Aria continued to host gatherings for Major Chords; they even made Jose, who possessed no musically ability, an honorary member due to his provision of food to the group. Aria was the most proficient of the group, particularly on the violin, she would play for hours, losing herself in the rhythm, seemingly at one with the bow. The group were captivated by her, hypnotised by the sound, as they tucked into Jose’s food, conversation lost between mouthfuls and music.
Inspired, Jose privately practised the violin hoping he could contribute more than full stomachs at these gatherings. Music did not come naturally; his fingers fell clumsily over the strings as the bow screeched across them. Creative talents did not lend themselves to all the arts, setting the instrument down, he decided some talents were best admired and not imitated. The dream of surprising Aria with a beautiful serenade on their wedding day was tossed aside, opting to stick to fashion design and writing.
Aria refused to give up on her soccer dreams; she spent hours honing her skills on the pitch, whilst spending much of her remaining free time choreographing new routines. The previous dance captain had left the club after her relationship with the men’s teams star player broke down. During the warm-up, he turned his sights on Aria, inappropriately complementing her outfit, flexibility and off-hand comments about other her physical attributes. Aria gave him a clear response that she was and never would be interested in him, a rejection he did not take too kindly. Rather than the crude compliments, the player issued derogatory commentary on the conduct and appearance of the head cheerleader, an effort to sully Aria’s good name and standing, making claims about why she was so prudish in public, yet he claimed in private he had rejected her less than subtle advances. Aria kept trying to shrug it off, she focused on leading the cheer squad. After the match Aria confronted him, trying to reason with him, to understand why he felt the need to make accusations and innuendos. He babbled some nonsense about his right to free speech and laughed as she struggled with her anger regarding his treatment of her and other cheerleaders. Calming down, Aria decided to take this to her manager, only the player beat her to it, laying down his story, backed by a couple of others on the team. She was discredited, her complaint viewed with suspicion that it was her as the jilted would-be lover. The manager threatened to have her dropped from the team if she didn’t stop harassing their top player. Aria focused her anger on the punch bag, imagining taking the star player down a peg or two, she finally understood why no-one stayed too long in the cheer squad.
Work was a great distraction from the wedding planning; Aria knew she should be excited about the whole process. She was worried about the numbers of people they would need to invite, family, friends, work colleagues, then there was the venue, the catering, not to mention the dress. What was supposed to be their special day felt more like a circus with hundreds of people staring at Aria. On the field it didn’t matter, most people were watching the game, plus she was one of sixteen, so she never felt the main focus, but a wedding, it was all about the happy couple. People she barely knew fawning over them, being expected to smile, to be polite and courteous. Aria nodded that it was all ok whenever she was asked how it was going; only Jose could see the strain she was under. He didn’t have family and most of his good friends were people he had met through Aria. Making a few phone calls Jose laid out the outfits they had worn on their first night out, the salmon shirt and that fitted orange dress. The church next door was cleaned up by Tara and Wesley, an arch decorated with flowers placed at the front. Jose made a selection of dishes and a single tiered wedding cake.
In the evening when Aria finished work, Jose sent her a message to wear the outfit he had laid out then meet him in the churchyard. Waiting for her, dressed smartly in blue shirt and black trousers, was Wesley and by the door, wearing a white shirt, was Parker, for once not in prison. Aria was suspicious of their presence but linking arms with her brothers, she walked into the church, her eyes filling with tears as she realised Jose had arranged for their wedding to be quiet and private. Tara stood next to Jose as his “best man”, crying as Aria became the first in four generations to marry. It was perfect, a very intimate occasion, Aria beamed, her heart fluttering at the personal vows Jose had written just for her. At the house, her Major Chords group were there providing the entertainment, and laying out the food Jose made earlier. There was no need for unruly fights with the caterer or drunken outbursts at the bar, getting hitched it seemed did not need to be complicated, just a handful of people sharing the love Jose and Aria had for each other.