Chapter 11: The Wedding
"I miss keys." my dad muttered as he wiggled the card key in the door slot. "Once hotels had real keys." he added looking at me.
"I know Dad." I said with a small laugh. I took the card key from him and got the door open. "That would be when dinosaurs roamed the earth and you had to walk twenty miles in the snow right?" I asked with a grin.
"Tell me again why I agreed to this?" he asked but he was smiling as he pulled our luggage into the hotel room. He'd agreed to let me come to the wedding but only if he came along.
"Because I'm the perfect, most wonderful daughter?" I suggested bouncing onto the first bed.
"Mhmm." was all the reply he gave, clearly not convinced.
"Because you love me." I said.
"That might be closer." he said with a laugh. I was sprawled on the bed and surprised at how comfortable it was. My dad sat on the other bed and bounced lightly a few times, trying it out. "Not too bad."
"I know." I said. I got up and walked over to the window and peaked out. "I wish we could go sight seeing." I said wistfully.
"Sorry kiddo." my dad said coming up behind me and looking out. "Not enough time to take more than a couple days off. Just enough time for the wedding."
"Yeah, I understand. It would just be fun." I said turning away from the window and giving him a hug.
"What was that for?" he asked. "Not that I mind."
"Just wanted to hug my dad." I grinned. "And thanks, for letting me come."
"We can come back on a real vacation - maybe over the summer." he suggested.
My face lit up excitedly. "That would be great Dad!"
Our flight had come in pretty late in the evening, so Dad and I ordered some room service and then watched a movie before going to sleep. The next day, Erik came over to show us to his house and introduce us to his brother and future step father.
"Hi." I said to Erik's mom as she introduced us to John Lynch, her fiance and then to baby Gavin.
"Oh he's adorable!" I said cooing over Gavin. He was now about five months old and still had chunky baby cheeks. "Can I hold him?" I asked. Lydia handed Gavin over carefully and made sure he was contently settled in my arms before turning to Erik to give him a hug. "You are so cute." I said to the baby with a smile. I leaned forward and whispered "Just like your brother."
After talking to his mom for a few minutes, Erik came up behind me and leaned in close to me. "I heard that." he whispered. He was grinning when I chance a look at him and my cheeks flamed a bit. 'Oops'.
Lydia put Erik and I to work as soon as Gavin was down for a nap. There were table arrangements to be finished and favors to be put together. It was pretty boring work but Erik and I had a good time anyway. Lydia popped her head into the dining room to check on us as I was preparing to throw a specially wrapped chocolate at Erik and I had to scramble to hide it. I bit the inside of my mouth to keep from laughing until she was gone. Then I burst out laughing and threw the chocolate at him anyway.
The wedding was the following afternoon. My dad and I went to Erik's house early to help out with any last minute things. Erik and I had finished the favors and arrangements the night before, in spite of our antics, so we didn't have much to do while we waited on the adults to get ready. "You look wonderful." Erik said admiring my dress.
"Thanks" I said twirling around with a girlish giggle. We sat down on the couch together and turned on the TV to some random movie. After sitting in silence for a bit, I turned to him, "Oh I check the online gradebook last night - we passed or project and I got an A on my final - have you checked?"
"No not yet. But that's good news - means we passed the class at least." Erik said with a smile. "Not that I ever doubted we would."
"Uh-huh - right!" I said nudging him playfully. "You can't tell me that when we first started...or when you saw our precious egg baby smashed on the ground that you didn't think 'Oh crap'"
"Never doubted for a minute. Not with a partner like you." he said sincerely.
We lapsed into a semi-awkward silence since I wasn't sure how I should reply to that. The silence was cut short, thankfully, when a frantic looking bride stumbled into the room. "Oh dear, oh no...." she said looking at us with wide eyes.
"Mom?" Erik asked. "Should you be getting dressed - the wedding is starting in a little over an hour. It is still starting right? Where's John?" he asked getting the panic look himself.
"What's the matter?" I asked, looking at Lydia.
"John's niece, she was supposed to be my other bridesmaid and she's sick!" she explained still looking around frantically. Then her eyes fell on me and her face lit up. "Ginny! Yes, perfect! What size do you wear?"
"Um....a four." I said uneasily.
"Perfect!! Oh perfect! You can wear her dress and you can be my bridesmaid!" she said snatching my hand and dragging me away before I could make a sound. "Come on, we have to get to the hall and get you dressed!" I looked back at Erik and pleaded with my eyes for help but he just shrugged.
Less than an hour later, I was standing in front of a full length mirror examining myself. The dress was just a little small in a couple areas where it had been altered to fit John's niece (who was now throwing up) but otherwise it fit well.
Lydia's maid of honor walked down the aisle holding Gavin, the official ring bearer for the service and I followed after her. Erik was one of John's groomsmen and smiled at me as I approached the front. I was so busy concentrating on not tripping over my feet or dress that I barely noticed.
I gave him a weak smile as I assumed my place awkwardly.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today..." the minister began the ceremony. I could see Gavin growing restless with each word and I hoped he'd make it through the service - for John and Lydia's sake.
Kelsie, the maid of honor, was rocking Gavin quickly and shushing him as they finally got to the end. "And you may kiss the bride." And they did kiss! As soon as the hall burst into applause, Gavin's cries ripped through the crowd and Kelsie gave up on keeping him quiet. Kelsie and I exchange a look and just laughed about it.
Thankfully, Lydia had arranged for Gavin to be watched back at the house for the reception so she and John could enjoy a baby free evening. Erik and I walked into the reception hall together - not only as his official "date" for the wedding but also because we were bridesmaid and groomsman.
After the bride and groom danced their first dance, Erik offered his hand to me. "Can I have this dance?" he asked with a smile.
"Yes." I said as I placed my hand and let him lead me onto the dance floor. Erik was as good a dancer as I remembered. "I don't think we've dance like this since homecoming last year." I said.
Erik appeared to be considering. "I think you're right."
The song was coming to an end when a pretty girl with beautifully long hair approached. She smiled at Erik and all but ignored me. "Can I cut in?" she asked Erik with a flirty smile.
"Um..." Erik replied, clearly surprised. "What are you doing here Val?" he asked.
Val....the Val...from the summer. I thought it all in a few moments and started to move away from them. I could feel the jealousy rising in my throat and I didn't want either of them to see me upset.
"I was invited." Val said before turning a piercing look on me as if I wasn't invited and shouldn't be here.
"I'm gonna go get a drink Erik." I said without looking at him, I didn't take my gaze from Val.
Erik watched me walk away from them as another song - a slow song - started. He hesitated but clearly Val expected him to dance with her so after a moment he put his arms around her awkwardly. She adjusted them and herself so that she was pressing against him throughout the dance.
To his credit, Erik extracted himself from her clutches as soon as the song ended. He found me standing by the wall and started to say something but seemed to think better of it. Instead he turned to watch the dancing.
"So that was Val." It was a statement rather than a question.
"Yeah." Erik said simply. "Yeah that's Val." I detected a bit of sadness, or maybe resignation, in his voice as he made the confirmation.
I placed my hand on his and curled my fingers into his but didn't say anything else.