Sorry about the absence. I hope to be back by
September 15 October 6, with a full explanation. Or, at least, a decent excuse.
Melissa Cheng squirmed in her seat. Weddings always irritated her. The uncomfortable clothes, the sitting around, the everybody paying attention to two people who aren't her. All weddings are basically the same, so why don't they just have one big worldwide ceremony, marry everybody, and get it over with!
Worse, she kept thinking of her own wedding. It had been a Chinese ceremony (Donald Lau, the groom, insisted), and Lissa spoke maybe fifteen words of Chinese, ten of them vulgarities. And the wedding wasn't so bad compared to the marriage. An enema with spattering hot oil wouldn't have been so bad compared to the marriage. Well, at least the divorce is in English.
At this wedding, Lissa knew Joanne Carpenter, the bride. They worked in the same department. And she knew everyone else from her department (Joanne had invited the entire department), including her best friend, the woman she sat next to, Elizabeth Panderson. The three hundred trillion other people there were strangers. Apparently, the bride and groom did that 'Six Degrees Of Separation' thing, and invited everyone who was a friend of a friend of a friend. Lissa kept looking for Kevin Bacon.
Joanne hadn't come out yet. They hadn't started "The Wedding March". Lissa checked her watch. Twenty minutes late.
"How you holdin' up, Lissy?" Lizzie knew how Lissa felt about weddings, and she was the only person in the world allowed to call her 'Lissy'. Lizzie was friendly; everybody liked her and she liked everybody. And she looked friendly. She was 23, same as Lissa, and she looked like she was meant to be a grandmom. Overweight but pleasantly so, short but not tiny, curly blonde hair, just a hint of what would someday be laugh lines. Thirty or forty years from now, she' ll look like Mrs. Kris Kringle.
"I'm fine," Lissa whispered back. "Will ya look at that gorgeous guy standing up front there? The tall guy with the wavy blond hair."
"That's the groom, dear. I think he's already taken."
Lissa looked at Lizzie. "I know that, silly. Banner O'Herlihy. You ever meet him? What's he like?"
"I met him a few times. Seemed like a nice guy. Of course, his father is Desmond O'Herlihy. You know, the Desmond O'Herlihy. Boston's answer to Donald Trump, except with more class and more money. He's maybe the only guy to make money out of all those internet businesses going under. That's why there's so many people here. And so many celebrities. Hey! Is that Kevin Bacon?"
"Wow! How did Joanne score a prince like O'Herlihy's son?" But before Lizzie could answer the music started.
Joanne walked down the aisle, looking more beautiful than she ever had in her life, as required by law, but Lizzie saw something in her big brown eyes. Lizzie wondered what was wrong, and wished she could help.
Joanne reached the front of the church, stood in her appropriate well-miked spot. The priest began the ceremony, saying that marriage was a holy union, a contract between a man, a woman, and Jesus Christ, and anyone who sullied it by even thinking about divorce will burn in Hell. Oh, and homosexuals can't marry because marriage is a sacred right given to us by the Good Lord, and gay people shouldn't have rights. He was about to discuss Jews and Muslims when Desmond pulled him aside. They talked briefly, and the good Father continued the ceremony.
Lissa whispered to Lizzie, "he's got a lot of opinions for a guy who can't get married."
Blah, blah, blah. Do you, blah blah, take blah blah, to be your lawfully wedded blah? I blah. Do you, blah blah, take blah blah, to be your lawfully wedded blah? I... I... I...
Joanne screamed, "I CAN'T!!!" at the top of her voice, getting a nice echo in the old church. She dropped her bouquet, pulled the veil off her light brown hair and let it fall. "I'm sorry, Banner. It's not you. Well, yes, it is you. You're vapid and worthless and... and no good for anything! You just coast on your father's money, and you don't even know what's going on around you half the time! And you're a god-damn pervert! The stuff you want in the bedroom, half that stuff I wouldn't do even if I'd ever heard of it before! I thought I could overlook all that, your father's so rich, but no amount of money is worth spending one more day with you!!!" She kicked off her high heels, ran down the aisle.
Get him out of here, thought Tim Tenniel, Banner's Best Man, best friend, and bodyguard. "Come on, man. Let's go!" He took Banny's arm. Tim was light-skinned black, slightly taller than Banny, but had more muscles than a video game character. He used to be in the NFL, until he was let go for excessive violence. Yes, you read that right. Then he was in prison for five years for doing the same thing that got him kicked out of the NFL. But he'd take a bullet for Banny, even if he wasn't so amazingly well-paid for it. And he'd've taken this hit for Banny, if he could've. Of course, he'd be looking at a few more years in prison for what he'd have done to the bitch, but better him than Banny.
"I don't understand," whispered Banner. "This isn't how it went at the rehearsal ceremony."
Go to Chapter 30: Hot On The Trail
Go to Chapter 32: When Banny Met Lissa
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