This chapter is long. I figured it would be all right considering this is the SUPER AWESOME WEDDING chapter. Anyway, Enjoy, Review and Read!
The wedding almost didn't take place.
The bride had completely destroyed her dress. Actually, to be truthful, that's just an exaggeration. Some of the ruffling was undone at the bottom, some of the lace was loose and the hem had a few spots of dirt, but none of it seemed to be that big of a deal.
Aria was not used to walking in a wedding dress. So when she ran home to make sure the monsters were locked up in the shed, she had tripped. It was an accident.
And then Julia and Rosalind caught sight of it and all hell broke loose.
"Look what you did to the most beautiful dress ever!" Julia said.
"Um, what?" Aria said, looking down.
"We have an hour before the ceremony," she continued. "Just an hour to fix this…Can we do it, Rosalind?"
Rosalind examined the situation. "Perhaps. But we'll have to be very quick about it."
They attacked the dirt stains on the dress with ferocity typically reserved for battles. Aria just stood there confused. With some tucking and adjusting the dress was somehow fixed.
It was a great relief to everyone. If the dress had been irrevocably damaged…well, Julia might have thrown the bride out the window and walked the dress down the aisle.
Strangely, Aria had the distinct feeling that she was the dress's accessory rather than the other way around.
When Julia heard about the wedding, she had practically demanded to be the one who handled the dress. Cecilia, not wanting to be pummeled for saying no, let her take care of the matter. And, of course, every dress Julia picked out was unbelievably expensive.
"How much money!?" Kyle had said when he found out how much the dress cost.
"But it makes up for it in beauty! Look at that delicate lace pattern, the rare and beautiful—"
"I am not spending that much money for delicate, beautiful lace whatever."
"Patterns, Kyle. Man, don't you even keep up with fashion?"
"Julia, come on. I'm a dirt farmer. What do you think? And as a dirt farmer with no appreciation for fashion, I say hell no to delicate lace patterns. I'll use a freaking potato sack if I have to."
"It's your daughter's wedding!"
"Please…don't remind…me." Kyle went to cry alone in the other room. The argument ended, and Julia went ahead and bought the beautiful dress with the delicate lace patterns.
Of course, it also helped that Rosalind stepped in and offered to pay for a portion of the costs. But it mostly helped that Kyle was too busy staring at a wall and wondering what he had done wrong for his daughter to marry some jerk-hole elf to notice.
Meanwhile, at the inn, the groom underwent his own preparation for the wedding. Gordon made sure Orland's sacred wedding vestments were in place. Jake helped somewhat, but his attention was muted. Whereas Gordon talked so much Orland wanted to jump out the window, Jake talked very little.
Gordon found only one thing missing from Orland's super-special wedding attire: the super-special wedding hat. Yes, that hat. That horrible, horrible hat.
"Sorry," Gordon said. "I simply won't allow you into the church until you wear the sacred hat! No hat, no wedding."
"Can we just not and say we did?" Orland said.
"What is this nonsense? Of course we can't!"
He put the hat on Orland's head and proclaimed, "There you go, son. Now I can laugh at you! HAHAHAHA"
The laughter was so epic it did irreparable damage to Orland's ego.
Somebody kill me, was Orland's only thought.
"Now, son, I have to go and make sure everything is all right with the bride. Try not to kill yourself or strangle yourself with the hat or anything. I'll be back in a few moments."
When Gordon left, the most awkward moment in history ensued. Jake and Orland just sat there in silence, not sure what to say to each other.
Orland threw the hat on the table and sat in a chair. He had to admit he spent next to no time with his father. When he was younger his father was just a person he happened to see every once in a while. He mostly spent his time with Yue. Egan tried to socialize with him, but Orland got the impression that Egan simply didn't understand him.
Finally Jake spoke. "Why are you marrying that girl? What's the appeal?"
"What brought on this question?"
"I'm curious as to why you like her. I just don't understand it."
"What exactly is wrong with her?"
"She's a little human…and plain."
Orland rolled his eyes. "And her father is Kyle and you hate Kyle. I know. Honestly, can't you just let me be happy about something without trying to damper it? What is with you and melancholy?"
Jake didn't speak. He looked at the ground, frowning.
"She told me you said it was all right for us to marry," Orland continued. "Are you having second thoughts?"
"What I said was that I wouldn't stop you two. Never did I say I understood any of this in the slightest."
