Reads: 23

Flowers. Bouquets of beautiful and vibrant flowers. Ranging from different colors, shapes, and sizes. They occupied a tenth of the enormous room bringing with them the smell of spring and new promises.

Standing in the middle was an arch decorated with various vines and flowers. It was standing at the end of a small bridge that appeared three feet.

Chairs adorned with gold, white, and silver ribbons, balloons, and strips of cloth sat in rows on either side of the bridge. With such an arrangement, the center of the room allowed space for two people to enter.

Lamps decorated like balls sitting on top of short and thin columns—four in total—were placed in the four corners of the bridge. Twirling bells, thistles, red roses, and daisies plastered to its railings; the bridge looked like a painting.

The chandeliers hanging from the ceiling produced blue and white light, which reflected like fairy lights on the floor and walls. The room looked straight out of a fantasy.

Beyond the arch was a sparkling fountain. Large enough for the space it occupied. From the beautiful built-in statue mimicking jumping dolphins, water flowed into a wide basin before traversing through a channel and entering into rectangular basins encased with transparent glass separating the chairs and underneath the bridge.

Silk, but opaque curtains, connected onto hooks spread across the ceiling. They fell on either side of the enormous tent concealing the outside world.

The entire room shone as if diamonds were in the water, and maybe it was. Moonlight seeped through the opened space of the ceiling, where transparent glass caused the inside of the tent to look more ethereal. Everything looked—maybe too spectacular.

Sharlene could not believe what her eyes were seeing. Standing frozen in the doorway of the gigantic tent, she held her breath because she was afraid of touching the shining black marble flooring, but that was far from her shock. No, far from it. It was the man standing underneath the arch and looking straight at her. With a full-blown smile that threatened to split his lips in half, Nicholas Ross looked smitten in his black suit and white bow tie.

Sharlene's hold tightened on the bouquet. She blinked thrice. She held onto the dainty flowers were a mystery. Glancing down at the beautifully arranged flowers, Sharlene gasped once more when she spotted a fraction of her reflection in the polished tiles.

She was wearing an unrecognized wedding dress. And it was far too beautiful to describe.

Quickly, she averted her attention to Nick when she heard his footfalls echoing in the room. He was already making his way towards her with his smile and the joy on his face intact. His presence was an oddity amongst the faceless sea of people, and she welcomed it.

With every step he took, her heart raced in her chest.
He looked dreamy, and she no longer focused on other irrelevant matters or questioned her surroundings.
All her attention was on the approaching tall specimen.

Her ears drowned out the loud murmurs, her heartbeats, and his footsteps in sync. As he drew nearer, her smile broadened. Tears of joy trickled down her cheeks. Sharlene was on cloud nine. She was getting married.

'Is this a dream?'
She thought, but Nick's gentle touch dismissed such thoughts. He gently held her hands and lifted them in between them.

"I have waited a million years for this moment."
His flowery words greeted her ears, and she blushed. Watching him bringing her hands against his lips, she turned to a puddle when he bestowed a kiss on the back of each.

Nick's smoldering grey eyes slowly lifted to stare into hers. He smiled against her hands as if he had a secret to share. Within the blink of an eye, Nick pulled her exceptionally close to his chest. And Sharlene welcomed his warmth. Leaning his face ever closer to hers, he whispered.

"I love you, my wife."

Her chest felt it could no longer contain her heart after hearing such a confession, and her tongue lodged in her throat.

"May I kiss you, my bride, and whisk you into the night?"
Again, his baritone voice murmured against her lips, and she only nodded, fearing she would blabber if she responded. Puckering her lips for his upcoming kiss, Sharlene prepared to ascend to heaven.

"..lene."

A voice not belonging to the space of time fleeted into her ears, but Sharlene was far too occupied in bliss to pay them no mind. She murmured, 'let me enjoy this moment,' while gazing encouragingly at Nick.

"...lene."

The voice came again, but Sharlene ignored it. It sounded so far away that she mistook it for a mosquito.
However, a spew of words that sounded far from his voice soon came from Nick's lips.

"Sharlene Cunning-ham, if you do not wake this instant, I will give the chocolate I bought for you to AJ."

Sharlene tilted her head in confusion.

"It would be such a disgusting scene to see AJ showing you the half-eaten chocolate in his mouth to spite you."

The kiss and romantic air dissipated from the odd words.

Instantly, the once-standing Nick disappeared, leaving her feeling tired and confused but most likely disappointed. It had all turned out to be a big ole fancy dream. Slowly, her surroundings changed, the area disappearing with the traces of Nick into the unknown as her eyes fluttered open.

"That's it. Open those beautiful eyes. You can't still be sleeping when your entire family is downstairs."
The familiar voice continued in a huff, but Sharlene paid no mind. Her barely opened eyes were slowly closing again, and she snuggled into her pillow. She greedily traced the fading dream.

A tsk of a tongue, the person hovering like a shadow where she lay was getting impatient.
"Lily, we need to punish your aunt because she does not want to wake up. What should we do?"

"Give her a big kiss!"
Lily exclaimed. Her baby teeth distort her words.
"Like papa and mama do?"
Her smile was infectious. Her mother was delighted by the idea.

Unlike the happy hush-hush conversation taking place above her, Sharlene was getting more and more annoyed.

Not only was the dream no longer accessible, but she also wanted to pee. Badly. And so, she had no choice but to open her eyes with a groan.

