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Chapter 28

“Do you really think this was a good idea?” asked an apprehensive Ariel.

“Of course it is. I bet they’re even expecting it.” Joe reassured her as they walk up the church stairway.

“But, nobody knows we’re together. Wouldn’t it be a bit awkward to see me accompanying you?” she continued to question.

“I didn’t even tell anyone that you were coming!” he scoffed

“JOE!” she yelled.

“Don’t worry,” he laughed. “I told them that I was bringing a guest. For all they know, it’s another relative.”

“Then how can they be expecting it?” she retorted. “What am I going to do when Rainie and Mike see’s me sitting in the front row?”

“You’re going to meet them beforehand,” he explained. “So Rainie doesn’t burst into fits in the middle of the aisle and force you to marry her instead.”

“She would never do that,” Ariel laughed.

“You don’t know how much she missed you…” he snapped back.

They first enter through the back of the church to find Mike who had been talking with his family about the festivities.

“Hey, MIKE!” Joe yelled, scaring him.

“WHOA! Oh man, you don’t scare a man who’s already on pins and needles!” he scolded.

“Hahah, so you DO have cold feet huh? I’m telling Rainie,” Joe joked lightly.

“You don’t have the guts,” Mike ensured. “Besides I know all the secrets you’re keeping from her.”

“I don’t care if Rainie knows my secrets,” Joe reassured. “I don’t have any that she doesn’t already know anyways.”

“Oh really?” Mike smirked. “So you wouldn’t mind if I were to tell her that it was you who ran into her family vase, but blamed it on Kris because you knew she would never yell at a little girl?”

“Call it even?” Joe asked playfully.

“Mm,” Mike hummed in agreement. “That’s why you’re my best friend,” he laughed.

“I thought I was your best friend,” Ariel asked out of the blue.

“Whoa!” Mike yelled out of fright. “ARIEL!? When did you get here? How? Wait what? HUH??”

“Calm down Mike,” she smiled.

“Don’t worry Mike, I brought her,” Joe interrupted. “Excuse him Ariel, he has cold feet.”

“It’s OK, many people get cold feet on their wedding day.”

“It’s not cold feet, it’s burning. From the amount of money put into this wedding it feels like its all burning away from the ground up!” he joked.

“Well, at least it’s memorable,” she said trying to console him.

“Yeah, but now even more so with you here,” he said giving her a big hug. “I’m glad that you kept your promise Ariel. But seriously, you should go visit Rainie soon. She’ll have a fit if she knew I saw you but she didn’t.”

After talking with Mike a little while longer, they make their way to Rainie…wherever she was.

“Do you know where Brides are kept in the church before the actual wedding?” Ariel asked Joe.

“Uh…I’m not sure…but I guess we should just follow some of these signs…” Joe said trying really hard not to get lost in the maze.
“I think we turn this corner…”

They reached to a door where a loud commotion came from. It sounded like a bunch of women giggling and fawning. As they opened the door, they see Rainie in her wedding gown shyly twirling it around for the women that surrounded her.

“Wow…” they both said in unison.
“She looks beautiful,” Ariel managed to say.

Rainie peered at the door and immediately her shy smile turned into astonishment. Her eyes bugged out and all she could say was…

“OH! OH! OH!!!!!!” was screamed towards the door. “ARIEL!!!!!”

Rainie wrapped her arms around Ariel and smashed her cheeks next to hers as well.

“YOU CAME YOU CAME!!!!” she continued to scream.
“Rainie?” Ariel whispered, in the constraints of Rainie’s grasp.
“Hm?” she asked.
“I would congratulate you on your wedding but I can’t breathe…” Ariel tried to say.
“OH! Sorry…” Rainie said finally letting go. “But geez, when where going to tell me you were coming?!”
“I thought you knew, since I promised Mike I would,” Ariel reasoned.
“Oh it doesn’t matter anymore, now that you’re here!” she said giving Ariel another squeeze.
“Rainie? I want to breathe again…” Ariel joked.

“OH! Ariel? Do you want to be my maid of honor?” she asked seriously.

“Wha-what? Don’t you have one already?” Ariel asked her.

“Oh yeah, but it’s just my spoiled cousin, Jackie,” Rainie said brushing off that fact.

“Hey! You promised me I could!” Jackie whined back at Rainie.

“Take a hike sister!” she said back to her.

“RAINIE!” Jackie yelled.

“What, it’s my wedding!” Rainie smiled.

“Well…its not like you can do anything about it cause the dress fits me not her,” Jackie smirked.

“Take it off, it’s just a dress. Easily hemmed,” Rainie said trying to take the dress off her cousin.

“Wait, wait,” Ariel laughed. “It’s alright Rainie. I’ll be sitting in the front so I won’t miss a thing. Trust me, everything will go smoothly.”

“Oh Ariel,” Rainie pouted. “How about I marry you instead?” she asked jokingly.

“I would, but Mike would never forgive me,” Ariel said amusingly.

