Chapter XXI: The Rose Festival


Mary was at home washing her tear-stricken face with hot water. After her confession to Gaignun she ran all the way back forgetting about the rose festival. She felt regretful for telling him. She must've sounded like a fool. After all, he just told her he liked Momo. Maybe I should just stay home and pretend nothing happened, she thought. But how pathetic would that be? Then she remembered Shelley's words:

It doesn't matter if he likes you or not. The important thing is you get the message across.

Well, Mary was pretty sure she got the message across. She practically made up a speech for him. It wasn't even rehearsed. It was all from the heart. Although she knew his rejection was going to hurt for a while, it wouldn't get the best of her. Her optimism was just too great. For that she was proud of. Through rough times she would always come out smiling.

"The only thing I worry about is if Gaignun still likes me—as a friend—of course." Mary said aloud. Smoothing the wrinkles from her dress and the ties in her hair. "I'm going to go to the festival, confident and smiling. I'll show Shelley and him just how strong I am."

xXx

Momo and Sakura had arrived at the festival. However, they were a quarter to an hour early. But that didn't make a difference since already many people were there. They decided to socialize with friends for the time being. Mary was waving to the sisters from the entrance along with another group of friends.

"Hey y'all! How are ya doing?" She welcomed with her thick, country accent.

"Very good. This is so exciting! I can't wait for the festival to start!" Sakura exclaimed.

"Yup." Mary agreed. "There will be games and dancing. Just you wait!"

"Just one question." Momo said. "Where are all the boys? Only girls are here right now."

"I dunno. Guess that's tradition. They're probably messing around or somethin' most likely buying gifts for the girls." Mary chuckled at the last part.

"They had some flower booths over there." Momo informed.

"Yeah, but the guys want to be all special and secretive. Buying from a school stand is no fun." Mary replied.

"True, true." Sakura said.

A few moments later a large group of people began to crowd around at the school entrance. Loud, excited chatter and yells were heard. Mary, Momo and Sakura decided to investigate. By the time they cut through the mob, an elegant, white limo had arrived, pulling into the driveway. As the chauffeur came to open the door, a well-dressed handsome boy said, "Allow me."

"Wow a limo! Must've been pretty expensive. Lucky gal." Mary said admiringly.

When the driver moved away from the scene, chaos was revealed, helping someone out of the vehicle.

"chaos…then…no it couldn't be…" Mary said disbelievingly, barely holding back her anticipation.

Finally a beautiful, violet dressed girl came into view. Shrieks of "Shelley, Shelley!" came from Mary as she pushed her way into the crowd towards her sister. Who was beaming with pleasure and appreciation.

"Isn't he amazing?" Shelley sighed, clutching her sister's hands. "Well duh! Yer the luckiest girl in the whole school." Mary responded. chaos stood beside them, patiently waiting to take the girl away. The blonde noticed this and said, "Be my guest!"

chaos took Shelley's hand—who looked like she was about to faint with all the attention—into the courtyard. The girls followed them inside wanting to observe the animation. In the back of their heads wondering if 'their' guy would do the same.

xXx

At 5:00 sharp, 99 of the people coming had turned up. Included Gaignun, Jr. and Albedo. Momo, Sakura and Mary were enjoying themselves, watching the couples dance. And bought little souvenirs and trinkets from the stands. Laughing at the teachers being dunk, especially the hard-headed principal Margulis who frowned.

Momo and Sakura held their assorted roses in their hands. Red for their loves, and white for replying. Just incase the shy twins decided to ask first. Mary, on the other hand, shuffled uncomfortably feeling Gaignun's gaze bore into her back. But when she returned the stare, he was looking somewhere else. How weird? She thought.

Mary decided to go to the buffet at the far end of the courtyard. As she was sipping some punch, somebody tapped her should. "Ya?" She said lazily, not turning to see who it was.

"It's me, Mary." The voice said urgently. It was Gaignun. She spun around so fast she almost got whiplash. "Gaignun!"

"Yeah, I wanted to ask you about earlier." He looked embarrassed.

"Oh, I'm sorry Gaignun. I shouldn't have said so. If you don't like me that's okay. Really it is. I shouldn't have pressured you…" Mary continued to blabber until she felt a finger to her lips.

"That's not it." He said softly.

"T-then w-what is it?" Mary stuttered. Gaignun's emerald eyes fixed on her intently. Since he was a few inches taller than her it was almost intimidating.

"I-I think I liked you too." His words were so gentle they were almost swept away with the wind.

