Authors: Kimberly Fox
“Mind if I borrow him?” I ask Megan with a grin.
She smiles. “Have him home by eleven.”
“No, I’m keeping him forever,” I answer. Lucas grins.
“Go,” Lupita says and we walk out of her office and around the building. The wedding guests are sitting in the rows of chairs watching behind sunglasses and cameras. My eyes dart up to Chase who is standing beside Ethan at the altar. The archway full of bright tropical flowers is bent out of shape thanks to Stephanie’s little temper tantrum yesterday.
The ocean background is beautiful with the turquoise water and white powdery sand but it pales in comparison to the sexy bad boy at the altar. Chase’s eyes are locked on me as I walk with Lucas through the rows of guests. He’s staring at me in awe as if he’s watching an angel walk down the aisle.
Ethan smiles at me and gives me a little wink as Lucas and I unhook arms and stand where we’re supposed to. Ethan looks handsome as usual with his beige tie and vest. I might be his sister-in-law one day if things go as planned.
Don’t get too excited. Chase is still living in Chicago and long distant relationships are hard.
I stand beside Julia and she taps me with her elbow. “What’s up hot stuff?” she asks.
I slap her ass in response and she laughs.
Megan walks up the aisle next looking radiant in pink with the matching flowers in her bouquet.
I glance over at Chase and he’s staring right at me, biting his bottom lip as he looks me up and down. I hide my laugh with the large flowers in my bouquet, pretending to smell them.
Megan joins us at the altar and smiles. “What’s up chiquitas?”
Ethan stiffens as all of the guests rise to their flip flops. Tanya turns the corner looking stunning in her wedding dress. Her beautiful auburn hair is raised with a gorgeous red flower tucked behind her left ear. She insisted on the flower because Ethan had put the same one behind her ear on the first night that they had met.
Her mom is walking on her right and her dad on her left. Mr. Prentis’ chin is up and he’s looking proud. Mrs. Prentis sniffles as she tears up.
A tear rolls down Ethan’s cheek as he watches his bride walk towards him. He looks so happy and utterly in love. Those two are definitely soulmates.
Chase is still watching me and I’d bet my meager life savings that he hasn’t even so much as glanced over at Tanya.
“Don’t fall, don’t fall,” Megan whispers as the bride approaches.
She arrives at the altar without falling and Ethan steps forward and reaches out to shake Mr. Prentis’ hand. He ignores his outstretched hand and swallows Ethan in a bear hug.
“Take care of my little girl,” Mr. Prentis whispers, tearing up. I’ve never seen him so emotional and it brings tears to my eyes as well. “She’s yours now.”
Ethan swallows hard. “I will.”
He takes Mrs. Prentis’ hand and kisses her on both cheeks. “Thank you,” he says, getting choked up, “for this gift.”
“Treasure her forever,” Mrs. Prentis says with a serious face.
Ethan nods as his thankful eyes gloss over.
I know that Ethan will treasure Tanya for the rest of his life. That’s clear.
Tanya and Ethan step onto the altar facing each other with smiles on their lips and happy tears in their eyes. Ethan is looking at her with pure love oozing out of his dark eyes. I want someone to look at me like that; like I’m the most special person in the world.
Not many people find their soulmates and I’m so happy that Tanya and Ethan were lucky enough to find theirs.
The priest starts the ceremony speaking in a Spanish accent that’s so thick that I’d be surprised if anyone can understand him. I certainly don’t.
I just zone out and think of what next week is going to be like. Will Chase call? Will I hear from him again?
But if the way that he’s staring at me is any indication of what’s to come then I think next week is going to be just fine.
I try to focus on the bride and groom but it’s so hard with Chase standing in my view, taunting me with his good looks. I squeeze my thighs together feeling his sticky warmth from our quickie still in my panties.
I take a deep breath as nerves flutter back in my mind.
Just take it one day at a time. You don’t know what’s going to happen
. And that’s the problem: I always like to know what’s going to happen.
Ethan and Tanya exchange rings and repeat the vows that the priest says. I’m starting to get a bit too sweaty in the hot, late afternoon sun and just as I feel a bead of sweat snake through my breasts and down my stomach the priest announces that the bride and groom are now husband and wife.
Everyone cheers as they kiss to make it official. Tanya raises her bouquet in the air as Ethan kisses her long and hard. Mr. Prentis looks away as he claps but Mrs. Prentis hollers and claps her hands together over her head.
“Give her some tongue!” Ophelia screams out from the crowd.
Some upbeat music rings out through the speakers and Tanya and Ethan dance down the sandy aisle with their clasped hands in the air.
Megan and Lucas follow them, shaking their hips as the crowd claps to the beat.
“It was torture being that far from you,” Chase whispers in my ear as he hooks his arm around mine. I grab Julia and pull her toward me, sandwiching myself between the two of them.
Waiters and waitresses appear at the back of the chairs with trays full of sweating Champagne flutes waiting for us to drink.
“This is going to be a blast,” I say.
Julia throws her arm in the air. “It’s party time!”
After a barrage of pictures from the photographer, we sit down for dinner on the beach. There’s a beautiful head table full of spectacular flowers in front of a half-dozen circular tables for the other guests.
It’s beyond words. The sun is setting and there’s a nice breeze cooling us off. The smell of the salty ocean mixed with the dinner cooking is making my stomach groan.
“Hungry?” Chase asks as we sit down.
Tanya set up the seating so that I’m sitting beside Chase who’s sitting beside Ethan. Julia is on my other side with poor Matt sitting by himself at a table among the other guests. Julia doesn’t seem to be too disappointed to be apart from her date.
“Are you going to miss Matt?” I ask with a grin.
“Are you kidding me?” she asks like I’m crazy. “As soon as the plane lands I’m jumping out of the window, changing my name and moving.”
