Today was Rose Hathaway's wedding day.
And I wasn't the man she was getting married to.
There weren't really any words to describe how I felt at the moment. I felt lifeless. I felt angry. I felt a mix of different emotions that coursed through my body, all with the intent purpose on making me suffer more than I already was. I didn't want to believe in the reality I brought upon myself, the realization of my crimes never really sinking in. I was the one who left her when she needed me the most. I was the one who destroyed her, the one who sucked the life out of her fragile little body. And for that, I'd never accept an apology to. I acted on adrenaline, on the intoxication of the one too many drinks I had that night. But it wasn't the liquor that made me do it. It was the voice in the back of my head that kept on telling me it could never work out. She wanted children. She wanted things I didn't…..wanted to travel to places that I didn't care for. She wanted to have a life full of excitement and parties. What did I want? I wanted to protect a princess. I couldn't provide for her what she wanted, what she needed. I realize now how foolish I was. But by the time I finally comprehended, that in spite of all the other things, what she really wanted was me. It hit me two years after I left her, and by that time she moved on. She was engaged and ready to be married to a wealthy, royal Moroi. I was nothing more but a mere memory that she had forgotten………nothing more than another man from her past.
Today was Rose Hathaway's wedding day. I had agreed to come more out of politeness than sheer willingness to go, and I couldn't find it in me to object a proposal to see Rose again. It was almost three years since I've seen her, seen her smile, her dark hair that I loved so much. So many days have passed, but not one without thinking about her. Was she married? Does she have children? All sorts of questions would come up, and now, on this single day, all of my fears would be confirmed. It was the day I dreaded and anticipated both at the same time, the day that I'd never thought would come unless I was the man waiting for her at the altar.
As I walked into the reception hall, I noticed familiar faces sitting in the seats, their eyes watching me with a sense of curiosity. I saw Guardian Hathaway in one of the elegantly designed benches, her hands entwined in Visalia Dragomir's. To the left of her sat Christian Ozera and Mia Rinaldi, both engaged in friendly conversation. Lissa and Janine had tears in their eyes, and significant grins on their faces. I looked around me once more, catching sight of more recognizable faces. Guardians that I used to work with at the Academy were there, along with students whose names I couldn't commit to memory at the moment. Everyone was happy, joyous. It seemed as though I was the only one who wasn't enjoying myself.
The silence and hushed whispers of those around me indicated that the reception was beginning, and I hastily took a seat in a velvet chair stashed on the outskirts of the vividly colored walls. I sat alone, not wanting to be in the presence of company at the moment. I doubted anyone wanted to be near me, anyways. I wasn't exactly in a festive mood, and dampening someone's spirits on a day that was supposed to be filled with happiness just wasn't something that appealed to me. My breath hitched in my throat as I caught sight of a veiled figure, dark locks caressing down her back.
She was wearing all white, and her dress had attractive, intricate designs running down the sides of it. Everything that she was wearing looked incredibly expensive, only adding to her already unbelievable beauty. All together she looked like royalty…..the perfect model of exactly what a Moroi man would want.
Beauty. Hostility. Warmth. Brains. The list could go on and on.
As she stepped onto the platform, she faced the man she would spend the rest of her life with. He had dark hair and green eyes. Their appearances, both extravagant, were different. One was softer while the other was rougher. Their expressions, though, were exactly the same. Filled with lust and love and a longing to be with each other. This single sight alone made my heart ache.
The reception carried on flawlessly, as if it were taken from a small child's storybook. The ideal portrait of perfection, and even that did not describe how amazing it was. Every single detail perfectly preserved and in its right place. The scene alone carried the competency to make me run far from this place, to escape the coils wrapping around me so tightly that it was suffocating me.
After they exchanged vows, they kissed, and I could've swore I felt someone kick me in the gut. They stood there in an embrace for what seemed like centuries before they both disclosed from each other, going their separate ways to say hello to family and friends. I was about to silently slip out of the building unnoticed, but a gentle hand touching my arm made me turn and forget what I was just about to do.
"Dimitri? Is that you?" Rose said, clearly surprised that I actually arrived. I gave her a smile, turning to face her. Yup. The most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life.
"I'm so happy that you're here!" She flung both her arms over my neck, something that I definitely wasn't expecting. She gave me a tight squeeze before letting me go.
I didn't tell her to, though.
"You look beautiful, Rose," I managed to say, trying to keep my voice well balanced. I wanted nothing more than to hold her in my arms, to claim her as my own. She looked flabbergasted in accordance to the comment I gave her, baffling me. She must've known how incredibly striking she looked at the moment.
"Thank you, Dimitri." She said, her lips twitching into a smile. "You don't know how much it means to me that you came." Rose gave me another short hug before our encounter was interrupted, Adrian creeping beside her. He snaked his arms around his waist, and I felt the same gut feeling I did when the two had kissed earlier.
"Oh, hunny, you remember Dimitri, don't you?" Rose directed at her husband, her dark eyes sparkling. The love these two had for each other could be seen from a mile away. I groaned inwardly.
"Of course," Adrian said curtly, putting an arm on my shoulder. "It's great that you came! Rose has been talking about you all week."
A sudden wave of newfound emotion crashed inside my body, sending electric shocks up my spine. She was talking about me? I laughed politely, the amusement lingering in the air above us. I couldn't help but to smile sincerely at both.
"Well, I couldn't wait to see you, Rose. It's been so long."
For a fraction of a second, I could see the same pain in her eyes that she had when I told her I was leaving.
"Yeah." She replied stiffly, giving me a final pat on the back. She whispered something along the lines of 'I'll be waiting in the car' in Adrian's ears, and I watched her silhouette disappear from the tinted room. I had very little confidence that I'd ever see her again.
"Adrian?" I said before he was out of the confides of the room, half of his body outside of the area. I walked up to him with little patience, my fingers brimming the top of his elegant suit.
"Yes?" He replied, confused. I gave him a warm smile before my face hardened into a serious expression.
"You'll take good care of her for me, won't you?" My voice broke, and I could feel a sudden rush of uneasiness spread throughout my body.
Adrian put a hand on my shoulder, inclining his face towards mine. "I will. I promise." He looked at me seriously, and something in his voice told me that he was telling the truth. The uneasiness was replaced with a satisfying feeling.
As Adrian left the room and into his new life, I had no doubt that he was going to treat her how I would've treated her.
I smiled to myself as I brushed a single tear off my cheek.
Today was Rose Hathaway's wedding day.
And I couldn't think of a better man for her than Adrian.