Oakdale – 5 days until the wedding
“He RSVP’d you know.” Lily told her son. “He’s coming home.”
“He’s not coming home mum. He lives in LA now. He’s only coming here for the wedding.” Luke replied as he carefully put the boxes of wedding decorations in the car. Jade would be marrying Casey in less than a week and he had offered to help with the preparations. Before anyone could recruit him to do so.
“Well.. what better place to.. reconnect than a wedding?” Lily suggested.
“Mum, he’s not coming to see me. He’s probably bringing a date anyway.”
“You don’t know that. And I thought you kept in touch with him?”
“I do.. kind of. We talk on Facebook sometimes. It’s awkward. I don’t want to talk about it.”
“But you didn’t break up..”
“We weren’t together when he left. It’s complicated ok mum? Can we just focus on this wedding please?”
“Alright. But just know that weddings are perfect for.. you know.. getting to know each other again.”
“I’m going to pretend you didn’t just say that.” Luke said and got in the car. “If Noah is still interested in me.. well he can just tell me.”
“What if he thinks the same thing?”
“Well then we’ll see what’ll happen.”
LA - 2 days until the wedding
“I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to come along.”
“Why not?” Noah asked, taking a sip from his coffee and making a face when he realised the barista screwed up his order. “You’re their friend too.”
“No. You are. They’re your family. I brought nothing but drama to the whole town when I was there.”
“That wasn’t your fault. Everything was just one big mess back then. And it’s ancient history.”
Ameera raised an eyebrow at her friend.
“Noah.. You’re asking me to go to the wedding of the guy who pretended to be your boyfriend’s boyfriend so you could marry me to keep me in the country. And I don’t think I’ve ever actually spoken to Jade.”
“Well when you put it like that..” Noah said and chuckled. “Come on. No-one blamed you. And everyone has moved on. It’s been years. They’ll be happy to see you.. and the invite said Noah Mayer +1.”
“Yeah I think they’re hoping Luke would be your +1.”
“That.. that’s complicated..”
“Why? I know you still talk to him.”
“Not really.. I mean.. we comment on each other’s Facebook posts sometimes..”
“He’s single isn’t he?”
“Yeah.. I think so..”
“And so are you and you still love him.”
“Yeah but a lot has happened..”
“So? So he’s moved on and I’m here now and I have a job and a life..”
“Life? Noah Mayer what you have is a job, a crappy apartment, a few co-workers you sometimes have a drink with when you can’t think of an excuse to say no.. and me.”
“And that’s a bad thing? I’m just not ready to date again.”
“I know. Because you’re still in love with your ex. Which is why you have to go to that wedding, alone, and tell him.”
“I can’t. What if he’s not ready? Or just not interested anymore?”
“Then at least you’ll know. And you can move on.”
Noah made a face that told her he wasn’t liking what she was saying.
“If I go with you, promise me right now that you’ll talk to Luke. And not just about how beautiful the bride is. Really talk to him and tell him you still love him.”
“Promise me or go alone.”
Oakdale - 1 day until the wedding
“So.. big day tomorrow.” Casey said as he sat down next to his friend. The rehearsal dinner had just ended and Luke was waiting for the rest of his family to gather their things and come home with him.
“Yeah, are you nervous? Jade is finally making an honest man out of you.” Luke joked. “You’re not even having a bachelor party.”
“I’ve done enough crazy shit over the years, don’t need a hangover on my wedding day.”
“You’re an old man already and you’re not even married yet.” Luke teased.
“Yeah well, we can’t all be young and wild and crazy like you.” Casey replied and gently elbowed him in the ribs. “I’m happy as an old man.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”
“So.. Noah is coming to the wedding..” Casey trailed off.
“So everyone keeps reminding me.”
“Don’t you want to see him?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know if he wants to see me.”
“Oh come on, you two are each other’s great love.”
“Maybe we were once.. but so much has happened. The accident, Reid, him moving away.”
“You two being miserable and missing each other, you checking prices on flights to LA but not booking them.”
“What? How do you know?”
