“Okay, so, I’m planning Jesse’s bachelor party – even though you’re the Best Man, because, no offense, but… yeah, offense. And all of you have been appointed… to help me out.”
“All of you”, Walt notices, consists of himself and Skinny Pete. Badger doesn’t pay this fact any mind.
“We’re also supplying the music, so we need, like, mad tunes, yo,” he continues, “And we can have the band sing a song, like, for them.”
“Sounds bitchin’, yo,” Skinny Pete replies. “We need hot strippers at the bachelor party, like mad tits.” Walt looks back and forth between the two, wondering why exactly Badger had decided he was necessary for this.
“But music first, yo,” Badger says, “We need to make a list so I can, like, burn this shit to disc.”
“’Freak on a Leash’,” Skinny Pete suggests.
“Yo, and ‘Welcome to the Jungle’.”
“Yeah man! And that jaunt from Method Man…”
“Seriously?” Walt breaks in. “You do know this is a wedding, not a rave party.”
“Okay, okay, old man,” Badger retorts as Walt rolls his eyes, “What do you suggest instead?”
“Something romantic, since it’s… a wedding?” Walt fires back. “When Skyler and I were married, our song was ‘Wonderful Tonight’.” He’ll try not to hold the fact that Eric Clapton sent gifts to Elliot against him.
“That Eric Clapton song?” Skinny Pete chimes in.
“Yeah, I know it,” Badger agrees, “But doesn’t that song say ‘long blonde hair’? Andrea has black hair, yo.”
“Well, you said you’re going to sing it, didn’t you?” Walt points out. “Just change it.”
Badger and Skinny Pete exchange looks and eventually nod in agreement.
“Okay, so that’s music for now,” Badger announces, “Now, how many strippers should we have?”
Walt sighs. It’s going to be a long night.
Despite being Jesse’s Best Man, Walt is, thankfully, allowed to skip Jesse’s bachelor party; Badger seems to have it covered, with ample help from Skinny Pete and, Walt is sure, Wendy.
Walt and Skyler rise early the next day – 7AM, the clock reads. A list of things Skyler is meant to accomplish before the wedding is hanging on the bedroom wall, most of which have large and semi-obnoxious check-marks placed next to them. She adds another check next to “tux”, as both Walter Whites have already picked theirs up. Hopefully they don’t need a written reminder to actually put them on.
“When was the last wedding we were actually at?” Walt inquires sleepily.
“Must have been Hank and Marie’s… was that, ten years ago?”
“Jeez, you’re right, Skyler. Junior’s will probably be the next one.” Skyler grins wryly.
“Not anytime soon!”
“Yeah, that’s right. No one whisks your baby away without your approval.”
“Hard-won approval,” Skyler agrees without a hint of irony.
Then it’s off to hair and makeup, before corralling Walt Jr. into the car, leaving Holly with Hank and Marie, and driving over to the pavilion where the wedding is being held.
Walt stands, awkwardly, ushering the few others they’ve invited, all friends of Jesse’s or Andrea’s – there’s a bit of a clash, as all of Andrea’s family and friends have arrived either overdressed or dressed quite suitably, while with the exception of Badger (who has conjured a suit from somewhere), all of Jesse’s friends have arrived in jeans and T-shirts.
Thankfully, there’s not all that much time to dwell on that, as the ceremony seems to begin very soon after. Too soon, for Walt.
The minister is an old friend of Saul’s, which makes Walt a bit suspicious of his commitment to any kind of religious faith, but… he’ll do. Walt tries to push the doubts, all doubts, out of his mind as he approaches him, arm and arm with Skyler, following after Jesse and Andrea. Jesse looks surprisingly at home in a tuxedo, despite the fact that he keeps picking at his collar with his free hand. He gazes at Andrea with every step, as if fearful that she’s about to fade into thin air any moment.
Walt can’t shake the feeling that Jesse is settling, and that the woman he’d rather have on his arm is in the ground because of Walt.
Andrea is wearing a dress that Walt could call turquoise if he had to choose, a silk dress with a ruffled front and a big bow in the back. Walt thinks, a bit maliciously, that she must have known better than to wear white, but he brushes away the thought as quickly as he can. This is Jesse’s soon-to-be wife, after all, and he can at least try to think of it as less of losing a son – a son that wasn’t his for twenty-four years and then suddenly was, then won’t be – and more of gaining a daughter, whatever the cliché is. He tries.
Jesse and Andrea approach the altar, and the minister makes some sort of general motion to usher the small crowd a little bit closer.
Walt takes the opportunity to survey the crowd – besides he, Skyler, and Walt Jr., there’s Saul and Francesca (who clearly looks as if she’d rather be just about anywhere else), Badger, Skinny Pete, Brock, Andrea’s grandmother, and a crowd of Hispanic girls. He looks for his son and finds him in a cluster of a few of the girls, clearly distracted by at least one of them.
He doesn’t have long to consider that, though – both his boys are growing up, and way, way too quickly – as the minister begins speaking.
