On the morning of her mother’s wedding, Coralie woke with a smile. The sun was shining through her bedroom window, a light breeze fluttering the curtains. It was a perfect day for a wedding. And a perfect morning for a run.
Coralie tied on her sneakers, crept down the stairs, and tiptoed out the front door. The kitchen was already a hub of activity – she could hear the photographer asking questions, Lola bouncing around the room in her childlike excitement, the clatter of plates as someone (Xander, probably) washed the dirty dishes. Aurora’s voice – serene and composed – floated above the chaos, happiness infused in every word.
Coralie closed the door quietly and jogged down the sidewalk. She was a bridesmaid, along with Lola, but her bridesmaid duties could wait an hour longer. She breathed in the fresh air as she ran, basking in the warmth of the sunlight.
These were the things she missed while she’d been gone, the little things that filled her dreams of home, when she was stranded on Sixam where the night never ends.
But today, she was home. And today was a good day. She hummed to herself as she ran, full of cheerful energy.
This is the best day ever, she thought. It doesn’t get better than this.
She scanned the horizon, enjoying the scenery, when her gaze settled on a vague, dark figure down the road. The hair on the back of her neck stood up and she stopped dead in her tracks. She was being watched – she could feel it. Coralie gasped, panicked – her stomach sank.
And then, the figure waved.
Cheerily waved. Right at her!
The figure began to move towards her, and the closer it came, the more familiar it looked. She squinted. Was that….? It was! She grinned, relieved, and laughed. But what was he doing here?
Coralie: Kody Wells, what the plum are you doing here?!
She was grinning ear to ear. She’d met Kody back before the “incident,” at Roxas’s wedding to Beth Elstree. Their meeting had been brief, but Coralie smiled at the memory. There was a spark, maybe even a mild flirtation – but Kody was an Elstree cousin, and the Elstrees rarely left their hometown. Coralie had never expected to see him again – but by some stroke of fate, here he was in Newcrest!
Kody: I just moved in, actually. Right down the street…
He gestured to the house he’d come from.
Coralie: I just can’t believe it! Your town is so….tight-knit, you know?
Kody: You know, seeing Beth so happy with Roxas like that – it lit a fire in me, I guess. Why should I let someone else plan my life for me? So…. here I am.
Coralie reached out and touched his arm before she could stop herself. She blushed.
Coralie: Well, I’m really glad to see you, Kody. Welcome to the neighborhood!
Kody: Thanks, Coralie – that means a lot. It’s been a little lonely coming here alone, but I’m getting the hang of things.
Coralie had an idea. She paused, mulling it over in her head.
Coralie: Say, Kody – how would you like to come to my mother’s wedding with me? It’s tonight, so I know it’s short notice, but maybe you’d like to get out of the house a bit? Meet some new people, make some friends?
Kody: Go to a wedding? With you? Like….a date?
Coralie cast her eyes to the ground, blushing furiously.
Coralie: Sure….yeah…like a date.
She looked up at him hopefully, and Kody grinned.
Kody: Abso-plummin-lately! It’s a date, then!
As the hour drew near, Aurora studied herself in the mirror, smoothing her gown and fixing her veil.
It was a surreal feeling, seeing herself like this – all dressed in white, the epitome of the blushing bride. Aurora never imagined this for herself – she never played “wedding” like the other little girls or dreamed of color schemes or centerpieces. She never wished on a star for some fairytale love, or for her knight in shining armor. It wasn’t that Aurora didn’t believe in love – it just never seemed to fit with her vision of the future. True love was for Enrique and Emmeline, for Roxas and Beth, even for Addie and Brennan. It was for Sylvie and Abe, and Milo and Juliana, for her grandmother, for her sons, and hopefully one day for her daughters. Love was for the people she loved, and Aurora drew her own happiness from theirs.
And she was happy. There were so many types of love, and Aurora had been blessed to know so very many of them. She’d experienced the vulnerability of motherly love, and the sheer, boundless devotion of sisterly love. There’d been the harsh complexity of her love for her mother, and finally, the undeniably passionate love she felt for Palani.
But still, as she gazed into the mirror, her reflection now blurred by the fine netting of her veil, Aurora wondered if she was making the right choice. She was a whole, happy person long before Palani came along – was it really fair to marry him, when she didn’t need him?
Aurora shook her head and smiled at herself.
Cold feet, she thought.
But why? It was true – she didn’t need Palani. But she loved him. And wasn’t that better? To marry a man, not out of need, not to make her life whole or to fulfill some silly girlhood fantasy, but because deep down, she loved him? Wanted him?
Aurora grinned. She wasn’t marrying Palani because she needed him. She was marrying him because as wonderful as her life already was, Palani made it better.
