It had been two months since Gee Kay and I had made our commitment to be a couple. Via skype, I introduced him to my parents, who turned out to like him so much when I explained how much he loved God - and me of course. He also introduced me to his parents, who welcomed me as if I were their own family, and they planned to come and see me while visiting their children during Christmas, which was only two weeks away.
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It wasn't like in Indonesia for sure. Christmas could only be felt on December 25 and 26, though the malls had the decorations on display in every corner of the building. There were not many houses which had Christmas trees inside. My house was one of them. However, here everyone had Christmas decorations starting from the very first day of December. This was one of the many reasons why I'd dreamed of living in the US back then. The spirit of Christmas, the snow, people singing Christmas carols in the streets, all were combined in harmony. I really loved this.
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Gee Kay and I were in church very often with the youth choir in preparation for our performance for the Christmas service. Phillip had already planned it months ago after he heard me sing at the youth retreat event. We had three songs to sing and one of them had me as the lead vocal. I was actually hesitant since I thought that my voice wasn't good enough to be heard by so many people, but Gee Kay encouraged me to do it. When I practiced singing over and over again, I found out that I sang better each time.
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Julie and Cassie had been my best friends since the first time we met and would always be so. We hung out frequently lately since this semester was over and we were on winter break. We spent time hanging out anywhere we wanted to, talking about girl stuff, and I found out both of them fell for guys from their church too just as I did, LOL at myself. That is except for Cassie, who had finally dated the guy she'd fallen for, and Julie, who'd said she would wait for a while to decide whether she would date him or not since she had the same principle as I did: 'One, once, for eternity'.
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Christmas day came. Early in the morning, I woke up at 4 to pray and read my Bible as usual, but what was unusual was that I had Julie, Cassie and also Gina join me and we ended up having a small devotion in our room. We thanked God for His love and mercy on us through His sacrifice on the cross, and when by 5, we prepared for the Christmas service, which wouldn't be held until 7 AM.
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Gee Kay pulled over to the church parking lot next to Gina's car that Julie and Casey were riding in. They wanted to have their Christmas service in our church only because they knew I would sing. I stepped out of the car wearing my beautiful, sweet blue dress - it was the first time I'd decided to wear a dress without any force involved - and we linked arms as we walked toward the church.
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I pulled away from Gee Kay when I met some of the ushers for the service and we shook hands. Then we walked further over to the bench, which was specially reserved for the choir, while Julie, Cassie, and Gina sat in the seats of the third row. My roommates waved at me and raised their thumbs in the air to show their support for my upcoming performance.
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As the service started, we sang praises to the Lord for half an hour until it was time for the youth choir to perform. We sang Rejoice and Go Tell It On The Mountain with a new, modified arrangement that Phillip created. During those first two songs, I started feeling a little bit nervous, but when it got to the last song on which I became the lead vocal, I got even more nervous.
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I stepped forward as I had practiced before. My hands were shaking a little bit while I was holding the microphone. Then something came to my mind which made me stretch out my right hand to the musicians, to let them know to keep on playing the music a while longer, because I decided to talk for a while. "Hello, everyone," I greeted, and I could hear people greet me back, which made me smile and lightened my nervousness. "Before we continue singing, I have something I want to say. I am glad to be here with you all, and it's my first time to join you for the Christmas service. This is also my first time spending Christmas day without my family, and well, honestly I miss them so much right now." I chuckled and some of the audiene joined me, then I continued talking, "So I want to tell you all I'm so thankful I found this loving church, whose members have welcomed me warmly, and I have found some people who have become like a second family to me. This song I'm going to sing with the youth choir is called My Grown Up Christmas List, which has been my family's favorite. I hope you-" I didn't finish my sentence.
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Far from where I was standing, I saw three familiar faces walking closer toward the church and Brenda was with them. I kept silent and made everyone wait for me, which caused somewhat of a stir, but I ignored it. I fixed my eyes on the three people who were led to sit in the chairs in the middle row that were still empty.
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I opened my mouth and said, "Papa, Mama, Sally," with tears flowing down my cheeks. My family was here with me in this church and they were surprised to see me standing on the stage in front of everyone. I waved at them and they waved back at me. I told them in my language that I would sing My Grown Up Christmas List and they urged me to do it soon. I nodded, gave the musicians the sign to play the music, and started singing. "Do you remember me, I sat upon your knee, I wrote to you with childhood fantasies."
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When the song ended and I said thank you, I quickly ran to my family. They got up from their chairs and moved to the aisle, where I hugged them all tightly. I believed we became the center of attention but I didn't care. I was really glad that I didn't have to spend Christmas without them and I told them about it, to which they agreed.
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The church service was over and I was already with my family. Julie, Cassie and Gina were there too talking to my sister who could speak English very well. Meanwhile, I helped translate everyone who came passing by to greet my parents since dad only spoke a little English and mom, she couldn't understand English though she was the first who taught me this lovely language.
