Summary: Hating weddings, the missing groomsman ditches his speech. The event organizer just wants her proposal. But life has other plans. [AU]
A/N: Hello, everyone! This is my new story, inspired Lifehouse's song, "Hanging By A Moment", with the chapters titled after the lyrics. It is AU this time as I venture on different headcanons for my favorite GALS! pair. I hope you enjoy this one! Thanks for reading in advance, and please leave your thoughts!
"Hanging by a Moment" by Lifehouse
Desperate For Changing
The venue is set: white lace linens covered round glass tables, each holding eight dinnerware sets of crystal wine glasses, appetizer, main course and dessert plates and their corresponding utensils, and table napkins expertly folded as if they were origami paper, and a vase blue calla lilies that matched the blue curtains draped over the big window panes around the room and the blue lights that fell from the ceiling in about two feet like rain the set the ambiance. There was a small stage at the front of the room ready with a microphone and a white screen that, for the past half hour, had been showing pictures of treasured moments of the couple of the hour, synced with love songs easy to the ear.
She gives the place a once over. The guests are flowing in and the round tables were filling up one by one, each arriving guest seated to their nameplates. Right on schedule.
It wasn't a big gathering since it was mostly composed of close relatives, friends, and co-workers—it wasn't the actual wedding yet—but she loved throwing intimate gatherings the most because it always created the most beautiful events concepts from her. The feeling that she is able to create something beautiful for an important moment in a person's life that they'll be able to remember for the rest of their lives is what makes it so gratifying, at least for her part. So, she likes everything to go exactly as planned.
"It seems like all the guests are in." She speaks over a small microphone attached to her ear while she scans the room, satisfied with the attendance of the guests. "Alright. The hosts can start now."
From the back of the room, she sees her staff instruct a corn-haired woman in a long black gown and a blonde man in a black coat and tie come up the stage with their respective microphones.
The blonde, who turns out to be the best man, greets everyone for coming to their friends' engagement party and congratulates the lovely couple on getting engaged.
The woman, on the other hand, starts off with a loud greeting, and from the couple of times she's interacted with her—because she's the maid-of-honor—she has discovered that this was just her usual personality, and, once you get passed the feeling of boundaries being broken by her strong personality, she turns out to be a very genuine person. She makes a joke about the groom, her brother, on how Miyu, the bride, wears the pants in the relationship, and the crowd laughs, but then she adds a sentimental touch by saying something about how their love is inspiring.
They didn't keep the introduction long because they soon cued a surprise video montage that they made for the newly engaged couple, and Aya instructed her staff to dim the lights and play the video. And it's not like she hasn't watched videos like these before, granted, the pictures of choice of the maid-of-honor and the best man were of the embarrassing variety, but it always gets her every time seeing the journey that a couple has gone through to reach the stage they are at.
When the video was over, the guest were invited to help themselves to the buffet located at either side of the hall and choose from a selection of pork, chicken, fish and vegetable dishes, and that the program will resume after dinner, so Aya starts to go around checking the food stations to make sure that there was enough for everyone and that proper portions were served.
It was about thirty minutes into eating their dinner that the male host earlier came back to stage with a few announcements.
"Good evening, everyone!" He greeted with the same level of enthusiasm as he did earlier. "It's me again, the best man—that's Yuuya for all you single ladies out there. How's your dinner been so far? Great? Well my co-host is already on her third serving so I assume it must be." The crowd laughs along and the corn-haired woman can be seen shouting something from the table to the right of the stage with her mouth still full of food. "What's that, Ran? There's still food in your mouth—It's best you chew them fir—Oh well I guess that's what happens when you talk with your mouth full. It's okay, you're still cute, anyway." He teases before resuming talking to the audience. "Anyway, before the bride- and groom-to-be come up the stage to give their thanks, we will have a few words the groomsman, because my best man speech will have to wait until the wedding."
The crowds clapped and cheered, and dozens of eyes scanned the room for the said groomsman to stand and take the stage.
"Calling Mr. Rei Otohata, groomsman!" The host maintained his wide grin while looking around the room. "I know your speech isn't as important as mine but now is your moment to shine! Come up the stage!"
But there was no sign of the said groomsman and the grin of the host started to falter as the guests were starting to whisper questions as to who and where the groomsman was.
