The epic wedding Ehlo bragged about finally came into being two weeks later. It started with the ceremony. However, this wasn’t a traditional ceremony. As they had planned it out, the ones present for the ceremony were the witnesses while they signed the papers and shared vows. Witnesses were as agreed upon by both couples, which included Johnny, Bianca, Jacky, and Sophia. In addition, they had to include their immediate family, which was appropriate. On Ehlo’s side, both of his parents were present while Angela’s side included her parents, Uncle Zhe, Nic, and Achel. Whereas with Wallace and Yvonne, Uncle Ben and Aunt June represented Wallace’s side while Yvonne had to ask Detective Chen. Nic was the one who operated the camera for the special occasion.
The brief ceremony was done within the hour–more or less, because of the simplicity they wanted it to be. Yet it wasn’t any less respectful to all parties of the families and friends. After they were done, Detective Chen congratulated them again before leaving. He had to go back to the station for a certain case, but because he already promised Yvonne so he had to come. Even if Yvonne said it was all right that he didn’t attend when that case had come up a week back, but Detective Chen knew Yvonne didn’t have any other family so he had pushed the meeting time with his officers back on purpose.
“I’ll catch up with you two later,” Detective Chen said as he shook Wallace’s hand one last time.
Wallace nodded and smiled while Yvonne thanked her “dad” for attending. He gave them a hearty laugh before turning to say goodbye to the others.
“So I guess you can’t back out now, Mrs. Huo,” Wallace joked, his cunning smile making its appearance.
“I could help with that,” Ehlo chirped, having overheard their conversation. “I know a lawyer.”
“Can you introduce him to me then?” Angela said around then, reaching for Ehlo’s ear.
Wallace had to laugh as Ehlo cringed and tried to rescue his ear like usual.
“You kids are jinxing yourselves already,” Uncle Ben chided them.
“We’re not superstitious, Uncle Ben,” Ehlo returned. “Besides, people who joke about it more are less likely to do it.”
Uncle Ben didn’t know what else to say except shook his head.
“All right, let’s get this going, huh?” Ehlo said, gesturing in the general direction.
Indeed, they began clearing out of the place and bid their temporary goodbyes as they got into their own cars to drive to the location of the reception. The newlyweds actually took the same car, which was Wallace’s. Jacky and Sophia were in the same car as Uncle Ben and Aunt June–with Jacky driving. Johnny and Bianca were the ones responsible for taking Ehlo’s parents to the reception, but Bianca was the one driving–like always–and not Johnny. Nic and Achel were going with their parents and Uncle Zhe–with Nic driving.
At the reception, they arrived early enough to help set up. They had planned it that way. Because even if they wanted a simple ceremony, they couldn’t go so simple on the reception, considering how they have so many special people in their lives they wanted to celebrate with. Joanne, Andy, and Esther were there to help as well. Novia, Janine, and Eddie had also volunteered. They had insisted, so the others didn’t turn them down. Cynthia arrived a little later but was still able to help with the last round of inspection before the rest of the guests arrived. Perhaps the only ones not joining in with helping were their parents or other adults, because the others had insisted, not wanting their elders to lift a finger that day.
And even though they tried to include almost everyone who was able to make it, they still kept a simplistic atmosphere. They didn’t go fancy or showy yet weren’t projecting any sense of cheapness either. It was respectable and graceful enough. Considering how the newlyweds weren’t wearing fancy attires either. It was still the same ones they wore since the ceremony but not any less appropriate for such a special event.
The seating was also different from a typical reception. They let everyone picked instead of making a fuss about exactly where the seating must be. The only thing that they did which was the same was to confirm the number of guests coming so it wouldn’t lead to some awkward moment of running short. And because of the special setting of the seating, all Ehlo’s parents, Angela’s parents, and Uncle Zhe had chosen to sit together so they could socialize even more. Although they’d been introduced and gotten to know each other since Ehlo and Angela got engaged, they still had many things to say. It was a relief for both parties, considering how both families had gotten along so well. Jacky’s parents, Uncle Ben, and Aunt June were at the same table along with some other friends of theirs. The newlyweds, Johnny, Bianca, Jacky, and Sophia were at the same table. Nic and Cynthia were sitting at the same table as Andy, Achel, Novia, Janine, and Eddie. Joanne was actually sitting at the same table as Alyssa, the three angels, Sam, Matthew, and his wife. As for James–Jacky’s brother–and his wife, Elisa, he had his own table with his family and also some empty spaces for some late arrivals. As it were, they had chosen to use large tables yet separated them at a comfortable distance for all parties involved. With the exception of a small table to the side, still unoccupied.
