Ren woke with the tickle of an idea. She and Sugar had been talking about wedding plans. They’d drawn up a few guest lists, considered venues (home was nice, but then so was Cypress and Knox’s garden), and had even begun to sample cake recipes. While tasting strawberry, chocolate, marzipan, and vanilla was fun, they both liked Shug’s sugar-free carob cake best of all.
That morning, Ren’s inspiration was to scrap it all and get married right then and there, with only their own private garden as witness.
“I’ll beat you there!” Sugar joked as soon as Ren shared her idea.
The morning felt new, with that soft coolness that lingers before the sun drinks the dew.
They met beneath the lemon tree. The flowers perfumed the air and a chorus of sparrows sang from the hedgerows.
They shared words intended for only the two of them to hear.
Sugar surprised Ren with a ring that captured all the brightness that she felt whenever she looked at Ren.
And, just like that, they were married.
They sat together at the poolside in the mid-morning sun, savoring their first moments as wives. They felt so much to be thankful for.
“So shall we tell everybody?” Ren asked.
“Of course!” said Sugar. “I can’t keep my happiness a secret much longer!”
They quickly got dressed and ran out to the path behind their house to tell the first people they saw, who happened to be Jaclyn Ball and Sugar’s nephew-in-law Knox McRae.
“Guess how we spent the morning?” Sugar said.
“We got married!” said Ren. And everybody clapped.
“It’s a fine morning for a wedding,” said Jaclyn, as butterflies hovered around her.
As soon as they got back to the house, Sugar received a congratulatory text from Redbud. Won’t be long before the news has spread to everyone, Sugar thought.
“Let’s celebrate!” Ren said.
So Sugar invited over all the family and as many friends as they thought could fit in their small house.
“Yeah!” said Sugar when she called to hire Cathy Tea as the caterer, “we’re skipping the boring part and just jumping right to the fun!”
The romance of an elopement felt contagious to Cypress.
“I remember when Knox and I eloped,” she said. “We just got married right there in the garden, just the two of us!”
Sugar laughed. “Same here. Under a lemon tree, right?”
Kit Dragonflight found it all so romantic–all these patterns that keep tracing through the family. Garden weddings, big parties, so much to love!
While Raerei and Eddie joined the dancing in the bungalow, Ren and Sugar found each other circling their own universe.
By the time their kiss ended, the room had emptied out and they were alone with the romantic songs playing on the stereo.
“Hey, Eddie! Hi, Raerei!” called Miss Penguin in the main house. “Great party, right?”
It was a great party. All the family was there, and so many friends.
Ren looked over at Redbud, onezero, Nathanael, J. P., and Cypress, all dancing and laughing together. This was her family now, too! There was Sean Parodi, Ninja, Kit, Miss Penguin, and Rae–the family friends.
As the party continued, guests began to drift off alone or in pairs, the way people do when wanting moments to reflect or to find deeper connections.
Jaclyn had volunteered to be the mixologist to make sure that the drinks contained a sprinkling of magic, and onezero was drawn to her. They didn’t speak any words, but they shared the connection that those with otherworldly ancestors exchange with each other.
Inside, Miss Penguin and Sugar sat together in the bedroom.
“You seem so happy!” Miss Penguin said. “It’s almost like you’ve been waiting all your life for this!”
“Thank you,” said Sugar. “Life feels very ripe!”
As evening settled, Cypress found solitude by the pool. There’s happiness and there’s joy, she thought. Happiness makes you run around and laugh, but joy’s deeper. It’s contains stillness.
With her catering duties finished, Cathy Tea followed the sounds of the Goldberg Variations out to the garden patio, where Mesquite had begun the final aria.
“Ready to go?” Nathanael asked onez, interrupting her and Jaclyn’s wordless exchange. Their farewells were wordless, too.
After the guests left, the house and garden still felt abuzz with the party energy. Ren and Sugar wandered through the lot gathering the dirty dishes which had been left everywhere!
Collecting the post-party dishes was a ritual Sugar observed fondly. It provides a moment for transition, she thought, a relaxing task to move from party-mode back into the quiet domestic scene.
Sugar loved their kitchen–she’d made friends with the wood-burning stove and the old sink. Simple is sometimes better, she thought, washing the dishes by hand.
Ren fell asleep, settling into the quiet while all the events of the day found their places within her. She had a new wife, a new family, and so many friends. And here, in the quiet of the night, she was still herself, still Ren.
Sugar took her pink guitar out to the bungalow so as not to disturb Ren’s sleep, and there she played all the sounds and songs of the day, letting the music bring to her the integration that dreams brought Ren.