Before I knew it, the big day was here. The day that Belinda would marry Chris, and the happy couple would start their new life together. And I would be alone. But I was trying hard not to think about that part. I just wanted for Belinda to be happy.
The weather could not have been more perfect for the wedding. The coastal fog had rolled back out to sea, and the air was calm and cool. We gathered on a small bluff overlooking the ocean – neighbors and friends we had made in Pirate Bay, and a few very special guests.
Belinda shrieked when she spotted them. “No freaking way!” she cried. Not caring about grass stains on her beautiful white gown, she raced across the grass and flung herself into the arms of our friends, our sisters, Leslie and Megan. No one could hold back the flood of happy tears (or rivers of streaked mascara). “How did you guys know? How did you find us?” Belinda asked.
“Actually, Tadi found us,” said Megan.
“I hired a detective to help me track them down,” I said. “I couldn’t just let them miss your wedding, could I?”
Megan and Leslie weren’t the only surprise. I had also invited some of our good friends from Asteria, Clara, Barbie, and Mariah. We all had such a wonderful time catching up, that I had to save the biggest surprise for after the wedding ceremony.
As the sun sank down in the horizon, Belinda and Chris exchanged vows. As the first stars twinkled in the night sky, they shared their first moments as husband and wife.
After the confetti had settled, and the cake had been cut, I at last introduced Belinda to two last special guests, who had traveled a long way just to meet her.
“I’d like for you to meet Diane Ferguson and her daughter,” I said.
“Nice to meet you,” said Belinda with a polite smile. “Thank you for coming.”
Diane’s lip quivered. “I always wondered how you’d turned out.” She spoke with a soft southern drawl. “And look at you! You are such a beautiful young woman. You look just like your grandma did when she was your age.”
Belinda turned to me, eyes questioning. I nodded. “Diane Ferguson is your mother.”
Belinda’s eyes grew very wide. “How is that…?” she said.
“Your daddy had to look for work, and I had to find us some food. You were so hungry that morning. We left you alone in the car for maybe twenty minutes. That was all. Twenty minutes.” Her voice trembled. “You disappeared. No one had seen you. My baby girl had vanished.”
Belinda was crying again. So was I. I knew the rest of the story. The so-called Teacher had kidnapped her. Whisked her away to grow up on Rainbow Acres, under his twisted teachings and forced child labor. And Belinda had barely known her real parents.
The girl next to Diane tugged on her arm. “Mama? Can I get some more cake?”
Diane smiled and patted the girl’s curls. “Belinda, this is your half-sister, Jesykah. Say hi, Jesykah.”
I slipped away to let the three of them get to know each other and to spend more time catching up with our other guests. As the wedding party wound down later that evening, and many of the guests had left, I noticed Clara approach Belinda and Chris. The three of them engaged in conversation for a few minutes. Then Clara stepped away, lifted her hands, and clapped twice. Suddenly, the bride and groom were bathed in a magical glowing light. Then Clara snapped her fingers, and the light was gone.
As Clara sauntered past me, she winked, and said out of the corner of her mouth, “Just a little gift for the newlyweds.”
I have no idea what her gift could be. I only hope that she didn’t turn them into fortune tellers!