Needless to say, when Charlotte finally managed to track her down, Chantia wasn’t exactly in the mood to talk to the ghost.“Look, I’m sorry,” Charlotte apologized sincerely. “I shouldn’t have said that. You know him a lot better than I do, and if you believe you’ll be happy with him, then you probably will be happy. I just…I didn’t mean to offend you,” she explained. Chantia crossed her arms across her chest, still not forgiving the ghost just yet.
“Well, you did,” she replied bitterly. “What I don’t understand though, is why you would say something like that.”
Charlotte sighed heavily and turned her eyes away from Chantia, gazing out over the town lying below them instead.“I’ve lived for a long time, Chantia,” she answered with a small shrug. “Well, maybe not lived, but I’ve certainly existed a very long time. I’ve met a lot of people, and I’ve seen a lot of things happen. It’s just been my experience that, usually, people that seem to be so perfect…usually are not entirely truthful.” She dropped her gaze and remained silent, waiting for Chantia’s response.
“Sam is different though,” Chantia protested. “We’ve known each other for years. I know everything about him, and he knows everything about me.”
Charlotte turned her eyes back to the woman she had seen grow up while she herself had remained unchanged.
“Then I’m probably just wrong about him, but…” She dropped her gaze again, seemingly trying to find the correct words. She looked back up again, her colourless eyes holding a hint of unease. “Who is he, Chantia? Where did he come from? Where did he grow up? Why is he here? He kept dodging these questions when I asked him.”
Chantia frowned, a little unsettled. “What does it matter? He’s an orphan – it’s only natural that there’ll be a couple of things he doesn’t want to talk about.”
Charlotte sighed heavily, clearly in disagreement. “The point is – can you honestly say you know everything about him? These questions…can you answer it on his behalf?” Charlotte questioned pointedly.
Chantia didn’t answer the ghost. She couldn’t. Like with Charlotte, Sam had always dodged those kinds of questions with her, by changing the subject or directing her attention to something else. She had just…never really realised he did that.
Charlotte had succeeded in creating doubts in her heart, but nevertheless, Chantia didn’t call off the wedding. She might not know everything about him, but she still loved him. She still wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. So she pushed the doubts to the back of her mind and started making arrangements for the wedding.“Let’s keep the wedding small,” she requested one afternoon while they were busy with ideas for the wedding. “Just family, and maybe our closest friends. Ten people, max.” She played absent-mindedly with the ring on her finger, slightly lost in her thoughts. She didn’t want a big wedding. Most brides wanted large weddings with tons of decorations and loads of guests, but she didn’t want that. She wanted something small and intimate; something where there wouldn’t be a lot of people witnessing the ceremony. She loved Sam and she knew it was the right thing to marry him, but…
Sam smiled easily at her. “If that’s what you want, then sure,” he agreed good-naturedly. He always did that. He never really disagreed with her. Small things here or there, yes, but never on the major things. Why not? She wasn’t perfect. She made mistakes. She needed someone who would stop her from making unnecessary mistakes. She needed someone to argue with her, and point out where she could go wrong. So why did he never argue with her? It was as if he didn’t have any opinions of his own.A hand placed over hers broke her out of her musings. “Is everything okay?” Sam asked with concern in his voice. Chantia looked at his face, studying him for any sign of falseness. She couldn’t see any. His expression held nothing else but concern. Nothing had changed about him.
But she had changed.
“It’s nothing,” she murmured demurely, dropping her gaze back to her hand resting on the table. She wasn’t being fair towards him. He had done nothing wrong, and yet she just couldn’t manage to get rid of the doubts.
He didn’t let the matter drop like she wished.
“Hey, don’t give me that,” he protested. “I can see something is bothering you. What is it?”She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t tell him of her doubts. She was too afraid of doing it – afraid that confronting him would mean the shattering of the image she held of him; that confronting him would reveal some dark, dark secret that should’ve been better left untold. Why else would he dodge the questions?
She couldn’t go on like this. She couldn’t stand not being able to trust him. She needed answers.
“Why haven’t you ever told me anything about your childhood?” she questioned fearfully. “Why is it that I don’t know where you grew up? Why don’t I know anything of the life you had before high school?” She looked him squarely in the eye, pleading for answers. “Why have you never told me anything?”
Her words caused a myriad of emotions to flicker across Sam’s face before he looked away, breaking eye contact with her.“What does it matter?” he asked uncomfortably. “It’s not like it’s important.”
“It is important!” Chantia argued vehemently, her heart tight in her chest. He did it again. He deflected the question again. Was Charlotte right, after all? Was Sam really not the person she had thought he was? “Don’t I deserve to know? You know everything about me, and now I find out that I don’t know nearly as much about you as I thought. Why won’t you tell me?”
