They all stared back at her in disbelief.
“What. No one actually died and Brodie’s only request was that we give Sophia a night to remember.”
“We definitely did that.” Callie popped a brow, and Kate managed a smile.
“Are you sure you want us all there tomorrow, Sophia? We are known to cause a little chaos.” Jayda said, still looking wildly disappointed in herself.
“Of course, I want you all there. Although I do have a condition.”
Everyone’s eyes bounced to Sophia, and she took her time to make sure she had their full attention and soak the moment in.
“I want you to be my bridesmaids and Kate, if Daisy would like to, I’d love her to be my flower girl.”
“Of course, we will be,” Callie beamed.
Paige's eyes shot to the deck, and she got that shifty look she always wore when keeping a secret. Sophia tried to catch her gaze, knowing if she did, she could pry whatever out of Paige, but Paige was not having it. Sophia sighed in resignation. She wasn't fond of secrets.
Sophia inhaled a deep breath and let it out slowly, her eyes fixed to the back of Brodie’s head as he waited for her at the top of the aisle.
With every fibre of her being, she willed her body to find the strength to walk toward him, but the truth was, she didn’t have it.
Last night was too much. The panic when Kate hadn’t surfaced with the rest of them, the joy of being with her friends out on the boat, the late night. It had turned out to make an exhausting combination and by the time her treatment was over this morning, all her body wanted to do was rest.
Emmet glanced over his shoulder. Standing next to Brodie in their charcoal grey tuxedos, they both looked striking from the back. He whispered something to Brodie, who still didn’t peek around, then strode down the aisle toward Sophia.
“You don’t look so good,” Emmet said as he wrapped an arm around his sister's waist and she sagged against him.
“I don’t feel too good, she admitted. I’m going to have to use the wheelchair.”
“I don’t think I’ll make it all the way down the aisle without it.”
Robbie looked like his heart might break at the predicament and he squeezed his daughter's hand, whispering; “You can do this.”
Sophia shook her head, knowing that no matter how much she willed her limbs to hold it together long enough to walk the few meters that stood between her and her future husband, they wouldn’t be able to.
“You told me you wanted today to be as little about your illness as possible. That you wanted Brodie to see you when you walked towards him, not a disease. So, come on.” Emmet held his arms out in front of him and stooped down low.
“Emmet, you can’t–”
Before she could argue any further, he scooped her up and smiled down at her as she lay across his arms.
“Shall we?” he asked Robbie, who nodded in response.
Robbie gave a look of pride to both his children.
The three of them made their way down the aisle, surrounded by most of Lani Bay. Weddings didn’t happen often here, and the community hugely respected the Randalls.
Mel had delivered most of the babies in the bay and Robbie owned the fishing waters that surrounded the bay, as well as a proud fleet of fishing boats. Emmet himself had carried out plumbing work along with any other handy-person jobs for many of the crowd.
While Sophia was happy to see everyone dressed in their best and grinning as she passed them by, her eyes were fixed on her five friends. Daisy was jumping up and down in front of Kate as she prepared to throw rose petals down at Sophia’s feet when she reached them. At four years old, she was a ball of energy and Kate was trying to calm her down by holding on to both her shoulders as she bounced like a rabbit with the basket of petals.
They were dressed in an understated powder blue with a chain of daisies strung around the cinched waist on each of their dresses. Daisy’s dress was the same colour but with scattered in daisies here and there, and a matching hairband made a perfect crown of Sophia’s favourite flower.
Ed Sheeran’s “Afterglow” played in the background and Sophia’s heart soared when Brodie, unable to resist any longer; turned to face her.