Why did weddings make him sad? Maybe it was because of his marital troubles with Lizzie. Joseph knew they couldn’t keep going the way they were. She was barely speaking to him. She could barely look at him. He didn’t blame her. He was cold and distant. After all the things he promised, after all the things he did, after all the things he thought would be different since the last time they made up, he just couldn’t pull himself together to say what he needed to say. He cared about her still, but they were so unhappy. He didn’t understand what was wrong with him. He had something really good, and he wasn’t handling things well.
Since he lost his job earlier in the year, he was working two jobs to stay afloat, and had even talked to Geeta, his landlady, half seriously about catering with her on a few jobs to make some extra Simoleons. Maybe he should even give the ‘love guru’ thing a try, but ha! Who would listen to him? His marriage was failing in a little over a year. Maybe Geeta was right. More misfortune was in store for them. He didn’t want Lizzie to worry, but they were behind on their rent and medical bills and the new car payment. He just didn’t know how to face her and tell her the truth, and it was costing them. Big time!
“Hey buddy, you should go easy there,” Julian warned in a friendly way.
Joseph was on his second beer. Or was it his third? He couldn’t remember. It didn’t matter. It made him feel warm and fuzzy inside. The kinds of things you should feel at a wedding. Right? He wanted to be happy for their friends. Cathy Tea and Amy Cat were pretty awesome together.
“I’m snacking on this… what is this?” Joseph gulped back a swig, and half tilted his bowl so his sister-in-law and her long-term boyfriend could see. “Some kinda trail mix? What’s that green stuff?”
“Wasabi peas,” Nora replied. “I remember those when Julian and I traveled to Asima last Christmastide. Mmm… crunchy… and oh so good!”
“Spi…cy!” Julian kissed his fingers.
“Just like I like my men,” Nora said, teasing, a hint of pink erupting on her cheeks.
Julian laughed. Joseph grimaced and tried a bite. He immediately downed the rest of his beer.
“Fiery, huh, buddy?”Julian smacked him on the back.
“Excuse me?” a well-dressed unnaturally red-haired man in a two-piece purple suit bumped into Joseph. “Are you with the bride or groom?”
“Is there a groom?” Joseph blinked. “I’m not sure how these things work.”
“Me neither,” the man shrugged.
“I’d say the brides to be,” Nora offered.
“But then…” Julian puzzled.
“I’m friends with Cathy and Amy, but I know Cathy a little better,” Joseph replied. “She works with my wife in publishing.”
“My wife works in publishing too,” the man replied. “Editing.”
“Small world,” Joseph said. “Joseph Simself.”
“Issador Fernandez, but call me Izzie. My wife is Lauryn Marks… the best looking one here,” the man grinned proudly, tugging on his vest and nodding toward the dance floor.
“Don’t let the brides hear you say that,” Nora smirked.
“Lauryn? Smaller world? She’s Lizzie’s editor,” Julian exclaimed. “And you, honey, are the best looking woman here,” he kissed her hand.
“So where is your wife?” Izzie asked.
“I…um…” Joseph glanced around. “Don’t know.”
Joseph cycled through the tables, chatting with guests and downing alcohol anytime someone asked him a question about his wife. Everyone seemed to talk about how great their women were, and he felt uncomfortable. Not because Lizzie wasn’t great. Because he didn’t know if he was great anymore. John kept grinning over at his new girlfriend, Ash, who was spinning on the dance floor with some of the ladies. Julian gushed about how much he was looking forward to becoming a dad. Joseph took another swig. A dad… yeah, that didn’t happen. He couldn’t believe the crushing grief he felt because of it. Caelen bragged about how hot his girlfriend was. Joseph felt a little out-of-place with the part-pyre, part…well, a bunch of other things… who cured him, but his memories on the procedure were fuzzy. Caelen said that it was best that way, but Joseph wished he could remember where he misplaced his heart.
“Are you ever… going to come dance with me?” Anne approached the table with a teasingly exasperated sigh
She swayed and looked up at the twinkling lights around the lattice above their heads.
“I am at your service, my dear,” Caelen said in a low voice.
“Good, dance fever bit me,” Anne exclaimed. “I just love weddings!” she brushed Joseph’s shoulder lightly and scrunched her nose. “Don’t you?”
I helped myself to another glass of wine. No one would notice or care. It wasn’t like people were really paying all that much attention to me. It wasn’t my day. I wasn’t here for that. Still, I was struck with a profound loneliness. Where was my husband? I almost burst into tears three times today already, and I didn’t know how much more I could take. Would I be able to hold it together until the end of the marriage ceremony? I watched our friends, and wondered what went wrong with my life.
