By Natasha Blade
Saber tried to slump without being obvious that he was slumping. He looked at his notes. Every family member in wedding party. Lots of people getting their chance to be in the ceremony – lots of speeches. The goal seems to have he longest wedding possible. I’ll buy a gift for the next wedding – one from the their registry – if fewer than ten people give speeches during the reception..
He surreptitiously glanced at his watch, then added another line, re-enforcing his belief that they the goal was to prove the loyalty of the guests by boring — or starving – to death anyone who didn’t BELONG. He tapped the paper. That would include me, seeing I wasn’t invited to this wedding. He studied the wedding party, artistically arranged by height. He squinted at them. Possibly arranged by hair color as well. He didn’t write the observation down. Kea and James don’t want their whole family in the wedding party – just the usual three bridesmaids and groomsmen, though they probably wouldn’t object to only a maid of honor and best man. It would keep it simpler.
After another half hour of seeing how long he could hold his breath Saber added more to his notes on the wedding. If your mother insists on a long ceremony then arrange for a distraction to spare your guests – while a long ceremony may appease your mother and show who your most patient friends are, risking arrest by placing firecrackers in strategic places is a better idea. I would volunteer Jacob to do it.
Saber spent the entire reception trying to avoid the happy couple, mostly by snacking on the overabundance of rich foods, while also trying to take notes on the celebration.
I don’t need to take notes on the decorations – Courtney’s in charge of them. Don’t let them do only sweets – oh! Happy couple! Don’t let them see me! Definitely do a shorter table for the children – much less of them falling off chairs if you do. And – very important – do NOT put white table cloth on the children’s table. VERY bad idea – Happy couple’s parents! Avoid them!
Side note: do not have the floor waxed right before the wedding.
After the overly long – though not entirely boring – reception, Saber caught a taxi home. After all the running around, trying to not be seen by people who would realize that I wasn’t invited, I deserve a ride home. I don’t care if I can see my apartment building from here. I’m not sure I can make it up the stairs as it is.
Saber paid the driver and used up the last of his cheerfulness wishing him a good rest of the evening. He dragged himself up the two flights of stairs, dropped the key three times trying to unlock the door, before ending his day by washing down all the INCREDIBLY unhealthy cake he had been forced to eat with half a green pepper and falling asleep on the sofa in his living room.
The doorbell must have been broken – it sounded like someone pounding on the door. Saber made a note to give it new sound as soon as he woke up.
The doorbell got louder and started calling his name. He resented that being an option. It was annoying enough people shouting his name through the door – he really didn’t need the doorbell doing it too.
“Saber Kender! Answer your door before I get the police called on me for making too much noise!”
Saber tried to open his eyes, but it was too much work. Instead, he stumbled to the door using echo-location. He unlocked and open the door for his guest, then went back to his resting place without bothering to open his eyes and confirm who his guest was.
The door closed and his guest made herself comfortable by stealing half of his blankets to sit on.
“Looks like the wedding went late.”
He hid his head under a blanket and a half.
Papers rustled. “Looks like you got tired of taking notes on it and started…” Papers rustled more. “And started drawing pictures of… an underground wedding?”
He stuck his head out of the blankets and looked at her with one eye. “That is clearly a picture of a funeral for a wedding.”
She laughed. “It couldn’t have been THAT bad, Saber.” She got up, ignoring his glare, and walked over to his calendar. “I found out about a wedding tonight. I wouldn’t put it on the list but it’s taking place on a boat and I don’t think you should miss the opportunity.” She started writing on the calendar. “If you REALLY object to it, I’ll take one of next weeks weddings off, but you just can’t miss this one.”
He glared at her, both eyes closed. “I’ve been to FIVE weddings in the past TWO weeks – making it a total of eight weddings since Kea forced me into planning their wedding. WHY do I need to take notes on anymore?”
Courtney flipped pages on the calendar. “For starters; I’ve already written in months worth of weddings for you to attend and since I already put the work into it, you’re going to them ALL.”
“I didn’t get invited to even ONE of them. Do you know how hard it is to avoid the bride and groom so I don’t have to answer the awkward question of WHY I’m at their wedding?”
