As hard as she tried, Nadeshiko just couldn't bring herself to be enthusiastic about the wedding preparations.
It wasn't like she was unhappy with the concept of marriage. No, she had been fantasizing about her dream wedding since she was three years old. She and Nagihiko had used to "marry" each other twice a week in their family's garden, with stuffed toys littering the grass and Baaya-san clapping and pretending to cry.
Or maybe she really was crying, because the two kids were so happy imaging their distant future and she knew one day that they would find out real life wasn't as perfect as they believed.
Her lack of enthusiasm was mostly due to the fact that as the preparations continued Nadeshiko couldn't help but feel guilty. The gardenias and the doves, the chapel and the white tuxedo, that was Nagihiko's dream wedding, not her's. Her brother was dead, and instead of mourning him she was living out his dream, marrying the love of his life….
As much as it sickened Nadeshiko, as much as she wanted to change the plans to make the wedding much less like Nagihiko, she couldn't. Because Nagihiko would never say no to these plans, and Rima knew that, and Nadeshiko couldn't do anything that would make her suspicious.
Every time Rima mentioned the wedding Nadeshiko wanted to cry; it just reminded her that her brother was dead and she was lying to everyone she loved, everyone he had loved.
But Nagihiko would have been happy talking about the wedding, it would cheer him up when he was down.
So Nadeshiko had to smile and laugh and bring it up even when no one else would. Because she had to be Nagihiko, and Nagihiko so badly wanted to be married.
But when Nadeshiko thought about it for a while, she realized Nagihiko had had this habit of never showing his real emotions.
Maybe, she thought, she was acting more like him already.
It was March nineteenth. So far, it had been a fairly normal day.
Until Rima had walked in on Nadeshiko crying in the bathroom.
The blonde had hugged her and whispered in her ear about how everything was going to be alright, and that Nadeshiko was in a better place, but that only made her sob harder.
Because no, Rima, Nadeshiko was right here, and Nagihiko was in heaven watching his twin sister marry the woman he had loved for almost his whole life.
Rima had made her tea and wrapped a blanket around the two of them as they sat on the couch and watched the Notebook (Rima usually refused to watch such girly movies, but was no doubt trying to comfort her fiancee as she knew he loved them).
And after a while, Nadeshiko began to feel better. Rima was pressed into her side, resting her head on her shoulder as she tried not to fall asleep, and Nadeshiko thought it was nice how hard Rima was trying to cheer her up and how sweet she was being. Even though she felt guilty, she was thankful Rima was looking out for her.
Even if she knew Rima thought she was caring for Nagihiko.
But it was after the movie ended, after the two went back to their bedroom to go to sleep that the trouble ensued.
After they had climbed into bed Rima had rolled over to face Nadeshiko and snuggled into her body and kissed her. Not a short peck of the lips either. No, a deep, full-fledged kiss.
This had only happened a few times before (each time leaving Nadeshiko feeling guilty) but it didn't usually last long.
Maybe Rima felt she owed something to "Nagihiko," like she had to cheer "him" up, but she didn't stop this time.
She kept kissing Nadeshiko, with her lips and tongue, tasting her and breathing her in, and as she did this she grew closer and closer and Nadeshiko's mind was hurriedly firing warning signals saying "if she gets too close she'll feel your breasts."
Rima's hand slipped across the skin, between her shirt and pants, and began to move lower, and although Nadeshiko might possibly end up liking that she grabbed Rima's hand before that could happen.
"What are you doing?" Nadeshiko asked into Rima lips, staring at her through her eyelashes.
Rima, who had been looking down, turned her eyes to meet Nadeshiko's. "I thought you could use some cheering up."
And god, did that make Nadeshiko's chest hurt, because Rima really loved Nagihiko so much she would have sex with him, even though she had always sworn to wait until marriage, just because "he" was feeling down.
Nadeshiko smiled even though all she wanted to do was cry. "Thank you so much, sweetheart. But I think we should wait; It'll be even better then."
Rima smiled slightly, something Nadeshiko hadn't seen her do much before becoming Nagihiko. "You're right."
Rima kissed her once more before pulling back to her side of the bed and laying down with a muffled "good night."
And although Nadeshiko was incredibly tired and just wanted to sleep she found herself up until the early hours of morning, wondering how exactly Rima would feel the night of April fifth.
She wondered if it would be better for Rima if she was sleeping in this bed alone.
March 31, the day Nadeshiko's old friends from high school began to arrive in town for the wedding.
There had been many "I'm so sorry about Nadeshiko"'s spoken, and Nadeshiko could tell they were all heartfelt from the way Amu's mascara was smeared and Kukai's eyes were red and puffy. Unfortunately, though, they were lamenting the loss of the wrong person.
Nadeshiko was standing right in front of them.
Nadeshiko felt the urge to laugh, but it was quickly diminished by the feeling of sorrow that was drowning her heart, because what the hell had Nagihiko been thinking? Rima was going to be hurt and everyone else was going to be hurt and she didn't think anyone would ever speak to her again.
When Amu fell into her arms and sobbed, Nadeshiko was crying wholeheartedly too.
Really, Amu, your best friend is hugging you right now. Stop crying over her.
It was getting old, and part of Nadeshiko was getting fed up with the whole situation, but yet she was still hurting, still feeling guilt and sadness, so much sadness, that she thought she might just die.
"Do not pity the dead, pity the living."
Who had said that? Wasn't it from a Harry Potter book?
Whatever the context, Nadeshiko couldn't help but think about it.
Maybe, just maybe, she was the one they should be mourning, after all.
Mourning the loss of her choice, her freedom...
the loss of herself.
A/N: Thanks for all the reviews last chapter! I really appreciate it.
If you have a moment, please review. Any critique is gladly welcomed. :)