"Where's the groomsman?" Aya whispered in her microphone, a hint of annoyance present in her voice as she started walking from the back of the hall to near the stage, all the while turning her head in all direction to find signs of the said groomsman before realizing she's actually never met him yet. "I thought you had eyes on—bathroom? Then go check!"
She sighed upon reaching the stage, the blond host looking at her and giving a shrug and a apologetic smile.
"Well, since Rei seems to want to wait until the wedding to give his speech," said Yuuya, trying to save the situation. "We will now give the stage to one of Miyu's college friends and a bridesmaid."
The guests clapped as a petite redhead took the stage, obviously nervous since she probably thought she had more time before she had to give her speech. Nonetheless she was able to pull through (despite her initial stammer), drawing out some laughs from the crowd from a couple of jokes and ending her speech with a typical love quote from some movie or novel.
The bride- and groom-to-be then took the stage, hand-in-hand and with smiles that reached from ear-to-ear.
"Good evening, everyone!" The bride-to-be was the first one to speak. "Thank you all for coming, Yamato and I are lucky that you are all here to celebrate this special time in our lives."
Miyu looks to her husband to continue with loving eyes, and he smiles as he takes the microphone from her hand. "If you don't already know by now, you're probably in the wrong party," he jokes. "I have asked this woman, the woman of my dreams, the love of my life, to marry me. And I am fortunate enough that she said yes. Crazy, right?" He looks into her eyes as she squeezes his hand. "And while my friends will tell me I'm crazy for getting married, well, I tell them what they're missing soon enough."
And the crowd hisses in cheers and whistles, calling the groom-to-be to kiss his future wife, and while they both blush into shades of pink, they willingly oblige.
"Thank you, everyone, once again for coming to this engagement party." Yamato turns to face the crowd. "Drinks will be served in the bar, enjoy yourselves for the rest of the night, and we'll see you all in the wedding!"
The guests clap and cheer, and some head to the bar for a drink while some approach the couple, giving their congratulations or bidding the farewells. And it's usually at this point in an event where Aya can breathe easily knowing there won't be much for her or her team to do that to wait until the time of egress so they can clean up before heading home. She takes off the microphone from her here because she knows her staff will not need much instruction from thereon, and she takes in the sight one last time.
She finds an exit in an open arched window, and it led to a stoned balcony facing a small garden. There were lamps on the sides of the balcony that were now lit up, illuminating a garden decorated with hydrangeas, purple, and pink and blue, covered with droplets of water the rain left behind a few hours earlier. At the center of it all was a fountain made of stone that had already begun to be eroded, and yet the water flowing from it shone beautifully under the moonlight.
Taking in the sight, she takes off her high heels using each foot take the other shoe off, ignoring the fact that the cold stone floor might be completely dirty from the fallen leaves and the unswept dirt, and she leans over the balcony letting her arms rest on the rails, and her weariness dissipates momentarily as she lets herself imitate the calmness of the night sky.
"Parties are just dreadful, aren't they?"
The sudden spoken words that came from a low and deep voice startles Aya, causing her to turn around to find its source. She's surprised to see a man sitting in one of the steel benches, his arms spread behind it, and one foot over the other. But she's even more surprised at how she didn't even notice him there when she walked into the balcony, and he must have been there a while she figures from the two empty bottles of beer by his foot and another he was holding with his left hand.
Then again, it might have been because of his black suit and dark brown hair that he had probably blended into the shadows, making her fail to notice him and his piercing eyes.
It takes her a while to register his question because his dark eyes were very distracting as they stared at her, and when he moves his eyes from hers to her feet, she realizes what he meant.
She shrugs, blushing, while she unmindfully tucks on leg behind the other as if trying to hide it from his sight. "Not at all," she says. "It's too much fun that my feet are now sore."
"Ah," is all he says as he takes a gulp from his beer.
She doesn't say anything either, instead she deduces that he must be a guest of the party from how he dressed and yet she has a hard time remembering him from the party in spite of the many times she went around the venue during the event while making sure all was going smoothly. Somehow she finds herself appreciating his features the longer she stares at him.
The space beside him is free, but she hesitates taking it and so she places both hands flat on the balcony, and she pauses readying her self by kneeling oh-so-slighty then jumps backwards so she can sit on the cold flat surface. She struggles a little getting her whole butt seated but she wiggles what little part of her body she had on the surface until she could sit comfortable.
