Something in WhiteAuthor:
#12—in a good moodRating:
All characters are the property of Kaori Naruse. I claim none, I merely borrow them and take them to yummy shoes sales and put them through the horror of finding the perfect strappy sandal.
There were flowers everywhere.
Red and white roses decorated almost every available surface. They were sprinkled with something that sparkled silver on their petals, and long silver garlands woven throughout the bouquets and arrangements. White candles burned in holders set up all over the chapel, adding to the sunlight cast in through the stained glass window. It made for a very pretty picture.
A very lovely setting for a wedding.
Guests were filing in—anyone who was anyone was there, and then some. But the wedding party was off getting ready for the big day and the blessed event…
Hayate stared at himself in the mirror and fidgeted nervously. He felt severely out of place in this get-up. The closest he ever came to dressing up was the blue and black ensemble he wore as the Leafe Knight of Wind. The black tuxedo and white dress shirt was incredibly uncomfortable.
A hand clapped down on his shoulder, and Goh’s face appeared behind his in the mirror. “How’re you holding up?” the Fire Knight asked with a grin. He had obviously seen his friend’s unease, and come over to try and cheer him up. “Not getting cold feet, are you?”
“Of course not,” Hayate responded, not taking his eyes from his reflection. He adjusted his tie for the twelfth time in the last five minutes. “I’m fine. I’ve just never really worn a suit before, that’s all.”
“It’s not that bad. We’re all in the same outfit,” Goh pointed out, gesturing towards his own suit.
A third Knight was walking past, heard the comment, and stopped. “We’re suffering just as much as you are,” Kei deadpanned. “And we’re suffering for you. Be grateful.”
“Yes, but both of you wear one every day when you work. I never wear anything like this,” Hayate retorted, finally turning his head to give them both a Look. It was mindless banter, really, but it served its purpose. It provided distraction, familiarity, and thus, he already felt himself beginning to relax.
Sasame wandered over. As pale as he was, with his white hair and pale violet eyes, he cut quite a remarkable figure in his black get-up. He looked his friends over with a critical eye, and smiled. “I think we all look pretty good.”
Hayate turned and gave himself one more glance in the mirror before giving his friends his full and undivided attention to further distract him from his own unease and misgivings. Normal wedding jitters, he told himself. He’d been warned about these.
But it became a moot point—any and all jitters were dispelled instantly when Shin toddled out in his own small black suit, and the undeniable cuteness of the little boy who was to be the ring bearer immediately sent the last of his misgivings to the back of his mind, where they were immediately forgotten.
For a while, at least.
Mannen and Hajime were running around, both dressed up themselves, though not in suits. Mannen skidded to a halt beside Hayate, panting and hunched over from exertion, hands resting on khaki-clad knees. “Hayate!” he huffed. “We saw Himeno-neechan!”
All attention went instantly to the two younger Knights. “And?!?” Goh asked after a moment. As adults, they had not been permitted into the bride room as the children were.
Hajime and Mannen looked at each other before they both gave Hayate two thumbs up. “She looks beautiful!” Hajime said with a big smile. “You really lucked out!”
Hayate couldn’t help but smile while his eyes drifted towards a clock on the back wall.
Not much longer now…*****
Himeno really wasn’t used to being the center of attention like this. She seemed a bit uncomfortable at the way everyone was fussing over her dress, her hair, her make-up, making sure every little thing was absolutely perfect.
She was standing on a low stool in the middle of the room so her skirt could be fanned out around her. Moments before, she had been sitting on this same stool while Mawata had styled her hair and Mayune had taken care of her make-up.
After Mayune was done and had moved to a mirror to double check her own appearance, Mawata leaned down to whisper into her stepsister’s ear, “Are you nervous at all?”
“Not really,” Himeno said softly. “I had my attack of nerves this morning. Now it’s more impatience. I want to get a move on already!” Mawata laughed and put one more pin into place before declaring the hair a success.
Now perched on that same stool, Himeno had a perfect view of herself in a set of full-length mirrors against one wall of the bride room. She studied herself carefully while Takako (one of her bridesmaids) smoothed the hem of her dress.
She had never worn anything like this before—even as Pretear, the costumes had been decorative, but definitely battle-ready and easy to move in. This was…she wasn’t vain, but she couldn’t drag her eyes away from her own reflection.
The gown was floor length, with a short train and a full skirt. The bodice was decorated with lace and intricate beadwork and silver rhinestones. It was off-the-shoulder, with the two straps sitting comfortably against her forearms. All in pristine, shimmering white.
From her vantage point at a table on by the window, Natsue watched her stepdaughter staring in the mirror, and smiled. It had taken a lot of work for all of them to become a family, and now she was as proud of Himeno as she had ever been of her biological daughters. She observed quietly as Himeno slid one hand experimentally down her skirt, as though she was afraid she would destroy the dress if she so much as breathed wrong.
Still smiling to herself, Natsue lifted the veil from its perch on a mannequin head—it was a lovely creation, with layers of chiffon fanning around a small silver tiara. She moved towards her stepdaughter, who turned to look at her questioningly. Natsue gestured for Himeno to come down, and arranged the veil atop the bride’s hair.
Mawata appeared with the bridal bouquet in hand. Himeno accepted it and took one final look in the mirror before turning back to them. “Okay. Let’s do it!” It was time, and she was ready.
She had always been ready.*****
Hayate waited nervously at the front of the chapel. He didn’t really mean to pace back and forth like that, but he was growing impatient, and with impatience came nerves. So he clasped his hands together behind his back and sort of rocked back and forth while he waited.
