Rainbow of the Horizon
Wait… A month already passed? Really?
But in any case, it's already the 23rd of February. And which means, some guy's going to get married today.
No. Not me.
But I had to say that my hair is finally cut and all in black.
At least tone down a little. I'm the best man of the groom. If you ask me if I'm nervous, not at all. I had a good sleep, but someone had a better sleep than me.
I say that I had a good sleep, but I ironically woke up at 6. However, I still got 9 hours of it.
The spring is still around and the temperature got warmer. It was still however cold as the sun began to rise in the rhythm of the singing of the birds. The captivating clouds under the cerulean sky were generously scattered, and so I took the time to sit on my roof with a paper and watercolor.
It was not long until Haku sneaked on me and pawed my back.
"What's up, Haku?"
He pointed his paw downwards, acted as though he is putting glasses on, and played asleep.
Seriously, Haku is one intelligent cat.
As I stood up, he climbed on my head and I jumped down to the front yard.
"Mate, you're invited so I'll give you a bow tie.
And since you told me, can you please wake her up if you can?"
He meowed, and came down from my head.
Waiting for him, I began making a rather healthy breakfast different from the usual ones I make.
But then, four minutes passed with Haku coming down the stairs, with his eyes closed and shaking his head.
"Hahh… Good grief."
That can only mean that Sis refused to get up. It was not a good thing to get stressed out early in the morning as I am also busy with my duties. Thus, I turned the stove off and came to my room, opening my window.
"Rin~ what'cha doing?"
"Double checking the schedule," she replied from the other window without taking her eyes off of her laptop. "I already had breakfast."
"Can I bother you for a second? Please lend me the paper fan I made."
I am sure that I left the paper fan back in the restaurant last month, but it wind up getting on Rin's hands. The question is… how did she take it? Don't tell me that she's someone deemed worthy and called it with her hand saying that "it sometimes takes a second."
References can time travel.
Nevertheless, she handed it over. Worry not, I'll just be slapping my wall, but loudly.
"Hey, hey…! Bride of the day! We can't have you sleeping in otherwise even makeup won't save your face!"
All was screamed with the continuous sound of whacking.
"IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH…!!!!" she vigorously got up from the shock of hearing me shout and the unusually loud sound.
Sis… save that for later. Let's eat breakfast first and sort things out. Good morning, by the way."
~ ~ ~
"Still working on things you asked her to do. She already ate earlier than us. Don't ask me about your gown, okay?
I'll be supervising photography, filming and bunch of other stuff so I'll probably be around in the reception venue."
"How's he anyway?"
"That guy's anxious of course. But seeing him like that—an Exile getting married… makes me kind of nervous."
"Heeehhhh… Already thinking about that, little brother? Come on."
She acted cool while nudging her elbow on me, but it was all for nothing because of how much she was shaking.
"At least don't hide it anymore."
Just as she drooped, Haku walked on the table and patted Sis's head with his paw.
"Look at you, Sis~ even a cat is trying to cheer you up."
WAIT, HAKU IS SERIOUSLY INTELLIGENT.
We finished up eating and work already began.
Even though there's still a lot of time before the ceremony itself, it is just seven in the morning, but we were already maximizing our time.
"Hello, Nagi? Are you with Shiro? Ah, I understand. Yeah, fair enough. I'll help you two set up later. I'll be in the reception area all morning so I'll see you there. If you need a ride, the car used in the resto was lent to me. Is that right? Got it, bye.
Yo, Jean. Happy cooking. You got your uniform? Sweet. Make sure you got the menu all in your head. Right, North and South team will be blitzing with it then you'll follow up after the ceremony. Good to know, bye.
Who'll give you a ride, Sis?"
"Dad's exaggerating so Mom will be behind the wheel."
"I see. I'll take Rin then."
"Please take care of her, then."
"I always do."
Things began to hasten and rush in every minute that passed. Our timelines were so packed that we had to move carefully and pop up and disappear. And just like that, Sis already left with Aunt Sumi.
"Sorry to intrude."
Rin entered the house with a fairly big shoulder bag with her.