When almost everyone was present, the usual thankful speeches were delivered by the families of the newlyweds as well as the newlyweds themselves. Then they could start eating and mingle even more with their family and friends.
“This is the best part, Huo,” Ehlo whispered at one point, leaning over toward Wallace.
Wallace wrinkled his face and gave Ehlo a confused look. “What?”
Ehlo had on his cunning smile and pointed toward the big screen behind them.
Yes, they had requested live streaming of various photos and clips to be shown on the screen while the reception was taking place so the guests would understand more of their stories. Actually, there were two screens, one for each couple. Ehlo had pointed toward the screen that was showing pictures of Wallace and Yvonne seconds ago. It was a clip from when Wallace came to visit Yvonne that one time in the hospital. Or it was more like the day Ehlo and Wallace were searching for Yvonne and found out she was a cop. Although Ehlo had said he wished he had a camera to capture the moment, he had actually used his phone to capture it. He had kept it a secret until now.
“You actually filmed that?” Wallace asked in disbelief.
“You’re welcome, Huo,” Ehlo returned, his smile still cunning.
“I have to agree it’s the best from your side,” Jacky chimed in, looking at Wallace. Then he turned to Ehlo. “Your best clip is the proposal.”
“I know,” Ehlo said, his smile edging toward arrogance. “No one would beat my epic proposal.”
The others laughed–with some shaking their heads as well, knowing they couldn’t do anything about Ehlo anyway.
That delightful feeling continued for about ten more minutes. Tony and Esther finally arrived with Tony’s mother. They had joined James’ table. Then Penny and Ambrose arrived, apologizing because they had headed out late. So they were the first occupants of the small table. Yet they didn’t forget to stop at different tables to greet some mutual friends. Five more minutes after that and the moment some of them dreaded finally came. James Wen and Sonia made their appearance at long last.
For some reason, the ones at the main table with the newlyweds all stood up at the same time to greet them. Even Joanne had gotten up and made her way over to them. Some of the others were just staring and waiting for new development. Even if it had been years but some of them were still anxious about the matter.
“Hi,” James greeted them, offering his usual friendly smile–or at least the feeling he projected to them years back or at times Sonia came back to visit.
“Congratulations,” Sonia said, looking at Angela and even offering her a hug.
“Thanks,” Angela said as she released Sonia.
James only clapped Ehlo and Wallace’s shoulders to show support, not going toward the ‘embracing’ route like his wife.
“You know how late arrivals get punished,” Ehlo began after they had already exchanged greetings with everyone. “So yeah…”
“It’s over here,” Ambrose spoke up then and waved his hand, knowing Ehlo too well already to get mad.
After Sonia handed Angela a gift and Yvonne an envelope, she headed toward the small table with James.
“You okay?” Sophia whispered toward Jacky as they all sat down again.
Jacky nodded, his high spirits unaffected.
So that was when the others went back to normal conversing and interactions like before. Even if the others didn’t hear Sophia’s exchange with Jacky, but since they saw that everything was under control, they weren’t as worried anymore.
The next part of the reception after all the foods and chats was the dancing and side mingling. That was when the floor was cleared of the tables and the newlyweds led the first dance. Around the second song, James Wen and Sonia excused themselves and apologized for coming late and leaving early, but they promised to visit at another time because James had an important meeting lined up awhile back so he wasn’t able to cancel it–like how some of them had time to arrange. They understood and thanked the two for coming. After the two were gone, James–Jacky’s brother–turned to Jacky and clapped him on the shoulder.
“I’m fine,” Jacky reassured him.
James smiled. “I know.”
Before long, all the parents and elders were leaving. Once again, the others greeted them and thanked them for coming like how they would in such times before returning to the dance floor.
“Am I too late for the last dance?” A voice asked behind Joanne as she was watching some of the couples on the floor.
It was now a slow song and the light had dimmed so it was easy to enter and leave without noticing–if one didn’t speak up. And upon hearing that voice, Joanne turned around and greeted Bryant with a smile.
“Hey,” Joanne returned, her bright smile still intact. “You made it.”
Bryant smiled and extended his hand out to her. “So, can I have this dance?”
Joanne nodded and took his hand. The two joined the other couples on the dance floor, lost in their own world as well.