"Liked me?" She emphasized the word 'liked.'

"Yes. However, those feelings faded because I thought—I thought you didn't like me back."

"But what about Momo? Don't you love her?"

"Apparently not." Gaignun replied taking his finger away. "My feelings for you never went away. I guess my love for Momo was out of her kindness."

"What do you mean?" Mary had a quizzical look on her face.

"Momo's a very considerate girl. I thought she could understand me because of that. But she's more like a friend to me than a lover. It's hard to explain but I think she was never meant for me."

"I still don't understand."

"It turns out Albedo is more compatible. He needs her more than me."

"How so?" Mary was astonished that Gaignun shared the same feelings as her

"Albedo and Momo are very similar. They're both innocent and pure. Caring and sweet. I could sense they have budding feelings for each other. I'm just getting in the way."

"This love triangle of yours is confusing." Mary said, shaking her head.

"You're right." He chuckled slightly. "But I've realized I love you more than I did Momo. It could be that opposites attract theory. Your optimist against my pessimist. Your extrovert against my introvert. Our fighting is just a way of our opposite natures clashing."

Mary frowned slightly. "You don't have to make love sound like a science project. Just say you love me for the way I am as I do you."

"Okay. I love you because you like me the way I am." Gaignun said grinning.

"That's more like it." Mary said. "Now enough of this sappy stuff. Let's get back to the party."

He nodded and they walked, fingers intertwined, back to the courtyard.

xXx

Momo was fidgeting in place. She was still indecisive about Gaignun and Albedo. Although she was leaning toward Albedo, she didn't want to hurt his brother's feelings. However, she didn't know what took place a while earlier. Until, someone tapped her shoulder, "Hey Momo. Can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Hi Gaignun. Go ahead." She replied cheerily. Inside she was nervous. What if he asks me? What will I say?

"Urm…it's about this love situation we're in. I just want to tell you, can we just be friends?"

Momo was taken back by his question. Not disappointed however, more like surprised. "But what was that all about yesterday?" She asked puzzled.

"That was an accident. I wasn't sure of my feelings then. Now I am." Gaignun paused for a moment. "I was wondering if you still like Albedo."

"I really don't know if I like anyone, Gaignun." Momo replied honestly. "I guess I'm too young to know what love really is."

"Do you have any feelings toward him?"

"I'm not sure. I feel happy around him but then again I do everybody else."

"Maybe you should try to get to know Albedo better. You don't need to like him right away. Relationships take time. Remember that Momo." Gaignun left then, not wanting to slant the young realian's judgment.

"I guess he's right. I should probably give him a chance." Momo confirmed before setting off to find Albedo.

xXx

"She loves me; she loves me not. She loves me; she loves me not." Albedo was currently plucking the petals off the roses he bought for Momo. Anxiety was making him uneasy. He was trying to calm himself down. She won't like me if I act like a coward, he thought.

"Hey Albedo! What're you doing out here?" Somebody approached him.

"Oh Rubedo! I don't know what to do. I'm so nervous." Albedo said exasperated.

"Just tell Momo how you feel. Is it really that hard?"

"—Yes!" He replied quickly.

The redhead put a reassuring hand on his brother's shoulder. "It's going to be alright. You don't need to get all wound up. It's not like you're asking her to marry her."

"I know, but what if Nigredo gets to her first? Then what's the point?"

"Haven't you heard Albedo? Gaignun is going out with Mary now." Jr. informed.

"How do you know that?" Albedo questioned.

"Well, if you weren't out here plucking flower petals, you would've known that."

"So Momo's free now?"

"Not if you stay out here all day. Rule 1: Never leave a girl waiting. They hate that." Jr. said.

"Then I have to tell me right away. Thanks for the advice, Rubedo. See ya."

The snow-haired boy didn't even wait for Jr. to say, "Your welcome." As he dashed into the courtyard with new-found motivation. Jr. chuckled lightly. He was exaggerating abut the rule part. Well, somewhat anyway.

xXx

"Momo!" Albedo called. He was running down the hill so fast, red roses clutched in his fists, that he didn't see the unfortunate girl he was about to collide into.

"Albedo, Oof—" He knocked head-on right into Momo as they tumbled down the mound. Finally falling hard in a tangle of limbs. The two groaned slightly, their heads pounding with pain. When they realized the awkward position they were in, they scrambled off. Momo dusted off her clothes with a confused expression on her face while Albedo tried fruitlessly to fix his crumpled roses.

