“I can’t believe you’re not going to invite Mom to your wedding!” Aqua burst out at me when I told her our parents wouldn’t be coming to the wedding and neither were any of our other siblings. I didn’t have anything against Wade, Lake, Brook, Tide, Coral or Tempest. I didn’t even really have anything against Dad, but I knew if I invited any of them, Mom would show up, too, and I wasn’t having that. I still couldn’t forgive her, even after all these years that had passed since I took Aqua and Turquoise with me and left her and the rest of the family behind. I still think it was the best decision I ever made and I wouldn’t invite her back into our lives to ruin them again. Not now, when we were all finally stable and happy.
“Well, believe it, because I’m not,” I retorted. “It’s my wedding and I’ll invite who I want. When you get married, you can invite whoever you want.” Aqua gave me a dirty look.
“She’s going to be crushed when she finds out you got married and she wasn’t there to celebrate it with you! She loves you, Alton! I don’t know why because you’re such a jerk to her, but she does! She asks about you every time I talk to her on the phone. She misses you,” my sister pleaded with me and I felt a twinge of guilt but I was so stubborn, I had made up my mind and nothing was going to change it.
“Well she should have thought about that before she decided to have nine kids she couldn’t take care of!” I snapped. “We all suffered because of her and I won’t forgive her and let her put us through that again!” Aqua gave me a sad look that made my chest feel tight.
“If she hadn’t done what she did, you wouldn’t have us. Do you really resent us so much?”
I suddenly felt like an idiot for hurting my baby sister and my eyes stung. I didn’t know what else to do other than step forward and hug her, so I did. “I resent her and the choices she made, not you. I could never resent you. I’m sorry.”
* * *
Two weeks after that argument with my sister, I became a married man and although I still wouldn’t change my mind about inviting our mom to my wedding, I had gone out of my way to be kinder to my sisters. Not only did I still feel guilty for making them feel like I didn’t want them, they were moving out soon so Macie and I could start our own life together and I already missed them. Macie and I had found a bigger place closer to the centre of the city so we could both be closer to our jobs. It felt like we were all suddenly growing out of our dependence on each other and moving on with our own lives. It was both exciting and sad.
We decided to have our wedding at the same beach where my sneaky sisters had first shoved me into talking to Macie. I had to admit the girls did a great job setting up. The wedding arch was on the highest balcony overlooking the ocean so we became husband and wife while looking out over the glistening water. Macie looked stunning in her dress, but I can’t ever remember her not looking gorgeous. I didn’t think that was possible for her.
“Are we ready to start?” I asked my sisters. They were the only guests at the wedding apart from the dog. Macie didn’t have any family living close enough to attend.
“Hold on!” Turquoise told me. “We have one more guest.”
I was about to ask who when someone walked out on the balcony and I think my eyes nearly fell out of my head.
“Hey Alton! Congrats! The twins told me you were tying the knot and I wasn’t going to miss out on that for the world!” Wade grinned at me as casually as if he’d only seen me yesterday. “I wore my best pair of sweats and everything for the occasion!”
I didn’t even care that he was wearing a sweatshirt at my wedding. “Wade! I can’t believe it! It’s good to see you!” I smiled and went to give my little brother a hug but Aqua pulled me back and shoved me towards the wedding arch.
“Reunion later! Wedding now! Before it gets dark,” she told me. Right. That was probably a good idea.
Macie was beaming as I took her hands in mine underneath that arch. I think it was both because it was her wedding day and because of my excitement at seeing my brother again. I loved that about her. All of my successes and joys were hers as well, along with all of my sorrows. It would be that way for the rest of our lives now.
“I, Alton Sword, take Macie to be my lawfully wedded wife. I vow to love, cherish, protect her and be faithful to her until death do we part,” I announced, my heart swelling with joy as I slid her wedding ring onto her finger and she did the same for me.
We kissed and Ms. Macie Edwards officially became Mrs. Macie Sword. I don’t think I had ever been so happy before in my life, not even when I graduated from Smuggsworth, though watching my sisters graduate came pretty close, I have to admit. Aqua, Turquoise and Macie are definitely the three most important women in my life. I know I have two other sisters, but I don’t really know Brook and Coral. It’s just not the same.
My wedding wasn’t as big and fancy as Mom and Dad’s but it was still the happiest day of my life. After the ceremony, I tracked my brother down by the ocean. I still couldn’t believe he was actually here with me at my wedding.
“Hey. Look… I’m sorry I didn’t invite you,” I apologised to him. “It wasn’t you, it was–“
“It was Mom. I know,” Wade replied understandingly. “Really, it’s okay. I’m not mad. I’m just glad you were happy to see me,” he grinned.
“Of course I was! It’s been years. I missed you!” I assured him.
“Well good because my visit is kind of uh… permanent,” Wade confessed, rubbing the back of his neck. “The military relocated me to the base here when they made me a flight officer. Mom was sad to see me go, but I left on good terms with everyone. She understood it was just for my job, so… it wasn’t as bad as when you left.”
This time, I really did hug him. I couldn’t stop grinning. The happiest day of my life just got even better! My little brother was living here in Starlight Shores with me! Now I had all my siblings here with me (the ones I actually knew well, anyway). “That’s great! Where are you living? I should come visit. Aqua and Turquoise are getting their own place, too.”
“Yeah, I heard,” Wade grinned right back. “I got a small little place at the edge of the city. I’m actually having a housewarming party next week. You should come.”
“I’ll be there!” I told him without any hesitation. All of our lives were really starting to come together and I couldn’t have been more excited to see what the future had in store for both my family and me.