“I have eyes. And so do your sisters and your mother. And they talk. A lot.”
“My mother talks to you about your love life?”
“Nah. She was discussing the guest list with Jade the other day and the N-word came up.”
Luke gave him a confused look.
“Noah. The N-word.”
“You can say his name. I won’t have a meltdown if you say his name.”
“Just being careful buddy. I need a best man tomorrow.” Casey said and stood up. “In 24 hours we’ll be family.”
“Now there’s a scary thought.” Luke joked and both men laughed.
“You’re staying here? Why? You know there is always a place for you with us. For both of you.” Lily said after running into Noah and Ameera in the Lakeview lobby.
“Oh no, we wouldn’t want to intrude..” Ameera told her.
“You wouldn’t be, I promise.” Lily said and started typing on the computer at the front desk. “Let me at least upgrade your rooms. Have you eaten yet?”
“We were just going to get something from Al’s..” Noah trailed off, knowing that wasn’t an answer Lily was going to be satisfied with.
“You don’t have to give us better rooms Mrs. Snyder, it’s only for one night anyway.” Ameera said.
“Aw you’re leaving so soon?”
“I am. I couldn’t get more time off work. Noah might stay longer though, right Noah?”
“I uh.. yeah.. uhm.. yeah.. maybe.”
“He and Luke have some catching up to do you know.” Ameera said and gave Noah an angelic smile.
“Oh well I’m sure he’ll be happy to see you. And so will everyone else.” Lily told him.
“Yeah.. uhm.. yeah ok..” Noah stammered, not sure what to say.
“Well your meal is on me today.” Lily said as she finished typing. “And I’ve upgraded your rooms and given you the family discount.”
“You didn’t have to do all that..”
“Noah, sweetie, no matter what happens between you and Luke, you’ll always be family. There will always be a place for you at the farm or at the house.”
Noah smiled and nodded, not sure his voice wouldn’t break if he tried to speak.
“And promise me you won’t leave without going to see Emma. She’d love to see you.”
“Isn’t she coming to the wedding?” Ameera asked.
Lily shook her head.
“She took a fall last week and the doctor told her to take it easy. Don’t walk unless it’s completely necessary. We’re all helping her out and I’ve tried to get her to come stay at the house with us but she doesn’t want to leave the farm.”
“Oh I’m sorry to hear that.” Ameera said and turned to Noah. “You have to go see her.”
“Yeah we can go before we leave.”
“I said you, not we. And maybe Luke will be there too and you can talk properly.”
“You have got to be kidding me.” Luke said under his breath when he saw exactly who had been seated next to him at the table. As best man he sat next to Casey but someone in this wedding party had made sure Noah would be sitting on his other side. Thankfully he wasn’t there yet.
“Did you change the seating arrangements?”
“Who? Me? No. Definitely not. This is most likely my mother’s work.” Luke told a smirking Aaron. “Or did you do it?”
“We only got here an hour ago.”
“So? That’s plenty of time to change these cards.”
“Sure I am. Last time I checked Faith was supposed to sit next to me. This card does not have Faith’s name on it.”
“Faith is a bridesmaid, she has to sit next to the bride.”
“I hate you.”
“No you don’t. And would it really be so bad to sit next to your ex for a couple of hours?”
“No. Not at all. But I’m sick and tired of everyone pushing me towards him. They’re not even subtle. Their next step will be locking Noah and I in a room and throwing a pack of condoms at us and telling us to have fun.”
“Well we did always run out at the worst possible time when we lived together.” A familiar voice said and suddenly Aaron was nowhere to be found.
“Noah.. hi.. uhm.. hi.”
“Hey..” Noah said and gave him an awkward smile. “You uhm.. you look nice. You always did look good in that suit.”
“Uhm.. thanks.. so do you..” Luke replied. “Are you alone? Here, I mean. At the wedding.”
“No.. I uh.. I’m here with Ameera.” Noah told him. “As friends.” He added quickly when he saw the look on Luke’s face. “I uh kind of begged her to come along for moral support.”
