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The Many Tales of Blackjack: Triumvirate

   
"Me?" Whim said, nonplussed. Erin had just managed to do the impossible, to confuse Whim into speechlessness. It was a flattered confusion, but a confusion nevertheless. "I... I mean, sure, I'd love to. Just.. you sure? Me?"

"Well, yeah," Erin said, looking likewise confused. "You're one of my best friends. Why would I not be sure?"

"I dunno who you're going to have to stand up with, though. I don't even know if Seryozha has three friends he wants to stand up with him," she warned, chewing on her lip, fretting over the symmetry and Sergei's antisocial tendencies.

"Because I'm a freaky-looking Goth-rocker chick and you hate my taste in clothes, men, and music?" Whim said, glancing sidelong at Erin. "But thanks. I'm honored."

"You can probably grab Seventeen, maybe Cu." Whim said. "Civitas likes you too... have you thought about who should give the bride away?"

"I do nooooot," Erin protested. "I like your Cajun music, you just never play it. And your clothes look good on you. I just don't wanna wear them. And there's nothing wrong with your guys except that you complain about Jayce all the time." Erin glanced her eyes all around. "Dunno where you got that I'd hate them. I can hardly argue about one of em when I'm friends with em. I think he could use something good in his life. I think he's so convinced he has no soul that he's done his best to destroy it."

"I just, uh, worry you might get sick of his dramatics 'n all. And anyway, you're not picking out the clothes and men and music for the wedding, so what's that matter?"

"I like Sir Civitas, but I don't think Sergei has met him... I think he might be a little intimidated, too," Erin bit her lip. "I... don't know who to ask to give me away. Maybe Mr. Hammond, or Mr. Othello. They're the closest to fathers I have. I mean... there's my own dad... but I can't really invite him..."

"Alright, alright, I take back what I said." Whim said, grinning broadly. She seemed oddly pleased by what Erin had said, and drove along in silence for a few moments, basking in the glow.

"I know that if you asked Civitas, he'd do the Father of the Bride thing. Hammond or Othello could both work, yeah. Guess it depends on whether Hammond works himself to death on the wedding, or whether Othello can be caught long enough for it?" Whim said, thinking. She smiled sadly at Erin. "I probably wouldn't invite your own parents. No real way that's likely to end well."

"I don't mean to let Mr. Hammond work himself to death," Erin said firmly. "He gets in such a tizzy. I can handle things on my own, and I don't want to wind up in a black cobweb wedding dress." Just because she'd had such trouble focusing on the wedding didn't mean she was going to dump it on her friends.

"There really isn't," she sighed morosely. "I wish... but there's no way it would go well with the other guests there. And... it's not like he even knows to care."

"I'd loan you mine, but I don't think we're the same size." Whim said, not quite explaining why she had a black cobweb wedding dress, though she did in fact have such an article of clothing hanging in her closet. "Though what are you going to do to keep yourself from working yourself to death? Cuz I think Sergei's might be sad if you fall asleep in mid-wedding, or mid-wedding-night."

"It's okay, Erin? You've got us, horrible replacements for family that we may be." Whim said, attempting a brave smile. "We love you."

"Magic!" Erin exclaimed with a grin. "I don't let myself get tired anymore. That way I can get everything done." Which sounded a little disturbing, when one thought about it, but Erin didn't.

"I love you too. I have my own family now," Erin said, smiling. "I love all of you. It's just a little hard... not to regret."

"Riiiight. You know, I need to sit you down and watch a TV show. It's about weddings." Whim said, visions if Bridezilla dancing in her head. Then she considered the way Erin had a tendency to draw the wrong conclusions. "Or not. You do realize that you can't do everything yourself. Even if you do stop sleeping and use creepy fey magic to get things done five times as fast."

"And just so long as you don't let the regret overtake the love, all's good." Whim said. "I'm putting my personal vote for Father of the Bride for Hammond. Saner."

"I think maybe Mr. Hammond, yeah. I'll have to find something for Mr. Othello to do, though. I don't want him to feel left out. And he might cause trouble if he gets left out." Erin made a face. "I know I shouldn't dwell on regret. It's just... he's still around, yeah? And it's my wedding," Erin said, her voice getting a little broken.

Erin wondered, somehow, if Whim could understand. They'd both lost their parents at around the same age, but Whim had been abandoned, not stolen.

"Anyway, I know I can't do everything myself. But I have to at least pick out the flowers and color scheme, and it seems silly to make other people work over my celebration." There was some kind of wholly erroneous premise here, that since Erin was the one having the occasion, it was her job to do all the work, instead of the guests. With the minor problem that most the crasftmen she knew were guests. "And it seems silly to pay for the catering and stuff when I own a cookery, and people always complimented me on the last wedding cake I made. I'd feel bad if I disappointed them. And I can tailor things too, which would save us time on fittings and trying to find the perfect dresses in the right color. I have to tailor my own dress anyway, to deal with the wings. And there's the seating arrangements at the reception, since not everyone knows everyone else, and some of the guests might not do well stuck at a table with one another. But other than that..."

Which left one wondering what else was even left.





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