White Lace, Promises and Hives
How many weddings have you attended in your life time? I bet I have you beat. At last count – close to three hundred. But I play for weddings. I don’t always get paid for my trouble, but I play for many weddings. I also play for funerals. My funerals tend to stick better than my weddings. The people that I eulogize with my “In the Sweet Bye and Bye” medley tend to stay dead better than the ones that I shuffle down the aisle to the tune of “I Love You, Truly – Truly Dear” tend to stay married. But weddings are more fun. And the food is generally better.
I have only had one wedding myself. Probably won’t have another. My groom was so nervous, he put his tux on when he got up that morning and wore it all day. And when I took him by the hand at the altar, his fingers were like ice. Now me – I was as cool as a cucumber. Weddings were my forte’. I had directed enough, played and sang for enough that it wasn’t scary territory for me. In fact – I sang at my own wedding. I left my intended at the altar – marched over to the piano and proceeded to serenade him with an Elvis number. I would have played for myself to march down the aisle at my own wedding if I could have figured out how to do it. I guess it would have worked had I been able to play an accordion. But it would have mashed my flowers.
Some weddings that I have played for were late getting started. Now when you are the pianist and you are playing all of the prelude music and you have thirty minutes worth prepared, its unnerving when that 30 minutes stretches into an hour or more. The crowd gets restless – that’s when I start playing show tunes – I start out with “Get Me To The Church On Time” – that always garners a few laughs. Then I move on to – “Crying in the Chapel” – which elicits groans and by the time that I play “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair” the congregation doesn’t care whether the wedding happens are not. I’ve actually had them singing and clapping. Oh, well – what can I say – I’m a ham.
Once, I played for a wedding that didn’t happen. It was a rich girl’s wedding. Her name was Beth Rochelle Wiggins. The ceremony was taking place on her family’s ranch and helicopters were landing and guests were arriving in limousines and I played and played, almost falling off my piano bench trying to see what I could see. It was neat – everyone was there. Even our first grade teacher – you see, I knew the bride – we had gone to school together. And from what I knew of Beth Rochelle Wiggins, I should have known what was going to happen. She always loved drama – drama, drama, drama. Well, we got it that day. I played and played – and played some more. The groom sweated and paced and stared at the door – – hey, that rhymed. Anyway – after an hour of murmurs and I had played all the numbers from CATS and The Phantom of the Opera – the poor father of the bride came out to announce that the bride had decided she wasn’t ready to take the big step of holy matrimony. Everyone was surprised and shocked and saddened – especially our first grade teacher – Mrs. Lula Mae Webster. She got up from her chair and Harumped down the aisle announcing that if she had of known the party was going to be so short – she wouldn’t have bought a brand new pair of Vanity Fair underwear for the occasion. Of course, we were invited to stay and eat – and there was a fancy spread. Most everyone felt sorry for the groom, a local boy lawyer. But those of us who knew Beth Rochelle well; we knew he had made a narrow and fortunate escape.
Weddings are supposed to be days of joy – bright beginnings and celebrations of love and lust. Mostly lust. I like lust. Sadly, they sometimes end up as stressed out marathons that cost way more than the good they do. I’ve seen tens of thousands of dollars spent for twenty minutes of actual ceremony. Hardly worth the price. Mainly, because one is no more married – or no happier afterward – than if you had went down to the local JP at the courthouse to say your vows.
But I do like to write about weddings. And the favorite one I wrote about so far has been the wedding rehearsal of Ethan and Annalise which turns into the real wedding for Scarlet and Alex – – yea, you heard me – – a stealth wedding.
Here’s the blurb – Alex Stewart has been roped into playing wedding co-ordinator for his older brother Ethan’s wedding; and nothing is going right. To make matters worse, he gets off on the wrong foot with the bride’s delectable sister. Before he knows it, Alex is suffering from a raging case of Scarlet Fever, and is determined to claim this woman for his very own, even if it means making a sacrifice he never thought he would make.
Scarlet is taking a trip to see her sister get married, and to experience a small taste of a normal life. After setting eyes on her too-gorgeous soon-to-be brother-in-law, Scarlet decides Alex is way out of her league, and strikes off #1 from her bucket list – losing her virginity to someone she trusts. When Alex finds her list, and discovers the secret she is hiding from everyone, he is determined to help her anyway he can. Can he break through her stubborn pride and make her see she deserves a life? Preferably with him!
Buy Link: Secret Cravings Publishing
Get this – an excerpt from Scarlet Fever
Annalise and Ethan were radiant. The wedding party and close friends began to arrive. Not all of the decorations were up, but there was enough to make the setting enchanting. Bobby and Cecile were holding hands and making goo-goo eyes at each other. Literally. The little Lutheran preacher was a rotund man with a sliver of silver hair that rimmed his head. He addressed the group, and Scarlet thought he seemed extremely nervous. Weddings she knew. And this little man was acting like it was his first rodeo.