She saw me in the kitchen making coffee knowing the fact that I immediately made one after waking up every single morning.
"Potato. You just got your caffeine earlier. Calm down."
"This is for later," I then poured the hot liquid in a steel tumbler. "Are you ready with your things, Rin?"
"Yep. I'll have to stop by the reception venue to check things there with the other bridesmaid and then I'll have to bother you with sending me to the salon.
And please check the wedding cake in my stead."
There was the fleeting thought that I refused to say out loud—that she does look kind of all grown-up with the demeanor she developed with all the work for the past month.
"Then do me a favor to only put light makeup on you."
"Light lipstick should be okay, right?"
"I'll get bashful so I won't answer."
"Hehehe… You imagined it, didn't you?"
I realized that I've mentioned the 'reception venue' a lot but haven't said where it is. It was a fifteen-minute drive from my house to around the east of Sector Lambda which is a sector away from 527. What's situated there is an open garden with fields of different flowers that were being groomed by the Exiles.
The land was once an empty lot that was surprisingly abandoned considering its fairly spacious size. With this space being relinquished, we Exiles volunteered to build a garden and cultivated the once barren land to a lush place with different kinds of seasonal flowers greeting you in sight.
It is already beautiful in its own natural scene. The addition of more greens and wedding decorations amplified the splendid view of the peace-bringing field.
Being a true open land, the lights in the day are all natural with the brightest star beyond the atmosphere, while it is illuminated with lamps welded on the posts that support the unique things about the garden. A great portion of the field is being roofed by thick panes of glasses.
Having seen that, an idea came to my head. A creative inspiration, I would say.
So if ever it rained while we're all enjoying ourselves with the expected sumptuous dishes made by my co-workers, everything will be fine.
But the appearance of the venue itself wasn't something grandiose as it was meant to be. It just so happened that the women Exiles with green thumb made so much effort in growing the flowers and the wide paths were well paved. In fact using grandiose as its description is too much of an overstatement. Call it humble.
After half an hour, Nagi and Shiro came to the venue to meet up with us. Work immediately began after saying our greetings.
Nagi asked, but I didn't get to reply to him immediately due to the presence of 'toys' that I haven't seen in person. He uttered his question as I noticed the many bags he had in contrast to Shiro's one equipment backpack, and then he pulled out one huge stabilizer on his hands.
"H-He's on the kitchen. You sure you don't need help?"
"I'm fine. It might take me some time to calibrate the camera, though.
What's with that look, Gin?"
"Nothing~ Let’s just focus on work."
I certainly did not forget that this old buddy, old pal of mine is taking the Filmmaking course. In retrospect, I have actually never seen him in that class and neither has he seen me in my Culinary Arts classes. Meaning, this is the first time I am actually seeing Nagi in action apart from watching some of his films. But if I have to say, I get the filming camera… but I don't think he can afford that professional stabilizer at this point. I do wonder how he got that.
But these two sure make a fine duo. Shiro on the other hand is preparing a single camera and three lenses. I know nothing about apertures but I sure know that she has greatly improved in photography alongside art.
Another thing, I can't imagine a photographer on a wedding dress so it's most likely that she will be wearing a very formal attire appropriate for the occasion, but not expecting much femininity to it.
Rin may just be envious if that's truly the case.
The venue is however taking its true form at a fine pace. Not the entire garden will be used for the ceremony as to be observed from how the uncovered tables are arranged. Basically, the garden has a center; or for the mathematicians who likes Cartesian Planes, at (0, 0). There stood a circular or cylindrical gazebo that can fit quite an amount of people. It's not an assumption to say that the soon to be married couple will be sitting behind the wide table since I was the one that suggested it, and imagining the celebration itself is a good scene from where I am looking at.
"Thanks for the hard work, Gin."
Unexpectedly, I heard the groom's voice from behind me. I turned around only to see Hiro with an overly casual outfit with a plain shirt, denim shorts and slip-ons. At least, he was smiling, although anxious.
"Good morning, brother-in-law-in-law."
"Hey, stop calling me that. How are the preparations?"
