September 3rd, 2013 | 7 p.m.
“Yes! I said it! MY DAUGHTER IS TOO GOOD FOR YOUR SON! And I know that she will live to regret this day! She didn’t even want this day to happen!” Adrian dropped and shook his head at the sound of his father-in-law’s voice.
“You REALLY think that girl of yours is some type of prize? I wouldn’t match her up with my enemy’s ugliest son.” That was his own mother speaking, embarrassing him, once again. It just wouldn’t have been a real family function without drama.
Inez looked around the reception hall, staring in complete and utter embarrassment as the dramatics she tried so hard to avoid played out right before her brown eyes. Even the sounds of her favorite Donny Hathaway song, You Were Meant For Me, couldn’t mask the sounds of chaos and commotion created by the people who claimed they loved their children unconditionally, claimed they supported their decisions and their union.
Kids she didn’t even want in attendance running around as if they lacked home training. ‘The best friends’ going at it over who disrespected who first. The parents sounding off with their opinions on why today was a huge mistake and should have never happened. And while she was internally losing her cool, trying her hardest not to burst into tears, Adrian held her hand beneath the table, squeezing gently as he whispered.
“Let’s just dip and leave their crazy asses here to fight and clean up afterwards.”
“This is our reception, Adrian. You forced me into this moment, you’re going to deal with what goes on.” It was their wedding day, and it was quickly being overshadowed with longstanding family problems. She wanted badly to torture Adrian, just to prove that once again, he should have given in to what she wanted, but the more she watched their parents go back and forth, the more she felt Adrian’s suggestion was the way to go.
He cleared his throat, sighing as he pushed his chair back. Pulling Inez up and into a comforting hug, he lowered his voice even more so that the wedding party beside them couldn’t hear. “I told you Babe, two weeks ago. I told you, I told you, and you knew then that I was right.”
“And I told you months before that we should just move in together and be done. We’re staying and you will suffer too.”
“You wanna try and stick it out to punish me, or because you think things will die down, but you know that is not going to happen, not with our families. Let’s go.”
“Adrian, you got us into this, so we can’t leave.”
Adrian’s mother shouted, clapping her hands together in between words as she went off on Inez’s father. “I swear if I knew voodoo, I’d put all types of curses and hexes on you! Leave you bald and wrinkly! Oh wait, you’re already wrinkled, Casper the prune faced ghost.”
Inez’s jaw dropped but Adrian quickly recaptured her attention. “Why can’t we leave again? Babe, we’ve already been married for an hour and there’s negativity surrounding us. What did we say?”
“Soon as we said ‘I do’, we started with a clean slate and no matter who’s involved, family or otherwise, we will not allow their foolishness to interfere with our happiness.”
“Exactly. Let’s go.”
Inez nodded, following behind Adrian as he pulled her away from the table where they’d been sitting. The one day they’d asked for peace, their request had been ignored and though they were certain they’d be yelled at by their mothers, pulling a disappearing act would be the only way for them to enjoy the remainder of their night without the unnecessary family drama.
They hadn’t even shared their first dance as husband and wife yet, and that upset Inez most as she thought back on the conversation she and Adrian had just weeks before. It was the one moment she was actually looking forward to.
TWO WEEKS EARLIER
Adrian slammed the front door, causing Inez to sit up straight. She’d been lying on the couch for the majority of the afternoon in her pajamas, watching Orange Is The New Black on Netflix.
She looked directly at Adrian, wondering why he looked as if he wanted to punch someone in the face. “First of all, Baby, you don’t pay bills here. We don’t share a home yet so I’m going to need for you to NOT slam my door like that. Second of all, why do you look like you just committed murder?”
“You have my netflix password, I’ll slam any door I want.” He took a deep breath, shaking his head as he tossed his keys on her coffee table and sat down. “Tell me again why we need to associate with family, specifically our parents.”
“Because, and these are your mother’s words; ‘you can try to avoid me, but I promise when I catch up with ya, it won’t be pretty. And if you ignore your mother, she’ll slap the black off of you.”
“No, there’s got to be a way around that.”
“Adrian, as much as I would love to avoid our parents, especially your mother, I don’t want there to be more problems than there already are. And, I truly don’t want her to beat you. She will literally try to beat that gorgeous, dark skin off of you. We can’t have that.”
He chuckled lightly, moving closer.
Rubbing his temples, Adrian thought about the argument he’d just walked away from. No doubt, his mother had called his phone back to back, probably over a hundred times by now. He wouldn’t know the official count, however, until he turned his phone back on. “I’m twenty-seven and she still treats me like I’m ten. Babe, I am far from the type to disrespect any of my elders, especially those who’ve had a hand in raising me, but if I have to defend and explain why I love you one more time, I’m going to lose it.”
“Your mom doesn’t like me, Adrian. Just like my father hates you, accept it and move on like I have.”
Adrian looked at Inez, confused by her statement. There was a wide smile etched across her face, her chubby cheeks on full display. “Excuse me? Your father loves me.”
“Haaaa! So cute of you to think that.” Inez patted Adrian’s hand, giving him a quick kiss before she focused back on her show.
