Rewind (Book 2)

By CJ Adler All Rights Reserved ©

Humor / Romance

Chapter 4: Wedding Crashers

I’m late!

Losing track of time, I rush up to the doors of the church where the wedding reception is currently being held. Without a moment of hesitation, I burst in through the double doors hurriedly, “Your Honor, I object!” I shout, managing to draw everyone’s attention.

Everyone falls silent and it’s then I realize that I’m not as late as I assumed I was.

“The wedding hasn’t even started yet!” Benley calls out to me from where he and AJ are seated. He slaps his forehead in aggravation at my stupidity, “I told you I’d give you a signal.” He mutters as he reluctantly makes his way over to me.

We’d agreed on a secret signal to signify when it was safe to join in on the wedding - except, I got bored of waiting, sidetracked and all that jazz. He should know that my weakness is following through with detailed plans or really, just plans in general. I like to act on instinct alone - life is a roller coaster that way. Going with the flow is more my style. Impulse is my act and I own it.

Confusion crosses my features upon hearing his very informative words, but I’m quick to recover, “Oh…” I pout in disappointment, “then just let me redo that pathetic entrance.” I walk back out before he can stop me, shutting the doors after me, not failing to notice Benley rolls his eyes at my dramatic antics. I wait a minute to keep everyone in anticipation before eagerly rushing in again, “I’m back people!” I shout atop my lungs, choosing a different approach this time.

Benley slaps his forehead again before AJ does it for him a third time. “You Aqueela’d it. You actually managed to ‘Aqueela’ the wedding without it even having started. You Aqueela’d the Aqueela plan. You Aqueela’d your own plan.” Benley brings the facts to my attention, purposely using my name in place of ‘stuff up/mess up’. I’m not sure I like the attention that comes with him using my name as a derogatory term. However, it’s definitely giving my name a whole other meaning. If there were levels for names, I’d be a Super Saiyan by now.

When no one says anything, AJ takes the liberty to stand up from her seat and clap for me, “Whoo!” She choruses in enthusiasm, fist pumping the air, as she motions for everyone else to stand up and do the same.

They don’t.

Eventually, AJ just ducks her face before sheepishly sitting down again, clearly having her own dose of humiliation as a result of defending me. People don’t seem to share her lively spirit around here. Buzzkills!

“Whooptiedoo! The village idiot returns.” A sarcastic voice states among the silence. I’m able to spot the owner of the voice all too easily. I’ll never forget such a morbid tone of voice. He still has that usual rain cloud thundering over his head. His dark aura is still very much apparent, so is his sarcasm - evident in his statement. His face is clean shaven now and his hair is cut and styled up neatly for the wedding, making him appear civilized to the untrained eye. To those who know him, he’s still a barbaric animal who will chew you out on the smallest of faults. “No one cares.” Grey retorts dismissively, unfazed by my return.

It seems there is truth in his words. Everyone else continues to chat in spite of my presence. To be fair, I don’t know most of these people. They’re practically all strangers - except for the oddballs that happen to stand out, the oddballs I call friends.

“I care!” AJ chirps in, sticking up for me when no one else does.

Benley, always too cool for the rest of us, has practically crawled under his seat in shame. He’s wishing to not make his relation to me, as well as AJ, known. I have to hold back a laugh at the sight. He’s always been one to get embarrassed easily. Seeing as he’s dating a special girl like AJ, this can’t be the first time he’s been ashamed in front of a large crowd.

I shoot a grateful smile at AJ before turning back to the hulk, skipping up to him in excitement, “Grey!” I hum in glee. “It’s been too long, dear friend.” I instantly break the ice between us.

“Not if I have anything to say about it.” He mutters at me, disagreeing, before adding, “Besides, you’re the one who went MIA and decided to drop off the face of the earth when I specifically told you not to.” He reminds me in an accusing tone, almost as if me leaving had offended him in some way, “Speaks volumes about your character.” He grumbles out, already getting down to it, “And we’re not even remotely friends!” He snaps at me, completely disregarding me as the both of us fall back into our usual back and forth banter. I have missed this way too much for it to be healthy.

