The wedding was beautiful. It was held in a cathedral that was as big as the Coliseum itself. There were so many stores, and I’d never seen so many beautiful flowers and wedding decorations. My father, well it was as if they’d invited the entire kingdom to join in the celebration.
Gustav Mondaux made Constance’s dress and all our bridesmaid’s dresses.
I’d gotten to know him a while back when he was designing all my gowns for special occasions.
The theme of the wedding was Victorian, except for the hair. We were all gorgeous wearing tiaras, and my father looked like a king again with his traditional attire and crown.
Lucille and Etienne were there also, and I stared at them for a long time.
I’d never seen Lucille so happy, so beautiful, and they had been inseparable since he came back.
Becky and George sat right next to them, then his parents followed. Sir Robert and some of his men were standing in front with my father.
Isabel and Sammy were sitting in one of the front seats. Almost all the Leafs were here…almost.
Arianna and her mom with all the first cousins and cousins’ cousins were there too.
I smiled when I saw Ty, Isaac and all of Blake’s band members with many of the shape shifters.
All the Council members were there, even arrogant Philip.
All had been forgiven.
Like I said, many people were here, even ones I’d never met before.
Master Longwei wore a traditional Chinese robe.
He walked in with Constance, and my heart broke again that his son had died so many years ago trying to free my father.
It wasn’t right for a parent to lose a child.
Annie and I both had tears in our eyes. She was standing right next to me and shared the duty of bridesmaid.
She’d come last night, and I was surprised to find out that Emanuel was her date.
It shouldn’t have surprised me, as he’d helped her find her dragon form, and she’d finally changed a few weeks back. Now she was learning how to be a dragon again. I’d spoken to him last night after she’d gone to bed.
He’d lost both the humans to whom he’d given a part of his heart, and it couldn’t have been easy on him.
“Annie helps a lot with the pain.” He smiled, with a beer in his hand.
“She does that really well.” I smiled and he chuckled. “So is she the one for you, Emanuel?”
“I was wrong,” he said.
“That only one like you is born every thousand years.”
“Well, she is a princess.”
He smiled. “That she is.”
“I’m happy for you, really. I can’t tell you how much. You deserve someone like her.”
He nodded and sighed. He took a sip of his beer and looked up at the moon. “He will come back. We have to believe that.”
“How do I believe that?” I asked and my lower lip trembled. “It’s been three months and there has been no sign of him. Not even a phone call.”
I huffed and wiped away my tears. “It seems that this relationship is all about patience.”
“It’s a good thing. That saying, all good things come to those who wait, it’s a strong and powerful saying.”
I nodded as dark thoughts crept into my soul. Blake was waiting for me on the other side, I knew that.
“I’m going to tell you what I once told him,” Emanuel said and the look on his face was sad. “Just wait for proof before you do something drastic.”
I just looked at him. How does he know?
“I know that look. I searched with him when you were missing. Don’t deny it. I saw it with her too, and I knew what she would do if she had the chance. I fell asleep, and when I woke up, she was gone. I was too late.”
A tear lingered in his eyes.
I nodded and wiped away my own stray tear.
“I hate that saying so much. Be patient.”
He chuckled again, but it didn’t reach his eyes. Emanuel knew, and it didn’t even look as if he was going to try to stop me. He saw what Helmut’s death had done to Queen Margerite. What all of their deaths had done to her.
That was last night, and I’d gotten pulled back to the wedding again as I stood next to Annie, still staring at Emanuel. He caught me and winked. I smiled and looked away.
My Pappi was there too. My father had chosen a different group of Ancients, and they would only be called in if all the royals, including me and Constance, with Annie, Arianna and her mother with Caleb couldn’t agree.
It was no longer only the kings making decisions; everyone in the royal house had a say.
I dabbed away a tear when my father and Constance said their vows.
He looked at Constance with so much love and kindness. I couldn’t imagine how he’d looked at my mom.
Constance said his heart belonged to Katie, but I was glad he’d given love a second chance, that he was finding happiness again.
The reception was an even a bigger event. We laughed at Sir Robert’s speeches, a few others made heartwarming speeches as well, including Annie, and I couldn’t believe she was my sister now.
There were no “step” in this family.
It was a good night.
We all ate, and during dinner, Sir Robert’s Cammy rang. I stared at him as he got up and went outside.
Every time his Cammy rang I thought that it was Blake, but he would’ve been here tonight if it was him, and every time he didn’t say anything or looked at me as he returned, I knew it wasn’t Blake. I just knew it, and it became clearer. He was dead. He’d found me and somehow they’d erased my memory of the afterlife and let me keep our goodbye.
I pushed back the tears and my eyes caught Emanuel’s again, sitting diagonally from me next to Annie.
Wait for confirmation, please, Emanuel’s eyes begged. I gave a soft smile, and took a huge breath. Okay, I’ll wait for confirmation first. I was going to be patient.
Sir Robert was gone a long time, and only after we were finished taking pictures with everyone in the ballroom did he return.
He went to my father and whispered something in his ear, which made my father smile and nod. I saw Sir Robert give the DJ who was playing tonight with an orchestra a nod, and he took the podium again.
Is he going to sing? It wouldn’t surprise me, his son had an amazing voice.
“No, Elena, I’m not going to sing.”
