Part Three: In which the deux ex machina brings our tale to its inevitable conclusiont
Part Two: In which our hero gets a backstorywritten by Mookie - illustrated by Clyde Joseph
The problem with social media, Shelly discovered, was that even if you tried to avoid something, you were eventually going to stumble over it somewhere. Viral videos were auto tuned, turned into gifs, screen capped into memes, and parodied on late night television all the time. Shelly had laughed at, Liked, and retweeted a few herself.
After Kevin had stormed out of the reunion, Shelly had gone to the ladies' room and hidden out in one of the stalls, just so no one would come talk to her about what had just happened. She'd held onto her coat claim ticket and waited impatiently until she could retrieve her coat without an audience, then she'd left without saying good-bye to anyone. The girls she'd been friends with in school hadn't gone to the reunion, and Brad, her so-called date and the gay brother of one of her co-workers, had only gone with her as a favor to his sister. He'd been more than happy to be abandoned by Shelly, since he'd been eyeing a former varsity football player all night.
Brad had appreciated the dress she wore, though, so at least she knew it must have looked good on her. That didn't stop her from balling it up and shoving it in the bottom of her closet when she got home, though.
Apparently everyone had pulled out their phones during Kevin's performance and had immediately posted their videos, probably even before Kevin had walked out. Several of her coworkers asked her, with knowing grins and sidewise glances at each other, how her weekend had gone. More than one bottle of bubbles appeared on her desk when she came back from a meeting or the ladies' room. Nearly half of her Facebook friends had shared the link to Coldplay's official video for A Sky Full of Stars on her timeline, accompanied by laughing emojis or ones with heart-filled eyes.
It was a retweet from Brenda a week later that did it. According to Bren, someone had edited together all the numerous videos that had already been posted online, and it was that video that was currently trending on Twitter under a number of different hash tags, ranging from #pussywhipped to #thefeels.
She took a deep breath before clicking on the link. After stock footage of a countdown leader, the video started off with a split screen that showed a clip from Coldplay's music video alongside Kevin struggling with his bottle of bubbles. All of that lasted not even twenty seconds, even though it had seemed much longer at the time, and there was still nearly a minute and a half of the video left.
Whoever 1337_Vids_1 was, they'd set the rest of the video to a song Shelly didn't recognize. They'd also helpfully included the lyrics on the screen, in case the schmaltzy music wasn't enough.
I always wondered what it would be like to be loved. the unknown female sang as Kevin walked across the ballroom. Love would be my best friend, the song continued (oh, nicely done, 1337_Vids_1), and then, when Shelly grabbed his lapels, someone with who I won't have to pretend.
It was weird, watching herself kiss Kevin from a third person perspective. Only one other kiss in her life had ever been captured on film, and that was when Eric Cartman had caught her kissing Skyler. That kiss, given only because Skyler had nagged her into it, had been a brief meeting of chapped lips. It had been a little titillating to the adolescent girl she'd been then, but it was nothing like what she'd willingly, eagerly, done with Kevin.
My dream come true looks exactly like you.
According to the time counter at the bottom of the video, that kiss had lasted a rather long time. It was obviously another video edit, just to fit the song, because there was no way it had gone on for over a minute. In reality, it had been over far too quickly.
Also edited out was the conversation between the first kiss and the last and Kevin's rapid departure. The video gave no indication at all that that there had been a breakup. Was it still considered a breakup if you hadn't officially been a couple to begin with?
As the screen faded to black, the words THE END appeared on a still image of Shelly and Kevin, gazing in each other's eyes (which was clearly doctored, because that simply hadn't happened). A set of ellipses appeared next, and finally, in a much smaller font, the question Or Just The Beginning?
The video was beyond terrible; in fact, its title, A (Cheesy Kind of) Love Story, blatantly admitted it.
She forced herself to watch it again, but only so she could properly field the inevitable questions and comments from her coworkers. The ache in her chest intensified during the second viewing, and she found it hard to breathe. Clicking the mute button only made it worse, because while the soundtrack had made it all seem like a bad music video, the silence left her with nothing but the raw emotions she'd felt that night.
