Not sure about this one. Tell me if it doesn't make sense.
This was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives. The old cliche, the big wedding with all the trimmings. Along with the big cost blowout with the perfect dress and the flashy cars, it was going to be a tough act to follow.
The bride was dressed in her lacework and beading, makeup perfect, exhausted by breakfast. The flower girl was already in tears and the baby page boy had dirtied through his nappy onto the white trousers. Great grandmother, grandmother and several aunties were racing around trying to rescue the situation.
Rachel Summers was considering joining the children in their crying and was waving her hands in front of her face to dry the tears before they fell. She had a feeling that she shouldn’t have gotten dressed so early, five hours before the ceremony. The hairdresser was about to arrive to arrange her tumbled hair into some sort of style.
“Don’t cry, Rachel, you’ll ruin the makeup. Chin up baby girl,” Aunty Wendy said, in passing. “I’m sure we can get the baby clean, not so sure about the satin. Peggy, why on earth did we decide to put Marky in satin?”
Peggy sighed, giving her niece a wet washer to apply to her blotchy face. It was a good thing the child was old enough to talk sense with, Marky was going to be a nightmare if he didn’t nap before the wedding.
“Sit still, Sophie, there’s a good girl. This is going to be a long day,” Peggy said. “No more running around until after the church, then you can get changed.”
Charlie popped her head into the main room. “Hey Rach, you ok?”
“I think so,” the bride said with a threatening sniffle. “I didn’t realise how much stress this would give everyone.”
“You just sit there and let everyone treat you like the princess you are. It’s only one day.”
“Charlie, you’re late for your makeup,” Peggy scolded her. “I should have known, come along. Melissa can do you quickly before she leaves.”
“Perfection cannot be hurried,” the makeup artist said, contemplating the pretty freckled face thoughtfully. “Hmm.”
“Well, Charlotte, sit down, sit.”
“Yes, Aunty Peg.” Charlotte sat obediently, trying to be serious. She winked at Rachel and got tutted at by Peggy and Melissa.
“You sit still, and behave, Chas. You might actually enjoy the day. I hear the best man is cute.” Rachel said, with a chuckle.
“Haven’t you met him yet?”
Rachel placed a finger to her lips, gesturing to the fussing women trying their best to help.
Ben and Rachel
Happiest day of her life? Yes, she could believe it, as she walked down the aisle. Her mother walked beside her, in place of her father. Wendy carried Marky, the tiny page boy, who thankfully was sleeping angelically in the crook of her arm. Sophie came next, scattering her pale pink rose petals as wonderfully as she had practiced. Charlie came after, her freckles tamed with just enough foundation, her eyes highlighted so they glowed, and her hair curled naturally around her face and down her back.
Through the lace veil she could see her fiance’s eyes widened as he saw her, and the colour left his face. In his black tuxedo he looked a million dollars, and the man next to him….Wow. He was handsome, not so much more than her beautiful man, but enough to notice. And he seemed familiar.
The best man’s eyes drifted past her, and set themselves on Chas, which delighted Rachel. She stepped carefully up the two steps, lifting her skirt away from her feet. She had been living in fear that she would trip and land face first on the floor in front of all the people in the church. So far so good, she reassured herself.
“You look wonderful,” he whispered as she joined him.
She blushed a little, and nodded awkwardly. She had loved her reflection in the mirror. The long sleeves were made of lace, the neckline princess style, and the corset was tight but highlighted her waist to perfection. She could not complain about anything.
“So do you,” she responded, with admiration of her own. She loved him in a tux.
As the ceremony began, the day seemed to blur. Rachel knew she would remember none of the sermon, none of the vows. She was caught up in the magic of the day. The baby cried, and was taken home, his part in the ceremony was over. The flower girl sat with her head in her hands on the top step, and was encouraged to behave. Rachel noticed everything vaguely and took trivial matters into her memory.
The photos in the park were tedious, especially when they knew that everyone else had gone ahead to the reception. Rachel felt loved and warm, safe in her husband’s arms, but her face was going to split in half soon if the photographer didn’t stop telling them to smile. After a few photos with the flower girl, the child was allowed to leave to get changed.
Walking through the flowered archway in the back garden of her mum’s house, Rachel felt as proud as a peacock with all her finery. She greeted long lost relatives on both sides of the family, and repeated the greetings with her new family. So many thank yous in response to all the congratulations. It was like reality had warped into a broken record, repeating everything at least thirty times before she stopped trying to count how many people had been invited.
The meal was nice, but unnoteworthy. No complaints but she couldn’t remember what she ate a few hours later. The speeches were funny, heartfelt, corny, and some were slightly offensive. She blushed and laughed on cue, kissed on cue, and hugged on cue. Her smile was going to cut her face in two. But the smiles continued.
The dancing was one of the last activities, and being in Ben’s arms was comforting. They were mediocre dancers, but it was soothing to be moving slowly to music. Rachel tore her eyes away from Ben’s face, and glanced at the bestman and Chas. They looked into each other’s eyes, chattering away like a pair of magpies.
