Today’s Flash Fiction Friday scene uses the 5 words left in the comments of last week’s post (red – wine – dinner – Italian – date) and 10 additional words from a random word generator (misuse – mistake – heavy – have – suffer – ring – bite-sized – false – accessible – seat), screen print, below:
I wrote a bonus scene for To Love and To Cherish. I originally thought maybe a first-anniversary scene for Nash and Emmitt, but it’s too early for that. Maybe in November when, according to the story’s timeline, it’ll actually be their anniversary. Since I’ve been snipping from Harley and Oliver’s engagement scene lately for my Saturday Rainbow Snippets posts, I decided it was high time the two of them got married. So I wrote a scene from their wedding reception.
Told from Nash’s 1st-person POV:
Emmitt’s hands lay in his lap as he fiddled with his wedding ring. Next to him at the head table, I stabbed at my “organic field greens with red wine vinaigrette and shaved vegetables.” Harley had pulled out all the stops for this reception. Neither Oliver nor I had been able to talk Harley out of handling all the planning for his own wedding.
“I’ve organized hundreds of weddings,” he’d said. “Nobody is going to keep me from making my own perfect.”
Oliver had shrugged and given Harley free rein. I’d conceded it was the right move. Harley was a perfectionist, and it would have been a mistake to make some other poor wedding planner suffer through his micro-managing of the affair. Besides, Harley would’ve been more stressed handing control to someone else rather than doing the work himself. At least he’d delegated all the heavy lifting to a team of workers—he usually pitched in to help.
The reception featured an Italian themed dinner buffet. In addition to the salad, I’d selected a few bite-sized raviolis, and roasted chicken with caramelized garlic, sage, and lemon risotto. It was delicious, but I carefully put my fork on my plate and placed a hand over Emmitt’s.
“What are you thinking about?”
Emmitt lifted his gaze and grinned. “I was thinking about the downward spiral my life seemed to be in this time last year.” He turned his hand over and gave my fingers a gentle squeeze. “and how quickly it all turned around after we got together.”
I laughed. “That goes for all of us. I was miserable, and as much as they swore I could couch-surf at their place as long as I needed, I know Harley and Oliver were happy to finally get their apartment back to themselves.”
“If anyone back then had told you the two of us would be happily married a year…no…mere months from that date, what would you have said to them?”
“Before or after I laughed my ass off?”
Emmitt snorted. “I know, right?”
“I probably would’ve told them to take a seat before they fell over, because obviously something was wrong with them.”
“I would have grumbled something about misuse of their time gossiping and spreading false rumors.”
“Yeah, I can picture that.”
“Picture this.” I jumped and turned at the sound of Harley’s voice directly behind me. The smile on the groom-slash-wedding planner’s face matched the amusement in his voice. “Visualize yourself standing up and tapping your glass to get everyone’s attention so you can give the first best man’s toast. It looks like everyone’s seated now.”
“Dude, you should’ve at least hired someone to direct things on the day.” I grabbed my sparkling wine, stood, and kissed Harley’s cheek. “Go join your husband and I’ll get right on it.”
Harley raised an amused brow because it wasn’t as if we hadn’t had this discussion several times already. But, he sat beside Oliver and kissed the man’s wrist before turning expectantly to me.
After searching the table fruitlessly for an accessible (and clean) utensil to tap against my glass, Emmitt came to the rescue, handing over his unused table knife. I cleared my throat and gently rapped the glass.
When the room quieted, and all eyes turned toward me, I nervously gulped before taking a steadying breath. “For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Nash, and Harley has been my best friend through thick and thin for many years.”
I turned toward Harley and raised my glass. “In the early days of our friendship I could count on him to give me good advice. Or maybe it was dubious advice. You be the judge. In my clubbing days, I asked him how to achieve a ‘smokey’ look with eye makeup. He suggested I apply some shadow, then sleep on it.”
If the chuckles throughout the room were anything to go on, most agreed that had been “dubious” advice. “Honestly, it wasn’t the worst suggestion he ever gave me. To this day when I try to steer him toward healthy food choices, he says the junk is better for our ‘mental health.’ I’ll let Oliver take over on that mission, now.”
Harley’s eyes widened slightly at Oliver’s bobbing head. “Harley has never let me down. He’s always been there for me both in a flash and for the long run. When I thought my life was falling apart, he was by my side within the hour, comforting me, encouraging me. His simply being there meant the world to me. I barely knew Oliver at that time, but quickly learned he was fully deserving of my best friend’s love and attention when he stood with Harley offering me a place to stay when I needed them. They were together for me again, staying calm—well, calm enough to do what was needed—when I was injured.” No further explanation was needed there. I doubted there were many present who hadn’t seen the YouTube video of that horrifying glimpse into my life. The number of winces I spied confirmed that.
“I don’t think there’s any way I can repay them for all they’ve done for me. But I hope my words of wisdom that led to their engagement have at least partially cleaned that slate.”
It was a good thing Harley hadn’t taken a premature drink from his raised toasting glass because judging by the choking antics he made, it might have ended up coming out his nose. Oliver’s shoulders shook as he patted Harley’s back. Most in the room had no idea how completely wrong the term “words of wisdom” was. I’d basically goaded them into it while trying to find a way to tell them I’d just agreed to a loveless marriage of convenience.
“All in all, Harley is a keeper. He’s got it all, starting with a good sense of humor and ending with a strong sense of loyalty and devotion. And I’ve never met anyone more deserving to be the focus of that than Oliver. When Harley spoke his marriage vows, he meant them from the bottom of his heart, and moreover, he’s already proven he’s a man with the character to follow through on those promises.”
I raised my glass higher, inclining it toward the newly married couple. “Oscar Wilde once said, ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.’ There’s no doubt in my mind that both Harley and Oliver fall in the first category. Here’s wishing you both all the happiness you’ve brought to me.”
We drank, and with a sigh of relief I dropped onto my chair. That had been my first, and hopefully last, time speaking in front of a large group of people.
As Oliver’s best man stood to make his speech, Emmitt placed a hand on my thigh and leaned toward me. “Have I told you lately how much I love you?”
Actually, he told me a couple times each day, but I never tired of hearing it. I grinned and kissed his cheek. “I love you, too.”
You can access all the bonus scenes and alternate POV scenes for To Love and To Cherish, here: https://authoraddisonalbright.com/bonus-scenes/bonus-scenes-to-love-and-to-cherish/
You can find the blurb, a long excerpt, review and buy-links for the novel, here: https://authoraddisonalbright.com/my-publications/series/vows/to-love-and-to-cherish/