The beautiful centuries-old cathedral was decorated elegantly, fit not just for a society wedding, but THE society wedding of the decade. The wedding that will transpire that afternoon will not just be a marriage between the most eligible bachelor in the country and the current society ‘it’ girl, but of two very powerful and very influential families in the world of business and politics.
The groom, very handsome in his powder blue suit, waited patiently with his parents and his best man, his friend in college and a fraternity brother, ready for his march down the aisle. He had a somber expression on his face and people attributed it at that time to nervousness. Who wouldn’t be, if all eyes will be on you, everyone thought! The guests, all dressed to the nines, conversed in small groups, catching up and exchanging pleasantries as they awaited for the much-anticipated arrival of the bride.
Near the entrance, by the steps outside, Maya Dela Rosa and some of her assistants were waiting for the bride to arrive too! She should have been there by now, Maya thought nervously! The ceremony will be starting in several minutes! Maya felt her stomach churning and she was getting very stressed out! She never likes the wedding planning part of the events planning business where she works and is a part owner of. Her Tita Margarita who started the business from being a small hobby to what it is now, the most sought after events planning business in the social circle where she moves, knew of Maya’s preference in not handling weddings. Tita Margarita has Emman, her gay son, and Maya’s only cousin, for that. Maya is happy to be handling their corporate accounts, while Emman handles weddings and other social events, which suits his personality to a T.
Emman loves weddings and happily ever afters. He loves attending and organizing parties. While Maya, on the other hand, is more on the sedate part by choice. Besides she does not believe in happily ever afters anymore. There is really no such thing as forever in her book. Everything ends, even life! She had seen countless of times how useless a piece of paper the marriage contract is if the person who professes to love and cherish you, found someone else and hurt you, or left you hanging without a thought about your feelings. Humans have this huge capacity to love yes, but they also have this huge capacity to hurt the one they are supposed to love and cherish. It is better to approach relationships with eyes open instead of with rose-colored glasses.
Maya ended up handling this wedding with Emman as her aunt, who have been like a second mother to her ever since her parents died in a plane crash when she was 15 years old, suffered a stroke two months before. She recovered but is still undergoing intensive physical therapy. Since this is one of the biggest and the most prominent events they are handling, not to mention the Lims and the Venturas being long time valued clients, Tita Margarita requested Maya to help her cousin in this one despite her sentiments.
Maya looked at her watched again. She can also see that the mother of the bride was getting antsy already with the delay. Maya approached her and assured her that she will find out what’s keeping Lucy Ventura and her maid of honor. She called Emman, but his phone was out of reach. She was at the end of her nerves when she caught sight of the bridal car.
“Emman, where have you been? I have been calling you! What took you so long?” Maya asked urgently. “The wedding should have been starting by now! Did something happen along the way? Flat tire? Accident?”
“Sorry, cousin, my phone died on me! So many last-minute phone calls drained the battery fast. Then, for some reason, it took Lucy a while to come out of the hotel room with Annika.” Emman said, referring to Lucy’s best friend and maid of honor. “I thought we will not be able to make it in time. But here we are!” He almost told Maya about the strange behavior he was sensing from the bride. But since they were already in the church, Emman changed his mind. Besides, they were already running late with everything.
“I’ll go in and signal the start of the wedding. Just stay here with Lucy.” Emman told Maya. Emman knew how his cousin hates ceremonies like this and avoid it like the plague if she can get away with it.
Emman asked everyone to be in formation and signaled the orchestra to start the wedding procession. The door of the church was temporarily close for Lucy’s grand entrance. The groom and the entourage walked slowly in front of the assembled guests. Upon reaching the altar, the groom patiently waited for his bride, with the same stoic expression he had been exhibiting.
When the parents of the bride reached the designated stop where they will wait for their daughter, the orchestra started playing the wedding march and the door started opening. Everyone looked, excited to see the radiant bride. But instead of the bride, it was a frantic Maya they saw. The mother of the bride looked at Maya, and then at Emman with a question on her face, so were all the guests. The groom swallowed hard.