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"Cynthia," someone said behind me as I also felt a hand tapped on my shoulder. It was Gee Kay who apparently was standing with his parents and Brenda.
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I smiled at him and then to his parents when I saw them. "Hello Mr. and Mrs. Hampton," I greeted them and we shook hands. "These are my parents and my sister." Then they shook hands.
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"Well, I wonder if you and your family can come over to our place with us now to have more time together since we know that you two," Mr. Hampton looked at Gee Kay and I in turn and continued, "are a couple."
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"That's a great idea, Mr. Hampton, but I think-"
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"We have two cars," Gee Kay broke in as if he could read my mind, "so your family can go with Brenda who apparently has been getting better at speaking Bahasa Indonesia." He smiled at Brenda who smiled back at him proudly.
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I nodded then told my parents about the plan, to which they agreed. Then we all walked outside the church and separated. Gee Kay, his parents and I were in his car, and my family and Brenda were in her car, while Gina, Julie and Cassie, whom I had already asked for permission to join our gathering, were in Gina's car. Each of the cars finally departed from the church parking lot to the house rented by the Hamptons.
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All of us were directed to the big living room as we arrived there. It was a nice place for us to talk that we could make ourselves comfortable in our own seats that were an almost rectangular shape. The house had a maid whom I assumed was hired for this occasion. She served us guava and orange juices as soon as we settled.
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"So, Cynthia," Mrs. Hampton called upon my name after she sipped a little of her glass of guava, "could you tell me how you met Gee Gee?"
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I frowned as I heard the nickname Gee Kay's mother gave him. I bit my lips to hold myself from laughing. When I finally managed to talk, I said, "Well, it was the first time I came to the church," I stopped speaking when I heard somebody else speak up as if repeating me, but it was Brenda who was apparently trying to translate what I said to my parents, then I went on, "and I had no feeling at all for Gee Kay actually. For me, it was like another usual evening, but what was funny was that Gina told me Gee Kay liked me, to which I responded that it was only a feeling. I think Gee Kay fell for me first since he has hundreds of pictures of me, which he took when I didn't realize it."
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Everyone laughed in response to my story.
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"Okay, okay," said Gee Kay, interrupting our laughter, "I admit it. Everyone, I fell for this young lady first, but you were the first in stealing my heart." He gazed at me.
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Then everyone made a noisy 'ooh' to Gee Kay's statement.
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My cheeks were blushing instantly. I need to bury my head in the sand. Cassie, who sat right next to me, elbowed me and winked her eye to tease me. She didn't help but made the burning in my cheeks worse. I smiled so widely 'til my cheeks were in pain.
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We talked even more and it went deeper when my dad, with his limited English ability, asked Gee Kay and me when we would get married. I was like shot dead. I could feel that Gee Kay had the same feeling as I did. It was awkward and I was a little bit ashamed at his question. As both of us didn't have anything to say about it, Gee Kay's dad suggested we get married as soon as possible.
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"Well, um, as I am ready, I will propose to her," Gee Kay finally found the words to say.
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"Sure, dad. I'm still 21 though, and too young for marriage," I cut in with a slight whine.
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Everyone laughed again at our awkward response. Our parents talked with each other, commenting that they had already dealt with what we felt when they fell in love and it was normal. Meanwhile, the young were only laughing at us.
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We had lunch right at midday and continued talking in between eating. I finished eating earlier than everyone else and excused myself from them to enjoy some time alone for a while. I stood on the porch, which was under the shade of a big tree, and saw the wide yard in front of the house. However, I didn't enjoy my solitude for a long time as Gee Kay came afterward and stood beside me.
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He didn't talk to me for the first five minutes. When I stole a glance at him, I saw him smiling while looking off somewhere in the distance. Sometimes he also looked up at the sky, then back to the yard, and then to me before he asked, "Do you love me?"
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I frowned to show him I had no idea what he was talking about. "You already know my answer, and I have told you before," I said.
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"Just answer me,"
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I crossed my arms over my chest and pressed my lips tightly. "Hey, you don't doubt my feelings, do you?" I asked. I didn't understand what he intended by asking me that question when he already knew the answer.
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Gee Kay didn't respond to my last question but only raised his eyebrow, as if hinting at me to answer first.
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I took him by the hands. "Genesis Kennedy Hampton," I mentioned his name gently, "I love you with all my heart."
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Gee Kay smiled ear to ear. "That's what I want to hear every single day," he said, which made me blush again. "I will do the same for you."
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I smiled at him then wrapped my right arm around his waist while he wrapped his arm around my shoulders. We then turned our bodies toward the yard again. "You know what Gee Kay?"
