“No one told me that.” I could feel myself hyperventilating. With this many people around, I seriously needed to lock it down.
“I guess we all thought you knew.” Sarah’s voice was calm and low. She, too, seemed all too aware of our surroundings, and I couldn’t be more grateful. “Abbie, you had to know this would happen at some point. You never seemed ready to tell him how you felt.”
“I know,” I whined as my eyes drew to the front of the room. “I guess I just didn’t have the courage because I never thought he’d feel the same way.”
Someone in front of us shifted in their seat. A clear signal they wanted us to pipe down. As bad as I felt disrupting them, my panic attack didn’t seem agreeable to rescheduling.
“Abbie,” Sarah grabbed my hand, “keep it together for just a little while longer. You’ve made it this long. A few more minutes is nothing.” Her diamond bracelet rubbed against my skin, and I shivered. Sarah focused her attention back to the front, her profile elegant with her new strapless dress hugging her figure.
“How can I? If there’s any point at which I should say something, it’s now. Now that I know he feels the same way. Now that I have a chance before it’s too late!”
“I’m sorry, Abbie, but it is too late. And, as I recall, Becca only said he had feelings for you. I’d say the circumstances prove that has to be true.”
I closed my eyes and shook my head back and forth, my pinned up curls falling with the abrupt motion. But the physical activity kept the tears in my eyes, so I continued. I couldn’t lose it. Not here.
I sighed, “I know you’re right. I just can’t believe it’s come to this.”
My watery eyes found Derek at the front of the room. I always knew where he was when we shared the same space; it was like my superpower. Although, in this case, it wasn’t so hard to find him.
He looked gorgeous in his black tux. His dark hair and dark blue eyes accented by the dark fabric against his fair skin. I wiped away a rogue tear that escaped and huffed again. At the sound, our neighbor to the front turned around and pointedly looked at us. It really was time to end the discussion. As much as I loathed to admit, Sarah was right; this was definitely not the place to try and right my inability to tell Derek that I had loved him for years. That through those years, my love only grew. That through those years I’d imagined what our lives would be like a thousand times over. And that through those years, every fantasy ended with us being happy because we were together.
I closed my eyes one final time, drawing in a deep, shaky breath and focused. My eyes opened, my mind focused, my nerves steeled just in time to see his radiant smile as he beamed at his new bride and said, “I do.”
A special thanks to Rachel Poli for her writing prompt that inspired this story.