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(Lat.): From the stars
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Everyone loves a good wedding, don't they? The men in freshly pressed suits, women in floppy
hats that would make great kites, batty old aunts passing around the baby photos like there's no tomorrow. Kids in mini-tuxedos
and cute little silk dresses running up and down the aisles of the church, generally creating havoc. The best man combining
rehearsing the speech with consoling the groom in one of the back rooms, trying to persuade him that his bride-to-be is only
running a little late, and hasn't in fact had a change of heart and run off with the photographer, milkman or other miscellaneous
man that she has ever even looked briefly at.
That would be me, by the way. The best man, not the groom. And I don't need to worry about
the speech. I have two versions, both memorised perfectly. The first, which I have written down and is full of embarrassing
memories, jokes and innuendo, which everyone expects. And the second, which I can never say because it will ruin everything.
And right now my friend is pacing up and down the room, nervous as anything and I can't help
but smile as I watch him. To look at him now, you'd think the fate of the whole galaxy was resting on those shoulders of his,
when all he's doing is getting married to the woman of his dreams. And I'm the one he's asked to bear the responsibility of
poking fun at him at the reception afterwards, I'm the one he nagged for weeks before I finally agreed to come and do this
But there you have it. I shouldn't have come here. I shouldn't be here now, listening to
this man's lame jokes and calm questioning of proceedings outside. Despite everything, I came here, to be here for him. I
didn't try to build up my defences before I arrived, because looking at him now... it wouldn't have made a difference. Whether
I crash from a great distance or a shorter one, it still hurts like hell on the way down.
I always thought he was gorgeous, right from the first time I laid eyes on him, but I never
let my hopes get any higher than my ankles for both emotional and... physical reasons. Six months later we nearly died in
that shuttlepod together, and conversation drifted around to previous relationships. Between us we had three relationships
and a string of failed women, with not one mention from him of any men but then again no implication that there were never
any. And my hopes started climbing again.
I guess it all came to a head about four years into the mission. Another shuttlepod mission,
another near-certain outcome of death. And to my surprise, he was the one who initiated the whole thing. He was the one who
stated so calmly that he'd be damned if he wasn't going to go without a bang. Took a few moments to realise he meant it literally,
and by then it was too late.
One night of passionate, unadulterated... amazing sex. One night for me to fall completely
in love with him.
And one night for him to break my heart into microscopic shards of what they used to be.
Clichés down the pan, I honestly thought I'd die when, back on Enterprise, he cornered me one night and made some lame joke
about it being one-off and didn't we both prefer women anyway?
In some ways I knew that that was inevitable, that something like this wasn't ever meant
to happen to me. And in some ways I started to hate myself, for what I clearly wasn't, and for what I could - or should have
And nothing changed. Nothing on the outside, that is. As far as everyone else was concerned,
we were still 'bestest buddies', we still had drinking competitions with the helm shift ensigns, we still conspired to control
what the movie of the week was going to be, whether we actually succeeded or not.
Life went on.
And then he met someone else. Someone who completely swept him off his feet. Someone who,
like me, had spent so much time among the stars with him. Like me, someone he knew and trusted. Unlike me, someone he fell
in love with in return.
And that's where the story ends. Because I'm here, and he's here, and in the end, nothing
Life goes on.
There are noises of appreciation, and the unmistakable sounds of women oohing and aahing
coming from outside the little room where the both of us are still waiting, and one quick poking of the head outside reveals
everything I never wanted to know.
My friend's bride is coming up the aisle, holding onto her father's arm. Don't get me wrong,
I mean... she's a beautiful woman, both on the inside and on the outside, but as the pair of us come out of the cathedral's
tiny side-vestibule and take our places at the front, in front of the people watching with misty eyes and many a tissue within
easy reach, I can't help but hate her.
Because, you see, I loved Malcolm first.