She sniffled, and then touched her fingertips to her cheeks. She was crying. She hadn't cried then, when she'd basically told Kevin to fuck off. She hadn't cried then, but this lying video that lied was making her cry now.
I actually love you, Kevin had said. He loved her. Kevin McCormick loved her, and it was terrifying.
She watched the video again, stopping to blow her nose once. She was crying, and she couldn't stop. She looked around the apartment, at the trappings of the life she'd rebuilt. She'd gotten this far by pursuing the one subject she'd been dead set against for so long, just to spite her father, when all she'd done was spite herself. She loved being a geologist, and she was damn good at it.
She looked down at her phone, and at the thumbnail of the video, and took a deep breath before hitting Play one more time. She paused it at the moment Kevin cupped her cheek. You couldn't see Kevin's face from this particular video angle, but she'd been there. She'd seen his face and she'd known in that instant, even before he said anything.
Oh, God. She was such a moron.
She'd known long before then; she just hadn't been ready to accept it. Sure, Kevin was stupid at times, and nearly always obsessed with sex, but there was so much more to him than what everyone assumed, herself included. He wasn't her father, and he wasn't his father, either.
Kevin wasn't the type to buy flowers and chocolate, but he'd shovel out her car when it was buried in snow. He'd massage her head when she was overwhelmed with schoolwork, pick up tampons when she needed them, and he never let her drive out of South Park without checking her oil, her tires, the belts. He'd driven to a Holiday Inn in Denver just to attend a class reunion that he hadn't wanted to go to in the first place, just so he could tell her in words what she'd already known.
She wiped at her eyes and grabbed her keys. She didn't stop to think if she deserved a third chance, or if doing anything now would be too little, too late. She owed it to Kevin to at least try.
She owed it to herself to try.
It was raining when she pulled up in front of the McCormick house. She didn't bother turning off the wipers before running into the garage and up the stairs. Heart racing, she pounded on his door and waited.
She knocked again, but there was still no answer, so she tried the door, which was locked. She ran back down the stairs and moved her car closer to the garage so she could climb on top of it and peek inside Kevin's window. Her foot only slipped once on the wet roof.
It was dark in his room. Even pressing her nose up against the glass and using her hand as a shield from the rain, all she could make out were shapes - his bed, the TV, various boxy shaped furniture. Shelly hadn't even considered that he wouldn't be home. Where was he when he wasn't here? The only times she'd spent with him had either been here in his room, or at the Monster Jam, or Nascar, or at the movies.
In other words, on dates. They'd been dates, no matter how she'd tried pretending otherwise.
She went limp, her body sliding down the car until her feet sank into the muddy ground.
Think, Shelly, think.
They'd been together for two years. What did she know about Kevin? Could he be working at this time of day? His truck was gone, so wherever he was, he'd driven there. South Park wasn't that big; she might find him, or at least spot his truck, if she drove around town.
She lifted her foot to take a step, but the mud refused to let go, and she walked right out of her shoe. She had to put her sock-clad foot down on the muddy ground to yank the stubborn thing free, and when she managed to get it back on, the mud squelched beneath her toes.
This was a test, it had to be. The universe was testing her to see what it would take to make her give up again. The universe could kiss her ass.
Once she was back in her car, saturating the upholstery, she pushed her wet hair out of her face and turned the key. The universe apparently hadn't taken kindly to her earlier thought, because she only got as far as the railroad tracks when the engine died. The car had made it a lousy twenty feet; couldn't it have made it another five? Or just not started at all? Now there were two tires practically in her parent's front yard and two were on the tracks. With her luck, the universe would send a train by any second. She put the car in neutral and got out to push it the rest of the way across, nearly losing her shoe again, then she collapsed in the driver's seat and tried starting it again.
That's when she noticed the needle on the fuel gage was below E. She'd been in such a hurry to leave Lakewood that she'd completely forgotten to put gas in the car. She rested her head on the steering wheel for a few seconds before trying to open the door, which, of course, was stuck. She had to ram her shoulder against it, nearly falling out of the car when the door swung open.
To bring things full circle, it was then that her phone fell right out of her pocket and into a puddle. If this was a sign, Shelly wished she knew what it meant.