"So far, good. I'll be sending Rin to the same salon where Sis is in at 8:00 and they would probably be back after an hour. Go check on Shiro if you have concerns with the pre-wedding pictures this morning.
But Hiro, you and Sis sure saved a lot since most of the organizers are Exiles."
And to add, the owner of the salon I mentioned is also an Exile.
"Just think of it as a form of bond as Exiles. You become nice when you're around nice people."
"I definitely agree with that.
Also, I will be lending you something before the ceremony. It's a keepsake so better take care of it 3000."
"Whatever it is, I'll take care of it 3000."
"Whatever it takes?"
"Whatever it takes."
Don't mind the references. I repeat, time travel!
"Good to hear, then. Eijiro will be entrusting himself to both of us."
"What does your uncle have to do with this…"
With us still continuing with the conversation, both our fathers walked on the pavements and greeted us.
"Alright, Hiro. I'll be checking up on the wedding cake so Dad can keep you company."
The three were left standing in silence just because of being unable to think of anything to talk about.
Amano then spoke, "Brother-in-law-in-law is really busy, huh?"
"Even you, Mr. Sakato?!"
~ ~ ~
Two hours subsequent to the earlier time, the sisters and the other bridesmaid arrived at the garden.
Rin on her thankfully light makeup stood out most likely only to me, and so the praises will come later. She might get jealous, but I will have to agree that Yuna really looked like the brightest star on the space today.
If only I can be quickly honest and direct to the point. What I'm saying is that Yuna is the most beautiful in this day that I stopped calling her Sis. And you're not reading this wrongly. I just said that it is Yuna, and not Rin. Considering the fact that I always flatter Rin in a cheerful and carefree manner, I've set that demeanor aside for this day and get to be serious on this one.
I am so glad for Hiro.
To be expected since it is not yet the crunch time, there are only several people around the garden. Thus, the pre-wedding shoot began.
It's a fact that pre-nuptial photoshoot happens before the wedding day itself and to be honest, the shots that Shiro will take are basically just for fun. You see, Yuna arrived here with her white robe still on. If I have to say, what's underneath her robe is probably some lame shirt that she usually wears back at home. At least Hiro dressed up a little since his casual clothes will look dumb while there's no complaint on Yuna.
Pretty much, the shoot is unnecessary at this point, but it has to happen just to humor ourselves before the solemnity in the ceremony. Just look at them doing the V sign on their hands.
But the mood quickly changed as the hours came by. Before 12:00 came, we had to prepare ourselves appearance-wise and probably mentally.
Seeing that the motif of the wedding is mostly maroon, I prepared myself a black blazer and slacks, white long sleeves underneath and a maroon necktie that Rin gave me as a gift. And for probably the first time, a silver brooch stood out and shone from the left chest of my blazer. It was the very brooch that Eijiro was supposed to wear in my parents' wedding. With its presence, I didn't need to put a flower with it since it's already a rose.
Rin on the other hand is wearing a burgundy gown with a neck that is similar to the width of the opening of an ordinary shirt and sleeves that extends down to her forearms. It was a very simple gown, but the minimalistic character of it was balanced with the rose gold sash that wraps around her waist and embroidered to it are subtle display of flowers that are also seen on the gown itself. Her black hair that are usually unkempt are on a half up half down style that is very similar to how Anna looks with the fringes still there, but properly swept back.
But while there is still time before we walk down the aisle, the two sisters are seen in the bride's room with the cliche wherein Yuna is sat on a chair in front of a mirror while Rin is behind her.
"I can't believe that you're finally getting married, Sis."
"Hmph. It's too late to doubt this now, Ringo. I guess a big sister won't be bugging you anymore once it's already March."
"Don't say that, Sis. You've lived for so long in Gin's house that I was feeling lonely. I will miss you, you know?"
"W-When… When did my little sister become so honest…?"
"Probably when I started dating with Gin."
Whatever the case, I'll be expecting you to make me the matron of honor in your wedding."
"Sure, sure~ You do know that even I have a hard time trusting untrustworthy people… and that it's hard to find genuinely kind people.
That's why I'm glad that Gin was the first that I found."
"And hopefully the last?"
"I really hope that it is the case."
