His mother gave him a sentimental smile as she straightened his jacket and boutonniere, despite it already being pinned perfectly. "Oh, you look so handsome," she said, stepping back. "The picture of your father when we were married."
"Mom..." Hugo said, embarrassed.
"Don't you think he looks just like you, Charles?" she asked, recruiting his father, who of course took her side and nodded. Hugo brushed at a bit of lint on his rented jacket uncomfortably as they both looked at him fondly.
"Okay, nobody start crying," he said, holding up his hands. "This is a happy occasion. You like Brian, remember?"
"Of course we love Brian, dear." She went back to fussing with his jacket, this time straightening the sleeves. "I always knew it would be him. You spent too many years being fools."
"Always?" Hugo said, skeptically. "I thought parents were supposed to say that anyone you're dating when you're twenty is just a fling, and that it was a mistake of mine to pine for so long."
"Hugo, the first day you spent time with him we knew he was going to end up being someone special to you."
"I made it that obvious?" he said.
"The fact that you ran away from home just to convince him you were serious about him pretty much guaranteed it," his father said.
"Then all those years you spent claiming you were too wrapped up in your work to date, please. We weren't born yesterday," his mother admonished. "He was always the one for you."
Hugo stared down very hard at his shoes. Well, he couldn't deny that.
He was always the one.
"When you called last year and said he had come back, I couldn't have been happier," added his mother. "I thought, finally, I'll get to see my son smile again."
Was I that miserable without him? Truly, he had forgotten in light of how happy he was now. Those dark years might as well have been no time at all for how little thought he gave to them.
His mother had moved on to trying to make his hair lay down flatter in the back.
"You're fighting a losing battle there, Mom," Hugo said. "We're taking his motorcycle to the venue."
"No! Couldn't you rent a car? Or take a taxi?"
"That's more money we'd have to spend. Besides, Brian likes my hair when it's windblown."
"I suppose if you're satisfied…" she said, disappointed. "It is your day."
"Yeah." Hugo turned back to look at himself in the mirror. He wasn't sure he recognized himself in the formal-wear.
The day of his wedding. He'd never believed it would come. He wondered if Brian was having any better luck getting dressed in peace.
- - -
Brian was currently surrounded by no less than six of his siblings, all of them poking and prodding and tugging at him and arguing about if it was proper to wear motorcycle boots or not. He would have very much liked to shake them all off, but he'd tried that earlier and found himself nearly dog-piled into submission. Damn his parents for adopting every kid under the sun. Who did they think they were, Angelina Jolie and whatever her boytoy's name was?
"Let them be. They're just having fun getting their brother all gussied up," his mother said cheerfully when he tried to appeal to her for safety.
Brian scowled at his reflection. A suit, for heaven's sake. He looked ridiculous, as if he was going to court or something. This was supposed to have been simple. Slip away to New York for a romantic weekend and tie the knot. Except they both had to admit that their parents would be heartbroken forever if they eloped without telling them. And of course their parents, upon getting the phone call, then insisted on a ceremony, not a sit-down with a Clerk.
Fine, they had agreed. A small ceremony. Except that once word got out that a weekend in New York City was involved, siblings began popping out of the woodwork. The next thing he knew he was being taken suit-shopping while Hugo was dragged away to a florist.
"You guys are going to behave yourselves at the ceremony, right?" he said, casting a suspicious eye at his brothers, particularly Terrance and Rob. "No cat-calling. No whistling. And no making jokes because Hugo is wearing a white suit. It's just the only one they had in stock that fit him."
"Honey, please, like we ever believed you two were the wait-til-marriage-sort," said his sister, Linda, as she commandeered the mirror to check her lipstick, and Brian felt himself blush right through the concealer she herself had forced onto him not fifteen minutes before, which was supposed to hide any flushing his cheeks did.
"Don't you have to leave soon to make it to the venue before us?" he demanded.
"Yes, yes, we're leaving." His mother stood and kissed the top of his head. "I'm glad you found him," she said quietly. "It's nice seeing you this happy."