She removed the phone's battery, the way Kevin had, but since she didn't drive around with a bag of rice in her car, she tossed both pieces on the passenger seat and shut the car door. Her options were becoming more limited by the minute. She could go in and use her parent's phone, but she didn't want to talk to anyone before she got a chance to talk to Kevin first. She could get back in her car and just sit there, with no heat and no way of tracking Kevin down. Or she could walk.
She wasn't sure where she was going. She could go to Tweek Brothers, just to get out of the rain for a while. She'd welcome a cup of coffee, even if she only held it in her hands for warmth. It wouldn't get her any closer to finding Kevin, but neither would sitting here doing nothing. She got as far as Kyle's house before turning around and walking right back across the tracks. She stared up at Kevin's window again, debating whether she should wait in the garage like a crazy stalker or if she should knock on the front door to ask his parents where he might have gone.
Hair plastered to her face, she stared at the front door, still unsure what to do, when she noticed that something was different.
It was the window next to the front door. It had been cracked for as long as Shelly could remember, but the glass was now intact, and the paint on the sill looked fairly fresh. The refrigerator that had been sitting outside for ages was also missing, and the garbage cans were lined up against the house instead of overflowing in the yard.
She was still taking in the subtle changes when the roar of an engine announced Kevin's arrival. Now that he was here, she realized she had no idea what to say to him. His door swung open, and Shelly met him just as he was getting out of the truck. To say he was surprised to see her was putting it mildly.
"Oh, hell, no. What the fuck are you doing here, Shelly?" He held up a hand. "You know what? I don't fucking care."
"Don't," he said, his voice sharp. "You stay the fuck away from me. It shouldn't be hard; you're real fucking good at it."
He sidestepped her and walked away, back across the tracks.
She swallowed and blinked a few times, sending a couple of warm tears down her face. She hadn't expected this to be easy, but she'd expected that he'd hear her out first. He'd said he loved her. She should at least get the chance to do the same.
It didn't matter if she was wrong for feeling this way, she was suddenly fucking pissed. Did he have any idea what she'd gone through to get here?
She went after him, stomping in the rain. He wasn't walking particularly fast, so it was easy to catch up to him. She grabbed him by the arm and spun him around.
"What?" he snapped. "You need to get laid? You want to do it right here, in the rain? We can have a good ol' fashioned hate fuck right in front of your goddamned parents' house! And trust me, sweetheart. I. Fucking. Hate. You."
She might have been pissed off, but Kevin was furious. She didn't think she'd ever seen him this angry, and certainly never at her. She still didn't know what to say to him to get him to listen, so she gathered up the courage to sing it instead. If anything could get Kevin to listen to her, it was the Rolling Stones.
"I was born...I was born in the pouring rain, And I howled at...some turd in that same rain!"
His jaw dropped open. "What the fuck are you doing?"
Shelly pushed some of her hair away from her face. "When you don't know the lyrics, you just make them up."
"I don't believe you. After all this time, there is no way you don't know the words to Jumpin' Jack Flash." He turned to walk away again, but Shelly felt a flicker of hope. He'd stopped when she'd grabbed him. If he didn't care, he could have easily shaken her off.
She wracked her brains to think of something else that he'd recognize. Her knowledge of the Stones was almost entirely due to listening to Kevin's tapes. There was one that Brenda used to listen to, back when they were roommates.
"Some you lose, some you win. I can drrrift, I can dream, like a...like a droid on Tatooine!"
It seemed the worse she sang, the more it got his attention, because he turned around again.
"Did you just throw a fucking R2-D2 reference in there?"
It was hard to tell in the rain, but he looked like he might have been fighting a smile. Her heart gave a little leap.
"Of course not. That would be stupid."
"No, picking a song called Out of Tears is stupid if you're trying to...what the fuck are you trying to do, Shelly?"
Well, the title explained why Brenda had only listened to it when she was in between boyfriends. At least he was talking to her now, though. She opened her mouth, but he shook his head.
"No more singing, Shelly. Just fucking tell me what you want."
"I want you," she said, her voice cracking.
