Arabella didn’t expect him to show up at her wedding but there he was, standing at the very far end, away from all of the festivals and trying to avoid eye contact with anyone, especially his old classmates. She knew that attitude. She knew it very well. He was at war in his head, weighing whether it was all worth letting her go or not. Honestly, Arabella didn’t blame him for doing that. He was still that little boy, after all, and she had fallen in love with that boy one day. She could only imagine how much pain he was enduring at the moment from just seeing her get married to Reid. Honestly? She doubted that he’d seen the real part where she and Reid had said their vows but it must have all hurt him just the same. And, she was hoping to have a moment with him, check up on him like she always did.
Reid had always been so gracious about her relationship with Nate, just another part that she loved so very much. She didn’t think that he hated Nate, and she knew that Nate didn’t hate Reid. In fact, Nate thought Reid was a really great guy, and was more than fine handing Arabella over to him, mostly because he knew that Reid would make her happier than he could hope to. Reid was a stable personality, unlike Nate. But admittedly, Nate had grown to be more mature and stable over the years. It was like watching a cocoon turn into a butterfly. It was slow but it happened. Thankful for Reid’s graciousness, she excused herself from him for a minute, knowing that he already knew where she was going and what she was going to do. He knew her just like that.
And she could swear she saw Nate tense up for a moment. He’d never been really subtle, has he?
Nate was hoping to avoid Arabella for the whole ceremony. He didn’t know if he could handle being here in the first place but surprisingly, he didn’t drop dead just yet. He didn’t bother dressing up as much as everyone else. A simple white shirt and black pants were enough. He was here and he thought that was what Arabella wanted from him. It wasn’t like she asked him to show up and be as happy as ever. She never asked much out of him and he still loved her for that. Unlike all of his other girlfriends, she was never that demanding and mostly, her presence made Nate safe and contained. Today was no exception, though he would have liked to stay away from her because there’s no way he won’t feel his heart race when she looked that beautiful. It was unreal, just for one person to look this perfect when she didn’t even try.
That was the only word that managed to escape his lips when she was close enough, even coming out as shaky as he felt. She knew he was avoiding making eye contact, because she really knew when he avoided that – he usually ended up looking at her forehead or nose instead. “Can you dance with me?” she asked, using a bit of the confidence she felt tonight. Why shouldn’t she feel confident? She was getting married. Without an answer, Nate stepped closer, delicately placing a hand on her waist and starting to sway silently.
“Thanks for coming,” she mumbled into his shoulder, tightening the grip she had on him, though she didn’t see the sad smile that graced Nate’s lips for a moment, “yeah, congrats. I’m really happy for you,” he said, leaving her wary about he really felt on the inside. They knew each other enough to know when they weren’t feeling good. “What about you?” Arabella asked sadly, emphasizing on the last word to assuring him that this was more about him than it was about her. She knew she was alright, because she was now married to the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, but Nate wasn’t with the person he wanted to be with, which happened to be her.
Pulling back to look at Arabella in the eyes, Nate’s face softened up. He didn’t want her to feel sorry just because she was choosing Reid over him. Nate had grown to accept not being chosen like that and really, he was okay. It was just a little overwhelming. “I’m okay,” he assured her, “you’re happy and that’s all I ever wanted, Bella.” The shorter girl smiled at the nickname, making Nate smile in return. “You know I love you, right?” she voiced, nonetheless, and Nate felt an instant tug at his already fragile heart, but smiled still. “Yeah…” he mumbled, trailing off in the process and bringing her close to him again. Resting his cheek on her temple, Nate sighed, “I love you too. So much.” She was long gone and he knew that, even standing there and stroking her back with his thumb. But somehow, he wasn’t fighting the fact away. It was a true change to him, thanks to the newly-wed Mrs. Walker in his arms.