i am letting you go (awry)
Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at

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Archive Warning:
No Archive Warnings Apply
Hatchetfield Universe - Team StarKid
Grace Chasity/Stephanie Lauter, bg steph/pete
Grace Chasity, Stephanie Lauter
Additional Tags:
Canon Compliant ish, Post-Canon, Musical: Nerdy Prudes Must Die, Unrequited Love, Hurt No Comfort, Weddings, Compulsory Heterosexuality, Everything is Beautiful and Everything Hurts, Religious Guilt, because come on its grace
Part 4 of 100 ways to say i love you
Published: 2023-11-05 Words: 1,308 Chapters: 1/1

i am letting you go (awry)


She fucking will. And she will look so beautiful, and you will want to kiss her so badly but you will stay seated in your front row bench, and she will be walking to the altar for someone else.



i am letting you go (awry)

Grace forces back the tears burning at her eyes.

It’s not about her. Crying would mean she would be making this about her, her make–up would run down and drip on her pristine dress, which she doesn’t want to, because it’s not her day. It’s not her day and she’s just there to accompany Steph to the altar. And she knows that it’s an important function too, but her mind can’t stop making it about her.

Making up stories about how it could be about her. About them.

Steph looks so beautiful in the dress. In the mid–morning golden light it looks like it’s been made specifically for her — all the intricate details on the bottom, flowers rising from the hem to the waist and climbing higher, near the square neckline and at the bottoms of her puffy sleeves. All in white, simple golden necklace and hair flowing down in elegant waves.

She spins like a princess. Watches the dress in the mirror from every side, front, back, left and right, fixes shortcomings unseen by anyone else but her. Changes her hair a little for the thousandth time this hour. Curls it around her fingers. But she does it all with a huge smile, looking at herself and grinning like a madman.

And Grace stands there, looking like she’s about to burst out in hysterical cries. She might be able to hide with simply being a moved friend, looking at her high school friend make such a big step in her life, but the thoughts are rotting Grace from the inside out.

She feels like a straw man in a dress.

She flew back from South Carolina the moment she was invited to the bridesmaids dress tryouts. The news of the wedding itself were a surprise, all three of them still in college and haunted by memories of their senior year, but as soon as she snapped out of the initial shock she was supporting Steph and Pete all the way to the altar.

It was just her and a bunch of Steph’s college friends in a small boutique, surrounded by a mass of dresses in various shades of blue and silver. All the other girls looked so much more like Steph than Grace with colorful hair and piercings and everything Grace’s parents and friends never looked at with a kind eye.

And Steph was so happy around them. Happier than she'd ever been in Hatchetfield, around Grace.

Grace knew that they tried to not look and whisper at her. They tried, like good people do, but it was inevitable. She stuck out like a sore thumb, a splinter in a finger, sitting quietly in a corner in her oversized beige sweater and jean skirt while all of them talked energetically about the styles and cuts and aesthetics and all the words the girls all through middle school used to tell Grace that she dresses ugly.

Steph was the only person who sometimes reminded the others that Grace was still there. Finally, they decided on one dress that fit all of them, and it didn't even look so bad on Grace. But something about it existing in the back of her college dorm closet, locked in a plastic vacuum bag, made her sick to her stomach.

She’s holding in tears so her make–up doesn’t flow down. She woke up earlier specifically so she could start doing the make–up even if she cried. (She broke down a total of three times before her make–up looked decent enough she wouldn’t be pointed at in public. Every time it was when she thought about Steph, so happy and soft and beautiful in a wedding dress, and how unattainable it’s all to Grace.)

Steph turns to her, dress swooshing, heels clicking on the floor and hands on her hips, the soft red lipstick only making her extraordinary smile stand out more.

“How do I look, Grace?”

I love you. I love you. I want to kiss you and hold you and never let go. I’m sorry I’ve never told you this before and now you have to live with it.

“It looks good on you.” When Steph’s face falls just minimally, Grace immediately backpedals, sputtering out, “The neckline especially! And I love all the flower details, the colors. It’s so beautiful, you couldn’t have chosen better.” She takes a sharp inhale, shaking her had, still trying to think of the best words to assure Steph that nothing is wrong with her. There’s nothing that could ever be wrong with her. “Pete is one lucky man to be marrying you Stephie, really. You two are destined for each other. I’ve seen you two act, you’re the magazine cover couple.”

Steph’s face stays in a state of shock, mouth slightly agape before it suddenly crumbles on itself, and she’s shuffling closer and closer to increasingly terrified Grace before she falls right into her arms.

Grace’s entire body goes rigid.

Steph’s form is warm in her arms as Grace physically forces herself to finally move, back quivering as she rubs — hopefully — soothing circles into it, rocking back and forth gently and as much as their tightly intertwined bodies let them. Softly shushing, the noises going into Steph’s flowing waves.

Her hair smells of watermelon and citrus shampoo and rich perfume. Grace wants to wake up to a wreath of them every morning.

“Thank you.” Steph slowly tears her wet face off Grace’s now–wet shoulder, still hiccuping and wiping her cheeks with the heel of her hand. “Thank you, Grace. And sorry for making your— your—” She motions to where Grace’s collarbone is glistening with tears, and Grace barely resists telling her she’d survive a temptation worse than Jesus’ 40 days in the desert if it was Steph waiting for her. A wet dress means nothing.

“Grace, don’t fucking cry on me.” Steph forces out between happy–sounding sobs. Only then Grace notices that the tears have escaped — her focus waded as Steph was closer, and the tears slipped out on themselves like a final prayer.

Her last chance slipping away.

It’s mere minutes before Grace shuffles into the chapel and stands alongside Steph’s friends. It’s mere minutes before her life is all but wretched out of her hands.

“I’m just so happy for you.” She puts one hand on Steph’s arm, where the skin is bare and burning her hand like a firework when she touches it. Her skin is rough, with small bumps below Grace’s palm as she rubs, and she wants to drop to her knees and worship it inch by inch.

“Go marry your soulmate.”

Steph nods, equally tearfully. “I will. I fucking will, Grace.”

She fucking will. And she will look so beautiful, and you will want to kiss her so badly but you will stay seated in your front row bench, and she will be walking to the altar for someone else.

You know that she deserves this more than anyone. You know that Pete will treat her like the queen she is, that he already worships the ground she walks on, that this is the best her life could have turned out.

That she is so unimaginably happy, happier than you could ever be, and still making a place for someone who got a tomato thrown at her in the school cafeteria in seventh grade, and who she had to help wash it off in the bathroom because her hands were shaking too bad to do it herself.

Grace leaves the small room first, trying to calm the violent tremor in her hands as she walks the empty corridors to the chapel and stands between the other bridesmaids, catching a glimpse of Pete’s already–teary face.

When the door opens, she can’t help but imagine what standing in Pete’s place would be like.


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