“Yeah.. you know.. seeing.. everyone again after everything that happened. I wasn’t sure they’d want me here..”
“You were invited, of course they want you here.”
“I didn’t mean Casey and Jade.. I meant you.”
“Oh.. well.. uhm.. it’s not my place to say anything about their wedding guests.. But it is nice to see you again.” Luke said and gave him a small smile.
They sat down and made small talk (yes Jade is a very beautiful bride, work at the film studio is pretty good, the girls and Ethan are doing fine, Aaron and Ali are having a baby, Ameera just started working for some big fashion label) until the ceremony started.
“I love this song! Come dance with me.” Natalie demanded as she dragged Noah from his seat and onto the dance floor.
“Nat.. Natalie.. I’m not a very good dancer.. you know that..” Noah stammered but the girl ignored him.
Luke smiled as he watched Noah dance with his little sister.
“He missed them too.” Ameera said as she sat down next to him.
“They all love him. I’m a little surprised Ethan hasn’t attached himself to his leg yet.”
“How about you?”
“Am I about to attach myself to Noah’s leg?”
“Well the night is still young, but I meant if you would like to dance.”
“Oh. Well.. uhm.. I’m not a good dancer..”
“That’s ok. It’s only a wedding. A real one this time.”
“Alright then. But let me apologise in advance for stepping on your toes.”
“I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
Luke followed her onto the dance floor and did his best to be the perfect gentleman and remember some steps from the dancing lessons his mother had made him take as a kid.
“See? You’re not that bad.” Ameera said after a few songs.
“Yes I am.. you’re leading.”
“I know. But you’re still not that bad.”
“I want to dance with Ameera!” Natalie announced suddenly, pushing her brother out of the way.
“You want to dance with Ameera?” Luke asked, surprised.
“Yeah. Girls can dance with girls, you know.”
“I know but..”
“And boys can dance with boys.” Natalie added and grabbed Ameera’s hand and pulled her away from the two men.
“Why do I have a feeling we’re being set up?” Luke sighed.
“Yeah I think I’ve underestimated your sisters.” Noah said.
“And my mother. My mother is the worst of them all.” Luke replied and laughed when True Colours started playing. “Ok now they’re being too obvious.”
“Well.. maybe we should just, I don’t know.. give them a little show?”
“Noah Mayer is this your way of asking me to dance with you?”
Noah smiled and held out his hand.
“Yes, yes it is.”
Luke took his hand and let Noah pull him close. Together they swayed to the music, not really moving but enjoying being close to each other again.
“I miss this.” Noah admitted after a little while. “I miss you.”
“It’s ok if you’re not ready.. I mean.. I don’t want to pressure you into anything. We’ll go as slow as you want to go.. or not at all if that’s what you want.. I..”
“Alright everyone, it’s time for my beautiful bride to throw the bouquet. So gather around here.” Casey announced. “And remember, if you catch it you’ll be next to get married.. and you have to name your first born after us.”
Everyone laughed and got in position as Casey started a countdown.
“3, 2, 1 and there it goes!”
Luke watched the flowers fly through the air and put his hands up just in time to stop them from hitting him in the face.
“Woo go Luke!” Casey cheered.
“I want to be your maid of honour.” Jade said and the look on her face told Luke she was being serious.
“Yeah, yeah we’ll see.” Luke said, wishing everyone would stop staring at him.
“Nice catch.” Noah, who was still standing impossibly close to him, said softly.
“T-thanks I guess..”
“Any idea who the lucky guy will be?”
Luke smiled and twirled the bouquet in his hands.
“Yeah, I have an idea. Not sure if he’d be up for it though. He’s kind of been married before. It’s complicated.”
“Oh really? I think he’d be crazy to turn you down. Nothing complicated about that.”
“I don’t know, it’s a pretty big step, marriage.”
“It is. But it’s worth it if it’s with the right person.”
“Yeah I guess you’re right about that.”
“Did you just propose to me?”
“Did you just accept my proposal?”
Noah smiled and leaned in and kissed Luke.
“I think I did.”