Je ne sais quoi
She looked at her reflection in the mirror. There was a flower stuck at the end of her short hair with hair pins. (whose idea was that?)
A gauzy veil. A gown that emphasizes her height- her awkwardness,her collarbone juts out, her shoulders, she notes, are too angular. She couldn't play the part of the bride in her own wedding. Yet, there was a radiance in her face that even she thought could mask all her shortcomings.
I am getting married to Ha-san.
He would be perfect. A handsome groom,waiting for her at the end of the aisle. She hoped she wouldn't make a mess of her make up when she starts bawling with emotion. It felt like a dream she needed to wake up from. How would she convince herself it is real?
"Well, well...who knew you could be stunning, Mayu-chan?" a familiar voice said from the doorway.
She turned to see Shigure leaning against the frame, smiling at her. The same challenging smirk, curiously without the caustic edge.
Well, that should do it.
She slapped her hand to her forehead, exasperated. "Please don't tell me you are the one walking me down the aisle."
He grinned, as usual, enjoying her reaction. "Aww..don't hurt my feelings, Mayu-chan. Who better to give you off than your ex-boyfriend? It would still be the least twisted ceremonies Sohma clan has attended."
She laughed, inspite of herself. It was her wedding day. Even Shigure couldn't do much to irritate her.
His expression changed in response to her laughter, and his head cocked to the side. "Your father would be here in a minute. Will you dance with me until then?"
He extended his hand.
She hesitated. "There is no music."
A shadow of his old smirk crossed his face. "Surely, you are more creative than that, Mayu-chan?"
For reasons she couldn't quite explain to herself, she took his hand quietly without looking at him. He held her waist. Her veil brushed his cheek.
"Wouldn't your wife be jealous?" They were revolving around the same spot, avoiding the hair pins and satin strewn across the floor.
His voice was playful against her ear. "Is my wife the problem? Or Ha-san? I have been curious, is he possessive?"
"Ripples on water, aren't you?" she whispered.
"My wife is a child in many ways.. so.." he trailed off.
"You are as cold as ever." she was smiling.
"An unchanging reality." He was smiling too. An uncharacteristically gentle smile.
She closed her eyes, she could hear him breathe against her skin, and it was the most intimate she ever felt with Shigure.
He kissed her on her cheek before he let go. "Good luck, Mayuko."
She smiled at him, feeling a strange affection she didn't know she had for him. "Thank you."
Shigure walked out of the door as she went to the mirror to adjust her veil. The flower in her hair was missing.
He was holding Akito's hand as they all watched Mayuko and Hatori run to their car, holding hands, laughing, seemingly astonished by how happy they are. Akito looked at him and asked, abruptly "Have you slept with her?"
He looked at his wife, who looked much more child like and vulnerable when she asked him that. She was looking at his face, as if she saw something she didn't quite expect to see.
"I think about you and only you.."He took the flower out of his pocket and handed it to her, "And that is the irrevocable truth."
As Mayuko dragged the train of her gown into the car, she saw, among the hooting and clapping Sohma clan, Shigure with his wife, the head of the clan Akito, who was wearing a very familiar flower in her hair. She caught Shigure's eye. He winked. She raised her middle finger before she closed the door.
this was a hard chapter to write because I wanted the characters to be little looser versions of themselves since this happens after the epilogue. Their curse is gone, and it is fresh beginning, there is no more cycle of sadness, resentment and isolation. Yet, i did not want them to sound too different and still be inherently who they initially were. :) i hope that comes across.
read and review.