Ahhh… little sister, you're so cute."
"Then you're beautiful. Congratulations in advance."
Meanwhile, the groom and the best man are also together.
I volunteered to put the silver brooch that was carved to look like various leaves that are put together as though they were stems or branches along with the corsage in the left chest part of his blazer.
"Hiro, take care of Eijiro."
"I can't help but think that yours still looks better."
"Once the best man's brooch should still be the best man's."
"I didn't know that…"
"Well, I still have the rings so I'll have to prepare it for later. Break a leg."
"Yuna Akanami Katsuto… huh."
A name that was given by Tenth to a nameless child will now be wedded to coincidentally one of my best friends and my sister.
How I did look back when I was just an ordinary guest when Mochi got married, and now I have taken a big part to a ceremony that I didn't know that I'll value as much as I do now.
And so the ceremony came to its beginning.
There are at least a hundred guests, which a fourth of it are the close relatives of the Akanami, and the remainder are Exiles along with my family and friends. Sadly, Ken wasn't able to come even with an invitation given to him.
Having the entourage finally happening, we were the first ones to take the walk on the aisle. Hiro somehow looked indifferent as he walked, but he still stood out not from the eyes but from the minds. And so he stood in front along with Tenth who is the figure to be his father in the ceremony while they watched the characters of the wedding.
Being the Best Man and the Maid of Honor, Rin and I of course walked side by side in the middle of everyone watching us pass by. I was proud to have made a fine job in doing her bouquet that still upholds to the primary theme. It was just a matter of seconds even while we were clearly seen from the eyes and lenses, but we unlinked our arms and parted in the opposite directions while I stopped midway and patted the groom's shoulder and continued walking after a short message.
"Make my sister happy."
Needless to say, I have to admit that I was getting ahead of myself with that message and I know that he felt it too. Regardless, he replied in a very weak voice.
"See you soon."
It was his way of confidently saying that I will be here too. I looked with a smile as I stood before my seat.
It wasn't even long until the time came for the bride to be accompanied by both of her parents towards the center. Yuna walked with the whiteness of her 'simple yet elegant' gown with a stunning look on her eyes and a trembling smile behind her veil; until they came to the halt. The father tightly held the once small hands of the bride that have grown mature, and embraced the groom with a message that we do not need to hear.
The parents came to their seats as the two stepped forward before the overseer.
"What a good day, indeed. It is my honor, and perhaps everyone's honor to be here—to witness such a-…"
~ ~ ~
"The groom, do you have anything to say to your bride?"
I never thought to myself that I was unfortunate when I was born without a name and no parents, but I did despair when I had nothing. I… however became capable of setting aside that nothing and found everything. 'So this is a family,' I thought. I am glad to be part of a very big family.
I have to thank the owner of the cafe and that table… and I am very much thankful to you, Yuna. It was your relentlessness that broke me out of my shell. You have become much more than a human that chose an Exile like me. To be here with you, I am very happy and thankful."
"And… the bride?"
"Everything came so naturally that you can even think that it was somehow scary. Even I did not think that it is something that I will care for so much in my life up until this point. I am happy that I was part of your everything and that you are also part of mine. I wouldn't be standing here if I didn't cry my concerns out to you.
It is an honor to be together with an Exile… and it is an honor to be your wife."
The vows have been told, and the rings—the cuffs that will tie them together that ought to not be broken by anyone, have finally made their way to their hands.
"Now… It is perhaps the moment that we are all waiting for.
As you are now in one flesh, Hiroomi Katsuto… and Yuna Akanami…
I pronounce you as husband and wife."
An applause louder than I merely expected echoed in the place of the ceremony. I was there, as I have already stood unconsciously with a very uplifted and relieving feeling inside me.
I was indeed very delighted with the sight of the partners who were very close to me to fulfill their gracious love for each other.
There was also the sounding applause coming from my palms from my being overjoyed, and astonishment towards the will of Hiro. He was unfazed to reveal his existence in the many, which I have always failed to do after maintaining our masks of identity. I set aside the fleeting sadness and disappointment to deepen my immersion to what is the present and not the future.
