On the Way to...

by Doreen F.

That was so typical of my cousin, Sheila. She always had a way of making others do things they would not normally do. Sheila was getting married on the weekend and I had a job which did not let me finish early on Friday. My whole family was already out in the country, where the wedding was supposed to take place. And now Sheila had told me, not asked, to pick up a friend of her fiancť and share a ride with him. Great, I really loved her, but sometimes she was really getting on my nerves. I was not particularly looking forward to having company for the ride because I enjoyed driving alone. This guy, apparently did not even own a car and we had arranged to meet at the central station where I would pick him up. He sounded quite nice on the phone, but I knew better than anyone that voices could be very deceiving over the phone. To make matters even worse, a thunderstorm was approaching and heavy rain did not make driving any more fun.

So I found myself waiting in front of the central station waiting for Lucas. "Heís a really nice guy and one of Jackís oldest friends. Kind of a geek, but nice", Sheila had said. At least my car was clearly distinguishable, bright yellow. So Lucas would not easily miss it. I had described it to him on the phone, just to be sure.

Suddenly there was a knock at my window. As I wound it down, a young man smiled at me behind sunglasses. "Hi, Iím Lucas. You must be Linda."

"Nice to meet you, hop in."

Once he was inside we shook hands and I turned the ignition in order to leave. I was slightly surprised that he was wearing sunglasses since it was really getting dark due to the thunderstorm which was about to come.

We started by having some small talk about Linda and Jack and Lucas seemed really nice. And he did not look too bad either. He had a winning smile and his hair was a bit long, but not all that long. I had not been able to make out the colour of his eyes because of the sunglasses.

When we reached the outskirts of the city, it started raining, accompanied by thunder and lightning. Driving much faster than 25 or 30 was impossible. I was really concentrating on the road, so I did not notice that Lucas was still wearing his sunglasses. Weird, I thought when I realized. It was getting late and we were not moving as fast as I had expected. There was a truck some cars ahead of us and it was impossible to overtake it.

"Could you change the CD, please? Thereís a bag full of other discs in the glove compartment. Just choose one."

Lucas took out the bag and flipped through the CDs. The light was quite dim.

"Iíll do it in a second, Iíve just gotta take these off", he said and reached for his bag. He took out a glasses case and took off the sunglasses. But he replaced them by a pair of prescription-glasses. I had not expected that. I sneaked a glance at him and decided that he looked quite good; the glasses were black plastic frames, slightly rectangular.

"It was getting too dark", Lucas felt the need to explain. "So youíll have the geek for the rest of the trip", he added with a smile.

"Donít worry, they look good. Now choose a CD, Iíve been listening for that one for weeks."

"Okay, do you want anything in particular?"

"Well, yeah, the one I labelled ĎFavouritesí would be great. Itís like listening to the radio without constant interruption."

"Sounds great."

"I wish it would not be raining that much."

"Iím glad youíre driving. In the dark my visionís not that great."

We were getting on quite well and despite the horrible weather we were having a great time and a lot of fun. When we reached the village, I was disappointed that time had passed so quickly. I would have loved to drive with Lucas by my side for a little longer.

"Where are you staying?"

"At Sheila and Jackís place, you?"

"Me too, but thatís the least she could do for her bridesmaid, right?"

"Youíre kidding me, right? Iím Jackís best man!"

"Why hadnít she told me that? I would have been much nicer to you!"

"Me too."

We shared a good laugh about that.

At the door Sheila and Jack greeted us with hugs and led us into their newly purchased home. I had only been there once, but it was a really cosy house and well-decorated as well.

I took my bag to the guest room Sheila had shown me. Lucas had the other guest room right next to mine. They would be converted into the childrenís room later. They had a shared bathroom which could be accessed from both rooms. My bridesmaidís dress was already in the room. It looked great. I unpacked a few things and then I went down to join the others in the living room. Sheila had already poured red wine generously. Lucas came down a few minutes later and sat down next to me. We raised our glasses to Sheila and Jack. There were no other people invited since most guests were staying at a hotel which was not that close to the house. The village was really small and only had one B&B, which accommodated Sheilaís and Jackís parents and a few other relatives. Sheila and I were both only-children, so we had always been quite close while growing up. Jack was only-child as well. So we had a nice evening at their place playing games and joking around. Sheila and her friends had had a party during the week in the city and so had Jack. They wanted to look their best on their wedding day. It was getting late and we decided to go to bed.

Lucas and I nearly collided in the bathroom because we somehow managed to go there at exactly the same time.

"Ladies first."

"No thanks go ahead."

"Why donít we go in together? I think Iíve seen two sinks."

"Youíre right. But do I really want you to see me without make-up?"

"Donít worry, Iíll take off my glasses and wonít see a thing."

"But no cheating, eh?"

We brushed our teeth; I washed my face and went through my usual evening routine. So did Lucas. And he really took off his glasses. He looked so different without them. His blue eyes were suddenly much bigger.