“We are gathered here today to celebrate the joining of these two young people – these two souls – in marriage.” Walt zones out the next few sentences, something about responsibility and love, as he thinks back to his own wedding to Skyler and how far and how wrong things have gone from there. Has everything already gone wrong for Jesse? Will it get better all the time, simply because “it can’t get no worse”?
“If there is any reason why these two should not be wed, speak now or forever hold your peace.” Skyler looks at Walt, as if daring him to speak. He doesn’t. “Who gives this woman to this man?”
Walt steps forward.
“I do,” he replies, though it’s really the other way around, giving Jesse to Andrea despite his misgivings, some coming from concern and others from simple proprietary selfishness.
“Do you, Jesse, take Andrea to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, for richer or poorer, as long as you both shall live?”
Jesse takes a deep breath, before breathing out, “I do.”
“And do you, Andrea, take Jesse to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, for richer or poorer, as long as you both shall live?”
The minister pauses and gestures for Brock to come forward, which he does.
“Jesse and Andrea, not only will you be bonded by this marriage, but you will be guardians of this child. Jesse and Andrea, do you promise to raise Brock with love and care, for the rest of your days?”
“We do,” they chime.
“Jesse and Andrea, with the power vested in me by the state of New Mexico , I now pronounce you man and wife. May no man tear apart what God has brought together.” He smiles at the two. “You may kiss the bride.” Brock proceeds to back up a safe distance as he shoots Walt a look that clearly says “I am never doing this.”
Jesse, meanwhile, leans in to kiss Andrea, before taking her hands in his and beaming at the small crowd.
Blushing, he lets go of one hand long enough fist pump the air, exclaiming, “Yeah!” as Andrea’s grandmother rolls her eyes.
They glide into a group for pictures, then, and Walt puts on a smile as he drapes his arm over Skyler, as if their marriage is something more than a smokescreen, as if it’s actually a blueprint, no less, for Jesse and Andrea to follow.
Jesse’s already sacrificed his innocence. Walt knows this, and he knows it was his doing.
“Mr. White!” Jesse exclaims. “One of you and me.”
The arm drape is automatic. The feeling of losing him envelopes his throat, clings to him as he clings to Jesse. He wishes the camera to malfunction, for the person taking the photo to not know what the hell he’s doing just so Jesse can be his protégé for another minute, another thirty seconds, before he has to go back to being Andrea’s husband.
The bulb flashes.
“Alright, everyone,” Skyler exclaims. “The reception’s at the Westwood Fire Hall. If you need directions, come see me.”
And just like that, he’s in the car with Skyler and Junior, off to the fire hall to celebrate Jesse’s nuptials. He doesn’t know whether to hoot, or chuckle, or cry. He doesn’t like the way that Andrea’s grandmother was looking at Jesse. Who the hell is she to judge anybody? It isn’t like her charge is so pure. People can be so above themselves sometimes. Where do they get off, acting like that? Hoity-toity types.
They park in front of the hall and pop open the doors. They haven’t said a word the entire drive, and Walt can’t help but think maybe it was only the temporary addition of Jesse to their home that had given an adrenaline shot to their marriage, and now it was going to wilt into nothingness again.
They have their own table, just for the three of them. They’re Table #1, and Walt can’t help but think it must be on purpose. Junior, for his part, seems disinterested in his own table and much more intrigued by the one populated by Andrea’s bridesmaids.
Walt sneaks a peek over at that table, too, and notes that Andrea’s family members appear to be uniformly attractive, not to mention that a few are on the bustier side.
Skyler snaps her fingers.
“Uh, hey, yes, Skyler,” Walt responds, pulling his eyes back to his wife. “This is a very nice hall, isn’t it?”
Skyler rolls her eyes.
“You were checking out the scenery,” she declares dryly.
“Uh,” Walt begins to deny it.
“It’s very n-nice scenery,” Walt Jr. cuts in. “D-do you think I should take up Spanish in college?”
Skyler puts her palm against her forehead.
“Alright, hi,” a tall girl with curly black hair cuts into the chatter and chanting (the latter of which is coming from a tipsy Saul). “If you don’t know me, I’m Liana, Andrea’s cousin. I’d like to introduce the speeches now, and then we can eat! Which I know is what you’re all waiting for.” There’s a smattering of chuckles. “Okay, first off, we have Miralda, our Maid of Honor. Miri?”
A dark-skinned girl with wavy black hair and a cyan dress approaches the podium with a piece of paper in her hand.
“Hi, everybody, hola. I’m Miri, like Liana just said. And I’ve known Andrea all of our lives. We grew up together. She’s always been an inspiration to me. She’s always been this amazingly strong person who has never let anything stop her from being the person she wants to be.” Miri turns towards Andrea and Jesse’s table. “Andrea, may God bless you and your new husband, Jesse, and your wonderful son, Brock. I wish you guys the best.” Miri departs the mic as Walt rises, moving towards it.
“And next,” Liana introduces, “This is Walter, Jesse’s Best Man. Uh, take it away.”