"A-are you okay?" He asked offering a hand to lift her up. She obliged and they stood looking at each other embarrassed.

"Um…Momo w-would you go out w-with me?" He stuttered holding up a half-petaled rose. "I'm sorry that the flowers broken. I promise I'll buy you more once—" He was cut off when she laid an affectionate kiss on his cheek. "It's okay. It's the thought that counts right?" She said smiling ear-to-ear. He nodded and the two both began laughing. The embarrassment and awkwardness went away and was replaced with comfort and ease.

xXx

After a few hours of dancing and fun, the tired couples finally went home. chaos offered to ride the group home but they decided to walk. Except for Shelley who wanted to stay with her boyfriend. Gaignun dropped off Mary at her house before leaving towards the institute. This left Albedo, Momo, Sakura and Jr.

"Aren't the stars pretty, Albedo?" Momo said, gazing admiringly at the night sky.

"It sure is…" Albedo trailed off. He was looking at Momo affectionately. The moonlight brought out her childish features. Her eyes reflected the night glow. "Oh." She said softly as something landed on her nose.

Albedo chuckled. "It's a firefly." He said taking the insect and placing it in Momo's palms. The bug began to glow a honey-gold color matching the hue of her eyes. "It's lighting up." She said excitedly.

The subtle glow bathed them both in yellowish light. "I think it's lighting up for us." Albedo said making Momo look up. "Like congratulating us on our new-found relationship." The lightning bug grew brighter at this. Unintentionally of course.

"You think?" Momo said her eyes sparkled from the radiance. "Maybe." He said softly. Then it flew away circling them twice before setting off in the night sky. They suddenly realized their closeness and Albedo bravely leaned in for a light kiss. Momo was startled for a moment but responded warmly. "Actually I don't think, I know." He said after the two broke away. Momo just cocked her head and smiled. Goodbye firefly, thanks for the kiss, she thought.

xXx

Rubedo and Sakura swung on the porch where they had their first kiss. They observed the scene between Momo and Albedo. "That's so adorable, isn't it?" She sighed leaning into his embrace. He tightened his grip on her. "Yep. It's funny though. I never thought Albedo would ever have an interest in anybody."

"Until he met Momo, of course." Sakura pointed out.

"He made that obvious." Jr. replied smirking.

"Well, you better get going now, Rubedo. Before our parents get upset."

"You got that right." He jumped off the swing and gave Sakura a good-bye kiss before leaving. "Hey lovebird # 2! Let's get going! Unless you want me to tell Yuriev, what you've been up too." He called to Albedo. This caused him to chase him all the way home.

The Mizrahi sisters giggled to themselves before going inside their own home. "How was the party?" Juli Mizrahi asked as the two girls walked in. "It couldn't have been better." Momo replied happily.

"I'm glad you two have settled in nicely." She responded.

They nodded before yawning loudly. "Looks like you girls are tired. Want to call it a night?"

The sisters nodded again sleepily before heading off to their rooms. Momo and Sakura decided to write a diary entry before hitting the hay:

Dear Diary,

We've had such a great time this year. Although we've had a rough start, we're now better than ever. We met two wonderful guys. Rubedo and Albedo Yuriev. They're so adorable. And good friends, Shelley and Mary Godwin. It seems everyone in our little group has found someone. Sakura has Rubedo. Momo has Albedo. Mary has Gaignun. And Shelley has chaos. Which was quite unexpected, btw. XD But no matter what happens we'll always be best friends for life. We're so glad we moved here even though we miss Fifth Jerusalem now and then. So many wonderful memories exist here in Second Miltia. We hope to have many more in the nearby future.

Sincerely,

#Momo and Sakura Mizrahi#

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( E )( l ) ( F )( i )( n )
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A/N: I've decided to end it here. This is the last chapter OF CHERRY BLOSSOMS & PEACHES. It's almost hard for me to believe. Oo; I would make a sequel if I had any idea for the plot. Anyway I would like to thank my wonderful readers and reviewers. For all the support and motivation they've given me.

A BIG THANKS TO:

#Kos-mosMomo

#Devilman666

#Amai Lene

#Livefreedieyoung

#Lady Nightmare

#Moshi Moshi Mai

#Leoth

#Ariennye

#xchaosx

Thank all of you guys for reviewing. And to my readers who hopefully had enjoyed this story. By the way, if I do make a sequel it will be called: Of Whom Love Will Take. I just came up with it one day and decided to use it.

For now, thequietgenius signing off…

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