Last chapter! I'd like to thank all those who have reviewed one time or another in the story; Yami No Eyes, Opaque Opal, SSLE, Timesquadlover, RedChild, Becky Belle & GypsyDancer!
It was the day after the fire, the day after my childhood home burned to ashes. Faintly I wondered if Clopin had become ashes as well, for we did not find any bodies or remains. They soldiers, including the blond captain, spent hours through dawn to look for anything remaining.
Now I stood in front of a mirror, my miserable reflection staring back at me. My hair was messy and drooped on my face no matter what the maids tried to pin it with. My eyes were dull and lifeless, holding unshed tears of a good friend. My skin was pale, almost like ash. My lips were in a frown but I hope they'd be able to smile once Frollo took my hand.
No matter how much I had plead, Frollo insisted that we had to have the wedding today. Personally, I think it was because he was scared…scared of me being taken away or running off with another gypsy. However, he claims that he already invited people who brought presents and such; it would be rude to say the wedding was several weeks from now.
So, here I was…grieving on the day of my wedding which is supposed to be happy. Here I am, standing on a stool in front of an over sized mirror, allowing maids to pin me with sharp safety pins. The dress was a little long but it was exactly how I wanted it. It was exactly how Esmeralda and I picked out. I was leaning on the leg that wasn't injured; funny how it hurt when I was sad.
I winced at the memory, thinking of when she said that I had hurt Clopin deeply. My eyes threatened to release the flood of tears, but I pushed the urge down. I couldn't cry for two reasons; one, I had make up on for the first time ever & two; I was a bride to be. I shouldn't be crying over sorrow.
For just one moment, I wished my mother were here. I needed a hug…
My mother…I remember how Clopin had called me 'Lilac'. He called me my mother's name. I suppose that I did look a lot like her…so in the moments of panic, he thought I was her. That made me wonder…did he regret breaking my mother's promise without realizing it?
Apparently I was finally done with my dress. The maids handed me several lilies and roses, some just plain white and others red for good luck. I didn't know what the colors meant, nor did I care. Finally, I managed to order them away from me for a while.
Inhaling shakily, I walked towards the window. It was open, allowing me to hear the people talking, smell the fresh bread baking, and feel the chilly wind against my face. On impulse, I looked down at where the puppet cart, as well as its master, once belonged. I suddenly cried, hearing Clopin's words echo in my mind. I didn't care about the make up, I just cried from grief.
"I wish to be friends again!…If I can't have you as my lover, I'll have you as my friend! I treasure your kindness, you smile…your laugh…your beauty. Your mother's beauty. …I love you Lav…"
His words echoed sharply in my mind. I felt more tears appear, ready to fall on the window ledge. My body shook, my hair covering some of my face. Digging my nails into the bricks, cutting into it slightly, I punched the wall.
"Why?!" I shouted suddenly, not caring where I voice got carried. "Why, God?! My friend…A man I love dearly…Why?! He did nothing wrong! He saved me! Why did you take him?! Why?!"
Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was strong yet comforting, reassuring. I was about to snap at whoever it was, thinking it was Frollo since no man can see the bride unless they wanted bad luck. But when I turned…I saw Clopin.
My mouth dropped, my eyes huge. I felt my body, my legs, grow weak.
"Clopin…" I whispered, gently stroking the side of his face. He was grinning, his eyes no longer covered by the mask. I had to make sure he was real…
Suddenly I hugged him tight, my lips covering his face. "You're alive!" I cried out, laughing with tears falling. "You're alive, Clopin, you're alive! But how?"
He grabbed my waist, right where the silk and cotton met. He wore no gloves. His eyes were gentle and as he spoke, he brushed my hair behind my ear. "I escaped. I was about to get hit and then…I felt someone or something shove me back. It was too dark with the smoke but when I looked around; I saw…I saw your mother. This was before I shouted at you to run. But…I escaped and passed out. Next thing I know, I awaken at an old hide out your mother and I used to go to."
We spent several minutes talking furiously, questions being thrown across the room. It felt so…not real! I kissed his cheek once more and hesitated. "Clopin…will you walk me down the aisle? Give me away?"
He smiled softly. "Yes, Lavender."
As he took my arm and held my hand, as the doors opened, I wondered what was to come. The doors opened, showing so many people…and Frollo at the end. I wondered if my mother and father would be proud…I wondered if I would make a good wife for Frollo…I wondered if we would all be happy…
And as I took Frollo's hand, I knew the answer was yes.