I woke up a few minutes before the phone rang for our wake-up call. I crawled out of bed silently and peeked through the heavy curtains. I could hear the ocean and felt the cold coming off the window and onto my face. The sky was blue, and everything was peaceful and quiet. That was going to be a great day. I happily brushed my teeth, put in my contacts, and started the shower.

I let the phone wake Julia and Graham up - I really didn't have the heart to. I felt so smart that I snagged one of the plush bathrobes from the closet before entering the bathroom. It was a good thing, because before I was anywhere near ready, someone was knocking at the door. I saw Amber and Marco through the peephole. Strange...

"Here you are, escorted safely to Iris' room," Marco said in a gentlemanly tone. Amber stepped into the room a little sheepishly.

"I'm glad you showed up - I was about to call down for some breakfast. Marco, are you hanging out here, or what are you doing?"

"No, I'll only be in the way - you ladies get ready in peace," he winked at me and left.

"So the eggs benedict here are killer," I announced to no one in particular. "Amber, what would you like?"

"Some coffee, maybe?" she said in a meek voice. Strange, she didn't strike me as a timid girl.

"No, get something real to eat," I protested firmly. "You won't get to eat until one, so you'd better get your grub on now - and I'm paying, if that's the problem," I grinned. She returned the smile.

"Well then can I get the three egg Denver omelette, with coffe and a side of fruit?" I smiled. I guess I am Chinese, if I take this much joy out of feeding people.


The rest of the morning passed in quiet industry, as we ate breakfast, took turns with the shower, and crowded around the bathroom mirror. We'd joke a little, but mostly we were just taking care of business. One of my friends came out to do my hair - I can barely brush it, so needed professional help for sure. I sat there in my huge, elaborate wedding underwear, with a towel draped over me, as she curled and pinned my evil hair into submission.

"God, I feel like Scarlett O'Hara," I muttered at the poofy petticoat-crinoline thing I was wearing.

"Eh, you only get to dress like this once in your life - maybe twice - ok five times, tops," Graham joked back. "How are we for time?"

"Plenty of time," Julia called back. "We've got about thirty minutes before we have to meet the limo guy."

"Sweet," I smiled as Caroline pinned the last of my hair, and gave it a generous spray of AquaNet.


We must have looked pretty funny waddling carefully down the cobblestone path from our suite to the limo. All of our dresses had full skirts made fuller wh netting, and we wanted to stay looking fresh and gorgeous, at least until everyone has had a couple drinks under their belts. We were almost in the clear when Julia heard Kyle's laugh several yards behind us.

"Oh God, it's them!" she yelped. Graham jumped into the landscaping and ducked down behind a large fern. I found a tree hide behind, and Julia shared the fern. After making the wedding dress in utter secrecy (which was very difficult considerng we were "living in sin" that whole time, and keeping it concealed during transport, I couldn't really let Jared see me in the dress just one hourbeforethe wedding! Did I mention that Jared is a neurotcally superstitious man? Normally I'd go out of my way to walk under ladders, but this was his special day, too - I should do my best to hide.

From our place in the foliage, we saw the guys speed past in my car. We stayed down a moment longer, to make sure they couldn't see us in the rearview. That was when the limo pulled up.

"Uh, are you the Morosco wedding party?" the driver asked uncertainly. We all smiled a little sheepishly, and came around to the car door he held open for us.


When we got to the church, the wedding coordinator was waiting for us. She smiled broadly as we got out of the limo.

"You guys look GREAT!" She gushed as she took my hand. She led us over to a remote area of the mission (we were married at the Carmel Mission), a small room that held the sarcophagus of a long-dead Spanish priest. "You wait here, and I'll take the girls over to get situated. I'll come back with your bouquet in a few minutes." With that, she whisked Graham and Julia away, leaving me with the dead priest and a handul of tourists.

A few minutes later, I see Marco sneaking up in dark glasses. A smile grew over his face as he came closer.

"Iris, you look like an angel," he breathed. I just smiled.

"Thanks Marco," I said happily, "and I'm not even your type." I paused for a moment. "How's Jared holding up?"