From where he sat, he watches her, bemused. "So," he finally says after she catches him staring at her. "Are you from the side of the groom, or from the bride's?"
"Neither," she responded.
He raises an eyebrow urging her to explain.
"I organized the event," she said as a matter-of-factly, puffing her chest and crossing her arms in a defensive manner.
He mouths an 'ah.'
"So you're the wedding planner," he declares pointedly.
She narrows her eyes at him feeling offended at the tone by which he just uttered his words. "Weddings are among the events I organize."
He notices the hostility in her voice so he waves his hand in small movements. "Oh, I wasn't trying to insult you or anything. I just—how do I put it nicely," he pauses while he thinks before giving up, shrugging, "—hate weddings."
It was probably in the nonchalant way he said it, or in the way his eyes looked empty when he did, that made her turn from offended to curious as to why he would hate weddings.
"I'm not offended," she lied, blushing as she did, but she figures that he probably wouldn't notice in the dimly lit balcony, and she swings her feet back and forth like a little girl on a swing to make herself seem unaffacted. "But it does make one curious as to why one would hate weddings." She leans her back to the balcony, placing her elbows on the stone railings.
He doesn't say anything, but the question didn't make his mood turn south either, so she figured she didn't cross the line that much. Instead, he cranes his neck as if inviting her to take a guess.
She obliges. "Maybe you're one of those playboys who don't believe in marriage, forever wanting to be a bachelor."
He raises an eyebrow questioningly.
"Well, you kind of look like one," she shrugs. "Maybe all of your friends are slowly getting married so you have this feeling that they're being taken away, tied down, and they have no more time for you."
This makes his chuckle slightly, and she notices just how handsome his grin makes him look. His reaction makes her blush again, and she feels annoyed for feeling that way.
"Much as your analysis is thoroughly thought out and completely feasible, it might maybe just be because I don't like weddings and there is no deeper philosophical, psychological meaning into it."
She raises a perfectly arched eyebrow, not buying the way by which he brushes off her guesses, but she doesn't press any farther knowing that he's probably not going to tell her anyway, not having a reason to do so.
So they stay there in silence once more as they listen to the music that was playing inside the halls where the remaining guests continue to enjoy themselves with what's left of the event completely unaware of what was happening in their own little world by the balcony. The noise that was muffled by the slightly open window was the background music, the comforting darkness and the silver moonlight was the party, and the quietness of the night was their calm.
The third bottle that he was drinking was finally empty by the time he finally started speaking again.
"So," he began.
Her gaze was torn from the moon to his.
"How was the party?" He asked, and the look she gave told him that she didn't really understand his question. "I mean, from your point of view, wedding planner."
She considered for a moment. "Well, I guess as an event, I would call it a success. Personally, I find the couple so adorable and genuine, which makes me more excited to work on their wedding." She smiles as she says these things. "Everything went on smoothly today—well, almost everything."
She shrugs. "Remember a while ago when the best man called one of the groomsmen for his speech, and he was nowhere to be found?"
He cranes his head and lets his cheek rest on a closed fist. "Let me guess: he was nowhere to be found?"
"I was so annoyed! How could he go missing at the time he was supposed to give his speech? He is a groomsman after all, it's his friend's engagement party!"
"What a bastard," he says.
She nods absentmindedly. "If he couldn't give his speech or didn't plan to, then he could have told us ahead of time."
"Absolute piece of shit that guy." She nods again in agreement.
A few seconds after, she lets her shoulders fall and she sighs guiltily. "Well, let's not talk shit behind his back," she says after much thought, and for a brief moment, she sees his lips curve into a grin. "We don't actually know why he didn't show up. And I guess it didn't do any damage to the program anyway, so I can probably let him go for that. I will still have to meet him for wedding preparations. Sorry for the rant, I just hate it when things don't go according to plan."
"What are you doing out here anyway?" she remembers to inquire when he was putting his empty bottle of beer down on the floor along with the other empty bottles.
He stands up and starts walking towards her direction, and as he comes closer, she becomes more aware of his features—chocolate brown hair with matching warm brown eyes, a defined jaw line, and he was tall with broad shoulders. Before she realizes, he was so near that she thought he was going to stand in front of her. But he didn't, and he walks past her to take up the space to her left when he leans into the balcony. She looks at him and he looks at the fountain and the moonlit water.
