In commemoration of the publishing of my book, "Erase Me," I give you the next book in the...whatever series this is. ^.^ I hope you guys enjoy it! Same old promises-an update at least once a week and the usual Ghost Hunt awesomeness.
For more info on my book, check out my profile! I'm quite proud of "Erase Me" and am so lucky to be able to have it finally released and available for everyone to read.
I forgave Naru for holding the blankest face known to mankind while I walked up the isle, because when John asked him the question, a heartbreaking smile prodded through, one that could have been too intimate for the rows of onlookers. All our friends, family, and even a splattering of old SPR clients, filled the benches of the chapel. It was the very same chapel where we had solved the case of the mute ghost for Christmas so many years ago.
Yeah, I was more or less melting in my heels and trying not to scream in excitement.
John turned to me with a soft smile. Though it had been agreed from the start of our engagement that he would be the initiator of our ceremony, I was still surprised when he showed up all the way from Australia, dressed in his ceremonial robes and ready with a whole speech of pre-vowing marital advice to give us that didn't include "screw this up and I'll shoot you, Naru."
Heh heh…heh…yeah, I thought it was funny.
"Mai Taniyama, do you take Oliver Davis to be your lawful wedded husband, to have and to hold, through sickness and health, until death do you part?"
I thought about taking some time to answer this, just to screw with Naru for not looking all goo goo when he first saw me in my wedding dress coming towards him all, you know, wed-able, but he still had that smile on his face that was all Naru, not a flick of Gene, and so handsome it should be illegal.
For what had to be the billionth time that morning, I wondered why I wasn't more nervous. I had always heard about the pre-wedding jitters and brides or groom running for it, but I couldn't fathom what I should be so afraid of. I wanted to spend my life with Naru, and since there was only one of those, it wasn't like I'd be missing out on anything. I was getting exactly what I want—with a cake and a big pretty Victorian dress made of soft cotton.
Which was why no one had been able to talk to me the entire time they had been dolling me up and tying up my dress. I had been too busy squealing.
It should have been impossible, but Naru somehow managed to make his smile even more happy. He actually started to show all his teeth and crinkle up his eyes.
"Then by the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride."
It was a good thing Naru didn't hesitate on drawing in to kiss me. Not because I would have been offended, but because I could feel another squeal coming on, which might have ruined the whole reverent mood.
A general applause issued, spiked with cheers and other obnoxious noises from Monk and Yasu, who defied any attempts on Ayako's part to quiet them. I pulled away from Naru and opened my eyes to find John beaming like the angel he was. He turned to Naru, his hand outstretched.
"You take care of her, Oliver."
Naru shook John's hand firmly, but he didn't seem able to say anything. Just smiled. Lin, who Naru had picked out as his best man, mirrored that same smile.
The congregation was throwing flower petals and rice as we walked back down the aisle, hand in hand. We made our way out of the chapel, followed by wedding goers, back outside where a small red Toyota that had been rented for the occasion waited for us. Yasu and Takigawa must have snuck out some time before the ceremony, because they had dressed up the car according to tradition: streamers trailed behind it and a white substance of sorts had been used to write 'Just Married' on the back.
I'd always heard stories of weddings not going to plan, but this? This was movie perfect. The reception had been planned for the next week, after Naru and I had had our honeymoon, where much eating and merry making would be had.
More congratulations and cheers were given as Naru opened up the passenger side of the car for me and helped me load up all my skirts in. I was happy that I had picked a comfortable design in my wedding dress that I could travel in, because we had a three hour trip ahead of us and I wasn't much into the idea of Naru's first sight of me naked being while I was trying to strip out of my wedding dress in a tiny car on the freeway.
While I pulled in the last of my skirts, I noticed some strange square foil packets on the floor that hadn't been there before. They diverted my attention from my delirious happiness as Naru made his way to the driver's side, where I found more of them. The weird little packets were everywhere, and whatever was inside had a curious 'O' shape.
Then I caught the mirroring grins on Yasu's, Ayako's, and Takigawa's faces. They had managed to find an angle where they could see us through the car windshield and avoid the majority of the crowd. Lin stood behind them like a stone faced chaperone for a bunch of unruly children.
