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Within a few days of knowing each other Gabriel and Reyna have become inseparable. My brother has never had a girlfriend before. Sure he went on dates with girls from his school but he never seemed interested in any of them to where he wanted to exclusively date them. I guess he never wanted to get too attached to someone out of fear that she would not be able to accept him for who he really is. I’m glad he doesn’t have that issue with Reyna.

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He helped her develop her human disguise so he could take her out around town and show her some of his favourite places. It was hard for her to remember to wear her disguise when leaving the house. It’s a good thing Gabe was there to remind her. Unlike him, she never had to worry about exposure because she spent her entire life on Sixam surrounded by others who were exactly like her.

I think that’s why it was so easy for him to fall in love with her so quickly. He felt a sense of acceptance being with her that he could never feel with the rest of us.

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Another person who was really fond of Reyna was Lyra.

Lyra was thrilled at the idea of having a new aunt and was fascinated by Reyna’s appearance. She even complained to me about how she wished she had purple skin like her which was interesting since having purple skin was of no interest to her when her Uncle Gabe was the only one who had it.

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Sometimes she’d end up being their third wheel.

Gabe and Reyna would literally have to leave the house in order to have a moment alone because Lyra would follow them around wherever they went.

Thankfully they didn’t mind having her around. Gabe said it was good practice for them to learn how to spend time together with a child around since they were both expected to start having children promptly after their marriage.

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The thought of Gabe being a father while he was still so young concerned me. When I was his age I would not have been ready to be a mother. Gabe just graduated high school, he just became a young adult and now he was obligated to get married and start raising a family. I thought the pressure of it all would have been too much for him to deal with. I know it would have been for me, but that’s the great thing about my brother. He’s always been such a family oriented guy so he doesn’t feel any pressure at all. In fact, he’s very much looking forward to starting a new life with Reyna.

It’s still hard for me to come to terms with the fact that he will be starting this new life without us. I wish he and Reyna could continue living with us or at least live somewhere in town where I could still visit him as often as I wanted. But it’s comforting to know that while moving to Sixam wasn’t what he wanted in the beginning, he’s hopeful that his life there will be fulfilling and he’s looking forward to it.

What more can a big sister want?

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The night before Gabe and Reyna were expected to leave for Sixam, they decided to get married in our backyard. Sixamians don’t have weddings per se. Their unions are more like what we humans would consider eloping where the couple would simply exchange rings. There are no vows recited, no party with a formal wear dress code, no cutting of the cake, nothing like that.

It was important to Gabe to get married in front of his family and I thought it was a great thing to do on their last night here.

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Seeing as how they wanted to get married in their true form and not in any disguise, it was a small family-only ceremony. Jo attended without Terrance who stayed home with their son Patrick because he came down with the flu. Isabel couldn’t attend because she had just given birth to hers and Tanner’s twin sons, Aden and Nathaniel. At least Gabe and Reyna got to visit her and the twins earlier that day to say their goodbyes.

Reyna wore green, sparkly dress that she picked out for herself when Jo and I took her shopping that day. It was an unusual choice for a wedding gown but it looked amazing on her and I could tell Gabe agreed because of the way his eyes seemed to sparkle the moment he saw her in it.

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“Reyna, I didn’t believe that I could find the love of my life through an arranged marriage. I especially didn’t plan on getting married so soon either. I agreed to all of this thinking I needed to make a sacrifice for the greater good of everyone involved but how can I think of what we have as a sacrifice? If anything, it’s a blessing! It’s a blessing that I was lucky enough to be paired with someone as amazing and intelligent and exciting to be around as you are! I love you! I love you so much and I can’t wait to begin this amazing journey together!”

Reyna smiled brightly when he was finished saying his vows and then she began, “I originally thought this ceremony that you wanted to have was a needless human custom. Dressing in special attire to stand under a wooden structure covered in various species of flora while reciting vows seemed very ritualistic, almost primitive but I now understand its significance. Making a declaration of our love in front of family feels like it will strengthen our union. Also, it warms my blood hearing you say such wonderful things. I have little experience expressing my emotional sentiments so I will state facts. The fact is, my heart beats faster when you touch me and my mood lightens when I see you or hear your voice. These sensory reactions tell me that this is love and I am grateful to you for showing me this. I love you, Gabriel Chin….I mean, Gabriel.”

