head every time we were close.
I don’t waste any other moment, pulling her into a kiss, feeling like the whole world just fell away. It’s slow and soft, telling a lot more than words would never do. My hand rests below her ear, my thumb caressing her cheek as our breaths mingle. She runs her fingers down my spine, pulling me closer until there is no space left between us and I can feel the beating of her heart against my chest.
Cheering, loud applauses makes the silence disappear, but as I pull away the only thing I can see is Beverly. The love of my life, the woman I just married, the only person I live for.
I feel her skin burning between my fingers. And as I take a deep look at her blue eyes, like the ocean, it feels like the ground disappeared under my feet; like I’m flying between the blue skies her eyes are. The applause and cheering stops as I don’t hear them anymore, the only thing I can hear is her breathing, and our hearts beating; beating to the same rhythm like we were melted together, into one person. And from this moment I know... This is only the start of our eternity.
"I love you so freaking much, Beverly Woods."