Author's Note: So, I just felt like a oneshot - this one is sad, I warn you. So if you're a sucker for happy endings, I suggest you don't read this! HAHAH! Anyway, this was inspired by my friend starooo. :D :) Anyway, I hope you like this one! :D Please leave a review afterwards! :D
Disclaimer: I do not own Gakuen Alice
A Moment in Time
by Keiko Oda
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
The bride sat there, in her room full of flowers and unopened presents. She sat on her plush, velveteen armchair facing her cream-coloured dresser.
Scattered on top of the dresser were her variety of beauty products – foundation, lipstick, eye shadow, mascara. But she hadn't put any of them on herself yet – she was in fact, still wrapped in her yellow bathrobe with her hair sopping wet and her skin all warm and wrinkled from her long, hot shower.
She rested her chin on her palm, and closed her eyes. She was exhausted. These past few months have been so exciting and extremely tiring.
From January to April, it was all giggly bridesmaids popping corks of champagne bottles, searching for the perfect wedding gown and driving from bakeshop to bakeshop just tasting slices of different layered, vanilla cakes. Her constant dilemmas were getting the flower girls and the ring bearer in perfect order and where to book a honeymoon. There were sleepless nights where she and her fiancé would just tediously calculate the amount of money they'd be spending but there were also some nights where they'd party until the wee hours of the morning and she'd get to flash around that sparkling rock on her finger.
"Mikan, you're a dreadful mess"
She opened her eyes and saw the maid-of-honour standing behind her. Hotaru picked up a hairbrush and began brushing down Mikan's long, honey-coloured locks. She gave an exasperated sigh.
"You're getting married in an hour and you look like a drowned rat"
"Sorry," replied Mikan, "I guess I can't still believe it"
"Can't believe what?"
"That I'm getting married to Ruka Nogi" laughed Mikan.
Hotaru gave a weak smile. "I can't believe it either"
In that instant, the door flew open and in came rushing the rest of her bridesmaids – Nonoko, Anna and Sumire – already in their makeup and peach-coloured dresses.
"I shall do her makeup!" Nonoko, who had an overflowing Chanel makeup set in her arms, declared.
"I shall get her in her wedding dress!" Anna squealed, rushing over to Mikan's wardrobe closet and pulling out her custom-made white, flowing, strapless gown with floral embroidery.
"And I," said Sumire, whipping out a bottle of sparkling chardonnay from her bag, "Shall get her drunk!"
"SUMIREEEE!" All the girls snapped, rolling their eyes.
"Leave that to Ruka to get her drunk!" joked Anna.
They continued fussing over Mrs. Nogi-to-be when the groom himself came hurrying into the room; already dressed in his tux.
"Has anyone seen Natsume?!?!" he asked frantically. "He hasn't been replying to my – Oh my God"
He turned to Mikan, who was in the middle of being made up. He walked over to her and got to his knees, taking Mikan's hand and kissing it. "You look so beautiful" he gushed.
Mikan smiled. "I'm not even dressed yet, Ruka-pyon," she said, before adding, "Isn't it bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony?"
"Bull," he told her, and gave her a kiss on her lips. "Oh, and you haven't happened to see Natsume have you? He was supposed to be here two hours ago!"
Mikan shrugged, and turned to her bridesmaids. "Have any of you?"
The three of them shook their heads simultaneously.
"Damn it," muttered Ruka, "He's probably late – as usual"
"Is it a must for him to be early?" inquired Nonoko.
"Of course!" exclaimed Ruka, "He's the best man!"
"But we've never seen him in the practices"
Ruka shook his head.
"He wouldn't attend them"
Half an hour passed, and Mikan stood in front of the mirror, staring in surprise at someone who she didn't recognize. She had never seen herself so fully made-up – so grown up. Her long, brown hair was curled into big, waves and her face had been given a complete makeover – powder and shadow spread and dotted all over her olive skin. Her gown fit her perfectly, accentuating her bodily curves and morphing her from what was once a clumsy, little girl to a ravishing lady in white. She couldn't believe it. Was this really Mikan Sakura?
Hotaru came up behind her and attached the veil to her head. "You know what would make you even more beautiful?" she whispered to Mikan.
Hotaru placed the veil over Mikan's face.
The wedding was to take place in a provincial church in the countryside of Kyoto. Mikan absolutely adored the place Ruka picked for the ceremony. It was a white, stone-paved church which stood in the middle of a field of lavender. Mikan breathed in its lush scent as she walked over to a small gazebo which was built behind the church.
