"Of course, mom!" I exclaimed over the phone, faking an excited tone. "I have to go, but I'll be there in half an hour!"
"Be safe!" She said quickly before I hung up.
Driving all the way to mother, damn, freaking Florida for my little brother's wedding. Of course I felt like going, right in the middle of my final exams, what could be best? Forty-two hours in a car, I couldn't wait to get out. Oregon isn't all that close.
I pulled up to a beautiful house, big and white. I double checked the address, making sure I had showed up at the right place. To my surprise, I was. I stepped out of the car, painfully slow due to my numb muscles. I stretched, walking to the trunk. I pulled my duffle bag out effortlessly, throwing it over my shoulder. I locked my small car, walking up to the front door.
I felt underdressed when a woman wearing a fancy, white silk dress opened the door. She smiled uneasily, probably wondering who in the hell I was. I quickly wiped my hands on my jean shorts, sticking on of them out.
"Excuse my choice of clothing, I drove forty-two hours." I smiled politely. "I'm Cali, the groom's sister?"
She made a sound of realization, letting me in afterwards. My worn out Vans stained the spotless ceramic floor, my eyes widening. I pulled them off, letting them in the entrance. I walked barefoot into the most humongous house I had ever been in.
"Mrs. Pacheco!" The woman called as my mom walked in. "Your daughter has arrived!"
"Cali, honey!" My mother smiled brightly, staining my cheek with her blood red lipstick. "Come, I'll show you your room! You're sharing it with a very nice girl!"
As soon as we were out of sight and away from the lady, my mother gave a look, motioning to my underdressed outfit.
"First impressions are-" I cut her off, knowing exactly what she was about to say.
"Everything." I rolled my eyes, earning a stern glare from her.
She continued her way up, making her way towards another corridor, I stopped counting after the fourth turn. We finally stopped in front of a small staircase, a bit less... modern than the rest of the house.
My mother left without another word. I started making my way up, the wooden stairs creaking uncontrollably beneath my feat. As I was almost up, my foot transpierced the stair, leaving half way into the wood.
"Shit." I cursed under my breath, struggling to pull myself up.
"Oh my, are you alright?" A woman voice, british to be precise, asked me worriedly.
"Yeah, but could you help me?" I smiled hopefully, extending my hand out.
She let out a small laugh, helping me up. After a few tries, I was finally out and quite dusty. I thanked her, adjusting my duffle bag back to its original position. She showed me up, the room looking like an attic.
"Wow, so much for this house." I said uneasily, frowning at the sight.
"Sorry you're stuck with me, Waliyah's mom isn't very fond of me." She excused.
"Who's Waliyah?" I asked dumbly, staring at her in confusion as I threw my bag on the spare bed.
"Uh, the bride." She chuckled.
I felt so dumb. I come here to attend my brother's wedding, but I don't even know his future wife's name. I shook my head, placing my hands over my face in embarrassment as I laughed quietly along.
"Didn't you get the invite?" She raised her eyebrows.
"More of a... phone call." I reasoned, shrugging my shoulders. "Anyways, I didn't even get the chance to introduce myself, sorry about that. I'm Cali!"
"Gemma." She smiled, shaking the hand I had previously extended. "Are you a friend of one of the families?"
"I'm the groom's sister." I said amusedly, her mouth forming an 'O' shape.
"Didn't know, he never mentioned you." She frowned.
"No surprise there." I murmured.
"It's not like I don't want to continue speaking with you, believe me, I do!" She scoffed. "But, we have a dinner type of thing, the one rich people have."
I nodded, laughing slightly. I unzipped my bag, looking at the multiple pieces of clothing. So many clothes, but none at the same time. Gemma was already dressed, looking beautiful. The white colour of her dress made her hair look beautiful. The blue and purple fitted her well.
I finally pulled out a strapless, flower patterned dress. I didn't pack any fancy clothes, but when I think about it, this is a wedding. I added a small, tan coloured belt, thinking it would made me look less underdressed? Okay, I still looked the same. I pulled on my black TOMS, letting my hair into the wavy-curls they naturally made, clipping my bangs to the side with a bobby-pin. I felt like a teenager, even though I was twenty-four. I added a thin coat of mascara and drew a thin like with my liquid eyeliner on my lid, nodding to myself.
"You ready?" Gemma asked, looking like a princess.
"Yeah, I guess." I sighed.
We walked downstairs, many guests had already arrived. They were all wearing beautiful dresses, probably more expansive than our house back in Oregon. I followed Gemma shyly, not knowing what to do.
After losing her out of sight, I grabbed a glass of champaign from the waiter who walked around, thanking him curtly. I sipped quietly, rocking from heels to toes. Dinner was finally called, and guess what? Little cards with our names written on it were placed around the humongous table, indicating us where to sit.
I found myself sitting in between my mother and a younger boy, maybe twenty or younger. I ate in silence, listening to everyone chat and fiddling around with my food. I have never been a fan of fish. I find it pretty gross, actually.
Someone tapped their glass with a fork, indicating to listen. I looked at my brother for the first time in five years, smiling lightly. Everyone turned in their direction, at the end of the table. The silence was heavy, until he finally decided to speak.
"Thank you all for coming to celebrate Waliyah and I's wedding." He smiled toothily, putting his arm around her shoulders. "I'd like to thank my best man, Harry! Stand up, don't be shy."
The guy who was currently sitting by me stood up, his height almost freaking me out. He smiled awkwardly, looking at my brother confusedly. Sam smiled, looking at Waliyah as she was about to speak.
"And I'd also like to thank my maid of honour, Cali, Sam's sister!" She exclaimed, my eyes widening in shock. "Stand up, you too!"
I cleared my throat, my mother pushing me up. I stood, feeling everyone's eyes on me. I hated it, please, let it end soon. I smiled at her, nodding slightly. And what were we supposed to do now, exactly? I raised my eyebrows in anticipation, waiting for something to happen.
"Right!" She snapped out of her thoughts. "Gregory, please, take a picture!"
A photographer, I'm guessing, arrived with his pro camera. We looked at each other awkwardly, wondering what position to take. We stepped closer, our proximity making both of us feel... well, awkward. I smiled, the flash almost blinding me.
"Thank you!" She clapped her hands excitedly. "Now, let's get back to eating."
I can't wait to go home.