“Then I’ll see you front and center?” Rainie asked.

“I’ll be there,” Ariel said finishing up their conversation.

Opening the doors to the church, Ariel and Joe quickly scan the altar for Mike and the others. So far, Mike was nowhere to be found. They did find, however, Joe’s family talking happily amongst Mike and Rainie’s relatives at the front of the church. Kris, who had been bored to death, looks at the door to find where the blinding light had come from. Just as she see’s Joe’s silhouette on the wall, she immediately called him.

“JOE!!” she screamed, while she waved her hands up in the air. “Come, we’re all down here!”

“Kris! This is a sacred building,” her mother scolded. “Use your indoor voice.”

“Sorry, mommy…” she pouted back.

The door closes behind him and the other figure besides him becomes all too clear for Kris. Even from afar, Kris knew who it was.

“AHHHH!!!!” she screamed as she ran towards the end of the altar.

“Kris!! What did I JUST say…” her mother said turning around, only to see Ariel holding onto Joe’s hand. “ARIEL!!!”

Kris ran as fast as her little legs could push her and started crying at the same time.

“ARIEL!!” she screamed.

“Hey, little girl…” Ariel began to say as she bent down for the little girl to give her a hug.

Instead Kris ran right into her arms and the force caused Ariel to slightly lose her balance.

“Whoa!” Ariel yelled, getting pummeled by the little girl.

“KRIS!!” Joe yelled trying to help Ariel keep balance.

Kris had locked her arms around Ariel’s neck and her legs were wrapped tight on Ariel’s hips. Her head lied on Ariel’s shoulder, which was now drenched with tears.

“Ariel!” Joe’s mother came running after. “Oh you mischievous girl,” she joked. “You finally came, you finally came.”

“Hi, Mrs. Cheng,” Ariel said with a smile.

“What took you so long?” his mother whispered to her, winking her eye.

“Uh…” Joe began to joke. “You can let go now, Kris.”

Kris, still locked in her former position, shook her head a little.

“Kris?” Ariel asked.

“NO!” she screamed, now gripping even tighter.

“Kris…” her mother scolded.

“NOOO!!!!!!” she screamed even louder.

“Um, lemme talk to her…” Ariel whispered to Joe and his mother.

Still carrying the little girl, Ariel made her way to the furthest pew away from the attendants, so Kris could calm herself.

“Hey, don’t cry…” Ariel said trying to pacify Kris.

“You…you…” she said in between whimpers, wiping away her tears harshly with her hands. “You…left…again…”

“Oh I know…” Ariel continued. “I had to.”

“But…but…didn’t you like Joe?” she asked.

“Sure,” Ariel said sincerely.

“Didn’t you like Aunt Rainie and Uncle Mike?” she continued to ask

“Of course…”

“How about mommy and daddy?” she wept.
“I do…” Ariel said trying to reason with Kris.

“Then…you didn’t like me,” she cried.

“What?” Ariel asked in disbelief.

“It was because I didn’t keep our secret huh?” Kris muttered in between her streams of tears that ran across her face.

“I told Joe at the party about our promise…and he got mad…and then he got really angry at you…and then he took you away…”

“Kris…” Ariel tried to explain.

“Then the day I tried to look for you guys…I got in trouble…and the people took me…I was scared…and blamed you for hurting Joe…and hit you…”

“No, Kris…”

“I’m sorry…” she cried in honesty. “I’m so sorry,” she wept into her hands, covering her face out of shame.

Ariel couldn’t believe what she saw. Kris, the girl who portrayed the little girl Ariel never got a chance to be, had blamed herself for everyone’s pain. Watching her bawl her eyes over something that she couldn’t change…

Just then Ariel realized something about her own self. She was just like Kris. She blamed herself for events that were inevitable and that she couldn’t help but have fate continue.

“It’s not because of you,” Ariel said looking straight into Kris’ eyes.

“But…”

“You have already done so much for me, how can I possibly be so stupid and just brush them to the side because you made a few mistakes? Ariel softly said.

“I’m sorry…” Kris said again.

“Don’t apologize anymore,” Ariel said picking Kris up of her lap and giving her a smack kiss on the cheek. “I LOVE YA, KID! And don’t you forget it!”

“EEK!” Kris winced. “Ok, stop with the mushy stuff!”

They finally head towards Joe and his mother, with Kris still clasped onto Ariel’s body.

“Oh no…” Joe sighed. “Kris, did you just bogart my date?”

“PFFFFTTTTT!!!” Kris said blowing him a big raspberry.

“Joe, learn to share with your sister,” his mom reprimanded. “She’s only 5 for heaven sakes.”

“Joe’s 4 mommy,” Kris snickered.

“MOM!” Joe said pointing at Kris with a pout. “She’s teasing me.”

“That attitude, right there…” she said point up and down at Joe. “…Is why she says mean things to you, so please…INSIDE VOICES PEOPLE!!”

 

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