1: The wrong one

2204 Words
“It’s a very important day for your sister. The least you can do is to be happy for her. Put up a fake smile if you must, but please, dear, let go of that frown on your face.” Blood coursed through my veins as I heard the annoying voice of Betty Adams say from right beside me when we entered the chapel. You would think a mother should have her daughter’s back more than anything, but I guess when she loves you the least, that is bound to happen. That is why today, the twenty-first day of March, I am walking my younger sister down the aisle to meet her soon to-be husband, whom I thought was the love of my life four weeks ago. My story is short. I met Owens Pierce in my first year at the university, where I was studying medicine, and I thought we had something magical. It turned out there was nothing magical about us, and he only used me to get closer to my little sister. I was the fool in my short story, and four weeks ago, when they finally came out and told me the truth, I felt too weak and feeble to do anything. To make matters worse, they announced their engagement a week later, hinting at their eagerness to get married. Owens and I dated for three years, and not once in those three years did he speak about getting married, but I guess when you meet “the right one,” you know. I was the wrong one all along. Tatiana, my twenty-year-old sister (with whom I have since developed an estranged relationship since I found out about her affair with Owens), made me her maid of honour and the chief coordinator for her grand wedding. The last thing I wanted was to be anywhere close to either of them. I needed a lot of distance to get over the heartbreak and betrayal from both my ex-boyfriend and my sister. I chose to be the mature one, though. I wished them well, but I wanted to do it from miles away. They placed the burden of the maid of honour on my shoulders, despite my initial decline. In Tatiana’s words, doing this would be my way of proving I was really over it. I had to agree to be her maid of honour after my mother stepped in, and the wedding preparations started three weeks ago. My mother saw nothing wrong with the whole situation. She had video-called to give me the news of Tatiana’s new boyfriend, though she knew he was my boyfriend of over three years and had been seeing pictures of us together. The response I got from her when she saw my puffy eyes after the breakup couldn’t surprise me. In her words, at least one of us gets to be happy. No, the Adams did not adopt me, nor was Betty my evil stepmother. I was her daughter, but I was her least favourite among the other two after my father’s demise. My parents had three of us: Lionel, the oldest; Tatiana, the youngest; and me. Lionel would have been our mother’s favourite if peer pressure hadn’t turned him into a drug-addicted junkie. That made Betty shift her love to her youngest child, Tatiana, skipping her second. Meeting Owens three years ago was a breath of fresh air. He was nice and good-looking, with his red-brown hair and sky-blue eyes, which made me smile every time he stared at me. He treated me much better than everyone else in my family, except Lionel. It was easy to fall in love with him when he always said the things I wanted to hear and did the things that made me feel seen and wanted. He was from a very rich and respected family in our town. Girls wanted to be with him, and boys wanted to be like him. Little did I know he did all this to get close to my sister. As the family’s famous saying goes, ‘the Adams cannot lose both ways, and in my case, they didn’t. I lost, but Tatiana got him, and today she gets to be his wife. I cried the first week of the breakup, but I have since found comfort in reminding myself how this was better than marrying someone whose show of love was a charade all along. Diya, my best friend, had told me to give my family the middle finger for cajoling me to be the maid of honour for my sister’s wedding, even after she took something that was mine. To an extent, I wanted to do that—rebel and make sure their day was as disastrous as it should be—but I wasn’t a vengeful person. I had never known myself to be one, and I didn’t want to become one because of them. Lionel was the only one who had my back, but since they did not regard his opinion in the family, there was nothing he could do. In times like these, I wish my father was still here with us. He would have had my back, but sadly, he died seven years ago in an automobile crash while on the way to my secondary school for a swimming competition. The sound of the melodious trumpets signalling the bride’s presence went off, and all those gathered at the chapel rose to their feet. With a beaming smile on her face, Tatiana made her way towards the altar, where Owens Pierce stood in a black tuxedo, waiting for her with a charming smile on his face. I looked away from the altar, and as my eyes drifted, they met with Lionel, who stood with mixed emotions on his round, tan face. His eyes met mine and broke with pity, and that made me mad, and my grimace grew. My knuckles turned white with the lack of blood flow because of how tightly I clenched my fist. We finally made it to the altar after what seemed like forever, and the congregation gathered and took their seats. “We gathered here to witness the joining of these two wonderful people in holy matrimony and also to join the Pierce and the Adams,” the priest began. A scoff left my mouth at his words. Just then, Tatiana stared at me, but her stare could not be compared to the one my mother cast my way