"David, this has been the most...wonderful day of my life," Aaron, the "bride" said, leaning backwards into the groom's embrace, sharing a quiet moment in the garden, "I wish it did not have to end, I feel a little like Cinderella."
"I'm so glad you could help me out," David said, hugging Aaron with gratitude. "I promised my grandmother that I'd get married before she officially passed title to the company over to me. I know it was stupid to have to lie to her, but what choice did I have, her dementia is getting worse and worse and someone had to step in."
"You could have just, you know, actually found a woman to marry," Aaron laughed, feeling a little dizzy in David's strong, embrace.
"I have not found the right girl, Aaron, and I don't want to be a divorced guy when I do, this was the best think I could think of that would make my grandmother happy, save the company, and save me from a bad marriage."
Aaron thought back to the night with David three months ago, sitting in David's loft apartment overlooking a fashionable downtown neighborhood.
"What the fuck am I supposed to do, Aaron," David asked, sipping his scotch. "It isn't like I'm trying to take the company out from under her, but she hardly knows what is going on anymore, she's losing her mind, slowly, it's killing things."
"So, you're not allowed to take over till you get married," Aaron asked, twirling his glass of Pinot Gris in his hand.
"And you don't want to just find some girl to marry, even to fake it?"
"Hell no. And have her somehow claim that half the fucking company is hers?" David poured a second glass of scotch, sighed.
"I don't know then, buddy."
"Wait, wait, maybe that's it," David said. "I could fake it."
"But you're right, David, what woman would go along with that."
"Fake it, Aaron, that's the point. I wouldn't need a woman to go along with it if my bride wasn't a woman."
"I'm not following you," Aaron took a sip of his wine.
"I need someone I can trust. If I knew a girl like you, maybe I'd risk it, but that isn't happening, not in the time frame I need."
"That's it, Aaron, I don't want a real marriage, that's too risky, financially, so I need to fake it."
"What better way to fake it...what if the bride wasn't a woman?"
"Wait, wait," Aaron said, "you lost me."
"What if the bride wasn't a woman, but instead was a man. Same sex marriage isn't legal in this state, Aaron, if my 'bride' was not a real woman, we could get married, my grandmother would be satisfied, but there would be no legal risk to company ownership."
Aaron thought for a moment, tried to poke a logical hole in David's crazy plan, but could find but two. "Where are you going to find a guy that you could pass off as a woman and wouldn't you still have to trust that guy?"
David did not answer, instead poured Aaron another glass from the bottle, sat back, looked at his friend. "Where am I going to find a guy I can trust that also isn't the most masculine guy in the world?"
"Right," Aaron said, crossing his legs at the knee, reaching for the stem of the wine glass.
Aaron happened to look up at that instant, saw himself, his thin frame, David, more muscular, in the full mirror between the wall to ceiling windows behind the chair David was sitting in. He stared, suddenly feeling uncomfortable.
In reaching for his glass, the way his legs were crossed, his dangling foot was pointed downward, toes almost to the floor. He had just touched the stem of the glass, his fingers gently pinching, his manicured nails the closest thing to David.
It struck him, really, for the first time, the contrast between the two college roommates. David, the athlete, strong, masculine, louder, somewhat brash, but not overly so, to Aaron, the dancer and actor in college, happiest on stage, soft, subtle, and almost...feminine.
"David," Aaron gasped, looking at his friend again, seeing the look in his eyes.
"You're the only one I can trust, Aaron," David looked down at his glass of scotch.
"But I," he started to object, on principle, but he had trouble formulating the right words, his mind instead reverting to the more easily explained practical. "There is no way I could pass as a woman."
"Do you know how much money I have, Aaron?"
"What's that got to do with it?"
"Money buys clothes. Money buys stylists. Money buys make up artists. Money buys all of that. What money doesn't buy is trust, loyalty, friendship. My money can make anyone look pretty, it can't make me trust anyone. I trust you."
It turned out David was right.
Aaron's feelings about the scheme came and went, but his undying loyalty to his friend was unshakable.
"You're really enjoying yourself, Aaron," David asked, making no effort to relax the hug he had on his 'bride.'
"Yes. Whoever says it, is right, a bride feels so special on her wedding day, she never does want it to end."
"It doesn't have to end, Cinderella," he said, his voice confident, leaning forward, towards Aaron's bare shoulder, until his nose was touching her skin, his lips gently resting on her shoulder, parting, then kissing.
"David," Aaron shuddered, meaning to scold him, but her rebuke sounding more like a gentle moan when she turned her face towards him.
"We have the honeymoon suite at the Ritz, Aaron."
She felt him squeeze her just the slightest bit more, just enough that his waist, heretofore several inches away from her, now pressed against her back, one of his strong thighs resting against the back of her leg, right where the garter strap from her corset attached to her white silk stocking.
He kissed her shoulder again, at the same time, his right hand moved from hers to the front of her gown. He touched the satin at her waist, let his fingers gently trail downward, over her hip, her thigh.
"David," she sighed, wanting to pull away, instead, letting her body fall backwards, closer to him, the tingling sensation of his lips on her skin too much to break. "David, I'm not a woman," she tried to reason.
"I know exactly what you are, Erin," he told her gently in her ear, somehow using is voice to make her name sound feminine, no longer masculine.
Erin saw a couple of guests pause at the edge of the garden, watch from a respectful distance, letting the bride and groom share their moment.
"Do you know why I've never found the right woman, Erin? Because I was blind to the fact that she was right there before me."
"David," Erin melted slightly, just slightly, scared at her own desires.
"I love you, Erin," David kissed her neck.
Erin almost collapsed, but he felt it, held her, helped her turn. "I love you, too," she said, turning, letting her lips press forward, finding his, kissing him, surrendering, giving up.