He rubbed at his face and sighed. "For how long this time, Shell? Or do you just want to ride me until you're worn out? Because that's all it ever was, right? And that was the problem, according to you."
His anger flared again, and he started shouting. "But that wasn't all there was, and that was the problem, because I'm me. I'm never going to be anyone but me, and that was never, ever good enough for you!"
It was the longest string of words she'd ever heard him put together, and every single one was like a knife to the heart.
"You're wrong, Kevin. I don't want you to be anyone but you. Maybe I did feel that way at first, but not now."
"And what exactly is so great about me now?" he asked, crossing his arms over his chest.
She took a deep breath. "You...you love your family, even though they drive you crazy. You take care of those close to you. You were there when an old friend needed you, even though she didn't deserve it. You're hot, and you're smart – smart at things that actually matter – and sometimes you're even funny. I feel weak when you smile at me. And you don't ever give up. Don't start now, Kevin. Don't give up on me. Don't give up on us."
"Why not? You did."
"No one else has ever made me feel like this, Kevin."
She took a step closer to him, and he didn't retreat. She wanted to feel his arms around her and his lips against hers, but she needed to do this. Kevin deserved to know.
"You're the first person I think of when I wake up. When I see something stupid on TV, I want to point it out to you so we can laugh at it. When the Rolling Stones are on the radio, I always hear you singing along. When I'm working, I can't look at an outcropping of rock without thinking of you and our hike up to Elks Falls. You drive me crazy, but there's no one else I'd rather fight with.
"And yes, I miss having sex with you. I miss the way it feels when you're..." she swallowed. "...when you're inside me, like I can't get any closer but I still want to try. But most of all, I miss my best friend, because that's what you are to me, Kevin. It's what you always were even when I was too stupid to notice."
She took another step, and now she was close enough to touch him. She didn't.
"I thought I was in love before, Kevin, but that was before I knew what that really meant."
He looked her in the eye and said nothing for several seconds, and then the corners of his eyes crinkled. "It's going to take a whole lot of blow jobs to make this up to me."
The relief was so intense, she felt like she might collapse. She smacked him instead, and he grabbed her by the arms.
"And you're going to have to swallow it and tell me it's the best fucking thing you've ever tasted."
It would be a small price to pay. She looked forward to the chance to bring him to that point. She looked forward to a lot of things.
"So you think I'm hot, huh?"
Had she told him that? He was going to be impossible to live with from now on. She nodded anyway.
He leaned closer until she could feel his breath on her face. "You'd better fucking mean everything you said, because this is the part where I kiss you."
He kissed her in the pouring rain, and his mouth was warm against hers. It was the only warm part of his body because they were both soaking wet, but she didn't care. She hadn't been too late, and it was worth everything she'd just – oh, shit, her car.
His tongue was still doing incredibly arousing things in her mouth when she half-heartedly pushed at his shoulder.
"Kevvvuh," she protested. She shuddered as he pushed his thigh between her legs, and she tried giving him a second more feeble shove. He was either not getting the hint or he didn't care, and she gave up trying to stop him, because this was what she'd driven all the way to South Park for in the first place.
Eventually they had to break apart for air, and Kevin pressed his forehead against hers, breathing heavily. "Were you trying to say something?" he panted, brushing some of the wet hair away from her face.
"What?" she asked, turning her head into his touch. It took a second for her to remember. "Oh. My car!"
"What about it?"
"No, it's not. It's right in front of your parent's house. We walked by it like two minutes ago."
"No, it's stuck like I ran out of gas."
"You know, Shelly, there's this little display on your dash, it looks a little like a clock only instead of numbers, it has an E on one side and an F on the other."
"Ha ha," she said. She would have punched him for that, but she was still feeling rather breathless from their kiss.
"Shelly," he asked, his lips curving up in the corners. "Did you drive all the way here from Lakewood?"
He looked delighted. "You did! You drove from Lakewood and didn't think of checking your gas gauge."
"I'm glad you're enjoying this, Kevin."
"You jumped in your car and drove here without thinking about it. Of course I'm enjoying this. Do you know what this means?"
