Dad’s death was hard on all of us, but we pulled through and eventually, things started looking up for everyone once again. Dad always said that whenever something bad happened in life, something good wasn’t too far ahead as long as you walked a little farther. In my experience, my dad has never been wrong about that and he wasn’t wrong about it now, either. A few months after Dad died, Clark and Eddy both proposed to my sisters. I wasn’t even a little bit surprised that they both said yes. Rayne and Ariel had been with their boyfriends since university and here we all were now, just a few years shy of thirty. It was about time Clark and Eddy got it together and settled down properly, but I was nowhere near ready to let either of my sisters go.
I walked my two little sisters down the aisle to their grooms on their wedding day. They decided to have a double wedding at Starlight Serenity. Since Dad wasn’t here anymore to give them away, that responsibility fell on my shoulders now and I was so proud… and so sad. Rayne and Ariel were all grown up now, just like I was. Of course eventually they’d have to move out and raise families of their own, but somewhere in my mind, I had just always pictured the three of us being together forever. We were triplets. We grew up together, we did everything together. I can’t remember a single moment of my childhood where Rayne and Ariel weren’t firmly attached to either side of me and it was my sisters who had gotten me through some of my darkest times in life. I couldn’t picture not having them both with me all the time, and now here I was, giving them away to their husbands.
“Don’t look so sad, Seb,” Ariel whispered to me as I walked her and Rayne down the aisle. I forced a smile.
“I’m not sad,” I bluffed.
“Liar,” Rayne whispered knowingly in my ear. They both knew me so well, which only made it harder to let them go. I swallowed a lump in my throat as I hugged them and let them leave my side to stand by Clark and Eddy under the wedding arch. It hit me hardest that they were leaving me when I felt them both let go of my hand. Logically, I knew I would see them again, but it still felt like a goodbye to me and I’d said enough goodbyes for a lifetime. Ruby put a hand on my shoulder as I sat back down next to her but said nothing. I was glad Rayne and Ariel let me bring her. I needed my best friend today, as happy an occasion as it was.
“They’re both so beautiful,” Monica sniffed into a tissue and I patted her hand. My step-mother had always been a little neurotic but she’d gotten more emotional since Dad died. She still cries for him every night. I do, too, but I don’t want anyone to know, so I keep it to myself.
“I, Ariel Sword, take thee, Clark Gant, to be my lawfully wedded husband…”
“I, Rayne Sword, take thee, Edward Mullis, to be my lawfully wedded husband…”
And just like that, Ariel Sword and Rayne Sword became Ariel Gant and Rayne Mullis. Their new last names sounded strange to me, but maybe that was because I’d gotten used to the name we were all born with. It was so bizarre thinking of my sisters being married. I tried not to dwell on the fact that I was the heir of the family and I was the biggest failure out of all of us, creeping closer and closer to thirty with no wife and a son from a broken teenage relationship who hated me; Dad couldn’t have made a worse choice. Either of my sisters would have been so much better than the giant disappointment I was.
“You’re doing it again,” Ruby muttered in my ear.
“That thing where you’re smiling but inwardly feeling sorry for yourself,” she said bluntly. I gave her a bewildered look.
“I swear you can read my mind, sometimes…”
I gave both my sisters the biggest, tightest hug I think I’ve ever given either of them. “As happy as I am for you guys, I still don’t want to let you go,” I admitted, laughing to avoid crying. That would just be embarrassing for everyone. “Can’t you, Eddy and Clark just live with me? I have a big house. Huge in fact,” I only half-joked. Rayne smiled and dabbed at her eyes.
“Aw Seb, it’s tempting, but we can’t all live together forever. Just think when Eddy and I start having kids and Ariel and Clark start having kids and you’re probably going to get married and have more kids of your own someday soon… not even your house is big enough for all of that. We need space to raise our own families but we’ll always be triplets.”
“And we’ll always love each other, no matter what,” Ariel added. “Don’t think Rayne and I don’t appreciate how you always looked out for us growing up. We had Dad of course, but we had you, too. You’re the best brother we could have ever asked for and we love you for it, Seb.”
I had to excuse myself quickly and hurry to the bathroom because I really was about to cry, but Ariel was wrong about one thing. Me getting married and having more kids? Ha, yeah right. I’d given up on that. No one who wanted to be with me wanted me for the right reasons… I was convinced now that it was because there was nothing underneath the money and celebrity status to love about me.
“You’re doing it again… that thing where you’re smiling but inwardly feeling sorry for yourself,” Ruby’s voice came back to me and I sighed.
“Sorry Ruby…” I muttered into the mirror to myself as if she was there. At least I had her to pick me up when I was down. What would I do without Ruby?