“You can’t be serious,” said Katie, staring at her.
“What?” said Milly.
“You can’t wear that to the wedding.”
“You look like you’re going to a funeral.”
“I thought that’s what this was,” said Milly, looking down at her dress and shoes.
“You can’t wear all black, and what’s with the black veil?”
“I got this outfit to wear when she divorces him and we take her out to cheer her up.”
“You are an evil friend,” said Katie.
“That’s why she likes me more than she likes you.”
“You’re the Maid of Honor,” groaned Katie.
“She said we could wear anything we wanted to wear.”
“You’re right,” said Katie. “Besides, she knows that you’re evil and will do something awful.”
“It’s not a traditional wedding, Katie. It’s a pre-divorce wedding.”
“I wish I could argue with you, but you’re right. How do I look?”
“How do you want to look?” asked Milly
“EVIL. You are truly an EVIL friend.”
“You look beautiful, just like always. You will outshine the bride. You do that every single time.”
“I do not,” said Katie, stamping her foot.
“You know she’s only marrying him for the experience of getting married, don’t you.”
“Of course I know that.”
“I don’t think she even likes him,” said Milly. “How could she? I mean he’s handsome enough, but I don’t think he’s ever read a book.”
Katie laughed. “She always said she wanted a man who didn’t really speak but simply worshiped at her wonderfulness.”
“She did say that,” snickered Milly. “Looks like her wish came true. How long do you think they’ll last?”
“Until after the honeymoon.”
“That long?” asked Milly, surprised.
“I’m giving them until after the reception.”
“You might be right. It’s only pretend, after all.”
“What’s his name, again?”
“It’s DRAKE. You know it’s DRAKE.”
“Oh, right. A male duck, or goose of some kind, right?”
“Maybe,” said Katie. I’m not sure, but it’s something like that. Ask an ornithologist.”
“So, our swan is marrying a common goose.”
“A bit dramatic,” said Katie, “even for you.”
“Of course, you do,” she sighed.
“I guess we should leave, if we don’t want to be any later than we already are,” said Milly. “I mean, aren’t we supposed to be there to help put flowers in her hair, or something?”
“QUICK,” yelled Katie. “To the car. HURRY. RUN.”
They ran, laughing, jumped into the car and raced to The Garden.
“I like that she’s getting married at The Botanic Garden,” said Milly. “It will be pretty, and give us something to look at so we don’t start laughing when they say I do.”
“HOLD ON,” shouted Katie, taking a corner.
“Aside from the fact that he’s cute and doesn’t speak, what do you think she sees in him?”
“Maybe he’s a fantastic lover,” chuckled Katie.”
“I doubt it. She would have told us, if he was. And she’s had fabulous lovers before and she didn’t marry any of them. You don’t think she actually loves him, do you?”
“Do be silly. She’s not like that,” said Katie. “Besides we made a pact. She’d never go back on her word.”
“We were ten years old when we made the pact,” said Milly. I’m not sure doing the bloody pact hand and saying we would always be best friends until death and that we would never marry, or have fewer than three cats, counts any longer.”
“Of course it counts. Pacts are forever,” said Katie, who slammed on the breaks, watching Milly fly into the dashboard. “You shouldn’t take your seatbelt off until the car stops moving. We’re here. I’m sure someone will have ice to put on your forehead.”
“I think a concussion will make the wedding more interesting.”
“Big baby,” chuckled Katie, looking at the lump forming on Milly’s face. “How many fingers am I holding up?”
“Who are you and where am I?” swooned Milly.
“WELL, FINALLY,” shouted Virgo, running toward them. “How could you be this late? What’s WRONG WITH YOU? I’m getting married in an hour and why are you dressed for a funeral?”
Milly smiled at her.
“Is that your divorce outfit?”
“It is,” said Milly.
“I told her not to wear it,” sighed Katie. “I said you’d last until after the honeymoon. She didn’t think you’d make it that long.”
“Sadly, you two are my best friends. Where did I go wrong?”
“What about our pact?” asked Katie.
“What about it?” said Virgo.
“You’re not planning on breaking it for real, are you?”
“We were ten, in my parents garage, bleeding all over the place. It looked like a crime scene,” laughed Virgo.
“It was a blood oath,” said Katie.
Virgo looked at Milly. “Is she serious?”
“She is,” said Milly. “The pact has always meant everything to her. You know that.”
They all looked at the scars on their hands.
“Do you love him?” asked Katie.
“I don’t know,” said Virgo, shrugging.
“Does he know about the pact?” said Katie.
“What?” asked Virgo.
“She wants to know if you told the goose guy about our pact,” said Milly.
“Sort of?” said Katie.
“I may have mentioned it when he asked about the scar on my hand.”
“He’s a goose,” said Milly “You’re marrying a bloody GOOSE.”
“Drake is a family name,” said Virgo, but they all burst our laughing.
“She’s named after a constellation,” said Katie.
“It’s my BIRTH sign,” said Virgo.
“We kind of know that,” said Milly, grinning at her.
“Getting back to the pact,” said Katie. “Stay on task.”
“Right now, the wedding is my task,” said Virgo. You’re both supposed to help me get ready.”
“You look ready to me,” said Milly.
“I’m wearing a BATHROBE!”
“It looks nice,” said Milly. “I think everyone will like it. You may even start a trend. Besides, you said it was a come as you are, wedding.”
“Let’s get her ready,” said Katie, flatly.
The Botanic Garden had set aside a room for their use.
“I love your dress,” said Milly, sweetly. “The teal makes your eyes look fabulous.”
“Well, we all know I couldn’t possibly wear white.”
They all laughed again.
“The hippie is marrying you, right?” asked Milly.
“You know he is and he’s not a hippie, he just lives an alternative lifestyle.”
“So, only part of the pact is still true?” asked Katie.
“For the moment,” said Virgo, hugging her friend.
“It’s just that Tommy asked me to marry him a few months ago and I said no, because of the pact, even though I love him.”
There was dead silence in the room. Milly and Virgo stared at her.
“I thought the pact was real,” whispered Katie.
Virgo sat down on the floor and Milly put her arms around Katie. “Katie Bear, you never told us.”
“What was there to tell? I gave my word and my blood to both of you.”
There was a knock on the door. “Five minutes, Virgo,” said her aunt.
Virgo got to her feet and went to the door. She opened it and smiled at her aunt. “Please tell everyone the wedding is off. ”
“What?” asked her aunt, shocked.
“Have the party and let everyone have fun. Tell Drake I’ll talk to him in a bit.” Then she closed the door and turned to her friends.
“I love you,” said Virgo. “The pact stands. I am renewing my oath. Friends forever. Never marry. Never have fewer than three cats.”
Katie and Milly, repeated their oaths as well.
Virgo removed the diamond stud from her earlobe and used the post to cut a slit in her hand. Then she passed the earring to the Katie, who cut her hand and passed it to Milly. They touched palms and said, “BEST FRIENDS FOREVER.”
Drake and Virgo moved into their apartment, with their three cats, Timmy, Toots and Smoke.
Milly and Virgo convinced Katie to contact Tommy and ask if he wanted to move in with her and her four cats. He did. As soon as possible.
Milly opened a bar called, THE TRIPLE VOW, which was a smashing success. The place was full of cats, who laid on the bar getting pets and kisses from patrons. There was a tiny spot in the back for those who were allergic to them, but no one ever sat there.
All and all, things worked out pretty well.
The thing is, a pact is a pact, no matter when it’s made. If you truly put your heart and blood into it, then it has to last.
And, tired and worn as the phrase may be, they really did all live happily ever after.