Since we’re technically at a wedding, I find my next remark appropriate,”If I was marrying you and you ended up as my very lucky husband, I’d poison your coffee.” I insult, glaring at him for that last comment of his.

He scowls at me in turn, “If you were my wife, God forbid, I’d drink it.”

I sigh in defeat, “I’ll admit, that was good. Well played. I guess I’m off my game a little. Don’t get used to the feeling.” I tell him in warning, surprised by his comeback.

“It’s quite satisfactory.” Grey smirks, Nancy nowhere in sight, “I think I will.” He rejects my proposal and takes to his own cause, proud of himself.

“Where’s Nancy?” I question him, my inquisitive side getting the better of me. He says nothing and averts his eyes from mine in a grunt of disapproval. “Grey, look at me.” I demand in a nurturing way. Grey sighs, reluctant, before forcing himself to meet my gaze, “Look at me.” I repeat in spite of him already looking at me. “Look at me.” I say again, urging for his full attention, “Grey, look…” I point from his eyes to mine, “at me.” I conclude, “Look at me.” I can tell by his eye twitching that he’s growing impatient. Despite the direct eye contact, I say it another time, “Look at me, Grey.” I open my mouth to say it a final time, “Grey, just look at-“

“I am looking at you Lawson!” He hisses, raising his sharp tone at me in anger and frustration for no particular reason. He’s no longer in control of his short temper.

Goal achieved.

“Sorry,” I wince, “I just wanted to be dramatic. I don’t actually have anything to say.” I fail to mask my mischievous grin. I’m having way too much fun. C’mon, it’s Grey Ferrot. It isn’t a party without him.

His eyes visibly widen when he realizes I just put him through all of that for nothing, “I hate you. I forgot just how much.” He states irritably.

“Always glad to remind you.” I wink at him, flashing guns made by my hands as I click my tongue in satisfaction and take a bow, “My pleasure.”

Grey scoffs at me before showing me his middle finger. He goes back to ignoring me after that.

“Damn, Aqueela?” Max, of all people, comes sprinting up to me like a long lost puppy-stallion, “It is you!” He confirms as he practically tackles me into a hug, basically lifting me right up off the ground. I laugh once he sets me back down, his eyes travelling over my appearance to see what had changed over the years of my absence, “When the hell did you get hot?” Max questions with a low whistle, just messing around as always.

“Gee, I wonder.” Grey remarks sarcastically, “Maybe in the five years she’s been missing.” He still can’t stand Max either.

“You do realize that you indirectly called Aqueela hot, right?” Max stares at Grey expectantly, waiting for it to click in his daft head.

It must register because Grey suddenly shifts in place as if now highly uncomfortable, “Get lost poser.”

I can’t tell if Grey’s directing that order at me or at Max. He hates us both equally. Nope, he hates me just a tad bit more. He rues my existence, I just don’t like to admit it. In my head, Grey absolutely adores me. I’m not delusional. I just have selective hearing.

I decide to exploit his awkward state for as long as I can - might as well jump straight back into it then seeing as he did, “Just to reiterate,” I glance at Grey knowingly, “a part of you finds me attractive?” I joke, just teasing with him in order to get a response out of him.

My favorite hobby used to be pissing him off. I’m just reliving it. I have old expectations to fulfill.

Grey, not admitting it or denying it, flashes me a dark stare, “Don’t you have several other people to go irritate the living daylights out of?” He questions after first getting a hold of himself.

“Grey thinks Aqueela’s hot!” Max joins in, seeing where I’m going with this and using it to his advantage. It’s a reminder why we were so close at one stage. I chose Max to be my best friend because of reasons such as now. We’ve always been one in the same.

