In every person’s life there are but a handful of moments that truly make sense of the rest. We wait for them, these moments; sometimes we even plan for them, or seek them out like adrenaline junkies lined up to ride a roller coaster. It has been said that the most memorable moments in a person’s life are those that come unexpected, like sudden gusts of wind. On the other hand, it has also been said that true happiness is attributed to the fulfillment of things hoped and longed for, sometimes for many, many years before fruition. Of course both of these thoughts are a contrast of patience, but perhaps it is not so simple as one or the other. Perhaps it is a delightful marriage of the two.
Robert made all of the advance arrangements to book the Kasal Gardens. It was a majestic site, rich in history and variety of plant life. Better known for its grand white gazebo, the gardens played host to many acts of matrimonial bliss. The gardens could not have been more beautiful than on this day. Blossoms hung in the air, catching rays of sunlight that shone through the multicoloured leaves. A dense level of oxygen and pollen gave the air a stillness and tranquility unlike anything in the city, truly a diamond in the rough. Robert’s connections with city council made it quite easy to close off public viewing for the day, and ensure that Vincent and Madison would not be discovered as the prepared to wed.
On either end of the garden were two small brown guest shacks specifically designed for occasions such as this, where a bride and groom would remain separated until the alter. Vincent and Robert were in the west shack, and Madison and her step-parents bustled about in the east shack.
“Are you nervous yet?” Robert Cooper said with a wide and strained grin across his wrinkled face.
“I don’t think I have ever been so nervous in my whole life! Have you seen her yet?”
“Well, I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but she looks absolutely astonishing.” Robert straightened Vincent’s bow-tie with a gentle tug. Vincent gasped and nearly stumbled straight off his own feet. “Well she looks a fair bit better than you, that’s for sure, especially if you don’t get control of your legs! I’ve never seen you like this before. You’ve been stumbling about like a buffoon all morning.” Robert remarked.
“I know I know, it’s just that, I never thought something like this could happen to me. I have read so much about marriage and love. There’s so much said about it in books, and poems, and songs. But things have always been so crazy for me. Crazy is all that I have ever known. To think I’m going to be going to bed a married man tonight is just hard to wrap my head around.” He replied as he wiped his jet-black hair back into place upon his brow.
“You think too much. That’s the real problem here. Though, there was that nasty car crash on the way here…that wasn’t too easy on the nerves either.” Robert took a step back from Vincent and examined him from head to toe, looking for any subtle imperfections. His nephew stood before him, now a strong framed young man with perfectly clear skin, and deep brown eyes. “You remind me so much of your father right now. Back when things were simpler…your father married for love, regardless of your mother’s many agendas. Let me tell you, you are a spitting image of him right now.”
“Thanks Uncle Coop. I guess that’s a good thing.” Vincent shrugged his shoulders.
“There’s nothing wrong with resembling love.” He adjusted Vincent’s cuffs one more time, casting his attention onto a stand-up wood framed mirror to their immediate left.
“Oh.,” Robert exclaimed rather suddenly.
“What is it?” Vincent noticed Robert squinting over his shoulder in the mirror.
“There’s a tear…” Robert pointed at Vincent’s coat sleeve just below his left wrist. “…Just there in the fabric. Vincent held his arm up to the light and examined the hole as well.
“Yeah, I noticed it when I stepped out of the car. I must have caught it on something sharp, it goes straight through to my skin.”
Robert begot a somewhat worried expression on his face as his old eyes squinted tightly together. Several seconds of silence passed as if perhaps Robert was considering solutions to repair the tear in the fabric.
“Are we done? I’m beginning to lose my cool here.” Vincent asked, snapping Robert out of his fixation.
“I should say we’re right close. Maybe we’ll shine up your shoes one last time before we walk through to the alter. I don’t want to rush Madison too much. I can’t imagine she is having the easiest of times over there.” Robert was right, Madison was close to a full break down with her step-parents. They had not said but one encouraging word to her all day, only dutifully went about supplying her need like butlers or servants. It was not at all the sort of fellowship she had envisioned on her wedding day, not the slightest. Her step-dad sat silently in the corner of the room, his weight barely supported by a hand-woven wicker chair. Every so often he would look up from his phone, force smile, snap a picture, then stick his fat nose right back down into the paper again. Her mom was not much better, only fussier, more so than Madison could have ever predicted. Madison got the keen sense that her step-mom was attempting to live vicariously through her, and was completely absorbed in all the finer details of the ceremony.
“I hate this dress.” Madison said bluntly. “It’s so bulky. I don’t think Edward will recognize me in this.” She batted at the great puffy bulk of excess fabric of the dress with her slender hands; the oversized glistening diamond on her left hand bouncing about.
