VIII

I fidget awkwardly as I walk through the courtyard to the reception hall. Four hours, six stores, and fourteen dresses later, I finally arrive at the reception one hour late. Decked out in a lacey black strapless Oscar De La Renta gown, care of my dirt bag ex and his trusty credit card that he forgot to cancel. I feel both empowered and terrified all at once to be here.

And then a thought crosses my mind, one that never even occurred to me before, how in the hell am I even going to find Alex. From the amount of cars in the parking lot, there are a shit ton of people here. As I feel my resolve fading, and the urge to turn around and leave growing, the door opens and Alex walks out.

He scans the courtyard, and then his eyes land on me and he smiles a smile that stops my heart, and I’m frozen. He begins walking up to me and I can’t help but drink him in. Fitted in a James Bond-esc tuxedo, hair trimmed and combed back to perfection. He could be a model on a billboard with how handsome he looks today.

He stops in front of me and grabs my hands, holding me back at arm’s length, taking me all in. “You look breath taking.” All I can do is nod in thanks and in admiration of what he looks like as well. He pulls me in for a hug, and I inhale his familiar scent, and I think I might just combust with the infatuation I feel right now. As he pulls away, he gives me another head to toe look and shakes his head and adds, “Absolutely stunning Sloane.”

I finally find my voice. “You too,” is all I can seem to manage, and it comes out as a near croak. He loops my arm in his and begins to walk me towards the hall. I start to get this strange sensation that this must have been how Cinderella felt when she went to the ball with Prince Charming, like she was walking on a cloud. But also shitting herself in fear of seeing her step monsters the way I’m fearing the sea of unknown people I’m currently about to enter.

As we walk through the doors to the reception hall, I realize that this is most definitely not your ordinary wedding, or your ordinary guest list. I turn to Alex and whisper, “Is that Christian Louboutin?!”

Alex turns his head in the direction I’m looking, smiles and waves at Christian, who smiles and waves back. “Ah yes, he’s an old friend of my father’s. Great shoes don’t you think.”

I look at Alex like he has three heads, “Great shoes? Alex, he’s a fucking shoe God!”

Alex just laughs, “Yeah, I guess so with those, what do you call them, ‘Red Feet’?”

I glare at Alex in astonishment. “Red Bottoms Alex! Bottoms!” I turn my head away in disgust, “I can’t even look at you right now.”

Once again he laughs my comment off. “Come now, you must meet the importants.”

I look around at the hall filled with A-list, actors, directors, designers and more, “They all look pretty damn important to me.” Alex shakes his head with a small smile, and holding my hand in his, he walks towards the front of the hall. After walking through a lot of little clusters of people, I finally get a peek of an absolutely stunning woman in a white dress. “Your sister looks oddly familiar.”

“You’ve probably seen her with wings.” Alex says absentmindedly as he steers me through the throngs of people towards his sister. Wings? Why the hell would I have seen her with wings?

I continue to work my mind around this and stare at Alex’s sister, and as we near her it hits me. “You’re sister’s an Angel? Like ‘Victoria Secret Angel’?”

Alex nods his head. “She received her wings about a year ago, I believe. Swear that was the proudest moment in her entire life.” He doesn’t sound as impressed as I currently feel.

By now we’re within a few feet of Alex’s sister and that’s when I notice the two older people around her. Oh God! It’s like the whole hall starts to spin with the idea of meeting the family. And before I could unlink myself from Alex and make my way back through the crowd, I hear him begin to speak.

“Mamon, Papa, Marcelle, C’est ma belle amie, Sloane. Elle visite d’Amérique. Elle ne parle pas Français.” Gibberish, all I heard was gibberish. And then I’m being embraced by who I assume is his mother and father, and his sister. “Sloane, this is my mother Vivienne, my sister Marcelle, and my father Pierre.”

As Alex introduces his father, I grab his hand and tell him. “You’re pastries have changed my life.”

All three of them shake with laughter. His father takes my hand kissing the top of it. “Thank you very much Sloane.” He says in a terribly thick French accent. “Alexandre, c’est une belle amie.”

Alex looks at me with a smile and a nod. “Merci papa, je connais.” Overhead music starts to play, and guests slowly flock to the dance floor. Alex’s dad sweeps his mother into a flourish of a turn, and giggling they proceed to the dance floor. A sharply dressed young man comes up behind Marcelle and wraps his arms around her waist and begins to sway with the rhythm of the music.

“Sloane, I would like you to meet my husband, Michel.” Marcelle’s husband extends his hand out to me.

“Nice to meet you Michel, congratulations to you both.” He shakes my hand with a firm grip.

“It’s Michael for us North American’s” He adds with an American accent, Marcelle swatting at him. Michael turns her around in his arms and kisses her and then pulls her towards the dance floor.

With that instance of affection, I feel as though I am in a daze, sent back to a time when I had been planning my own wedding. I can feel the darkness starting to consume me. And then I feel Alex’s hand on the small of my back, and I’m brought back to the here and now.

“Hey.” He holds my chin in his hand, and looks into my eyes. And for a second, I think he can see it, my heart breaking. “Let’s dance.” He holds his hand out too me, waiting for me to take it, waiting for me to fully trust him. And so, finally, I place my hand in his, and decide to dance.

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