Grey turns his warped glare onto Max next, “And you wonder why I didn’t stay in contact with you and Tweedledum over there.” He tells Max, motioning over to Troy dancing across the hall from us. “If it isn’t you and Troy, then it’s…” Grey’s eyes move from Max and then to me as if to get his point across, “Dumb and stupid idiot.” He concludes, referring to Max and I as Dumb and Dumber - except, he uses his own meaner version. “Lawson being the latter.” He clarifies, pointing out the facts.

I was predicting me being the latter.

“You love us!” I insist, choosing to push Grey past his limits, waiting for him to explode in the way he always used to. The explosions are the funnest to watch.

“Piss off.” Grey retorts, stubborn and in denial.

“Well don’t you look downright fine, Squirt?” Someone interrupts our lovely, endearing conversation with Grey - that someone being Troy Bensten. He’d seen us watching him before he took the initiative to stroll on over here. Troy’s eyes rake me up from top to bottom and back up again, “Absolutely fine, that is.” He has the nerve to hit on me before attempting to spell out the word, “F I…E…” He trails off in a stammer, faltering in his spelling before just giving up completely, “Fine.” He concludes from his mistake. “Spelling’s not my strong suit.” He justifies his stupidity.

No kidding…what the hell is fie?

“Thanks.” I smile in spite of his crappy effort as I offer him a friendly hug, “Grey seems to think so too.” I add as an afterthought, shooting Grey a wink accompanied by a conniving, devious grin on my part.

So far, so good. This reunion isn’t as terrible as I envisioned it t be. To be fair, all I could envision at the time was a coffin. There’s no one that can brighten one’s spirits like Grey can. He’s like Santa Claus in no disguise.

“Shut up!” Grey growls, unimpressed by all of our mannerisms.

Troy shakes his head at Grey, feigning disappointment as he plays along into our (Max and I) will, “So typical of you BroGrey. You have always had a thing for Aqueela.” He jokes, getting on board the teasing ship with Max and me.

Grey, seeing us as beneath him, doesn’t even bother with a reply this time.

I’m stunned in the fact that none of them (Grey, Benley, Max and even Troy) have asked why I never came back after a month like I had said I would. I appreciate the privacy, it makes it easier with less interrogations.

“So where you been at?” Troy asks the dreaded question. If anyone was going to ask, he was. Only Troy.

I spoke too soon…

Looking at Troy properly, it seems he hasn’t aged a day. His brown hair is still a wild mess atop his head and his face is still as annoying as I’d remembered it to be. His blue-green eyes still glows with stupidity, not that I’d have it any other way. Troy Bensten is one of a kind, irreplaceable. They’re all irreplaceable, even Grey the hater.

“Woah, Troy,” I meet his worried gaze, deflecting the question he’d asked me, “you’ve gotten so old.” I lie, choosing to mess with him, “Is that a gray hair I see amidst your brown hair?” I ask him, not concerned about the consequences.

Troy’s eyes widen in alarm, his mouth falling agape at my question as he flips out like expected of him, “Don’t say such things, Squirt!” He yells, his eyes flashing up in panic as he reaches for the nearest wine glass in order to check his appearance through the reflection. “I see it!” He shouts, in spite of there being nothing. It’s all in his head - literally. He’s delusional.

“I’m surprised you don’t have your compact mirror on you today.” Max adds fuel to the fire, discreetly mocking him to his face on his unusual feminine habits.

“Get it out! Pull it out! Rip it out if you have to!” He jumps up and down in panic, his arms flaying about, “I want it gone! Now! I can feel it! All eyes are on me! Everyone notices! They’re all looking at me! I look like an idiot! Quick Aqueela, cut my scalp off!” Troy freaks out as he throws his head forward at me, willing me to pull the ‘gray hair’ out from his head as he tries to hide - that or he’s trying hopelessly to camouflage into me.

I push his head away when people begin staring our way, “Troy, stop.” I whine, “You look fie.” I smirk at the last part as I make reference to what he’d tried to spell earlier.

My joke backfired on me. As BoyBand would say, I Aqueela’d it.

Max raises a curious brow at me upon noticing the change in my attitude, “Since when do you care if people stare?” He quizzes, challenging me head on as if to set me straight.

