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Paths of Life

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The weddings were getting contagious.

Every time Charlie Thomas turned around, someone was getting engaged or asking him to come to the wedding, or asking him to be in the wedding.

Now his younger brother was getting married, and he was going to be escorting one of his younger sister’s good friends down the aisle.

It was a little strange.

For one, he couldn’t believe that Stacey had somehow convinced Claudia to wear a dress that was simple and stark, and just one color – violet.

Of course, Claudia had made the earrings that each woman in the bridal party was wearing, and those were dangling clusters of violet and lavender and sparkles, with each pair just a little bit different.

Sam and Stacey, getting married. It had been a winding path for them to get there, but they were all clustered around the back of the church waiting for the wedding ceremony to start.

The church was full to bursting of people he’d known all his life. He had always thought that he would leave Stoneybrook in the dust, but he’d never been able to make himself take advantage of any of the opportunities that come his way. He liked being here where he knew everything and everyone. It was home.

*** *** ***

He stood at the front of the church with Sam, who seemed amazingly calm compared to how he had acted the past few days of wedding-related insanity. They had made the decision that David Michael would escort their mother to her seat , and while part of his attention was focused on that, the rest of it was firmly riveted on the maid of honor’s sister, seated a few rows back from the front. Janine Kishi, black hair falling around her face, wearing something in blue that exposed slim arms and graceful shoulders.

Maybe the reception would be more fun than he had thought it would be…

The rest of the wedding party came up the aisle and took their places, and he had the enjoyment of seeing women he had known as little girls all dressed up in violet and lavender dresses. His sister even had makeup on for a change.

The bridal march started to play, and he turned his attention to the back of the church, checking for probably the hundredth time to make sure the ring was still in his pocket.

He had the pleasure of seeing the absolutely fixed expression of his brother as he looked at his bride for the first time as his bride. Charlie couldn’t blame him.

Not that Stacey McGill didn’t look great pretty much all the time, but today she looked like what he thought girls probably dreamed about looking like on their wedding. Tall and slim in a column of ivory and lace, a small train flowing behind her, and a sheer veil draped over her face, Stacey came up the aisle on her father’s arm.

When she came to take her place next to her groom, Charlie watched the way the two of them exchanged a smile and look that shut everyone else in the world out.

One winding path had ended, and another would begin.

For all of them, Charlie thought as he saw his mother not trying to hold back her tears and Watson’s arm gently possessive around her shoulders. For Stacey and Sam, and for everyone.