Ted lifted his head at the sound of someone knocking on his door.
“Hi,” Mitch greeted as he entered. Ted dropped his pen and leaned back in his seat.
“Hey…have a seat. If you’re here for your fiancée, I’m sorry you just missed her. She had to go do some shopping and she dragged my wife along with her.”
“Yeah, she told me about that. I came to see you, TB.”
“Okay…what about?” Mitch sat down.
“I know we are not where we used to be and getting there will take longer than we both anticipate and it’s all my fault. But this upcoming wedding means a lot to Anita and it is one of the few days you wish to share memories with those who matter to you. You’ve always been my best friend no matter how bad things have turned out between us. We both dreamed of being each other’s best man at our weddings but I wasn’t here to be yours but I would like you to be mine. Perhaps we could hit the refresh button and start all over. So what do you say?”
Ted spent the next minute studying his old friend and tapping the tip of the pen on the desk repeatedly.
“Why are you getting married to Anita, Mitch?”
“Because I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I think I’m in love with her.”
“What do you want me to say, TB? One cannot be absolutely sure these days, right? Judging from the rate of divorce these days…”
“I was sure about Lucia.”
“Never had cold feet, even once?”
“I don’t remember…in fact, she had it more than I did. I gave her every cause not to marry me but she came through for me. What else can I ask for?”
“She is one unique lady. You got lucky.”
“I consider myself blessed. Do you consider yourself blessed that you found Anita?”
“What’s with the questions, Ted?”
“Just want to make sure you’re marrying her because you love her and not because you cannot get the one you really desire.”
“Who, your wife?” Ted sat back in his seat. Mitch chuckled and got up.
“I thought making you my best man could be the first step to getting us back on track but now I realize how futile that is. Have a nice day, Ted.”
“Wait. I’ll agree on one condition.”
“Let’s hear it.”
“Promise me that you’re marrying her for her and not for any twisted reason and that you’d take care of her like she deserves.”
“So what, you’re her loving cousin now?”
“I do care about Anita, Mitch. And I know I will suffer the implications if this thing goes south and I don’t want to go through that. Lucia deserves better than that. So do we have a deal?”
Mitch offered him his hand. Ted took it.
Anita knocked on the office door softly. Ted lifted his head.
“Hey you’re back. Where’s my wife?”
“She went ahead to meet up with her old man.”
“Oh I see.”
“Yeah, one of the perks of the being the only child of a wealthy business guru.”
“We were born into the life. We are used to it.” A minute of silence passed.
“So here we are…on either sides of the table.”
“How do you feel, getting married?” Ted asked.
“Excited…anxious…a bit skeptical but really excited. How did you feel?”
“Couldn’t wait to get married. I am happy that you’ve found someone you want to spend the rest of your life with.”
“Yeah. How’s life with Monique so far?”
“Very interesting. We have fun, intimate moments and very heated arguments. I guess it’s pretty balanced. But now that she’s pregnant, she can become intense at any moment but you know me, I’m good at calming her down.”
“Uh huh, the Bourbon charm. Yeah I had an intense moment with your wife today. I forgot the downside of being knocked up. She was so emotional about everything! She seemed more excited about the wedding than I am. When we went cake-tasting, she went explosive. She ate it all and was so hyper that I actually had to buy her one. She was all over the place!” Ted laughed.
“Welcome to my world; that’s the new normal for me.”
“I so don’t envy you right now, Ted.”
“Yeah, a piece of advice for you: be careful what you say around her or else you’ll spend the next hour apologizing for it.” Anita shook her head in disbelief.
“Who would have thought that Monique…”
“Hi there…” Lucia’s voice sang out. They both glanced at her. Lucia’s mouth was full with cake.
“It’s really good, Ted. I think we should get some for the house.”
“Okay; I’ll be heading out now. I can see you have your hands full now,” Anita said to Ted. They both got up and hugged.
“I wish you all the best in your marriage, Anita.”
“See you soon, Monique. Take some rest, okay? You must be exhausted.”
“And hungry. I like your cake.”
“Of course you do. Bye.”
Ted watched his wife munching on the cake like a little girl. She stretched her hand toward him.
“Want some cake, honey? It’s amazing.”
“I’m good, thanks. But I’m sure our baby wants more. So why not eat it for him?”
Lucia smiled. “I will.”
Two months later, a simple but lovely ceremony was held for Mitch and Anita to be united in holy matrimony with Ted and Lucia being the best man and lady of honor respectively. After they were pronounced man and wife, the newlywed couple turned and the first people they laid their eyes on were the ones they secretly loved and wished to be with. It should have been you marrying me today, Anita thought as she gazed at Ted who smiled at her whiles Mitch’s dreamy eyes blinked with desire as they focused on the beautiful and pregnant Lucia. But when they faced each other, their hearts were fairly satisfied. They could make it work, they knew they could. Although their hearts were beating for someone else, they could learn to love each other…or so they thought. They kissed.
“They really look like they are in love with each other,” Lucia observed as they watched the couple take the first dance.
“Yeah, it surely seems that way. Do you care to dance with me?” Ted asked, offering his hand. Lucia smiled and her eyes beamed with joy as she took his hand.
Mitch closed his eyes for a moment as he continued his dance with his new bride.
When he opened them, his gaze fell on his friend and his wife dancing. His heart melted as he watched Lucia laugh and get kissed by her husband. Mitch kissed Anita’s neck. Anita’s eyes also fell on Ted and Lucia. She held Mitch more tightly.
Mitch stared into the eyes of his new wife.
“We are going to be happy together,” he promised. Anita nodded hopefully.
The Bourbons’ love continued to blossom following the birth of their baby girl. And since Anita had moved out of town to be with her husband, Lucia’s mind and heart were finally at peace now that all the drama was behind her. Now she knew she had her husband all to herself. Anita is gone and never coming back. Her happily-ever after had just begun.