Tenenenenenenen! I'm baaaaaack! Here's the prize fic for Azalea Cruor-san! (from my Finding It Out, Making It Right challenge!)Sorry it took so long, I had internet issues, and I just read your response last week. I didn't get the chance to post it until today TTATT... But anyways! Here you go! (Actually based from another text message!)

Disclaimer: The author does not own anything or anyone in this literary. This work is completely fictional. Any similarities to people, places and events in reality are completely coincidental. Plot and title belong to the Author.

The Vow

by Shaariin 13


"Oh, Rin, you're simply... glowing!" My best friend, Lenka said. "You're so pretty today." She smiled at me, but, no matter how she tried to hide it, there was pain buried deep in those blue pools of hers.

I'm so sorry, Lenka, I thought as I smiled at her gratefully. I'm sorry.

It was my wedding day, but why don't I feel happy? Oh, I may look pretty or whatever, but inside, I felt like I was in hell.

The answer: I was marrying the love of my best friend's life. Oh, don't think like that! I didn't steal Rinto from her! If I did, dear, sweet Lenka wouldn't have come today or even accept to be my maid of honor. No, it was an arranged marriage: a business transaction between my family and his.

At least we're not the only ones who feel crappy, I thought as I stared at my reflection in the mirror. I knew for a fact that Rinto also hated the situation. It was Lenka whom he loved, and our parents were keeping them from being together.

"Why the long face, Rin? It's your w-wedding d-day, you should be h-happy," she stuttered, putting on a brave face.

I hugged her. "Oh, Lenka, you, of all people, should know why I feel so bad. I'm ruining your life! I'm ruining all of our lives!"

She loosened her hold on me. "Oh, don't cry! Your make-up will get ruined!" She scolded, trying to keep her tears at bay, handing me a tissue box she picked up from the vanity.

"Speak for yourself," I teased as I dabbed at her eyes with the tissue.

The door opened, and in walked Neru, Lenka's younger sister. "Fifteen minutes," she informed. She looked at me, from head to toe. "Oh, Rin-nee, you're so lovely! Wow, Nee-chan, you did great!" she smiled at Lenka, but there was a hint of sadness and pity in her voice.

"Oh, right!" Neru clapped her hands, as if she remembered something. She opened her clutch and fished out a folded piece of paper. "Here," she said, handing it to me.

"Who's it from?" I asked, reaching out and taking it.

"Just... read it," she said simply, her voice strained. "You'll know."

Lenka's eyes widened, while my heart did a little flutter. Then it crash-landed when I remembered where I was and what day it is today. My lips became a tight line.

"Er, Neru-chan, why don't we check on the best man?" Lenka started to pull her little sister out. "I haven't seen him yet! He might need someone to do his necktie." She shot me an understanding look, before they were out of the door.

I stared at the paper in my hand. It was nothing fancy, just a sheet of personalized stationery: yellow, a scroll drawn on top, the fruity scent faintly reaching my nose.

I took a shuddering breath as I sat down, my knees weak and wobbly.

I unfolded it. It held a short note, the familiar scrawl clearly legible.

My love,

We have been loving each other for a very long time. We've been through many things and through many heartaches. But here we are now in our promised church on this precious day. I promise to keep loving you...As you keep promising me your love. I love you so much.

Yours truly,

(Your groom's best friend)

I mean, your best man

My heart clenched, like my hand around the paper. I couldn't help it anymore. My tears fell silently, inconspicuously, the silent witnesses to my pain, my heartache, my sorrow, my death.

I gasped for breath, the salty trails streaming down my cheeks non-stop.

After five minutes, Lenka walked into the room softly and wordlessly wiped my cheeks. I tried to stop crying, because I didn't want to hurt her anymore. My crying would also hinder her in retouching my makeup.

And so, there I was, hiccupping and looking like a mess moments before my own wedding.

"Well, not like from fifteen minutes ago, but it'll do," Lenka announced before handing me my bouquet. I accepted it. "Now, smile and act like your world isn't falling apart," she kidded as she pulled my veil over my face.

"Follow your own advice, for our sake," I told her as I took her hands in mine. She squeezed back.

"It's time," she said quietly as the peal of church bells rang all around.

I took a deep breath. Those weren't wedding bells; they were my death knoll.

Okay, I can do this. As I walked down the flower-strewn aisle, my eyes wandered over the faces of the people sitting on the pews: our friends' pitying faces; my mother, a sad smile towards me; my father, his mouth a determined, thin line.

I took a deep breath, then settled my sight on the end of the aisle.

Rinto looked handsome, but troubled. He looked longingly at the blonde woman marching bravely in front of me. I sighed. He looked like someone signed his death warrant. I don't resent him, though; I felt the exact same thing.

My eyes flew to the man standing slightly behind him, a little to the side. My heart did a crazy jig.

Len, I called in my head. His head was down, his (always) messy bangs hiding his eyes from the sight. Len! Look up! Please! I begged mentally. As if he'd heard, he slowly looked up. He grimaced and jerked his head to the side, his eyes sparkling with tears.

Rinto noticed, and reached backwards to put a hand to Len's shoulder. He clutched Rinto's arm, and they stood there, sharing each other's pain.

I could see Lenka's shoulders jerk up from her sobbing, but I bet she had a smile plastered on her face, faking tears of joy to hide her wiles of sorrow.

Lenka reached the end first. She shook hands with Rinto, their eyes glued to each other. Rinto held her hand for a moment longer than necessary, but Lenka gently pried away and went to Len, who comforted his sister in his waiting arms.

I finally came to my destination. Rinto offered his hand to help me up the few steps, his face expressionless, eyes blank, like looking into death itself.

I climbed up the platform, and Lenka threw herself to me. Len didn't budge from his spot, neither did he look at me. I reached up and touched his shoulder. He covered my hand in his, then dropped it to his side. I took it as a dismissal, and a painful good bye.

Lenka moved away from me, and Rinto and I approached the pulpit, the priest behind the microphone.

This is it, I thought. There's no escaping. We're done for.

Rinto and I looked at each other and, even through my thick veil, I could see the pain in his eyes.

"Friends," the priest started. "We have gathered here today to witness the union of Rinto and Rin in holy matrimony..."

My hands shook. Rinto put a hand over mine, comforting me. I glanced at him swiftly, but turned away just as fast. If I had lingered longer, I would have seen the glint of steely determination in his blue eyes.

"If anyone here is against the binding of these two, speak now, or forever hold your silence-"

"I am against this marriage!"