“Excuse me, Lite Bright, why doesn’t your father like me? I have been nothing but respectful to that man, treated you like the queen that you are. It’s obvious that I love you, and that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I even love you when you don’t shave your legs. What’s, what’s wrong with me?”
“I don’t know.”
Adrian cleared his throat. “It’s because I’m black, isn’t it.”
Inez shook her head, looking at Adrian as if he’d said the dumbest thing imaginable. “My mother is black, why would that be the issue?”
“I meant is it because I’m dark-skinned? Your mom is like a shade or two darker than you and your sister. Do I mess up the flow in the family pictures?”
“Adrian, please stop. You’re with his daughter, that’s the problem. No dad wants their daughter to grow up, date or get married. You proposed, and that was strike three.” She cleared her throat. “Although, he does treat my sister’s baby daddy better and his ass ain’t ever around.”
Adrian threw his hands up, sighing as he sat back and folded his arms across his chest. “I have the best idea.”
“Yeah, what’s that? And make it snappy because I’m super invested in this show and it’s getting really good.”
Adrian rolled his eyes. “I suggest that we just forget about all of the big wedding plans we have and go somewhere quiet. No family, no friends, just us. You know as well as I do that a day that is supposed to bring us joy, will only end in drama and annoyance. Our families don’t get along, our friends don’t get along; so let’s just make it about you and I.”
Inez smiled. “We could solve the friend issue. Your best friend isn’t invited, the end.”
“What did Malik do to you?”
“No, not him, that other basic best friend you have.”
Adrian stayed silent for a few minutes before speaking up again. “Or, we could just go to the justice of the peace, have a civil ceremony or elope. I heard Vegas is nice, or we can go somewhere exotic and enjoy one another.”
“On whose budget after we’ve paid for all of this crap that I didn’t even care about but got talked into buying after planning with both of our mothers? You know, Adrian-” Inez turned towards him, smiling sweetly. “We could have just stuck with my first choice and we wouldn’t be dealing with this at all.”
“No, we’d be living in sin daily and we’d never hear the end of it because our mothers would always have something to say.”
“So!? They have something to say if we even look in their direction the wrong way. I just, I was the main one to say that marriage really isn’t necessary. You love me, I love you, I’m not with you for your money, and you’re not getting a dime when I become a bestseller… why do we need a piece of paper to make that known to the world. We could cohabitate peacefully, be together for years to come without a piece of paper.”
“Tell me this… if the certificate just happens to get lost or wet or burned in a fire, does that mean our marriage is invalid? No paper equals no marriage?”
Adrian said nothing, sitting back to seriously think about it. “I-I…”
“Exactly! I’m supposed to be tripping over this wedding mess and it’s the complete opposite. You’re losing your mind, and I couldn’t care less because I love you, and a useless piece of paper does not make me love you more or less. The whole institution of marriage is pointless. Let’s just be together, have lots of sex, and be happy.”
“You could at least pretend to be as excited about this as I am. I only want to do things the right way when it comes to our relationship. You know, that first comes love then comes marriage stuff.”
“Love didn’t come first, Baby. I hated your guts, but we’re here now. Five whole years, and we’re great.”
She truly didn’t care. They’d had many talks about marriage, and her position was always the same. She didn’t care about, want to deal with the stresses of, or believe in being married or having a ceremony. It was all pointless to her when she knew where they stood in their relationship. The only reason she finally broke down was to make Adrian, and their parents, happy.
Her own family found it strange that she hadn’t pressured Adrian into proposing. And what he and everyone else considered to be the best and most beautiful moment of their relationship, thus far, Inez just found it to be a ‘blah’ moment.
Before Adrian could say anything else, there was a sudden knock at the door. They both sat quietly. “Adrian! I know you’re in there, I saw your car parked, and I know you only come over to Inez’s when you’re upset. Why go from bad to worse, I don’t know. Open up and talk to me.”
Inez jumped up and dashed upstairs to her bedroom.”
“Inez, come back, help me.”
“Nope, because I just might curse your mom out today. Have fun.”
September 3rd, 2013 | 7:45 p.m.
Running out of the reception hall, Inez’s younger sister, Isabelle, looked around the parking lot, trying to spot her sister and brother-in-law.
Once she managed to calm everyone down, reminding them what day it was, she noticed that the bride and groom had disappeared. At this very moment, they were supposed to sharing their first dance as husband and wife; the song Adrian had chosen, Surprise by Terron Brooks was even playing. “Lord, please don’t let them be gone already.” Isabelle whimpered, looking walking across the parking lot as she continued to look for them. “I don’t want to deal with my mother alone.” She looked both ways to make sure none of the guests showing up late ran her over as she struggled to run across the parking lot in her heels.
Stumbling out of their limo, Adrian and Inez cleared their throats as they readjusted their clothes, smiling at one another. “Are you sure you can’t tell that I waste wine on my dress. It was red.”
Adrian shook his head, tucking his shirt in. “I don’t see anything, that club soda worked. Turn around though ‘cause I did manage to undo the back of your dress.”
