(Pool toy as part of a revenge; ironic twist at the end).

When Jerri stepped out on the patio, he saw three people from the wedding party he would have to convince if he hoped to get out of this angry crowd alive.

“She’s hysterical, how could you leave her like that?” the first person demanded. Mid-forties, receding hairline with a tailored suit. A three piece with a wool vest, elegant long silver chain from his pocket watch hanging by his right hip. His lips were pulled back in a look of pure contempt.

Jerri let these words wash over him momentarily, his guilt surpassed his desire for reconciliation with these people.

“I just couldn’t go through with it,” he said quietly.

The shrill voice caught him off guard, “Then it was up to you to tell her that you couldn’t, not waste her and everyone else’s time by running away like a goddamn coward!”

She wore a dress, obsidian black with small diamonds adorning the evening gown. A necklace with a circle and four small feathers made of crystal hanging within it. She was stunning with gorgeous long blonde hair and a fair complexion but her look of scorn held such hatred that threatening to overpower her extravagance.

“I didn’t run away, I told her that I couldn’t go through with it and she said she understood! Sarah you of all people must realize that I couldn’t just stand there and pretend to be happy” Jerri pleaded.

It was raining. Pouring. The backyard to the porch was vacant; the pool was a monolith of in ground marble and the grass had been recently mowed. Noodles, pool rings and a large toy duck occupied it. The backyard seemed to go on for miles. A lonely gazebo stood not forty feet from the porch.

“Excuse me? What gives you the right Jerri?” Sarah shouted.

“That was uncalled for son. This about you, not Sarah,” the third person said. The man was Jerri’s father, he was in his early nineties with a well-trimmed moustache and white dress shirt. His geometric pattern suspenders held his black suit pants. He stood on perforated brown leather shoes.

“Dad I’m sorry, I’ve just been unhappy for a very long time,” Jerri said softly, looking at his father with heavy eyes.

Jerri’s father held his gaze, “It’s a disaster in there right now, let’s go sit under that tent.”

“That’s a gazebo Frank,” the man with the tailored suit said.

“These eyes don’t see too well anymore; let’s just sit,” Frank mumbled.

The four walked over to the gazebo and sat at a table. The few tables that were there held plates, cutlery and jewel encrusted vases with black roses within them.

Sarah was breathing heavily and her face was violently red, “Jerri, you don’t have the right to assume that I have sympathy for you abandoning Laurie at the altar. What happened between my ex-husband and I has nothing to do with your betrayal.”

“Ex-fiancé,” Jerri mumbled quietly.

Sarah quickly stood up and stormed off towards the large mansion.

“Son, what is really bothering you? I’ve never seen you act that way towards Sarah before,” Frank asked.

Sarah returned momentarily, walking behind Jerri with a large pool ring. She swung her arm around his head and made contact with the ring. Blood spurted from his nose and onto the white table, he doubled over and held his face.

“Never speak to me again,” Sarah said flatly, walking away and into the mansion.

The man with the tailored suit stood quickly and walked besides Jerri, “Here,” he said, giving Jerri his silk handkerchief.

“Thanks Craig,” Jerri managed while wincing with pain.

Craig sat down and looked at Jerri. Frank looked at Craig briefly, then clasping his hands together and looked at the mansion.

“Son that’ll heal soon enough. It’s probably broken but we’ll get the doctor to look at it when we go back inside,” Frank said softly.

A shot of lighting flew through the evening sky with spectacular brilliance, followed four seconds later by a thunderous boom.

“You can’t do this Jerri, we won’t let you,” the words appearing to echo from some unknown place. Jerri thought Craig spoke these words but his mouth hadn’t moved.

Jerri looked up, his hands holding the handkerchief tightly to his face.

“Your marriage to Laurie has to come to fruition son. If we’re to see his return during our lifetime, the Order stipulates that a marriage must be manifested out of continuous hardship without the presence of love ever taken place in the hearts of the willing.”

Again, these words seemed to emanate from another source. Jerri felt that he heard Frank’s voice, the reverberations of language in his ears but his father continued to stare at him without his lips ever moving.

“That’s not what they told me. They said that marriage must be born from the purest of intentions; copulated out of pure love,” Jerri retorted.

Jerri heard powerful roars of laughter, thunderous guffaws and high pitched cackling from what sounded like thousands of entities.

“You’ve been tricked by them Jerri. They only want to increase their numbers so they have an advantage in the next war. That’s what you are to them. A number. A pawn. They want to fly around on their heavenly wings and blow their damn trumpets to do what? Prove their superiority through narcissistic performances? Have faith that his return will mark a new profound way of thinking that will benefits all those who surrender to him,” the voice seemed to be Frank’s but mixed with all others.

Jerri removed the handkerchief temporarily. The bleeding hadn’t stopped and he put it back to his face. He paused. “Just let me see the doctor. Then I will marry her,” Jerri said reluctantly.

Frank and Craig both beamed. “Excellent, I’m proud of you son,” Frank said.

They stood from the table and walked into the mansion.

*

The proceeding was an exact déjà vu of what Jerri had experienced only a short while ago. Jerri saw Laurie again, but something was different. She…glowed. She seemed to emanate a sense of calm and sensitivity that Jerri hadn’t experienced during his time with her. He could feel her in a way that he didn’t understand, but he did at the same time. Her frown became a smile that grew from the corners of her mouth, spreading to her baby blue eyes. She stood opposite him and simply shone.

The priest spoke. “I do,” Laurie smiled. “I do,” Jerri said, and he meant it.

This all-encompassing feeling never wavered and they both died happily many years later.

*

“Do you think it was right? That’s what I’m asking you,” Gabriel spoke softly, he polished his trumpet as he spoke.

“Define what’s right? If we allowed them to say their vows under such hatred towards each other, we’d be fighting him and the rest of his brain-washed hordes as we speak,” Michael responded, slowly pulling dead feathers from his wings.

“He never loved her, nor her him,” Gabriel responded harshly.

“They did. We helped them see the goodness in each other. They saw what we wanted them to see. So no, it wasn’t right in that sense. However, they did love each other,” Michael said.

“Exactly, it wasn’t based on pure love,” Gabriel responded.

“Pure love is derivative of overseeing flaws and simply acknowledging the goodness within all sentient beings. They experienced what most humans could only dream of. We are one step closer to global unity and you want to speak of what’s right. Rightness is sometimes plain as day, and other times it takes a little guidance to get there,” Michael said.

The angels looked at one another, smiled and looked away. The clouds were especially bright that day and the sky was clear.

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