Emman walked back to where Maya was.“What happened, Maya? Where is Lucy?” Emman asked, getting nervous at the turn of events. But deep down, he had an inkling that this would happen.
“Emman, Lucy just left several minutes after the wedding procession has started and after giving me these.” Maya showed Emman two folded notes. “I tried to stop her, but she moved very fast, then signaled the driver to leave the church! It happened in a blink!”
“OMG, we have a big problem!” Emman exclaimed.
Maya agreed. She never thought that this would happen! She only met Lucy several times and she seemed nice enough, even if times, she noticed that her mind was not really with them when they were discussing the details of her wedding. Maya noticed, even then, that she had seemed to be uninterested and it was mostly her mother who discussed things with them. But she had shrugged it off and thought it was just nerves. All would be brides experience that, even her, a lifetime ago!
Maya took a deep breath! “Emman, you better inform Mrs. Ventura!”
Emman approached the elegant older lady clinging tightly on her husband’s left arm and quietly handed her the folded note with Mom and Dad written on it.
Mrs. Elena Ventura hastily opened the note, and from where Maya was standing, she saw her expression changed from nervousness to outright dismay in a matter of seconds. She gasped and swayed. She showed the note to her husband, Jaime. “How could she! How could she embarrass us like this!” She kept saying as she crumpled the note.
“Emman, please lead Mrs. Ventura to the staging room.” Maya said softly as her cousin became very close to the old lady while planning this wedding, and then gestured to Sophia, one of their assistants to get a glass of water for Lucy’s mother. By then, the church was buzzing.
Emman did as she told. Several minutes later, and after several sips of water, Mrs. Ventura asked Maya to give the note to Lucy’s groom. She wanted Emman to stay by her side. Maya gulped at that! She wanted to protest. She can’t be asking her to do this! Emman looked at Maya and quietly beseeched her to do just that.
Maya was left with no choice. She entered the church again. Everyone looked at her. Maya thought she will not able to make her foot to take the first hard step towards the altar. The scene reminded her of her painful experience. But this is a job and she does not have any choice. She needs to act like the professional events planner that she is.
Maya saw Richard Lim, Lucy’s groom-to-be, whom she would be meeting for the first time up close, sort of, looking at her with a blank expression, while she was walking briskly towards him! Even if she had been with Emman in planning this wedding for the past two months, she stayed in the background and handled the other details. Emman was the one who met with Richard Lim and his family.
Maya tried very hard not to get self-conscious of the stares she was receiving and to just concentrate on reaching the altar one painful step at a time. When she was nearer, hers and Richard Lim’s gaze locked and Maya caught her breath. Her heart skipped a beat. She took a deep breath to calm herself. When she reached the altar, she silently handed the note to Richard.
Richard opened the note that the lady whom, he presumed, was with the wedding planners handed him. He haven’t met her, when he and his parents met with them. If he had, he is sure he will not forget. Yes, for some reason he was aware of her, even on his wedding and the events unfolding before him! Well, almost wedding anyway! Richard already, sort of, knew what the note will say.
Maya gazed at Richard Lim as he read the note. His serious expression didn’t change. He folded the note back.
Richard Lim moved to the center of the altar, then gazed, without really seeing, at the people before him. He took a deep breath and announced to all the assembled guests, the creme de la creme of Philippine society, that the wedding wss off.
Everyone burst into a cacophony of conversation with that announcement. Maya silently withdrew from the altar. Before she return to Emman, she looked back at Richard Lim, who in turn, as if he knew that she was gazing at him, look at where she was. They shared a gaze and then she was out of the church.
Poor guy! Maya thought. She believed she knew what he must be feeling at that moment! Love, really, is so overrated!
Note: Sometimes, I really am, a typical Gemini, starting a lot of things at the same time! 🙂 I have been mulling over this story for weeks but it was not really taking off. But over a cup of coffee, I finished the first draft of this instead of my other updates. I hope you will like this story as well! ❤