I thought that I have no right to display my regrets of being unable to grasp what I could easily have in this joyous event. It was all in my head, but I am still in all smiles.
If only I can hit the head of myself who once thought that marriage is insignificant due to my lack of humanity, I would have done that after this.
~ ~ ~
To our surprise, the ceremony took very minimal time and we had to transition to the wedding reception. We have made the good call to use the time in the morning to finish things up which thankfully included the management of the catering. Thus, things continued on without issues.
There is also the thought that I would be relieved off of my duties soon. I honestly did not expect that organization and management would be very stressful. Now I think about how professionals handled this. But nonetheless, everything is turning out fine.
To have Exiles and the members of Akanami family on the table was thankfully not overwhelming as we are all males. But not a hint or any hidden intent of discrimination was felt. Contrary, I got to know the family as I admitted that I am the lover of the bride's sister. The grandfather even called me a 'fine young man.'
Unexpectedly, Rin and I were asked to play the piano and violin for the guests and the newlyweds. If only the best man and the maid of honor were told prior, we would have prepared properly. But coincidentally, we were practicing the same songs in the past independently and managed to be in sync with on the spot improvisations. We were nerve-wrecked at its best.
And thankfully, the two very much liked the artworks that I presented as a wedding gift from the other three members of the club whom I commissioned to make illustrations of them together. As for the gift I gave, I figured that it's not worth mentioning.
I am still very surprised that Shiro handled the one-person photography work without even looking tired. And so, the olden six of the Art Club along with Hiro and Yuna got to let loose in Shiro's photo booth.
And just to give an idea of the timestamps, it is nearly the eighteenth hour and everything has been wrapped up. It was indeed very short, but looking back to those few hours made it feel so long.
"I just realized after everything is done…!" Rin exclaimed in worry. "I should've given Potato a pin for his tie…!"
"Too late indeed, Rin."
But to give a potato a necktie pin is absurd.
I am once again behind the wheel passing by on the road as we will sadly have to go back home. But it was not as sad as it is supposed to be.
"Rin, I might need your help in setting up a table in my yard."
"You know, men can't feel satisfied without a drink after these kinds of occasion. So they decided to put up an after-party in my house.
You girls will have a place if you want to. Shiina is also coming later."
"It'd be nice if she'll be my future sister-in-law-in-law."
"Bfft… Hey, Rin~! I'm driving!"
"Ahahahahaha! That's so hilarious!"
~ ~ ~
My lights inside the house as expected are still off. In a jiffy, the two of us managed to get a big table and lights out on my yard with the stars in sight. The breeze was still cold and so we took a rest as we sat with blankets while we wait.
We didn't wait, actually. We slept for half an hour, waking up to be found out by Kei and Shiina.
But it wasn't long enough as the newlyweds came after my brother.
"Good evening. You better brought nibbles with you since I'll be sitting with you guys. I won't drink, of course."
I actually do not know about newlyweds right after their wedding literally ended, so I don't know if it is normal to see them this quickly.
And Hiro's on the casual clothes again.
"Hi there~ Sis.
Congratulations to you two for the twenty-sixth time."
I wasn't joking. That's how many times I've congratulated them.
And talk about calling her like that again. You know, it was so solemn that I unconsciously called Sis by her name a few hours ago. But Hiro's wifey looked so normal that you wouldn't even think she got married. It's hard to think that the woman earlier now looks to be the freeloader in my house again.
The table however got fully occupied in no time. There is Dad, me, Kei, Uncle Shuu, Hiro, Tenth and Sean around the table with side dishes and nibbles along with bottles and glasses of beer and its scent. And then there's a pitcher of juice only for me and a box of pizza selfishly hidden on my lap. I've had four slices already and they are not thin crust.
But while we idiots look like one outside, the side of the girls took the liberty and used my living room.
"Well would you look at this. It was just us four in the plateau and now there are three new guys," Tenth noticed.
"I guess the more the merrier, Take."
"But it's been almost a year when we went to the orphanage huh, Dad.
By the way Hiro, I would appreciate if you return the brooch to me. That's treasure for me."
