Iris isn’t nervous. Why would she be nervous? She’s got all her closest friends by her side, Wally to fetch her too much coffee, Cecile to reapply her lipstick when she chews it off, her daddy to mop her brow when she starts sweating.
No, glowing. Felicity said she was glowing.
Iris lets out a slow breath, braced against the church’s bathroom sink. Her wedding dress is hiked up around her waist to keep from touching the ground, and she’s not nervous. She’s not.
Iris’ head whips up, blinking at the girl behind her in the mirror. She’s young and pretty in her smooth brown skin, wearing the black-white ensemble of the catering team and a hesitant smile. Iris matches it, her hands fluttering up with a, “No, no, I’m not, I’m fine, it’s-”
“It’s okay- if you are,” the caterer continues, taking another step forward. Her eyes are wide, and a long braid dangles down her back. Everything about her seems too young to be holding a job like this. “I would be.”
Iris arches an eyebrow, turning to face the girl directly. “You would?” She presses, curious and suspicious all at once. Anyone who knows Barry would know that he’s the best kind of man, the other half of her heart. This caterer might not have that kind of insider knowledge, but Iris still can’t imagine what would have spurred her to believe Barry is anything to be nervous about.
The girl nods, though, as she smiles faintly and approaches the counter. “Yeah,” she exhales. When she stands next to Iris, their shoulders brush and static skitters across her bare skin. Something strikes like a match in Iris’ mind, but when she reaches out, it’s already gone. “Marriage is a big deal. Or so I hear, anyway,” the girl continues, lips quirking at her own reflection like it’s an inside joke.
Iris has heard that too, ever since the engagement: from her dad, from Captain Singh, from Professor Stein. Her mind flashes back briefly to that quiet moment on Joe’s couch a few weeks back, tenderness and tears filling Cecile’s eyes. “If he makes you happy, you deserve as much of him as you can get,” the older woman had said, and they’d hugged and cried, and Iris had tried not to think about her mother.
“Yeah,” Iris echoes in the present, glancing sideways at the girl only to find her looking back. “It’s new. New things are always scary.”
The caterer nods eagerly, her eyes bright. “Well, at least you’re not doing it alone, right?” she begins thoughtfully, her head bobbing as she speaks. “I mean, I mean, he’s probably just as scared as you. Even more, maybe.”
That’s probably true, Iris muses. No matter how many times Iris watches the love of her life disappear in a strike of lightning to go save other people, she doesn’t think she’ll ever be as closely acquainted with fear as he is. The thought that they’re sharing this anxiety, though, even now when they can’t see each other, sends warmth flooding through her body. Iris almost wants to call him and talk all her nerves out, but she knows there’ll be time enough for that later. When they’re married and lying peacefully on a beach. When he’s hers. God, that sounds good.
The two of them together is what really matter, isn’t it? That’s what she wants, what she’s always wanted. She doesn’t have to call Barry and have a heart-to-heart to make sure of it.
(Also, she doesn’t have her phone. Damn this dress and its lack of pockets. If she ever gets married again, she’s keeping her cell in her bra.)
Iris rouses herself from her daydream and turns to the caterer. She’s still there, inexplicably, and giving Iris a kind of starry-eyed look she can’t place. Feeling magnanimous for this stranger who had the right words at the right moment, she beams at her. “Thanks.”
The caterer grins back, before her eyes drop to Iris’ mouth and her smile falters. “Uh. I think you, you were biting your lip? Or something? Your lipstick’s all chewed away.”
Iris sighs and prepares to go hunt down one of her bridesmaids for her lipstick tube, but the caterer is faster. “Here,” she says shyly, slipping something into her palm. Iris has to do a double take to ensure it’s the right one, but yes, somehow, the girl has produced the exact brand and berry red shade.“Where’d you get this?” Iris says in surprise, peering down into the girl’s face.
Her mouth opens to reply, but a noise sounds from outside the bathroom and her gaze swings towards the door anxiously. “I’m sorry, we- I have to get back to work, things are starting soon, right? I mean, you would know, you’re the one getting married, aren’t you? You look beautiful, by the way,” she babbles in a rush, reaching out to quickly lay a hand on Iris’ shoulder that’s gone just as fast as she edges towards the exit. “Okay, good luck, have fun, bye!”
Iris stares after the girl, squinting in confusion. Later, she’ll reflect on how cold the bathroom was. She will note how warm the stranger’s hand on her shoulder was in that chilly bathroom. She’ll think about how only one other person has ever radiated heat from every pore like that.
But for now, in the present, Iris West reapplies her lipstick and leaves that bathroom ready to do her best to get married.