The wedding had gone off without a hitch. The weather was clear, the guests well-behaved, and Charles and Erik were both there, sober, and not so nervous that they threw down a smoke bomb to disappear into the ether to start life anew in New Zealand under assumed names. The estate’s grounds were lush as if showing off for the wedding guests. Old man Shaw next door didn’t call the police to arrest everyone for lurking with intent, as he had threatened to do. Charles and Erik got through the vows successfully, without vomiting on anyone, happy and punch-drunk and oh fuck, they were married. The next time they had sex, it would be married sex. Charles had no idea if that was different from ‘living in sin’ sex, but he was eager to find out. Everything was lovely, and Charles and Erik were married, and Charles was so happy he thought he might puke; judging from Erik’s disbelieving smile, his husband felt the same.
Then there was the reception. Or rather, the toast portion of the reception. Or, rather rather, Raven’s speech during the toast portion of the reception. Azazel had, somewhat surprisingly, given an earnest yet not overly effusive speech about Erik and his and Erik’s friendship and Charles and love and something about pavlovas. Or, Charles thought it was about pavlovas. It was possible he was already a mite tipsy.
And then Raven took the mic.
It really, really, really shouldn’t have been a surprise. Raven had made her intentions – her “sacred duty as best sister” and “justified, seriously Erik, justified revenge on the many, many times you cockblocked me since shacking up with my brother” – clear enough.
Still, one does not expect the best sister to open her wedding toast to the happy couple with a picture of one of the groom’s cocks. Given the guests’ rather vocal reactions, they weren’t much better prepared: Aunt Tilly appeared to be in a faint, Tony was catcalling, Alex and Darwin were clutching each other in what Charles chose to believe were sympathetic tears and not laughter, Moira, bless her, downed her drink, and the rest seemed content to gasp and titter in shock or amusement.
“Oh god,” Charles wheezed into his hands as Raven started her, good lord, a PowerPoint presentation?, “tell me I’m having post-wedding visual and auditory hallucinations brought on by fondant-related stress.” Beside him, Erik was either trying to adjust his tie or use it for self-asphyxiation. Charles grabbed his husband’s (husband!) hand, partially for support but mostly so that bastard wouldn’t pass out and leave Charles to deal with this himself.
“Obviously, I’ve known Charles all my life”, Raven began as though there weren’t a collage of Erik’s penis and Charles’ drunk introduction thereto from the night Erik and Charles first met, surrounded by clip-art hearts and roses and one lonely penguin on the screen behind her. “So I knew that when he met Erik, it was the start of something special.” The cocksplosion on the screen faded to a picture of Charles partially sitting, mostly slumped on a bar stool looking at the camera with his most respectable drunkface and holding two glasses of whisky. In the background Erik was standing at the bar, mid-gesticulation at Logan. Moira was very obviously looking at Erik’s ass.
Charles remembered bits and pieces from the night he met Erik, remembered how very lovely Erik was in his intensity and how he was even lovelier in his joy. He remembered the rush he felt when Erik approached him under the guise of asking the time, and how charmed Charles was by the obvious subterfuge when he realized Erik wore a watch. He remembered, of course, how attractive Erik was, and is, and marveled at the fact that a half-remembered night blossomed into this. Unfortunately, Charles didn’t remember anything on the screen. He hadn’t seen this picture before, hadn’t even been aware of its existence, and if that wasn’t a bad omen for the next ten minutes (along with, of course, the cock collage opening number) he didn’t know what was.
“Charles, darling, how many pictures are there from that night” Erik hissed. Charles only answered with a desperate mewl that, for a desperate mewl, was very eloquently stating no idea, darling, I was rather hammered myself and Erik, do be a love and drown me in my soup.
From her demonic perch, Raven adjusted her notes and continued. “Their shared passions and interests brought them together.” Behind her the screen changed to show a snapshot of Charles and Erik from that night, sitting at a table, involved in what they were later informed was a shot contest for “the honor of king and crown”. Under the table, Charles’ bare foot, pressed against Erik’s crotch, were clearly visible to all and sundry. Erik had his hand on the offending foot, but whether he was trying to remove it (unlikely), holding it steady (possibly), or pushing it down harder (very likely) was unclear. Aunt Tilly, who had come to in the interim, very audibly fainted again.
