When Lightning Strikes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 11 (v.1)

Submitted: February 24, 2012

Reads: 938

Comments: 16

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 24, 2012

A A A

A A A

The weeks had flown by fast. How did I know? It was already Aubrey and Jason’s engagement party! I remember that it had only been a few weeks ago when I had met Cale and Stella.

Teaching, essay papers and studying were the three things which had been on my mind for the past weeks. They had kept me busy and so I was looking forward to letting myself loose.

I watched as the flimsy material of my dress trailed beside me, leaving a path of embroidered gold. I had already received a few compliments on my outfit, making me flustered, but Ruby had told me to ‘embrace my beauty’. Psh. What beauty was there?

The angelic white dress I had initially wanted to wear was across the room, sparkling along with its wearer, Aubrey. It wasn’t like I was jealous – it was just a bit heartbreaking to know that instead of me, my sister was able to wear the dress I had fallen in love with at the department store.

I thought about how it ended up in her arms and it slightly cheered me up. Giving it to her was for a good cause. I would never want her to suffer humiliation or become upset at her own party.

Aubrey’s alarmed voice through the narrow hallway outside my bedroom had caught my attention this afternoon. My door had flown open to reveal my sister in her silk robe.

I had exclaimed the obvious. “Aubs, you aren’t dressed yet!”
She had stamped her foot, distressed, and cried out, “My dress! Instead of silver, it’s become a gaudy grey-pink from the wash!”

Pity had filled me. She would be meeting her future extended family and friends without the outfit she had wanted, and last-minute changes weren’t what Aubrey was used to. She planned; she organised and expected everything to come out perfect.

“Whatever am I going to do?!”

I had watched as Aubrey moped on the softness of my carpet for a few minutes. Her mascara had been running down her cheeks and blotching her eyes. I had desperately tried to think of a solution for the problem at hand and managed to say, “How about we find an old dress of yours? Surely that will do?”

“I can’t wear an old dress! I can’t!”

I heaved a sigh as I looked back at the conversation. After that, she had quickly come up with an idea: for me to give my dress to her, as it was brand new.

How could I have said no?

But it wasn’t like I couldn’t have a good time without it, right?

To be honest, I felt a little lonely as I stood by the arched entrance. I absently stroked the petals of the white and red tulips beside me and watched as the party started to unfold.

I spotted my mother chatting with a woman who was obviously Mrs Levine. Her dark golden brown hair had definitely passed onto her children, although Delilah’s was lighter in colour. She looked like a friendly person and wore a ruffled blouse with dark, tailored pants.

Mom meanwhile, looked gorgeous in her wrap dress. Ever since I was small, I loved it when she dressed up for special occasions. I had always thought she looked like a Queen. The weirdest thing was that she didn’t seem to realise how beautiful she was.

Dad sure knew though. I could see him sneaking admiring glances in her direction and snickered.

“What’s so amusing?”

I turned and felt a shock go through me. Jason stood merely an inch away and was dressed in his light blue dress shirt and dark grey slacks. It clung to his body nicely and complimented his sun-kissed skin. My body couldn’t help but heat up by his presence.

I cleared my throat to try and hide how I was feeling. “My father still looks like he’s in high school. He looks like a love-struck puppy whenever she sees mom.”

Jason’s eyes searched through the crowd for dad and he laughed. “Do your parents still act like high-school sweethearts?”

“They’re in love as much as they were when they first started dating,” I confirmed.

We were quiet for a bit as we watched my parents meet together by the window. Mom giggled at something dad had said and he slyly put his arm around her waist to pull her closer. Even from here, I could see the blush on mom’s face.

“I hope I’ll have that,” Jason commented with longing clearly in his eyes.

I turned to him sharply. “Of course you’ll have that! You have Aubrey! Don’t you ever doubt it, Jason. You hear me?”

It was rare of me to use that tone, but I couldn’t help it.

“How can you think that? It’s your engagement party, for goodness sake!”

Weren’t the betrothed couple supposed to be excited about spending the rest of their days together? They shouldn’t be dwelling on whether the spark would be lost after thirty years!

“You’re right.” Jason smiled. “Thank you, Gracie.”

I couldn’t help but smile back.

“Oh Jasie, dearie!” A voice said from beside us. “Congratulations!”

A small woman was hugging the life out of Jason. Her flyaway hair was light grey in colour, and she wore bright purple spectacles on a chain.

“Hi Grandma,” Jason greeted.

She looked at me and patted my cheek. I stood there in shock.

“Oh Jasie, you’ve made such a fine choice! She’s so pretty, just look at her!” Strangely, Jason’s eyes did flit over to me.

“I can see the sparks between you!”

She thought I was Aubrey? This was twice now. Jason and I had been mistaken for a couple twice!

The only problem was that I actually felt complimented. I could feel the blood rushing up to my cheeks and my mouth curving upwards into a grin. I had no idea what on earth had gotten into me, but I didn’t like it.