“Oo, hurry and fix it.” Inez fixed the top of her dress, pushing her breast up a little as she smiled. “How did we go from attempting to leave to doing that?”
“You wouldn’t stop talking, I had to shut you up some kind of way. I’m trying to figure out why we had to stop though.”
Inez sighed. “Because we have to go back in there with the family.”
“Psh, I forgot all about them. If you had given me just a few more minutes, if I could have gotten get this damn dress all the way off of you while we were in that backseat, we would have gotten a lot further.”
They laughed lowly, jumping at the sound of their names being called.
“There y’all are!” They turned to face Isabelle who looked as if she’d been through hell and back, with her long and straightened hair now looking a little wild and a scowl on her face. “How the hell are you going to leave your own wedding party.”
Adrian rolled his eyes and shrugged. “We asked you guys not to fight today, and what did y’all do? You fought, all damn day.”
“I kept my end of the deal! I am the one who calmed everyone down. Now please come back inside. Inez, Mom and Dad think you’ve gone somewhere to hurt yourself, and Adrian your mom is just… ugh. Please come back inside; some people want to make speeches, and your best friends want to do something special for you. After that, I don’t give a damn what you do, but I will not be left to deal with these rude ass family members alone.” And with that, Isabelle stormed off, heading back inside so that she could sit down and take her heels off. “The hell they think this is? This is why I don’t go to weddings, people don’t know how to act.”
Adrian shook his head. “Let’s make a stop in the bathroom to make sure we look presentable again.”
“Again, I ask, how’d I let you talk me into this? Let’s have a normal, big wedding you said. It will be a day full of peace you said.”
He smirked. “So I was wrong; tie me up and take your frustrations out on me later tonight.”
Stepping back into their reception after another twenty minutes, Adrian and Inez were both rushed by their parents. His mother and father on one side, her mother and father on the other side, fussing about how rude it was of them to disappear.
Adrian held up his hand, politely shushing his mother. This could have had two end results, especially since his mother was an old school southern woman, but he was more than glad that she actually listened. “Ma, we politely asked all four of you to be on your best behavior today. One day, just for your kids, and y’all couldn’t even do that. Yes, my wife and I left the building, we almost left completely but Inez knew that would hurt your feelings more than the terrible words y’all are throwing at one another. Now y’all can argue all you want to after we leave, I don’t care, but as long as Inez and I are still present, we want nothing but positivity coming from all four of you. We’re going to take pictures together, and you will have to stand by one another in some of them, and you’re all going to like it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to dance with my wife.”
Inez stood by silently. She was going to take the rude approach, yelling at them all if they continued but Adrian did a great job of shutting them down. And to her surprise, her own parents stood silently, nodding at what they were told.
Just as he’d pulled Inez to the center of the dance floor, there was a clinking sound. They looked towards the head table to see Inez’s best friend, and bridesmaid, Sydnee standing. “Now that the bride and groom are back, I just want to say congratulations to the both of you. It has been such a beautiful experience to see you two grow together, to see the journey that you took to get here today.I’m so glad that my best friend has found that person that makes her smile, and brings out the absolute best in her. Adrian, I know I always joke about fighting you if you hurt her, but I know that will never be an issue. Thank you for taking care of Inez.” He nodded, smiling wide as he turned to look at Inez. “I wish you both the absolute best, and after the other toasts, I’ve got a special gift for you.”
Isabelle gave a quick speech, followed by both of Adrian’s best friends. Then, it was the parents turn to speak. Adrian could tell that his mother had had a few drinks, so he hoped she would keep her words to a minimum.
“Today, my only son, my baby boy, married the love of his life. I can honestly say that-” She turned away and looked down, messing with the bottom of her dress a little before throwing on a smile. “I couldn’t be happier. I know most mothers feel as if they’re losing something, but for me-” She turned to her husband before starting up again. “My husband and I have gained the daughter that we always wanted. Congrats.” She turned her drink up and sipped as everyone said cheers, her eyes bugging slightly before she sat back down.
Inez’s mother was the complete opposite, her speech oozing perfect diction and subtle sarcasm as she congratulated her daughter and son-in-law. “Welcome to the family, and we can’t wait for the blessings of grandchildren.”
Guests snickered while Inez turned her head away, looking over her shoulder as if she weren’t sure who her mother was talking to.
Once the speeches were over, Sydnee stood and took a microphone from the DJ who’d been playing for the majority of the reception. “Once again, congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Grant, and here’s my gift to you.”
She nodded towards the DJ and he began playing the instrumental she’d given as she sang her own rendition of Caught Up In The Rapture.
Pulling Inez closer as they began dancing, Adrian sighed. “Still wishing we didn’t bother going through with this?”
Inez shrugged. “When you ignore the shady speeches, side eyes, arguing, and all of that other stuff…no, I’m glad you talked me into this. Thank you for doing all that you could to make sure this stayed special for us.” She put her arms around his neck, pulling him down a little to her level. “Next time we want to do something huge though, we’re doing it my way.”
They both smiled, sharing a kiss just as the photographer came close to snap pictures of them sharing their first dance as husband and wife.