"I suppose this seemed like a good place not to be found."
She tilts her neck to the side and looks at him confused, but he merely shrugs so she doesn't press on.
It was then that she realizes that she didn't catch his name.
"Hey," but he doesn't turn to look at her, and neither does he respond. "What did you say your name was?"
He coughs a laugh so small that she couldn't tell if he actually laughed or not so she looks at him confused. "Did I say something funny."
He looks at her and his lips create a small, but noticeable, smile and it only confuses her some more.
"What?" she asks finally, a little annoyed at the lack of response that she was getting.
He shrugs as he withdraws from the balcony to stand in front of her.
"Actually, I didn't say what my name was," he says. He extends his hand in front of her before continuing. "Rei Otohata, the bastard, piece of shit groomsman."
The name instantly rings a bell causing her to freeze at his casual introduction, blushing furiously, and instantly feeling as if the ground should be swallowing her whole at this point.
He grins at her reaction. "Don't worry, I am probably everything we just talked about, I'm not offended."
She swallows nervously, still unable to extend her arm to return the handshake, and he realizes this so he withdraws his hand. And when her senses finally come back to her, she covers her mouth instinctively as if doing so would take back what she had said about him earlier.
"I'm so sorry!" She was afraid to say something even remotely embarrassing after everything she had already said such that her voice had become muffled by her hands that were still over her mouth. "Oh my god, that was so embarrassing."
He must have found her very amusing at this point judging by the way he chuckles. It was short, and it was low, almost breathless, and she might have not recognized it as such were it not for the way his eyes brightened—or it could have just been the moonlight, she wasn't really sure.
On the other hand, she doesn't feel all that amused with herself as she props herself from where she sat, bare feet hitting soiled stoned ground. "I'm so sorry, Mr. Otohata! I shouldn't have—"
"Rei," he cuts her off, and she looks at him surprised. "You can just call me Rei."
She opens her mouth, but then she closes it again just as quickly. She opens it again after rethinking what she was going to respond, however, before she could do so, someone else had come out to the balcony calling Rei.
It was the blonde who hosted the engagement party peering from the window, opening it just enough to his upper body can fit through. He must have drank a fair share of alcohol from the way he was smiling from ear to ear, cheeks completely flushed, and his walk a teeny bit wobbly. Rei turns around to see his friend and acknowledges his presence with a curt nod.
"Come back inside, the gang's taking group shots to celebrate! Stop sulking and join us!" His speech was a little slurred but not enough to make him incomprehensible, and he swings his arm toward the inside for emphasis.
"Hn," he replies. He puts his hands in his pockets and starts walking toward his inebriated friend who was already gesturing him to move faster. "Don't be annoying, I'm coming."
With his back turned from her, she watches his retreating figure, suddenly finding herself puzzled by the entire situation. And she was sure she wanted to say something, but it was caught in her throat, and when he's finally reached his friend, about to enter the party halls, she finally manages to say, "I'm still very sorry!" but his reaction she'll never know because he enters inside not bothering to look back at her.
With the party finally bidding goodbye to its last guests, Aya had already began packing the last of the rented equipment as well as the reusable decorations along with her staff, and she makes sure that they are well instructed as to what to do with them. When she is satisfied with herself, she gets her personal items securely kept in a room behind the stage and heads to her car in the parking lot.
As she reaches her car, but before she enters, her phone starts to ring. And recognizing the caller ID, she smiles to herself as she swipes right before putting the phone in between her ear and her shoulder so that her hands can open the car door.
"Hey, babe. Can you hold on—" With slight difficulty, and a little clumsy moments, she enters the car after she opens it, putting her bag and other held items on the passenger seat and putting the key in the ignition. "Okay, sorry about that. That party just finished, I'm heading home now—Yeah, I'm not tired enough to drive—I told you, I don't need you to pick me up tonight, I know you have an early meeting tomorrow to prepare for.—Yes-Yes—Yes, I promise. I'm hanging up now, I love you."
Smiling, she doesn't wait for him to respond knowing it will just be more scolding about her staying at the party so late when she can leave her people to do the egress portion of the work. But Aya being who she is, and her boyfriend already knows this, she likes to micromanage every detail of her work, and for her, that's half the fun. And she can probably say that she particularly doesn't regret staying for the duration of this party.