The Wedding of Her Dreams

First presented for the "Inspired" contest in the newsletter of J. Bea Wilson

A Fruit of the Spirit Series short story

My name is Jimmy.

I am a French bulldoggie.

And I am a Very Good Boy.

I will tell you how I know this, but first I will explain that James is my Person.

I love James!

Today James and Martie will do Wedding. Martie is his Person, and he said he wants it to be the Wedding of her dreams. I don’t know what Wedding is, but if it makes Martie happy, then I love Wedding!

This morning, James tucked my head and paws into a brand-new sweater. “Come on, buddy, let’s put this sweater on. It’s cold outside. Wanna go for a ride?”

This worried me a little, because it was very close to Din-dins, but then I remembered I love Ride! So when James opened the door, I jumped in as quick as I could. I bounced back and forth while he hung a suit of clothes in the back seat.

I knew we were going to see Martie, because we always stop at the building with the bell and the lady hands us Yummies through the window. Sometimes the lady says “Oh, your Frenchie is so cute!” and she gives me extra Yummies. Lots of good smells come from there!

This time, we didn’t stop, and that made me worry again because I thought that was going to be Din-dins.

At Martie’s house, James went in and I watched out the window till they came out with him carrying a big white box. I stood up at the window and barked till they were settled in the car next to me. James said we will all be Together after today. I love Together!

“Hi Jim-Jims! How are you, Pretty Boy?” Martie let me give her Kissys while we continued our Ride. “You want scritches? Martie give you butt scritches? Huh?”

Ooooh, Butt Scritches make me wiggle all over!! She scritched all the way down my back to my tail.

Scritch, scritch, scritch.

Still no Din-dins.

But I stood up on her lap to see out the window and watch all the people and houses and trees go by. I thought probably at Wedding there would be Din-dins.

“I’d open the window, Jimmy, but it’s getting so cold with the sun going down.” Martie stopped scritching and squinted at James. “Don’t say it.” I had to nudge her hand to get her scritching again.

“I’m not saying anything,” James said.

“You’re thinking it.”

“What? That having an evening ceremony on Christmas Eve when there’s snow on the ground and a 19-degree temperature might not be the best idea? No, I wasn’t thinking that.”

Martie scritched my butt a little harder, and I turned to give her Kissys.

“About as good an idea as having a Frenchie for a best man.”

For a few minutes the only sound was me panting. Then James said, “I didn’t bring his f-o-o-d, but I have his b-i-s-c-u-i-t-s.”

“He’ll be fine,” Martie said. “There’ll be a ton of f-o-o-d at the reception. Did you bring the l-e-a-s-h?”

“Yeah, but I don’t want him to see it till the last minute, so he doesn’t try to take off.”

“He’ll be fine,” Martie said again. “I’m more worried about Isaac.”

“Why? He’s got that uber-expensive camera.”

“I hate pictures. I can’t seem to lose these extra pounds, and cameras put ten pounds on me.”

“You’re fine, stop obsessing.” James tapped his fingers on the big wheel he was holding.

“He’s an amateur. If we have to have pictures,” she rolled her eyes, “we should at least have gotten a pro.”

“You said we were already over budget. And he’s all right. The pics he took at the engagement party weren’t bad.”

Martie only huffed and sighed and looked out the window with me.

Two words made my ears prick up. Camera and Pictures. Those words always make Martie huffy and turn her face a little frowny.

I looked at her. Sure enough, her face was frowny. I gave it Kissys and got a smile, which made my tail go all waggly.

“But, hey,” James said, “if you hate the pictures, we can always do it all over again, you know, like those Civil War reenactments.”

Martie got that little Twitchy at the corner of her mouth, the one she gets before she laughs. Sometimes she laughs and sometimes not. But I like it because it means she’s happy.

We stopped at a place I never saw before. We went in with Martie carrying the big box, while James carried me in one arm and the suit in the other. There were lots of new smells there. My nose poked in the air and got busy sniffing!

Sniff, sniff, sniff.

There were a few people there, and they all fussed over me a little, but I only remembered one man’s smell.

“Isaac, how you doing?” James put me down and shook Isaac’s hand.

All Isaac gave me was a pat on the head, then he forgot all about me while he talked to James and Martie.

I looked up at them to see if I could hear Words I Know. I didn’t like the way Martie looked. Her face was frowny again. She looked at Isaac, then at Camera, and she gave a little huff and sigh.

