I’m looking down at my shoes but can’t see the delicate heels under the layers of tulle and taffeta. The soft piano is drowned out by the loud blood pumping in my ears. I let out one last deep breath as the double doors in front of me swing open. My eyes are teary as I lift my head to look in front of me.
Wow. I suck in a breath and a single tear falls as I let out a small giggle. He still looks as good as the day we met.
“Oh my god!” I screamed and threw my hands up. I quickly pulled my car to the side of the interstate and got out.
“I’m so sorry!” The guy behind me said after getting out of his Honda Civic. “I just, I didn’t-“
“You weren’t looking!” I cut him off and walked to the back of my car to check the damage. I left out a sigh of relief when I noticed just a small scratch.
“I’m sorry. Let me call someone so we can report. My insurance will cover that. I’m so sorry.” He pulled out his phone and while he called the police, I called my dad.
Once we were both off the phone, we stood leaned against our cars. “You go to State?” He asked and pointed to my license plate frame.
“Yeah. Do you?”
“Yup! Junior, marketing major.”
“No way! Me too.” We smiled.
After reporting the accident to the officer who arrived, he looked at me, “so just in case insurance gets messed up or something, I should probably have your number.” I laughed quickly.
“Umm yeah, just in case.” I laughed and pulled out my phone. Once I was back at my off-campus apartment, he texted me to apologize again… and ask me to dinner. I was hooked.
I take a step towards him, but my shoe glides on one of the white flower petals that cover my runway. Thankfully, my dad steadies me before I fall. I let out a small laugh, “these damn shoes.” I giggle again. Soft laughs move around the room and any tension or nerves are gone. Only love and excitement fill the space.
Somehow, slipping on a rose petal on my way down the aisle feels right. It reflects our relationship perfectly. A little messy, like him rear-ending me, or our Christmas trip to Vermont when we forgot to pack the presents for my family and had to ship them once we were home. We’ve never been perfect, but we’ve always been able to laugh at ourselves. We’ve always been okay.
I take another step and notice Kai’s eyes mirror the glossiness in mine. He gives me a small proud smile, almost like he’s in disbelief that I’m standing in front of him. That’s the same smile he had when I first met his mom.
“No, no! Stop!” His mom was laughing so hard she was crouched over the table and wiping tears from the corners of her eyes.
“Yes!” I keep giggling and continue my story. “She’s sitting there, then she turns to us in the backseat, so annoyed, and goes ‘why is no one answering me?’ And we’re all laughing way too hard to answer so she is getting even more annoyed.”
Next to me Kai is smiling and laughing with us even though he’s heard this story a thousand times. “So it takes us about three more minutes until we calm down enough to tell her that,” I pause to laugh. “That she’s ordering into the trash can, not the drive-through.”
His mom, Joelle, struggles to catch her breath between her laughs. After we finally calmed down, I finished the last sip of my wine.
“Another glass?” Joelle asks me as she starts to stand.
“Yes! But I got it.” I grab both of our empty glasses before she can object and walk to the kitchen still smiling. I fill the glasses and start to return to the table.
“You picked a good one.” I hear Joelle say from the other side of the wall. When I enter the room he turns to me and smiles full of pride.
I see the same smile now. I know what he’s thinking, I’m so lucky to have her. And I’m thinking the same thing. I can see Joelle in the front row, with the same smile as her son.
Time isn’t moving in this moment. Kai and I are in our own little bubble, surrounded by our family and friends. I take another step and reminded myself I should probably slow down. This walk is supposed to be graceful but I’m practically running at Kai.
Kai’s best man, Aaron, puts a supportive hand on Kai’s shoulder. They have always been like brothers. Aaron welcomed me right away.
The music was just a little too loud for my comfort, and my drink had gone warm, but I was having a great time at Aaron’s house. This was my first time meeting any of Kai’s friends and it was funny seeing him this way.
He was laughing in a corner right now at some story that his friend was telling. He kept glancing over at me, sometimes winking. He was worried about leaving me alone, but I assured him I could talk to people I didn’t know just fine. I didn’t even want to come, honestly. I wanted him to have a fun night with his friends, but he insisted I came to meet everyone. I made him promise we wouldn’t be that couple who was attached at the hip.
I looked around the room, trying to find the next way to occupy my time when Aaron came up to me.
“Having fun?” He gave me his award-winning smile.
“I am.” I smiled at him. “I’m not intruding am I?”
“Of course not! We always love having new people around.”
“Good, I didn’t want to crash boy’s night.”
“Trust me, you aren’t crashing boy’s night. I just wish Kai warned us you were coming, I would have brought my girlfriend.” He was interrupted by a loud laugh coming from the corner Kai is in. “You know, I’ve never seen him this happy.”
I smiled at him. He was nice.
“No, I mean it.” He took a sip of his beer. “I’ve known him since I was seven, and I’ve never seen him like this.” Kai looked over to us and excused himself from his group.
“Is he bothering you?” Kai asked me as he approached. He came up and wrapped his arm around Aaron’s shoulders.
“No, not at all.” I smiled as they laughed at each other. Their eyes were glassy from the alcohol and Kai started to yell about playing some drinking game. We all rallied around a table.
Aaron was next to me and lightly nudged my shoulder. “For real, thank you for coming. Kai was so excited for the guys to meet you.”
Since then, Aaron had become like a brother to me too.
I finally reached the end of the aisle. My dad kissed my cheek and I quickly asked him, “did I walk too fast?”
“Maybe a little quick, but it’s your day, you can do what you want.” I let out a small laugh and directed my attention to the man who would become my future.
He leaned closer to me, “it took you about ten seconds to get here. It was way too long a wait.”
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This is stunning! All soft and kind in whites and blues and petals but real too, with believable dialogue and characters. The language flowed in that way where you don't really notice that you're reading because you're just seeing it all in front of you, you know? I loved it.