REPUBLIC OF AMERICA
TWO YEARS LATER
0600 HOURS, AUGUST 18
RUBY SECTOR, LOS ANGELAS.
TODAY WILL CHANGE OUR LIVES FOREVER.
It’s been 2 years since that faithful night in the street. The night that made me feel whole again. The night that Day and I bumped into each other, as though our fates were entwined forever, which they are. At first, I thought it would be hard, getting to know each other again with the past we already shared gone, as though it had never happened. But as time went on, Day’s memories slowly returned. And we forged new ones. Of Tess’ birthday party in Ruby Sector. Of Pascao’s induction to the army. Eden’s birthday. John and Metias’ anniversaries. Tess and Pascao’s first date (and how Daniel teased Pascao relentlessly about it).
The best part is that, we got to fall in love all over again. We got to learn things about each other that we hadn’t known before. The parts of us that we didn’t want anybody to see, the parts of us that we’d never seen before. But it wasn’t all happy and bright moments. We argued lots and had plenty of fights, but despite all that, we always ended up together. I got the chance to meet Daniel Grace, not that he’s lost the mischievous glint in his eyes that is all Day. I’m not sure he ever will, and I wouldn’t want him to either.
“Hello, June! Come back to us and get dressed, yeah? Wouldn’t want to be late today.” Tess says, snapping me out of my reverie. “Getting lost in your thoughts today of all days?” She gives me a playful smile.
“Sorry.” I take a deep breath, and let out a sigh. “It’s just so overwhelming.” Its early morning, and the sunlight is filtering through the curtains casting soft rays all over my room. Tess is helping me get dressed, but I can’t seem to focus.
Then, we hear a knock at the door. Tess gets up to see who its. “I got it.” I say as I hurry to the door.
June opens the door when I knock. She looks as flustered as I feel. “Morning.” I say, a little out of breath. She smiles. “Morning.”
“I just wanted to give you this in person.” I give her the envelope. “Before tonight.” I smile again as the light coming from the windows surrounds her, making her look like an angel. I suddenly feel breathless, even more than I did from my run here.
“What is it?” she asks with a confused look. “Open it.” I flash her a final smile and then I take off. I need to get ready for today, and I’m already late. I’m sure she’s wondering what on earth I could need to give to her, but I thought now was the perfect time.
The cold air hits me and I hear myself gasp. My footsteps echo because it’s too early for anyone else to be up. Eden and Pascao look at me like I’m crazy when I burst into the apartment I’ve been sharing with Eden. “Where were you?!” Eden yells at me. “You want to be late today of all days?” Pascao scolds me.
“Sorry. I needed to give something to June.” I say as I try to calm them down. “And you couldn’t do that later?” Pascao asks with a glare. “Well, I’m here now.” I answer him with a grin. He mutters under his breath.
I look out of my window at the gray sky that’s taking on a pink hue. It reminds me of another morning not so long ago, when I woke up this happy.
Day leaves as suddenly as he’d appeared, and I’m left staring after him and thinking about the envelope he gave me with curiosity and confusion. “Who is it?” Tess asks from inside. I close the door and turn towards Tess. “It was Daniel.”
Tess scowls. “What did he need to talk to you about that couldn’t wait a few hours?” I show her the envelope. “He gave me this.”
“What is it?” she asks, looking as curious as I am. If only I knew. I sit down look at it. All it says is June on the front. Tess comes to sit beside me. “Weird. Well, are you going to open it or not?” Tess asks impatiently.
I carefully open it and find a letter inside of it, and a beautiful locket. I take the locket out to get a better look. It’s shaped like a heart with an intricate design of leaves and vines engraved on it. I open it, but there’s nothing in it. Curious, I take out the letter. It’s covered in Daniel’s handwriting. I’m so confused but maybe this letter will explain things. I start reading it.