"Yeah. It means I need to borrow your gas can and I could also use a ride to the station at some point."
"So what were you thinking about on your drive here that was so important that you forgot to stop for gas?"
"I was thinking about you, asshole."
His grin grew wider. "Shelly Marsh did something for me without thinking about what could go wrong, and she owes me like twenty blow jobs."
"At least twenty."
"Then we'd better get started on that first one."
"I'm so holding you to that," he growled before he kissed her again, hard. When he was done kissing her, he hauled her over his shoulder and walked past her car and her parents' house, and he didn't put her down until he'd carried her up the stairs to his room, where he helped peel off her wet clothes. Once they were both naked, they warmed each other in his bed.
"I can't believe you're really here," he told her in between kisses. "God, I've missed you."
She wanted to tell him she'd felt the same way, but then he moved against her, and she could only manage to moan his name.
"I have condoms," he whispered. "Unless you really do want to suck me off."
She didn't really, but he was basically calling her bluff. That, and she wanted him to know how serious she was and how much he really meant to her.
"If you Dutch Oven me while I'm down there..." she warned before ducking under the blankets.
"Oh, God, Shelly, I wasn't – I didn't think you were – oh, fuck. Shelly, I can't..."
Less than a minute later, Shelly was at the sink rinsing out her mouth. Her cheeks hurt a little, but it hadn't been as bad as she thought. As a bonus, Kevin was completely agreeable when he was getting blown. This was something she'd have to keep in mind the next time they disagreed on something.
She crawled back under the covers and he pulled her into his arms, spooning her from behind.
"God, I love you," he said, nuzzling her neck.
"I love you, too," she said, her voice thick. She turned around to bury her face against his neck and burst into tears.
He rubbed her back while she cried, and when she was done, she wiped at her nose.
"I must look like shit," she said, sniffling.
"You look beautiful," he said, and love must really be blind, because she believed him.
She kissed him again when he suggested sneaking into the house to take a shower. Despite her fear that his parents would catch them, the allure of a warm shower more than outweighed the risk. Kevin warned her that the hot water wouldn't last long, so naturally they both had to get under the shower spray and hurriedly wash each other (with only the occasional, accidental, groping from Kevin). He hadn't lied about the hot water running out, either. Fortunately, it happened when Kevin had her backed against the far wall of the shower, kissing her relentlessly, so he'd been the one to jump in shock at the sudden rush of cold water. She'd had to bite her lip to keep from laughing out loud.
Once they were back in his room, he sat behind her in the bed, gently detangling her hair strand by strand, while the Three Stooges played on TV.
They made love after that, which completely undid all of Kevin's careful work on her hair. When they finished, Kevin flung the used condom in the direction of the wastebasket and laced his fingers with hers. He fell asleep almost immediately, and Shelly gently tugged her hand free and propped herself up on her elbow. She'd always been so embarrassed during sex that she'd never taken the chance to really look at him. Kevin would probably never have a super sculpted body or nineteen-inch biceps, but he wasn't the scrawny kid he'd once been, either. His muscle definition was subtler, and the scars on his body were further proof that his strength hadn't been earned in a gym.
Like Kevin, she found it hard to believe she was here. She'd come so close to throwing it all away. Who was she kidding? She had thrown it away, and it was only because Kevin loved her as much as he did that she was here now. He loved her. It still didn't seem real. She'd known Kevin all her life, and hated him nearly half that time. If anyone had ever told her back in high school that this was where she'd find herself ten years later, she'd have thought them crazy.
Kevin was still sleeping when she woke the next morning. She traced a finger over his cheekbones, along the side of his nose, and then over his lips, causing them to twitch.
An uncomfortable pressure in her bladder forced her out of bed. Her clothes were still in a wet pile on the floor, and there was no way she could put on her shoes, which weren't just soaked through but coated with mud. She rummaged through Kevin's make-shift dresser, donning one of his plain white T-shirts and a clean pair of plaid boxers, before going into the house to use the bathroom. While she was there, she sent a quick prayer of thanks that his parents were nowhere to be seen, probably sleeping off a bender from the night before.
