“Hello,” a voice said.
“Earl,” she replied and turned. It was Jayson. “I swear you sound exactly like Earl.” She covered her chest. “It freaks me out.”
“Sorry,” he said taking a seat beside her. “How are you holding up?”
“This isn't about me. It's about you and Alisha,” she said.
He held her hand in his. “It's about all of us. You are family.”
“Well, if you must know, today was hard and I'm upset for being selfish. I should be here for Alisha, but I’m with a man I lost ten years ago.”
“Marriage is more than just a ceremony and a ring. It is a pledge two people make to one another. You and Earl, who I do hope to meet one day, are already married under the stars. You belong to one another,” he said.
Andy chuckled and wiped tears from her eyes. “Man, you are special. You know exactly what to say. Alisha is very lucky.”
“I do have a confession. Years ago, when I asked you to lunch, it wasn't because of Alisha. I was interested in you. I remember you introduced yourself as lost. I realized you weren’t lost; you were searching. The rest of us were lost. You had this shine about you. Your soul was shining through. When I learned of Earl, I realized it was because of him, because of love. I knew then you were not for me.”
Andy sat back in her seat and watched him carefully.
Jayson squeezed her hand lightly. “Alisha, although beautiful, was not radiating, not yet anyway. The more time I spent with her, I began to see her soul and I knew yes, she was the one. Your light and love provided me a direction I may not have seen otherwise. I thank you for loving Earl. I thank him, wherever he is, for consuming you and allowing me the freedom to find my true love. You and Earl are an inspiration and you don't even know it.” He put his hand out for Andy. “Come back to the party. It is not the same without you.” He grinned. “Besides, Jake looks a little lost without a dance partner.”
Andy smiled through her tears. “Wait,” she said and gave him a hug. “Thanks.”
She and Jayson strolled back to the ceremony hand-in-hand. Alisha greeted her with a warm, understanding smile. Andy gazed around at her friends and the guests at Alisha’s wedding. Everyone searches so hard for love, when love is all around.
Jake strode through the crowd and took Andy’s hand. He had become a true and trusted friend. She wished she had the romantic love in her heart to give him, but she didn’t. She would be fooling herself and him. It wasn’t fair to either of them. Instead, they loved and danced as friends under the bright desert stars.