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Those were the most romantic vows I had ever heard. I think we all had to hold back our tears as well as our laughs with that last part. We all knew it took her a couple of days to stop calling him ‘Gabriel Chin’ instead of just ‘Gabriel’.

Finally, they shared their first kiss as husband and wife.

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After the final bit of confetti touched the ground we went up to the newly married couple to congratulate them.

“Little brother! You’re a married man now, huh?” Jo grinned at him. “How does it feel?”

“Great! I’ve never been happier!”

“You better take care of our brother Reyna!” I said to her playfully.

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“But I will. Have I given you a reason to think I will mistreat him?” She looked so confused and it became clear that she didn’t realise I was just joking.

“I trust you. I was only joking. I know you will. I feel better knowing that even though I won’t be able to see my brother again at least he will be with someone who will be good to him.” I tried my best to hide the sadness in my tone. Tonight was about them and I didn’t want to ruin their happiness.

“What do you mean Vee? I am not going away forever! I mean, sure, it will be a while before I can come back to visit but we’re not saying goodbye forever!”

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“Wait a minute! You mean…this isn’t goodbye? But the council members said you have to move to Sixam permanently….?”

“That is accurate,” Reyna added. “He cannot live here on earth with you all. He must have a permanent residence on Sixam but he is allowed to visit you all and so will I.”

Johanna broke down into tears of joy while I, on the other hand, could do nothing else but grab my new sister-in-law and hug her for giving me the best news I had gotten in a long time. We all thought we would lose him forever so it was such a relief to know that that wasn’t the case.

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After cutting the cake and having dinner, Gabriel and Reyna retreated to his bedroom for their…ahem…alone time. It was so weird to know that they were upstairs alone and most likely consummating their marriage.

I still remember when he was in diapers!

Sometimes I still see him as just a kid even though he is a grown man now. A grown married man at that!

After calling Isabel to give her the good news about Gabriel, I began cleaning up the kitchen when I noticed Cyrus sitting in the dining room.

“You changed already?” I asked when I saw him wearing the green jersey and white sweat pants he usually sleeps in.

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“Yeah, after I put the kids to bed I took a shower. Now I can get to eat dinner properly without them running around in circles around me.” There was a slight edge to his tone. I guess the kids have been getting on his nerves a lot lately.

“I’m so glad Gabe gets to visit,” I said. “I thought for sure I’d never see him again after tomorrow.”

“I’m glad too.” He said as he kept his focus on the plate of food in front of him.

There was a long pause. An almost uncomfortable silence filled the room. I tried making jokes but he barely laughed at any of them. It seemed like he wasn’t paying much attention to me at all. That was until I asked, “Where did you disappear to this evening?”

“What are you talking about? I didn’t go anywhere.”

“You were missing for a while after Gabe and Reyna cut the cake. Your phone rang and you left to answer but you were gone for like a half hour. Who was it? Is everything okay?”

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“Everything is fine. It wasn’t important.”

“Wasn’t important? If it wasn’t important then why did it take so long? It’s a little strange don’t you thi…”

“It’s nothing. Just drop it.”

“But Cyrus…”

“Don’t worry about me, Ivy. You have way more important things on your plate to deal with than me.”

He then looked at me and smiled but it wasn’t a smile I was accustomed to, it was kinda…sarcastic?

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He exhaled sharply, “I just wanna eat dinner without any noise or interrogation. Is that okay with you?”

I didn’t say anything else and neither did he. He continued eating, barely looking at me. As I thought about it, I realised he barely looked at me at all that day. And then he started slurping his noodles. He knows how much I hate when people do that and it was like he was doing it deliberately to annoy me! What was his problem? Why was he behaving so strangely? Why didn’t he want to talk about the phone call or even answer my question about who it was?

Was he hiding something from me?

Maybe it really was nothing. I was probably overthinking and he was just in an iffy mood. Today was a long day for all of us what with the preparations and everything and I was tired.

Maybe he was just tired as well.

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