“Stop it. This is a classic look. It’s what any woman would pick if she had someone like Robert Cooper footing the bill.” She snapped her fingers, shooting a cold glance at her husband in the wicker chair.
“Maybe I’m not just any woman, momma.” Madison replied.
“Don’t be foolish, you’re going to make your dad upset.” Her mother barked through thick, dark red lipstick; her makeup forming the small grooves of her premature forehead wrinkles.
“He’s just sitting there.” Madison motioned to her absent-minded step father.
“Nonsense, child. I’m following stocks. You have no idea what the economy looks like right now with that Day Fortune out hanging in the open the way it is,” her stepdad replied, “I should ask old Robert what he thinks of all of this. Damn relief fund just dangling out there.” He paid no heed to the icy gaze of his wife, nor the sullen expression of his beautiful step-daughter.
Madison gathered up her long, puffed up dress and shuffled over to her stepdad, kissing him right on the top of his balding head. “Thanks for caring about my wedding, daddy.” Madison said. At first she meant it quite sarcastically, but upon the phrase leaving her lips, she realized how upset she truly was at his lack of interest. The defiant statement sent a jolt of anxiety rushing through her chest like a hunger pain.
“Sure baby, no problem.” He replied, but Madison was already out of the room.
Several seconds of silence went by as Madison’s stepmom stared down her nose at her stepdad until he simply could not handle the pressure anymore and looked up from his phone.
“What? What’s going on?” He asked, crossing his right leg over his left, revealing a poorly tailored hem, and about two inches of bare ankle.
“Way to go, you moron. Put your damn suit on.” She snapped.
Vincent and Robert stood at the exit of their shack leading into the garden yard. A beautiful awning spanned their heads, covered in ornate climbing vines. A rich mahogany deck wrapped the shack from the northern side to the southern side. Every few feet or so stood a large, round, white ceramic flower pot with decorative angelic figures protruding from it.
“So we wait for Annette to give the signal, then we make our way up to the gazebo to join the minister.” Robert smiled as he crossed his arms in front of his body.
“I can’t even see the other guest shack from here. There’s about six trees in my way.” Vincent said as he stood on his toes to look past a very large hedge.
“That’s the whole point. Stop trying, you silly boy. You’ll crease your shoes!” Robert pulled him back onto the balls of his feet, and just as he did, a loud wolf-whistle filled the air. “Come on now, that’s the signal! Time to start walking! I don’t want to get lost on our way to the alter.”
“Okay.” Vincent steadied himself and drew a deep breath of fresh air into his lungs. “Here we go.”
He extended his very shiny tuxedo shoe and stepped onto the cobblestone path. Robert stayed at his side.
“Do you think the white on white was too much?” Vincent asked as he looked down at his white vest. “I feel like a nobleman or something.”
“Nonsense. It’s fine. Just a bit stark in this light is all.” He smiled. Robert and Vincent made their way up and around the garden path towards a large flat open area with only a large bronze sundial occupying the space.
“I sure do appreciate you arranging all of this for Madison and I. For a while there, I thought we were going to have to get married on the roof.” Vincent chuckled.
“Well, we couldn’t have that, could we? This is a day to remember! I don’t plan on doing it again any time soon, but It’s honestly not a problem, young sir.”
They set out onto the opening where the paths merged, Vincent felt something strike his head extremely hard. Robert had noticed the violent jolt and was quick to inquire.
“What’s the matter?”
“Something small just hit me. I think someone just threw something at me. Could have fallen from a tree or something?” Vincent looked left, and right attempting to identify the origin of the object. Robert tilted him forward and examined his unmarked head. “There’s not a scratch on you. Are you sure you felt something? Could just be your nerves.”
“I could have sworn I did. It was really hard, like metal or something.” Vincent patted his hair back down. A startling thought entered Robert’s mind but he could scarcely believe that it could be true. There were only two buildings that overlooked the gardens, and both were quite far away. So far away in fact, that only their top most floors could be seen from where they were standing. One was an office complex for a mobile communications company, and the other was a government owned building. Surely, Robert thought, surely there was no chance that someone had just taken a shot at him.
“Come along now.” Robert began. “We need to get you married. You’re hallucinating and everything.” He placed his hand on Vincent’s back and ushered him up the path at a much quicker pace.
About four meters away from the clearing where Robert and Vincent once stood there lay an unrecognizable chunk of metal in the grass.
Nearly three thousand yards away on the roof of the government building, Gunmetal Grey released his grip from his sniper rifle and began cursing Vincent profusely under his breath. He then took in the rest of the ceremony in silence, as a guest through the scope of his rifle.
TO BE CONTINUED.
VINCENT PART II: THE FOUNDER OF THE TRIUMPHS
©2012-2013 Dan McIntyre