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"Hm?" he tilted his face toward me and I looked into his blue eyes.
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"It was only five months ago that we met and built our love for each other, though we didn't realize it at first," I told him. My eyes never left his. "But it's so funny that when you confessed that you loved me and wanted me to be your girl, I could say that I was already waiting for it and that I loved you too."
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Gee Kay gave me his charming smile, then he leaned closer toward me until his face was not more than an inch from mine. Oh gosh! I know what will happen next. I know what he is going to do. I closed my eyes all of sudden, expecting the moment I didn't expect to happen so soon. Oh my, what am I thinking? I don't understand why my brain is all mixed up like dough ready to cook. I couldn't think. I didn't want to think.
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When I was expecting 'it', or you know I didn't really expect it but actually I wanted to, but, oh well, the heat he created with his breath left my face. I opened my eyes and all that I could see was his smiling face. He looked so handsome this close.
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"I remember your commitment," he said.
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I furrowed, thinking about what he meant because my brain made its way back.
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"Not before marriage will you kiss a guy, or should I say, your future husband,"
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I smiled at his words. I was glad that he kept my commitment as if it was his own. What a wonderful man who was standing beside me. I would never find any other man like him. I promised myself that starting on the day when I said the vow to be his helper and life partner, I would never break it no matter what, no matter when, no matter how. He was the one I had been waiting for. He was the one for whom I had kept my purity until the time was right.
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"Oh," a soft voice coming from behind surprised us and caused us to pull away from each other. It was Julie. "I'm sorry to bother you, but your parents were calling you."
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It was an awkward moment, I could tell. We acted strangely, realizing we were so close to each other. Gee Kay scratched his head, which I believe wasn't itchy, and I stuttered a bit when I told Julie that we would come in to see our parents.
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"Uh, let's go in," Gee Kay said.
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I nodded then walked in first, leaving the porch without saying anything, and he followed behind me.
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Gee Kay and I were engaged after our parents' second meeting, which was two months after the first one. Ever since that day, we'd had a super wonderful relationship with its ups and downs. However, we went through it all until this fifteenth day of February, which marked the fourth year of our relationship.
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A year ago, I graduated from the University of Nevada as a Bachelor of Art. I had been working as an actress ever since a man from a production house, that saw Brenda's short movie project, asked me to play the main role in his movie. My career was going up as I received more offers to play in some great movies. Meanwhile, Gee Kay was working as the CEO of his very own clothing company that he had been establishing with some of his friends since three years ago, after he graduated. Through the support of my career and his very hard work, he was offered to make his company as a clothing company for Hollywood celebrities.
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Brenda became one of those great movie directors with Landon as her partner, well, life partner too, according to his dream. Kyle and Meredith were the best couple that I'd ever met that worked for their own Asian food restaurant. I could tell that they were obsessed with it because of me. Ha ha. Julie was married to a famous musician and became a rock star with her husband. They were having tour this month in Italy as one of their tour destinations. I heard they would be going to Egypt soon afterward. Cassie, she was a Psychology lecturer at the University of Nevada and married to a businessman. However, her job didn't let her bury her dream to become a chef. That's why she appeared on TV every weekend on her own cooking program.
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Everything had been prepared for my wedding day with Gee Kay. With the help of our friend, who had an event organizer with a complete package of facilities, we had arranged the building, including the food and beverages, invitations, wedding suits and gowns, both for the ceremony and celebration as well as everything else. All had been complete until the day that I had been waiting for in my entire life came.
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"Genesis Kennedy Hampton, do you promise to be true to your wife in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, and to love her and honor her all the days of your life?" said Phillip, who had become a senior priest.
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Gazing deeply at me, he said, "Yes, I do."
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"Cynthia Juanita Leimena, do you promise to be true to your husband in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, and to love him and honor him all the days of your life?"
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"Yes, I do," I answered with a steady heart.
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"Now I pronounce you two as husband and wife before God and his congregation from now until death do you part," announced Phillip, which was followed by the claps of everyone who attended our wedding ceremony. "Now you may kiss as an expression of your love for each other."
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Those words. Those words just gave my life a new beginning. I had kept my love and hid it from any other guys so I would only give it to my beloved husband, who would always be my one and only. I had kept my purity and released it this day on my wedding day for Gee Kay, the one God had prepared for me. This day, before God, I had declared my promise to serve Him in a brand new family He just blessed.
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"Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!" People started shouting for us to kiss.
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I looked into my husband's eyes which reflected the promise he kept to love me. He held both my hands and leaned closer to me. I knew it was time and I would not avoid it. I closed my eyes and he kissed my lips. Everyone was clapping for us and shouting for joy that it overwhelmed us. I was blessed with this life and God's plan for me, and I was blessed to have Gee Kay as my husband, who I would always love until my very last breath.ns126.96.36.199da2