Akira was giving tips to the DJ, and Riley was hanging over the edge of the booth, both feet in the air, correcting Akira’s advice, and giving his own two cents. The couple teased each other, and Akira playfully put Riley in a headlock until Riley gasped, “Uncle!”
Julian, my almost-brother-in-law and Nora cuddled on a nearby park bench, whispering sweet nothings into her ear. Probably stereotypical mushy-gushy things. I still wished it was Joseph and I.
My editor, Lauryn and her husband, Izzie were getting cozy at a table, discussing the state of world affairs with my cousin, John and Ash, who were finishing each other’s sentences only about a month into their relationship.
Amy, the bride to be, tucked the hair of the other bride-to-be Cathy, tenderly behind her ear, revealing more of her face as the wind kicked up a bit. It was a sweet, intimate moment, and I felt almost embarrassed to have witnessed it. A half-year ago, I wouldn’t have cared. I would’ve been over Luna. I’m sure Joseph and I were nauseatingly sweet like that in the beginning.
“Who remembers the Macarena?” Cathy asked, humming as she swayed.
“Oh my gawd! YASSSSS!” Riley exclaimed, grabbing my arm. “You aren’t getting out of this, Liz. You owe me a dance!”
“I do?” I blinked rapidly, setting down my glass of wine.
“Yes,” Riley nodded, taking off his top hat and making a sweeping gallant gesture. “May I have this dance?”
“Okay,” I said, nervously, feeling the heat rise in my cheeks, hoping no one saw me.
Amy siddled up to me on the dance floor, lifting her skirt so she could more easily dance.
“This is fun,” she grinned.
“Show us your stuff, Cath-hy!” Riley cupped his hand to his mouth and shouted in a deep voice.
Amy and I shared a knowing glance and giggled.
Midnight could not arrive soon enough. I had eaten my weight in food, and drank enough alcohol to be legally intoxicated, and I wondered why I wasn’t physically sick. I kept looking around for Joseph, wondering where he was, and then I realized that it didn’t matter. I was probably going to be miserable either way, and he would barely look at me. I plopped down in the dreaded front row, the place no one ever wants to sit in the auditorium or school or church or a wedding, and hoped I could make it through this evening without feeling any worse.
Sugar played a simple, but beautiful version of Moonlight Sonata as the guest continued to trickle into their seats. It was fitting as Amy shared with me how Cathy proposed. As the cellist, whom I had never seen before, pulled his bow across the strings, I could hear the lovely tension – the moving minor key, stirring me to almost tears. It was an unusual choice for a walk-the-aisle piece, but somehow fitting.
Cathy and Amy walked down the aisle together, holding hands. When they reached the arch covered in winding daffodils, roses, and ribbons, Cathy grabbed Amy around the waist and gave her a big smooch. The guests laughed, and Anne slid into a seat next to me.
“What did I miss?” she whispered.
I nodded toward the couple.
“Sorry,” Cathy smirked, as she greeted the guests. “I know it’s customary to wait till the end for the kiss, but I couldn’t help myself.”
Amy flushed and fanned herself happily.
“Hey!” Karleen leaned over and nudged my husband. “Joseph?”
My heart leaped at the sound of his name.
“Why aren’t you sitting with your wife?” she inquired in a hushed tone.
“Oh, Lizzie?” he replied as if surprised by his place in the audience. “I didn’t realize she was there.”
My heart simultaneously sank. How could he not notice me? Joseph moved up to the front row and slid next to me as if it was obligatory or mandatory. I felt queasy as he squeezed my hand. What kind of relationship is this? It was if we were living in an alternate reality.
“Sorry I’m late,” he said, waving his hand, as if that was an excuse.
“Naturally, you’d be late,” I said, with a fake smile and a mimicking wave of my own hand.
“Are you tipsy, Liz?” he leaned in close and sniffed me.
I stretched my neck back, offended. “Shh! Watch the ceremony.”
“Somehow, I never really imagined myself standing here, in a dress, with someone so beautiful,” Cathy said quietly. “Ready to do this? Are you brave?”
Cathy cleared her throat, glanced with a quick blush at the onlookers, and then spoke her vows:
“I’ll brave the world for you
This I knew
From the start.
“Kiss every challenge
Embrace each hardship,
So long as we’re not apart…”
“I’ll brave the world with you
This I say
With my heart.
