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     Namaari had front roll seating at Raya's wedding. She was nervously jiggling her right leg up and down, trying to calm her sadness and nerves. Marri loved Raya, and she never got the chance to tell her.

 

     The Fang princess bit the inside of her lip while her eyes were glued to Raya:  She looked absolutely stunning.  

 

     Raya wore simple eye makeup paired with a bold mauve lip. She was wearing an India green Ao Dai with silver and turquoise embellishments. Her hair was perfectly curled and put up in a fancy updo. She had a meticulously and elaborate turquoise headpiece that matched with her fiance. Raya was truly a beautiful bride, but her face showed how much she dreaded her current predicament.

 

     Chief Benja arranged the marriage. He wanted to ensure in the future, Raya wouldn't be alone if anything happened to him. And who better to marry and protect Raya than his most trusted heart warrior, Thao...

 

     The moment Benja told Raya about her arranged marriage, the preparations began.  Everything happened in the span of a month .

 

     This wedding was the first time Namaari had seen Raya since she received that dreadful letter from her a month ago explaining the situation. After receiving that letter, she also learned the hard way that Raya's life revolved strictly on the wedding preparations, and she no longer fit in that equation. Their contact disappeared utterly-- Namaari tried to visit on multiple occasions only to be turned away by Benja or Thao.

 


 

     The wedding officiant asked Raya to hold hands with Thao. He looked at her happily as they interlocked fingers: only making Namaari swell with anger. On the other hand, Raya looked very anxious yet plastered a fake smile on her lips.

 

     Namaari was overwhelmed with her sadness and anger, struggling to keep them at bay--She took a deep breath in as she closed her eyes, trying to ground herself; as not to make a scene. Maybe that would have worked if she hadn't turned to look at her mother once she opened her eyes. Her mom looked back at her with a knowing look.

 

     Virana sighed. "If you love someone, you tell them. Even if you're scared that it's not the right thing. Even if you're scared that it will cause problems. Even if you're scared, it will burn your life to the ground. You say it, and you say it loud...And then you go from there."

 

     Namaari eyes widened, taken aback. Her mother had always told her not to make emotional decisions, yet now she's telling her to do precisely that.

 

     Almost out of nowhere, she hears the officiant say, "If anyone objects to the marriage, speak now or forever hold your peace."

 

     Without processing the possible outcomes, Namaari stood up. And as she did, the room went completely silent as everyone turned to look at her. Yet the only eyes that mattered to her were Rayas, who looked confused yet pleading at her. Marri acknowledges the knot that begins to form in her throat as she watches Raya let go of Thao's hands, giving her hope. Even so, a part of her was petrified.

 

     As Namaari was trying to concentrate on Raya, she noticed Benja walking towards her. That's when she realized she was making a scene. She had ample opportunities to say something before, yet she didn't. So Marri shook her head, trying to wrap her head around her mental status, and she sat back down. Even as confused as she was, she noticed Benja frowning his eyebrows at her.

 

    The fang princess felt like she was going to hyperventilate. Her pulse had skyrocketed, she was sweating, and her heart was skipping a couple of beats.  Why did she stand up just to sit back down ? She shook her head again only to notice Benja mouth "get up" before sighing and turning around.

 

     In that second, she stood up again; This time yelling "I OBJECT" as she walked to the center of the alley. Only stopping at the dead center, knowing everyone was staring at her once again.

 

     She took another deep breath as she found the words to say. "Raya, I should have told you how I really felt a little in advance! Then you would have had ample time to work out...how you felt towards me."

 

     Namaari allowed a few stray tears to run rivers down her cheeks.

 

     Raya had brought her right hand up to her mouth, covering her gasp while her left hand clutched at her stomach.

 

     Maari found herself blinking away a few tears as she walked a few steps forward, practically inches away from Raya. "When you wrote me about this wedding…I thought I lost my chance."

 

     Raya's eyes started to pool with tears; as she wanted to say something only to be cut off by Namaari.

 

     "For the past six years, I've hidden that I was in love with you, but I was hoping you would figure it out…." Namaari huffs as she throws her hands up in defeat. "I wasn't strong enough to say it to your face before—but I do! I LOVE YOU," Namaari snorted slightly as she ran one hand through her hair.

 

     Namaari closed the gap between herself and Raya before extending her right hand to grasp Raya's left. "I never thought that I would have to say goodbye to the idea of us just because I couldn't say I love you first."

 

     Raya willingly let Namaari take her hand before quickly and gracefully interlocking their fingers. She tried to smile but found herself almost drowning in her joyful tears. The heart warrior didn't need to hear anymore, but the fang warrior wasn't done.

 

     "I'm tired of hiding the way I feel behind our banter—you know what!" Namaari said as her tears started to slow as her confidence built. 

 

     "I spent countless nights drinking myself to sleep when I went on scouting missions and didn't find you! Because all I wanted was to know the women I loved was safe!" Namaari admits as she reaches for Raya's other hand pulling it away from her face, bringing it to her lips, before pressing a tear-stained kiss on the back of the hand.

 

     "I know that this wedding should have given me a reason to say goodbye to you, but I can't do that—" The fang princess bit her bottom lip as she sighed. "I can't believe I'm about to say in front of all of Kumandra but... I would rather die than just tell you goodbye with my love left unsaid, " Namaari breathed out. "Dep La, you're marrying the wrong person..."

 

     Raya chuckled as she let go of Namaari's hands only to throw her arms over the warrior's shoulders. "Why don't you just kiss me before I fucking lose my mind!" She exclaimed in a high-pitched voice. 

 

     Namaaris's eyes widened, but she quickly closed the distance. The moment her lips touched Raya's soft lips, she was swept away. Nothing could ever compare to the pure bliss of kissing Raya. It was mind-consuming in the best way.

 

     The kiss didn't last very long as the wedding attendants' cheer pulled them back to reality. Raya only laughed as Namaari gasped, realizing she just stole Thao's soon-to-be bride. "That means I love you too," Raya managed to say between her laughter. 

 

     "What?... How is that possible?... You're both girls?" Thao's deep voice said somewhere behind Raya.

 

     Cheif Virana gruffed, "Stating the obvious general Thao?" 

 

     Sisu's chirpy voice chimed in, "Girls can like girls. Guys can like guys. Love is Love! Don't be a hater." 

 

     Cheif Benja chuckled, "You'll be compensated for all the trouble! Feel free to enjoy yourself to the food-- You're dismissed, Thao."

 

    Namaari smirked as she swiftly threw Raya over her right shoulder and bolted out of the scene; Wanting more privacy to tell and show Raya how much she truly loved her.