Chris – Erick’s boyfriend
April – Erick’s friend
Grayson – April’s boyfriend
Lurlene – April’s best friend
Dawson – Lurlene’s boyfriend
Rachel – the officiant
Erick and Chris rush down the hall toward April and Grayson’s apartment, where they had been invited to a largely impromptu dinner.
Chris looks at his watch. “We’re late.”
“Maybe April won’t notice.”
The door to April and Grayson’s apartment swings opens. April steps out and leans against the doorway with her arms crossed.
“She noticed,” Erick says.
“How did you know we were here?” Chris asks.
“Erick’s voice carries – and I can hear the elevator ping.”
“It was his fault,” Erick and Chris blurt out simultaneously, pointing to each other.
“He wasn’t ready when I picked him up,” Chris says.
“He drove really slow,” Erick responds in defense.
April examines their faces and body language. “You two got distracted,” she observes with mild annoyance.
“He picked me up in a suit,” Erick offers by way of an explanation.
Chris nods his head, accepting responsibility. “I picked him up in a suit.”
April ushers Erick and Chris into her apartment. “Next time wear sweatpants,” she says.
"Even worse," Erick replies. "Then we would barely have made it for dessert."
“So what do you do, Erick?” Lurlene, one of the other dinner guests, asks as everyone at the table is finishing dinner.
Erick looks at April and chuckles. “I am well….unemployed.”
“Oh I’m sorry to hear that,” Rachel responds.
“I’m not. I’ve actually enjoyed the time off.”
“How long have you been out of work?” Dawson, Lurlene’s boyfriend, asks.
“About eight months.”
“Wow. What are you looking to do?”
“I’m not entirely sure. What do you do?”
“I work in advertising.”
“I know it’s not that,” Erick says with a chuckle. “I was a mad man for about five years.”
“It’s not for everybody.”
“There was a time I loved it. And then I just didn’t.”
“What have you done since?”
“My last job was in promotions for a literary e-zine.”
“What’s an e-zine?” Lurlene asks.
“It’s a literary magazine that just publishes online,” Erick explains before changing the subject. “How did you two meet?”
“It’s a crazy story involving a treacherous airline flight, an emergency landing, a bus and two layovers through Phoenix and Seattle just to get back here from Kansas City,” Lurlene replies.
“But I’d do it all again if I still got her out of the deal,” Dawson adds sweetly.
Lurlene kisses him on the cheek. “Isn’t he the greatest?”
“From what we can tell, yes,” Chris replies.
April rolls her eyes and gets up from the table. “Before we have dessert, Grayson and I have some news,” she announces.
“I knew they wouldn’t make it to the altar without an incident,” Chris teases.
Lurlene and Dawson look at Chris and the back over to April and Grayson. “Congratulations!” they exclaim in unison as they get up from the table to hug the pending parents.
“How far along are you?” Lurlene asks as she approaches.
“I’m not pregnant,” April confirms.
Lurlene and Dawson stop in their tracks and start to head back to the table.
Grayson gets up and stands next to April. “But we are getting married,” he interjects.
“We know that,” Chris says.
“Tonight.” Grayson adds. “Like, now.”
“What? How?” Lurlene asks.
“Well, Rachel is an ordained minister. She pastors the church we want to get married in. And so she’s also going to officiate tonight,” April explains. “Lurlene, I’d like you to be my maid of honor.”
Lurlene clutches her chest. “Absolutely!”
“And Chris, I’d like you to be my best man,” Grayson says.
“That goes without saying,” Chris jokes.
April pulls Grayson aside. “What are we going to have Erick do?” she asks.
“Erick, we have a special assignment for you,” Grayson says.
“I’m sure,” Erick replies dryly.
“What about the actual wedding? What about your family?” Lurlene asks.
“We’ll still have that,” April explains. “But this one is for us.”
“We had a huge argument yesterday,” Grayson adds.
“Shocker,” Chris interjects.
Grayson points a finger at Chris. “You shut up your face,” he commands with a smile.
April continues. “We realized that everything we were fighting about had more to do with what everyone else wanted and nothing to do with what we wanted for our own wedding. So we decided to have a few close friends over – and Erick – for an impromptu dinner and wedding.”
“Thanks April,” Erick says with a phony smile.
“I’m just kidding, love,” April assures him.
“What about flowers and a ring and a veil and a dress and the wedding march?” Lurlene asks.
Grayson shakes his head. “We have the rings. The rest doesn’t matter.”
“Please let me get some flowers,” Lurlene insists.
“It’s really not that big of a deal to us,” Grayson protests.
“But it matters to me," Lurlene continues. "I want to contribute something to tonight.”
“You’re here and that’s all what we wanted. Why else wouldn’t we tell any of you what we were doing ahead of time?” April reasons.
“Fine,” Lurlene relents. “But I just don’t see how a marriage is going to work without flowers at the wedding.”
April and Grayson stand side-by-side facing Pastor Rachel. Lurlene stands next to April. Chris stands next to Grayson. Erick stands next to Chris holding up a small pillow with two rings on it. Dawson, who had nothing else to do, stands behind Lurlene holding up his cell phone softly playing “Ave Maria”.
“In this day and age, love is everywhere but very hard to actually find,” Pastor Rachel begins. “We want love, we see love, sometimes love pursues us and sometimes we pursue it. But in a world of fear, mistrust and pain, it’s one of the most elusive of the Universe’s greatest gifts. For you, April Tegiste and Grayson Levine, to have come across such love with each other is a blessing. And that is why we are here today – to unite that love into one love in the presence of, from what I can tell, some very close friends. The rings please.”
Erick hands a ring over to Pastor Rachel.
“Do you, April Tegiste, take Grayson Robert Levine to be your husband through all of life’s trials and joys until you part this earth and are reunited on the other side?”
“I do,” April responds.
Erick hands the second ring over to Pastor Rachel.
“Do you, Grayson Robert Levine, take April Tegiste to be your wife through all of life’s trials and joys until you part this earth and are reunited on the other side?”
“I do,” Grayson responds.
“By the power vested in my by the State of California, the United Church of God and the Universe as a whole, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Seal this with a kiss.”
April and Grayson kiss. Erick and Chris applaud. A teary-eyed Lurlene turns around and buries her head in Dawson’s chest.
“The other couples may follow suite,” Pastor Rachel continues. “May those kisses also seal your love together.”
Erick and Chris kiss. Dawson wipes Lurlene’s tears away and they also share a kiss.
“What are you going to tell your families when they find out you’re already married?” Lurlene asks over dessert.
“We’re not going to tell them,” April answers.
“It’s going to be our little secret,” Grayson adds. “And all of yours.”
Chris leans over to Erick. “I guarantee she’ll have told her family before God gets the news,” he whispers.
Original Fiction from a Sitcom Mind > The Halls of Shambala > I Am Erick Davidson - An Original Short Story Series >