Eriol Hiiragizawa's weary blue eyes looked at the grave before him. The bouquet of red roses he had placed on the ground looked out of place in the slightly muddy stone sepulcher. And it was as absurd as the thought of his dearly loved woman lying below the grassy, muddy grave. How could someone as bright, kind, and loving as Mizuki Kaho lie feet below his ground, never to breathe, never to smile, never to touch him the way she did before?
He thought that the most devastating moment in his life was when he learned that Kaho died.
He was wrong.
For more painful than that was he was alive.
He lost her. He lost their child. He was alone.
But damn it, he was alive.
"Who will it be, Mr. Hiiragizawa? Your wife, or the child?" asked one nurse solemnly.
"Decide now. We don't have much time. Both of them are in jeopardy," another doctor said, the surgeon, he thought.
His mind was paralyzed. He loved Kaho Mizuki, loved her deeply. But he loved the child too. The moment Kaho told him that something within her tummy beats, something that was a someone. From their flesh and blood.
A tear streaked down his cheek. His daughter. His child that both he and Kaho wanted for so long, for ten long years, but was only blessed now.
"Mr. Hiiragizawa? Are you listening? We have to decide now," said the doctor curtly, feigning impatience when the truth was tension was filling the hallway already. The patients didn't have much more time.
"Save them both," he mumbled, collapsing on the bench. "Please…do all you can to save them both…"
The medics looked at each other, then went back into the operating room. A nurse though left him words that sapped the last of his hopes.
"We'll do our best, but we can do no miracles."
Hours later, Kaho was pronounced death, and her child died of stillbirth.
Daidouji Tomoyo threw the wedding invitation on her bed carelessly as she put away her messenger bag. Yet again, she was one of the wedding sponsors in the Tomoeda matrimonies. Ah, couples nowadays were practical. Of course, if they wanted decent wedding presents, always ask the Daidouji family. It was her mother who started the tradition of being the Fairy Godmother of all Cupid-stricken couples, and she, as the only child of Daidouji Sonomi, must continue the tradition as the Wedding Lady.
She frowned delicately. "I attended one wedding too many." For she now has this certain pull to walk down the aisle too. She had not given that any thought when she was twenty-eight, but now that she was twenty-nine, and people were starting to look at her like a freak just because she happened to be still single at her age…well, that placed a different spin into things. Really.
There was only so much "You're not yet married?!" and "How come you haven't tied the knot yet?" she could take.
And those were the less evil ones. She also gets some wisecracks, some about her biological clock ticking, others about her losing the battle with the calendar.
Whoever thought of the word single-blessedness was probably a bitter old spinster who had given up and out on romance and had resorted into making Goth literatures and the like.
Her lilac eyes fell on her sketch of the wedding gown she imagined for herself. She could imagine how her hands would bring this sketch to life in satin and silk brocade, pearls and fresh petals of white roses. Her hand was itching to go to work already.
She sighed. She was ready to get married, and marriage wasn't ready for her.
In the first place, where was her groom?
She shut her eyes tight, imagining what her future spouse would look like. She could see the handsome black tux fitted snugly on a well-muscled built, the broad expanse of shoulders…but the face…
She groaned. "I want to get married…I want to be a bride. I want to marry on June, and wear my dream wedding gown and have the whole Tomoeda town sponsor my wedding. I want my wedding banquet, I want my lovebirds, and I want to throw the bouquet to the spinsters of Tomoeda. I WANT TO GET MARRIED!!!!"
The next thing she knew, the door opened, revealing Daidouji Sonomi's mystified face. "Tomoyo, are you alright?"
"Mom, I want to get married," she sighed. "Every girl in Tomoeda is married…everyone but me." She looked out at the window. "I want to be a bride."
Sonomi looked at her daughter in amusement. Her daughter was growing old backwards. "Sure. Get me a willing groom and I'll approve."
"You're not taking me seriously!" Tomoyo complained. "Mom, I want a nuptial! A wedding! A marriage! A union of hearts! A MATRIMONY! I want to wear my wedding gown and eat my cake and—" Her eyes then settled on the stuffed toys placed on the glass cabinet. Her eyes twinkled as she smiled tenderly. "And I want to be a mother."
Sonomi turned serious as she sat down beside her daughter. She cupped her child's face. "You know, that must be the most wonderful wish any woman can make. It's a miracle of womanhood…childbirth." Her eyes saddened. "But marriage? Marriage took Nadeshiko and Sakura away from us already. I don't want to lose you too…"
Sonomi smiled forcibly. "But I want you to be happy too. Your happiness over mine for always, dear."
Tomoyo grinned. "Thanks, Mom."
"Now do you already have a victim, I mean, a groom for your wedding?"
"That's my problem. How do I get a man for me?" asked Tomoyo, rubbing her hands together. "I mean, I can't just marry a stranger, can I?"
"Well, it depends on you actually," said Sonomi, looking entertained with that prospect. "Seriously though, if you want a child, then we can adopt—"
"I want to carry the child, Mom," said Tomoyo.
"Well then, let's go for IVF…"
"I don't want a stranger's sperms swimming into me!" said Tomoyo vehemently, face flushed.
Sonomi groaned. "And you have better ideas?"
"Not really. But I'll think of something by and by." She got up. "I think I need a little walk."
"Be home by dinnertime."
"Of course. I wouldn't miss your overcooked pasta for anything in the world." She affectionately kissed her mother's cheek. "Later!"
As she walked down the brick sidewalk, she couldn't help but wish that there would be a falling star. That would seal her fate regarding her search for her groom. But it was too much to ask for; it was only five thirty in the late afternoon, and the sun had barely set. The skies blazed in purple and orange, and for a moment, Tomoyo was too fascinated by the sky display to notice that she was standing in the middle of the sidewalk, jaw dropped open in fascination. Passer-bys looked at her in half-annoyance and amusement. It wasn't everyday that the beautiful heiress of the Daidouji business empire stood there gaping at the sky as if she was looking at Eden itself.
Eriol got up, struggling to contain the dangerously swirling emotions within him. He had vowed to be numb; not to feel anything so he would be protected.
When Kaho died, his heart died along with her.
He ceased to live, so he didn't need a heart.
Beside Kaho's grave was the grave for his daughter, Luna. He touched the crucifix on the grave. "Goodnight, Darling. You are safe with Mommy in her home."
He went to the main shrine and rang the bell. He shut his eyes to make his wish.
I want a child.
Tomoyo snapped out of her trance when she heard the bell from the Tsukimine shrine. Her eyes lit up in excitement. She didn't need a falling star after all; the legendary Tsukimine shrine would hear her!
She dashed towards the shrine just two blocks away from where she was standing. However, she was surprised to see someone there already. Wondering who it was, she approached the shrine.
His back was turned on her, as if praying.
She grinned. He must have a wish too, just like her. She imitated him and gave her wish.
I want a husband.
The breeze shook the chimes by the main temple, making both of them open their eyes.
Tomoyo's heart started to hammer peculiarly fast. One look at the man before her started her mind conjuring up images of her mysterious, faceless groom in the handsome dark, double-breasted tux.
Like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle fitting, it dawned on her.
She found her groom.