A/N: Dedicated to MS-Manuscript, definitely gonna say I consider him one of my closest friends (does that sound sappy?), so I hope this is to his liking because the son-of-a-bitch wasn't able to even hint at what kind of fic he would like.
A/N/N: For those playing this out in your minds, "Gerald" is (in my head) played by Jack Black. You'll see.
Barney tried his best to keep up, but his mom was a fast walker. As she tugged him behind her, a strong grip on his arm, he found himself wishing he could have stayed home with James. Then again, he didn't have much choice in the matter.
So here he was being pulled about and, by consequence, being squeezed and shoved into the mass of smartly dressed people who turned and looked at the young boy and his loud mother. They all seemed so happy and excited – confused at the sight of a woman, in what one would hope was not her Sunday's best, who was yanking an eight year old towards the church, but other than that they seemed very nice.
They glared down, frowning and puzzled as Barney passed before them. His mother made no acknowledgement of having bumped into them. He was sure she had a good reason – although he certainly couldn't think of one right now. She hadn't told him anything, just said to follow her and left James at home to the care of their neighbour.
They shoved and pushed their way through until finally, they made it inside the church. It was much quieter inside. His mom pulled him into a corridor and then another – this was a big church – and then, at a fork in the road, she stopped.
"Barney," she said without looking at him, "I need you to stay here and be a good boy for mommy, okay?"
"But we just got here," he was puzzled.
"Yeah, but you gotta stay put, alright?" Her head twisted about, peering through doors and passages.
"I wanna come too." He didn't want to be left alone.
"No Barney, you gotta stay here for now."
"But how come I had to come if you were gonna just leave me here?"
She turned and bent down to his level, gripping his shoulders, "Barney, stay here until I come get you. Understood?"
"But – "
"Stay," she ordered, tightening her grip. Submitting to the request Barney bit his tongue and gave her a quick nod. "Good." She released him and walked away, turning back once before disappearing in a passage way and leaving Barney alone.
He took a deep breath, observed his surroundings and was quickly distracted by a delightful sight – there was an open window overlooking a tree just beginning to blossom. It was pretty; the smell of grass was within reach and he could hear the birds chirping cheerfully above the faint voices from the crowd in front of the church, whispering among themselves. He could see the top branches stretching out towards the sky, its leaves just beginning to rise into the sunlight. A package of feathers flew by, and Barney eyes widened as he took a few short steps to the window in hopes of an enjoyable view.
Loretta knew her chances were slim, but she had to try – if only for the money (not that it was her only reason). One last plea, maybe it was a little cliché to do so on his wedding day but what else could she do? Yesterday was gone and tomorrow he would be married – she might sleep around but she wasn't going to have an affair.
Turning another corner her thoughts ran wild.
I can't believe... How could he marry that stupid smug bimboe...? I'm not enough? I'm hot damn it!
They met almost ten years ago at a bar and, within one sensualising week, she knew...
Why couldn't he come find me? We had something... We were great, we had chemistry... we were special...
He was smart, funny, handsome... Everything you're afraid to let yourself want... But she did... She wanted him.
Didn't we have something?...
They had a few fights... broke it off... threw it all away – and over what? Some meaningless disagreements. She was an idiot.
She rounded the corner and heard the hushed sound of nervous chatter coming from within the door she faced. She knew that voice.
The handle turned and, as her blood rushed and her heart jumped out of her chest, the door opened up. Jude Chapin seemed as stunned as his former lover.
"Hi," her voice croaked. "Jude." Her breath was lost and it was apparent that his reaction was similar, though he soon recovered.
"Lorrie," he quietly asked, "what are you doing here?"
"I...," a quick glance to the ground seemed to level her head, "I need to talk to you."
A second man peeped his head from inside the room to look outside and shot Loretta a smile, "Lorr, girl, how you doing?" Loretta, still stunned by the sight of Jude – he looked different in a suit... –, ignored Gerald to the best of her abilities. "Haven't seen you in a while," he gave her a daring look and inspected her body, jingling his eyebrows.
She looked away, painfully aware of the situation; she was just some slut to them.
"This isn't a good time, Lorrie." Jude bleakly said, his tone chipped and his eyes solemn.
"If only you could've passed by on Friday," Gerald continued, his eyes surely imagining her without pants on. "Jude had the lamest bachelor party you could think of," using his hand as a weak barrier between his mouth and Jude who stood less than a foot from him (as the two were still squeezed in the door) he whispered, "Someone forgot to get a stripper."
Jude glared at his so-called friend, "Gerald..."
"Okay fine, I forgot to get the stripper."
"Yes?" His smile and amusement quickly vanished, just as soon as Jude's angered tone dimmed to sobered gloom. "Right then, I have to... uh..." He managed to pull himself out of the door, gently bumping into Loretta and Jude. "To do that thing... I know! I should have done it before but you know me."
"Yeah I know you..." His voice was grave as his gaze levelled back to Lorrie.
"Uh, Jude," Gerald called before turning the corner, "The ceremony starts in 38 minutes so..." Both Jude and Loretta turned to look at Gerald who was awkwardly tapping his wrist with a strange grimace on his face.
"Right," the lightness that was moments ago auditable, withered as the reality once more struck them both. Loretta swallowed the lump in her throat. "I know."