03 | gone

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N E V A E H


It's midnight.

The guests have already gone. All the reporters and paparazzi have left the building, ordered by Lucas Klein, who looks extremely furious. The only people who still stay here are families from the groom's and the bride's sides.

We're still here too because we've already been considered a part of the Klein family. Luna, Max, Sienna, and I haven't moved from our seats. Luna is crying against Max's chest as he wraps his arms around her. She looks absolutely heartbroken. Max kisses the top of her head, whispering to her soothing words.

Uncle Vaughn and Aunt Melanie are talking to Aiden's parents, trying to help them solve the problem. Their conversation revolves around the missing bride, and I notice how upset Aiden's parents look.

The Kleins have enough power and connections to find out about what could have happened to Olivia Stone during these past hours. They must have figured out that this doesn't involve an accident. The bride has decided to walk away of her own will.

My heart sinks as Cassandra Klein approaches her son. She cries, hugging him. Aiden hugs his mother back. He squeezes his eyes shut while his mother weeps, and I can see that he's holding back. He's trying to hold himself from breaking apart, but it's not for himself. It's for his mother.

When she pulls away, she wipes the tears in her eyes and stares at him with a look so broken that it's killing me.

Lucas Klein speaks something to his son, but I can't make out what it is. He hugs his son too, but briefly, and when he walks away from Aiden, I can see the fury in his eyes.

It's a tragedy for their family to be crushed in such a cruel way on the day that was supposed to be sacred and joyful, to be humiliated in front of the whole world.

By the time Uncle Vaughn and Aunt Melanie approach us, the families from the bride's side have left, looking just as devastated.

Uncle Vaughn gives Max a knowing look, as though they're speaking to each other without saying any word. "They're leaving," he says to his son. "Aiden will stay here."

Max lets out a sigh and kisses Luna's forehead again. "Luna," he whispers, just as Cassandra walks toward us to get her daughter. "We're going home. I'll go with you, okay? Let's go home."

It's out of the question that Max won't go home with us, because the Kleins need him more. Luna needs him, especially in this devastating moment.

Luna sniffs, and when she looks up to see her mother, she shakes her head in denial.

Cassandra's eyes glisten with tears as she stares at her daughter pleadingly. "Luna." Her voice is shaking. "Let's go home, sweetheart."

But Luna's eyes are still locked on Aiden, who's still standing at the altar with his back facing us. I swallow a lump in my throat.

"No," Luna's voice cracks. "What about Aiden?"

Cassandra takes a deep breath, and there's only pain in her voice when she says, "He's staying here. He said that he needs time to be alone."

Luna shakes her head again. "I'm not leaving him."

Max helps her stand up, but instead of leaving Aiden, Luna walks toward her brother.

"Aiden," she calls. A soft cry escapes from her lips before she opens her mouth again, "Let's go home."

Silence fills the air, and I can see her lips tremble. She waits for Aiden's response.

"Please," she adds in a weak voice.

"I'm staying here," Aiden says. He still hasn't turned around to face all of us. "Just go home, Luna." His voice is hoarse.

Luna stares at him in disbelief. She takes a deep breath, balling her fist at her side. "I'm not going home without you." Her voice is firm. "I'm not leaving you here alone."

Hearing nothing from him, she begs again, "Please, Aiden. Just come home with me. Why are you still staying here?"

Aiden still hasn't answered her for long seconds, and the atmosphere turns tense. I watch as tears roll down Luna's cheeks, the evidence of how much pain she feels for her brother.

"Why are you still waiting here?" Her voice is laced with anger now. She sounds like she's torn between breaking down or exploding. "Why are you still waiting for her?"

"Because the last time we spoke, we promised each other to meet at this altar!" Aiden's voice booms as he finally turns around. His jaw is tight. Tears brim his eyes, but he doesn't cry. He hasn't cried since his bride left him, but I can see clearly the pain in those beautiful ambers.

I feel like someone has just slapped my face hard. The lump in my throat is so big that it almost chokes me.

Because of me.

His bride ran away because of me.

I've caused so much pain to this man, and I don't know how I'm going to forgive myself.

If I hadn't caught Olivia talking with Roman in that garden, she would have walked down the aisle as she'd promised him.

Luna is taken aback by how loud Aiden spoke to her, and that's when Max comes to her side. While she's still staring at her brother with so much sadness in her eyes, Max holds her.

"I'm sorry, Luna," Aiden rasps, turning his back at us again. "Would you--" He lets out a frustrated sigh. "Would you just go home without me? Please?"

"Come, Luna," Max whispers to her. "He'll be okay."

I want to believe Max too, but it's hard. Everybody knows that Aiden isn't okay. However, the least we can do is to do what he wants, and that is to leave him alone for a while, here.

"Luna," Lucas' voice echoes throughout the hall, and Luna turns to her father, who's waiting for her with her mother, ready to leave the hall.

Luna finally nods, sniffling. Max wraps his arms around her while they're walking toward the exit.

Uncle Vaughn and Aunt Melanie walk off too, but I'm still nailed onto the same spot. I can't move. I don't want to leave this place. It's all because of me that this incident happened.

"Nevaeh," Sienna's voice startles me. She pulls me to stand up from my seat. "Come on. We're leaving. Let's go, Nev."

I don't have any choice but to let her drag me away. My eyes can't leave Aiden, and the last thing I see before I step out of the hall is his back.

 My eyes can't leave Aiden, and the last thing I see before I step out of the hall is his back

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