“I’m too old for this.” I inform him with a serious face,”I’m mature now Max. I’ve grown up. You should try it.”

Max blinks at me - puzzled. We stare at each other for a second or so before we both burst out into loud laughter, Grey rolling his eyes at us for our childishness. “You had me going there for a second.” Max chuckles, having not quite yet recovered, “I almost believed you.”

“But seriously, where have you been Squirt?” Troy asks me a second time, curious of the answer. I was hoping, knowing his short attention span, that he’d forget the question altogether.

I sigh, “Mentally, all over the place.” I answer him, choosing to be vague. I’d rather not go into specifics or details, it only leads to more questions.

Troy lifts the atmosphere with a joke, “Well don’t worry too much about it, your absence was a relief - gave us all a nice break for sometime. Now that you’re back, show’s on the road again.” He teases in good nature before adding, “On a serious note, you were missed.” When I begin to ‘aww’ at him, he shakes his head at me and points to Max, “Don’t look at me, I was referring to BroMax.” He quickly covers up, realizing he’d expressed too much emotion. “Max is the pansy. I’m solid. I fogot that you even existed.” He insists as if to keep up the ‘manly image’ not that he has much of one in any case.

I giggle, “Right.” I drawl, pretending to believe him before I turn to Max for confirmation.

Max shrugs carelessly, “I’m not even going to try and deny it.” He admits to missing me.

“I’m going to.” Grey objects, “It would be better if you never came back.” He says bluntly before glancing over at Max, “You’re so weak.”

I mimic Grey to get back at him, “Meep, meep, meep. That’s all I hear.” I scoff and pull a face at him, falling to his level - several feet into the ground.

“It’s your life…” Max defends me against Grey’s attacks, “you’re allowed to do with it what you will. I’m just glad you’re back.” Max states, a smile twitching at the corner of his lips, “I missed having other me.”

“I missed having other me too.” I confess easily. No one in New York quite got me in the way Max always has. It just wasn’t the same.

“This must be difficult for you two…so embarrassing.” Troy interjects randomly as he stares from Max to me expectantly as if we’re suppose to just understand the underlining message in his words. He’s acting like a stuck up snob. I exchange a look with Max, the both of us clueless as to what Troy is on about now. Troy cups a hand to his mouth before he whispers the next part rather loudly and dramatically so that others (bystanders) can hear, “Because you know, we’re in a respected place.” He emphasizes the ‘respected’ part in a hushed tone as if he’s above Max and me, as if it’s not to be spoken about in public.

“And so?” I prod, silently wondering what will come out of his mouth next (you never know with him). “Where are you going with this and how do Max and I go the other way?”

Troy takes the liberty to explain himself, “We’re in a cultured place and you two…” He motions over to Max and me respectively, “are not exactly…uh…cultured.” Troy openly insults us.

I scoff in disagreement, “We’re cultured.”

Grey, as if finding my words funny, snorts as if to say that he disagrees with me, thereby agreeing with Troy for a change.

“Speak for yourself.” Max speaks up, letting me know that he thinks of himself as someone unpresentable.

“See. Max gets it.” Troy flashes me a grin, “This is a place of high society.” Troy then commands us confidently, “Try to fit in losertards.” He smirks as if he’s some big deal. Still looking at us, he confidently reaches for another wine glass off the table beside us, “Just follow my lead.” Troy orders as he takes the wine glass, by the rim, off the table without looking. Of course, his actions result in all the wineglasses falling off the table - the contents spilling and the glasses shattering.

It’s a good thing Xavier is rich.

Everyone turns to look, gasping in shock at the sight.

“I don’t know any of them. Never seen them in my life.” I hear Benley insist to a group of strangers when asked about us - AJ saying the complete opposite. Benley tries to hide his face away from the world. We’re embarrassing him and I find it to be absolutely hilarious.

“It was him!” Troy panics under the pressure of all the eyes and ends up pointing at Grey (he has been standing idly and quietly by, minding his own business).