A familiar heat from the night before rushed up to my face. Naru closed the door behind him right as I gave a groan.
"What is it?" Then he noticed the foils. It was hard not to, as they had been sprinkled across the dashboard—oh god, the dashboard, where everyone could see.
I could see those three roaring with laughter as I started swiping foil packets off the dashboard as fast as I could. Naru's happy smile had vanished to be replaced with an all too familiar glare that he aimed over the steering wheel at our co-workers.
"Did they have to put them where everyone would see?" I asked, just to realize that the SPR members weren't the only ones laughing. Several in the crowd were as well, along with, to my utmost dismay, Naru's usually taciturn father. I sunk down, hoping the poof of my skirts would hide me.
"I thought they were done with us after last night," he muttered as he started the car.
"Ugh, last night," I moaned, sinking further.
"Seat belt, Mai."
I didn't feel like it at all, but clicked it on just in case he decided to sit there in front of the chapel until I did.
Last night had included being ambushed by Yasu, Takigawa, and Ayako, who then split Naru and I apart for last minute 'bachelor' and 'bachelorette' parties. I hadn't bothered with planning one of my own because, ever since graduating, I hadn't bothered keeping in contact with my old high school friends, and since the idea of inviting Naru's mother to something famous for lewdness made me writhe with real horror, I figured a night perfecting my pedicure would do just fine.
Obviously, Ayako didn't think so, as she proceeded to take me to a red-light district, where I managed to persuade her against the host club and male strip shows for the kinky sex shop, because Ayako was insistent on 'educating' me. Apparently that was the real purpose to bachelorette parties. Silly me, I had thought they were for humiliating the bride-to-be till she gave up on being a part of society forever more.
Luckily, she allowed me to escape with only a pair of fuzzy hand-cuffs, a sexy perfume, and a strawberry dildo sucker, which I threw somewhere into my bag like the monstrosity it was and didn't bother to watch where it landed. I would have thrown it into one of the boxes holding my belongings for the move to Naru's, but I had taped up the last of them that morning. Why I didn't throw it away was because the price of it had made me cringe, as Ayako had planned. She knew I wouldn't be able to throw it away if she spent enough money on it. Ugh, my poor-sprung weaknesses, why!?
Naru relayed to me a similar story of humiliation over the phone, though it had only taken one death threat for them to simply take him to the bar, where Naru watched them get wasted while sipping a light wine like the posh Britain he was. I was very envious. Watching Yasu and Takigawa do drunk karaoke could beat dildo suckers any day. Or was it technically a penis sucker? Oh, whatever.
My elation returned soon enough once we left the chapel, and its mischievous condom-bombing cohorts, behind.
I plucked up a few of the condom packets to read the brand names and warnings on them idly. "So, Naru. Have any idea how to use these?"
In answer, Naru scooped up the condom packets laid out behind the steering wheel, where the speedometer and fuel gauge were, and tossed them into the backseat. I laughed at the color in his face.
"I've never used them in my life, but the mechanics are at a level even monkey's could understand," he said with a haughty sniff.
"Well, you know I started the pill a month ago, so you needn't have to."
His color was rising, but now that we were married, his old excuse wasn't around to defend him anymore. He stole a quick glance at me and made a weird little noise in his throat that actually started to make me concerned.
"Are you okay?"
The corner of his mouth twitched and I caught his eyes doing the shift—that quick flick to the side then back when he was forcing himself not to look nervous and failing—and laughed again.
"I love you, Naru."
"And you're…you're beautiful, Mai."
"You don't have to whisper it like that."
"I do." And he even raised his voice a bit so I could hear the emotion, so unlike him that it stilled my laughter. "Otherwise I might do something very unseemly…"
"Is that why you didn't even react when you first saw me? I was offended by that, you know. You could have managed to look blown away by my beauty on my wedding day."
He gave me a weird, quivering sort of smile. "I apologize."
And since I was afraid he might cry, I started ninja chucking condom packets at him until he barked at me to behave myself and try not to get us killed while he was driving.