tagRomanceThe Humper Game Pt. 07 Ch. 01

The Humper Game Pt. 07 Ch. 01

byWilCox49©

Author's note:

This is, in all its seven parts and their many chapters, one very, very long story. If long stories bother you, I suggest you read something else.

No part of this story is written so as to stand on its own. I strongly suggest that you start with Part 1 and read sequentially—giving up at any point you choose, of course.

All sexual activity portrayed anywhere in this story involves only people at least eighteen years old.


=====================================

Part 7. "For he's going to marry Yum-Yum—"

Brightly dawns our wedding day;
    Joyous hour, we give thee greeting!
    Whither, whither art thou fleeting?
Fickle moment, prithee stay!
    What though mortal joys be hollow?
    Pleasures come, if sorrows follow:
Though the tocsin sound, ere long,
    Ding dong! Ding dong!
Yet until the shadows fall
Over one and over all,
Sing a merry madrigal—
        A madrigal!

      — W. S. Gilbert, The Mikado


Saturday morning, we got up an hour later than usual, and shaved and got dressed—not for the wedding, not yet—and had breakfast. I was feeling a little disconnected from the world, as if nothing was quite real.

Not long after we cleaned up from breakfast, Barbara Wilson came by with Bert. They had decided not to drive in until that morning, and we had asked them to please come to the apartment if they could possibly be early enough. I really wanted to meet Bert before everything got started.

Ellen took one look at him, and kind of nodded at me from behind them as Barbara was introducing Bert to me. He was about my height, very thin except for plenty of wiry muscles, obviously very strong. He was clearly a little uncertain about me—not at all about Ellen—but after a few minutes he relaxed. We couldn't take all that long to talk, but he was so down to earth, and so obviously in love with Barbara, that I was reassured. And having something to think about besides just waiting to get ready ourselves helped bring me back to earth.

We finally got dressed and went to the church. We wanted to be early enough to make sure there were no problems, but not to be hanging around at any real length.

Someone was at the door, ready to greet guests—something else someone had taken care of for us, without our even having to think about it. She told us that Pastor Mac would like to see us in his office for a few minutes, so that's where we went.

He said, "You know, usually the bride would have been here at least two or three hours ago, completely taking over one of the restrooms with her attendants to get dressed and made up. Congratulations on looking beautiful without all that last-minute fuss, Ellen. In fact, I think you're the last ones here. The rest are in the green room." That wasn't a theatrical reference, but what the room was normally called because of the color of the walls. It was where coffee and snacks were available on Sunday mornings, and there were tables and chairs in there.

Pastor Mac continued, "Are there any last-minute things you two need to ask, or to say?" He waited for any answer, but we both just shook our heads. "I'm very sure I know the answer, but as a formality, does either of you have any last-minute reservations or qualms? If you do, now is the time to bring them up. Quite honestly, it would be far better for me to go out and announce that the wedding is canceled or postponed, if you had any we couldn't resolve with a few minutes' discussion now, than to have you deciding in a month or a year that you should have spoken up now.."

I said, "I'm feeling a little like everything's unreal, but that's certainly not a reservation or a qualm."

Ellen laughed and took my arm. "I've told you quite a few times that I'm not letting you go, unless you somehow make it clear you really want me to. Phil, with you, anything."

Pastor Mac said, "Surrealistic feelings are normal enough at this point. I've had couples for whom I felt that question wasn't a formality, even after counseling sessions for a couple of months. I'm not worried about you two. If you don't mind, I'd like to pray with you before you join your friends and families." So we held hands, and he prayed for the wedding to go according to plan—not our plan but God's—and that it would serve as a memorable beginning for what really mattered, lives lived together. He asked the Lord to show himself to us and bring us to know him, in his own time.

We dropped hands, and he said, "You'll hear the prelude begin. At that point each of you should go with your own attendants down one of the side halls. Your parents should go to the door to the center aisle, and when you're ready the ushers will take them up and seat them. And your brother will go to the sound booth, of course, Ellen.

We went off to the green room, which had a sign on the door saying, "Reserved." Pastor had been right, everyone else was there. We were greeted with hugs and handshakes all round. Apparently, Mom had been telling a story about when I was little. Maybe Ellen's turn for that had been earlier. Steve left almost immediately, to go be in the sound booth with his camera. I thought he had somehow borrowed or rented one, but it might have been his. At any rate, it was professional quality. I knew the tripod he used belonged to the church. The camera certainly might have, as well.

Coffee and tea were available, and we took some. There was general conversation, with occasional affectionate barbs aimed at us—mostly at me. After one of these, Ellen Manning said, "I'm sure you've all heard at least a little about Ellen's and Phil's first real encounter, but you may not have heard this. Deedee and I usually ate with Ellen, and the next morning at breakfast she called Phil and Jenny to eat with us, as they were heading by. And some other girls joined us a minute later, friends of Phil's and Jenny's—we knew them some, of course, but they weren't close friends.

