Chapter 5: The Reunion

Azalea Johnson’s POV

After that day when I saw Ian in town, I know something was up. My sister has met him when she was in graduate school that Ian used to work before. And now, back in New York City, they have decided to tie the knot.

however, for me, I have no desire to be with someone at all, right now. Maybe later on in my life but who knows what will happen in the next few days?

it was a week now before the wedding and I have the decency to go visit my mum who was furious that I haven’t seen her for months now. Not that she cared but she insisted to know who I will bring to the wedding.

“Azalea Johnson! Get your butt in here!” She screamed one morning that made me sat up straight in my bed. I groaned as I have been accustomed to getting ready before she came barging into my bedroom when I was in High School.

“Five more minutes,” I said sleepily as I was trying to keep my eyes up.

“Lea! We have to go to the bridal store to know that you will fit in the bridesmaid dress today. now, no delay dallying. We have to go now. Go get some shower and be ready in 30 minutes,” she said before slamming the door of my bedroom. I winced but I moved my feet toward the bathroom to get ready. I know I shouldn’t have come back.

After I get ready and we were on the road, my mum and my sister were so delighted that I finally joined them on the journey to the bridal store.

“you know, all of our friends will be there,” my sister said as she talked to me through the rearview mirror. I looked into her beautiful green eyes, just like my mum.

“well, I can say I have the pleasure to meet them all,” I said as I looked out the window.

“Lea,” my mother warned me but I just rolled my eyes at them. Once we were parked outside of the bridal store, I got out of the car and went inside with my family. I can tell that someone has arrived on time at the boutique.

“oh my gosh! Amanda!” My sister said as she went to hug someone. It was her best friend that I much like to say but a recent history did not make me want to be in her presence right now.

and of course, it was not her fault. I can only blame the male that separated us to be on the same page afterward.

“Lea, what a pleasure to see you as well,” Amanda said as she went to hug me. I smiled as I hugged her. I don’t want to be awkward, it just, it is hard to make sure that everything was fine after what happened.

“So, Amber, I cannot wait for you to see—“

“you should be the maid of honor, not her best friend, Lea. It’s your sister's wedding,” my mum whispered to me. I sighed as I looked at them animated chat. I turned to look at her as she was eyeing me.

“you know I will be far too busy to handle all the flower arrangement, the altar, the centerpiece of the table, and all of that. I don’t have time for such things,” I said as I looked at the two besties that were chatting about each other.

“well, you only have one sister, and if you think you can’t have more time like you spend when you were kids, what the point of coming at all?” My mum said before she went to sit at the sofas. I sighed before I went to take a seat but my mum instructed me to get inside the fitting room to see if my bridesmaid dress would fit.

“It has been months since your first try on the dress. I wonder if you have grown since then,” my mum said as I rolled my eyes and followed the salesperson into the fitting room. I went to change into the dress and looked at myself in the mirror.

I haven’t been eating right lately and with all the nighters that I have been pulling to get my proposal approved, which turned to get rejected, then I supposed I have been malnutrition much more than usual.

“Alright, come out sis. We want to see you!” Amber said as she was shouting toward me. I rolled my eyes but my smile would tell me otherwise.

“Alright, alright. I’m coming,” I said as the salesperson opened the curtain and I stepped outside. It was blinding as it was morning but I tried not to squirm under my mother watchful gaze.

“so, what do you think?” I asked them. They were nodding approval as I was more skinny that I thought the first try that I have on the dress.

“well, we might need to alter a little bit—“

“no, it’s fine, mum. I think I might gain some weight after today,” I said as I told the person not to do anything to my dress.

“but, Lea—“

“no, it will work it out. I promise and besides, you know how I eat. I love to eat fat,” I said as I went to change inside the room again. I took off the dress as it was the most expensive one that I ever have, well even though my parents were paying for all the weddings.

I sighed as I put on my T-shirt and my legging as I went to go outside and more bridesmaids have arrived. Thank god, they did not see me when I was dressed up.

after some hours spent trying to make sure that our measurements were on the point, it was time to get some lunch. I don’t think we might go as a group but Amanda has a call from her boyfriend and told us that they have to bail now.

“well, I see you this evening then. You’re coming to the engagement party right?” Amber asked her. She nodded as she smiled sweetly at her.

“of course, I would not miss it for the world,” she said as she hugged my sister. Then she went out of the store and I looked at the familiar black BMW that was picking up Amanda. I tried to look away but I’m sure the driver would notice me then.

After some lunch and early leave from the store, we went home. Mum has so much more to prepare before I was able to go to my room. I have to put up some decorations and center table as I was looking around the backyard.

Mum has turned it into a new place that can only be found in a fairy tale book. I sighed before I went to put the last decorations in its place. a knock pulled my mum out of her work as I was still working on the decorations.

“Ian, how good to see you. Come in, come in. Oh, and you've brought a friend,” my mum said pleasantly as she was greeting the new guest. I was so focused on my task that I forgot to look where I was stepping on the ladder. suddenly, I was tripping on it.

“Argh!” I screamed as I was dropping from the ladder. I don’t know what happened. It was so fast that I cannot think I would get die in front of the guest that just arrived. I closed my eyes so tightly that I cannot feel that someone has already saved me.

“oh my god, Lea, are you alright?” My mum’s voice was coming inside my eardrum as I was slow to open my eyes. The first thing that I can see was a very deep, intense blue eyes that were amused by my falling.

“well, I thought we don’t have to meet again like this,” his velvety voice was chuckling at me. I tried to get out of his embrace but he was tightening it around my body even more.

“Lea, oh thank goodness you’re fine. Well, don’t just gawk at him, you need to say thank you. Where’s your manner?” My mum said as we were getting from our intimate position. He helped me to stand on both feet as I thanked him, mumbling at him.

“well, I don’t suppose you have met before,” Ian started to break the ice. I was about to say something before my savior said something.

“no, actually, we haven’t met,” he said. Liar!

“oh, okay then. um, Lea, this is my colleague at the Chemistry Department of our campus. His name is Alexander MacWatters. He was a chemistry professor,’ Ian said as Alex extended his hand to shake with mine. 

“pleasure to meet you, Ms. Johnson,” he said as his gaze never leaves mine.

“Likewise,” I said, trying to ignore my beating heart as I took my hands from him.

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