THE GRAND SUNSET
ROOM - MAIN BALLROOM
"All right, everyone, gather
'round!" Burt Lamont called out with a wave of his arms as he tried to
corral the various members of both his and his wife Janet's families.
Francis -- you, too,
Dr. Rutherford." As
Jillian Callison moved closer, Judith Linford came into Burt's line of
sight. "You, too, Judith," he said rather cordially.
"What is it, dear, what's going
on?" Leticia Rutherford asked her daughter Janet. "Burt's making
it sound like you two have some sort of announcement to make."
"That's exactly what's going on,"
Janet Lamont beamed as she took her new husband's arm. "We have a big
announcement to make."
"An...announcement?" A knot
began to form in the pit of Judith's stomach as her eyes darted back and forth
from Burt to Janet. "What kind of...announcement?"
"Oh, waiter!" Burt grabbed the
first tuxedo clad worker he could find. "Please, a glass of champagne
"My, my, Burt, this must be quite the
announcement if you're handing out champagne." Charles Callison
turned to look at his wife with curiosity, but Francis could only shake her
head. She had no idea what was going on, either.
"Alright, then," Burt smiled as the
last of the glasses were handed out.
Pausing for a moment, he looked at each and
every person gathered around -- his aunt and uncle Charles and Francis; cousins
Reginald and Trevor; Janet's mother Leticia and Leticia's husband Fred; and
Leticia's sisters Judith and Jillian. His eyes lingered on Judith the
longest out of anxiety concerning her reaction to the news. The only
people missing were his brother Randy and his other cousin
Maggie. Where could
they be? That question only hung inside his mind for a moment. The
moment was at hand and he couldn't take the time to find them. It would
break the momentum. Of course, Randy already knew the news, but they'd
have to fill Maggie in later.
"Burt, Janet, why all the
suspense?" Jillian asked with excitement. "Tell us! Tell
us the big news!"
"Well...." Burt began slowly,
glancing over to Janet who was on his arm. "The night of your wedding
to Reginald, I asked Janet to marry me." A round of "ahs"
and "ohs" sprang forth from the group. "And she did the
supreme joy of saying 'yes.'"
"That's wonderful!" Jillian
exclaimed as she flew into her sister's arms, giving her a congratulatory kiss
on the cheek.
Even though she was all smiles, Janet was
aware that Judith's eyes were locked on her, burrowing a furious hole through
"Congratulations, Burt," Charles
said, extending his hand to his nephew. "This is fantastic
"Wait!" Burt threw up his
hands, silencing everyone. "That's not the announcement."
Judith felt her heart jump up into her throat. She felt like she was going
to be sick. Surely, that simpleton Janet hadn't convinced Burt into....
eloped!" Janet blurted out, unable to wait for Burt to reveal the
news. "Just a few days ago. We realized that we couldn't wait
and went to Davenport."
felt the color drain from her face.
Leticia was in clear and obvious shock. "But, Janet, certainly you
wanted a big wedding! I mean, it's tradition in this family that weddings
are a huge event and we've got to plan and prepare and...."
marrying your daughter was a huge enough event for me," Burt smiled.
"And, besides, Janet knew that you've just finished all the work for
Reginald and Jillian's wedding and didn't want to force you into going to all
that trouble again."
it's not like she would have been holding a gun to my head!"
know that, Mother," Janet laughed. "But this is what I wanted --
just a simple wedding with me and Burt. I can't tell you how deliriously
happy I am."
I guess he's finally done it," Reginald mumbled under his breath, but not
so much as to keep Jillian from overhearing.
she asked, turning to him. "What do you mean by that? Surely,
you're happy for them."
bent over backwards to ingratiate himself into this family and now he's managed
to push himself into yours."
He's your cousin!" Jillian was stunned by his attitude.
"He's your flesh and blood. And he loves Janet. He hasn't
pushed his way into any place he hasn't been wanted or rightfully
"Well, he might be
a Callison by his shear good fortune of blood," he responded, a look of
coldness covering his face, "but I guarantee you he doesn't belong.
He doesn't belong in this family and he never will. And he most certainly
doesn't belong in yours."
just a few steps away, everyone was offering the newlyweds their
congratulations. Everyone except for one.
I want a word with you." Judith grabbed her sister's arm firmly and
nearly drug her away from the group. "What the hell do you think
you're trying to do?"
I have no idea what you're talking about."
you most certainly do!" Judith dug her nails into Janet's arm and
gave it a solid twist, eliciting the painful wince that she'd intended.
"How did you do it? How did you trick Burt into marrying you?"
didn't trick Burt into doing anything!" Janet yanked her arm away,
pushing Judith backward in the process. "When are you going to accept
that Burt loves me? He doesn't love you. He'll never love
brainwashed him! That's what you've done! You've filled his head
with all sorts of nasty lies about me to turn him against me!"
done nothing of the sort." Janet stood up straight and tall, her confidence
and security strengthened by the wedding band on her finger. "I'm
Burt's wife. Not you and you never will be."
see about that," Judith muttered, angry yet momentarily defeated before
turning on her heel and storming off. "We'll just see about