May 5, 2012 Blake Faulkner
had expensive tastes, without really having the wallet to back them up. So when it came time to prepare for his wedding, he rented his tuxedo… but really sprung for the ring. It wasn't even that Blake knew what he was looking for… but he'd scoured the jewelry store for hours, looking at each individually, holding it up to the light until he could finally settle on one, knowing that his future wife would probably be wearing this for the rest of their lives. He wanted something he could be proud of. Something he could point out to his comrades (whenever he made enough here) and say, "Yeah. I bought that for my wife." He wanted something to make others jealous, other men wish they could afford it, and other women wish they had the luck to be matched with him instead.
But in truth, Blake had spent more than his fair share of his monthly income on the damn thing. He wasn't paying rent, that was compliments of The Vow (thank goodness), but he'd paid for it with his application. So really, the joke was on him. All of this to get married. It seemed like more of a hassle than it was worth, really… but as Blake adjusted his tie in front of the mirror in the apartment of which he'd soon move out, he couldn't help but congratulate himself of his excellent judgment in applying for these services.
Sure, perhaps it had taken longer than he'd expected, but he'd, well, expected
that. It wasn't like he was any sort of "winner," by literal means or otherwise. He was just a man, pushing fifty, wishing he'd done more with the first half of his life. And now, was his opportunity. He straightened his tie, then, discontent with the look of it, untied it and fastened it again. First impressions were always the most important aspect of any relationship… and Blake prided himself of them. He'd trimmed down the scruff on his face a bit, enough that he looked as though he prided himself on his appearances and actually went out of his way to look nice, though he left enough to cover the lines that were beginning to form on his face. He was getting crows feet, too… no way to hide that without surgical means, and Blake sure as hell wasn't that desperate.
He wondered if she liked the smell of cologne. Perhaps, he thought, he should put on a spritz of the stuff. But cologne wasn't really "him," and the last thing Blake wanted to do was give the impression that she was marrying someone other than who he was. Most days, he came home smelling like sweat. Mostly his, though frequently the sweat from those he trained. Krav Maga was a hands-on sport, and it was inevitable that he was going to get his soaked each day. Coraline would just have to get used to that. He opted not to wear the cologne, took a deep breath, and went to the chapel to wait.
It was like some sort of assembly line. Marriages lining up, patrons who paid a fortune to spend their lives with total strangers just poised and ready to take those first few steps to a future together. And now, Blake was one of them. Dear God, help him. He waited with bated breath, wondering if she would like the things she learned about him. Wondering if she'd read his application thoroughly enough to recognize that he had faults that couldn't be ignored. He wondered if Coraline would despise him when she discovered his inability to contain his anger (though Krav Maga had certainly helped release that aggression). He wondered if he would like her, or if they would simply go through the motions of a shotgun wedding, then spend the next several decades pining over their lost "youth," wondering what could have been if they'd just waited
another day or two, maybe another week or two, to find the person with whom they were meant to spend the rest of their lives. It wasn't too late, he reasoned. If he didn't like what he saw, or if she felt the same way, it wasn't too late to call it quits.
But the doors opened, and all other thoughts ceased. It was just Blake, the woman poised at the top of the aisle, and the nervous rapid beating of Blake's heart.