"Yeah, yeah. Give my thanks to your uncle," and he nonchalantly gave it back to me.
Having recalled the earlier scene as I walked with a brooch, Dad reminisces and said, "Ahhh. It feels like my wedding is finally complete with that."
"You could call that an inherited will, Dad.
By the way, Hiro. Surely your wife will move out soon, right?"
He got flustered after hearing the 'wife', but nonetheless replied.
"About that, probably by the first week of March. Not on the base though, but we'll live together of course.
What? You going to miss her?"
"Yep, honestly. It's been a while since I have to live by myself. I might get lonely sometimes."
"Hahaha. You're such a crybaby."
"Don't even start, Sean."
While we are all having our ways on the table, I gradually noticed and heard a sound that is perhaps water that is slowly dripping down from somewhere.
"Hey, did someone left my faucet open?"
Sean answered, "Sorry, I washed my hands earlier," and stood up to properly turn the faucet off on my yard.
But while I was busy over that little thing, I didn't notice what was happening on my glass. It was too late for me to realize that Kei is pouring his beer on the wrong glass and only noticed after I finally got a sip.
Hey, who poured beer on my glass?"
Kei jolted after seeing his mistake, "Oh, shoot. Sorry, Gin. I might have accidentally poured mine to yours."
If there were any signs that I was being pranked, I would have noticed it earlier. So it turns out to be my brother's mistake. But of course, the three fathers on the table felt a little delighted.
My goodness… You three never give up. Kei, you have a lot to explain to Rin."
"Yes. My bad," with a shrug.
Shortly after, they started to chant "Bottoms up!" as my hand took grasp of the cold tall glass. I was getting a little annoyed and vented out my frustrations by emptying the glass in one gulp.
"Burp~ Uhh…! I thought the aftereffects of being a Child might help lessen the kick."
I actually felt overwhelmed as it was the first time I drank. But my problem and evasion to liquor is actually personal. I am already by the legal age.
And if you are a minor, it is a big NO to drinking. But if you're already by the legal age, do it very moderately. Just remember that the threshold depends in every country.
"Huh… I may just have high tolerance…"
"Dang, talk about being a tough guy," Tenth was also overwhelmed.
Uncle Shuu finally stopped with his overjoy and nudged his son-in-law.
"Now what are you going to do when my daughter decides to work again, huh, son?"
"Hmm… I will of course help her find a lighter work when she decides to. She has good qualifications anyways. It shouldn't be hard for her to look for one."
"Then that's good to hear. I'm now entrusting her hand to you and all."
"My thanks, otō-san."
In the midst of all those discussions, even I had questions to ask Hiro about. But I decided to put those thoughts on the back of my mind as I am aware that they will just tease me a lot and I'm getting ahead of myself again. And it will sound like I'm asking for advice…
"What about you, Kei? Any plans?" finally, Hiro got to talk big.
"A little too early for that, Hiroomi. I have to admit that Gin had the one-up on me with the independence. You can probably ask me that in a few years' time."
"You heard my son."
"Will regular work return next week, Hiro?"
"Hmmmm… I might come back later in the next week but you still have the Japan crew with you, alright? I'll leave the kitchen to your management, sous chef.
And expect me to visit Yu while she hasn't moved yet, okay?"
"No complaints. But help out with meals if you're going to eat here."
"Yeah, I got you."
There is something that flew in to one of the beer glasses on our table.
"W-Whose glass is that?" I asked.
"Mine…" and Kei answered.
His glasses weren't needed to see what got in his glass. A huge slice of undoubtedly an ominous slice of pepper fell in the translucent beer.
We then looked on my window just to see heads that are trying to hide. Shortly after, Shiina's head poked out and shouted:
"I did it! It actually went in…!" and she was followed by screams of victory inside my house.
Amidst of the sudden ruckus, there's no way that I can't laugh that out.
"Pfft… Ahahahaha! How and where did you girls get that Carolina Reaper?!"
You've finished reading 038!
I just realized that this chapter was initially written almost two years ago now. Forgive me for I was a little high on the references in this chapter. I just went from the theater and wrote this.
Thank you for reading!
039: An ear-piercing predicament.