"Of course you don't." Orland leaned back in his chair. "You just don't understand anything about happiness, do you?"
"I've been happy," Jake said.
"But your default mood is just damn bitterness."
"What if it is? What difference does it make? You'll be happy with this girl and whatever I feel won't matter. Why you like that girl I still can't imagine."
That girl was the only thing that connected Orland to the rest of the world. That girl was the only thing that kept him from devolving into some sort of shelled-in anti-social maniac. That girl was the only thing he enjoyed. It was that cheery, clumsy girl who had saved him from a life of loneliness.
Once he had pursued greatness. Now that he thought back on all that, he realized he would never be happy with just greatness. No matter how great and superior he was to everyone else, he would never be great enough. He would always restlessly be searching to be even greater, yet never achieve it.
At first, he wasn't sure how to deal with his feelings for her. So he did what he always did: tried building a wall. She ripped that metaphorical wall down.
When they first got together, he was frightened. Eventually things settled down into a comfortable, casual if dead-end relationship. It was only when he sensed things were getting serious did he freak out and try to break up with her. It didn't work, because he discovered he didn't like being cut-off from the rest of humanity. She was his only link to the outside world.
Now that he was happier, he saw his father more clearly for what he was: a weary man who had given up on life a long time ago.
How close he had come to being just like him.
The silence continued.
Orland picked up some random book of Gordon's and pretended to read it.
He was mildly surprised when Jake said, very softly, "…love tends to end in tears. Despite what you may think, it's a bitter, lonesome thing. It often fails and when it does, there's nothing worse. No matter what, somebody gets hurt. Are-do you want that, Orland? Could you handle the years of unhappiness and sadness and…and anger and frustration when it fails? Could you?"
Orland looked up from his book. His father stared at the ground, arms crossed. He looked tragic, somehow.
"There was someone, wasn't there? You've never told me anything about my mother," Orland said.
"Your mother is insignificant. I never cared for her, I barely knew her and I didn't love her."
"…oh, well." Orland wasn't sure what else to say. He didn't even know or really care about the woman-who-was-his-mother and that still hurt.
Jake shrugged. "That's not who I loved anyway. Your mother was just a replacement for her."
"Did you ever consider that it's not love's fault you're unhappy? Maybe it's you."
Jake didn't reply.
"You're destroying yourself over something you can't even change," Orland continued.
Another moment of silence, before Jake said, his voice hard, "I just want you to consider what love really means before you jump head-long into something you won't be able to get out of. That's all I have to say. Enjoy your wedding day." Usually when somebody said 'enjoy your wedding day' it was not said as if it were some kind of curse. Jake was not just anybody, however. He could say "happy birthday" and make it sound like a soul-sucking pit of despair from which there was no return.
Orland couldn't wait for Gordon to come back. Compared to his father's silence, Gordon's prattling and epic laughter was music.
As time passed the room felt stuffier. There were no signs of Gordon returning, so Orland left the room and went to the front chapel, where he sat in a pew and brooded.
Orland had no idea why Leonel had decided to arrive early to the wedding. None of the other guests were there and wouldn't be arriving for a few minutes.
"Wow, Orland. That's a nice hat. Where'd you get it?"
Leonel was not being sarcastic. He really did like Orland's hat. Why? Because Leonel had no taste in hats. He wore a feather cap that most people would run from. He liked Orland's hat. That boded very badly.
"You'd be doing me a favor if you didn't acknowledge the hat's existence."
"But it's right there on your head! How can anyone miss it?"
"Use your imagination. Pretend my head is completely hat-free," Orland said.
"It's a great hat. I don't know what you're so ashamed of."
Orland didn't feel like talking anymore.
"Hey, I'm thinking about getting married." Leonel sat down next to Orland in the pew.
"Huh?" He was genuinely surprised. He didn't even know Leonel liked anyone.
"I'm going to ask them to marry me tomorrow. Won't they be thrilled!?"
"I didn't know gay marriage was even allowed," Orland said. "As far as I've read it's illegal everywhere but the capital."
"Wait—what?" Leonel's face contorted as he tried to catch on to Orland's logic. "No, no, no! It's a girl!"
"Who's a girl?"
"She's a girl! The girl I'm going to ask to marry me who is female, who has female parts and who is not a man, boy or dude!"
"And you know she has female parts how…?"
"Yes, well, this is going to shock the town," Orland said.