I know your probably curious about why I gave you the locket, and why this morning. I’m sorry about how messy this letter is, but wrote it late last night, when I finally decided that I would give you the locket today. I went back to my old place in the Lake Sector, because it felt weird that my parents weren’t here for this. I was looking around the rubbish when I something caught my. It was this locket. My mom loved it. My father gave it to her as a wedding present. She wore it for every special occasion, but otherwise kept it in a drawer. I couldn’t believe I’d found it and it wasn’t broken. I remember that my mother used to keep a picture of me, John and Eden on the left side, along with a picture of her and dad on the right. I knew she would want you to have it. And so, I am giving it to you today. You could put a picture of us inside it, or a picture of something else. I hope you like it.
Like it? I love it. And Daniel’s confession reminds of another one he made, about a year ago.
It had been a year after Daniel and I had been reunited. We were at a party that Ander was throwing because Antarctica had signed a treaty with the Republic that allowed Republicans to travel to and study in Antarctica easily. We also gained access to their aid, should we need it in the coming future. I was dressed in a silver dress, and Tess had helped me do my hair. Day had been talking to Ander and some senators. He and Ander could finally get along, now that he knew I had no interest in Ander, and Ander had given up on me. Suddenly, Daniel appeared in front of me.
“Want to step out and get some fresh air?” he asked me, giving me an odd look. “Sure.” I replied as he led me to the balcony. The city looked beautiful in the evening light. The lights were on, and the sun had set, but the light hadn’t entirely disappeared. The sky was still a few shades from gray. I turned and saw that Day was looking at me intently. He stepped closer and caressed my face. A mischievous grin touched his lips. “I found something when we were cleaning out your room.” I was moving closer to Day and Eden’s place and had asked him to help me pack.
“What did you find?” I asked, my voice sounding hoarse. His eyes shone so bright, and all the lights from below were reflected in them, which looked like flecks of gold. His hair had grown a bit long and was as unruly as ever. It also looked like it was glowing in the evening light. The grin was gone and he looked a lot more serious now.
“This,” he said as he brought his other hand closer. He opened his hand, and in the middle of his palm lay the metal ring he had given me all those years ago. How had that fallen out of the box?
Day was still looking at me intently, when he suddenly fell onto one knee. He held the ring out to me.
“June, I know I’ve made lots of mistakes and I am sorry for them. And I know that before I lost my memory, your name conjured up not just my love for you, but my grief for my family. It pained you to look into my eyes to see it, and in those moments I wished I could make you smile. I wished I could hear you laugh, instead of the guilt that was written all over your face. And right now, I want to tell you that it wasn’t your fault. It was Captain Jameson, and you have nothing to be ashamed of. I made this ring for you, to show you how much I love you, but also to make you a promise. I wanted to promise an entire lifetime filled with joy, and happiness and a few fights.” He grins that mischievous grin of his. “I couldn’t promise you my entire world then, with everything that was going on. But I knew that if we lived, one day I would. June, I love everything about you. The way you chew on your lip when you’re thinking deeply about something. The way you evaluate a situation in a matter of seconds. The way you choose a course of action, and stick with it. I love how stubborn you are and how much you care about others. I love you, June. I have since the first time I saw you, fighting on the street. You stole my heart that day, and I have wanted this since. June Iparis, will you marry me?” He holds the ring out to me.
I am momentarily stunned. “Yes.” I sob. I didn’t realize I had started crying at some point of his speech. He smiles like he’s relieved and elated. Daniel gets up, puts the ring on my finger, and pulls me in for a passionate kiss. I forget everything and get lost in the feel, and smell of him. I am no longer on the balcony, but flying in space and the only thing that has a pull over me is Daniel Grace. When we part, I hear cheers and see that we have gathered a crowd. I look at Day. “I was afraid you would say no.” he says, sounding very out of breath. “How could I say no?” I reply.
“June!” Tess snaps, interrupting my thoughts. “What is it with you today? You need to get dressed or we’re going to be late!”
I give her a smile and let her help me get dressed.