He didn’t answer her. He just kept silent, causing the silence to hang heavily around them. Chantia stood up and walked away, unable to take the silence.“Everyone has some things they don’t want to talk about,” Sam finally murmured when the silence started to become too oppressive. He sighed, and gave a resigned half-shrug. “This is mine.” When he looked up again, his face had the most haunted expression Chantia had ever seen. His eyes looked dead, and he looked so, so tired. “I’m sorry if it upsets you, but I –” His voice caught in his chest and he swallowed heavily. He looked away again, but Chantia could see his eyes become distant as he got lost in his clearly unpleasant memories. “I don’t like remembering those times,” he confessed softly.
Chantia felt like a heel. She knew what it was like to avoid a topic she didn’t like to discuss. She had had no right to force an unpleasant topic on Sam. She could clearly see just how much the topic upset him, and yet she just had to push it. She should’ve trusted him more. If it had really been important, Sam would’ve told her a long time ago. It was better to let the ghosts of the past be.“I’m sorry,” she apologized guiltily. “I’m so, so sorry.”
He touched her hand tenderly, wordlessly letting her know that all was forgiven.
“It’s okay,” he comforted her softly and turned his face to her, giving her a broken smile that was a mere shade of his normal one. “I promise that I will tell you someday. Just…give me a little more time,” he requested pleadingly.
She did the only thing she could. She nodded, agreeing to his request with tears in her eyes. She would wait for him to tell her whenever he was ready, even if it meant waiting until they were old and grey. She was willing to do that.
With the doubts that had been hanging so heavily over her head resolved, Chantia could finally devote herself completely to planning the wedding. Even though they were only going to invite a handful of guests, the arrangements still turned out to be a lot more than Chantia had expected.
There were venues to look at and dresses to try on and colour-schemes to decide on and flowers to choose that would fit with the décor and all kinds of things Chantia had never realised formed a part of the wedding planning process. She was extremely glad for her mother’s assistance, but she had to admit the woman was a bit too enthusiastic at times.“Mom, we’ve already looked at five venues,” Chantia protested when Evelyn suggested another place to look at. “I’m happy with the second one we saw. We really don’t need to look at more venues.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Evelyn disagreed musingly. “That gazebo was awfully small.”
“Mom, we don’t need a bigger gazebo,” Chantia insisted tiredly. “There’s only going to be a handful of people! The venue is fine.” It wasn’t just with venues that it had happened. Everything were questioned and double-checked and triple-checked until Chantia finally decided she had had enough and put an end to it.
“Okay, that’s it,” she declared. “No more changes. The venue’s fine, the décor’s fine, the food is fine, my dress is fine, my shoes are fine. Everything is fine. This is my wedding Mom, and I’m happy with everything. So please, stop making me look at things.” To Chantia’s relief, the declaration finally curbed her mother’s interference.All too soon, and not nearly soon enough, the big day arrived. Chantia was extremely nervous, but extremely excited as well. Everything was arranged and finalised and ready. All she had to do now was get married, and she was more than ready for it. She had never been more ready for anything in her life.
“Ready to go?” Gustave asked her, presenting his arm to his daughter. Chantia took a deep breath, trying to soothe her nerves and took her father’s arm. She was ready for this. It was time for the wedding to start.She was still full of nerves when she started walking towards the wedding arch, but she soon forgot completely about it when she looked up and saw Sam seeing her in full wedding attire for the first time. The expression on his face was simply amazing. Her heart skipped a beat and she couldn’t prevent the smile growing on her face.
“Wow,” he breathed when she reached him. “You look…wow.”
Chantia just smiled at him, her heart beating warmly in her chest and butterflies fluttering excitedly in her stomach.
“Thanks,” she replied warmly and gave his hands a squeeze before nodding determinedly, signalling her readiness to begin.Chantia stared at Sam, studying his face. He wasn’t perfect, she understood that now, but she didn’t care. He was all she wanted.
Sam took a deep breath and delivered his vows, holding Chantia’s gaze the entire time. She could see the honest joy in his eyes and she knew her own eyes held that same joy. She had absolutely no doubt that his vows were sincere, and when she delivered her own vows, she herself had never been more sincere. Come hell or high water, she’ll be with this man until the end of her days.The guests started to cheer and throw confetti as the married couple did the traditional kiss to seal their union, but Chantia was only distantly aware of them. The pure love and joy on her husband’s face drowned out all other thought. He was hers, and even though she couldn’t say she knew absolutely everything about him, she knew enough. She knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life by his side.
