Like I Would


“Jared, Jared what am I going to do?!” I ran a hand through my hair, listening to my soon to be sister in law freaking out and Jared looking miserable. They’d hired a planner, who’d assured them everything was in order, but so far it was like three weeks until their wedding and everything was falling apart. Natalie was freaking out, Jared was stressed out because he didn’t have a sniff what to do, and it was turning into a big calamity.

“Nat, honey we’ll figure it out, it’ll be okay,” he insisted, but she struggled out of his embrace, nearly working herself into tears. Natalie wasn’t a drama queen, but every girl dreams of their perfect wedding day, and I didn’t blame her for being upset and feeling like it was falling apart.

“We’ll all help – it’ll be perfect Natalie, just relax,” I piped up, hoping to help. Angie was sitting in the corner of the room, and hadn’t looked up from her laptop once while Natalie told us about her dilemma. Some days it hurt, knowing she kept herself so aloof and separate from my family. She’d rather be with hers, rather we be with her family, but I refused to let myself be completely cut off when we were all so close. It was bad enough I was the only one not playing hockey in North Carolina, I didn’t want to be all alone during the summer too.

“But what if it isn’t Marc?” Natalie’s big brown eyes turned to me, tears welling up and nearly spilling over. I walked over and pulled her into a quick hug, before holding her at arm’s length.

“Because no matter what, you two are still getting married, and everybody who loves you is going to think it’s perfect, because what’s important is you two love each other and want to share that with us, right?” she slowly nodded, swiping at the tears on her cheeks.


“So don’t fret, okay? We’ll make sure everything’s okay, so take a deep breath,” she took one with me, and slowly let it out when I did, her shoulders slumping in the process. “Maybe you two should go lay down, or go for a walk or something… anything to relax, okay?”

Jared caught my gaze, and nodded, mouthing a thank you as he led his fiancé out the door. I sighed and flopped down onto the couch, watching their truck disappear down the road minutes later.

“Thank God that’s over with,” Angie finally spoke up, nearly making me cringe at her tone. I chose not to comment, not wanting to start a fight but not wanting to acknowledge the rude thing she’d said. Angie had been ten times worse at her sister’s wedding.

“Talk about drama queen; what’s a few flowers not being there?”

“Angie, it’s more than a few flowers, okay? They’ve been planning this for almost a year, now they’re three weeks away and she’s stressed out. She’s not being a drama queen. Maybe you should help her; you did an amazing job helping with your sister’s wedding,” I tried to put the suggestion out there, but instead was met with a haughty laugh and her making herself comfortable once again.

“No thanks – I’m not dealing with that,”

And that’s why she didn’t ask you to be a bridesmaid… I felt bad for the thought, but knew it was true. Angie had been upset that Natalie had asked Tanya to be a bridesmaid and not her, but Angie was pretty cold with just about everyone, so to me it hadn’t been that big of a surprise.

It wasn’t until after supper that they returned, Natalie looking like she was about to burst with excitement, and Jared looking unsettled. It was an unusual switch from when they’d left, and I knew my brothers noticed it too.

“Feel better?” Eric asked, he and Tanya having been filled in when they’d arrived for dinner. Tanya’s parents had the boys for the night, wanting to spend some time with their grandsons, as well as give the parents a night off.

“Yes, so much better! You’ll never guess who we ran into at the pizza place!” Nat gushed, and Tanya just grinned, trying not to laugh at Natalie’s bubbly excitement. It had always amazed me how she could bounce from one emotion to the other.


“Carly! You know, Carly Sanders? And we started talking and I remembered that she helped plan the Jr and Sr prom and when she asked about the wedding I was telling her about everything, and she offered to help!” the quickly spoken words fell out of Natalie’s mouth, unknowingly making my heart stop. I hadn’t seen Carly since she left after graduation – she’d been my best friend and now I hardly knew her. She hadn’t so much as set foot in Thunder Bay since leaving, and while Jared had told me they’d invited her to their wedding, we’d all presumed she wouldn’t show up.

“She’s in town?” I hardly kept the waver out of my voice as I spoke, and Natalie obviously missed it as she nodded.

“Yeah, she just got here today. Not really for a happy visit though, it’s because of her dad.”

That was like a knife to the gut. David Sanders had been like a second father to me through high school – he and Carly always came to the hockey games that they could, and David never hesitated to offer me supper or a ride somewhere or help with my homework. I’d never even known something was wrong.

“Not doing so well? Did she say what?”

“He’s… he passed away from cancer just a couple days ago,” Natalie’s excitement died down immediately, and I felt the sting of hot tears beginning to come to my eyes. Cancer. And I hadn’t had a clue, hadn’t gone to see him… and now he was gone.

“Marc, you okay?” Concern was written all over Tanya and Eric’s features, my older brother posing the question. I shook my head, leaving the kitchen. They knew how close Carly and her father had been to me, so I wouldn’t have to explain myself to them. The footsteps coming behind me, however, I knew didn’t belong to any of my brothers.

“Marc? What’s wrong?” Angie’s voice came from somewhere close to the middle of my back, and I wished she’d just leave it be.

“He’s gone, Angie,”

“So? Who is he, anyway? I mean yeah, it’s sad, but why’re you this upset?”

“Because he was like a second father to me, Angie. Carly and I were best friends in school, remember?” the blank look told me all I needed to know, and I nearly sighed in frustration. Angie had tried pretty hard to keep both her world and mine centered around her, so it shouldn’t really have been a huge surprise that she didn’t remember Carly.

“Well she was, and he meant a lot to me. I didn’t even know he was sick… I should have gone and seen him,” confusion crossed my fiancé’s face, and I knew she didn’t understand.

“Why? I mean, you haven’t seen her in forever or I’d remember who she was, why’s it any different with him?” she asked.

“Because it’s the right thing to do, Angie,”