Skyler stares into the table and semi-audibly groans as Liana smiles and hands the mic to Walt.
“Hi everybody,” Walt begins. “I’ve had the… the honor, to be able to watch Jesse grow up. I first met Jesse when he was in my class at J.P. Wynne. I remember, mainly, Jesse sitting in the back and throwing paper airplanes at the blackboard.”
Jesse grins and droops his hand over Andrea’s shoulder.
“Then I met Jesse again, years later. He was twenty-five, and before long I realized that I had severely misjudged him. He is capable of so much intelligence, ingenuity, and most of all, has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I have ever met. And now,” Walt gestures to Jesse, “He has gone from the boy I met in class to a man, who is marrying this lovely young woman, Andrea, and becoming a father to a young son. So… I hope that you are going to have many happy years with your new family, and I am… proud to have gotten to know you.” Walt quickly sits and covers the rest of the speech. He’s learning his lesson about carrying on way too long.
Walt looks down at his hands and notices that they’re shaking, like the tendons and sinews are protesting against the knowledge that Jesse is being pulled away from him.
“Our bride and groom would each like to say something, too,” Liana declares. “Andrea?”
Andrea’s dress has been converted at some point between the wedding and the reception into a shorter dress with more practicality. She takes the mic and gives a wide smile that Walt can’t help but suspect is fake.
“Hi everybody. Uh… wow. I can’t believe we’re really here, and this is the day. Wow. I’m so glad to be here with all of you and before we get to eating and dancing and all of that fun stuff, I wanted to thank a few people for making today happen. First of all, to Walt and Skyler White – they helped us so much over these past few months, and have just been… really great people.”
Walt looks away, while Skyler stares straight ahead at Andrea.
“And thanks to my grandmother, for always being there for me.”
Andrea’s grandmother smiles, but also shoots a look in Jesse’s direction of the “I’m watching you” variety.
“And last but not least, to my new husband, Jesse, thank you for being mine and to my son, Brock. And, well, everyone here, thanks for helping us celebrate our day!”
Andrea glides off the stage, white shoes clicking against the floor like the gentle beat of a drum or maybe, Walt thinks, a maraca or something exotic like that.
Andrea’s not the type of woman he’d have chosen for himself. She’s a mess, Walt is sure of it; after all, she’s an addict too, recovering or whatnot perhaps but addicts stay addicts, Jesse is an addict and if not for knowing what had led up to his sobriety – being the cause of it, being the cause of – he probably would have never let him forget it. Instead, he’d traded in the “worthless junkie” insults for simply calling him a screw-up all the time, as if taunting Jesse with the fact that overcoming his addiction still wouldn’t compensate for his ineptitude.
What you’ve done for me? You’ve signed my death warrant is what you’ve done!
Get the fuck out of here and never come back.
He’s managed to avoid losing Jesse to Gus and to Mike, only to lose him to a chattery girl with white heels and a turquoise dress.
It’s seeming more like a funeral than a wedding, a loss of he and Jesse forever because now, no matter what either of them could say, the reason they worked was because their priority, in the end, was each other, despite Walt’s lip service to the noble cause of it being all for his family.
I don’t know what kind of relationship you think I have with this person. It’s not as if we’re… friends or something.
Jesse approaches the mic and smiles shyly at the crowd.
“Hi… I’m Jesse… Uh… Wow. This is awesome. I’m not gonna take up too much of your time but I just want to say a few things. First of all, uh, not to be a downer but I wanted to say, uh, basically just… if there’s anybody that I would really love to have here it’d be my Aunt Jenny, who… well, she taught me how to be a good person and… how to love people. So… here’s a toast to you.” Everyone raises their glasses. “Uh, second of all, I… well, as you can see, my parents aren’t here tonight and well, that’s cool with me. But I wanted to just say, uh, thanks to Mr. White over there,” Jesse points, “Who – well, he’s really come through for me when I needed someone to have my back and he taught me a lot. So thank you, and thanks to him and Mrs. White for helping plan all of this.” Jesse clears his throat. “And last – yeah, I know these are gonna be your favorite words I say! – I want to say how glad I am to be marrying you, Andrea, and to have Brock as our son.” He smiles over in Brock’s direction. “I love you both so much.” Jesse swallows and shrugs. “That’s it! Let’s eat.”
Each table is called up to a buffet, and Walt can’t help but feel like he’s back at Wynne, watching his students be dismissed at some school function.
As Walt passes Jesse, the new groom extends his hand.
“Hey, Mr. White.”
“Are you okay?” Jesse’s question is soft.
“Yes,” Walt replies quickly. “Congratulations.”
“You know it’s over, right? Me and you? Our business?”
Jesse smiles sadly.
“And you’re sure you’re alright?”
“Yes. Jesse, I’m happy for you.” Walt shakes his hand again and walks off to the table, leaving Jesse watching after him.
Badger’s band starts to haphazardly begin a warm-up version of “Wonderful Tonight.”