"Anyway, there we were, kind of crowded around a smallish table, seven girls and Phil." There was some laughter at that. "Ellen and Phil surprised us, all of us I think, by being on first names. They really didn't know each other that well. And at supper the night before, Ellen had said that she had enjoyed their time, and that Phil had been even nicer, much nicer, than she had expected. I mean, we had seen him over three years, we knew he was always nice and considerate to everyone. Honestly, he always was, even when he had reason not to be. But she hadn't said they'd gone on first names."

I was looking at Ellen's parents, a little worried, though they were smiling. I certainly hadn't gone into detail about the game, with them. Ellen saw this, and put her arm around me and squeezed a moment, and nodded at me with a big smile. Later, she told me that she had given them some very brief account of the gym game and our first time, when she had taken them aside the first night when we were there. Reminding her mother of the things about sex ed in the school contract, among other things. But she had made a point of saying I'd been her first.

Ellen went on, "Actually, though, that wasn't the biggest surprise. It was that one other girl was on first names with them, and in fact that she sat with all of us at all. She was nice, but she always had been aloof, kind of keeping everyone at arms length. I don't mean snooty or superior, not at all, she was nice, but nobody ever got close to her. She always ate alone. The only exceptions I know of were when she was working with someone on a group assignment and they worked through a meal. I'm not sure whether anyone at all had been on first names with her up till then—and there she was calling him Phil! But something about that must have been another way Phil was so nice, because from then on she was opening up, to everyone, friendly as well as nice, too." Ellen looked around. "Everyone here from school knows who I mean, but I expect she's here for the wedding, so I'm not going to give her name.

"Anyway, we talked some, but we ate more, since we were going to have to get to class. I think most of them had a test first thing, too. At the end of breakfast, when we all stood up to take our dishes and trays back, Ellen walked around to Phil and hugged him and kissed him on the cheek. She said she thought she needed to announce that he had been way beyond nice the afternoon before. And Deedee and I eventually found out how much that way he is. We love Ellen, she's the nicest woman we know, but she is so‑o‑o‑o lucky!"

Jenny said, quietly but audibly, "Boy, is that right!" I was pleased to see that she was smiling in a way that said she really was happy.

I was surprised to see Ellen's parents smiling, too. I wondered just what Ellen—their Ellen, my Ellen—had told them, presumably back when we were at their house. Not to mention what had already been shared before we got there, the last hour or so. Or however long. We'd gotten there just a bit before the time we'd told everyone else—because we'd run later with Barbara and Bert than we had expected—and then we'd spent five or ten minutes with the pastor, but I was guessing most of them had allowed more time because they were less familiar with the church. Then again, I thought Steve had brought our parents, and he had wanted to be pretty early to make sure of the camera setup. So I thought most of them had probably been there nearly an hour.

Not a lot more was said before the music began—a few brief reminiscences from school, no others so private, and all flattering to Ellen or to me. We all got up, and I opened the door. We went out into the hall. I pointed. "Ellen, Jenny, Sam, Ellen, Deedee, down that hall. Second door on your left. Mr. and Mrs. Chan, Dad, Mom, through that door. The ushers will seat you. Guys, you come with me." But it wasn't quite that simple. A lot of hugs were given first. Mr. Chan and Dad each shook my hand very firmly. Mom murmured encouraging words to me, and I thought she and both elder Chans did to Ellen. I was finding it a little hard to pay attention, just then.

We went down to the hallway on the other end of the sanctuary—the auditorium, it was called in this church, to remind people that it's not any place that's holy in and of itself. Down that hall to the first door, into the little room to the side of the platform. There was a screen showing the video feed from the camera next to the sound board, in a little enclosed space at the back. Pastor Mac had already entered, and was standing at the front, waiting. The Chans were coming up the aisle, Mrs. Chan holding the usher's elbow, Mr. Chan following. They were seated in the front pew on the aisle, on the left-hand side from the congregation's point of view. I thought to look at the congregation, and I was a little overwhelmed. I felt just a little the way I had being called to testify in front of more than five hundred people, butterflies in my stomach and like my knees were going to collapse before I could walk that far. A lot more people were out there than I had expected.

My parents were being ushered forward, as well. The usher tried to seat them on the other side of the aisle, but they ignored his attempts and sat next to the Chans, the women next to each other, the men on the outsides. I couldn't see their faces, of course, even when they turned a little to speak. I suspected that the usher was displeased, but on the other hand, people probably ignored his suggestions often enough—probably just not the couple's parents at a wedding. I knew Pastor Mac well enough to be absolutely sure that he didn't mind one bit. He might even have been pleased. I certainly was!

