I hate weddings.
ROBERT, JULIEN, & PRIEST
TOGETHER WITH THEIR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS
INVITE YOU TO JOIN THEM IN A CELEBRATION OF LOVE.
~ SATURDAY, OCTOBER SIXTH, NOON
~ 2502 SHANGRI LA POINT RD OSHKOSH, WI
HENRI BOUDREAUX FINGERED the corner of the wedding invitation as he stood on the outskirts of the lakefront property that belonged to Robert Bianchi’s parents, and watched as guests of all three grooms arrived for the noon ceremony.
They were all there today to celebrate one of the most unconventional love stories he’d ever seen play out, and as he watched the festivities from under one of the large maple trees on the property, Henri couldn’t help but wonder why in the hell he was there.
Not that he disapproved of what was going to take place in less than ten minutes. But the fact that it was happening again for one groom in particular was a bitter fucking pill to swallow.
It’d been a few weeks now since the cream envelope with embossed gold writing had shown up at his place. But instead of immediately tossing it out like he knew he should’ve, he’d left it on his kitchen counter to taunt him until he finally gave in and opened the damn thing. Something he was now regretting, because just as he’d suspected, there’d been a wedding invitation inside. This wedding’s invitation, and if that had been it, he might have been able to ignore it. But it hadn’t been, not by a long shot, because that sneaky little princess of Priest’s had also included a whopper of a guilt trip.
A handwritten, folded one that was tucked nice and neat inside.
~ I thought you might want to come and see what you saved.
xx Bright Eyes
Henri took a deep inhale of his cigarette, hoping it would calm his fried nerves as people began taking their seats one by one, and when Priest stepped outside, followed by that gorgeous French fucker—his first husband, Julien—Henri felt as though there were a knife in his heart. One that was slowly being pushed deeper and deeper.
What the hell am I doing here? he thought, as Julien reached for Priest’s hand. But no matter how much Henri wanted to leave, his feet seemed glued to the spot, as he watched the two men talk to their guests while they waited for the ceremony to begin.
Around five minutes into the pleasantries, Priest gave a quick wave and made a hasty exit to the left, which didn’t surprise Henri in the slightest. Crowds weren’t really Priest’s thing—Henri’s either, for that matter. But it gave him a moment to really look over the man his former best friend had become. The man he’d loved ever since he was a boy.
Dressed in a black, perfectly tailored three-piece tuxedo, Priest looked devastating today. His flame-colored hair was subdued into an elegant style for the wedding, but it took nothing away from the wild heart and fire that Henri knew simmered beneath that tamed exterior.
He would’ve given up everything he owned right then to go over and tell Priest that he was making a mistake. That it was supposed to be the two of them against the world, not those three and Henri standing on the fucking outside.
But as he took a step in that direction, a jaw-droppingly handsome man approached Priest with a wide grin. As the two of them began to talk, any hope Henri had of getting a moment alone with his former friend was squashed, and not a second later, a booming laugh and a smile as bright as Priest’s hair lit his face, and Henri almost stumbled back from the shock of it, as what he’d been about to do slammed into him.
What the fuck is the matter with me? Was he really willing to go over there and take away the joy he could see on his friend’s face? Especially after all the shit Priest had been through over the years? And that was the real gut punch here, wasn’t it?
For the longest time, it had been just the two of them who knew each other’s secrets. It had had to be; there’d been no one else they could count on. They’d fought monsters—both literally and figuratively—together. But somewhere along the way, instead of being the thing that helped his friend get through the darkness and safely to the other side, Henri had become the darkness for Priest. A reminder of all that was bad, and now here he was about to prove him right.
Henri took a final drag of his cigarette and shook his head. No—he wouldn’t do that. Not to himself, and certainly not to Priest, and as he dropped the butt on the ground and crushed it under his boot, he looked at the silver band on his right ring finger, the one that had an oval black diamond on it, and made a decision. It was time to leave his past behind, the same place Priest always left him.