I covered my mouth in shock as Jamal took the folder from his dad to look inside. I saw the plane tickets along with a brochure for the beach house. I looked up at my parents who had joined us; my mom embraced me.
“Did you know about this?” I asked her.
“Of course, dear,” she replied. “We knew you two would get together eventually. Your father and I agreed that we would take care of the wedding while Jamal’s parents would take care of the honeymoon.”
“I don’t know what to say,” Jamal answered.
“I just wish you’d proposed to Yazmin sooner,” Mr. King, my father, added. “We’ve had a pool on you both for years and I was starting to get concerned.”
“I was so happy when Jamal broke up with Danielle,” Mrs. Parker stated.
“And don’t forget, dear,” my mom said, “you’re faze with Brad.”
“I can’t believe you are bringing up our exes at our wedding,” I said, trying not to laugh. They had actually betted on when Jamal and I would hook up.
“It doesn’t matter,” Mr. Parker uttered, “you both grew from the experience and it made you better for each other. You’re his wife now Yazmin, which makes you officially our daughter.”
I kissed his cheek. “You guys are amazing. Between the wedding and this trip to the Bahamas, I’m… I… thank you.”
“Jamal, just make sure you both use protection when you two consummate,” Mrs. Parker said. We all turned our eyes to look at her. “Yazmin doesn’t need to get pregnant right away. You two need time to grow as a married couple, although it would be nice to have a grandchild.”
“Mama, seriously?” Jamal replied shocked.
“Oh that would be nice to have our first grandbaby,” my mom said.
All I could do was eyeball my father and father in-law. Understanding the message, they each took their wives’ arms and directed them back to their table. Our moms were still talking to each other as if nothing had happened. Ever since Jamal and I started dating, they have been waiting for the day of our marriage. I felt Jamal’s hand embrace mine.
“They are something,” he said.
“I know,” I replied before laughing.
“Dance with me, baby?” he whispered.
I nodded as he led me to the dance floor.
Present, September 20th, 2015
I admit the beach house has a modern décor. The palms trees outside sway to the cool salty breeze. We have a pool outside and the private beach is close by. I’m standing in front of the window. The sun is starting to set; it is dipping into the crystal-clear water. The colors in the sky are breathtaking with oranges, pinks, and purples. It looks like it was painted by God.
I haven’t seen Jamal since lunch and I wonder where he is. He was out on the Jet Ski earlier and he even dared me to join him. Just to rattle him, I did and ended beating him in a race back to the shore. We ate lunch and I guess I must’ve still had jet lag because I fell asleep. I do remember him carrying me to the bedroom and although I was a little groggy, he did say he was going into town for something. I didn’t plan on sleeping that long and I’m surprised he’s not back yet. Just as I’m about to go the kitchen, I see someone walking along the beach. I’d know that frame anywhere. It’s my husband.
My bare feet are cushioned in the sand as I watch the waters crash over each other, the sun descending into their wild embrace. I let Yazmin sleep because I know she is tired. I’m feeling it too but not as much. It’s our first night here and I couldn’t be happier. I’m married to my best friend. I stared at her so long during the wedding ceremony that the preacher, Reverend James, had to remind me to say my vows. I couldn’t help it; she was so beautiful. She kept saying I was going to love the dress but I loved the woman in the dress. Then again, the dress did bring out her natural beauty, not to mention her curves. I loved the way her hips looked. I close my eyes as the memories flood my mind.
The Wedding Day, one day earlier
“Dearly beloved,” Reverend James began. “We are gathered here today in the sight of God and the company of family and friends to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony. Marriage is an honorable estate instituted by God Almighty and should not be entered into lightly, but soberly and in the fear of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Yazmin and Jamal have opted to recite their own vows. Yazmin.”
I watched as Alana hands Yazmin a small piece of paper and I prayed she didn’t break me. Then again, she always did. I didn’t know what it is about this woman, but I couldn’t help loving her.
“Jamal,” Yazmin began. I watched as she leaned her head to the side, tearing up. “You’ve been my best friend since we were nine years old. Over twenty years, you’ve been a part of my life as a friend, but now you’re in my life as my one true love. I never knew that I could fall in love with my best friend, but I did. I admit I was scared to admit my feelings, but that was because I didn’t want to lose what we had. You taught me how to be brave, to love wholeheartedly, and unconditionally. As I stand here today, I vow to love you no matter what. I know it won’t be easy and I won’t be perfect. I do promise my heart and love to you and only you. You’ll always have me as a lover, friend, confidante, and encourager. I’ll always support your dreams, because God knows you’ve fulfilled mine. I love you forever.”
All I could do was stare. Her eyes were glistening and I brushed her falling tear away with my thumb. She mouthed, “I love you.” I mouthed it back just as I heard Reverend James.
“Jamal?” he said.
“Oh right,” I replied only to hear the crowd laugh at my slip-up. I didn’t care because Yazmin was here. I turned and Phillip handed me the paper with the vows I wrote. I couldn’t decide between him and Deshawn as my best man, so I asked them both. Phillip was in charge of the vows, while Deshawn had the wedding band. I turned back to face my gorgeous bride.
“Yazmin,” I started. “I remember when I first kissed you. You were so sad that night of homecoming in high school and more than anything, I wanted to take your pain away. I hated to see you hurt and if I could do anything to shield it away from you, I would put myself on the front lines of life to protect you. What I didn’t know was that kiss would lead me on a journey and that the destination would be you. The most freeing experience was admitting to falling in love with you and the most joy I felt was when you said it back.”
She dabbed her eyes but I had to keep going.
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