“I need to wear a suit?!”
“It’s only for a few hours. You look sweet in your suit, Leo.”
“I don’t want to look sweet. I want to look cool!”
“Ha. Good luck with that.”
“Lyra, be nice.”
“Papa, do I have to?”
“Yes, you do. Just this once.”
Today was the day. There was plenty of work to do before the ceremony, but there was time.
He’d found his mothers’ wedding arch in storage. He hadn’t even known they’d kept it, but it fitted in the garden so beautifully. He wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that Lissa had planned this when she’d planted the cherry tree in the garden. She’d always been an optimist.
For a long time he hadn’t believed that love was in his future, and this was the one time he was happy to be proved wrong.
He got up, stretching. Time to get things moving.
It wouldn’t do to have the garden looking less than perfect for the guests. One guest in particular, if he was honest.
He would make her proud.
Strawberry wedding cake? Check.
French toast? Check.
No one was going to starve on his watch.
“Are you sure, Mal? Because I could totally do it.”
“Don’t mind control our guests, love. I know you could do it, but lets try to do this the traditional way first.”
“Just a hivemind to make them happy?”
“No, Lor. Now stop messing around, they’ll be here any minute.”
Lor pouted before grinning up at his fiance. He couldn’t even pretend to be annoyed – not today. It wasn’t like he’d been serious.
Well, not very serious.
“Do you think she’ll be nice?”
“Our auntie. She’s probably really pretty, and talented, and-”
“-and a master kickboxer!”
“You look amazing.”
Lor turned at the gentle warmth in those words. The guests would arrive soon, but all he could think about was holding the man in front of him tightly and never letting go. “So do you.”
Malik kissed his hands, the way he had all those years ago. The big difference was that this time, thankfully, he didn’t run away afterwards.
“So this is the man you ran off with. I’ve gotta admit, you’ve got good taste.”
“I really do.”
Lor felt his cheeks grow warm and looked around for some sort of escape. He wasn’t used to this level of scrutiny.
“Look who I found, papa!” Thank goodness for Ellie, he thought as he gratefully seized the chance to duck out of the limelight.
“Mrs Miles! I’m so glad you could make it.”
Lyra gazed at the wedding arch. It seemed to be glowing softly in the fading light of the evening, as if lit by tiny fairies. One day she would get married under it, too. She’d make sure of it.
“Papa? When are grandma Morgan and grandma Lissa getting here?”
“Any minute now. The sun should be low enough soon.”
“I thought you said that your grandparents were dead, Ellie” Mrs Miles said, a look of confusion on her face.
“Oh, they are!”
“They’re vampires?” Ciara chimed in, her eyes lighting up. Now vampires, that was something she could get behind. All that blood…
“No, they’re ghosts. They live in those graves over there.” she said, pointing to the lavender patch. They stared at her in disbelief for a few moments before Malik popped up behind them, breaking the tension.
“Honestly, why are you even surprised anymore, mum?”
She sighed. “That’s actually a fair point.”
“I give it five minutes before they discover the surprise.”
“You’re not joining in?”
“Nah, it wouldn’t be good for the baby.”
“… you’re pregnant?!”
“I can’t believe we called her bluff like that. I’m so embarrassed.”
“It worked, didn’t it?” Lor said, giggling.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Malik smiled, entwining their hands together. They were married.