“So the whole soulmate thing didn’t work out?” I ask taking a sip of cold white wine.
She closes her eyes. “I refuse to believe that I’m soulmates with a guy who drinks Pepsi for breakfast. What is he twelve?”
Matt bends down and grabs something in the sand by his foot. He comes back up with a seashell that he wipes off and stuffs in his pocket.
“What is he doing?”
“Don’t ask,” Julia says with her hand on her forehead. “He collects shells.”
“Really?” I ask trying not to laugh. There’s just something funny about a grown man who collects seashells.
She takes a huge gulp of her wine, emptying half her glass. “He has a bag full of them in our room.”
“Seriously?” I ask.
She rolls her eyes. “A crab ran across the floor this morning.”
Chase chats with Ethan as we sit there enjoying the view of the ocean and the sounds of the soft music mixed with the gentle waves.
“So you and Chase?” Julia whispers. “Is that ending tomorrow?”
I take a hiss of breath. “I guess we’ll find out tomorrow."
Megan clears her throat loudly and stands up. I ching my glass with my fork and everybody stops talking and turns to watch her.
“As you all know I’m the maid of honor for our beautiful bride,” Megan says. “Doesn’t she look hot? Come on give it up.” The crowd claps and cheers as Tanya turns a bright shade of red.
“I’m not one for speeches so I thought that I would tell Tanya how much she means to me with a song.”
“Of course, you will,” Julia says and we both chuckle.
Megan flashes us a look and clears her throat. Lucas sits down beside her with a guitar over his knee.
Julia groans softly. “I begged her not to do this,” she whispers.
“Quick,” I whisper back. “Cut the wire to her mic.”
She just ignores us and starts singing softly to Tanya as Lucas plays guitar:
“You are my lifeline, my only lifeline
You make me happy, every single day
You'll never know Tanya, how much you mean to me
Ethan please treasure, my lifeline, each day
I'll always be your best friend, and make you happy
We will laugh, and dance, and sing
And though we may have children, and families
Our love, won’t change, for anything
You are my lifeline, my only lifeline
You make me happy, every single day
You'll never know Tanya, how much you mean to me
Ethan please treasure, my lifeline, each day”
We all clap as Tanya gets up with teary eyes and hugs her best friend. That was actually really cute. Megan sticks out her tongue at us as she sits down.
“I guess it’s my turn,” Chase whispers to me as he puts his napkin on the table.
“Good luck,” I say, feeling nervous for him. I’m not sure if he’s prepared anything.
Chase takes a deep breath and stands up. The crowd watches him as he clears his throat. He’s so hot.
“I would like to take this opportunity to talk about one thing. Family.” He places his hand on Ethan’s shoulder and looks down at him. “It’s no secret that we’ve had a hard time with that word. It’s a word that should bring up memories of warmth and love and home. With us, it meant something else. It meant lack and disappointment and struggle. My parents had left us much too early in our lives and I always thought that I missed out on family. I thought they left us with nothing. But I was wrong. They left me with the greatest gift that a parent can give. They left me with something that I can’t find anywhere else. A brother. Ethan is more than enough family for me. His heart is bigger than words can describe and the amount of love inside is enough for ten lifetimes. I just wish I had seen it earlier.”
He takes a deep breath as he gets choked up. “Tanya you are so lucky to have him. Please don’t take him for granted like I have all of these years. I would like today to be a turning point for us. A day where the Taylor family, as small as it is, changes their perspective on family from one of lack to one of abundance. I feel so blessed to have you, Ethan, and now you too, Tanya, as my family. I wish you all of the happiness that your huge hearts can handle and I hope that I can be by your side to share some of it in the wonderful years to come.”
Everyone claps as Ethan stands up and the two brothers hug. “Love you, bro,” Ethan says, a little choked up.
“Love you too.”
I tap Chase’s thigh under the table when he sits back down. “Well done,” I whisper.
He looks at me and winks. “Thanks, babe.”
“And now for the first dance,” Lupita says into the microphone, “as husband and wife: Tanya and Ethan Taylor.”
“Wooo!” Julia hollers as everyone breaks out into applause. Ed Sheeran’s soft voice plays over the speakers as the bride and groom stand up holding hands. Tanya’s favorite song, Thinking Out Loud, plays as they step onto the dance floor.
My eyes tear up at the beautiful sight of one of my best friends dancing with her soulmate in her gorgeous wedding dress. Their eyes are glued together, smiling as they watch each other utterly in love. Their bodies are one as they glide around the dance floor. Ethan pulls back and spins Tanya in a circle. Her dress twirls around as the crowd ‘ahhhs.’ Mrs. Prentis clutches the arm of her husband and tears up as she watches her daughter in the beautiful moment.
Chase holds my hand under the table and I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I wonder if we’ll ever be doing that. It’s really starting to get to me, all of this unknowing what’s going to happen. I just don’t see it working out to be honest and that makes me nauseous.
I have to work a lot of weekends so I won’t be able to travel to Chicago to see him very often. We’re leaving tomorrow and the enormity of it all is starting to hit me. I’m suddenly feeling very hot and claustrophobic despite being outside in the cool beach breeze.
My chest starts to ache and I have to bite my tongue to stop it from trembling. Everyone claps as the bride and groom kiss at the end of the song.
I get up the second they sit down and escape from the happy moment.
“Where are you going?” Julia calls out after seeing my face. “Cynthia.”
I just have to be alone. And I don’t know how much longer I can hold back these tears.
Cynthia is sitting on the beach with her curly brown hair flowing in the wind. Her back is to me but I can tell that she’s crying. And it breaks my heart.
I walk over, ignoring the setting sun that’s lighting the sky into a spectacular pink fire and watch her instead. She lowers her head as I sit down on the white sand beside her.