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We're getting close to the cafe. How is she doing?
I typed my response to Wakim and then turned to face the little girl sitting next to me. She seemed to notice my gaze and returned it with a cheeky smile on her face.
"When will they arrive, Tata?" With a small voice, she asked.
"They were almost here, sweetie," I replied.
She then directed her attention to her doll. As she was playing, I couldn't help but reminisce about everything that had happened.
It has been two years since I received that letter. When my secretary called to say that someone named Solene was in my office, I was in the middle of a meeting with a client.
As soon as the meeting was finished, I went straight to the office.
Instead of Solene, I found a familiar little girl sleeping on the couch when I arrived. I called my secretary, who was taken aback when she saw the little girl lying on the sofa.
I asked my secretary where Solene was. She said she had no idea, but the woman had left a letter and a flash drive for me. I told her to look after the little girl while I went to my table.
I took a seat and began reading the letter.
That day, I recall hugging Meira and crying. With the guilt and remorse I'm feeling, I was able to imprison Solene's foster parents.
The case was processed quickly thanks to her letter and flash drive. She gave me her location a day after she disappeared, and I quickly arranged the things needed for her welfare.
The court also allowed me to take Meira's custody as for Solene's request.
She was so strong. No one believed her, but she endured and fought life for Meira. I didn't let those hardships go to waste.
I treated Meira as my daughter, my wife wished to adopt her but I declined, knowing that someday, Solene would return to take her light back.
My train of thoughts was interrupted when Meira touched my hand. I looked at her but her gaze was in front of us.
"Attorney DeAngelo," Wakim called me.
I stood to my feet to greet them. My attention was drawn to the woman standing next to him. Looking at Meira, she was teary-eyed. I smiled and called her.
"How are you, Solene?" I said. "Please have a seat."
We sat down but were engulfed by silence. I chuckled because no one else was saying something. Meira was looking at me when I glanced at her.
She gestured for me to go near her as she was about to whisper something.
"Tata, she's so pretty! She's the one you're talking about right?" She spoke softly, attempting to lower down her voice.
I know they heard it because I saw Solene shedding tears as Wakim tried to console her. I called the waiter for our order. I started speaking after the order was taken.
"Let me get right to the point.
As I told Wakim, the papers are being processed, and since Meira can be considered a foster child, you can adopt her since you're an adult and you have met the standard qualifications.
" I explained myself.
Solene reached for my hand. "I don't know how to express my gratitude for all that you have done, but I want you to know that I'm thankful to God for giving me with people like you to trust."
I only gave her a gentle smile. The meal arrived a few minutes later, and the mood was lifted when Meira became lively and playful upon seeing the food.
Solene approached me with a white sleek envelope while I was eating my meal.
I looked at her before opening the envelope. My lips automatically smile the moment I read the paper.
We invite you to share our joy as we
Wakim & Solene
Officially announce our engagement
Join us for celebratory drinks
Saturday, The 20th of March, 2021
6 o'clock in the evening
29 Engagement Avenue
Melbourne, VIC. 3000
"Congratulations! I had no idea something was going on with you two. Wakim, when you asked for her address, you said you just wanted to check on her." I said, laughing.
"I did check her attorney, but I guess I just can't help myself? I've had feelings for her for a long time." Wakim replied shyly.
I grinned and cast a look at Solene, who is now staring lovingly at Wakim. What a lovely pair they make.
"I'm sorry for being nosy, but how have you been in the years since you've been gone?" I wondered aloud, hesitantly.
She sighed as she rested her head on her fiance's shoulder.
"Actually, it was very hard. It's as if I'm just waking up to say that I'm still alive.
I applied to work as a waitress at an eatery and was fortunate enough to be hired because they were short on staff.
Aside from my monthly appointment with my psychologist, work and home became my routine. Living alone with my trauma was tough, which is why I'm grateful for Wakim.
He comes to see me once or twice a month at first, and you know he'll be there when I need someone to make me feel secure, and if he's not around, he'll call me and talk to me until I calm down.
His visits became more frequent, and he even offered to accompany me to my monthly sessions.
Of course, I denied it because, after all, why would he do such a thing? I'm no one's responsibility, and I don't want to be a burden to him.
I pushed him away, but he didn't even leave; instead, he moved into the apartment next to mine. I approached him about why he's doing all of these things because he's so stubborn.
Do you know what he said? This jerk said that he thinks he loves me. My perception at that time was that no one would love someone like me, especially given my dark past.
I'm dirty, and I'm flawed. I laughed at his confession and insisted that he get some rest. He did rest, and the next morning, he gave me flowers. Wow. He hasn't left since then.
Throughout my recovery, he was by my side. He's always there for me, even when I don't need him. He has a lot of free time, and he claims to have brought his job with him.
He was always showering me with compliments and affirmation. He never failed to make me feel loved. Slowly, as I progressed in my recovery, my heart began to beat for him without his knowledge.
I honestly told him about my feelings and my plan to continue it when I'm fully healed.
He said he's fine with it, and two months after my psychologist declared that I'm finally okay, he proposed to me. And here we are!"
"Love, are you flexing me to Attorney DeAngelo? You're speaking as if what I did was extraordinary." Wakim scoffed.
"But you are amazing. Loving me even with my past?" Solene retorted.
Wakim faced her. "What I did was something that any normal person would do to a loved one.
Sure, I was accompanying you because you're my best friend at first, but I gradually realized I love you for no other reason than that. I adore you because you are who you are.
I love everything about you, even your past."
I saw Solene mouthing her 'I love you' to Wakim before hugging him. The sight of the two confessing their love in front of me made me laugh.
They apologized shyly after hearing my laughter. "We're sorry for the cheesy lines. We got a little carried away, I suppose."
"Don't worry, it'll be fine," I said as I raised my glass to toast. "Let's celebrate your engagement and, of course, Solene's recovery with a drink."
It was a great time chatting with them. Meira was left with the couple so they could spend some time together.
It was evident in Solene's eyes that she had finally found happiness. My mind is at rest knowing that with everything she's been through, even with her dark past, someone accepted her.
Someone loved her flaws and danced with her demons.
She proved to everyone that just because you have a dark past doesn't mean you can't have a bright future. Having a grim past does not imply that you will always be alone.
Even with your faults and scars, time will come when someone will see through them and embrace you for who you are. That's how love works.
She said she'd return to reclaim her light, but she was wrong. When she began to fight, she became her own light. And she is the light the world needs to see.