Riana Fallon sniffed loudly, catching the glance of an elderly woman standing beside the double glass doors leading to the church sanctuary. Riana smiled slightly before dabbing her ever-reddening nose with the drenched tissue she used throughout the wedding ceremony.
"Beautiful wedding," she murmured to the elderly woman, who continued to watch her with growing concern.
The elderly woman placed a gnarled hand on Riana's arm. "Someday you'll get married too, dear. Love happens to everyone at least once."
This brought a chuckle from the groomsman standing closest to Riana. She cast a daggered glare in his direction before smiling at the woman again. "Wasn't it a beautiful wedding?"
The elderly woman beamed. "That it was. But it wouldn't have been quite so beautiful if the happy couple wasn't so in love."
Riana couldn't agree more, but before she was given the chance to say just that, the annoying groomsman spoke up from his spot beside her. "I'm sure Sally's parents would disagree ... The phrase 'love don't cost a thing' didn't apply in this case. They appeared to have shelled out a small fortune for their daughter to prove her love."
The elderly woman turned a haughty gaze on him; her glassy blue eyes appeared to look through him, almost as if searching for his soul and coming up empty. "I'm afraid you will never find love with that attitude, young man." She shook her head sadly.
He grinned, showing perfectly straight white teeth. If Riana didn't know what a jerk he was she might have found his grin charming, if not a bit wolfish.
"You are right, ma'am, I won't find love. But not because of my attitude; mainly because I don't want it."
"I pity you, young man. Love is the greatest gift God gave us." The elderly woman turned back to Riana. "You, on the other hand--" She patted Riana's arm again. "You will find true love and experience God's gift at its best." With that said the elderly woman moved on through the crowd, disappearing behind the large frame of Sally's dad.
"What a quack." The groomsman chuckled to himself.
For the third time in less than an hour Riana found herself glaring at the man. "You are a real piece of work." She shook her head and turned to walk away from him, aggravated with herself for letting his annoyance bother her.
"What's that supposed to mean?" A frown marred his handsome face.
Noticing they were drawing the attention of some well wishers, she walked back to Pete and stood in front of him with a fake smile plastered on her face.
"It means the least you could do for your brother on his day is keep your mouth shut and pretend to be happy for him."
Pete looked affronted. "I am happy for him. Otherwise I wouldn't be here."
Riana's fake smile disappeared and she took a step closer to him, putting less than a foot of air between their bodies. "Then keep your mouth shut!" she hissed. "For goodness sake, the only words to come out of your mouth from the moment I met you have been negative towards love and marriage. Give it a rest! Everyone here realizes you are a lonely fool who is afraid of commitment. And every time you open your trap that realization is reiterated by the words that so ineloquently fall from your mouth."
Pete stood in stunned silence, somewhat bemused at how the bridesmaid's mousy features didn't look so mousy when she was fired up. "Anna, right?"
Riana clenched her teeth. "Riana! And had you been paying attention at all last night and this morning you would have known that. Pretend to be an adult for once in your life! Smile for your brother's sake, but keep your lips tightly cinched and don't speak unless spoken to!"
Before Pete had a chance to reply, or even understand what just happened, Riana stormed off.