“Excuse me, but I’m actually Jason’s fiancée.” Startled, I turned to my left where Aubrey stood, with what looked like a practiced, fake smile. “This is my sister, Gracie.”

Mrs Levine then appeared from behind Aubrey. “Mother! You’re here!” She then introduced her mother as ‘Felicity’.

“Camille, oh Camille, I think my sight is failing me!” Felicity exclaimed, while scratching her head. “I thought dearest Gracie was Jasie’s fiancée! Do you think I need new glasses?”

Camille seemed confused, but concentrated on soothing her very distraught mother. “Your eyes are fine mother. Do you know why I know? You’ve never met Aubrey in your life or seen her! You simply mistook somebody else for her because she was standing next to Jason.”

Felicity stroked my cheek affectionately. “But she’s so perfect for Jasie, don’t you think? Who cares if she’s Amber’s sister?”

“It’s Aubrey,” my sister corrected. Her clear eyes then focused one me and I suddenly felt small, even if she wasn’t glaring. Something was bothering her and I had the nagging suspicion that it was me. But how could that be? She loved me.

“Grandma, be nice now,” Jason warned in a cheerful tone. “We don’t want Aubrey running off.”

In reply, his grandmother muttered something which sounded like, ‘I hope she does’.

Camille sensed the tension and ushered her mother away from us. She looked back and gave us an apologetic smile.

“Jason, my aunt has been dying to meet you. Will you come?” Aubrey asked, as she clutched his arm.

“Of course.”

They walked off into the living room, while Felicity watched them like a hawk.

I edged away from the room and headed into the kitchen, where there were more guests. There were glass doors, opened so that people could sit outside in the backyard on benches and under the gabled roof.

I spotted Ruby fidgeting with her dress as she spoke with a guy, and decided to rescue her.

“Thanks for that.” Her voice was full of relief. “All he kept talking about was how great he was at playing soccer.”

I smirked. “Was he as interesting as Lennon?”

My best friend now resembled a tomato. “Well what about Vince?” she shot back cheekily. “When will he be here?”

Just a few days ago, Aubrey had told me to invite Vince. It had pleased me immensely that I could be together with him in front of family and friends.

Worried, I pulled out my phone from my purse and dialled his number. It was quicker than scrolling through all my contacts and I hadn’t put him on my speed dial yet.

“Gracie?” was the first thing he said.

“Vince! Where are you?”

“Do not worry, ma Cherie. I am here.” He chuckled. “I am walking up to the house right now.”

Excitement filled me. “I’m in the backyard with Rubs. You’ll be able to meet her now!"

He had to hang up because dad had cornered him, so I waited patiently with Ruby. She talked about the double date and asked me what locations I had in mind. Honestly, I had forgotten about that.

“Ma Cherie,” a soft whisper came from behind me.

I yelped from surprise and grinned at the sight of Vince. He was in his traditional crisp, white dress shirt and black tailored pants. His midnight black hair tumbled in curls above his right eye, and I smoothed it away.

“Vince, this is Ruby.” I pushed him forward gently. “My best friend.”

They simply stood there, staring. Vince took in her appearance with a small smile and took her hand to kiss it charmingly. This was why French men were simply heavenly.

I suppressed a giggle when Ruby’s cheeks became as red as her fiery hair. Her eyes were as wide as saucers. She was completely entranced just like mom.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, Ruby. I have heard all about you.”

It seemed to take Ruby a few seconds to recover from her shock. “Oh! Yes, I know a lot about you too!”

Vince chuckled.

It made me happy to know that my best friend and boyfriend (or almost boyfriend) was getting along.

The three of us chatted until Ruby felt guilty for being the third wheeler and decided to give us some alone time. Vince and I headed inside the house to grab some refreshments. I dipped some carrots into dip, while Vince held a plastic cup, full of sparkling apple juice.

“You look so beautiful, Gracie.”

I looked up and beamed beatifically at him. “And you are incredibly handsome.”

“Do not try and draw the attention away from you.” Vince laughed when I scrunched my nose.

“I’m not!”

“I know, I was joking, my love. But you really do not notice that all eyes are on you. You are the angel in the room, always, and I am glad to call you mine,” he

I melted.

“I’m not sure if I’m worthy of the compliment, so I’ll just stay quiet,” I joked.

We both laughed and continued to walk through the house, catching up with several people. My closest cousin, Catalina, pulled me aside to tell me how handsome Vince was and how lucky I was to have him. For her to approve of him was great – she thought all boys were immature for some reason.

Practically everyone was delighted with my choice. They all gushed over how we made such a ‘handsome couple’, and a few of the older ladies excitedly started putting plans together for our wedding. How embarrassing.

But Vince was Vince, so he charmingly listened to how we would wear a glamorous white suit, which would contrast nicely with his dark hair.

A little while later, Aubrey came towards us with Jason.

“Hello Vince. Do you like the party so far?” she asked.

He nodded. “I do. It’s very elegant and everyone here is very friendly,” he offered. “Thank you for inviting me.”

