You can all breathe a sigh of relief. The sentimental and mushy stuff is over. Yeah. We got married, we became miserable, you know, that’s how it always works, right? No such thing as a happy ever after ending.
Actually, no, I lied. I don’t know that all the sentimental stuff is done. It’s a matter of perspective. I don’t think it’s all too mushy or anything. This was a point in my life where, again things changed. Sorry, but even if I was going to pretend I was the type of guy who didn’t have feelings and never showed them, I’d never be able to get away with not telling the story of how April and I came to be married. That whole sidekick or Ninety-Nine thing that she has kind of plays a big part in how the rest of this turns out.
I know that my story isn’t complete without her, and I also know that if this was a real superhero story, it would have had a lot more angst and drama before we could ever be together. I felt that we had enough, but I’m sure comics or movies and definitely television shows would have dragged it out longer.
And, okay, sure—I wasn’t really kidding about the everything perfect happily ever after bit. It didn’t happen. Though I blame the first part on Larabee, to be honest…
April woke up screaming. Clayton had no choice but to wake up, too, what with her scream right in his ear. He winced and rubbed the side of his head as she rolled to the side and moaned. He’d figured that sleeping together would be an adjustment, but he hadn’t expected this. He let go of his still aching ear and turned to her, touching her shoulder gently. “What is it? The accident with your parents or… I don’t know, the conspiracy? What happened?”
“It was the gummy bears.”
“I’m going to kill Larabee for having those things at our reception, okay? That’s what I’ll have to do. Normally, I like the guy, but I can’t take this, Clayton. I close my eyes, and I see them…”
She shuddered, and he wrapped his arms around her, frowning. He had thought that the gummy bear couple on top of the cake had been a bit excessive, but he wasn’t sure why this was bothering April so much. Well, then again, the reception had gone about as well as anything in their lives did, so that wasn’t entirely surprising, either.
“You know, I like gummy bears a lot, but like that… I’m just… I don’t have words. Actually, I’m a bit… frightened by that,” Clay mused as he studied the giant gummy bear at the top of the cake. “I think I’m supposed to be the red one. You’re the white one, right?”
“Well, probably, but with the flames on my dress, I could be the red one,” April said, almost biting her lip as she studied the foot-tall gummy bears on top of the cake. “I suppose we should be grateful that he didn’t make them little costumes or something.”
Clay grimaced. “I think we should run while we still can.”
“This is our party, remember?”
“Yes, but I’m kind of worried about what we might find next. Who knows what he might pick for the song for our first dance or the speech he might make as the best man-maid of honor-mad scientist?”
She winced. “I don’t want to know. You’re right. We should probably go.”
“Pictures! We need lots and lots of pictures!” Larabee yelled, snapping a photo right in their face. They both blinked in the flash. “I have the stuff I got from the ceremony, but we’re going to need a lot more than that.”
“Uh, I did marry you, right? And you married me?” Clay asked in a low voice as Larabee bounced off to another part of the party. “It wasn’t a three way deal.”
“You know, there are times when Larabee is a little too invested in our lives… but I know he just wants to be a good friend.”
“And best man. Maid of honor. Mad scientist.”
She laughed, wrapping her arm in Clay’s and giving him a kiss on the cheek. He’d really like to get out of here and be alone, but they were supposed to be at this party for them, after all.
“Okay, I have to ask—how did he get you talked into that dress? I thought you hated the flames.”
She looked down at the back of her dress and smiled slightly. “My mother would have hated them, yes, but my dad… He would have loved them. Would have reminded him of the flames he put on his favorite car—the one that was destroyed in the crash. Kind of funny having Larabee come up with a dress that combines what both my parents would want, in a way. My mom gets the traditional front, and my dad gets the back with flames.”
“Clayton. Those gummy bears… There’s no way to bite their heads off first.”
He combed through April’s hair with a frown. “Is this about biting the heads of the big gummy bears that were supposed to be us?”
She groaned, burying her face in his chest. “Worse. There were gummy bears everywhere, bigger than those ones. Without heads. Hordes and hordes of zombie gummy bears. And when I say it like that, it sounds stupid.”
Clayton shook his head as he tightened his hold, trying to comfort her. He would never have expected her to have a dream like that, but he didn’t blame her, not after their reception. He just hoped he didn’t end up having any himself. “After Larabee’s gummy bear costume? I don’t think so.”
“Oh, why did you have to go and mention that?”
“You owe me a distraction.”
“Hmm… I could shift into another form and creep you out that way instead—”
“Wedding night. You know the kind of distraction I meant.”
“Oh, well, I think we can arrange that,” Clay agreed, giving her a kiss.