Kevin still hadn't woken when she returned, so she went to the cardboard box where he kept his video tapes. Finding something to watch was going to be a challenge, because the box was the most disorganized thing in the room, the tapes just jumbled together. He would never treat his 8-track collection like this. How did he know what he even had in here? She decided to sort them out, ignoring how domestic and homey a chore that was.
Besides taped episodes of the Three Stooges and Blue Collar TV, there was a copy of Back Door Sluts 2 (seriously, Kevin?), The Toxic Avenger, and most surprising, a "Previously Owned" copy of Pixar's Cars. She reached in to grab the next one in the pile when her hand brushed over something that was most certainly not a video tape.
It was a small black jewelry box, no more than an inch-and-a-half square. Except for the hinge, it was made entirely of cardboard, with the jeweler's logo imprinted on the cover.
She heard Kevin rustling in the bed behind her, and she turned, the box between her thumb and first two fingers.
"Did you open it?" he asked.
She shook her head.
"Good," he said, leaping out of bed and wrapping the blanket around his waist. "Then I can still do this right." He led her back to the air mattress, and, once she was seated, dropped to one knee, causing Shelly's heart to leap into her throat.
"Yes," she said, nodding vigorously.
He laughed nervously. "Can you at least let me ask the question?"
She nodded again, and he took the box from her and opened it. The ring inside was a thin white gold band, and the solitaire diamond barely large enough to be seen, but it was the most beautiful piece of jewelry she'd ever set eyes on.
"I got this a while ago," he said as he took it out of the box. "I, uh, I brought it with me when I crashed the reunion. I guess it's a good thing I haven't gotten around to bringing it back yet."
"You keep it with your video tapes?"
He gestured around the room. "If I had a locked box or a safe in this room, where's the first place a thief, or a nosy meddling sister, would look?"
He made a good point. No one was going to think a disorderly pile of video tapes hid anything except more crappy tapes.
"So, Shelly Marsh," he said, holding out the ring. His hand was shaking, and her heart leapt again.
"So," she echoed, extending her own trembling hand.
"So you think you can tell," he murmured as he slid the ring on her third finger. It fit perfectly; of course it did. When something was important to Kevin, he paid attention to the details.
He stood and held out his hands to help her to her feet.
"Just so we're clear," he said. "When you said yes, you meant yes, you'll marry me."
"Yes," she replied, laughing shakily. "Yes, I'll marry you, you big turd."
"I fucking love it when you talk dirty to me," her fiancé said, and he kissed her again.
EPILOGUE: In which we have wedding and a number of gratuitous cameos
Having screwed things up as astronomically as she had, Shelly wanted to get married right away. Kevin, on the other hand, didn't want a white trash wedding where everyone would think they had to get married or worse, that they were settling for each other. He wanted a wedding that showed off his bride, one that people would talk about for all the right reasons, and Shelly realized that Kevin would be the first one in his family to actually have a big wedding, since Karen had eloped. She couldn't take that away from him; she'd put him through so much already.
Plus her father would have to pay for it. After all the money he'd shelled out for Stan over the years, it was about time he did the same for her.
When her mother wasn't driving her crazy with her input on every detail of the wedding and reception, her unholy trio of bridesmaids – Chloe, Brenda, and Karen – felt it was their duty to send photos of every wedding dress ever made to Shelly's phone. She showed some of the more ridiculous ones to Kevin, so they could laugh about them together, and to her father, because she enjoyed the look of horror on his face when he thought he'd have to foot the bill for some of the monstrosities.
With juggling wedding plans, her job, and Kevin's moving in to her apartment (their apartment), the wedding that had seemed so far in the future when they'd set the date was suddenly upon them. They each stayed at their parents' the night before the wedding, because it was a tradition that the bride and groom didn't see each other the morning of the wedding, and the folks of South Park just loved traditions.
She was awake before dawn the next morning and was restless through the entire photo shoot. First there were pictures of Shelly with her parents, individually, then together, pictures with her brother, with all four of them together. Then there were ones with Karen, who was serving as her matron-of-honor, and Brenda and Chloe in turn, then all four of them, then the four of them with Shelly's parents. She was chomping at the bit by the time the limo arrived to take them two blocks down the road to the church.
