Status: Active

All Good Things


It was too damn early to be getting a phone call. Cora hadn’t even showered yet. If it was Melissa again, freaking out about her venue planting three rosebushes where they planned to do their first look pictures, she’d –


“Cora, how’re you doing?”

“Good, Zacky, what’s up?”

“Well…uh…Abby’s working today, which she wasn’t supposed to be. So now I’ve got tickets to this bridal show, I don’t know what the Hell I’m doing, but she got pissed when I told her I wasn’t going and…” there was a loud sigh. “Come with me.”


“-everyone else has plans with their wives. You do this shit for a living. Just, please, help me out here.” So Zacky had only asked two of the guys’ wives to come. After hearing a no from both of them, he figured he should just give up. Not to mention Abby wasn’t very fond of any of the A7X wives, so any decisions they made that day would be thrown out the window. Lose-lose.

Cora had a meeting via Skype later in the evening with an out-of-town client, but otherwise she was free. She wasn’t a fan of lying or making excuses either and it wouldn’t be the first time she went with a client to a bridal show.


Zacky wolf whistled. “Oh, Christ, thank you. You’re a lifesaver, honest to God. Text ne your address and I’ll pick you up.”

Cora had a thing about looking professional around vendors and this was no different. However, it was way too hot for dress pants so she fished through her closet for a nice dress. Most were too dressy for just a laid back bridal show when so many people often dressed in jeans. After debating for a while, she settled on a sundress and wedges.

Zacky probably sped there, considering he made it in record time. He offered to come up to her apartment, but she already felt out of sorts with him picking her up. So she sent him a quick text that she was already in the elevator. When she got in his car, Zacky was staring.


“Nothin’, you just look really good,” he said simply, but his eyes widened after a second. “I mean, you out-dressed me so now I look like a bum.”

“You really don’t,” she assured him. His button down grey shirt, dark jeans, and Converse were just fine. “I’ve seen people at bridal shows in their workout clothes – don’t worry, you’ll be overdressed I’m sure.”

Only he wasn’t worried, not really. He was a man and he could acknowledge a beautiful woman when he saw one – no harm in that. That dress just fit her really nice is all.

“You wanna grab some coffee on the way?” he remembered her comment about coffee addiction.

“That actually sounds really good right now.”

The drive to the show wasn’t uncomfortable at all, to Cora’s surprise. They chatted about music, mostly, Cora admitting that she’d listened to Avenged because her friend suggested it when Johnny booked her for his wedding. She told him how much she enjoyed their self-titled album and Zacky had to stop himself from telling her about their current project.

“God, I hate these things,” Zacky confessed as they sat in the parking lot, staring at the building while finishing their coffee. Cora sat silently, looking at him. “Brings back a lot.”

“From your divorce?”

He nodded. “I don’t tell Abby about it. Just…the first one’s so big and exciting…it’s her first marriage…so I get it, but…” he took a sip. “I asked if we could do the Vegas thing and that’s when our arguing started.”

The pieces were all coming together for Cora and she felt like she was starting to understand a great deal more.

“This must be hard for you,” she offered to which he nodded. “Zack, I’m sorry.” There was another quiet moment between the two of them. “I’ll try to make this as painless as I can.”

“You mean we can have fun? This doesn’t have to be some stuffy, high-class rectal exam?”

She almost spit her coffee out at that. “Dear God, don’t let it be!”

He genuinely smiled, shaking his head with a laugh. “I’d appreciate it.”

Abby was very serious at the last bridal show. They came in late and she was pissed at him because it was partially his fault: they’d been working on riffs for the new album and he’d lost track of the time. Yet when he sped home, she wasn’t even ready. She kept saying how important first impressions were and she needed to look the part of ‘bride.’ Then, of course, Zacky had to make some snide remark about just wearing a wedding dress there if that was her goal, and the drive to the venue was dead quiet. He always knew what not to say.

“Okay, are you ready?” Cora opened her door, dragging Zack out of his thoughts. With a nod, he followed her out. “I meant to ask: do you guys have any idea for a venue yet, or…?” Zacky groaned. “Hey, I’m just sayin’; that’s what they’re all gonna ask you: name, date, location. Be ready for it.”

