Three Years Later...
I feel a hand on my shoulder shaking me awake. "Seriously, Noel- do you want to be late for your own wedding?" I swat the hand away.
"Five more minutes, then I'll get up. I promise," I mumble into the pillow.
"That's what you said twenty minutes ago. Get up." I open my eyes to see Margie staring down at me. "You're being a real pain in the ass, you know that?"
"I'm aware," I say. "But to be fair, so are you." I drag myself up from the bed and take a quick look in my vanity mirror. Let's just say "Yikes" and leave it at that. This is seriously the last time that I'm having a wedding. It's nothing but a big waste of my time. Not the actual getting married part- that part I'm totally all for. It's the giant wedding with three hundred people (most of whom I've never seen before in my life) that I'm having a tiny little problem with.
But, I remind myself, it's what Eric whats. At least, it's what his mother wants and god forbid if Her Majesty doesn't get her way. "What time is it?" I ask Margie, as I attempt to run a brush through my hair.
"Um, it's nine. You're getting you're hair done in half an hour- hurry up."
I throw down the brush and attempt to smile. At least my hair is someone else's problem.
You see, it's not that I hate Eric's mom or anything. I mean, without her I wouldn't have Eric and, let's face it, Eric is one of the few things in life that keeps me sane. The thing is, is that, after this farce of a wedding I'm so not talking to her ever again.
"Are you sure you haven't gained weight?" Eric's mother asks me.
"I've lost five pounds," I say- and I didn't even mean too. It's just that being around Eric's mom (A.K.A Karen)(A.K.A Her Majesty) can really kill a girl's appetite and also induce the urge to vomit.
"Really?" Her Majesty asks, like I'm lying or something. Which, I'm totally not. Not that she cares one way or the other. "Because you're dress seems a little bit tight around the hips."
I bite my lip so hard that I taste blood. I look down at the dress and, if I'm going to be totally honest, it does stretch across my hips. But the thing is, Her Majesty is the one who picked it out. She returned my other dress, which was completely beautiful and fit me perfectly, and brought me this one. I mean, this dress is an entire size too small. When I asked why she did it, she said my other dress was trashy. Which nearly caused me to trash her face. But I didn't because I love Eric and that would make him sad.
Or make him laugh. I'm not entirely sure on that. Because the thing is, I'm pretty sure that Eric doesn't quite like his mom either. That doesn't mean he doesn't love her or anything, but there was that whole thing where she sent him to live with his grandmother...
"I think that Noel looks beautiful," says Cindy, my wonderful sister-in-law. I smile at Cindy, who smiles at me back. Cindy is reclined in a chair with her hands across her stomach. She's nearly seven months' pregnant and it shows, but in a completely good way. I seriously can't believe that I'm going to be an aunt! It'll be awesome. Though Cole jokes that when his kid is born I'm not going to be allowed to talk to her. Apparently, he believes that I'll have her stealing tricycles. At least, I think that he's joking. I mean, I'm not going to be that much of a bad influence. Probably.
"And what did you let them do to your hair? My goodness, it's looks like it was cut it gardening shears." Her Majesty carries on her rant, but I just keep smiling. I mean, today is going to be a great day. I finally get to marry the man that I love and there's absolutely nothing that can go wrong. Except, an entire bunch of stuff. But, you know, life happens.
The door opens and music floats overhead. This is the point where I'm pretty sure that I'm going to faint. My first few steps are a bit wobbly. I have no one walking me down the aisle to give me away. I was going to ask Cole, but the thing is, I don't need anyone to give me away. I think that I've earned the right to do it myself, thank you very much. Also, when I told Her Majesty, it made her angry which is pretty much a good excuse to do anything.
It's then that I catch Eric's eye and everything else slips away. And suddenly it's just me and him and no one else matters. Not that they mattered a whole bunch in the first place, I mean. The next thing I know I'm down the aisle, and I'm pretty sure that I ran the entire way.
I rush my answers through the ceremony. And the vows. Which is something that I don't really get at all. I mean, I know they want everything thing to be formal and all, but this is just a bit tedious. I promised myself to Eric years ago, and saying the words out loud don't make me feel them any more deeply. I don't think that would even be possible.
And the next thing I know, Eric is kissing me. The last three years had rushed by before I had even realized it, and the ceremony was a blink of the eye, but the kiss...the kiss seems like it lasts an eternity.
I mean, I had woken up not even remembering the most important person in my life. I still can't believe that happened. It seems like some kind of nightmare; like it happened to someone else. And somehow, without me even realizing it, everything worked out.
Not that it was easy (because it sure as hell wasn't) or without it's challenges (I mean, have you even met Eric's mother?), but we got through it. Even when Eric decided to give up the detective agency and buy that coffee shop, and now I have to pretend to like everything on the menu- even that terrible green tea- because telling the customer's not to buy it is bad for business. Apparently.
And I'm not even going to mention the fact that Eric's comic book collection has doubled in the last two years, and now takes up three entire bookcases.
Or the fact that he still occasionally calls me, "Ms. Ashwood" instead of "Noel." I'm not going to mention it because it really doesn't matter all that much. What matters is this, right now. The way Eric's arms are around me, and the way that his lips move against mine. And the way that I'm pretty sure that everyone in the church is way uncomfortable by how long this kiss is.
Plus, I'm pretty sure that Becca just cat-called us. Which is okay, because I'm shocked that she came to the wedding at all considering she's currently touring Europe.
And, when the kiss ends, reality starts to sink back in again. And strangely, I'm okay with that.
"So," Eric whispers in my ear, as we walk from the church to our waiting limo, "what's next, Mrs. King?" Which causes my face to break out into a stupid grin, and I know that Her Majesty would not approve.
But this feeling, right here, right now, is something that I'll never forget. Baseball bats, to the head be damned.