"Why does everyone assume I'm gay?"
Orland looked flatly at Leonel. He would say it was Leonel's flowing blonde locks or smooth features, but instead decided to say, "I have no idea."
"Is it because of the way I look? It's my hair, isn't it? Well, your hair is long, too!"
"Yes, but in a manly way. You just have girl hair."
Leonel sighed. "My dad told me everyone assumed Ray was gay, too. But then he married a hot, rich girl and people shut up."
"That just means you have a find a rich, attractive girl, convince her you're not gay and then marry her."
"I already have! It's Leann. I hope she accepts my proposal."
Orland blinked, again surprised. "How will you manage to convince Leann to accept anything from you?"
"Did anyone tell you you're really derogatory? Especially considering the fact that you managed to get anyone to marry you. You're kind of an ass. Er, no offense."
"I know. I'm just
thankful she hasn't figured it out yet."
"Trust me, Aria knows. Why she's still marrying you…to be honest, it has the whole town kind of confused. Then again, your relationship has confused people from the beginning. The fact it has managed to last so long…Well, I hope it works out for you two. I really do."
Orland was about to respond, but Gordon burst in through the front doors of the church. Rather than use just one door, Gordon threw them both open. It was very unnecessary. Then again Gordon was an unnecessary person.
"All right, get in starting positions," He said, his voice booming. "We have a wedding that's about to begin. Oh, you!" He pointed at Orland. "Groom-boy! You're coming with me."
Aria tried sidling through the door behind Gordon, but he pushed her back. "Not yet! Not yet! Groom can't see the bride and all that business. And Kyle!" He yelled out the door to someone Orland couldn't see. "You stay out here until it starts. No, it doesn't start right now! And for the love of god, Ceci, get that man a tissue!"
Orland was slightly dazed as Gordon pulled him to the same back room he had been in earlier. He noticed his father was gone. He briefly wondered if Jake would show up for the wedding at all.
Gordon quickly and thoroughly explained to Orland what exactly would happen during the wedding and what he was to do. From the way Gordon acted, he could tell the man had more experience with weddings than anyone ever, ever should.
"Any questions?" Gordon said.
"Good. Because I have no time to answer them. I have to make sure your wedding isn't going to fall apart in a great flaming blast of failure. Hey, groom-boy, don't look so scared! This is only the single most important decision of your life. A decision that could make you miserable for eternity if you screw up. So no worries." He slapped Orland on the back in a way that was intended to be friendly but came off as deadly.
"Owww," Orland said. The slap had knocked his hat off. He bent to pick it up.
"Be a man and suck it up."
"Just because I'm a man doesn't mean I don't have nerve endings…god, my back feels numb."
"Get over it, son. Now let me tell you about marriage."
"I honestly don't want to hear anything you say about marriage," Orland said.
Gordon laughed. "Yes, yes you do. Say, are you looking forward to the wedding night?"
Orland's eye twitched. Gordon was the absolute last person on earth to discuss that sort of thing with. Orland would rather grab a cold beer, sit down with Fiersome and discuss his wedding night than talk to Gordon about it. "There's no point to this, is there? You're just going to ramble at me endlessly until I tear my elfish ears off."
"Don't be sarcastic. This is important. Anyway, wedding nights are fun. The best thing ever. Guess what? It's the only good thing about marriage. From then on it becomes a long, torturous slog through hell. There will be nagging, nit-picking and resentment and yelling…But look on the bright side! Your spouse will have to die sometime! Say, are you nervous yet?"
"I wasn't before you started talking."
"Don't worry. I do that to all the grooms. Gets them every time!" Gordon said, epic-ly laughing as usual.
Orland wondered whether he was a sadist.
"Now wait right here until I send someone to get you," Gordon said.
After Gordon left, Orland waited for what seemed to be an eternity. He flipped through Gordon's assorted religious books, hoping to suffuse his nervousness.
Never, ever had he been this nervous in his life.
He remembered a conversation he had with Aria a week ago.
"Remember when we pretended to get married?" she had said.
"I seem to also remember you marrying everyone short of Cammy and Leann…"
"Well, it was fun."
"Fun for you, maybe. I remember hating that harem of yours…"
She watched him side-long. "I kinda really only wanted to marry you though…I guess I get my wish now!"
"To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if you turn around and marry the whole town."
"Polygamy was sort of interesting." She smiled. "I'm just kidding."
