So that's Ella.
Madeleine had told me about her and her need to be around the bride all of her life. But she never told me that Ella looked like that.
I barely hear Madeleine speaking burning words about Ella. All I see is Ella's mass of dark blond curls and the glint of her blue eyes. The maid of honour's dress clings to her curvy form and drops gently down her back, revealing the two dimples on her lower back. Her tanned skin radiates against the soft purple of her dress.
"In high school," Madeleine is still saying, "she and Serena were always together. They thought they were too good for everyone else and there was a rumor about Ella's interest in boys."
"Aha," I say, returning my attention to Madeleine. "So she was one of those girls."
"I already told you about this," Madeleine smiles up at me and her bleached teeth shimmer in the sunlight. "Jay, you're very lucky that I was never like that."
"Yes Made," I say. "Very lucky."
The wedding aisle is elegantly draped with white flowers and pink bows. Glass walls let the afternoon light in and showers the guests as they pick chairs to sit on. I watch a little girl run past the front of the room in a bright yellow dress.
"Mom," Madeleine says to Gloria, a dark-haired, long-faced woman sitting to her right. "How did you come up with this in such a short time?"
"Obligation," Gloria admits. "You know what plans I had for your brother." She tsks. "And this wasn't one of them."
"Thank god that at least one of my twins is functioning properly." I feel Madeleine's hand on my leg when her mom says this. I look around, trying to avoid the loving stare of the two women.
The room becomes quiet as a slow, classical song begins to drift from the violin player in the corner of the room. A woman sitting behind me is commenting on the flower arrangements to her husband and another woman, tall and blond, on the bride's side of the room, is wiping her eyes.
Andrew walks up the aisle alone. "I prepared the wedding, but I am not walking him down the aisle of the greatest mistake of his life." I had heard Gloria telling Madeleine when we had gone out for lunch earlier this week. But instead of looking upset, or dejected, Andrew's face is lit up with pride and happiness. After stopping at the front of the aisle and whispering a quick "thank you" to the priest, the groomsmen walk in with the bridesmaids. They all are wearing the same soft purple and their smiles are all shy. Ella, at the back of the group, walks confidently. Her neck is framed by a pearl necklace and her smile is dazzling. She is absolutely beautiful.
"Look at her," Madeleine chimes in quietly. "She's probably so proud that her no-good best friend finally married rich."
I ignore her and keep my eyes on Ella. The flower of the wedding.