"He's OK. You know, tense but still alive," he said casually. He was leaning against the plexiglass box that protected the sarcophagus. "What'd you girls do last night?"

"We slept," I said dryly. "Hey, you should have sent Nathan over to our sliding glass door - heard he put on a show." Marco chuckled a little nervously. He shouldn't be nervous, he knows I 'bate, I laughed inwardly, but maybe it's the tux.

"Yeah, Nathan. Heh," he was really uneasy. Did he sleep with Nathan? Hmm. "Well anyway Iris, I better get back. See you in a little while."

"Bye," I said, a little sorry to see him go. Now it was me, the priest, and the tourists again. Maybe I should offer to take pictures.

FInally, the coordinator came back to me. She handed me my bouquet of calla lilies, freesias, and irises. "OK Iris, let me take you over there now. You and your dad will wait outside the basilica doors. When we open the doors, wait there for the music to start - that will give your photographer a chance to get a shot of that. And remember to stand really close to the door - like almost touching it with your nose...."


My dad and I stood around, patiently listening to the quartet inside.

"Nice music," my dad commented.

"Yeah, they're really good. You'll have to tell me about the appetizers." My nose was inches from the door. I felt like such a loser.

"Skewered beef tenderloin," I could hear the smile in his voice. We both felt like this should be a deeper conversation, something about leaving your family's home, flying the nest....

"Well, I'm glad you're here," I finally said to my dad. He had a goofy smile on his face, as if someone presented him with the Nobel prize for no reason at all.

Then, the heavy wooden doors flung open, and the opening chords of the wedding march caught us full force. We paused obediently for the cameras, then started the long walk down the aisle.

I know that most brides walk solemnly down the aisle, eyes straight ahead, faces impassive. But as I walked past the faces of people who loved me - friends from my childhood, Chinese school teachers, cousins, people who shape my life in the past, the present, and the future - I couldn't help grinning. I think I was saying hi - I would have started giving hugs, too, I almost forgot where I was. So you can imagine, I was completely oblivious to the media circus that took place in front of me.

Finally, we reached the front pews. My eyes searched out Jared. He was standing quite a bit in front of me, so I only saw his back and the side of his face for quite a while. He was standing like a statue, and his face looked even paler than usual - as if he were a flourescent light. FInally, as I reached the front of the altar, he turned his head to face me - but he did it in a horror movie way. The combination of his turning quickly, the wide-eyed expression or surprise, and his face being drained of all color, made me really self-conscious. Again I almost forgot where I was, and almost demanded an indignant "WHAT?!" I didn't notice that he joined me at the front of the altar, and my dad put my arm in his before rejoining my mom in the pews.

I won't bore you with a transcript of the whole ceremony. I should however, include, this, which was written by someone, not myself:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast,1 but do not have love, I receive no benefit.

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered, or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.


The next thing to happen was the anointing of the rings. Father Murphy held out a small silver plate for Kyle to place the rings in. Kyle got confused. He doesn't do the best man gig every weekend. He reached out to take the late that Father Murphy was offering.

Instead, the old priest glared at him so hard Kyle looked as if he got slapped. Kyle recoiled back as Murphy hissed "the RING!" Hurriedly, Kyle fished the rings out of his pocket, and placed them - a little shakily - on the plate.

We finished the ceremony, almost. I say that because Father Murphy never said "you may kiss the bride." The music just started, and that told Jared and I to get out of Father Murphy's church. Halfway down the aisle, we looked uneasily at each other. I pushed the veil back over my head, and we kissed in midstride. The whole church seemed to sigh in relief, as if the absence of a kiss would make the whole thing tense and strange.

We got out and landed in a media circus. I suddenly felt sorry for all celebrities. Jared and I shared a long tight hug, that was prematurely broken because I was getting dragged away by my aunt - for pictures. As she went around gathering other relatives for a group shot, I got pulled away by another group of friends. Then the original aunt got mad, grabbed me by the arm and yelled at me for not staying put long enough for a picture. Snap snap, it was done. Then on to the other groups of friends and relatives....