James scooped me up and gave Martie Kissy. She went one way and he carried me another, into a room where he set me down to let me sniff around. What an interesting place! More smells than I knew what to do with.

No Din-dins, though.

James knelt next to me and asked me to sit, which of course I did right away, because I am a Very Smart Boy.

He pulled a little bow from his pocket and let me smell it before he tied it on my collar, right under my nose.

“Mine’s green, so I got a red one for you.” He gave me behind-the-ear scritches. “Don’t make me chase you, okay? This once? You stand right next to me, just the way we practiced. Martie’s nervous and has been a little batty lately, and I don’t need any drama from you. Okay? Understand?”

I smelled my Cookies and snuffled at his pocket.

"Want a Cookie?” He took one out and I gobbled it up. I love Cookies!

Voices outside the door made my ears perk up. Dana! I ran to the door and sat politely because I am a Very Good Boy.

James smiled. “Yep, Dana and Blake are here.” Blake! “Wanna go see him? Want to see Blake, huh? Come on, let’s go see Blake.”

I couldn’t sit any longer! I ran in circles till he opened the door, and I ran so fast I didn’t feel my paws touch the floor.

“Jimmy!” Blake is a much smaller Person. He knelt and caught me, and we wrestled for a happy minute. I love Blake!

“Don’t get your pants dirty,” Dana said. She bent down and patted me. I rolled over so she could rub my belly. Belly rubs make me squiggle! “You’re so handsome in your red sweater! You’re such a handsome boy! Yes, you are! Who’s a handsome boy?”

The other door opened, then Martie’s head popped out and, oh dear, she had a Very Frowny Face. “Oh good, you’re here! I can’t get this zipper up!”

I started to run to Martie. But James whistled, so I had to stop right where I was, sit like a Very Good Boy, and watch Dana go into the room with Martie. That was okay, though, because Blake was petting me. But then Dana called him and he ran into the other room.

So I wandered around while James talked to Isaac. “So let’s talk about placement,” Isaac was saying. “I know it’s cold, but I want to get a few on the church steps.”

Just then, I saw Camera. It was sitting on a chair all by itself.

Camera. Martie. Frowny.

I had to help Martie!

Lucky for me, people kept coming in and going out. Also lucky, the chair was just low enough for me to stand up and take Camera between my teeth. I carried it to one of the doors and sat and waited like a Very Good Boy.

When the door opened, I ran as fast as I could, all the way around the building. Camera tasted so bad, but I kept it between my teeth. Then I saw a Spot, right next to the building.

Spots are sometimes grassy and sometimes just dirt, but this Spot was covered in snow.

I started to dig. Snow flew in all directions, and my paws were starting to get cold. But I couldn’t stop. I had to dig with all my might.

Dig, dig, dig.

The dirt smell was wonderful, and I almost forgot what I was doing, but I kept digging.

My paws were black when I finally let Camera fall.

Then I turned and kicked. I kicked with all my strength, snow and dirt sailing in the air.

Kick, kick, kick.

I couldn’t see Camera anymore.

Since I was outside anyway, I Pottied on it.

I raced back around the building. The door was closed, but I barked and barked. I was starting to shiver, so I barked as loud as I could.

The door opened, and Blake jumped backward as I hurried past him.

“Jimmy!” James looked surprised to see me. “How did you get out there? We’ve been looking all over for you!” He had Leash in his hands! Leash makes me Frowny. He whistled, but I couldn’t stop. I had to tell Martie Camera was all gone and she could be happy again.

Just then the door opened, and Dana danced around me as I ran in. There was Martie!

I jumped on her, barking and leaving the good-smelling dirt on her dress with my paws.

She screeched with joy!

I was so proud! I sat down and waited for them to praise me.

Everybody just stood there and was very quiet. Dana had both hands over her mouth. Blake looked from her to Martie and back again. James stared at Martie with very big eyes.

Martie stood in front of me, her hands up at her sides as if she was about to fly away like the birdies do.

I sniffed and sniffed. The air was different. I looked at all the faces and got a little worried, like maybe I did a Bad Thing.

Then Martie’s hands came down to rest on her hips. And I saw it! The Twitchy at the corner of her mouth! She and James looked at each other, and they smiled.

Wedding of her dreams. Twitchy. Happy Martie!

James put Leash in one pocket and his hand in the other, bringing out a Cookie. I gobbled it right up.

And that is how I know I am a Very Good Boy.