She shrugged. “You need to be fully prepared to plan the wedding. Going all these weddings will help you prepare.”
“Fine. A boat wedding tonight; but only if you pay for the taxi back last night.”
“You took a taxi for ONE block?”
“I did. Now pay me so I can tell my sister that I DIDN’T pay for even a SINGLE taxi ride for at least two months solid.”
The wedding was outside, despite the predictions of rain. The wind blew at the brides skirts and hair and the clouds made everything darker, which gave the photographer fits, but Saber felt that it gave the wedding an air of adventure.
The reception took place indoors, instead of under a pavilion. According to rumor, the new mother-in-law insisted that staying outside any longer would be tempting the fates too much. There weren’t as many guests as Saber had gotten used to seeing at weddings in the last month and a half which gave the reception a personal feel, that everyone was family. Saber looked down at his notebook. Or it would give him that feel if he wasn’t an uninvited stranger.
Saber straightened and started on his quest for wedding cake.
This was the second wedding Melinda had gone to today and she was fairly sure her feet were about to fall off. She slipped off her heals, hiding her bare feet under the table. She absently mindlessly stabbed her cake with a plastic fork. She scraped a sugar rose off. She wasn’t feeling up to having more sugar. It was pity. She was fond of this particular type of icing, which was why she had suggested it for her sister’s wedding. She stifled a yawn and was about to put her head into her arms and maybe catch up on some lost sleep, when her second best friend bounced up to her.
“Melinda!” Sharon dropped into a chair opposite Melinda, and leaned forward to stare into her friends eyes, partly to make sure she Melindas full attention, partly to annoy her friend.
“Do you see that man over in that corner?” Sharon nodded her head to indicate the corner. “Do you know who he is?”
Melinda peered over her shoulder. The man seemed to be writing on a clipboard, but the cupcake he had on it was getting in the way. She turned back to Sharon. “Nope. I don’t have a clue. He’s probably one of Joshua’s friends.”
Sharon shook her head. “That’s what I thought, too, but Joshua doesn’t regognize him either. I thought maybe he was a relative of one of Janice’s friends, but if you don’t know him…”
Melinda put her head down on the table. “Why does it even matter? He must be related to the wedding somehow or he wouldn’t show up. Trust me. I’ve been to three weddings this month, two of them today: people don’t randomly show up to weddings for no reason, unless they’re crashing them. No one would force that upon themselves.”
“Maybe…” Sharon watched at he pushed the cupcake out of his writing space and it fell off the clipboard. “But I could have sworn I he’s the same person that nobody knew at Melody’s wedding.”
Melinda started to scoff but snapped her mouth shut as the man in question walked past, holding a deformed cupcake in one hand, and a clipboard under his arm. Once her was out of earshot Melinda leaned forward. “I take it back. He was at Darcy and Miles’ wedding this morning.” The two girls turned their heads and watched him as he walked pass them again, this time with a cup of punch.
Sharon giggled. “I hope he doesn’t knock that off, too.”
Melinda nodded, preoccupied with wondering why he had shown up to three weddings where no one seemed to know him.
“He’s always taking notes.” Darren announced this as if taking notes was illegal. “I think he’s a secret journalist.”
“A secret journalist?” Kyle snorted. “It’s more likely he’s taking notes on what he thinks he could borrow for his own wedding.”
“He’s a wedding reporter. It’s obvious if you think about it. He just prefers to not announce it. I can’t say I blame him.”
“You must let him have cake before the other guests dear.”
“Are you kidding? He wasn’t even invited –”
“He’s secretly famous. There’s no question about special treatment.”
“You got that right! HE doesn’t get any!”
“Of course he does, dear.”
“I’ve asked twelve different couples; he’s never signed any of the guest books.”
“Rumor has it that he’s given a gift once.”
“How did they know it was him?”
“A witness saw him put it on the gift table. There was no card.”
“You’re inviting WHO to our wedding?”
“That man right over there.”
“But who is he?”
“He’s a terribly famous wedding reporter. He only goes to the best weddings.”
“You’re inviting a total stranger to our wedding.”
