I couldn’t believe my sister was now Viola Pierce. Watching her get married was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. As soon as she said ‘I do’ I realized that things between us would never be the same again. We’d always be close but now… Claude was officially the one who’d be by her side now.
The thing that made it worse was the fact Doug couldn’t be there. He was asked to go to do stuff for work and he tried to get out of it but since this was a big emergency… it was either do the job, get a promotion–or don’t do the job, and get shoved down the ladder. I told him it was fine, to please go ahead and do the job. And he was going to be able to get back for most the reception…
But sitting here, watching my sister get married, my hands wringing together with nobody to comfort me–that was hard. At least I wasn’t part of the party. I declined when Vi begged me, and begged me, and begged me. The thought of standing up there with everyone looking at me… plus the fact that a lot of those pictures would be released to newspapers and magazines… I was grateful when Vi finally stopped begging me. So they just had a Maid of Honor and a Best Man–Julie, and Zari.
Between the wedding and the reception, I did need to be in a couple pictures since families needed to be there but I was able to be mostly hidden halfway behind Zari except for the picture that Viola wanted taken with just the three of us, one arm around each of us.
Doug didn’t show up before the food, and still wasn’t there when Vi and Claude shared their first dance. I sat at a table near the back, watching as most the guests started dancing. I did feel a wee bit lonely but I also didn’t mind not being out there with all those people.
“Care to dance?”
I looked up, surprised to see Hal offering his hand. “Ah–um–“
He took my hand, pulling me to my feet. “If you don’t want to, it’s fine. But everyone knows Vi’s brother is gay.”
I nodded at that, since it had been a release in some gossip magazine. It wasn’t anything big or anything, just a big article on Vi since she was going to marry ‘The Claude Pierce, TV sensation’ and was the sister of ‘The Cesario Danevbie, stage actor extraordinaire’. Amongst all the gossip about Vi, there was a little clip about me in there. So it wasn’t like going out and dancing with a guy was the problem. It was going out and dancing that was the problem.
“Can we stay at the edge?” I asked and Hal nodded. “Okay then.”
We were sort of away from everyone and once I got started, I began having a lot of fun. We danced to three fast songs and one slow song total, and then we took a break for some drinks. Vi wanted to dance with me and then there was one of those dances that involved a big group so I sat back down with some more food.
That was when Doug showed up. “I’m so sorry,” he murmured in my ear as he slid into the seat next to me. “Traffic was horrible.”
“It’s all right, you’re not that late,” I said then before I could say anything else he cut me off with a kiss.
“Yeah but I still feel bad,” he said with a smile.
“Okay, feel bad, I can’t stop you,” I laughed. “Are you hungry?”
“A little. I grabbed some food when I saw I might be late but that was half an hour ago. I’ll go get some snacky foods. You need anything else?”
Once the regular dancing started again, he took me out to the dance floor. We danced a bit then took a break when Vi threw the bouquet. I knew what to expect since Zari had told me the plan ages ago, but it was fun to watch all the girls suddenly back away from Julie so she caught the bouquet–complete with a ring inside.
Zari slipped out from between some people so he could go over and there was much weeping from Julie as she said yes.
“Wow,” Doug whispered. “Another wedding…”
“Zari said he wanted to be engaged for about a year,” I replied, sitting back, watching Zari and Julie hug tightly. “So I have time before going through this again.”
“Going through what…?”
I bit my bottom lip, glancing away so I could avoid Doug’s eyes. “Going through watching my sibling get married. It’s kinda rough.”
“I’m sorry.” He squeezed my hand tightly. “I should have been there for you earlier, during the ceremony.”
I turned to him, giving him a rather pleading look. “Don’t apologize. It’s fine, I was okay. The important thing is you wanted to be there for me. It’s better than going and not wanting to be there.”
“But not as good as wanting to be there while being there…” He trailed off, seeing the annoyed look on my face. He held his hands up defensively. “Okay, okay! I’ll stop,” he chuckled. “Why don’t we go congratulate the couple?”
Two days later all hell broke loose. There was of course a big spread in the magazines and newspaper about the wedding and I read through them, pleased at all the great things they said about my sister.
So when Doug stormed into the house and slammed one of the magazines down, I had no idea why he was so angry. “Explain this!” he hissed out, his face red with fury.