"I still can't believe you married Roy. Even if it was a pretend wedding."
"What's wrong with Roy?"
"Nothing, except the fact he's an annoying, idiotic, hyperactive pest who couldn't sit still for longer than ten seconds before he bursting into flames…"
She looked at him knowingly. "Yes, because we all know you have absolutely NO quirks that offend people. You're simply a shining example of a person that nobody can attain! There is no reason for anyone to dislike you! You're especially not arrogant or rude." She poked him playfully in the side.
"You're just jealous of my greatness. I am the most intelligent person I know."
"It's true! I've always yearned to be just like you." She broke into laughter. "I wish I could be as humble as you."
"Yes, well, you're clumsy."
She shrugged. "I can get away with it because I'm cute and lovable." She paused. "Hey, do you remember when you told me you didn't hate me? As if you could hate me! I knew what you really meant." With a smile she had grabbed his arm and invited him to hug her.
He acted annoyed, but gladly wrapped his arms around her. "I'll say what I couldn't say then. I do like you. I do."
She laughed, her face against his chest. "That's not the 'L' word I'm looking for. But I guess it'll do."
It had been some time after that conversation that he had felt the full impact of his situation. He was getting married. It wasn't pretend this time. Of course, intellectually, he already knew that. What we know intellectually, however, we don't always fully realize emotionally. The realization had made him jittery.
He jumped when he heard the wedding music begin to play in the chapel.
Cecilia appeared in the doorway. "It's time!" she said.
As she led him to the chapel, she began to speak. "Just take care of her, now. She's not a very careful person. Usually I'm the one who watches out for her…but I suppose I won't have to be worrying about that anymore, will I?" She bent her head down a bit, smiling sadly.
"It might not mean much," he said. "But I'll try…"
"You'll do a fine job, I'm sure."
In the chapel he saw the usual crowd of people who showed up at weddings.
Leonel was there. He had an arm around Leann's waist in a way that said "Look! I'm not gay! I'm metrosexual!"
Even his father had bothered to show up.
Standing in front of the altar, he saw Aria for the first time that day. She was lovely. It made him pause for a second in shock. Normally her hair was a mess and her clothes were in disarray. She was cute no matter what but today she was beautiful. It was quite a change. Then again, he liked how she looked no matter what was caked on her clothes (most likely blood or mud or god knows what else. The girl was a warrior and farmer, after all) or how her hair looked.
She bit her lip. "I can't stop shaking," she whispered.
"I know," he whispered back.
The music still played around them. Everyone's eyes were on them.
He seemed to remember vows being exchanged but he was in such a daze that all he could remember was the kiss that followed. Everyone clapped.
Except Kyle who was too busy trying to pass his tears off as watery eyes.
The wedding wasn't over just yet, however.
What commenced was one of the most soul-sucking, horrible traditions in Kardia. Everybody in town came up and was supposed to congratulate the newlyweds. That rarely, rarely happened. What usually ensued were bitter rivals threatening bodily harm, angry fathers threatening the groom…well, there was a lot of threats going around period.
Kyle was first. "So, Orland, you and my daughter. You and my baby girl." He inhaled loudly. "You and my little angel."
Orland was getting a bit intimidated.
"Well, take care of her," Kyle said. "I guess, she won't need me anymore. At least I still have your brother, Aria."
Aria suddenly hugged her father. "We're not moving away! We'll be really close by! And I'll visit twice a day."
"How about three times a day?"
Personally, Orland didn't want to visit even once a day. He'd be happy if they never visited Kyle. There were only so many murderous glares a half-elf could take.
"Take care of her," Kyle said to Orland. This time he sounded slightly less like he wanted to kill Orland with a rusty ho. It was almost an improvement.
"Don't forget to come home, sweetie," Cecilia said, holding Aaron by his hand.
"I'll miss you!" Aaron piped. His adorableness was through the roof.
By the buffet, Tanya had been inhaling the alcohol by the gallon. Now she and her son were next in line to congratulate the happy couple.
Tanya had a very unconventional congratulations.
"WooOOOoooOOO! I love weddings! Free alcohol! Man, my head feels weird and I DON'T CARE!" She staggered. "More beer, more grog, more fuuuuun! F-U-N! Oh, and congrats on your eternal love and stuff. Now back to the whole reason for my existing!"
