Shine a Light

The long and short of it

“Vera what are you talking about? Of course I’m coming.”
I blinked at my boyfriend across the table of the restaurant we were sitting in.
“I was just thinking that, you know, after what Jake said maybe you should, well, spend time with them.”
Billie looked up from his food, “Don’t you want me there or something?”
I sighed, “You sound like a woman…”
“Well? Don’t you want to be seen with me?”
“Billie stop being ridiculous, you know that you are talking shit. I just feel guilty about me having all this time with you and you’re not seeing your children.”
Billie put down his knife and fork and scratched his head.
“Okay, well what do you want me to do?”
“I was just thinking out loud to you, maybe you should bring them to the wedding, Marcus won’t mind.”
He smiled at me, “Do you think?”
“No, don’t be silly Beej, bring them, they’ll have fun.”
“Okay” he smiled, “I will…Oh! We need to go shopping tomorrow, I want a new tux.”
I giggled, “You are the blatant woman in this relationship.”

So the day before the wedding I was sitting clutching the vintage dress I had just bought while Billie flounced around in a black tux.
“Like?” he asked rolling his shoulders
“Yeah it’s great”
“Mr. Armstrong there is another similar tux to this but it has a much more intricate lining if you would like to try that on?” the man who worked at the store looked like he wanted to pin Billie down and hump him. He practically slobbered onto his sleeve when the singer walked into his store. I rolled my eyes and glanced at my watch, we had been shopping for Billie for a grand total of three hours while I picked out my dress in 20 minutes. It amused me greatly as Billie took the tux from the shop assistant with a huge grin on his face and trotted back into the changing room. The assistant finally fucked off for a while and I glanced at the curtain that was poorly covering Billie getting changed. I watched him as he unzipped the pants of the tux and clumsily loose his balance, crashing into the wall next to him. This was a chance to be naughty! Giggling I quickly shot through the curtain. Billie’s head snapped up and his jaw dropped when he caught sight of me in the mirror.
“What are you doing in here?”
“I figured you could use a hand getting undressed” I chuckled letting my hand start at a trail from his shoulder and forewords across his chest.
“How did you guess?” he smirked hands grabbing my waist and bringing me closer.
“Where going to get caught” I chuckled as he started kissing my neck, I glanced at our reflection in the mirror and burst out laughing. Billie had his socks on, a long white shirt and the tux jacket, it looked ridiculous.
Billie looked down at his feet and let out a fabulous popping chuckle, “sexy socks?” he asked.
“Very” my eyebrow rose as he crashed me against the cubicle wall.

Upon leaving the store with a tux, red face and bounce in our step, Billie and I were on our way back to his apartment in a cab when his phone rang.
I glanced up at him from the book reviews I was reading in a few magazines that Ed had sent to me. They were all pretty good, except for this one fucker who suggested I get off my addiction to Laudanum and rejoin the 21st century. This is from the guy who said that Harry Potter wouldn’t get anywhere.
“Hey, Okay, no that’s fine, that’s great, I just want to see them…yeah, yeah, no, yes of course, It’s her friend. What do you mean? I don’t think that’s a good idea Adi. We are eating there”
My head shot up and Billie’s eyes met my own. His gaze wavered and he glanced out of the window.
“Yeah, yeah, okay, bye.”
I stared back down at my magazine reviews, the words scrunching in a blurry mess as my mind tracked to what the conversation could have been about.
“We are, er, picking, the boys up at half 7, Adi, Adi invited us around for dinner but I said it was pointless you know, we are eating at the wedding.”
I nodded at him.
Silence broke out between us as Billie searched for something to say.
“How err, how’s your reviews looking?”
“Great thanks, except for some prick of a critic” I smiled back.
“Nobhead. Are you, are you looking forward to tomorrow?”
I nodded.
“Worried about something?” he asked.
“Oh just the little thing of meeting your children and ex-wife”
“She’s just another critic” his lip curled into a snarl before laughing at my frown.
“Hey, hey, lets watch a film tonight.”
“What one?”
“True Romance.”
“I’m not pretending to be Alabama.” I snarled as he chuckled into my arm.

“What a beautiful wedding, what a beautiful wedding says a bridesmaid to a waiter and yes but what a shame, what a shame the poor groom’s bride is a whore”
I turned to Billie as he sang to the radio in the back of the cab driving to Adi’s house. I was sweating I was that nervous. I had been getting ready for two hours, something un heard of for me. But I was aware that Adi will be judging me from every angle when we picked Joe and Jake up. Mind you, they would be judging me too. Billie was singing this Panic at the Disco song down my ear.
“Bill, please…”
“Oh Sorry V, kinda funny though ain’t it? Marcus is a whore.”
“Why is Marcus the bride? and anyway, he loves Chris.”
Billie chuckled, “Yeah, right, tell me that when Tre is kissing his face off as a wedding present.”
I chuckled, relieved that Tre and Gerard were picking us up from Adi’s house. Marcus had this whole romantic wedding planned out. The ceremony at half 8 and food, drinks and dancing late on into the night. He didn’t quite register that his guests would be starving till about 10.00 when the food will be served.