Now, I knew by this point he did have a nasty temper. But it had never been directed at me. He’d scream at his computer or hit the toaster or kick his car. The one time I had done something to upset him, he didn’t direct his anger at me. I had accidentally dropped hot food in his lap and while he was angry at me, he didn’t direct any sort of it towards me.
So this was a surprise, seeing him like this, glaring at me with such intensity. “Explain wh-what?” I stammered, looking down at the magazine. There was a big picture of Vi and Claude splashed on the cover.
“Page. Fourteen.” He growled, eyes glittering even more. “Hmm? What do you have to say about that?”
I opened the magazine to page fourteen. I couldn’t figure out what his problem was. There were three photos with simple captions. ‘Claude and Viola cut their beautiful, homemade cake’, ‘Claude and Viola busting some whacky moves on the dance floor’, and ‘Viola giving brother, Cesario Danevbie, a noogie’. Oh gosh I forgot about that one, I thought, trying not to laugh. “What am I supposed–” But he didn’t let me finish.
“You know perfectly well what!” he yelled in such a tone that I jumped. “It’s right there! Right there! And you sit there and pretend to be innocent?”
“Doug, honey, I have no idea what you’re talking about…” I looked back down, trying see what he might be seeing. There was just nothing there. Was this some sort of joke?
“RIGHT–THERE!” He leaned over, jabbing his finger against one of the pictures so hard that it made my finger hurt. I waited until his hand was gone then leaned in close to see what he was pointing at.
In the one with Vi and Claude ‘busting whacky moves’, it was a picture of them out on the dance floor. It was obviously a slow dance since everyone else was slow dancing but not my sister and her new husband. Except that wasn’t what he was pointing at. In the background, past the edge of the dancers, there was me and Hal.
I slowly looked up. Doug’s face was even redder. “Doug this–is this what you’re so mad about? Me dancing with Hal?”
“Don’t you dare give me that!” he snarled. “I know perfectly well he’s the one you liked! And I know perfectly well he likes you!”
I raised my eyebrows. “I did like him but that was before you… remember? I told you that you were helping the pain and stuff, and if I loved him I would have never agreed to go out with you.”
His eyes narrowed. “You still have feelings for him, don’t you? Don’t deny it. I can tell the way you act around him.”
I closed the magazine, feeling sick. “Douglas, I love you. Not him. And he doesn’t like me!”
He pointed a finger at me accusingly. “He does like you and deep down you feel thrilled at the idea that he likes you. Don’t you? Hmm?”
I pressed my lips together and narrowed my own eyes. “Don’t you dare presume what I’m feeling or thinking. We agreed months ago that we’d have honesty in our relationship and I am being honest! I love you. Not him. I’m with you. Not him. We shared a couple dances at the reception because he’s my friend, and–“
“And,” he interrupted me again. “AND I don’t care why you did it, I just can’t believe you did do it.”
“I can’t believe you’re being like this!” I snapped right back. “What, do you want me to stop hanging out with my best friend?”
“Well, I’m sorry I’m jealous, I’ll just not care if you go off dancing with some other guy you have feelings for!” His voice was dark and thick with something that seemed like deeper than anger.
“This isn’t jealousy this is–possessiveness!” I said, my hands in the air. Then I said something horrible. It came out of no where, spilling out of my mouth before I could stop it.
“It’s not like I’m gonna get drunk and sleep with him.”
I immediately regretted it. Doug looked shattered and he took several steps back. My hands flew to my mouth. “Doug, I–“
“No,” he said quietly. “No. Just–no. I get it now.” He turned on his heels and left the house, trying to slam the door behind him but I made a leap for the door, grabbing the handle before it could slam.
“Doug!” I called, following as he stormed to his car. “Please, I–I’m sorry! That–I didn’t mean it like that! Please!”
“I know perfectly well what you meant! Let go of my car door!” We both struggled with the door, me trying to keep it open, him trying to shut it. Then suddenly he let go, the door was flung open and I was thrown to the ground.
“Doug!” I scrambled to my feet as he shut the door and started the car. The door was locked, so I just smacked the window. “Doug, dangitall, get out of the car and let’s–talk about this!” I jumped back as the tires squealed, watching helplessly as he tore out onto the road. He quickly drove around a corner and out of sight. What have I done?
I turned and walked slowly back inside, feeling like scum. I knew he had overreacted about the whole dancing thing, and he was being outlandish to accuse me of everything. But I was pure scum for flinging his indiscretion into his face like that, and I was scared he wouldn’t forgive me.