Brian glanced at himself in the mirror. He looked more harried than happy, but perhaps she wasn't talking about this particular moment.
"Thanks Mom, Dad." He hugged them both – somewhat awkwardly, he'd never mastered that smooth physical affection thing that Hugo had – and waved his siblings from the room.
Alone at last, he pulled off the tie his father had been trying to make him wear, kicked off the shoes that came with the rented suit and pulled his motorcycle boots back on. He pulled his hair out of the ponytail it had been left in and shook it out, and unbuttoned the top few buttons of his shirt.
Much better, he thought, adding a rakish tilt to his collar. With a final glance at his reflection, he left the room. He met Hugo in the hall, and for a moment his heart flip-flopped.
God damn if he didn't look fantastic in a suit. This was just plain unfair.
"Hey," he breathed.
"Hey." Hugo smiled.
"You um…you look great."
"Thanks." Hugo took his hand. "Would it be cheesy if I said you look beautiful?"
Brian went red again – next week he would be writing to the L'Oreal company to tell them to change their motto, because he was definitely worth more than this cheap concealer that in fact didn't conceal anything – and squeezed his hand back.
"Yeah, it would be," he said, but he was smiling back.
"Ready to be stuck with me the rest of your life?" Hugo asked as they walked down to the parking lot.
"Beyond ready," he said with a laugh, but it died away quickly as his expression went wide-eyed and he said, "Actually you might be spending the first few years without me."
"What? Why?" Hugo looked ahead and spotted what he was looking at, and instantly began laughing.
"Because I'm going to be in jail for aggravated assault as soon as I figure out which of my siblings did this," Brian growled, tugging at one of the dozen or so pink roses that had been tied down to his motorcycle with rope.
"It looks…pretty," Hugo said, hardly containing his mirth, at both the flower-festooned bike and the expression on his lover's face.
"It looks ridiculous!" He shook his head. "Oh, they're good. They knew I'd undo everything they did, so they went for the bike when they knew we wouldn't have time to stop and get the rope off. Brilliant." He turned back toward the hotel. "I'm getting a knife, screw making it to the wedding on time."
"Oh no you don't." Hugo caught him by the sleeve. "Leave it alone, we can cut the roses off later."
"But my bike–"
"Looks edgy and formal at the same time, rather the way you do in that suit," Hugo said, dropping his voice and pulling him into his arms. "And for the record, I think that's a pretty great combination."
"Well, if you say so." Brian pretended to lean in for a kiss and pulled away to kiss his forehead instead at the last second. "I'm saving the real kiss for the wedding," he teased, pulling out of Hugo's embrace and throwing one leg over the bike.
"It better be worth the wait," Hugo said, getting on behind him and wrapping his arms around his waist. Brian turned the key and the engine rumbled to life.
"Oh, it will be," Brian said with a grin, throwing back the kickstand and revving the throttle. He felt Hugo rest his head against his shoulder and clutch him a little tighter as he idled out of the parking lot and raced down the highway.
That alone made him completely forget about the roses.
- - -
Later, both of them would be grateful for their over-excitable families – or for their video cameras, anyway. Because neither of them could remember any of the words of the ceremony.
Brian would remember Hugo's hands shaking in his, and the softness of his expression and the happiness in his smile. Hugo would remember gazing back at him and seeing emotions flash through Brian's eyes in that pale green he loved so much. Shyness and gratefulness and above all, love.
But no words, not a one, even though they both repeated everything at the right moments and exchanged rings when asked.
They had probably been very good words, too. The officiator had been doing non-stop weddings for weeks at the chapel and was more than adept at writing.
But all Brian heard was Hugo's voice promising to love him. All Hugo heard was Brian swearing the same thing back.
Maybe those were the only words it was really necessary to remember. And the kiss, of course. Brian didn't even notice his siblings whistling, blatantly ignoring his earlier demands, as he threw himself into Hugo's arms and Hugo practically lifted him off the ground. They broke apart laughing, grinning uncontrollably through happy tears.
Definitely worth the wait.