Just like the day before, the whole flock seemed to be lost, but didn't want to take direction. Jared learned his lesson from last night, and didn't even try. It was time for our actual wedding photographer to take pictures of us and various family members, so we just started doing that. The crowd did not disperse. Maybe I feel too responsible for brainless mobs, but finally I yelled to them, "appetizers at the Highlands Inn! Jared and I will meet you there!" Slowly, they headed towward the parking lot.

FInally, we were finished with the mission pictures. We were going to take some pictures at a nearby beach, so Jared and I headed for the limo. Finally, alone together....

Jared flopped down into the seat looking like he'd been through hell.



"I need to tell you what happened last night."



After leaving La Dolce Vita, Nathan and Marco decided they needed more alcohol. So they stopped by a convenience store and bought two large bottles of their finest- er, cheapest, vodka. They went back to the hotel and started doing shots. "This is for you, dude!" they kept shouting at Jared. Each cheer would make Jared a little angrier. You're not doing this for me, how do I benefit from having two drunk fools in my room?

Jared was trying unsuccessfully to hook up his video game console to the hotel TV. Since it was an old TV, he needed a certain cable, one he neglected to bring. So he sat there, trying to find another way to play Goldeneye. He was certain that, if he could get the game to work, everything would then be fine.

My brother, Eric, was relaxing on a rollout bed, reading one of Jared's electronics magazines. Nathan and Marco were drinking on the balcony, because they had decided to pee off of it minutes before. They started yelling for Kyle to join them. Amber went out there first, and finally Kyle, being a natural follower, joined them on the balcony. This is when things went seriously wrong.

Nathan, being the skinniest of all of them, yet also the most aggressive drinker in the group, passed out. Kyle and Marco carried him to the rollout that that Eric vacated, only to use the bathroom. When Eric came back out, he was surprised to find Nathan in his spot, asleep and still clutching the two bottles of vodka, now hald-empty.

Jared should have given up on the TV. He knew it wasn't going to work without the cable, and there was no Radio Shack or Circuit City in Carmel that would be open at this hour. But things were going very badly, and if only he could get the damn game to work, he could avoid disaster on the balcony.

Marco had taken Eric's camera off the coffee table. He started taking pictures of Amber. Then Amber, at Marco's suggestion, took off her top. Then she kissed Kyle, again at Marco's suggestion. Then Marco berated Kyle for not kissing back, an nted that he might want to grab that fine ass of Amber's. Kyle, the man with no backbone, did what Marco said. And who did Marco think he was, Ron Jeremy?

Eventually he had to put the camera down, because he had bent Amber over and was taking her from behind while she had her mouth on Kyle's, uh, nether-regions. Eric and Jared didn't need to peek out there to know what they were doing - they could hear Amber moaning, and Marco talking some "who's your daddy" smack.

Furious, Jared gave up on Goldeneye. There was no point anymore, everything had gone to shit. So he threw himself on the bed and started flipping through Popular Mechanics.

Finally, members of the Balcony Sex club started drifting in. Amber was first, sauntering in as if nothing had happened. Then Marco came in, flushed and victorious. He didn't notice Jared glowering at him.

"Dude, this is for you!" he cheered as he pried one bottle of vodka out of Nathan's hand. Jared looked up fiercely.

"Marco, tell me how any of this is for me," he said coldly. "All I wanted to do was relax, play some video games, and go to bed. But instead, you instigate all that shit out there on the balcony. Hell, I didn't even want HER here!"

Marco stared at him in disbelief, then rage. "Dude, I can't believe how selfish you are!" Marco glanced around and saw his shoe on the floor, He kicked it fiercely, lunching it into the bathtub where it banged around before finally resting. Jared's voice was cold with deadly calm.

"Get out."

"I only kicked my shoe!"

"Get. Out."

Marco stormed out, cursing and slamming the door behind him. Kyle glanced around guiltily, as if he were five years old and his parents just split up. Eric, noticing all the beds were now taken up, wrapped himself in a blanket and laid on the top of Jared's bed. Nathan was snoring, and Amber had taken over the second rollaway bed, pretending to be asleep.

