He studied himself in the mirror and tried his best to smooth down his curly, dark hair. For the sixth time, he straightened his suit jacket and smoothed a hand down his red tie even though they didn’t need it. He turned his head to the side and tried to smooth down the curls there. Turned again for the other side.
Satisfied that he looked good, everything smooth and sleek, he reached down for the boutonniere, a deep red rose, resting quietly on a dark green silk handkerchief on the vanity and affixed it to his lapel. He adjusted it slightly and then took a step back to scrutinize himself in the mirror. After a moment, he nodded to himself, satisfied he looked every bit a groom, and tugged at the bottom of his jacket. After a moment’s hesitation, he smoothed his hand down his tie again.
The door to the guest room he was using as his dressing room at the hotel he was getting married at opened before he could go back to studying his hair again. Daniel turned at the sudden noise of the lock clicking open to see his mother walk into the room, the skirt of her pale green dress rustling slightly as she entered. Her eyes looked a little haunted, but she otherwise appeared to be happy. At least, she had a smile on her face. But Daniel could tell the thought of the end of the world was hanging over her heavily, just as it was for everyone else. It was a cloud that had formed over the past few months over all of humanity. It was something no one talked about anymore.
Daniel watched as Sylvie carefully closed the door behind her and then walked over to him, her only son, and embraced him. He wrapped his long arms around her slender body and hugged her tightly, wishing his father could be there on his special day as well. He was mollified with the thought that at least his father wouldn’t have to suffer the pain that was sure to come when Earth’s people committed mass suicide.
“I’m so happy for you,” his mother whispered, hugging him fiercely. “I just wish you and Alex could have had more time to enjoy your marriage.”
“Me, too, Mom,” he replied, his tenor-like voice choked. “But at least we’ve had the past few years to be together. We’re grateful for that.”
Sylvie drew back a step and studied her son. Daniel just stared back at her, fidgeting slightly as he adjusted his sleeves every few seconds. Sylvie reached out and tilted the boutonniere back into place, which seemed to spark something in Daniel as he jolted at the touch.
“Oh, I have something for you,” he murmured, turning back to the dressing table. “I have a corsage for you and Alex’s mom. Could you take it to her?”
He turned back to his mother, a red rose with snowy white baby’s breath attached to it cradled in his hands. Carefully, he affixed the flowers to her dress at her left shoulder before handing her an identical corsage for his soon-to-be mother-in-law.
“Your father would be so proud of you,” Sylvie whispered, gently resting a cool hand along his cheek. “I think he would have liked to be here with you.”
“I know, Mom. I wish he could be here, too. But I’m sure he’s watching, looking on us all, waiting for us to come to him tonight.”
Sylvie swallowed hard and nodded, her fingers closing around the red rose in her hands. She held it up slightly. “I’d better get this over to Camille.”
Daniel leaned down and kissed his mother’s cheek. “I’ll see you in a few minutes.”
Sylvie nodded and quietly walked out of the room. She headed down the hall, her low heels silent as she walked over the plush red, blue, and yellow carpet running down the hallway. As she headed down the four doors to the room Camille was staying in, she ran into her younger sister, who looked as though she had been looking for Sylvie herself.
“Sylvie,” Callie said as she gave her sister a quick hug. “You doing okay?”
“Yeah, I’m okay. I’m just really happy for Daniel and Alex. They’ve been waiting so long.”
Callie laughed lightly. “They sure have, haven’t they? At least we get one last wedding in the family.”
Sylvie nodded. “Yeah.” She reached out and gently touched her sister’s arm. “I’m sorry none of your kids ever came home with someone.”
Callie reached up and toyed with a lock of her shining hair. “Me, too. Evan was really excited about his shotgun when Abby was born. But they’re all going out with friends tonight, so I guess no significant others. I heard about Stacie,” she said, quickly changing the topic from her nowhere-near-close-to-getting-married-children. “Poor thing. I haven’t seen her yet. Is she okay?”
“She seems to be. But she won’t talk about it. You know Stace. She doesn’t like to talk about her life much. Headlines, that’s it.” Sylvie rolled her eyes with a “what can you do” look Callie remembered from their childhood. Then she shrugged. “Anyways, I need to get this corsage to Camille. I’ll see you in a bit.”
Callie nodded and the sisters continued on in their separate directions, Callie towards the ceremony site and Sylvie to Camille’s room. Sylvie approached the door to Camille’s room, which was being used as the second dressing room, and knocked on the slightly ajar door before entering.