Arabella finished her song to a rousing standing ovation. Darius clapped and whistled the loudest. She smiled bashfully and blew a kiss at him.
As soon as the applause died down, Arabella went over to her husband and children.
Jeff sat in his neglected and ignored seat. He played a love song medley as he people-watched.
Three of Arabella’s children crawled out from under the wedding party table and rushed at her. They all started talking at the same time. Eduardo squirmed out of his father’s arms and joined his brothers.
Darius looked at her with blatant admiration.
Jim-Marie plowed through his food like he hadn’t eaten in years and probably would never eat again.
Master Shinowa laughed heartily at something Kaneshiro said.
Kaneshiro looked very pleased with himself.
Elsie’s mother came over to take candid shots of the wedding party.
Hildreth posed dramatically for her, making Elsie laugh. He rested his head on her shoulder and said something. She gave him a playful shove, but she posed dramatically too, which made him laugh.
It’s so good to see him this happy.
I love seeing him this happy.
Jeff segued into “More I Cannot Wish You” from Guys and Dolls.
Hildreth, there’s nothing more I can wish you.
Nothing more than this happiness for every day of your life.
Hildreth touched foreheads with Elsie.
She closed her eyes.
She dug her fingers into his hair.
He laughed deliriously. “You know. Your mother is standing right there, taking pictures of us.”
She opened her eyes and looked into his. “Then, let’s give her something good.”
He laughed again. “Oh, baby. I’d love to but there are laws against public nudity. And with so many people every—-”
She kissed him.
He closed his eyes and leaned into her touch, into her kiss.
All sounds, all voices….gone. And it was just him and her.
It took them a while, but they reluctantly broke away.
“Els.” he said softly. “Elsie. My Elsie. My Elsie.”
He slowly opened his eyes and she was there. She was still there with her hands still in his hair.
Her hands and her father’s gauntlets.
Soft skin and hard metal.
“My Marauder and Frizzy-Haired Wench. Can we leave? Can we just…can we just…Can’t we?”
“You have no idea how tempting it is.” She released his hair. “But I have one word for you: cake.”
He opened his mouth to say something. He wasn’t even fully sure what he was going to say, but he was ready to say it.
Her eyes sparkled with glee. “Cake with candied bacon sprinkled on the frosting.”
“Ah.” he gasped. “Is that even legal for a wedding cake to have bacon on it?”
“Maybe. Maybe not. Doesn’t matter one bit though.”
“Hmm.” He thought about it. “Well. I guess we could hang around here just a little longer.” He thought about it some more. “Wait. How much longer?”
“Oh, I don’t know. A couple of hours?”
He leaned his head back and groaned. “Els, are you trying to kill me?”
She laughed. “No. Trust me. You would definitely know if I were trying to do that.”
Hildreth perked up. “Ooo! Are you trying to be suggestive in front of your mother and all my guys?”
He looked at Clarice. “That sounded suggestive to you too, right?”
“Oh, absolutely! So juicy with suggestiveness!”
Clarice laughed. “Just teasing.”