Ever since I proposed to Susan and told her I wanted nothing else for my birthday than her hand in marriage, she has held me to an agreement that my heart made when she'd said yes but that my body has rebelled against and regretted ever since. I stand beside Ron, Oliver, Dean and Wayne, my best friends in the whole world pacing with anticipation of holding her body against mine again tonight. I think back to Susan's twinkling eyes and mischievous __expression as she roped me into believing that if from that day on until our wedding night, we practised abstinence we'd build up such intense desire that the honeymoon night would be as if we were two virgins again...Yeah, right, I'm not John Lennon and Susan definitely isn't Yoko Ono and no matter how that song goes, there's no going back!
Just the thought of her silken flesh beneath my finger tips again after the longest months of my life of getting not much more than my fourteen year old self used to get in the broom closets of Hogwarts, causes me to notice how tight my outfit is. Is it hot in here?
The dull hum of organ music fills my Grandparents garden which is alive with fall colours. I suddenly wonder why all the brilliant colours come out in fall when things are about to succumb to the bliss of winter's sleep. The vibrant and brilliant oranges, yellows, and shades of purple, in contrast to the quiet whisper of the first crocuses that peak out bravely from behind their blanket of snow when Spring knocks at winter's door with a gentle reminder that it's time to let old man winter take his rest. And then I realize that Susan is the Spring to my winter. She reminds me that even though the world is cold, if I can just push the snow aside, I will see that the world is also warm. There are Death Eater's still...winter. But there are children eating ice cream and laughing in the sun... Summer. Spring and Fall are those who love us, who buffer us on either side with a gentler time, a quiet word, a hand to hold, an ear to listen. We are truly blessed.
I stand there thinking all of all this stuff and then it hits me just why I'd failed poetry class in my Muggle schools when I was a child. After all of this deep, sentimental feelings, I become the Justin I know I am. Yep, my friends are the filling in the twinkies, and there isn't a woman alive other than Susan Bones who would take me on. I'm one lucky bloke!
And then it hits meI forgot to write my wedding vows! Holy-mother-of-Merlin-in-pajamas! Oh my God, Justin calm down, think...
I scold myself, wanting to kick my own shins but not knowing how to figure out the body mechanics it would take for such a maneuver.
"I need a quill! A Quick Quotes one if anyone has one!" All of my friends begin to fumble around on their persons for a quill and parchment. Bloody kilts! You can't hide a quill in a kilt! You'd be lucky to hide your excitement in the damn things!
It's pretty obvious no one has a quill so I take off out of the little room they like to hide the groom and all of his goofy friends in so no one can see them check out their own butts in the mirror or stand there playing rock, paper, scissors.
"Sorry!" I mutter to the organist as I take her music sheets right from the stand she's playing from. The music slides to a downward tempo as the astonished old woman follows me with her eyes, her glasses sliding down her nose as she follows me to where I finally find a quill...a huge white plumed quill. The quill that I will sign on the dotted line with... Where the bloody hell is the ink and why haven't wizards ever heard of progress! It's called a ballpoint you baboons!
I find a carafe of wine and tip some into a cup which spills when I stab the huge white plume into it...all over my white shirt and kilt of the Wood family colours and there isn't a charm in the world that is going to get that out before the wedding begins which is to begin in...What are all these people doing here? Why is the old woman playing the Wedding March? Why is Ron hissing at me to get back here...
I slowly look up into the faces of almost everyone I've ever known. The wine drips onto the music sheets obscuring the tiny little dots that now dance before my eyes. Each drop sounds like a bucket of water to me as I hear Oliver laugh and move forward down the set of steps I took in one leap to get down here for a quill. He pries the huge white plumed quill that is dripping blood red wine from the tip from my hands and places it back into it's little brass holder. But I have no vows...
I had no idea I'd be so nervous. I'm sure of the decision I've made to marry Susan and all that lingers in the back of my mind is that I hope that I don't widow her with my job being what it is. I sway a little on my feet once I reach the top of the steps and on one side Oliver holds my shoulder, on the other Ron does the same. Wayne tries to whisper comforting words and ends up looking like a bad ventriloquist.
"I didn't write my vows," I whisper to my friends, pleading with them to help me.
"Wild Child, you don't need written vows. Think song lyrics," Oliver suggests. And at that point, I catch a glimpse of white in the back that I know is Susan even though I can't see her fully. Suddenly it's as if I've never heard music before in my life I just want her here by my side so badly I stand here speechless for the first time in my life and probably the last time in my life when I actually need...well, a speech!Think man think! What was it about the Spring getting up and cheesing off winter who wanted to hybernate longer or something....Oh hell, I'm going to talk about twinkies or something I just know it. I'm doomed.