“See? Your stars,
my planets, smile together
in our chart.
“Brave the world with me
Write new law,
“Together, we’ll doubt
The mind, which we know
Our two hearts
Will always outsmart.”
Amy’s eyes glistened with tears as she took the love of her life’s hand.
“With this ring I promise to continue to be your sun in the morning, your stars at night, and create our own galaxy of life and love through out all our days.”
As soon as the service was over, Joseph split, muttering something about needing the restroom. I turned and chatted for a few moments with Anne, who was, of course, ecstatic about the wedding and romance in general. I asked her what she was writing these days to steer the conversation away from romance. Nearby, Ash flirted with John. I could hear her, and I cringed. Not because I didn’t like John and Ash together, but because I was so sick of love. Cathy greeted Karleen, and asked if she could pat the stomach.
“Little life, I am so glad you made an appearance at my wedding,” Cathy murmured.
It was time for the after party, and I seriously wanted to go home. Home home. Like to my parents’ house. They probably wouldn’t mind. I could sleep in my old bed in my old room and pretend like my life was better than it was. Someone dragged me onto the dance floor, and I don’t even really remember who it was. My head was spinning and I was beginning to feel the full force of all the alcohol I inhaled. I tried to follow the moves, but I stumbled and nearly bumped into none other than Jospeh. I actually cringed, expecting criticism, especially after everything that had happened recently.
“Lizzzz-iiiie,” he slurred his words as he took a step forward to catch me and keep me from falling and making a complete idiot of myself. “You okay?”
“I need some…” I closed my eyes and shook my head slightly, lifting a hand to my forehead. “…air.”
“But we’re already outside,” Karleen teased, looking up at the night sky. “Or did you not notice?” she winked at us.
“I’m…” I swayed again, feeling dizzy and dehydrated.
“Here…” Joseph offered his arm and guided me to the restroom, making a pit stop at the bar for a glass of water.
Somehow we ended up behind the restrooms at the back of the park. I drank the water, and it did little to help my foggy brain. Joseph slurred through some half-hearted apology and I think I accepted it, mostly because I couldn’t be expected to think straight, and this was the most he had paid attention to me in weeks. Some weird amalgamation of classical and techno rang from the dance floor, where I’m sure Riley and Akira were dancing center stage, leading the group. Joseph clapped his hands and swayed his hips to the beat.
“Doesn’t?” he began.
“What do you mean… what?” he said, as he danced around with flamboyant moves, waving his arms like a mad man.
“Doesn’t isn’t a sentence or a question,” I replied, strangely and sanely stringing together enough clarity to form that sentence.
“You wanna dance?” he asked, jiving his hips almost unnaturally.
“I thought…” I frowned. “You hate dancing?”
“Shut up!” he yelled dramatically.
I gasped in shock and took a step back, covering my mouth.
He broke into a odd laugh and added, “…and dance with me, woman!”
My face relaxed into a smile. The song… some song… at some point, we danced to that song. I think I taught him the moves.
Dancing and swaying like drunken fools on the grass, and getting my heels stuck in the grass, and Joseph picking me up so I wouldn’t fall somehow led us to furiously make out behind the bathrooms. Not the most romantic spot mind you. I’m not even sure how it happened, but we stumbled back to our hotel. Safely. Shocking, I know, right?
One thing led to another…
…clothing was removed…
…lips and limbs were intertwined…
…and we landed in bed.
How could I have known our bliss was only an alcohol-infused passion? In the morning, Joseph groaned and grunted, complaining of a headache, criticizing my moves from the night before. I was crushed. Utterly defeated…and I realized right then and there that I needed space.
I dressed, grabbed my suitcase, and headed for the door.
All that was good was gone.
Author Notes: So much happiness. So much pain. Oh my gawd! Just when I thought Lizzie and Joseph couldn’t sink any lower. I just don’t know what happened to my Simself or her Sim-spouse. To go from over the top adorable and perfect together to fighting like cats and dogs. I didn’t even know criticizing a person’s “moves” was a thing in game until now. Eek!
On a happy note, much thanks to Shadami and Cathy Tea for helping write their own vows section. Isn’t it beautiful? Yay for another happy couple. This chapter also featured LegacySims2017‘s Joseph, MINEZ‘ Julian and Issador “Izzie” Fernandez, MadameLee‘s Anne, simscognito‘s Riley, CathyTea’s Sugar Maple Bough, skcaga6‘s Teresa Spinks and Edwin and Sharon Wymer, and TheYayToast‘s Ash. Thanks for reading!