Chapter 15: Nice Day for a White Wedding

White Wedding — Billy Idol (Chapter 15 Soundtrack)
Screenshot-105Cami really had no idea how she survived the days following Summer’s birth. Time swirled around her in a foggy haze of feedings and diaper changes, with barely any sleep in between. Wyatt did not assist much. “That’s a girl thing,” he told her dismissively when Cami tried to give Summer to him to hold. “I don’t do diapers or bottles or nothin’.” Cami’s mother held the baby occasionally so that Cami could make wedding plans or take a quick shower. But she always seemed eager to put Summer back in Cami’s arms. Wedding (2)

The wedding day arrived way too fast for Cami. She allowed her mother to fix her hair and makeup, and shove her into frilly white gown that made Cami feel like Little Bo Peep. Wedding (1) She stood unsmiling beneath the wedding arch of the church as the pastor droned on about the sanctity of marriage, wishing that she were getting married in a field of wildflowers, with her feet bare, wearing a colorful dress which flowed in the wind, and carrying baby Summer in her arms. And the groom would be – she glanced at Wyatt, who stood beside her, sending a text. It was very hard to picture him in her scene of wildflowers.

Wedding (10) Wedding (11)

The pastor cleared his throat. “Are we ready to proceed?”

Wyatt shoved his phone in his pocket, then thrust his thumbs in the air. “Yeah, brah. Let’s do this.” He flashed a grin at Cami, who rolled her eyes.

Wedding (12)

The pastor continued. “Do you, Camellia, take Wyatt to be your—”

“NOOO!” came a shout from the back of the church. The pastor froze. Cami gasped. Everyone in the church turned to look at Ash came racing up toward the front of the sanctuary. “Cami, wait, you can’t do this!” he said, his voice wild with desperation. Wedding (9)

“Ash!” Cami hissed. “What are you doing? You’re ruining my wedding!”

“And you’re ruining your life!” he said. He took Cami by the hand and began to lead her away from the wedding arch.

“It’ll just be a minute, okay?” Cami called over her shoulder to the pastor, who shrugged as though nothing else could possibly surprise him. “Ash, look, I know you’re upset,” she told him. “I’m really sorry. I should have invited you to the wedding, but—”

Wedding (7)

“Should have invited me?” Ash shook his head. “Cami, be serious. You cannot marry this guy! He’s…he’s an idiot! He’s nothing like you.”

Cami scowled. “He’s not an idiot. He’s really nice, okay? Don’t insult him.”

Wedding (5)

“Why can’t you be how stupid you’re being?” Ash raised his voice. “Why the hell do you think you need to get married? You’re only sixteen!”

Cami glanced across the room, where baby Summer was sleeping in the arms of a neighbor. “You don’t understand, Ash–”

“What don’t I understand? You? I understand you better than he does.” He nodded toward Wyatt, who was standing near the pianist, shaking his butt to the music. “Please don’t do this,” Ash lowered his voice. He grabbed Cami’s hands, his dark eyes intense as they probed hers. “Don’t do this.”

Wedding (4)

Wedding (3)

Cami tore her eyes away. “I have to,” she said. Ash heaved a defeated sigh and turned away from her. “I’m sorry.” Without looking back, Cami hurried up to the wedding arch, where Wyatt was now waiting.

“We cool?” asked Wyatt.

Wedding  (2)  Wedding (14)

“Sure!” Cami’s voice was too bubbly, too shrill. But Wyatt didn’t seem to notice. He signaled the pastor, who nodded and resumed the ceremony.

Wedding (13)

Cami, determined to fix what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, pasted a sunny smile on her face and kept it there throughout the rest of the ceremony, through the reception that followed, and all the way to the little house which Tammy had rented so that Cami and Wyatt could have a place of their own. Only then did Cami drop the fake smile. Only then did she allow the dam to burst forth, spilling tears of regret and shame and misery.

Wedding (16)Wedding (15)

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