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August 2, 2016 by Lyn

Between Years Four and Five

Certain things were tradition at weddings. The bride got a pretty dress. The groom was nervous. Somebody’s mother or stepmother would mess things up. Somebody’s drunk uncle or cousin would start saying inappropriate things at the top of his lungs. Gossip would abound about the happy couple, and people would speculate on who be next down the aisle.

The wedding would be neither Christian nor churched; Mabina had won that argument with her newest stepmother, backed by her father (unwillingly) and Cassidy’s mother (somewhat surprisingly). The new wife, Judith, was devout on Sundays and where anything could see her, and thought it would reflect poorly on her if her new stepdaughter was married out in the park in some pagan ceremony.

Mabina, who was too polite to mention how it might reflect on her to have her wedding run by her father’s latest floozy, appealed instead to said father. “We’re not Christian,” she said simply, leaving unsaid all of the reasons that was true: when you know what your gods were, and where they had gone, it left you disinclined to worship anything at all.

“I know, love,” he’d said, and had begun to work on the tricky job of soothing a new wife who would, like all the others, couldn’t understand the world her husband came from.

That fight wasn’t even completed when they moved on to the next one; the absurd woman wanted the bride in white. Mabina, rather rationally she thought, refused.

“In no imaginary world nor real will anyone be fooled into thinking I’m a virgin by some scrap of white silk stretched across my babies. Nor do I wish them to!”

“So you want them to think you’re a harlot, do you?”

“They’ll think what they want to of me, and if they are the sort that will think I’m a slut for two babies conceived in love if not in wedlock, then they’re no-one I want to know, anyway.” Mabina won that one, as well; she had not spent the last two years dealing with women like Megan, Liza, and Alisha without picking up a few tricks.

Their last fight had been about the guest list, and, while Mabina’s father had helped gently and tried to not upset Judith up until now, when it came to this, Amantius put his foot down.

“Judith, I don’t know half of these people, and I’m not speaking now of the half from Cassidy’s family.” She knew most of them already. “Why should they be at our wedding?”

“They’re your family, Beanie.”

“No, Judith, they’re your family.”

“Well, I’m married to Amantius now, which makes me your mother, which makes them your family, too.” The sad thing was, she sounded as if she meant it. “Besides, if Cassidy gets to invite that scruffy bum Cormack, I don’t see why you shouldn’t invite some better people to add some class to the wedding.”

That hadn’t been the final straw, but it had been close. “Cormack is Cassidy’s father,” she answered coldly. “Even if he is scruffy. But Judith, you’ve given us an extra twenty people; the park nor the budget can handle this!”

“Oh,” the daft woman answered breezily, “I crossed out some of these people I didn’t know. Conrad, Vladimir, Megan, Carrig…”

“You mean, my friends, my loved ones?” A wiser woman would have heard the doom in Mabina’s voice, but then, her father didn’t like his women wise.

“Well, don’t be greedy and hog the list, Beanie.”

“Hog the list? Greedy?” Mabina’s legendary patience was shot. “May I remind you, you insufferable harridan, that this is my wedding, not yours. You have already had your wedding, and I’ll thank you to keep your nose out of mine.”

That, of course, turned on the waterworks, and Judith ran off crying her fake tears to her sympathetic husband. Who, in this case, as he’d been Mabina’s father long before he’d been Judith’s Ammy, was less sympathetic than hoped for. “It’s her wedding, dear, and if you were fool enough to try to turn it into a party for your friends, I don’t know why you expect me to support you in that folly.”

That put an end to Judith’s interference.

The drunk uncle was played by Cormack, but it was Cassidy who dealt with him, and he shut Mabina out of his half of their mind for much of that conversation. She caught once choice line – I’m doing this once and once only, and, by eleven departed gods, if you fuck up Mabina’s day, me and twenty of my closest friends will fuck you up so badly you’ll be drinking from a straw until your great-grandchildren are gone, do you understand? – and decided her better half had this well in hand.

So it was that Mabina walked down the flower-strewn aisle of grass in the park behind her father’s house, dressed in a cream silk dress with green embroidery, a dress that, rather than hiding her six-months-gone belly, bragged of it, boasted of her pride in her lovely babies. She leaned perhaps a little more heavily than she needed to on her father’s arm, proud of him, too, proud of the spark in his eyes coming back to life.

Cassidy waited for her at the altar, his nerves echoing across their shared mind. What if I forget what I’m supposed to say? What if I botch it up? What if I choke?… You’re beautiful, ‘Bina.

And you’re gorgeous, my love. And so much more adorable when he was nervous. I won’t let you forget your lines. Besides, even a daft boy like you can remember “I do,” now can’t you?

I can, yes, ‘Bina. He was only that meek when he was twitting her, but if he was calm enough to tease her, then he was no longer shaking with nerves that would distract them both. She looked down the long grassy aisle at him and smiled broadly. I love you.

I thought you were marrying me for my money.

And to give your little bastards an honest name. Of course, it had nothing to do with love.

You’re my favorite person in the world, too, beautiful. Now get down here and marry me.

The ceremony itself was simple, and it hadn’t taken much to weave into the words a second commitment. It helped, of course, that the officiant was an Ellehemaei, their mentor Reid Solomon.

“Do you, Cassidy, take this woman, Mabina, to be yours, and you hers, to have and to hold…”

“I do.” See, that wasn’t hard, was it, dear?

“Do you, Mabina, take this man, Cassidy, to be yours, and you his, to have and to hold…”

“I do.” I love you, you maddening woman.

“…as long as you both shall live.”

“There was no turning back, nor would they ever need it. She/he/they held each other’s hands, over the round curve of their babies in her belly.

“We do.”

Somewhere in the audience, Judith was sulking. Somewhere, Cormack was drunk.

“I pronounce you husband and wife.” Somewhere, people were gossiping.

“You may now kiss.” They were already kissing. They weren’t sure they would ever stop.

“It is my great pleasure to announce…” Not that it mattered. Not that anything else mattered, but the two of them, the four of them, “Mabina and Cassidy.” And let Judith chew on that one.


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