“Just because neither of us know him doesn’t make him a stranger.”
“Do you even know his name?”
“No one does. He’s THAT famous.”
Saber was in awe at the EXPENSE of the wedding. To start with, the invitations were supremely fancy with a 3-D pop-up of a ship to declare that the wedding was ocean themed. Saber had carefully considered weather he should dress in theme, as the invitation HIGHLY recommended, since this was the first wedding of someone he didn’t know that he had been invited to. He had decided against it, his reasoning being that he had never even considered wearing anything besides the suit he had worn for his sisters wedding for the many others he had gone to in the last couple months, even though Courtney had offered to lend him some of her brothers suits so he could be better color coordinated. Saber had even laughed at the suggestion.
He looked up at the ship, decorated thoroughly to let passer-bys know that there was a wedding taking place there. Maybe I should have dressed up for this. Another group of costumed guests arrived. A few of them were even wearing wigs.
He got in line, feeling rather out of place.
To feel more comfortable he wrote in his wedding notebook. Note to self: Don’t accept anymore invitations. Even if you’re given puppy dog eyes. It’s bad enough going to the ones already on your calendar, adding more is a truly terrible idea.
“Your invitation, Sir.”
“Oh, yeah.” Saber scrambled to produce the vital piece of paper.
The wedding was…overboard. Saber laughed at the pun, then groaned and hunched further into his coil of rope. He had thought that having a wedding on a ship was extravagant, but that had only been the beginning.
Saber started a drawing of a burning ship.
Apparently the couple had built the ship just for the wedding– which had cost somewhere near 12 million dollars. Then they had hired a full orchestra and required everyone to arrive in costume.
The ceremony itself had been mercifully short and after about an hour of dancing the bride and groom had boarded a dingy and rowed to an island for their honeymoon.
Saber was jealous that they had been allowed to escape.
Saber scanned the program, reassuring himself that it hadn’t changed when it had gotten printed off.
He put it in his back pocket and was about to race off when Courtney grabbed his jacket.
“Saber, sit down.”
He twisted in her grip. “Not a chance. I’ve been to enough weddings to know that the person who did all the arranging does NOT rest until the bride and groom are safely off to their honeymoon. Then, and ONLY then, may they collapse in relief. In some cases they wait until the wedding has been cleaned up and everyone is gone.”
Courtney pointed to a seat and Saber reluctantly sat in it.
“I need to KNOW that everything’s going to run smoothly, Courtney.”
“The wedding starts in five minutes, Saber. Most of the guests are already seated and I think you’re making them nervous with all your bouncing around, so you’re going to stay seated until after the wedding.”
She stared down at him. “Is that understood?”
He looked at his bouncing knee.
“Is that understood, Saber Kender.”
“Fine. I’ll stay seated.”
Saber darted from group to group of Kea and James’ friends and family, unable to stay in one place for more that two minutes.
He was pleased with how well the wedding had gone, from how planning it hd gone, to how both of the families had agreed to most of his ideas to how the wedding had gone.
He could hardly wait til the reception was over so he could hide in his bed and never be required to attend another wedding again.
He was eventually cornered by the happy couple. They seemed very pleased with his work.
“I can’t imagine how you got everything together so well, Saber. I can’t thank you enough for arranging everything!”
Saber smiled. “Well, I did my best, Kea.”
James smacked Saber on the back. “It was nicely done Saber. Very simplistic. I’m glad you didn’t go to much trouble on our behalf.”
Saber’s smile faltered. “…Yeah.” He said weakly. “No trouble at all. Um. I should probably…” He gestured at the guests. “Say hi to everyone I know…”
Kea grabbed his arm. “I don’t think you’ve officially met James’ mom.” She started dragging him to her mother-in-law.
“Hey Lily, this is Saber. He’s the one–”
Lily dropped her glass of punch. “You’re- you’re-” She grabbed his hand and pumped it up and down. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’ve heard so much about your work!”
Saber blinked. “Uh. Work? What-”
Lily turned on Kea and James. “I cannot believe you managed to get the most famous wedding journalist to come to your wedding!” She hugged her daughter-in-law. “I’m very proud of you.”