Oh, Zacky could hardly wait…

She was right and it was annoying having to repeat himself every time they spoke with someone. He was thankful that Abby hadn’t tagged along. The vendors had a lot of questions and they were pretty pushy. Cora stepped in whenever there was a question Zack couldn’t answer, but overall it was less stressful than the first time.

“Oh, congratulations!” every vendor spoke to Cora who was speechless the first two times.

“I’m the planner, actually,” she would dismiss as quickly as she could.

By the twelfth time a vendor got it wrong, Zacky was livid. He was already touchy about the wedding thing considering Abby didn’t ever let him tell the truth: that this was hard! Getting married again, going through things again – thinking of Gena again – it was painful. Yet every time he tried to make mention of it, Abby shut him down. It made her uncomfortable too, he was sure, but there was this hole inside of Zacky and he never got to explain it.

To top his anger off, Abby should be there. Cora knew it, Zacky knew it, and the vendors all knew it. The bride should be here; beside him, making decisions with him, meeting the possible team behind their wedding day. But, no, she chose work over Zacky once again. A part of him understood, though, because the band was always a priority. The day Gena walked out of his life, he promised himself that the next relationship would be priority, the guys understood. It only took him a few short months with Abby to realize that he was on the backburner, so he focused on the music and let everything else fall where it did.

“Oh, look at the happy couple! You two are just adorable together. Sweetie, let me see the ring!”

By the fourteenth vendor, Zacky snapped. It was frustrating enough that Abby wasn’t there, but to have to correct every single vendor every single time? His patience was long gone and his temper was about to be as well.

“Congratulations to the two of you,” the seamstress they spoke with had a thick polish accent. “You have dress yet?”

“Oh, yeah, she has her dress already,” as Zacky spoke, Cora’s head shot in his direction. She knew Abby didn’t have the dress yet and she was confused as to why Zacky hadn’t corrected this seamstress.

“Most grooms are waiting on pins and needles to see what their bride is going to look like on the big day,” the seamstress hummed.

Zacky smiled at Cora. “I know she’s going to look ravishing.”

Cora was wide-eyed and breathless when Zacky leaned down and planted a tender kiss right on her mouth. It didn’t last long – not by any means – it was gone just as quickly as it arrived, but Cora could still feel his lips on hers even after he pulled away and it stunned her.

What had just happened?

But Zacky was already on to the next vendor, getting business cards for the florist, thanking them quickly before returning to her side.

“Come on, didn’t you say the cake was great here?”

“Zacky…” her mind stumbled over what she wanted to say.

“Look, I’m trying to have fun and laugh off the awful fact that my fiancé would rather be at work than planning our wedding. Maybe the kiss was over-the-top, but you gotta admit it was getting old telling everyone our story: that I have a slacker for a future wife and you’re our planner.” Zacky fidgeted for a moment. “It’s way easier to pretend. Just for today. Come on, live a little.”

And once again Cora didn’t listen to her gut telling her how unprofessional this was. When she was around Zacky, she had fun. The night with the guys was fun, pretending to be somebody else was fun. She’d promised to make this as painless as possible and she’d seen the distressed look on Zacky’s face every time he had to explain where Abby was. Seeing him hurting made her feel obligated to help.

“Let’s go try some cake,” she agreed and his expression looked lighter.

There were six different cake vendors scattered around the venue and they managed to find all but one. Trying the cake was great and the sugar rush was even better. When Zacky went to find a restroom, Cora stood in the middle of a reception room filled with florists, bakers, dress designers, accessory makers, and photographers, wondering just what it must feel like to have a diamond ring on your finger and your future husband at your side. She longed for that feeling more than anything. Being around happy couples all the time made her realize just how lonely she was. She’d been single for three years – a date here and there, but nothing that really wowed her.

Abby was a lucky woman.

“I found a bar,” Zacky came up behind her with two glasses of wine.

“Of course you did,” she laughed, taking one from him. “I’m impressed, Mr. Baker.”

“As you should be, Ms. Keaton,” he clinked glasses with her and they drank. “This is nice.”

Cora hummed, looking at the glass. “Mmm, it is. Pinot grigio?”