Aubrey seemed pleased with his answer. “I’d like you to meet my fiancé, Jason Levine.” Her mouth curved upwards when she said the word, ‘fiancé’. “We’ve been together for a year and a half now.”

I could tell Jason was going to do the ‘guy thing’ and nod this head to greet him, but Vince stretched out his hand so it could be shaken.

“I am Gracie’s boyfriend, Vince.”

My eyes widened and a grin stretched across my face. He had said the word ‘boyfriend’! He had! It was definitely official then!

Aubrey was frowning at my shocked expression, while Jason was congratulating us.

“You never told me you had a man in your life,” Jason teased.

I shrugged, grinning cheekily. “You never asked, did you?”

A hearty laugh came from his throat, making me smile. Jason’s enthusiasm was quite infectious, or to me at least.

“By the way, Stella’s looking for you,” he added. “She really wants to make friends with you, you know. She’s around somewhere here …”

Aubrey’s head snapped to me. “She wants to make friends with you?”

I shifted on my feet, feeling a tad uncomfortable as she stared at me.

“Umm … well I should find her then.”

I could feel my sister’s stare on my back as Vince and I walked away. I didn’t need to search high and low for her, since she spotted me in the backyard and waved me over.

“Hey Gracie,” Stella and Cale said at the same time. They both seemed pleased to see me.

I suddenly figured that Stella was a little tipsy from the alcohol that someone had snuck in, due to her sloppy grin and tousled hair, so I was very glad that Cale looked relatively sober. He was keeping a steady hand on his girlfriend’s waist so she wouldn’t fall of his lap.

“Guys, this is Vince. He’s my boyfriend.”

My lips couldn’t help but lift upwards into a silly smile. Since Vince had introduced himself as my boyfriend to Jason, I was on cloud nine and wanted to use the word as much as I possibly could.

Stella looked him up and down. “Why aren’t you one hunky man!”

Vince looked a little shocked by her straightforwardness. Bless him. He could be so adorable.

Cale meanwhile, was glaring at the girl who was prettily batting her lashes at Vince. “Sorry mate, she’s a bit hormonal when she’s drunk,” he explained. Pursing his lips at Stella, he pried the beer bottle away from her grasp. “Babe, I think you should stop now.”

Stella cried out in protest. “Nooo! You can’t deny me my source of life! You murderer! You horrible, vile THING!”

I laughed.

“I thought I was your oxygen?” Cale smirked.

“You bloody moron! You’re so conceeeeited! I never said that! I probably meant that I need oxygen when you try to kiss me!”

“You know you like it.”

Frustrated tears spilled from Stella’s warm eyes as she continued to hurl insults at him loudly.

Vince raised an eyebrow. “Is she always like this?”

Cale grinned and ignored his girlfriend’s heated shouts. “Yeah, pretty much. I’d hate to think what she’d be like when’s she pregnant!”

Vince and I laughed together, while Stella’s eyes widened considerably.

“I’m pregnant?! Oh my god! Oh my GOD! My parents are going to kill me! Who’s the daddy? WHO’S THE DADDY?!”

Her other friends and surrounding relatives started to laugh. One guy spoke up, saying that it was him.

“Remember? We planned on naming him Nemo?”

Stella gasped melodramatically. “Are you calling my baby a FISH?!”

* * *

By the time the sky was a thin sheet of midnight blue, everyone was beginning to gather in the backyard. Music had been playing for the past few hours and a lot of people had started to dance in the middle of the yard.

It had been entertaining to watch a drunken woman walk into the pole of a lantern and she had also accidentally tripped into the garden beds.

Mrs Levine had been easy-going and kind about it, but Aubrey had looked like she was ready to burst and throw the ‘party-ruiner’ out.

I walked into the house at one point to use the bathroom when I ran into a couple arguing in the shadowed hallway. Feeling guilty for intruding, I was about to turn around when I heard Aubrey’s distinct voice.

I froze dead in my tracks and hid behind a wall, breathing heavily. My rational mind was telling me that I shouldn’t be here, but my heart wanted to stay – to hear what was going on.

“Please Aubrey, can’t you get to know her a little? She means a lot to me.”

I heard my sister snort derisively. “How can you expect me to get along with someone who hates me and is mentally challenged? Did you see the way how she threw herself on Gracie?!”

I realised with a pang that she was talking about me and Jason’s grandmother, Felicity.

Jason sighed deeply and I had the urge to comfort him. He was going to be like a brother to me, after all. “She’s old, Aubrey.”

“Well she still should show some respect for me.” I heard her sniff. “I am going to be her granddaughter-in-law.”

“I know, but just promise me you’ll try and get along with her?”

An irritated sound came from Aubrey’s throat. “I don’t have the patience with her, Jason! You know that if someone treats me rudely first, I won’t be bothered with them!”

They started to quarrel again and I quietly slipped away to use the bathroom upstairs. As I washed my hands, I thought about the argument I had overheard.

From the way Jason pleaded with Aubrey, it seemed like he was used to it.

It was strange.

Why did I feel like I needed to side with Jason and not Aubrey?

~ Stella Price!

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