“It went too far. She thought I was going to fire her.” I was pleading my case to deaf ears.
“Ahh, Monica, I’m so sorry it came to this. ” Mia wrapped Monica in her arms. Monica was still in shock, and I don’t think she even recognized Mia.
“I was about to tell her when you walked in…” I didn’t want Mia upset with me on our wedding day.
“Well you should have told her sooner.” She started rubbing Monica’s back. “You probably had her in tears all day.” She sat Monica on a nearby chair and looked back at the smiling Wally. “Wally, grab some water and a towel or something.” He left, chuckling. Monica’s mouth was still standing open. “Well, tell her, Dale. I won’t have any tears at our wedding.” Monica’s mouth opened wider. Mia’s hands were on her hips, waiting for me to comply. I softened my voice as I dropped to one knee in front of Monica.
“You remember Mia Perez, Monica.” I smiled trying to make sure she understood I had no ill will. “We kind of hit it off during the detox.” I grabbed one of Mia’s hands off her hip. “We’re getting married today, and I needed you here as a witness.” Monica mouth was still wide open, looking between Mia face and mine. I gently took hold of Monica’s hand. “Are you alright?” I heard Bob re-enter the chapel.
“You’ve known her for a week.” Monica looked back to me. “You don’t like anybody.” I laughed and patted her hand.
“I assure you, I love this woman more than life itself” I smiled at Mia who dropped her other hand off her hip and smiled back.
“I didn’t even know you could smile.” Monica was still in shock. Bob exchanged the water and towel for Mia’s bouquet. Mia sat down next to Monica.
“Your mascara is a bit askew.” Mia dipped the end of the towel in the water and began wiping the worst of it off her face.
“Making me take care of Mia was the best thing you could done for me.” I stood back up. “I needed her as much as she needed me.”
“I never met the Dale you know.” Mia kept cleaning Monica’s face as she talked. “I fell in love with a very tender man with a strange SpaghettiOs fixation.” Monica laughed at that. Leave it to Mia to move us past the tears. Wally leaned down near Monica.
“These two share a very compatible type of insanity.” He chuckled again.
“You see, Monica, I have no intention of firing you. You are my second favorite woman on this whole planet.” I smiled at her, figuring that should settle it. I saw tears welling up in her eyes. She jumped up and wrapped her arms around me and started bawling. I looked at Mia for help, and she was crying too. I looked at Wally.
“I knew this would be an insane wedding.” Wally started chuckling again. I was beginning to think he was a bit on the insane side.
Once the girls had fixed their makeup, the wedding went off without a hitch. Mia surprised me with a little poetic vow about me pulling her from a pit of darkness into “my heart full of light.” I had to think fast, and I could see in her eyes that this was payback for a handful of paint.
“Mia, before you entered my life, I thought love was only a word for poets.” I smiled into her eyes. “I now know poets are just souls who ache for what I have through you. You are my ocean, my waves. You are my SpaghettiOs.” I heard a whimper from Monica and I saw the water in Mia’s eyes. Wally was holding back another chuckle.
Mia and I took our witnesses out to dinner after the wedding to celebrate. We spent the entire dinner laughing and telling Monica all that had happened over the last week. We were into our fourth bottle wine when Mia decided to give her gift to Monica.
“Dale told me why you made him take care of me.” Mia was glowing. “I felt bad that my thoughtless husband would do such a thing.” I interrupted.
“Hey, I didn’t know you then!” Mia smacked me lightly in the shoulder.
“A tenth anniversary only comes around once. It deserves to be recognized.” Mia looked at me like I might forget some future event. “We wanted to buy you a second honeymoon to make amends.” Mia smiled handing an envelope over to Monica.
Monica opened the envelope with wide eyes. “Oh my God!” she said as she looked at the three-week cruise to the islands and South America.
“And everything is planned.” Mia was all jumpy. “I wanted to make sure you didn’t have to think about a thing, just like when you take care of Dale.” Mia was really proud of herself. “Dale cleared the time with Charlie’s boss, and I’ll make sure Dale doesn’t try and call during the trip.” Monica started tearing up again.
“Oh my gosh, guys! This is amazing!” Monica was wiping the tears from her eyes. Mia hugged her and started crying too. You would have thought we were poking them with burning sticks.
I was excited, because I saw the dessert tray heading our way. I slipped the pastry chef a hundred to make something special for me. The waiter went around, delivering the desert, leaving Wally for last. I was getting antsy. The waiter smiled at me and reached under the tray and pulled out a small top-hat-shaped cake. It was perfect. He placed it in front of Wally, who for once looked very confused.
“I don’t think this is what I ordered.” He looked up at the waiter who just smiled and nodded at me.
“I quote: ‘If you two are friends at the end if this I’ll eat my hat.’ ” My timing was perfect. Mia burst out laughing which infected all of us. To his credit, Wally ate the entire thing. I think he liked being the center of attention even if it was a joke at his expense.
Over coffee, Monica was whispering to Mia. Monica reached into her purse and removed what looked like an old envelope that had seen better days. Monica looked at me. “I made a promise a few years back that earlier today, I thought I would have to break.” Her eyes were getting watery. “I think I was planning to throw this at you Dale.” She was indicating the envelope, half smiling and half crying. Women were becoming confusing again. “Now, I get to keep that promise.” She handed the envelope to Mia, then wiped some tears from her eyes.
Mia seemed a little confused herself. The envelope didn’t have any markings and seemed to contain more than just paper. She broke the seal and looked inside, and I saw her eyes tear up. I tried to see what was inside as she pulled out a single folded piece of paper. Mia opened it and began to cry which was echoed by Monica. They hugged each other.
I reached over and looked into the envelope. My eyes began to water as I looked at my Grandma’s butterfly brooch. Mia handed me the letter and hugged me as I read:
To whomever has found my Dale’s heart,
Please take care of it. It is very precious to me.
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