From the Sky - Part X

Zia reached over and took Sal's wine, knocking that back in one long pull. My stomach knotted a bit. I'd never seen her like this.

"…and so," Liam continued, "Today I toast my lucky brother Joe, and his beautiful pugilist bride, Renata. I wish them a long and happy life together. May the Lord bless them with good health, many children, and may their great, great, love story never end!"

Glasses were raised, but Sal and Rae's were gone and there were three empty glasses in front of Zia. Joe and I kissed, and then someone told us it was time to cut the cake. We walked down, and Joe's mother handed me the cake cutter. And suddenly there was Zia, in front of the cake, yet another glass of something in her hand.

"I, too, have a toast!" she exclaimed.

I look back at Rae and Sal. Rae's hands covered her face, and Sal looked positively mortified.

"Love, love, love…" Zia continued. "And not just a pedestrian sort of love, but a 'great love,' as Lee just said."

"Liam!" someone shouted.

"Whatever," Zia shouted back, waving her hand and sloshing a splash of something …bourbon perhaps …on the floor.

"Well, I don't deny their great love. I have seen it. It is real, this love between Renata and Joe. It's the genuine article. And, so, it is something to be feared."

She stopped, knocked back the rest of her drink, and turned to face us.

"Let me tell you, children, love's overrated. If you fall in love you're doomed, just like you're grandfather. Just like me. Just like Gio. Doomed."

The room was utterly silent.

"But I wish you the best, I truly do, because I love you, Renata and I hope you escape the curse that so often comes with great love."

She raised her empty glass and proclaimed: "To Joe and Renata!" Glasses went up, and there were murmurs through the room. Dad rose from his seat, making his way down from the head table, no doubt to usher Zia away. But she wasn't quite finished.

"Love, love, love…" she again sighed. "All this talk of love …it makes me thirst. I need another drink."

And she reached behind her and pulled a bottle of white out from under the glass shelf holding up the wedding cake. I stood frozen. For a moment nothing happened and then, seemingly in slow motion, the glass shelf began to slide and the wedding cake started to topple. With a large crash, the other wine bottles gave way and our cake was falling. A blur from my left, and Joe was airborne, arms outstretched. He caught the top tier and landed on the rest of the ruined cake. He looked up at me and said: "I don't think I'm getting the deposit back on this tux."

Wedding Soup...

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