Everyone turns to look at Grey with accusing gazes. Grey shoots a death stare at Troy for casting the blame onto him. “You three should have all burst into flames the moment you stepped through those church doors.” Grey mutters, shaking his head at all of us in distaste. We’re the crowd he hates most.

Troy pulls a face at being insulted (you’d think he’d be used to it by now) as he stares at Grey as if thinking of a comeback, “Well…you’re so lame you need a wheelchair.”

Total insult to the disabled.

“Woah dude!” Max exclaims before reprimanding his best bud, “Too far man!” He lectures Troy.

Troy winces as a result, “It felt right in the moment.” He defends his impulsive response, Grey still scowling at him. Grey happens to be standing among the three people he claims to hate most in this world - Troy, Max and myself. No wonder he has that dangerous look of death swirling about in his gray eyes.

I change the subject, turning to Max in question, “So how are you doing? How is Bells doing?” I ask, knowing only the little bit that Benley had mentioned. I clarify, “How are you and Bells doing?” I’m not surprised they’ve made it this long. Opposites do, after all, attract - so I’ve heard.

“She’s good.” Max rambles out all too quickly as if now on edge with the new subject. Troy chuckles knowingly just as a sly smirk plays on Grey’s lips as if he knows something I don’t. I frown, trying to understand why Max is so ill at ease because of a simple question. Before I can even get anything more out, he begins rambling, “It’s confidential and I don’t want to talk about it, so stop interrogating me.” Max mumbles aggressively, putting an end to the topic.

I didn’t even say anything, yeesh! Touchy…

Okaaay.” I retort, now highly suspicious. Speaking of which, I haven’t seen Bells anywhere. It’s both a relief and a disappointment. If she were here, she’d slaughter me. A thought occurs to me when realizing that Bells is definitely not at this wedding (if she were here, she’d have killed me already - halfway through my funeral arrangements by now), “Did you guys break up, again?” Maybe Benley isn’t so in the loop as he thought he was, maybe he isn’t so clued in as he likes to think he is.

Why would Bells not attend the wedding? She’s in her element when she’s at weddings. She’s a hopeless romantic in that way.

“I said I don’t want to talk about it!” Max snaps at me, resulting in me backing off…for now anyway. I’ll get to the bottom of this eventually and he knows it. “Confidential.” He emphasizes, exaggerating the pronunciation of the word. I stay quiet, choosing to let it go. Max narrows his eyes at me in warning, “Stop. Interrogating. Me.” He concludes in spite of my silence.

A smile curves Grey’s lips as he watches the exchange as if knowing everyone’s secrets. Him and his stupid connections.

I glare up at Max, “I’m. Not.” I answer in the way he’d spoken to me: through clenched teeth.

Okay. Then.” Max replies back in his own gritted tone.

I have no idea why we’re both still talking like this.

“And I’m the apparent stupid one among us.” Troy remarks, casually dropping that in there to rile us up even further.

Max and I both snap at him simultaneously, “You are!”

My attention is lost when I spot yet another familiar face. I wave him over, “Landon the Legend! Lan the Man!” I call excitedly.

He stops and turns to see who is calling him. His green eyes find mine. At first, he quirks an eyebrow and cocks his head as if uncertain. It then registers in his head. A slow grin edges it’s way onto his befuddled expression before he walks up to greet me, “I heard you were back in town.”

“By Grey…” I shoot Grey an ‘I know’ look before glancing at Landon, “Right?”

Landon chuckles and nods, “Right.” He confirms, “Glad you made it to the wedding though. Cool to have you here.” He nods at me in acknowledgement. I hug him like I do with everyone. As always, he’s caught off guard, “Forgot how ‘huggy’ you are.” He remarks awkwardly as he pats my back with one hand, his anger issues seeming to have dissipated over the years I’ve been gone. “Good to have you back, Lawson.”

“Thanks.” I smile as my eyes wander from Landon to the small petite blonde beside him. She’s staring at me with big blue innocent eyes. Could she be the reason why Landon seems so much calmer? “Hi.” I greet her, “I’m Aqueela.” I introduce myself seeing as Landon is too rude to take the initiative to do so himself. I know it’s unintentional on his behalf. He’s naturally rude.