At first, Sharlene was confused about where she was. Her eyes rapidly blinked as she took in her surroundings. Suddenly, she felt the weight of a small child on her thighs and a light nudge on her shoulder—more like a poke.

"Is your brain still in lololand, Shar? Here is your favorite niece. Give her a big ole kiss for both of us, Lily."

Her eyes narrowed at the familiar voice, but as she heard Lily's name, all senses came to Sharlene, and she leaped into a sitting position on the bed. Scooping the tiny being into her arms, she cooed.

"Oh, my precious Lily! Aunty missed you so much!"

Lily's sweet giggles entered her ears as she bestowed kisses all over her face.

She cared not if her face had residue of sleep or dried droll on the side of her lips.

Hearing someone laughing from the side of her bed, she screamed with even more joy. Her earlier anger dissipated, and joy quickly replaced it.

"Clarice?!"

Laughing, when Lily returned her kisses, Sharlene's eyes twinkled.
"When did you all arrive?! I thought you said you were not coming until Sunday morning?!"

"What? Are you kidding? I would not miss this for the world. I haven't seen our grandparents in ages, and do not talk about the gossip we could have in person, unlike on the phone."

Grinning, Clarice revealed a chocolate bar.

"And that's not all. I did not want this to spoil. Why do you think I volunteered to wake you up? It's milk and chocolate, your favorite, by the way."

Feeling giddy about the unexpected gift, Sharlene bounced Lily in her arms.

"I accept your apology. But Lily will remain with me for the rest of the day as compensation for waking me up."
Coyly, she said while accepting the gift.

Clarice teased with a smirk.
"I hope you also forgive me for ruining your expressive imagination."

Sharlene's eyebrows furrowed, and seeing her confusion, Clarice demonstrated the faces she did during her beautiful dream.

"You were puckering your lips like this, and your arms were wide open. It looked like you were waiting for a kiss and a hug for a plus."

Blushing, for her funny expressions were spot on since that was something she'd do, Sharlene removed the pillow behind her and sent it flying in Clarice's direction.
"It was just an ordinary dream."
She denied Clarice's claim.

Smirking and easily dodging the pillow, Clarice rolled her eyes.
"Indeed, it was an ordinary dream. That's why I suggested Lily kiss you. Maybe, she would make the dream feel more real."

Groaning instead of answering her, Sharlene averted her attention onto her niece with a huff. Hugging her tighter, she whispered and asked her questions, and Lily was ecstatic to answer.

Sharlene gasped in shock and astonishment at one of Lily's revealed secret-or more like one of her parents' plans.
"You are planning to stay in Colorado?!"

Clarice raised an eyebrow, clearly suspicious of her sudden conversation change, but she would resurface her curiosity later.
Instead, she nodded to Sharlene's question. And boy, was the excitement threatening to burst from her sister.

"Ah! What changed your mind? I can't believe this! Where do you plan to stay? What about your house in Toronto?"
Sharlene's rumbling made Clarice smile.

 "I will answer only one question for now. The day we left a month ago, Tristain and I decided to purchase a house three blocks from yours."

"Really?"

Grasping Lily's cheeks in her hands, she squealed.
"Lily, aunty is going to buy you a present before the day ends, okay?"

"Yay, aunty!"

Basking in the joy of her niece staying within walking distance from her, Sharlene ignored Clarice's presence and engaged in childlike conversation. Smiling at the beautiful sight in front of her, Clarice thought. 'She'll be a wonderful mother.' And she was also thankful Sharlene was not persistent in gaining answers to her questions.

A few moments later, she cleared her throat, and whether Sharlene listened, she spoke.

"Now that you are awake, Shar. Do get ready to meet us downstairs. I will tell you why Tristan, Lily, and I came today and are moving to Colorado."

After speaking those words, Clarice made her way out the door. Keeping in mind what her sister said, Sharlene, glided off the bed with Lily in her arms.

"My precious Lily, do you want to take a bath with aunty?"

"Yes!"
Lily shouted with bright smiling eyes.

"Yes? Then let's go!"

Excitedly shouting while Lily giggled, Sharlene carried her towards the bathroom, but with her interesting dream in mind.
______

Refreshed, dressed, and tidy, Sharlene was ready to face the world that is her rowdy family members in the enormous living room. As she began descending the staircase, she heard the barks of laughter, momentary speaking, and moving footsteps. The voice reiterating a comedic scene from years prior was recognizable. It was her grandfather's famous story. It was the time he went fishing with his father and underwent a mysterious finding.

From the equally narrated voice of her grandmother, who added more emphasis to the story, whether you were interested or not in the story, the tale was infectiously comedic.

The loudest laugh came from a familiar person, and Sharlene was thrilled. She had kept her promise. Gently placing Lily down, she screamed with tears glistening in her eyes.

"RITA! I MISSED YOU SO MUCH!"

Swiftly turning around, Rita burst into laughter, though her eyes mimicked hers.

"SHARLENE! I MISSED YOU TOO!"

Shouting, she made her way towards her with her arms open wide.

Everyone shook their heads at the dramatic scene of the two embracing each other as soon as they were at arms reach. What could they do? Friends for life were hard to come by.

=====
I apologize for the late update, please enjoy.

 

KimAmai

 


Submitted: January 24, 2023

© Copyright 2023 KimAmai. All rights reserved.

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