Inspired by the Nickleback song of the same name
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Stephen looked at his best friend with pride as she said her vows. She had fallen for her new husband, Matt, years ago. She'd waited for him to notice her, took the time to get to know him and waited patiently for him to realise that she loved him. He had never seen her happier.
"Well what can I say about Nicole really?" He grinned at her, getting a roll of the eyes and a stunning smile back. "She's the biggest fool I know. But she's also got one of the biggest hearts. She's too loyal for her own good, but thats why we all love her. I know she's touched the life of everyone here in some way and I'm glad to say that I've never seen her happier. She's been through hell, but now, I know, I can see a woman in heaven." He raised a toast, seeing happy tears in Nicole's eyes. "Congratulations, Nicole and Matt. I hope that this is just a taste of everything to come."
The small gathering murmured their agreement with the toast, all raising their glasses and drinking to the newly-weds.
It was a dream wedding, to celebrate what seemed to be the perfect couple.
Nicole nudged Stephen with her shoulder as she ghosted up behind him, both of them watching the dancefloor.
"Guess we proved them all wrong." She seemed to be glowing with happiness, her blue eyes bright, her lips unconciously turned up as she watched her new husband dance with one of the flower girls.
Stephen mumbled an agreement, thinking of all the comments the couple had endured. Sure, they'd had rows like any normal couple. Sure, they got vicious, but nothing that wasn't normal. He'd lost count of the number of times he'd tried to talk her into taking a break or walking away from Matt. That no one was worth the pain she was in from what he did. But she stood by him. And had been rewarded with something he knew meant the world to her.
"You got your prince, Nicole. Just like I promised." He smiled as her face lit up.
"Yeah." Her voice was gentle. "Remind me to listen to you more often."
Stephen laughed "You never listen."
Leaning her head on his shoulder, Nicole laughed with him. "Yeah, but would you have me any different?"
Before he could answer, she was whisked away for more celebrations.
Already, Stephen felt a disquiet in his stomach. Later, he thought back to it as an omen to come as he watched a dark shadow of jealous fury pass across Matt's face when he caught sight of his new wife talking to her friend.