"Mom, you're scaring people," Roy said. "And congrats and everything, Aria and…Orland. Here's to many long good--O GODS, PUT THE SWORD DOWN! PUT IT DOWN NOW! Mom, no, you can't practice drunken swordsmanship! Haven't I told you that before? And where did you get that sword anyway? Didn't I already take it away from you?!"
"I found it somewhere! It just livens up the party, is all! Sharp pointy beautiful objects! Everyone after me. S-H-A-R-P!"
"Maybe you should lie down or something, mom…" Roy said.
After them, was Cammy.
"Aria, you're finally married!" Cammy said. "Knew it'd happen sooner or later. Good thing you got off your whiny half-elf butt and let it happen, eh, Orland?" she winked.
Then came Jake. He had very little to actually say beyond congratulations.
"I suppose I should say congratulations…son," He said.
"Yeah. Thanks," Orland said.
They sort of stared at each other uncomfortably. It was probably the kindest thing Jake had ever said to him. And that fact was very, very sad.
Yue smiled when she came up to them.
"Aw, Orland, look at you. Finally grown up! I remember when you were little and your father would pay me fifty gold to change your diapers. Hmm…too bad you're all grown up now. You know, if you ever have kids, I'll still be around. I'd love to take your gold! And I'll even give you a discount. Only forty-five gold. How can you refuse my offer?"
"No," he said flatly. "I hate kids."
Aria rolled her eyes.
"Seriously. Children give me a rash."
Somehow Kyle overheard them. "B-babies?!" Came his anguished cry. "Ceci, hold me! I'm about to faint."
"Oh, Kyle, please don't have a heart attack or anything," Cecilia said.
"Don't die, daddy!" Aaron said.
Gordon and Dougless took this moment to approach Kyle.
"Ha ha ha. I laugh at your tears, Kyle!" Gordon said.
"I double-laugh at your tears!" said Douglass.
Then they left. Apparently they only wanted to mock Kyle to death. Douglass never liked Kyle. When he was a bachelor, Kyle was something of a flirt and Douglass' daughter was one of his many targets. Now that Kyle had a daughter and was suffering from severe father sorrow, Douglass made it his mission in life to rub it in Kyle's face.
Gordon just liked laughing at people.
After every one had talked to the couple, the party began.
"You know, I've never had alcohol," Aria said. "And I'm of age and everything!"
"I really don't think you should start now," Orland said.
"I'll only drink a little bit," she said dismissively. "Just to get an idea of what it's like."
"You know as well as I do you won't stop once you start. Just look at that shining example over there." He pointed to where Tanya was drinking next to a mortified and distressed Roy.
"Nonsense," she said and took a sip. "Oh, wow. That all just went to my head. Kind of…feels weird."
He watched helplessly as she drank three more glasses. On the fourth, he interceded but she fended him off and drank the glass in one gulp.
"What do you think you're doing?! This isn't the time to be raging drunk," he said.
"But it feels so good!" She giggled uncontrollably. "So…so awesome! I love thish!"
"The alcohol is already eroding your brain. You'll have nothing left by the end of the night. I'll be married to an alcohol-fueled zombie."
When she started feeling sick, he sighed and let her lean on his shoulder. They were like that the entire walk to the inn.
"Hey, handshome!" She said chirpily. "What do you shay you and me and we can have shome fun!"
"…that's not you talking. It's the alcohol."
"Come on! Let's do it!"
"Not while you reek of alcohol and have the mindset of a drunk monkey we won't."
"You're shright. I'm kinda shleepy anyway."
If he wasn't there, she would have passed on the floor. As it was, he managed to drag her to the bed and laid her down.
She sprawled on the bed so that there was no room for him. And he couldn't move or wake her.
He sighed and went to sleep in the chair.
So much for the wedding night, he thought.
All right, this is the end. Not that I won't write more on this, I may. It's just if I don't ever write more I won't feel as if I left this thing unfinished. If anyone has any suggestions to what I should write next, whether for this story or not, tell me! I might use them.
By the way, if anyone hasn't noticed, I'm awful at romance scenes. It's a sad weakness, I know. And don't even mention the word "lemon" to me…if I tried to write one blood would spurt out my ears. I really should write another one-shot to this story to amend for the lack of romantic fluff. Or find someone who can write romance…I would love to see someone write a cute romantic scene between Aria and Orland. Dear lord knows I couldn't do one for myself. Every time I try to write a romantic scene my fingers curl and my eyes roll to the back of my head.