Benley did mention that Landon’s girlfriend recently moved in.

The girl returns my smile, a wave of warmth coursing through her as her blue eyes twinkle up in sincerity as if truly genuine in her friendliness, “Sarah Hart.” She says politely, following my lead and introducing herself too.

Landon, as if only getting with the program now, quickly motions over to Sarah after she subtly nudges him, “She’s my long term girlfriend.” Landon explains, finally doing introductions. He then turns to Sarah as he gestures over to me, “She’s the girl that left JT.”

I flinch at Landon’s explanation. It’s not in the fact that he’d said it rudely. He hadn’t. There was no bitterness in his tone - it didn’t match Grey’s. Landon was merely stating a fact, in his head anyway. I know he’s a little clueless when it comes to sugarcoating, getting in tune with feelings and all that stuff. He’s known to be unintentionally insensitive. Grey’s intentionally insensitive. That’s the difference between the two.

Still, I can’t even argue with Landon. His blunt remark happens to be true. I cannot protest against it. I am the girl that left Jay behind. It was never my intention to hurt Jay, but I did anyway - I made a mistake.

“You ready for this?” Grey asks Landon, discreetly changing the subject, almost as if for my sake, “I mean, I’m even surprised you suited up for the occasion.” He takes the topic into his own hands, leaving the one of Jay behind.

“When you’re best man, you kind of have to.” Landon replies back, the two of them seemingly closer than I had recalled. “And f*ck no, I’m not-” Sarah elbows her boyfriend in the ribs for his cussing, “Sorry Sarah.” He sends her apologetic expression before going back to Grey, “I’m not ready for this. The prick is taking my little sister away from me.”

“He’s not that bad.” Sarah pipes up, voicing her opinion as she comes to Xavier’s defense. “He loves your sister and that’s all that matters.” She informs her boyfriend, choosing to be the better person.

Puzzled by the revelation, I have to ask Landon, “I thought you hated Xavier. Why on earth did he choose you to be his best man?”

“Because the rich moron has no friends.” Landon answers me effortlessly, “And because Emma asked Sarah to be her maid of honor. It just fitted.” He explains, a little bit of his anger issues coming to surface. Landon turns back to Grey, “At least the asshole is not having the Vegas wedding he wanted.” Landon obviously despises the entire ‘getting married in Vegas’ thing. He knows his sister deserves better.

Grey merely chuckles as he shakes his head, “For once he isn’t getting what he wants.”

Landon offers us all a bidding nod of the head, “I’ll check you guys later. Sarah just wants to see to the wedding cake before all the guests arrive. Emma will flip if anything goes wrong today and it will be my head on a platter.”

I wave goodbye at the two, my eyes moving onto the enormous, wedding cake being pushed on a stand after them. “Nom nom nom.” I say beneath my breath, now hungry, Grey staring at me weirdly. I glance around to see how beautifully decorated the church is. Xavier really went all out on this wedding. He pulled out all the stops. I’m impressed. “This wedding reception is too extravagant, I need to be alone.” I whisper dramatically as if waiting for everyone to suddenly leave the building.

“Then leave, idiot.” Grey snarls, “You can’t expect the whole building to evacuate just because you need to be alone.”

Why the hell not?

I shush him, “Don’t tell me what to do. I will be the decider…of deciding things…that will happen.” I conclude stupidly, yet adamantly.

Grey gives me a deadpanned look, “Really?”

Troy, Max, Grey and I take a seat as the wedding preparations begin. It should not be long now.

I open my mouth to protest, but Grey is quick to slap his hand over my mouth, “Save it. The wedding is about to start.”

And as if on cue, that typical wedding music - ‘Here Comes The Bride’ - starts playing ever so slowly. Xavier’s already taken his stand at the front of the church as he patiently waits for Emma to reach him.