“Liam seems happy.” Ben said, noticing her distraction. “I told you they would make a perfect pair.”
“You are so like your grandfather,” Rachel whispered. “If it wasn’t for him, we would have never met. Now you are the family matchmaker?”
“If the shoe fits, my darling,” Ben said with a laugh. He leaned in and kissed her lightly on the lips, making cameras flash and flicker.
“Again, do it again,” someone shouted on behalf of all the people who hadn’t been lucky to snap the impromptu embrace. Ben raised an eyebrow at his bride.
She leaned in, and kissed him on the lips, and laughed. “This has been the happiest day in my life….so far.”
“Mine too, Rach,” he said. “Let’s say we get out of here soon and explore a little further.” The suggestion was whispered.
Liam and Charlie
Liam glanced at his laughing brother and his bride. They looked happy and excited. The girl by his side was as beautiful as her cousin, but the crush he had had on Rachel Summers was still tugging at his heart.
“Let’s say we get out of here, and go to the movies,” Liam murmured to Chas.
“We can’t. We have to stay until the bride and groom leave, that’s in the rules.”
“The rules.” He sighed. “Do you always follow the rules, Charlie?”
“When they will cause drama for my family, yes. Don’t you?” She said sternly. “I am the chief bridesmaid and you are the best man. People would notice.”
“I normally get my way, Charlie,” he murmured. She frowned at him. Most girls would soften at that flirty smile, but she could see he expected his own way, and had gotten it regularly.
“At least come outside with me for some air, it’s not the 1800s.”
“I want to apologise to you.”
He was already heading out the sliding doors. She had to walk quickly to keep up.
He walked to the gazebo, and surveyed the gardens. “It’s nice here,” he said, relaxing a little.
“I’ve always thought so.”
“I want to apologise to you,” he repeated. He reached for her hand, and held it gently, drawing her closer to him. He traced a finger down the side of her face, maintaining a mellow eye contact.
She was gorgeous, he realised. The tomboy was still there, but had morphed into a strong woman. She had never been a pushover, and it was intriguing, when all of the other young women seemed so easily seduced.
“Yes?” She said.
“I want to apologize that I thought Rachel was prettier than you.”
“No need for that. Rachel is a girly girl, she likes pretty things.” She laughed, and glanced down, feeling an old sting. Rachel was blonde, blue eyed, and symmetrical. A classic beauty.
Charlie had always been strong. Like her name, she had been strong and protective. A seeker for justice from an early age, she was quick to defend bullied children physically if she could. After a course of self defence classes, she was even more sure of her strength. Beauty was an afterthought, along with makeup, feminine hairstyles, and clothes.
She was studying law, more engrossed in the books than the boys. It was tough at university, the men normally outnumbered the women three to one. Some were condescending, some were chauvinistic and some were flirts who collected hearts like stamps. The other women were competing for positions, and were not friendly, at least not with each other. She had to keep her head, her future relied on her getting a good position after graduation. A husband was not an option until then. A boyfriend was a liability.
“I don’t appreciate the teasing, Liam.” She said flatly. He pulled her towards him and kissed her.
To her horror she responded with just as much passion as he had when he started the kiss. She felt her skin heat up, and her heart race. No this could not be the start of something like this...She told herself to stop, to break away from him, to return to the house. Maybe if she could step back and give him a good slap, he would stop and never talk to her again, let alone subject her to this.
He was the one to end the kiss, and mainly because they both needed to breathe. He stepped back and stared at her with shock. He hadn’t meant to kiss her, he had just acted on impulse.
“Charlotte,” he murmured. “Charlie...I...I.”
“You are a bastard Liam,” she said with some passion. She picked up her skirts and ran back to the house.
Charlie went to the bathroom, and dabbed her eyes, trying not to smudge the makeup. She was tired of being strong, and fighting the boys off. She wasn’t sure if she wanted a relationship, and she was pretty sure Liam wasn’t the best choice.
Rachel was looking for her, and found her in the bathroom. She helped her reapply her makeup and straighten her hair. The cousins didn’t speak, Rachel somehow realising it wasn’t the time. The cousins rushed out, aware that it was time to leave for the honeymoon.
Rachel threw the bunch of blue roses, and laughed when it landed on Charlie’s head. Her cousin had not even tried to catch it, but she had been chosen. Charlie fluffed up the bouquet and held it properly, letting the elderly aunts fuss over her for a few moments.
The blue garter landed at Liam’s feet. Liam glanced down, turned and left the room, causing the guests to stand in stunned silence.
“Let’s do that again. My brother is being difficult as usual,” Ben said with a chuckle. “One two three, catch guys!” The room exploded with laughter as someone else caught the garter and joked around appropriately.
Charlie looked around for Liam, thinking to have a chuckle with him about the traditions, and maybe suggest the movies again. She felt maybe she was to blame for the kiss in the gazebo, or the confusion that they had fallen into afterwards. But by then it was too late, his car was already tearing out of the quiet street.