“Yes, but I mean this.” Zacky gestured around him. “I’ve gotta tell you: this is the first time that I’ve felt relaxed about this whole wedding thing.”

Cora didn’t say anything. On one hand, she was glad she was good enough at her job to take the stress off. On the other, she worried that the reason Zacky was stress-free currently was because Abby wasn’t there.

They were almost done with their wine when Cora spotted her. A falling feeling hit her stomach and she unintentionally grasped onto Zacky’s arm.

“Cor? What’s up?” His eyes shot in the direction of where she was staring.

“We've gotta go. There's a room we haven’t seen yet, just down the hall.” She started to turn away but it was too late.

“Cora? Cora Keaton? Is that you?” came a voice. Cora stilled, not dropping her arm from Zacky’s.

“Hi, Nadine,” Cora droned, finally turning back to face her. “It’s been a while.”

“Oh, goodness, who is this? Are you actually getting married? Finally?” The woman, Nadine, chortled. “Or is this a client of yours?”

Cora felt trapped once again. Her heart raced, embarrassment creeping up on her. For years Nadine had found it hysterical that she was always planning other people’s weddings but never her own.

“Oh, this is Zacky,” as Cora spoke he waved. “-my fiancé,” she finished. From the corner of her eye she saw Zacky smirk.

“Nice to meet ya,” he said.

Nadine squealed. “It’s about time; I was beginning to wonder if you were lesbian or something.”

Zacky spoke up, “Nope, she’s entirely into dudes.”

“Let me see the ring.”

Cora was quick on her feet, “It’s actually at the jewelers being cleaned as we speak.”

“When's the date?”

“June 24th,” Zacky answered for her.

“Do you know where you’re honeymooning?” Nadine asked.

“Punta Cana, for sure,” Zacky replied, glanced over at Cora while smiling softly and letting his eyes trail over her body. “We don’t know how much to plan, considering it’ll be hard to leave the bedroom.” Cora blushed at that.

Nadine smiled as a woman approached her. “I’m here with my client today. Glad we aren’t competing for the same date – she’s already booked three things today.”

“Congratulations,” Cora spoke to Nadine’s client.

“Cor, I still cannot believe I’m saying this, but congratulations yourself. You know if you have any planning needs, you have my card.” With that, Nadine took her leave.

Cora dropped her arm from Zacky’s, sighing heavily and staring at the floor for a second. When she looked up, Zacky was staring right back at her.

“I’m so sorry. I panicked,” she explained. “Nadine and I go back a few years; she’s a planner too. I met her when one of my clients replaced her with me. She tried to threaten me…” she shook her head. “She’s a bitch; she thinks it’s funny that I’m single still. It’s whatever.”

Zacky narrowed his eyes. “That’s fucking stupid. Just because you do this and you’re single doesn’t mean anything.”

Cora finished her wine, setting down her glass. She didn’t want to talk about it anymore. She didn’t want to think about how pathetic she probably sounded to Zacky. Mostly, she didn’t want a pity party; this was her life and that’s just how it was.

“You said there’s a DJ you know that you wanted to go with, right?” she changed the subject to which Zacky nodded. “What about that florist you liked?”

“I should probably pass her card on to Abby,” he scratched the back of his neck. The florist would be working close with her, so if I make the decision for her she’ll be pissed.”

“Zacky, it’s your wedding too,” Cora reminded him. He remained silent. “Alright, your call.”

“Is there anything else left to see?”

“Not really,” Cora shrugged before they started for the door. “What was all that honeymoon talk about?”

Zacky laughed. “Just thought it would be funny. She was prying and it pissed me off.” Cora laughed as well as they walked to his car. When they got in, he started the ignition but didn’t try to pull away. “You up for an early dinner?”

Cora met eyes with Zacky, noting that he was gazing at her mouth. “I don’t know if that’s the best idea, Zack.”

Slowly he snapped out of it, righting himself once again. “Right. You’re right.” And he was so tempted to just open up – tell her what was really going on in his head; all the things he couldn’t tell Abby, all the stuff he’d bottled up. She’d listen, he knew she’d listen. “Let me get you home.”

Cora knew that was for the best, but she couldn’t help that pang of hope that he’d fight her on it. When he didn’t, she let it go.