A Tragic Wreck
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OUT OF CONTROL
“YOU WANT TO GO to a bar with your brother after the rehearsal dinner tonight? Are you crazy? For crying out loud, we’re getting married tomorrow morning, Alex!” Chelsea huffed, glaring at him as he stood in the lobby of Old Trinity Church waiting for their guests to arrive to go over the wedding processional.
“Yes, I do. Just for a little bit. A few of my friends will be there. Mo’s band is playing and I want to go and support him. Plus, Tyler feels short-changed that he didn’t get to throw me a bachelor party. So, yes, I’m going to the bar. You can feel free to come with some of your friends, if you’re that worried about me.”
“That is so not how I was expecting to spend my last night as a single woman,” Chelsea replied, taking a step closer, running her fingers down his chest. “I was hoping this weekend would be incredibly romantic and not spent at some shitty bar,” she whispered in a sultry voice.
“Chelsea. Please, don’t. I want to spend some time with my friends before I have to spend the rest of the weekend with you.” He stared at her, his eyes fierce. No matter what he wanted to do, she had something to say about it.
She took a deep breath. Going to the bar that night wasn’t worth losing Alexander over. At least he had finally invited her out with him and his friends. “Fine. We’ll go to your little bar then.” Chelsea grabbed Alexander’s hand, leading him toward the vestibule to begin their rehearsal.
“Alexander, darling.” An older woman stopped him, pulling him into her arms while Chelsea stayed firmly planted at his side. “Wonderful to see you again, Chelsea. I wonder what you ever said to convince my son to marry you.”
Alexander chuckled a little at his mother’s words and Chelsea’s scowl.
“Oh, come, dear. It’s just a joke. But I would like a word with my son before we begin, if you don’t mind.” Colleen Burnham glared at Chelsea, waiting for her to give her some privacy with Alexander. After returning the glare for several long moments, Chelsea finally spun on her heels, seeking out her sister.
“Hi, Ma,” Alexander said, kissing her cheek. “How’s Miami?”
“Oh, you know. Same old thing. Sun, sand, and sangria.” She winked.
“I’m glad you were able to be here this weekend. It means a lot to both of us,” Alexander said, smiling at his mother’s gentle face. Although she was in her mid-sixties, she still had a youthful appearance about her.
“Well, I needed to be in town anyway to help plan our charity auction next month so I’m killing two birds with one stone, although I’m sensing something’s just not right here, Alex.” She grabbed her son’s hands in hers, staring deep into his eyes. “What’s going on? Are you sure you’re ready to marry that girl?”
Alexander exhaled loudly. “Why does everyone ask me that?”
Colleen narrowed her gaze on him. Even though he towered over her by a foot, he would always be her baby. “Because we care about you, Alex. And we want to make sure you’re not getting into something you can’t get out of. Marriage is a big deal. One you should not enter into lightly. Have you signed a pre-nup?”
“MOM!” Alexander exclaimed, aghast.
Colleen shrugged, her demeanor unchanged. “It’s a legitimate question. Have you?”
“I don’t need one.”
“Oh, come on, Alex. I’m sorry, but you better be damn sure you want to spend the rest of your life with that one if you’re not going to make her sign a pre-nup. Yes, she comes from some money, but nothing compared to what she’s about to marry into.”
Glancing over at Chelsea showing off her ring excitedly to people that he didn’t even know, Alexander wondered what he was getting into. And why Chelsea wanted to rush into a wedding so badly. “If it will make you happy, I’ll have my lawyers draw one up.” He turned to walk away.
“Alexander,” Colleen said, gently placing her hand on his shoulder. “What will make me happy is you doing what you think is right. Doing what your heart wants. I know all about the other girl you were dating…”
Alexander whirled around, glaring at his mother before shooting daggers at Carol and Tyler over her shoulder. “Ma, I…”
“Just think about what I said, Alex. Follow your heart and not your head, for once.”
Alexander stared at his mother and felt an arm wrap around his waist as someone planted a kiss on his neck. No sparks. No electricity. Nothing. Could he really resign himself to feeling nothing for the rest of his life?
“Come on, Alex,” Chelsea crooned. “We’re ready to begin.”
Alexander blankly followed Chelsea down the long aisle leading to the altar of the historic church. He always loved the architecture of Old Trinity Church. He wasn’t raised in a religious household and normally would never have considered having a religious wedding, but something about that church called to him. With the sun seeping through the large stained-glass windows, it always reminded him that there was something bigger at play in his life. Call it God. Call it fate. Call it whatever you want. He was a strong believer in some higher power, no matter what you called it. But now, as he made his way down the aisle to take his place for the wedding rehearsal, he wondered if he had been ignoring that higher power those past several months.
Alexander blanked out as the minister walked everyone through the ceremony. It was an excruciatingly long process and Alexander wanted nothing more than to get out of there. Even with the sun setting over the city, illuminating the entire church and making it seem more open, he felt the walls crushing him. His heart raced and he struggled to breathe.
“Dude, you okay?” Tyler whispered as he listened to the minister talk about love being patient.
Alexander swallowed hard. “Fine. I’m fine.”
“Bullshit,” Tyler said a little too loud. Everyone glared at him.
Alexander chuckled a little before trying to compose himself.
“Sorry. Just trying to clear up an irritation in my throat,” Tyler laughed.
After the minister was content that everyone knew what they were to do the following day, he dismissed the wedding party. Martin drove Alexander and Chelsea the few blocks to the rehearsal dinner at Atlantic Fish, an awkward silence filling the car. Alexander thought back to the last time he had been there. He couldn’t believe Chelsea chose that restaurant, of all places, to have the rehearsal dinner. That was where he had taken Olivia on their first official date.