The ceremony is beautiful—my mother is crying; so are half my bridesmaids—and right when the minister announces us man and wife, party poppers go off, scaring the bejeezus out of mom and Toni. Her yell echoes around the hall, as does Toni’s crying, both of which are followed by much laughter, and I’m glaring at the bridesmaids and groomsmen for pulling the little stunt, although I must admit it was pretty damn funny. Mom settles Toni down, and then, I get to kiss my husband, and it’s a good long one, which instigates whistles and such from the wedding party and guests.
The ring on my finger has a bigger rock than the last one! It’s about four carats, princess cut, in white gold. I don’t even want to know how much it cost him.
The guests move to the reception hall while we get the photographs done, and then we follow. Toni looks so cute in her little black dress with a pink bow. Oh yes, by the way, there is a photo of the groom and his groomsmen mooning the camera, and no, they were not wearing anything underneath the goddamn kilts. I have seen entirely too much ass today—enough to last me a lifetime, thank you.
The reception hall is beautiful—black and pink roses adorn each table as centerpieces in black vases sitting atop pink tablecloths—okay, it’s almost too much pink for me, but the black roses do not make my mother happy, which in turn has me filled with elation. It’s my wedding, not hers. The wedding party’s table sits in a half circle at the front of the hall, and then there are several various tables throughout the rest of the hall. I can barely see the people sitting near the doors. Our wedding cake sits off to the side—my right—and it is not black or pink. It is white with pink flowers, black ribbon around the whole thing, up and down five tiers. There is also a groom’s cake sitting next to it in the shape of skull and crossbones. It’s what Clancy wanted and I think it’s cute. Mom hates it. Even more reason for me to think it’s cute. There is an additional cake next to that, a bit smaller, but made to look like the main one. I have a lot of guests. Jesus. The guest list was smaller than five hundred, but there are just over three hundred people or so partaking in this event.
Manny the DJ is playing soft music, the chitter-chatter of guests fills the hall, and Clancy takes my hand and kisses it.
“I love you, wife,” he whispers while leaning closer to me.
I giggle at his words. “I love you too, husband.”
Then I hear the chime of silverware against crystal over the speakers. He grins and pulls me in for a kiss. It is tradition that whenever the guests do that with their glasses, the bride and groom have to stop whatever they’re doing and kiss. When we look to Clancy’s left, Brennan is announcing his toast. He clears his throat and takes the microphone from one of Clancy’s cousins.
“Clancy, my brother,” he says and smiles. “My older brother, who taught me everything I know, who helped to raise me, and always has my back.” He slaps a hand on Clancy’s shoulder. “I would have hung out at the club if I knew Nemy was there.” Clancy slaps his leg and he laughs with the rest of the crowd. His hand firmly grasps Clancy’s shoulder and his voice takes on a more serious tone. “Clancy, it is an honor to be your brother and best man, and I would trade it for nothing. I love you.” Brennan’s eyes flick to me. “Nemy, from what little time I have spent with you, I can see what it is my brother loves so. You are a good, strong woman—I hope with the ability to keep him in line—and our family welcomes you with open arms. Just be careful where the hands rest.”
I giggle and the guests laugh.
“To both of you: May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your faces, the rains fall soft upon the fields. May joy and peace surround you both, contentment latch your door, and happiness be with you now, and God bless you evermore. May the light of friendship guide your paths together. May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home. May the joy of living for one another trip a smile from your lips, a twinkle from your eye, and may the Spirit of Love find a dwelling place in your hearts. Go maire tú!”
Clancy stands up and embraces Brennan while guests applaud, and I rise to my feet. When Brennan’s arms circle me, I kiss him on the cheek.
“Thank you, Brennan. That was beautiful.”
He smiles at me, gives me a quick peck on the cheek, and his eyes flick past me. “Who’s the girl with long black hair that keeps staring at me?”
My grin spreads. “Probably Lillian. I think she likes you, especially after that dance last night.”
He chuckles. “Then I’ll have to ask her for a dance.”
We sit back down and enjoy dinner, and soon, Manny is pumping music through the speakers and chattering away. “Time for the Bride and Groom dance, ladies and gentlemen.” Teagan hands me my little satchel and Clancy leads me to the dance floor. He slips one hand around my waist and takes my hand with the other, and he pulls me close, staring into my eyes, smiling.
“You look so beautiful,” he whispers in my ear when he leans in close.
“Even with the tattoos showing?”
“Especially with them showing,” he says while gliding me across the dance floor.
“Wow, I didn’t know you could dance,” I say.
His brow jumps. “Well, we haven’t really had the opportunity.”
“This all happened so fast,” I say.
He smiles. “Please don’t tell me you’re having doubts now.”
I laugh. “No.”
His face moves closer. “Nemy-girl, I didn’t want to marry you simply because you were pregnant.”
“I know,” I reply. “You’ve had plenty of time to back out.”
“Good,” he says. “I’m glad you know.” He leans in and kisses me right before the song ends, and Brennan taps my shoulder while Teagan taps Clancy’s shoulder. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” I say when Brennan whisks me away. By the twelfth dancer—my father being the second and Clancy’s father being the third—my satchel is full. I didn’t really want to use it, but mom insisted on it because of tradition. I have to wonder what other traditions she’s going to throw at me. People begin to file onto the dance floor with us and I catch a glimpse of Brennan dancing with Lillian. She’s smiling and laughing too.
Finally, I get to dance with my husband again and he holds me close, both arms wrapped around my waist while we turn in a circle. I fucking feel like Cinderella.
Mom and dad watch Toni for us that night and the following two weeks while Clancy and I take off to Italy for our honeymoon. We visit the Cathedral so Clancy can see the original artwork that covers my arms and back. He loves it, but says it looks better on me. I’m happy to agree with him on that note. We also visit Uncle Ant, who is delighted to see us and makes homemade biscotti.
Can’t ever go wrong with homemade biscotti.