Breathe in. Breathe out. The grand doors into the hall of North's workshop loomed before me, somehow casting a satisfying smirk upon me as I hyperventilated in my place. The sounds of shuffling feet and nervousness wafted to my ears from inside, blurry images of the large audience visible through the frosted glass windows. Taking a deep breath, a shaky hand grasped the door handle and I slipped inside, everyone too preoccupied to even notice the tiny wedding crasher, and situated myself behind one of the royal blue curtains. The hall was dazzling with beauty. I expected nothing less.
The decor definitely screamed Tooth and Jack. Bouquets of vivid flowers shielded with a thin layer of delicate frost adorned each dark wooden pew, a long carpet of deep royal blue lining the aisle where the lovely bride would float to her husband-to-be. My stomach churned as I felt my eyes grow wet, sucking in air to hold back the tears.
Everyone imaginable was in attendance: North's intimidating figure clothed in his finest standing at the altar with a grand book lined with shimmering gold print, Jack standing nervously beside him, frost seeping from the openings of his suit, as with all his clothes. Bunny stood proudly behind Jack with a smile of satisfaction painting his face, obviously given the role of best man. And from the back room, the faintest sound of last-minute bridal preparations could be heard.
Even on her wedding day, Tooth's flawless voice commanded her small fairies off to collect lost teeth since, after all, not everyone can work one night a year like North or Bunny. Her family, dressed in bold blues and greens, sat right up front, chattering amongst themselves, their iridescent wings gently fluttering with anticipation.
And then the conversation from the back room silenced, just as if someone had snapped off a radio. The hall grew quiet, all eyes turning to the grand doors just inches from my guilty soul. My heart pounded against my rib cage. The music erupted, North's elves trumpeting a unified tune that vaguely reminded me of a death march. The grand doors swung open. Peeking my head past the thick curtains, I could see two bridesmaids, one after the other, strolling down the aisle. Swishing with them were gorgeous flowing gowns of opalescent pastel, curls fashioned in a waterfall down their shoulder. I faintly recognized them as Mother Nature and Mother Goose, two beautiful women close with the bride herself. My eyes drifted from the women to the groom who, despite the formality of the occasion, still held his staff at the altar. A thick layer of frost collected near his grasp. His face glistened with a light nervous sweat and I suddenly felt a pang of fear that things weren't exactly how he had pictured.
Just then, the audience all gasped and smiled in unison. Craning my neck, I caught sight of Tooth's flawless figure floating down the aisle like a queen, her feathered body draped in gorgeous silk, a ring of colorful flowers about her neck, arm and arm with her own father, a man I'd only heard small talk of.
Jack's eyes brightened at the sight of his bride, his electric blue eyes widening with a smile at Tooth's beauty. A pang of pain hit my chest, my sweaty palms groping the wall behind me for something to grasp onto. I couldn't breathe.
"We are gathered here on this wonderful day...", North's booming Russian accent began, his book creaking open. Bunny took Jack's staff as he held Tooth's hands in his, facing her and grinning like an idiot as she smiled tearfully. The world was spinning too fast. I was powerless to halt it.
The ceremony was long, my knees buckling more and more with each dire second Jack and Tooth smiled at each other, spoke their heartfelt vows to one another, said "I do". One long moment of weakness. Then came the fateful minute.
"If anyone, doubtedly, opposes the union of these two in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace", North boomed. He sounded so sure of himself. Silence. This was my last chance. My last opportunity. Rapid flashes of what Jack and I once had ran through my head like a siren alerting me to move. Looking towards the ceiling for strength, I took one last breath and then carefully emerged from behind the curtain, trembling all over.
"I object!", I projected my shaky voice, gasps of horror ricocheting all over the room. I felt Tooth's terrified lilac eyes burning a hole in my entire being, everyone grimacing at my interruption. I felt like I was going to faint, but then I focused in on Jack's face, confused and shocked.
Deep breath. "I-I don't normally...I don't normally barge in on white-veil occassions such as thing but, then again, guys aren't normally in the middle of a wedding ceremony marrying the wrong girl", I stammered, keeping my eyes locked on Jack's confused face. Behind the bewilderment, though, I could see specks of what I could only describe as possible relief. "Jack, don't say yes. You're making a huge mistake--"
"Phil!", North shouted to one of the Yeti's behind him, who began walking towards me, pounding his fist against his palm. A dark blue bowtie peeked through his thick fur.
"No! Wait! Just hear me out! Let me speak!", I pleaded, everyone in the room, to my surprise, pausing at my command. "Just hear me out. Give me two seconds to speak and then do whatever you want with me", I started, speaking to the general crowd. Then I turned to Jack, who had started from the altar towards my self-conscious figure, my jeans and hoodie standing out in a crowd of dresses and bowties. "Jack, you are making the biggest mistake of your life. Whether you know it or not. Surely this isn't what you thought it would be. Don't say yes. Run, run right now. Because I know that deep down this isn't really what you want. Don't make this mistake. Don't forget everything we stupidly gave up. I know you still love me deep down. Or at least I know I still love you". Jack's eyes welled up with tears as he looked down upon me, now just a foot away, confused and terrified just like I was. The entire congregation looked at me with invisible daggers as I turned to them, beginning to back away with teary eyes, and said, "Alright. I'm finished my rant. You can all do what you want with me. I've spoken my pleas. I apologize for intruding on such a happy occassion". Turning to exit the room, I ran from it's menacing double doors down the hallway until I collapsed onto the ground and broke down into a fit of hyperventilated sobs, terrified with what I had just done. Feeling hopeless, I curled up on the floor until...
A cold hand rested on my shoulder. Whipping my head around to face it's owner, I saw none other than the groom himself, his energized blue eyes welling up with tears, his tux half-ripped off and his hoodie crumpled up in his hands. Looking down at my tear-stained face, he replied in a shaky voice, "I couldn't do it. I didn't say yes". Pulling me up off the ground and into a hug, he kissed my head and whispered into my hair:
"I'm so glad you were around when they said speak now".