from the left side of the chapel, where she sat. I ignored them. The priest continued as if no one had interrupted. He read the Bible passage and then read the vows. Grinning like an i***t, Owens said, “I do,” and Tatiana repeated the same with a gleeful face. “Is there anyone here that has a reason why these two shouldn’t be joined in holy matrimony?” The chapel grew as silent as the graveyard for a few seconds, and I thought back to what Diya had suggested, flashing my mom, sister, and Owens the middle finger. It would make this perfect-looking wedding a disaster. It would also make me the villain, the hater of good things, and the worst member of the Adams family, but at the same time, this would make me very happy with Lionel having my back. But I just couldn’t do that. I didn’t have the balls. No one said a thing, and the union was sealed. The couple then moved to the reception venue, Beverly Hall, one of the biggest event halls in the town. I kept a reasonable distance, watching the new couple laugh and smile lovingly at each other. It made my stomach rumble in disgust, and I turned my eyes away. “Do not be a hater of good things,” Betty said in her famous line, coming to stand beside me with a glass of red wine in her hand. “Your sister is happy; you also should be. I think that’s what’s important.” Luckily enough, Tatiana’s happiness was Betty’s happiness as well. And today she was dressed to kill in her peach-sequence gown, made up to look like the mother of the day. I didn’t even look at her. At this point, I wasn’t ready to deal with her, and so I couldn’t stand to look at her. “What about my happiness?” I said it through gritted teeth. She scoffed, “Do not be ridiculous.” She sipped the wine in her hand and took her leave. I reached for the glass of wine on the tray of the waitress passing by and emptied it into my mouth. I placed the glass back, picked another, and walked towards the sound engineers, who positioned themselves on the left side of the hall where everyone could see. I’ll show Betty what ridiculous looks like. I got over to the sound corner and requested a microphone. Though the DJ gave me a weird look, I didn’t give him any other option but to do what I said. He turned down the music playing, and I began to speak. “Hello everyone! It’s so nice to see all these beautiful faces.” The eyes of everyone turned to me, and though I felt nervous, I continued. “When the priest asked who had a reason why the new couple shouldn’t be joined in holy matrimony, I realised I didn’t have a reason, so I kept silent then. However, I have a few things to say that need to be heard.” “Zera!” Tatiana called out, her tone warning me not to do what I had in mind, but last I checked, I was the older one between us. I boldly ignored her and turned to the guest staring at me. I saw Betty’s cheeks burning red with rage, and I couldn’t have loved it more. “Today my sister became the wife of this guy who was in my bed a month ago, telling me how much he loved me. It turns out he didn’t love me as much as I thought over the past three years. He was just waiting for my sister to become legal.” A gasp went through the crowd, and I mentally patted myself on the back. I will burn this f*****g ship to the ground. “A month ago they came out to me about their relationship, and three weeks ago they announced their wedding. I would have said it was too sudden, but they’ve known each other for the past three years, and that’s long enough. I am not mad at them. How can I be? They are in love. At least, that’s what they told me. My mother gave them her blessing and demanded I be Tatiana’s maid of honour today. She asked me to be happy for my sister, despite knowing I dated Owens for the last three years. I am happy for her, but I thought family was supposed to have your back, not kick you in the teeth while you’re down.” Betty tried to surge towards me, but Lionel held her back. “Before you wonder if I was adopted, I was not. Seven years ago, I lost my father, and my mother has placed the blame on me ever since then.” My vision blurred as I spoke, and my voice choked up a little. “I wish my father was here too, because if he were, he would never do this to me.” The tear ran down my face, and I quickly wiped it off and blinked the rest back in. I had to finish what I started. “In the last three weeks, I have wondered what I even saw in Owens. He had the most annoying voice I ever heard, and he snored too loudly for my liking. He chews food with his mouth open and has the most unpleasant morning breath. All these I overlooked because I believed he was worth it, but I now realise that I was so desperate to be seen that I accepted what came my way, even though it wasn’t the best.” “It was never real.” I turned to Tatiana, who now had a face almost as red as Betty’s, and I couldn’t tell if it was from anger or embarrassment. “You can have him, sis. I didn’t lose anything, and I am happy for you.” I handed the microphone back to the DJ and took my leave of the now-quiet hall. I did not look back until I was out of the event hall. I drew a deep breath, and my eyes fluttered, feeling alive for the first time in the last seven years. “What the hell do you think you did in there?” Betty yelled at me, her eyes blazing and shooting daggers at me. I turned to face her, having no remorse or apology in my eyes, and said, “What I should have done a long time ago. Enjoy the rest of your life with the only daughter you now have.” I said that and walked away from her with my head held high.
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