“Let’s go over the music first. Both songs. Get it out of the way.” Scarlet almost laughed. She had no ego involved, so getting her songs out of the way was no big deal. The piano that Alex had rented for her was a great instrument, and with just a few touches, she found her key. She began with Unchained Melody. It was for Annalise and Ethan.
A hush fell over the crowd as Scarlet began to sing. Singing and playing the piano was something that came easy for her. Her voice was strong and she lost herself in the words. She sang of love that had been lost, now found. She sang of hunger and desire and a lover’s prayer that God would bring them together once more. The songs were meant to be for the bride and groom, but in truth, she would sing to Alex.
Alex was floored, flabbergasted, awe-struck and amazed. He had not doubted that Scarlet could sing. But, he had no idea that her voice would be absolutely incredible. She could have easily been a star. Her voice was blue velvet, lush and smooth as silk. He had been standing, but he had to sit down. And when she began the next song, Elvis’s LoveMe Tender, he knew without a doubt that she was singing right to him. Looking into his eyes, she asked him to love her tender, love her sweet. She asked Alex to never let her go. He wanted to walk to her, assure her that he would hold on to her for the rest of his life, with both hands. But he forced himself to be still. She told him that he had made her life complete and that she loved him more than words could tell. With tears flowing down her cheeks, she asked him to make all of her dreams come true. There would never be a dearer moment in his memory than when she sang just to him, promising that she would love him forever. He intended to hold her to it. When she had finished, he walked to her.
“Why didn’t you tell me you could sing like that?” Alex pulled her to one side and into his arms.
“It’s no big deal, I’ve sung like that for years.” She brushed aside his complement.
“You could have easily had a career in music,” he persisted.
She looked at him with sad eyes. “I didn’t want a career in music. I want…” She couldn’t bring herself to finish the sentence. “It’s time to line up; Pastor Ron is giving us the evil eye.”
“Let him wait. I want to hold you a minute before we begin the ceremony.”
She leaned into him, resting against his shoulder. “It’s just a rehearsal, no big deal.”
“It is a big deal, darlin’. A solemn ceremony. We’re going to be standing in front of a man of God and saying words of devotion and commitment. Before we do, I want to tell you how very much I love you.” Alex rubbed her temple, easing a lock of hair off of her forehead, then kissed her once softly on the lips.
“I love you, too.”
Reaching behind his back, Alex handed her a beautiful white rose. “Carry this for me, sweetheart, and don’t forget, Scarlet, we love each other. Now, it’s time. Let’s take our places.”
The music began and Alex, Ethan and Bobby walked from the right side of the rose bed to the front of the arbor. Alex was playing the part of the groom, a role that would be reversed the following day. As the music continued, Cecile stepped out to walk slowly down the aisle. She and Bobby only had eyes for each other. Annalise came next and she blushed like a school girl as Ethan winked at her. After she and Cecile were in their places, the music swelled and Alex looked up to see his angel standing in a golden ray of the evening sun. He had never seen anything or anyone more beautiful. Slowly, she walked toward him. He knew she thought this was just a rehearsal, but he knew her well enough to know that she was imagining this was real. That it was their wedding day.
When she drew close enough, he held out his hand to help her up on the dais.
“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here tonight to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony.” Alex picked up Scarlet’s right hand in his and brought it to his lips. The preacher continued.
“A marriage ceremony like this is for one purpose only and that is to make one flesh from two people that love and cherish one another above all things. At this time, Alex and Scarlet wish to take this step. They have chosen one another out of all others in this life and now they stand before us ready to repeat their vows. Alex.”
Scarlet’s eyes were darting around nervously; Alex knew she had been to enough wedding rehearsals to know this one was not proceeding as normal. Still, she did not bolt and run. Alex held on to her hand, looked into her eyes and began.
“I, Phillip Alexander Stewart, take you, Scarlet Rose Evans, to be my lawful wedded wife. I promise to love, honor and cherish you,” he paused almost unable to go on. “Till death do us part. I promise to be true and faithful to you for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for as long as we both shall live.” Scarlet’s eyes were big and focused on every syllable that was coming from his lips. “All of my worldly goods to thee I endow and with my body I will worship yours. I love you, Scarlet. To marry you is my greatest desire.” Alex became aware that Scarlet’s hand was shaking in his.
“Scarlet.” The pastor indicated that it was her turn.
Scarlet looked over at her sister, who had tears in her eyes. Then, she turned back to look at him—to understand. He knew that all she could see on his face was utter devotion—the most sincere look of love that a man could ever give to a woman.
She only hesitated for a moment, but it was a lifetime for Alex. It felt as if his heart was about to escape from his chest. By now, she must realize that this was more than just a rehearsal for Ethan and Annalise. By now, she had to know.
Thanks for reading – – Sable Hunter