"Taksony, come on!" She laughs, and drags him along after her. Bright golden curls bounce around her shoulders as she runs and tumbles headlong into his family's blooming flowery fields. He doesn't know exactly why she loves the field so much, only that she enjoys sitting and feeling the breeze dance over her pale skin, the green grass tickle her always bare feet.
He gives a feeble attempt to tug the girl back upright, but she only yanks his arm back, pulling him down to sit with her on the ground. It's the dry season, but the summer rains have left a mist over nearly everything. He can already feel it soaking through his socks.
She sighs softly next to him, still tightly gripping his hand. He knows from experience that her older brother would probably get upset if he saw this, but Kaden and Dad and Momma are far out of sight. They'll probably come looking soon, like they always do, Kaden so worried about Adeline.
He says the doctor told him she's got a weak heart, that she shouldn't be running so much. She needs her rest. He says that if Taksony really wants to play with her so bad, he really ought to make sure she stays in bed. The problem with this, is that Adeline is three years older, and therefor in her mind in charge. There's no arguing with Miss Adel once she's got an idea or wants to do something.
"We should head back soon, Adel." Tak murmurs, trying to pick the grass stains from his knees. "Momma'll be beside herself if she knows I'm letting you go out here again."
"Letting me?" She huffs, her hands balled into tiny fists placed firmly on her hips. "Since when are you the boss of me, Taksony Black?" Adeline sounds like she's cross whenever she asks him that, but she always says it with a grin. He knows better than to answer truthfully.
"I guess never, Addie!"
"That's right! But I suppose I could allow you to accompany me home." And with that, she jumps to her feet, latches back on to his arm, and drags him in the opposite direction again, towards the giant looming black mansion.
The doctor says Miss Adeline's got a weak heart; but Taksony knows much better than that. She's got one of the biggest, strongest hearts he knows. Not that he would ever tell her.
"I'm glad you could come for a visit, Adel." Tak grins; sitting down on the sofa across from her and sipping his tea. "It's dreadful here without you. No lie."
She's been gone for a long while now - longer than all of her other absences combined - living in Canada with her parents. Normally she would make the trip to Germany every few months alongside Kaden, but her condition had become more severe in the past couple of years, and she had been unable to travel that far. Taksony silently stressed over his best friend's health for five years before Kaden could finally say that she was well enough to visit.
It was dreamlike, watching her sit there. She had changed very little from the last time he had seen her. Well, that wasn't true. She had gone from a cherubic little girl to a graceful, radiant young woman. Long and beautiful, thick golden tresses framing her face.
Something in his chest flutters when she looks up from behind her cup and saucer, her bright eyes piercing his own.
"I'm sorry I've been away so long, Taksony." She smiles. His heart skips a beat as her lips curl delicately. "I must admit it's been exceptionally boring not being able to drag you around everywhere."
He laughs, and they engage for the next hour in mild, mindless chatter about horses and his Mother's new gumbo recipes. With each passing minute, his mind begins to wander. Something else resides underneath the conversations, something he can't place.
She's still the same, so delightfully well humored. The same wonderful girl from his childhood. But why, suddenly, is everything different?
Why does his stomach do flips when she looks him straight in the eye? Why is he suddenly so aware of her figure shifting in the silky blue fabric of her dress; of the smooth, beautiful pale curves hidden underneath? Goosebumps raise on his forearms, a chill shudders down his spine.
He realizes exactly what it is, just as Kaden comes to walk her up to bed. The simplicity of the revelation very nearly knocks the wind out of him. He manages to breathe out a "Good Night, Addie" before she smiles once more and glides up the twirling staircase to the guest room. Her thin hips sway ever so slightly as she moves, as if shifting just enough to bring his attention down to them without alerting her cautious brother. He shudders again, shakes his head.
He is desperately in love with Miss Adeline Cote, the most perfect and beautiful woman he's ever known. Not that he could ever tell her.
He caved exactly one year later. He told her. And for reasons he would never understand - even decades later - she accepted it with open arms and a bit of shy enthusiasm. Kind and sweet and wonderful; she loved him too.
What came after the wonderful confessions was immensely less fabulous, though we won't go too deeply into the complexities of the whole situation. It's not very pleasant to recall, having to simultaneously avoid being run through by a sabre wielded by one Cote Sr. and answer increasingly difficult trivia questions by that same Cote. Such was the price for the fine Adel's hand.
But everything up to this point is absolutely unimportant in his eyes. Nothing matters, nothing at all. Not the lovely decorations adorning the ceiling (fifty damn feet in the air where no one can see them anyways, he has no idea why Mother insisted on them, but whatever), not the colors chosen for the invitations and the table arrangements, nothing.
All that sways his attention from his own fidgeting fingers is the radiant girl with her golden tresses put up in beautifully intricate ties that he can barely wrap his mind around, carefully drifting down the rose covered aisle. His mind is completely locked on memorizing every curve, every single inch of her standing before him.
Her arm is wrapped delicately in that of her father's, who is looking much more serene than during their previous encounter. Her face is shielded from his own gaze by her sheer lacy veil, which dips down the front of her waist, but he sees her bright smile light up underneath it. His knees sway dangerously, and latches one hand onto Mylow, his begrudging best man, to ensure that he does not topple over and take every occupant of the stage down with him. Mylow rolls his eyes and gives him a subtle shove to straighten him back up.
He shakes his head and looks down the rows of seats, at his mother very nearly bouncing up and down like a child in a candy store. Her polar opposite, Dad is sitting quietly with his arms crossed, very satisfied for being the very first to actually predict this outcome, about fifteen years ago. Maddie is being overrun with dramatic happy tears (contributing, is the fact that Adeline had so gracefully chosen her as the maid of honor).
The Black family is such an insane, colorful contrast to the pleasant and proper line of Cotes down the other side. Ah well.
Oh God, she's right there. Her walk past the rows went a lot quicker than it did during rehearsals (though, to be honest, he did faint during rehearsals, making it seem like a lot longer than it really was.) and suddenly she's right next to him. He can barely hear whatever the priest is saying, it matters so little. Her delicate hand slips perfectly into his, and she squeezes gently, reassuring him. She thinks he's going to pass out again, no doubt.
Well, that was a completely different Taksony Black. Today, he is a new man, with his very own new family to care for. One that does not pass out from sheer emotion.
Time for vows. They elected to scribble down their own, and hers are lovely. Full of prose and beautiful flowing words that transcribe her feelings perfectly.
When he reads his own, it simply feels like he's vomiting the words. He doesn't think she can even understand a word he's saying. Lord. She's being such a good sport about it, too. She's so patient.
Eventually he finishes fumbling over the last few paragraphs, and stuffs the paper back into his pocket.
The tiny raven haired Rain glowers up at him, but says nothing as he offers the small pillow on which the rings rest.
His turn is first, and he takes a deep breath. Preparing himself.
"Do you, take Miss Adeline Evelia Cote as your lawfully wedded wife."
"I do. Forever." He blocks out all other distractions, locking his eyes back onto hers. He tries not to blink for fear of waking himself from what may be a dream.
"And do you, take Mr. Taksony Andrew Black as your lawfully wedded husband."
She slips his ring onto his hand, giggling a bit when she catches him staring at her so deeply. He smiles as she murmurs quietly.
And with that, despite Mylow and Maddie's best efforts to keep him upright, Taksony Black finally passes out from sheer emotion. Hyde applauds, his expression unchanging.
"My son, everybody."