With the couple’s vows said and their marriage declared official, it was time for the reception to start. Most of the guests went inside where the festivities would happen, but Evelyn and Gustave pulled the freshly-married couple aside for a minute.
“We wanted to give you your wedding gift before things got too hectic,” Evelyn explained warmly and handed Sam a large, heavy envelope. “We know things had been rather chaotic these last couple of months, with planning the wedding and buying that house, so we wanted to give you a chance to relax and recover.” She gestured at the envelope, wordlessly telling them to open it.
Chantia felt her eyes widen in surprise when Sam opened the envelope and they saw what was inside. It was a full-expenses-paid trip to Champs Les Sims. Chantia had wanted to show the town to Sam, since it was part of her heritage, but because money had been a bit tight after buying the house, they had decided to forego the honeymoon completely. With this gift, she could finally have the honeymoon she wanted.“Thank you,” she thanked her mother sincerely. She might’ve had a few rough spots with her mother growing up, but she that only brought them closer together. Now, she wouldn’t exchange her mother for anything.
The rest of the night passed in a blur to Chantia. All the guests made sure to congratulate the happy couple, but Chantia was only vaguely aware of them. She was too focused on the man by her side, dancing away the evening with him.
There was one person whose words stayed with her, though. Ethan, Sam’s best friend, was still the same roguish guy he had been as a teenager, but he had grown up after deciding to join the military. Chantia had been a bit confused when she had originally heard about his career choice, but since Sam hadn’t seemed surprised in the least at the time, she had pushed it to the back of her mind.
“’Grats,” Ethan told Chantia and gestured with his head in Sam’s direction, who was talking with Chantia’s mother. “I’m glad he ended up with you. You’ve been a good influence on him,” Ethan stated sincerely.
“Thank you,” Chantia replied with a happy smile. “He’s been a good influence on me as well.” Ethan nodded distractedly at her words, causing Chantia to get the sense that he hadn’t exactly meant the same thing she had.
“Yeah, probably,” Ethan agreed distractedly before he said something that utterly confused Chantia. “Just – keep him out of trouble, okay? Don’t let him do something stupid.”“Wha-” Chantia frowned at him, but before she could finish her question Ethan melted back into the crowd, leaving Chantia to stare bewilderedly after him. Sam soon joined her side again, and she pushed Ethan’s cryptic request to the back of her mind, deciding to worry over it later.
All too soon, the time arrived for the couple to depart. Their flight to Champs Les Sims was scheduled to depart in a couple of hours, and since neither of them had expected a honeymoon, they hadn’t packed for the trip. Amidst the cheers and farewells of the guests, they set off back home to get ready for their trip.
It was already late in the night when they reached the house. Most of the residents of the neighbourhood had already gone to sleep, so the only light apart from the streetlamps was the light coming from the bright Full Moon shining above them. It made Chantia feel rather giddy, causing her to giggle happily. The Song that was always playing in the back of her mind was suddenly overwhelmingly loud, demanding to be listened to; to be acted on. So she did the only thing she could: she pulled Sam closer to her in an impromptu dance, her joyous laughter ringing in the air.“Shh, you’ll wake the neighbourhood,” Sam admonished her teasingly, but the broad smile on his face showed that he didn’t mind in the least. Chantia’s only response was to pull him closer to her and give him a passionate kiss.
Charlotte had once told her that the night of the Full Moon was a night of magic, where magic could pass freely from one world to another. For the first time since she heard that tale, Chantia believed it completely. She didn’t know if it was just the happiness talking, but the night air was almost electric with promise.
“Have I told you recently how much I love you?” she breathed softly as she pulled him even closer to her.Sam smiled at her words and folded his arms around her, enveloping her with the warmth of his body.
“Not in so much words,” he confirmed and gave her a tender kiss before pulling away and leading her into the house where they quickly packed for their honeymoon amidst some playful banter and fooling around. Before they realised, they were packed completely and ready to go.And so they departed, signalling the start of their honeymoon, and with it, the rest of their lives together.
I LOVED writing this chapter. There’s a lot of poses in it, but that just reminded me how much I love poses. It managed to make that confrontation scene in the first half of the chapter just so much more powerful. Especially that scene where Chantia is standing and Sam is sitting. You can almost feel the tension hanging around them. <3
I missed the moment of cutting the cake, so no cake. :( I actually didn’t realise it was a full moon night until the moon came up and cast that luminescent glow over everything. But in retrospect, I can actually see Chantia decide to hold her wedding on a Full Moon night. Makes it more magical. :)
Credit for the beautiful wedding venue goes to Buckley, from here on MTS.