A sea of faces smile as my sister Chrystian, my soon to be daughter, Kaylee and Liam all walk up the aisle together, Liam toddling proudly between the older girls looking toward his father, Oliver. Oh, my poor Godson is going to end up like me,
I think as he trips on a wrinkle on the carpet and is picked up, sniffling slightly by the two little girls at his side. He smiles at each of them in turn. Or he will turn out just like his dad...
Oliver grins at his son who is a chip off the old block in the charm and charisma department.
The three little ones are supposed to stand together, at least I think that's how it went during the rehearsal. I didn't realize there would be a test and apparently neither did poor Liam. He toddles up to Oliver who picks him up gently and lays his head on Oliver's shoulder. There is an audible 'awww' from the audience.
I've never understood the wedding march. No one walks that way except for in weddings...I guess that's how it got its name. As for me I feel like racing toward the back of the rows of chairs to where a magnificent tent stands and once in awhile one can catch someone glancing back this way.
"Wow," Oliver says quietly under his breath as Lavender comes down the aisle like a runway model. She was so meant for moments like this. Always the fashion guru for the girls in Hogwarts. I haven't seen Hermione in too long but it's true what they say about pregnancy agreeing with some women. She looks amazing and her gaze never leaves Ron's face as she walks towards us. Out of the corner of my eyes I see Mrs Weasley bat away an unwanted tear and I don't envy the speech Ron and Hermione will get about eloping and robbing her of this moment later on. You go, Molly!
Flashbulbs go off as I see Mr Weasley stand to get a picture of his new found daughter in law Penny. It's so sad. Another wedding Mrs Weasley was robbed of being a part of. I'm so glad that Harry and Ginny gave her one.
Megan looks nervous. Really nervous!
It's clear that she doesn't like to be the centre of attention for her walk down the aisle. Wayne smiles encouragingly at her and I see her bring her gaze up from her shoes a bit more when he does.
And the music changes tempo again. I think my heart stopped. I don't need to breathe. The sight of Susan in her wedding gown and the fact that she is walking up this ten thousand miles of red carpet to get to me is all I need to live.
Susan is clasping onto my dad's arm so tightly that his jacket is wrinkled and pulled up to his elbow and I think he's losing all feeling in his hand but he grins madly as I hear him tell her to slow down and enjoy the moment. I think she was going to sprint. I wish my dad hadn't stopped her.
My mom sits in the front row sobbing openly and at least ten tissues are magically floating toward her. Oh man, the wizards forgot that this is a strictly Muggle affair!
Mad Eye Moody, a hat concealing his magical eye sees what has happened and I see him take his wand out discreetly and cause a breeze to stir to make it look as if the tissues were merely blowing in the wind.
I watch the tissues take off like doves and no one seems to have noticed that they were in the shape of paper airplanes like the inter office memos at work are. I follow the flight of one as it caresses Susan's veil and the wind catches the edge of the light fabric and gives me a teasing glance at her beautiful face. She wears only a hint of makeup and her hair catches the gleam of the tiara my Grandmother has placed in her care now. Maybe one day it will go to our daughter.
My dad takes Susan's arm and places her hand in mine.
And I breathe again.
It's only now that I realize that I no longer stand beside my friends where I was told to stay during this part. I've walked, or floated, or run or Apparated halfway down the aisle. Dad laughs at me openly and let's me have my bride. He finishes the walk beside Susan and I.
Words are spoken and I don't hear them but I suddenly find myself being stared at as Susan giggles at me just a bit. I think it's my turn to talk...
"Let me check my notes..." I begin, looking down at the red wine that stains my shirt to see if they magically formed into words or something.
"Susan, I'm sorry, I didn't write any vows. In fact I don't recall ever having written you a love letter, recited you a poem, or any of the other things blokes that are more educated than me do. I still don't know why you chose me, but you did. You've brought me happiness I didn't know existed. You brought me back to life..." Only my friends and family will know that I mean figuratively and for real.
Tears form in the corners of Susan's eyes and I'd brush them away if not for that darn veil.
"I've loved you since we were twelve years old. You're the Spring to my winter..." I say lamely, wanting for all the world to just scoop her up in my arms and show her, rather than tell her how I feel. I've never been good at speeches. What was that thing about the filling in twinkies?
Somehow before I have only two more words to say, I've managed to let myself tear up as well. I have no idea why people cry when they're happy...
The question stand before me, before it's Susan's turn. "I do," I say, wanting the Minister to skip right to the kiss.