After I finally get dressed, we make our way to the chapel. Eden will be my best man today, and is now standing close by me as we wait for June to arrive. I didn’t think I would be this nervous, considering I’ve known that I wanted to spend my life with June since that very first time we met. I feel breathless as soon as June enters. She’s wearing a beautiful, flowing white dress that looks like silver when the fabric catches the light. She is also wearing the locket I gave her this morning. Her hair is done up in intricate waves and braids. Tess is very close behind, as her bridesmaid, and is wearing a simple silver dress. I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding when I see June smile at me, and feel myself instinctively smile back. My original nervousness completely disappears and I know that I am exactly where I belong. I want to spend the rest of my life with June, and I know that we will make each other happy and no matter what, we will always come back to each other.
Tess did a wonderful job with my dress and hair. I could hardly believe my eyes when I had looked in the mirror this morning. I decided not to wear any jewellery other than the locket that Day gave me this morning. I start to feel nervous and overwhelmed when we enter the church, partially because of how heavy my dress is and partially because of the anticipation I’m feeling for the ceremony that’s about to take place. But once I see Daniel, most of my nervousness fades away, and I smile at him. I almost trip over my dress when he smiles back. Daniel looks dashing in his black suit over a white shirt and silver tie. His eyes glow a bright blue with joy and anticipation. The sunlight that is streaming in through the windows makes his hair look like a halo. I finally get to the front of the chapel. There are so many people here, including Ander and a few Senators and a bunch of people I’m not sure either one of us knows. Everyone wants to see their hero, Day, get married.
The priest starts the ceremony, but everything seems to fade into the background and all I see is Daniel. He’s looking at me with same intensity he had when he asked me to marry him. The priest is getting to the part where I say those final words that bind me to Day. Suddenly I’m not sure I want to do this. I love Daniel more than anything, but somehow I still feel uncertain. I look at him again and I think he understands without me having to say a word.
“Do you, Daniel Grace, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?” He says “I do.” with complete confidence, like there isn’t a single doubt in his mind. Then he gives me his all-Day smile and I know without a doubt that I want to spend every day of the rest of my life with him. I want to wake up every morning to see his face and I want him to be the last person I see before I sleep. I love him, and that is all that matters to me in this moment. So when it’s my turn, I say “I do,” and I know that I have made the right decision.
After the ceremony is over, everyone heads to the dancefloor. I look at the crowd of dancers and I spot Tess dancing with Pascao. Day follows my look to where Tess and Pascao are gently swaying to the music. “I guess they’ll be next, huh?” he says, sounding mildly amused, but mostly serious. “Yeah.” I reply.
“Hey, look. Eden’s dancing with someone.” Day says. I look towards where he’s pointing to find that Eden is dancing with a nice, shy girl I know from one of Ander’s parties. She’s the daughter of one of the senators. “I think her name is Rose. She’s really nice.” I tell him. Daniel looks thoughtful. Then, he says with small smile, “I’m glad you liked the locket and wore it today.” I look down at the necklace that means so much to him. “It’s beautiful. Thank you so much for giving it to me.” I say to him.
“Your welcome. There isn’t anyone else who I would rather give it to. Now, would you, June Iparis, do me the honor of sharing a dance?” I look at his outstretched hand. “Why, of course,” I say as I slip my hand into his. He leads me onto the dance floor.
“I thought I might never get to where I am now, with you. You are my whole world June. And I will never lose you.” He says, softly into my ear. “And I will never lose you. I love you, Daniel. And I will love you forever.” I reply without hesitation. “I love you too, June,” he breathes into my hair. In his arms, pressed against his chest in this room filled with all the people I care about, I feel at peace. I sigh, thinking about how perfect this moment is.
Day uses one hand to tilt my face towards his. “Forever,” he says with a smile. He kisses me, slowly and passionately. A kiss that takes my breath away. A kiss that promises a life full of fights, and more kisses and joy. I feel like I am finally home, after a long and difficult journey. But I know that I would do it all again so that I would end up exactly where I am now, here with my friends. Here with Day.