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Of Loud Footsteps in Silent Chapels
By Kassandra Luem
The chapel was empty and silent.
Sunlight was streaming in through the high, colourful windows, forming a beautiful pattern on the floor and on the very edge of the long white dress the woman in front of the altar wore.
The chapel was empty except for the three people standing at the end of the aisle.
The chapel was silent except for the priest's voice as he posed a question to the man in the black suit and the man's answer of "I do".
The woman beside him didn't move an inch. There was no smile breaking out on her face at her companion's words, no sparkle in her eyes at the prospect of a long, happy future with him. Her dark hair fell in elaborate curls around her shoulders, her dress fit perfectly and there was no questioning the fact that she looked beautiful. But something was missing. She did look beautiful, but the kind of beautiful an ice statue looks; emotionless, cold beauty.
The chapel was empty and silent.
Finally, the priest turned to her and opened his mouth to ask her the question that would forever bind her to the man beside her. She prepared herself to answer, knowing just what her answer had to be and doing her best to store the reluctance and rebellion welling up inside of her into the 'useless and dangerous thoughts'-compartment in her mind. It was time to finally let go of all those hopeless dreams. She concentrated on keeping her breathing even as her lips started to form the words "I do".
It was then that the heavy oak doors were pushed open forcefully, the loud bang resounding from the old stone walls.
The chapel was no longer empty and silent.
A woman with honey blonde hair gleaming in the sunlight made her way down the aisle with determined steps and an expression of thunder on her face, the click of her heels the only sound in the stunned quiet.
The woman at the end of the aisle blinked. And all of a sudden the ice fell from her body, her muscles tensing, shock registering on her face. Shock and something else. She watched the blonde walk towards her and the scene suddenly seemed to play in slow motion. She saw everything replaying in front of her eyes.
JJ and Will, kissing in the precinct.
JJ and Will, announcing their marriage.
Her mother, telling her that it was time to finally stop her rebellious antics and be a real Prentiss.
Her father, introducing her to an important business partner of his and to his son.
Herself, numb, shaking hands like a puppet, making empty conversations at empty tables.
Her parents, Michael and his father, discussing a marriage as if it was another treaty lying on her father's heavy, old mahogany desk.
Herself, nodding her head, because there was no reason not to agree, no one to keep her from doing so.
The sudden cessation of noise brought her back to the present. The present and the woman standing mere inches away from her, looking at her as if she was going to slap her any minute.
"What the hell do you think you're doing, Emily?"
The woman stared at her as if she hadn't heard a word.
"I asked you something! What the hell are you doing?" She was shouting now, her voice resonating in the silent stone building.
She thought it was pretty obvious.
"I'm getting married?" she tried.
"Don't bullshit me, Emily. You know exactly what I mean."
The blonde pulled a white envelope from her coat pocket and the woman opposite her blanched.
"Recognise this? I can't believe you, Emily!"
She was shaking the item at her, her fingers clenched tightly around it, crumbing it at the edges.
"Excuse me, Miss, but what exactly is the problem? We're in the middle of a ceremony in case you hadn't noticed." The priest spoke up, hesitantly, as if he wasn't sure he really wanted the seething blondes attention on himself at this particular moment.
"Oh, isn't that just precious!" the woman in front of him snapped
"Tell him, Emily! Tell him what you wrote me!"
At the horrified silence of the woman in the white dress, the other woman continued, addressing the priest.
"Your bride here wrote me this letter, telling me she loved me but that she was getting married to someone else today."
Again, the chapel was silent. But the silence only lasted for a few milliseconds before the dark-haired woman snapped out of her stupor and returned the blonde's words with just as much force as she had put into them.
"What do you want, JJ? Why are you doing this? Just go back to your husband and leave us alone."
She had moved from her spot beside the man and was now standing face to face with the blonde.
"Because " she took one step closer to the woman in the wedding dress, the air between them crackling with electricity "I couldn't let you do this, not after what you wrote me." Her tone lost its sharpness.
"I'm sorry, but I believe this is none of your business anymore. Your were the one who got married to that guy in the first place." She turned away from the woman in front of her, back to the priest, her tone turning cold and distant
"I think it's time for you to leave, JJ."
She didn't get to turn completely, though, as a firm hand on her arm held her back.
"I had no idea you felt that way, Emily. If I'd known, I'd never have married Will."
The dark-haired woman whirled around to face her once more.
"What are you saying, JJ?" she wanted to know, her eyes hopeful, her expression intense.
"I'm saying that I'm saying I love you too, okay? I only married Will because I thought there was absolutely no chance you felt the same way about me."
As soon as the words were out, a deafening silence spread inside the cold stone walls. The dark-haired woman looked at the blonde as if she couldn't believe her ears and the blonde, that had been so full of fire only moments before, was now too shy to meet her companion's eyes.
"Say that again, JJ." It was a soft plea, her voice as gentle as a physical caress.
"I'm saying that I love you, Emily." Now, finally, she raised her gaze to meet chocolate brown eyes full of wonder and pure, unadulterated joy.
"I love you, Emily. Come with me." She said, for the third time, her voice steady now, her tone firm.
And now, finally, a smile spread over the other woman's face until it lit her whole expression and made her eyes sparkle.
The priest looked on in shock as the two women, one clad in jeans and a dark coat and the other one wearing a long, white dress, walked down the aisle and out of the church.
Behind them, the chapel was empty and silent. In front of them, sunlight made the stone steps gleam and its warmth engulfed them in a tender hug as soon as they left the old stone building behind.
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