There’s easily 300 faces staring at me right now as I fumble nervously but discreetly through my empty pants pockets. At what point am I allowed to let the panic show?
“The ring?” the preacher asks again, looking me in the eye as if eye contact is either going to anoint me with a miracle or by the grace of God dole out a lightning bolt to strike me for my transgression; either way, I can see I need to do something about this little, uhm, situation, and fast.
“The ring!” I shout, stalling for time, “is the uh, the symbol of love. The love that these two gathered here today do share. When I first met Nathan, I knew, I was going to be his best man, I just didn’t know…”
“Tristen, what are you doing??! The speech is for later!” Nathan interrupted, “just hand me the ring!” he said looking at me with impatient eyes. The bride’s face though was priceless though, kind of bordered on bewilderment really mixed with the deer in the headlights cliché.
Crap, I accidentally made eye contact with her.
“This isn’t funny Tristen,” she says while she’s got her hawk-eyes latched onto mine, “I thought we talked about not pulling pranks today…. We trusted you with this one, very important, task.”
“I know, I know, but I’m telling you guys it was just here!” I say, trying to keep my cool, while also checking to see if by chance it somehow made it into the extra-tiny pocket of my shirt, which was also, empty, which why was that pocket even there anyway, what was I supposed to keep in it?
Knowing Laurie didn’t exactly have a since of humor this situation was quickly growing dire, and I needed to get things back under control.
The audience began to grow restless, as hushed whispers began to circulate. The preacher looked like he had just lost his job, and I mean, without the ring, I guess he had, because how would the ceremony ever go on.
“It’s fine” Chuck said from behind me, another trusty groomsmen who should not be allowed to speak at all, much less right now “I’m sure ole Nate’s still got the receipt for that rock, ain’t it under warranty or something, Nate?” he said laughing.
“Chuck” I turned around and mumbled under my breath, “Look this is serious bro, and I really need you to help me out right now, can you manage to sneak out through the side and go check in the dining hall where we were all waiting earlier?? I must’ve dropped it…”
Chuck, being a 300lb man with carrot-orange hair, couldn’t exactly do anything discreetly as he managed to walk past the rest of the party saying “excuse me, gotta wedding to save! Coming through!”
Great, I thought, good, just go find the ring, and I’ll be the distraction. Laurie’s foot began to tap as she looked around nervously. Nathan cut me a pair of eyes that could probably kill, if looks could that is.
“What is ‘LOST’” I allowed my voice to echo valiantly through the church, “what does it mean to be LOST? This is all a metaphor, good people, for how lost Nathan was before Laurie came into his life” I said and gave ole Laure’ a wink before continuing “just an elaborate show to show how sometimes fate leads us to find the right thing at the right time in life, and we are all glad he found someone like Laurie to make sure he don’t get in any more trouble, ain’t that right Mrs. T?”
I looked at Nathan’s mom, who had her arms across her chest. The photographer’s mouth was agape too though, so that was pretty cool.
Chuck came back shouting, “well I don’t know where it is, Tristen, but I sure as heck know where it ain’t! It ain’t in the dining area!” The poor lad’s face was red from running back and forth.
My face was now turning red with embarrassment as well, I mean I could stall sure, but for how long? The whole ceremony was a little out of my league, and how do you exactly say to someone “hey sorry for ruining the most important day of your life or whatever, how ‘bout we just go grab drinks and call it a day.”
The preacher good ole man of God that he is, gratefully stepped in “we will go on to vows then before the ring ceremony…” then to the side whispered to me, “you have roughly 5 minutes to find that ring, son.”
And with the fear of God hot at my heels, I did the only thing that I could do, got down on my hands and knees and crawled back up the aisle from whence I originally came, as Nathan gave his speech, “Laurie, your eyes remind me of….”
*click, click* I’m pretty sure the camera-man got at least two dozens pictures of my bum in the air, but I had to comb every inch of this place in five minutes or less, so. At this point half the audience is audibly stifling their laughter, but Laurie’s face is straight as a board while Nathan droned on in the background… “Your laughter is like…”
I made it to the end of the aisle. Nothing. Think, think. Where else could it be???
The crowd roars in applause! What?! Did someone find it! Thank the Lord! Oh, no, they’re just clapping because Nathan’s vow is over… okay… halfway through; it’s Laurie’s turn now, and the clock ticks down…
“Nathan,” she says, “my vow to you”
She says while stepping off the platform, and beginning a brisk walk toward me. Oh crap, she’s ticked. This is it. Tell my mom I love her.
“Is to accept your friends as my own, for better or worse” she continues, closing in on me, “and to continue making you laugh for the rest of our lives.”
She stops before me, and gets down on one knee.
The crowd gasps, and holds their breath.
“I believe you’re looking for this?” and holds up the shiny diamond ring in front of me.
“You sly dog!” I said, “I thought you said no pranks!!!”
“Yea, well that’s exactly how you execute the perfect prank, the only way to catch your target off guard is to do the opposite” she laughs.
“But how??” I asked, shocked, because it’s hard to get one over on me, so she definitely earned this victory.
“Wasn’t all that hard” she said, “Monica hugged you in the reception area, and swiped the box from your pocket while doing so, then returned it back to me when all the bridesmaids met up for pre-ceremony pics” she grinned from ear to ear.
“Well,” I hollered at Nathan, “this one’s a keeper for sure!”
He busted out laughing, as did the rest of the audience.
“I just have one last question” I said,
“Yep,” she said,
“Why, though?” I said.
“Why not?!” she laughed, “It was hilarious!”
“Yea, you should’ve seen your face!” Nathan snorted with roaring laughter, “then when you got down on all FOURS! We couldn’t have even planned for it to go that perfectly!”
“We?” I asked, “I mean, you were in on it this whole time too??!”
“Of course,” Nate said, “we’re a team now” and took Laurie’s hand, “now, without further adieu, let’s go have this wedding.”
And we all walked back to the pulpit, this time, the ring secure in my pocket and a whole whirlwind of “what just happened and how drunk am I” questions running through my head.
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This story had a great voice and a great sense of humour! That humour could really be heightened by giving a few more audience reactions, which would also help to anchor the story and give it a sense of place.