The better man

In six months. They were to be wed in six months. And he was the best man.

When they first met, Jared didn’t think Allie would be his type. Who in their right mind would have their hair dyed silver? It was like spotting one of the New Mutants.

Luis didn’t deserve her, but had the looks. Was that such a judgment against her, of being superficial? No, he understood her. He wouldn’t be in this situation if he didn’t find her so alluring.

church viennaIt wasn’t just the hair. It was the adorable mouth when laughing, the literary references she’d use, and how they never sounded cliché. And the fact that she saved herself. “That means something,” he thought, even as not too long ago, he’d often entertain ill-chosen company. It was only when he knew more about her that he thought, “Oh. I get it now. Not just monogamy, but celibacy. Virginity. Mother Mary.”

Who would have thought that dog Luis would pause long enough to prove himself worthy of her? Admittedly, Jared was a little proud of his best friend, even as he watched his hopes spilling out like a broken ant farm.

He was the sounding board for Luis’ planned speech to Allie, which got better, the more they rehearsed. And Jared began to suspect that his heart would be content just with her being in his life at all.

But he could only entertain giving her up for five minutes, before throwing off his airs in frustration. “Why not me? I’m the best husband she could ever have!” he shouted once, drinking alone. Only the neighbors heard, and they lacked the necessary context to care.

So his opinion swayed, of whether to just let them be and for him to let go, or to hold on to the dream until the second she said “Yes” in front of the altar.

… Or, he thought, a second after?

______

Six months later

The first time Jared saw Allie’s hair in its natural dark color, was as she stepped out of the limo, ready to walk down the aisle. That threw him off, and he had to tell himself to stay the course.

The procession went on. Words were exchanged. And his stomach tightened at “… till death do you part?” He watched her lips, as she said, “Yes, I do…”

Which he immediately followed with “… not.”

They all looked at her, not at him. For once in his life, his ventriloquism came in handy.

“I do.”

“Not.”

“I do.”

“Not.”

“I do period!”

“Not take this man.”

“Excuse me, Father Rodel.” Allie then turned to the groom, almost screaming, “I do take you Luis!”

“… to be the best man instead.” The voice was much deeper than intended.

They looked at the best man himself. Surrendering at last, Jared asked the couple, “Friends?”

THE END

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