Erik laughed and Charles felt the warm puff of breath against his cheek. “I knew you played dirty pool that night.” Charles mewled again, desperate in an entirely different way as Erik’s lips brushed against his jaw.
“’S not my fault you have a magnificent cock,” Charles sighed before stealing a kiss and grabbing a firm thigh for moral support. Rubbing said thigh was, clearly, also a gesture of moral support. Charles felt it important to be supportive of his husband during this trying time. Judging by Erik’s hitched breath, the support was appreciated.
“Charles and Erik challenge and complement each other, in often unexpected ways” Raven continued while advancing to the next slide. Now the screen depicted series of pictures starting with Erik and Charles play fighting (or perhaps a series of photographs of Charles and Erik actually fighting very ineptly) moving to not-so-play canoodling and very-serious groping while Raven, in her first appearance in the pictorial shitshow, tried to appease Logan, the bartender/bouncer/owner, before he presumably beat the two to their untimely demises with a brick. Screen-Erik-and-Charles, however, were unbothered by screen-Logan’s ire. They were likewise unbothered by screen-Moira spraying them with what Charles hoped was water from a mysteriously-procured spray bottle and the crowd of onlookers who were gathering around them. It wasn’t quite clear if screen-Alex was paying people to leave or charging a price of admission. “However,” Raven continued with the same shit-eating grin she’d had so far, “that isn’t to say that the two haven’t faced hard times. But they overcame these hardships, more committed to each other, and to what they could achieve between them, than before”.
“Oh Jesus,” Charles sighed. Erik pinched the bridge of his nose because really, they recognized Raven’s puns when they heard them. By the onslaught of gasps, titters, shouts of encouragement and requests for a live reenactment by the guests and Aunt Tilly’s renewed faint, it was pretty obvious what was on the screen. Sure enough, the cocksplosion collage was back and bigger than ever, so to say. It was decorated liberally with animated hearts and cupids and glitter. In the pictures, screen-Erik was undoing his pants to screen-Charles obvious delight, was pulling aside his underwear, was pulling out his dick, was standing like a proud peacock, hands on his hips, cock hanging free. Screen-Charles was marveling, gawking, and oh god reaching out to touch. The piece de resistance, which had been cut to the shape of a heart with “Just Married” printed over it in sparkling huge comic sans, showed Charles and Erik, forehead to forehead, gazing at each other soppily with Charles’ hand circled proprietarily around Erik’s half-erect cock, Raven facepalming in the background, Alex and Darwin clutching each other laughing, and Moira trying to shove a dollar in Erik’s pants.
Real-Erik made a pained sound, although Charles wasn’t clear if it was because of the images on the screen or because Charles might, at this point, be supporting Erik’s thigh a little more painfully than he had intended. Charles shot Erik an apologetic look and resumed petting him. Under the table, Erik took Charles’ hand and held it firmly.
“I love my brother,” Raven continued, “and I am so happy that he found in Erik someone he can love, and someone who loves him, despite all of the stupid shit they do. You two really do deserve each other.” The final picture was from the next morning, Erik and Charles curled around each other like puppies on Charles’ sofa, sleep-affectionate and peaceful and how can a PowerPoint featuring a plethora of cock shots make Charles misty? Clearly the wedding destroyed his brain.
Finally, finally Raven raised her glass. “To Charles and Erik, who I wish all the happiness in the world. May they have many years of perversity before them.” Tony gave a standing ovation as the rest of the guests echoed the toast. Charles and Erik stood as Raven returned to her seat.
“That’s what you get for calling me kinky, fuckface,” she murmured to Erik as he bent in to kiss her cheek. Erik whispered something in her ear which Charles was willing to bet was a threat, but was also willing to overlook Erik and Raven’s semi-friendly antagonism as it was his wedding day.
“Darling,” Charles whispered as he hugged his marvelous, malevolent sister, “Was that really necessary? I do hope you’ve gotten that out of your system.”
Raven shook her head and laughed, and said “You know I’m saving the good pictures for your 50th.”