Chapter Eight

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"Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god

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"Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. Henry, what have you brought to our wedding?" The night sky twinkles as vibrantly as the fairy lights draped across the wooden frame of the marquee. As the sun had set, taking the warmth of the day with it, we'd all gradually moved inside, dragging chairs and tables and rugs with us. The dancefloor was full to the brim with dancers, glistening and red-faced, leaving the surrounding furniture mostly empty. The fire-haired singer had moved to a raised stage, belting out songs that dragged even the most reluctant to the dance floor. The air was warm and rich with the scents of food and burning candles, the night breeze weaving through the tent and cooling my hot skin. Lights from the stage flash across the space, throwing shadows across the frowns of Sophie, Henry and Kira.

It had taken time to tell my story. And frequent interruptions - the money dance where the brides were showered with notes, well-wishers with hugs and slobbering kisses, and the cutting of the cake had slowed it down even more. Guilt prickled along my spine every time Sophie and Kira ran back to me and Henry. Hours passed, but finally, Sophie and Kira knew everything. I'm breathing hard, the words having dropped from my tongue like acid. At some point, Henry had put an encouraging hand on my shoulder. His hand was warm and didn't feel wrong on my bare skin.

"No!" Henry yells, waving his hands. "Jensen's safely locked up in the garage. And he's not a zombie... not really. Zombies are dead, right? He just... whatever magic Willow used, it went wrong and we need to set it right."

"Did he say, zombie? Are we actually talking about zombies in the context that the undead are currently out there, walking around, biting people into people like chicken wings?" Kira squeaks. Her voice got higher with every syllable, her pacing growing in momentum.

"Just one zombie..." Henry mumbles.

"Actually..." Sophie starts. We all freeze and snap to her.

"Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god." Kira looks close to passing out. She's standing there, hand on her heaving chest. Sophie leaps up, taking Kira's face tenderly in her hands.

"Babe, you are my heart... but you need to calm the hell down." She nods to the bar. "Go get an espresso martini and enjoy our day." She kisses her wife gently, though Kira still looks shell-shocked. Absently, she bunches up her skirt and stumbles towards the bar. Sophie turns back to us and smiles tightly.

"Should we be encouraging her to consume alcohol and caffeine when she's that close to a meltdown?" Henry says, frowning with concern in Kira's direction. Sophie's face shifts and she quickly twists back to Kira, who's now across the dancefloor standing at the bar. Her face as pale as her dress, and swaying in an unnerving fashion.

"Babe! Make that lemonade or something!" Kira raises her hand, and it's clear she has no intention of entertaining Sophie's suggestion.

Sophie exhales heavily as she turns back to us, the forced smile back in place. Around us the noise of the band, the laughter and dancing seem alien. I have never felt so separate from everything around me.

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