She took a seat and sighed. She fiddled with her engagement ring. Pretty soon she'd have another ring on her finger; officially marking the lifetime commitment between she and her husband-to-be. By the end of the day, she'd no longer be Mikan Sakura; she'd be Mrs. Ruka Nogi. It was a whole new future ahead of her.
And she still couldn't believe it.
The past three years had gone off in a blur. After she and the rest of her gang graduated college, Ruka immediately asked her out. She remembered that day. She remembered how he stuttered and stammered and flushed into seven shades of red. She recalled how the date went – him spilling coke all over her dress and her running out on a scary movie they took in.
And now it had all come to this.
She seriously couldn't believe it.
"Knock, knock," said someone from behind her, immediately cutting her off from her train of thought. Mikan turned around, and found the best man standing behind her.
He was wearing a white, long-sleeved polo which was slightly unbuttoned and incredibly crumpled. A black necktie was draped over his shoulders and his ebony hair was a total mess. Mikan could smell his peppermint perfume from the few paces where she stood across him.
"Hello, Natsume," she said, her throat immediately closing up.
"The answer is who's there?" Natsume replied.
"You're late" Mikan told him.
"Now that you've stated the obvious, what the hell do you expect me to do?"
Mikan clenched her fists, "I'm impressed Natsume, after all these years, you're still the same old jackass"
"And you're still the same old baka with a flat-chest"
"Shut up," Mikan hissed, "Or I'll have Ruka –
"Ruka," Natsume interrupted, "I haven't seen him anywhere. Do you know where he is?"
"No I don't"
There was some bit of silence – awkward silence. After all, how could they help it? The two of them were high school sweethearts! They fell in the seventh grade, and were on strong up to senior year. They would sit under the Sakura tree and talk endless hours about everything and nothing. They would walk around Central Town, spending their rabbits on useless things besides boxes and boxes of howalon. Those five years were the best for both of them, but it didn't work out – and nobody knew how the flame was put out.
Natsume's ruby red eyes were affixed on her dark, brown ones.
"Don't – don't stare at me like that"
"Natsume, I'm – I'm getting married in less than an hour...please don't make this hard for me"
"Hard?" muttered Natsume, "Polka Dot, you don't know the meaning of it"
Natsume then lifted Mikan's veil and kissed her softly on the lips. Mikan immediately jerked away, blinking back salty tears and coughing out the sugary sweet flavour of Natsume's mouth. Her mind was in turmoil and she could feel her racing heart. She could feel it breaking.
Backing away just made Natsume pull her closer. He took her in his arms and embraced her. Mikan was restless and shaking in his arms. "W-what're you doing?" he heard her sob. "Please, Natsume!"
Natsume closed his eyes and remembered the last time he hugged her. It was nothing like this one. She did not try to pull away neither did she burst into tears. She hugged him back, and she kissed his nose and laughed. But that was before, and the last thing Natsume wanted to do was relive the past he so could no longer run back to.
"I love you," Natsume said to her, as he felt a knot come up his throat. "You can't imagine how much"
Mikan collapsed on the floor and let out a broken-hearted sob. Natsume caught her and let her press her face against her chest. He could feel her clutching his arms like a terrified child, as he put his arms around her waist and buried his nose into her hair. He opened his eyes and let the tears flow out of them. It was more painful to keep them in.
"I need you," he told her, his vision blinded with hot tears now. "Please don't leave me"
Mikan pulled away from him, her cheeks painted with smudged trickles of wet mascara. She put her hands to his cheeks and put her lips on his. Natsume could feel her warm breath tickle the edge of his mouth.
Now Mikan knew why she couldn't believe that today she was giving her whole heart to Ruka.
It was simply because she couldn't.
But there was nothing that could be done. The damage had been set and there was no way they could undo the mistakes and remorse that were so sorrowfully splattered on the walls of their lives.
The only thing she could do was dry her tears and put her feelings aside. And as she marched down the aisle, she kept her head down. She didn't want anybody to see her life's regrets written all over her face.
As she met her groom at the front of the aisle, her gaze averted to the man who stood next to him. And as Natsume gave her a dismissive, yet inconsolable nod, Mikan closed her eyes and wept.
It was too late. The hourglass was empty.
There was not a moment in time left.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.