Everyone is standing and watching as she glides to the altar with our father escorting her. Our mother and Larry wait patiently in the front row with Ginny, the flower girl, and James, the sleeping mini ring bearer. The minister steps forward and asks who will give her away. Dad turns and stares at Viola, her smile not faltering one bit. She tells him she loves him and he says it back.
“I do,” Dad finally says, his voice shaking with nerves. He kisses her cheek and releases her hand into Travis’, who steps forward and accepts his bride, which is just as corny as it sounds. I’ve seen enough romance movies in my day to know how this works.
I stand proudly at Travis’ side and smile at my sister. She’s beyond giddy, her face glowing as she squeezes Travis’ hand. The minister says a few words and then gestures to the guests to take their seats.
Glancing around them, I study Courtney and see her beautiful smile. She’s even more stunning than I realized before, and I can’t help but think of all the thoughts that have surfaced since that one night. She’s so full of life and sweetness that I sometimes wonder if she ever imagines what life would be like after we stop being roommates. Not that I plan to move out anytime soon and I know she doesn’t, but what’s going to happen when that time comes? I went from moving out of my parents’ house to college dorms to moving in the house with Travis and then Courtney. I like consistency, and things are good the way they are now, but watching Travis and Viola make their commitments has me thinking long-term more than ever before.
I’ve wasted the last three years on a woman who runs circles around me and has no real goals for what she wants. For years, I’ve played her games, and I’ve allowed her to play me. It’s safe to say I don’t do well with change.
Travis side-glances over at me with one eye, and I take that as my cue to hand him the ring. I listen as he confesses his love to her, promises to love and take care of her, and teases her when he makes a reference to Harry Potter and love spells. She chuckles, even though her eyes are tearing up. He slides the ring on her finger and places a sweet kiss on her hand.
Courtney is holding Viola’s bouquet and staring at the couple. She’s been over-the-moon about the wedding since they first got engaged. Their journey was definitely not an easy one, and it’s no secret I wasn’t exactly on board with it the first time I found out about their relationship; but looking back, I should’ve seen it coming. They were always at each other’s throats growing up. Viola despised him, and he lived for taunting her right back. It was the classic If he picks on you it means he likes you scenario, except their hatred was mutual. Once I came to terms with it, I couldn’t have been happier that Viola was with him. I knew he was a good guy and would treat her the way she deserved to be treated. I didn’t have to worry about some loser treating her like shit. I know she’s in good hands now.
I listen as Viola tells Travis how much she loves him. She tells him that even when she hated him, she was crazy about him, that sometimes hate disguises love and that she’s loved him all along. There’s no doubt in my mind that what she’s saying is true.
Once Viola slides the ring on Travis’ finger, she smiles wide and we all wait for the final words.
“I’m beyond excited to finally announce you as husband and wife. Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time ever, Mr. and Mrs. Travis King!”
Travis doesn’t wait for permission and pulls Viola to his chest and takes her breath away as he dips her. She squeals loudly, earning a round of applause as she wraps her arms around his neck, the guests continuing to cheer them on.
Travis finally lets her up for air as the orchestra begins playing again. My mother places Ginny on her feet, and we all watch as she runs to the middle of the altar and Travis swoops her up into his arms.
He takes Viola’s hand and guides her back down the aisle. Courtney and I meet up in the middle, and she links her arm with mine as we follow them.
I study her face and smile. Leaning into her, I whisper, “I saw you crying.”
She turns her head faster than I can back mine away and our faces are inches apart as we continue following the new bride and groom.
“Tears of happiness, Drew. Their love is real. It’s so beautiful,” she says, passionately.