Down in the parking lot, Marco was trying to start his car. Fuck Jared, I'm going home. He has no right to treat me like some bitch. Marco's key kept missing the ignition. Finally, he got it in, and started the engine. He squinted his eyes, trying to focus enough that he only saw one speedometer. It didn't work - no matter what he tried, he saw two. He swore as he turned off the car. He leaned the seat back, and closed his eyes.

Jared felt a little uneasy lying in such close quarters with Eric and Kyle. But eventually he fell asleep. A few hours later, they were awakened by some frantic banging. A partition separated the bed from the front room, and Nathan was trying desparately to get through the partition to where Jared - and the bathroom - were. He didn't make it.

"Dude," he said weakly. "I got sick thinking about the V in Vodka." He wiped his mouth on his sleeve as he laid on his side. Eric fetched some towels from the bathroom and attempted to clean the puke off the floor. Kyle brought out some aspirin and a glass of water for Nathan. Nathan's eyes wandered aimlessly around the room. "Ooh, a mint!" he said bemusedly as he picked the red and white candy off the floor. Jared groaned.

About an hour later, Marco knocked on the door. It was now five o'clock.

"It's soo cold in my car," he said flatly. Kyle looked overjoyed that Marco had returned, and he draped a blanket over his shoulders. "It smells like shit in here, dude."

"Don't step on the towels," Eric said from his side of the bed.


Marco found chair in the living area between Nathan and Amber's beds and fell alseep instantly.

A few hours later, Jared answered the wake-up call. Any sleep he got the night before was simply a waste of time. He was tired, his head was pounding, the room smelled like vomit. He started toward the bathroom, and took a long, hot shower. He fell asleep a few times before getting out.

When he got out, everyone else was stirring.

"Ordering room service," he announced gruffly. "What do you guys want?" Yes, what do you guys, who ruined my night, want to eat?

"I'll have eggs and bacon," Amber chimed perkily.

"You. Get. OUT!" Jared roared. "What the hell is she doing here? I didn't want her here last night, and here she is now. Is that too much to ask? The hell I'm going to buy you breakfast! Marco," Jared growled, "get her out of here. Now."

Amber shrank away and was grateful when Marco put his arm protectively around her shoulders and led her out of the room.


I just stared at Jared for a moment before I could speak again.

"Well, is it wrong for me to kick Amber's ass at the recepion?" I fally sputtered. "I ean the last thing Julia said last night was how she hoped things would get better between her and Kyle. Shit, what are we supposed to do now?"

"I don't think we should deal with it today," Jared replied as we hiked to the beach. "You know, if we say anything, it'll get really Jerry Springer at the reception, and nothing good can come of thst."

"Unless we sell the footage and get thousands of dollars," I joked,


We finally arrived back at the Highlands Inn. The sky was bright blue and cloudless - it always looks like paradise there. Before we entered the banquet room, I needed to stop by the restroom and pin up the bustled part of my gown - it ripped slightly during our hike to the beach. Poor Jared, I really snapped at him about that, and he was ready to have a nervous breakdown as it was. After I finished, we walked through the lobby and down to the banquet room.

The double doors flung open as we approached, and the head waiter announced us. "May I now interoduce to you, Mr. and Mrs. DeMartino!" Our guests applauded and showered us with hugs and kisses. I tried to take in the whole room as we made our way to our seats. The tables were beautiful. Everyone was smiling. The view was glorious. This was perfect.

It was a beautiful day.



(A/N) Hi readers! Thank you sooooo much for all your support - I really mean that! So, what did you think? Do you feel ripped off that I didn't tell you about the food, the first dance, and all that? As I wrote this, I thought those details would be pretty boring - after all, Marco, Kyle and Amber's story pretty much steals all the thunder, and all I can say about the wedding day was that it was beautiful and fun. If you really need to know about all that, I'll write another chapter.

Now what? Well, I've gotten requests for a Marco spinoff. That would be fun. Also there was a request for a Jared and Iris have a baby story. These two will not be in the romance section - maybe horror? If you guys have any good ideas for me, let me know!