The priest appeared behind him. “Relax. Take a deep breath. It’s time.”
As if on cue, the organ began to play, and the congregation turned expectantly. In the front pew, Natsue was already dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief as she waited for the processional. Across the aisle from her, in the pew traditionally reserved for the groom’s family, Mannen and Hajime were standing on the bench to see better over the heads of the adults.
And the bridal party started on their way down the aisle.
First came Shin and little Yukari—Natsue’s niece, acting as the flower-girl and sprinkling white and red petals all over the carpet. The little girl all but stole the show right from the start. She ran out of flower petals halfway down the aisle, and then turned and ran back to gather the petals she had already sprinkled, put them back in her basket, rush back to where Shin had stopped, and continue on her way, happily tossing the flower petals to the floor.
The congregation laughed. They were still smiling as the adults of the wedding party, the bridesmaids and groomsmen, began their trek down the aisle. The groomsmen wore classic black suits, while the bridesmaids were in red and carried white bouquets.
First, Mayune and Goh. Mayune was actually behaving herself for a change; in a rare display of common sense, she seemed to have realized that today was not about her, nor was it an appropriate time for her usual pranks. She walked calmly, smiling, beside Goh, who was beaming.
Behind them, Sasame and Takako. Having themselves married several months before in a smaller ceremony, they seemed calm and at ease with the whole procedure.
Finally, Mawata and Kei. Mawata had been delighted when Himeno had approached her, prepared to beg her stepsister to be her maid-of-honor for the wedding. Kei had seemed far less enthusiastic to be approached as the best man, but Hayate knew his friend well enough to know that the stoic Knight of Light was quite pleased.
The couples made their way to the front of the chapel, where they separated and went to their appropriate sides. In a surprise move, Kei reached out with an elbow to give Hayate an encouraging nudge.
And then it was Himeno’s turn. The organ began to sound, and the assembly rose. Once again, Hajime and Mannen found themselves unable to see; they leaned out to look up the aisle.
A murmur rushed through the crowd as the bride appeared in the arched doorway.
There was no argument—even Mayune at her worst wouldn’t have been able to argue differently. Himeno was beautiful. A vision in white and silver, sparkling in lace and rhinestones; it stood in stark contrast to the large cluster of red roses in her hand. But even the effect of dress, veil, make-up, and all the other trappings paled in comparison to Himeno herself.
Even beneath her veil, everyone could see the smile on her face. But she was not merely smiling; that meager word just didn’t do her justice. She was glowing, as bright as the afternoon sun outside. She was so happy, to be marrying the man she loved.
She held her bouquet in one hand, while the other was looped around her father’s arm. Kaoru himself didn’t look too shabby; he cleaned up nicely in the same black suit. He was smiling, though it was a bit sadder of a smile. It is never easy for a father to give his daughter away.
Out of the corner of his eye, Hayate could see that Goh’s jaw had dropped. The groom himself felt his face pulling back into a smile as he waited, suddenly feeling far calmer.
They walked slowly down the aisle to the sound of the organ, and there was still that quiet murmur of awe. But the bride heard none of it; Himeno’s eyes had locked with Hayate’s the instant she had entered, and never once did she break that silent bond.
When they reached the front of the church, Kaoru let her go and turned to push her veil back. He paused for a moment before leaning in to give his daughter a hug. He felt a bit of pressure as Himeno pressed a kiss to his cheek. And he stepped back and gave her one more smile before he took his seat beside his wife to watch.
Hayate held out a hand to her, which she accepted, and they turned to the priest.
The priest was a younger man with a shock of blonde hair. He smiled reassuringly at each of them before he began in a loud, clear voice. “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today…”
The service went surprisingly quickly. The contract was signed, and they recited their vows in calm, clear voices that carried out over the entire congregation. Astute listeners noticed (perhaps with a touch of amusement) that Himeno did not promise to obey. No one expected her to, and no one would have expected Hayate to even ask her to.
And finally, it was time for what many felt to be the most important part at the end. “I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride,” the priest said, stepping back.
Hayate’s hands tightened on hers; his head dipped down while Himeno turned her chin upward.
Between the adrenaline rush of the whole day, and the simple power of their first kiss as husband and wife, neither of them heard that the chapel had burst into applause and cheers.
With a sigh, Himeno closed the album in her lap. Absently, she ran her hands over the decorative white cover, tracing the line of the gold trim with her fingertips.
Their wedding album.
She didn’t look at it often, but sometimes it was nice to pull it out and relive the magic of that one day, remember how everything had looked, the things everyone had said, and the way she had felt. It was like walking on a cloud, the same color as her dress. Had it already been over a year since that day?
There were more pictures in there—pictures of the bridal party, the church, and a large number of photographs from the reception afterwards. She would look back through those another day, though.
A cry from the next room startled her from her reminiscing, and she sighed, uncurling herself from her comfortable position in the oversized chair; she slipped the album back into its place on the shelf, feeling her face pull into a smile.
She would come back to the album another time, when she needed a pick-me-up. Those few minutes of remembering were enough to put her in a good mood for the rest of the day.
Still smiling to herself, Himeno went to the next room to tend to her six-week-old daughter.PS. I have officially done continuity. This is a companion piece to the previous Kiss (“Mad Dash”), because some people were having trouble picturing Hayate and Himeno with a kid. So I took advantage of it to write this, and the next chapter will be a third part. I did a bit of research, but there are so many different descriptions of Western-style Japanese weddings, I just kind of guessed on the actual proceedings.
Hope you’ll stay tuned. Much love!!