We could hear the others, and knew that life was happening nearby. But it didn’t matter for a long while. At least until the sun was beating down on us, we felt like we were melting, and in Talon’s case his stomach was audibly grumbling. His phone was buzzing in his pocket. And then Ben’s big mouth yelling across the field that everyone was starving and about to riot. Reluctantly Candy, called it a wrap, and allowed us to retreat to the shelter of the tent.
The DJ played smash mouth’s “All Star” as the bridal party was introduced. Emmagrace was the only holdout who didn’t dance at all as we made our way through the crowd across the dancefloor. Even Audra allowed Mal to hold her hand and did the wave with him, while I was no dancer but I just went with it, simple side to side, shimmy thing, while Talon, well, he did the snake across the floor, which I hadn’t even known he could do. He did it well, and got lots of applause. It was just another thing to add to the list of things he was good at. I smiled and laughed.
The people, food, and décor all looked amazing. It was elegance mixed with a country twang. The beautiful flowers at the elegant table settings, mixed with the tables holding the food that were made from planks of reclaimed wood spread across old whiskey barrels, the napkins were plaid flannel, and the lights strung around the edges of the tent were encased in tiny mason jars.
I was not hungry but at least pretending to eat at your own wedding was a requirement. Not to mention, you got first dibs and a special table! I loaded my plate with chicken, steamed vegetables, rolls, mac-n cheese and salad I knew I wouldn’t eat. Tal had no trouble trying everything including the Salmon, bake potatoes, oysters, crab legs, and macaroni salad I skipped.
We let everyone have their turn through the buffet style line. Several of the women scrambled to keep the line moving and the food stocked and I was so grateful to all the hard work, time, and dedication they all put in. Everyone passed by our table and said hello. My voice grew hoarse, from all the greetings. I lost count of all the hugs. And I couldn’t figure out which one was Zoe and which one was Chloe. No surprise they both looked marvelous, one of their dresses was teal, the other white, but both had their hair up so it was hopeless. Alison could’ve passed for their older sister, and Matthias was looking hot for a Dad in his fitted suit, surprisingly he’d chosen white. In all honesty, the six of them combined were probably the best looking family I knew.
Even Ander, in a grey suit, shook my hand. His wife Mary looking spiffy in her peach dress, but hair in usual tight bun, gave me a hug. A year ago, either of them would have just as soon shot me as touched me willingly. Their son Nathaniel had been murdered by a shifter. We sure had come a long way. I did notice that Jessa and Daniel were not present. I had caught a glimpse of them in the back row at the ceremony, but now they were AWOL. Some things would never change.
Mordechai thanked me in person as he hadn’t yet got the chance, and thanked me for allowing him to remember all the jokes he’d forgotten over the years. Cain and Linda thanked me again also, and Ashlyn complemented my dress, but said she thought gold clashed with my eyes and hair. Colton was in line behind her, told her to move along and called her a “stuck up witch,” and they got in an argument. Then he asked why I settled for Talon and told Talon I was so out of his league. Then the cousins did a manly handshake.
Ellen reassured me I looked beautiful, made me cry again when she cried again, and thanked me for her health. Claire was more of her usual self, and I didn’t tell Talon what had happened between us. She told Talon “Well you don’t look terrible. But that haircut shows how yours ear stick too far out from your head.” He smiled and thanked her. But a hug between them just wasn’t going to happen. She made a show of eyeing me up and down then said “Hum.” Before walking along. That was a compliment from Claire.
Little Ava was enamored by my “Princess hair,” and after asking Sadie’s permission, I placed one of my pearl pins into her hair. She twirled around in her pink dress like a princess for most of the night afterwards. And I gave Eden Elson a flower from my hair and promised her I’d try to throw the bouquet right to her somehow.
Luke somehow was already appearing tipsy, with a date on his arm. I’d never seen her before, she was a pretty townie in a slinky dress, and I knew that Talon wasn’t the only one getting lucky tonight. He called me sweetheart, gave me a sloppy kiss on the right cheek, and gave Talon a hearty back pat and a knowing smile. Isaac came through the procession of well-wishers with Samantha draped on his arm and drinking bottled water, as he professed he was sticking to nonalcoholic beverages. I told him I was proud of him, but I did get a bit worried when Sam, wearing a devil red dress, red heels, and red lipstick said “Don’t worry I’ll keep him on the straight and narrow.”
I got a hearty hug from Josh or actually I squeezed him extra hard. He looked so cute in his tux, as he had served as usher along with Elias, Josh, Micah, and Ben. He was going solo tonight, but his twin was attached to Hailey. Her dress was short and black, and while slimming, didn’t leave a whole lot up to the imagination. She managed to redden my cheeks by telling me make sure I wore her gift tonight, and Ben managed to embarrass both me and Talon by pouring a box of condoms out on the table in front of us, before scooping all but one back into the box “On second thought. This is all you’ll need.” Then innocent little Sammy, asked what’s that? To which Ben made the mistake of saying balloons, and he asked for one. Elias next in line was clearly not amused by Ben’s antics, but I was surprised and both happy when he said to his girlfriend Natalie “Are you sure you still want to move here in the fall? You have to put up with this guy on near daily basis?” The family could do with some more new blood. And some more blondes too.