I remove Grey’s hand off of my mouth as Emma comes to stand before her soon-to-be husband. They’re about to wed. Emma looks beautiful, her red hair cascading down her back behind her. Xavier actually made an effort. He’s all dressed up and his shiny blonde hair has been gelled, tamed. He has that calculating grin on his face as he and her say their vows. It’s all romantic gushy stuff that I zone out of, not interested. Eventually, and I mean eventually, Xavier lifts the veil and kisses his bride.

To everyone’s surprise, AJ stands up to cheer, Benley quickly yanking her back down again when he receives more attention that he’d like. I take after her, standing up and clapping. Everyone, including Benley, soon follow and do the same. AJ smirks in victory at Benley as a result. He’s succumb to the force of peer pressure.

Photos are taken (Troy photobombed them all) and the wedding cake is cut. After that, everyone celebrates, the wedding quickly turning into a throwback party. People begin saying toasts and I’m quick to jump on the opportunity so that I can toast to the newly wed too.

I start my toast off with an icebreaker, “Old people always poke me at weddings and say ‘you’re next’. I started doing the same with those desiccated husks at funerals.” I joke, some people laughing, others gasping. Benley is motioning to me to stop talking. I ignore him, “I was once told that if you’re wrong and you shut up, you are wise. If you are right and you shut up, you are married.” I don’t miss the hint of alarm and apprehension flickering through Xavier’s eyes upon hearing my words. He needs to loosen up, it’s just a joke. It’s probably true, but still a joke. He needs to erase his doubts. “Marriage is a strange relationship. It’s the only war in where you sleep with the enemy.” Grey slaps his forehead in frustration at the last one. To my surprise, Emma shares a laugh with Xavier. Good thing neither had cold feet. “Marriage - it’s like a deck of cards. In the beginning, you just need two hearts and a diamond. By the end of it all, you wish you had a club and a spade.”

Troy bursts out laughing at the last one, nodding along in agreement. Max seems too invested in playing with the wedding decorations to care to listen. Landon doesn’t seem to be bothered, almost as if he’d been predicting such a disastrous toast from me. Emma, on the other hand, gapes at me - her green eyes wide in shock.

Xavier is shaking his head at me in aggravation. “Remind me why we invited her to our wedding.” He glances over at his wife whilst still shooting daggers at me with his eyes.

“So to conclude, go make babies you beautiful kids!” I lift my glass to the air, everyone following suit and raising their own glasses in conclusion of my toast. Meanwhile, Emma is red in the face and her husband…not so much. Xavier is smirking as if enjoying the moment.

Xavier swoops Emma off her feat as he heads for their limousine waiting out front for them. They’re about to leave for their honeymoon - yet time seems to come to a complete standstill when Emma and Xavier, as well as the rest of us, hear a loud crashing sound from behind.

The church falls silent as we all turn around, only to see Max frozen in place. His mouth is agape in dread and his eyes wide in alarm, a guilty expression on his face. He’s standing right over the shattered remains of a vase that had been put up for decor and his hand still outstretched as if he meant to touch it.

We all glance from the pieces of the vase back up to Max, slowly putting the pieces of the puzzle together. That’s what he gets for playing with the decor during my magnificent speech.

“That wasn’t an antique, right?” Max asks Xavier wearily, a sheepish grin on his face as embarrassment sets in.

I place a sympathetic hand on Max’s shoulder to comfort him, “Don’t worry Maxipad, it’s probably just an ancient relic or something.”

“Don’t know them.” Benley pipes up, wanting to fit in with the higher class. He glances our way in disdain, truly making out as if he has no idea who we are.

“Not helping!” Max hisses at me despite me supporting him. Emma and Xavier are still glaring at him for destroying their expensive decorations.

I decide to put Max out of his humiliation as I turn in place and point to someone else entirely, “Grey did it!” Troy (quick thinking for once) and I shout simultaneously, accusing innocent Grey yet again.

Grey sighs in defeat, not even bothering to defend himself, as he comes to an important conclusion, “And this is why I prefer funerals.”

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