“Everything works out in the end,” Ehlo said, noticing Joanne and Bryant dancing together. “Nice, isn’t it?”
Angela smiled. “Finally you said something reasonable.”
Ehlo raised an eyebrow. “Finally?”
Angela smiled at his attempted upset expression. And indeed Ehlo couldn’t maintain that expression for long. He broke it with a smile. They continued dancing silently the rest of the song–with Angela finally placing her head on Ehlo’s shoulder.
While Ehlo and Angela were having their moment, Wallace and Yvonne were also having their own humorous exchange.
“So, how are you feeling now, Mrs. Huo?” Wallace teased.
Yvonne had on her own challenging look. “Not bad.”
Wallace smiled. “Well, you have the rest of your life to get used to it.”
“What does that supposed to mean? I have to get used to your attitude?”
Wallace stayed silent for a bit, still smiling and looking at Yvonne. “How about we have the rest of our lives to get used to each other?”
Yvonne smiled, satisfied at last. “That’s much better.”
Although their little banter seemed intense, their dancing never halted.
Night finally fell and they were no longer dancing. They were sitting around exchanging stories and reminiscing about old times. Ambrose and Penny left awhile back, just before the dancing ended. They had some previous engagement so they couldn’t stay late.
“It’s funny that we’re all sitting here together,” Joyce said. “I mean, there are so many of us.”
“It’s life,” Jacky said. “It’s unpredictable.”
“Welcome back, Mr. Chu,” Joyce said, turning to Jacky.
Jacky smiled, understanding exactly what Joyce meant without her having to elaborate. “Thanks.”
Only the ones who knew of Jacky’s past cheerful and somewhat obnoxious persona understood what Joyce meant. The others were just exchanging some confused looks and shrugging at one another.
“Too bad Gino and Anthony couldn’t make it,” Viva said, her tone disappointed.
“I think they’re just making up that excuse about being sick so they could go to that game,” Joyce pointed out.
“You seriously have trust issues,” Ehlo jumped in. “You’re talking about your own brother here.”
“You’re the same all right.”
They stayed silent for a while before moving on to another subject. Some of them were having side conversations and the others were just getting to know one another, especially some people who met for the first time.
“So, clean up time?” Ehlo asked sometime later, scanning their faces.
“I can’t,” Tony said. “I meant Yan and I have to go pick up my mom.”
Yes, Tony’s mother had left with some of her friends earlier so she had told Tony to pick her up at a certain time.
“Fine with me,” Ehlo said. “What about you three?”
Angela and Yvonne mumbled that they didn’t mind.
“Huo?” Ehlo asked, turning to Wallace. “Release the poor soul already.”
“Thanks, Huang,” Tony said, his sarcasm intact.
“Hey, I pardon you for abandoning us on this special day,” Ehlo reminded Tony.
“And we’re so grateful for that,” Esther said, though her voice was teasing.
Ehlo pointed his index finger at Esther. “You’re getting more obnoxious since you got back together with him.”
Esther shrugged. “Can’t help it.”
“It’s contagious all right.”
After saying that, Ehlo got up from his seat. The others followed. They said goodbye to Tony and Esther before helping with the cleanup. Even Matthew’s wife chimed in. The others didn’t want her to since they weren’t as familiar with her as with Matthew. Yet she insisted so they agreed in the end.
“So, no honeymoon?” Sam asked as he and Ehlo were gathering some chairs and piling them up at a corner of the room.
“We’re saving that for later when our schedule clears up a bit,” Ehlo answered. “Mostly mine and Huo’s.”
They didn’t say much more, just cleaning up as best as they could and getting ready to head home. The newlyweds once again thanked their friends for coming and helping–although it seemed unnecessary. Yet it was a sense of courtesy they didn’t want to neglect–even if most of them saw each other almost every day.
After all the goodbyes and more side chats, they finally dispersed and headed home or temporary habitats. The ones who came from out of town were planning to stay a bit longer, possibly another week before returning home. So it was decided they would meet up later as well.
That night, Jacky and Bryant returned home together. Bryant’s agent dropped him off earlier since Bryant hadn’t planned on driving, because he didn’t want to lose focus after a day of hard work–and if he had made it the wedding, he didn’t want to drive home alone. Ehlo and Angela were spending the night at their new home. Wallace was, of course, staying with Yvonne. The move would have to resume later. They had the majority of the items they needed for daily necessities already.
© Thursday, November 27th, 2014
Posted: Friday, December 12th, 2014