"I don't like the look of those clouds," her mother fretted next to her.
"Rain on your wedding day is supposed to be good luck," Chloe chirped.
Shelly didn't care if it rained; she'd developed a new fondness for torrential downpours. She promptly ignored the rest of the conversation around her; she was stifling in the limo with the others, and the moment the limo stopped and the door was opened, she hauled herself out of the car without waiting for assistance. There was a small tearing sound, and Karen hastened to assure Shelly's mother that it was only on the hem and that no one would even notice.
It wasn't until Shelly and her father were in the rear of the church, and her father took her hands in his as they waited for their cue, that it sank in.
This was her wedding day.
"You're all grown up, Shelly," Randy said, giving her hands a squeeze.
"I've been grown up, Dad."
"You look beautiful," he said, looking like he might cry.
The sharp pang in her chest was probably just due to the burritos they'd had at the rehearsal dinner the night before.
"Thanks," she said gruffly, but she meant it.
The music started, finally, and Chloe went down the aisle first. Or was it up the aisle, since they were going to the front of the church? Why was she worrying about that when all that mattered was that they went in the direction where Kevin was waiting?
Shelly had opted to not wear a veil. A veil was like hiding, and she was done with that. The lack of a veil would also give her an unobstructed view when she approached the altar.
She completely missed Brenda's turn, because suddenly Karen was walking down - or up - the aisle, and her father held out his arm for her to take, sniffling as he did so. Walking at a sedate pace was killing her, and she ignored everyone in the pews, craning her neck to catch a glimpse of her fiancé.
He'd been fidgeting at the front of the church himself and hadn't even tried to hide it. The moment he saw her, he ignored everyone and ran down the aisle to meet her, swinging her up into his arms.
"You came," he whispered in her ear, and then he kissed her like he hadn't seen her in months.
Father Maxi cleared his throat, but they ignored him until Kenny walked down the aisle to tap his brother on the shoulder and whisper, "you still want to do this, don't you?"
Kevin broke the kiss slowly, laced his fingers together with Shelly's, and together they walked back to where the priest was waiting.
Father Maxi said some words which they both repeated, and before he'd even introduced them as husband and wife, Kevin was kissing her again.
"You owe me twenty bucks," she thought she heard Karen whisper to one of the other bridesmaids.
Apparently there had been a number of bets made regarding the Marsh-McCormick wedding, ranging from which parent would cry first to which relative would get the most drunk at the reception.
The bet with the biggest payoff, though, was about the song they'd chosen for their first dance. Nearly everyone had chosen a song by the Rolling Stones, but instead they'd chosen a song by a band no one had ever heard of, thanks to a CD that had been left in their mailbox in a plain white envelope.
During their first dance as a married couple, Eric Cartman, who had attended as his mother's plus one, sat at his assigned table counting his winnings.
"We did it, Cupid Me. Like I've always said, people who are the same belong together."
"Tee hee," the cherub giggled. "I told you the video would work. And I peed in his mouth a little, because I know you like that."
"Who the fuck are you talking to, fat ass?" Kyle asked.
"How did you know they were going to pick that song?" Stan added. "I've never even heard it before."
"Sure you have!" Butters chimed in. "Why, that's the song that was on that video they were in. Wasn't it, Kenny?" he turned to his friend for confirmation.
"Mmm hmm," Kenny agreed.
"Are you sure? I don't remember this song," Stan frowned.
"That's because you're thinking of the wrong video," Wendy Testaburger explained. "It was in that other video, the love story one you hated."
"I like this song," Scott Malkinson commented. "It's pretty."
"It is," his wife agreed, sitting on his lap. "If it didn't make me think of my brother, the song would make me think of you."
"Get a room, you two, seriously," Cartman said as he tucked the wad of bills into his wallet.
To spite him, Karen planted a big noisy kiss on her husband's lips. Stan leaned over to Kenny and whispered, "I still can't believe she married Scott Malkinson. Scott Malkinson!"
Kenny shrugged. "She loves him."
Eric Cartman winked at Cupid Me, who was in the process of peeing in Scott's mouth, just for fun.