"I can feel your looks."

"Sorry, itís just that you look so different without glasses."

"Youíll have a chance to see me like that all day tomorrow because Iíll be wearing contact lenses for the wedding. Jack wants that. He said it would look better on the photos."

"I see."

We said good night and went to our rooms.

I fell asleep immediately as I was very tired. In the morning I woke up feeling completely refreshed. I heard that Lucas was already in the bathroom, so I gently knocked at the door.

"May I come in?"

"Sure, Iím already showered and at least partly dressed."

I opened the door and Lucas true to his word was wearing boxer-shorts, but nothing else apart from his glasses. He had a great body too. I went to the sink and brushed my teeth. Lucas shaved and left the bathroom. I turned on the shower and step into it. When I got out I dressed casually for breakfast. A friend of Sheila was supposed to come at around nine in order to apply make-up and style our hair.

Sheila already looked gorgeous. She had such a natural beauty about her and was sparkling. I was really happy for her. My little cousin was getting married. After breakfast I returned to my room and was about to put on my dress, when there was a knock at my door.

"Linda, could you spare a minute?" Lucas asked.

"Sure." I got up and opened the door.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Could you just stay with me, while I put in my contacts? I wonít ever find them again, if I lose them."

"No problem."

We went into the bathroom. I watched Lucas clean the lens, then take off his glasses and lean really close to the mirror when he put it in. He proceeded with the other lens and blinked quite uncomfortably for a few seconds. Then he put in some eye drops.

"Thank you. Iíve dropped them before and never found them again", Lucas said and turned to face me.

"That must be horrible, losing a contact lens, I mean."

"Yeah, it is, trust me, but nowadays I donít wear them that much anymore. Theyíre not as comfortable as they used to be. So I stick to glasses most of the time and spare me the hassle."

"And you look great in glasses which is a bonus."

"Thanks for the compliment."

"Well, I gotta get dressed. The make-up lady will be there soon."

"I canít wait to see you all dressed up."

"Yeah, me too."

I went down and Sheila and I sat down in the living room, where Martha, her friend was busying herself with the make-up kit. We were having a great time since Martha did not allow us to look at each other while she was putting on the make-up and doing our hair. When we were finally allowed to turn and look at each other, we were really amazed at how we looked. It was awesome, just perfect for a wedding.

I went up and put on the bridesmaidís dress. I had not realised that it was nearly time to leave. I could not close the zipper, so I asked Lucas, if he could help and in no time at all I was wearing the dress.

"And?" I asked

"Wow, you look amazing."

"Your suitís pretty nice too."

"Thanks."

We went downstairs and waited for the limo which was supposed to pick all of us except Sheila up. She would be picked up by her parents.

I would have never believed that being a bridesmaid would be so exciting.

At the church there were so many people and I felt myself blush when I walked down the aisle with Jack and Lucas. What a feeling!

Not much later Sheila arrived and everyone was silent. She looked amazing. Then the music set in and the whole ceremony was put into motion.

The celebration afterwards was great. The food was delicious and when Lucas asked me to dance I felt like the happiest person in the room; apart from Sheila and Jack, of course. It was getting quite late and when I returned to our table after some dancing with my distant cousin from the Czech Republic, I noticed that Lucas was not there.

"Have you seen Lucas?" I asked whoever was standing closest.

"I think he went to the toilet, but that was some time ago. Probably he has had too much to drink and got sick."

I doubted that since Lucas had not had many drinks as far as I had noticed. And suddenly I saw him. He did not look too good.

"Hey, whatís up?"
"Linda, Iím glad youíre here. I just had some serious troubles with my contacts. I had to take one out. Now Iím half blind. I was stupid enough not to bring my glasses with me."

"Letís go then. There not that many guests left anyway. Iíll ask Sheila for the keys and weíll take a taxi, okay?"

"Thatís great, thanks a bunch."

So I asked Sheila for the keys telling her that Lucas was not feeling well and I would take him to their place. She was already too drunk to ask many questions. I told her Iíd leave the front door unlocked so they could get in.

Clutching the keys in one hand and taking Lucasí hand with the other, we went outside and waited for the taxi. It was quite cold outside and was shivering. Lucas took off his jacket and put it around my shoulders.

"Thank you."

"Thatís the least I can do."

The taxi came and in no time at all we were at the house. Lucas raced to the bathroom and took out his contact lens, while I took off the dress shoes and put on something more comfortable.

I was not really tired, so I made some tea to get warm again. Not much later Lucas came down wearing his glasses and a big smile.

"Hey, guess what? I threw my contacts away. I wonít wear them again. I hope I didnít ruin your great evening."

"Not really, being with you is really great, trust me."

"Youíre so sweet, how come youíre not married?"

"I havenít been very lucky in love recently."

"But that may change, right?"

"Of course, I think it may have changed already", I said and gave Lucas a kiss, which he gently responded.

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