“You can read my mind too?” I smiled but was scared that he could, cause he too would know what Emanuel did.
“No, but that look on your face said it all.” Everyone laughed. “It is time to ask the lovely new couple to open the dance floor for us. The young want to start partying.”
“Hear, hear!” George said with a beer in his hand, and Becky smacked him playfully on his chest.
My dad and new mom walked hand in hand to the dance floor. She looked gorgeous, with white flowers in her silver blond hair and the most beautiful gown. It was pure white with lace that clung to her body and fanned out at her knees. Her eyes caught Annie’s and mine and she winked at both of us.
My father pulled her with one hand and she was in his arms. Everyone applauded, which was a moment worthy of an eye roll.
Dad and Constance laughed, whispering in each other’s ears as they glided on the dance floor. She laughed heartily again, and they shared a small kiss.
I couldn’t help but smile at them. They made a beautiful couple.
The song they chose had a really long instrumental intro; it was a beautiful soft melody. They glided slowly around the dance floor staring into each other’s eyes. Both looked so happy.
Then the vocals started and my smile disappeared.
Treacherous, powerless, maybe enslaved.
Neither of these, I’ve been saved.
My heart beat a couple of beats, and I closed my eyes. It was Blake’s voice.
Sweet, sweet love, hold me tight.
My heart is yours, you showed me the light.
“When did he record this?” I asked Sammy and stared at her with glistening eyes.
Her eyes glistened too, and a stray tear rolled down her cheek. She didn’t even wipe it away.
She wrapped her arms around me. I listened to the words. It was one of his poems. The one I’d read that night when I realized what Lucian had told me all those times was the truth. No one would love me the way Blake would.
“When you were in the coma.”
They’d call it a coma, as all of them believed with their hearts that he was going to come back. I didn’t anymore. Why else had I heard that conversation he’d had with death?
It was mixed with his other poem that explained what the dent was, and I doubted any of them would ever realize it. He’d turned that part into the chorus
I’ve seen your hopes, experienced your fears,
As part of you, I’ve lived your years.
Come my love, come be still.
Wrapped you in the arms of lovers will.
My heart ached just to see him again. I closed my eyes, pretending it was really him singing tonight. It was too much and I struggled to breathe.
Oh my love, I’ve been so wrong,
I know now where I belong.
My darkness has died, evil no more,
The bond we share shakes my core.
Do not part, it’s too sweet sorrow,
I’m here, loving you till tomorrow.
The chorus came again. I could listen to this song forever. Sammy stroked my back as I rested on my hands. I’d never thought I would miss him this much. His voice went up a notch with the second chorus and my heart felt as if someone had squeezed it. I’d listened to his songs the past three months but this one, it was the first time I’d heard it.
I wanted to stand up and leave, but I didn’t have the strength. I couldn’t part with his voice.
“Hey, it’s going to be okay, shhh,” Sammy whispered in my ear and hugged me tightly. It wasn’t okay, not at all, and the worst part was she didn’t even know it herself. It would never be okay and once they found his body, they would realize that too. This was cruel, to play his song. What was my father thinking? What were all of them thinking?
I found the strength I needed to get up and leave. I had to get out of the tight dress, I had to find a way to breathe again.
“Elena,” Annie said, and Emanuel told her softly to let me go. Becky gasped. All of them did. I didn’t care what my father had done, probably a special step or something.
The door was so close, just a few more steps. The lyrics continued as I reached the door, and I stopped.
Love, come be still.
I need your more than you’ll ever know.
The light in me you make it grow
It didn’t sound like a recording anymore, but I was too scared to turn around. Too scared I would find Isaac or Ty singing the way Blake did.
I need you now, I’ll make things right,
For you alone, I will always fight.
You keep my demons away,
Your purity, your innocence, you make me stay.
Always have, always will.
I finally turned and sucked in a breath. My legs felt wobbly and I struggled to keep the tears at bay; they rolled down my cheeks.
He was making his way slowly to where I stood, and was singing the chorus paces from me.
I pinched myself softly as I stared at him singing the song, and when he finally stopped everyone applauded, except me. He stood there, staring at me.
He eventually smiled, and my legs carried me forward. I flung myself into his arms and just started to kiss him. He hugged me tighter, and his lips brushed my neck softly as he twirled me around.
“Where the hell have you been?” I asked.
“I’m sorry I took so long,” he whispered. “I missed you so much.”
“I thought you were dead,” I cried softly.
He kissed me on the temple and his lips lingered for a few seconds. I breathed in his scent. I was never going to let him go. I knew that now.
“I thought you were dead.” His voice broke too, lips still lingering on my temple as his fingers held the back of my head gently, slightly pulling my hairdo out of place.
“Weeds don’t die that easily.” I laughed and cried all at the same time.
His body shook slightly from laughter as he pulled his head inches back to look at me. Tears lingered in his eyes, but he was smiling, a smile that reached his eyes and made my stomach flutter. His hair was a bit longer, he looked tired, but he was alive and real. I touched his face with my one hand and he closed his eyes then opened them again.
“You are far from a weed, Elena. You are a rose.”
I giggled. “A rose?”
“Yes.” He hugged me tightly again. “And I’m the thorn, the type that hurts like hell.”
Our lips touched one another again. He sounded so goofy, and didn’t give a shit if millions of people were staring.