Her heart flip flopped in her chest as she looked at the clock – it was time to marry the man she loved. The man she didn’t need to complete her, but who she loved completely, with her whole heart.
The guests congregated at the church, abuzz with excitement and eagerly anticipating the arrival of the bride.
Palani was dashing in his tuxedo, though he found the suit too restrictive for his taste. Growing up in the Amazon, he hated wearing a shirt at all, let alone a cummerbund and tie! But such was the tradition in this part of the world, and Palani was determined to give Aurora the fairytale wedding she deserved.
Coralie graciously worked the crowd, welcoming guests and cracking goofy jokes. As a bridesmaid, it was her duty to keep everyone comfortable until the ceremony began. She said hello to her brothers and her sisters-in-law, and made Beau laugh with one of her infamously bad impressions.
She said hello to every friend, relative and random plus one, until she could delay the inevitable no more. It was time to greet Addie and Brennan. She plastered a smile to her face.
Coralie: Addie! Brennan! How good of you to come, lovely to see you both, of course…
She faltered. What the plum was she supposed to say to these two? Hi, Addie, you stole my first love right out from under me and I’ll never forgive you? Hi Brennan, I’m mortified by your rejection and you broke my fragile teenage heart?
But in that moment, Coralie realized that neither of those things were actually true anymore. She’d forgiven them both already, even if she hadn’t realized it until now. Addie had changed, any fool could see that. And Brennan had never been for her in the first place.
Coralie turned to face Brennan.
Coralie: It really is good to see you both. You have a good girl here, but I’m sure you know that already! But, Brennan, would you excuse us for a moment? My cousin and I have a little catching up to do…
Coralie laughed out loud and grasped her cousin’s hands tightly in her own. As the two women chatted animatedly, Brennan spotted Tabitha across the room, pleased to see that she’d brought a date.
He wandered over to greet her.
Brennan: Good to see you, Tab! Looks like things are going well with Tom, then?
He looked at Tom, who only smiled agreeably before sidling up to the bar. Tabitha turned to Brennan.
Tabitha: He sure doesn’t say much. But there are worse things than a guy who knows when to keep his trap shut.
Brennan: Well, you two look great. Have fun! And don’t forget to tip your local matchmaker!
And with a wink, he was off. He’d just spotted Addie when the unmistakable chords of the traditional wedding march began to play.
The bride was in the building, and it was time for the ceremony to begin.
After the ceremony, the real fun began.
Guests tore up the dance floor…
Cousins caught up over drinks…
Sisters documented lasting memories…
And while one date went south…
Another date lit up the night…
And as the reception drew to a close, Aurora took a step back to take it all in. She watched as Lola did the robot, and as Coralie flirted with her date. She saw Tabitha scowling at Tom, but Aurora smirked – Tabitha wasn’t fooling anyone.
It might be our wedding, Aurora thought excitedly, But sparks are flying for more than one Hasslich lady tonight!
True love or fizzy juice-fueled fling, it didn’t matter. Her family was happy – and so was Aurora.
The next morning…..
Tabitha proved Aurora right…
And Coralie came down with a mystery illness…
She pushed the hair out of her face. Was she sick? She certainly wasn’t hung over, she’d only had one drink! Or maybe there was something in the food? Obviously this couldn’t be morning sickness – she’d never even woohoo’ed before! Even her date last night went no further than a sweet kiss goodnight on the front doorstep. There was no way she was pregnant.
Right? Right. Must be food poisoning. Or maybe the stomach flu.
Coralie stood and stared at herself in the mirror. She pictured Kody’s face and sighed dreamily, remembering the kiss they’d shared before he walked her home.
What a gentleman, she thought, stars in her eyes. I just really hope I’m not contagious!
First, a big thank you to Sabreene for allowing me to introduce Beth and Merri’s cousin Kody into my story! Kody first appeared at Roxas and Beth’s wedding over on her WordPress, Distractedly Daydreaming. If you haven’t checked it out, GO NOW! It’s a fantastic, well-written story with great characters and a whole lot of heart! As a sidenote, Kody is supposed to have strawberry blonde hair. I forgot to download the CC before playing out the wedding, so don’t be surprised if he turns up next time as a strawberry blonde…
In other news, Generation Five is upon us!
Back In Generation Two, we did an heir vote to determine the Generation 3 heiress. I really loved the way it turned out and how it forced me to go in a direction I didn’t plan on. So I’ve decided that from here on out, every other heiress, will be decided collectively by vote – starting now!
Usually my rule is to wait until the youngest eligible heiress is a teen – but in this case I’m really liking the element of the unknown. Is Coralie pregnant? And what will Lola’s teen spin bring?
Stay tuned…. The heir vote poll will be posted shortly!