I admit I was shocked when the door opened to a beautiful dreadlocked woman. Adi was smaller than me, she looked Italian, and her face was beautiful. Her cheek bones were chiselled and prominent, her nose dainty and her eyes pretty. I was ready for the snottiest smile in my life, but she picked up my hand and shook it politely. I was quite shocked.
Billie looked on edge as Adi asked me where I had bought my dress and complimented me on how nice it looked.
I smiled back at her, wondering how this woman could ever turn sour. My thoughts were filled however when she turned to Billie.
“Hey jackass” she spat turning on her heel. Billie flipped her off and stepped over the threshold into the house.
“Where’s the sprogs?” he practically spat.
“Upstairs just getting their things.” She turned around sharply.
“Want a drink Vera?”
“No thank you” I answered like a shy little child. Hell I was a shy child compared to fiery Adi.
“Want one?” she turned to her ex.
“No thanks” he snapped back. Billie looked edgy; he looked like he would wet himself at any moment.
“So…” Adi turned to me, “How are you Vera? Coping okay?”
“Excuse me?” I asked, rather cautious of her question.
“Coping living with him okay? He’s a right pain in the ass.”
I chuckled nervously as Billie opened his mouth to say something at his wife when she suddenly shot him glaring eyes. Billie and I both turned to see Joe and Jake in the entrance of the kitchen.
“Hey boys, you look really handsome” Adi beamed at her sons, immediately switching her emotion again. I was amazed at how quickly she could do this.
“Hey dad” Joey grinned as he father hugged him.
Jake did the same except when he pulled away from his father’s grip he stared at me.
“I…I know you” he whispered.
“You recognise Vera Jake?” Billie asked.
“Yeah…” Jake nodded at me, I felt myself going red as Adi and Joe turned to stare at me too.
“You, you were in the lawyers place when my mom and dad where getting divorced.”
Imagine air was a piece of tissue paper that we all wandered around in. Okay, now imagine that Jacob Armstrong had just taken a knife and slashed across it like some Texas Chainsaw Massacre crazed lunatic. The whole room fell silent, it seemed like the world stopped for a few seconds at Jake’s words.
Billie swallowed, “Oh right, okay” he whispered looking at Adi momentarily, and she looked away from him and sat down at the kitchen table.
“Jake you tit” Joe hissed in his brothers ear. I looked up from the floor to see Joey’s hand reaching out towards me.
“Hey Miss Brown, I’m Joey”
“Hey” I croaked back shaking his small hand.
“You…You know who I am too?”
“Sure” he chuckled, “My dad reads your books, is that how you know him yeah?”
I nodded, unable to respond to the boy. Jesus, he didn’t know, or maybe he did and he just couldn’t face it. Poor kids, walking on eggshells and being flung at the deep end of everything.
The doorbell rang and the whole group turned to the sound.
“I’ll get it” I smiled as Billie and Adi swapped dagger eyes and I quickly took my chance and ran down the corridor to the door.

I opened the heavy wood to see Gerard’s head rise up to look at me, he froze, his eyes hooked to my own, I swallowed as I took in his features. His hair was dyed black and his eyes, God his eyes, they were dark, so dark, they looked dead, no light reflected from them. Jesus, what was wrong with him?
“Hey” I smiled softly at him, my knight in shining armour rescuing me from this god awful situation.
“Hey” he smiled back, his smile was so fake, it showed no hint of happiness what so ever. “Tre’s in the car waiting, you ready?”
“You bet,” I grinned, “Billie! You ready?”
“COMING V!” Echoed through the corridor and I turned back around to Gerard.
“Gerard, are you okay?”
He looked down, revealing his freshly dyed black roots.
“Yeah I’m fine Vera, how are you? You look, you look beautiful.”
My neck jerked back at his words, I decided to ignore him, I couldn’t cope with him messing with me now. I thought we had sorted all this?
“Why did you dye your hair back black?”
“Fancied a change” he shrugged. My eyes scanned his tux covered body as Billie came pounding down the hall followed by Joe and Jake who ran over to Gerard.
“Hey! Mr. Way! Remember us?” Joe almost yelled.
“Yeah, of course Joe, hey Jake!” Gerard high fived the boys and they ran into the car where Tre was waiting.
Billie brought Gerard in for a hug, Gerard’s eyes met mine over Billie’s shoulder. My heart thudded in my chest and I quickly snapped my eyes away. How could he do this? Now? At my best friend’s wedding? When I’ve just met Adi and Billie’s sons? How can he look at me like that over my boyfriend’s shoulder?
My respect for Gerard had started to be led into doubt. I had no idea where this cocky little Jersey kid could come off doing this?
Piling into Tre’s car and giving a strained smile to Adi we set off to the wedding, it was being held in some beautiful old mansion somewhere near Beverley Hills.
Marcus was such a puff. Gerard was such a tit.