As the music got to the point we had established at the rehearsal, I eased the door open a crack, and when the door across the platform swung open, I opened it up. Pete entered as Jenny entered from the other side. They walked in and stopped, followed by Fred and Ellen, then by Bill and Deedee. Jim accompanied me in, to the center, as Sam accompanied Ellen in. The music came to its final cadence and ended maybe fifteen seconds later.

I assume you've seen weddings. Yes, there's a great variety, but there are some common elements as well, in European church traditions. Pastor Mac welcomed the congregation and asked them to be seated. Even though nobody had processed up the aisle, people had stood up as Ellen and I entered. He said why we were there—for Ellen and me to be united in marriage in the presence of God and all those present.

He addressed the two of us, and all present, giving the biblical significance of marriage. Of course, the most important text is from chapter two of Genesis. Unlike many, he did not cite only verse twenty-four, but began with the end of verse twenty. He stressed that woman was made from man and for man, and that man without woman is incomplete. He also reminded us that in the first chapter, in giving the sequence of creation, it simply said that God made man in his own image, male and female, which could only be understood to mean that our creation as male and female was God's design from the beginning, and that the displaying of the animals to Adam, and the creation of Eve from Adam, were no afterthoughts but were done to show that neither men nor women are or can be complete in themselves.

He mentioned the wedding where Jesus turned water into wine, as showing among other things that this was an occasion for rejoicing and gladness. In this connection, he also mentioned such verses as Matthew 9:15, which is about the Lord's return—but in which the gladness of those present at the wedding is taken as so obvious as to be an appropriate metaphor. "Can the guests mourn while the bridegroom is with them?"

The pastor also read the entire passage concerning wives and husbands from the fifth chapter of Ephesians, reminding us that the context was of mutual submission, each of us to serve the other, Ellen by submission to me as the church is to be submitted to the Lord, me by love and sacrifice toward her as thorough as Christ's love and sacrifice for the church. He observed that this passage was often said to illustrate the church's relationship with the Lord by means of the institution of marriage, but that it instead illustrates what marriage is to be by the example of the Lord's relationship to the church.

He asked us to give our vows. He was prepared to prompt us if we lost it, but we each stated our commitments without any help. I thought I was doing pretty well, not only better than I had felt I would just before we entered, but better than I had expected.

Then it was time for Sam's song. She walked down the steps to the piano and began. The passage she had used—the pastor had said "adapted," but it was adapted only in the sense that no specific English translation was used directly—the passage was Psalm 127. It was through-composed, not strophic—not a stanza-refrain pattern—though the first verse of the psalm was repeated at the end. And I fell apart, losing everything but Sam's playing and singing, tears running down my face.

I came back to reality with Ellen holding one arm and Jim the other, both of them speaking to me very quietly. Ellen was saying, "Phil! Don't lose your focus!" and Jim something like "Phil, buddy, it's OK, it's just a song." After a moment, I was able to say, also sotto voce, "I'm OK. Thanks." They both looked worried, but moved back to where they were supposed to be standing.

Sam hadn't been supposed to come up until Pastor Mac began speaking again, but she was standing right there with Ellen, looking very worried. I ignored protocol long enough to step over and hug her, saying, "Thank you!" I gave Ellen a quick hug and a peck on the cheek, too, and went back to my place.

We all remained standing where we were for the sermon, which was brief. Somewhat unfortunately for me, the text Pastor Mac had chosen was also Psalm 127. I struggled to keep my focus, indeed, paying attention to what he said, but later on I couldn't have summarized it in detail. Since the service was recorded, however, I was able to watch it later and listen better.

He divided the psalm into three parts, the second-verse 2—being a development of the first—verse 1. Nothing purely human will last, he said, and even in the short run nothing that isn't the Lord's will can succeed.

Following from this, though we're to work—and work hard—we are to trust in the Lord's provision. This section is primarily cautioning against anxiety, he said, which at rock bottom is pride—I can and must provide for myself—and greed—the unwillingness to be content with what God provides. He reminded us that the people to whom this psalm was originally addressed had far less than we did, materially. Even our poorest, he said, have luxuries unimaginable to them. Yet stress and anxiety are considered major problems in our day.

He also brought in the Sabbath, an absolute command for Israel, a concrete reminder of the need for trust in God's provision. When sunset arrived to open the Sabbath, they were to put aside their work, even when crops needed to be planted or reaped, so that they might well lose much if they delayed. Only trust—that God cared for them and would provide enough—could enable them to do this consistently and rejoice.

The pastor applied these two sections directly to marriage. We, as man and wife, were going to have to work to keep our marriage alive and healthy, sometimes very hard. From speaking with us, he knew we understood this. Yet, he said, we needed always to keep in mind that we could not make our marriage succeed, however hard we worked at it. It was a gift from the Lord, he said, and as long as we thought of it as something we had to accomplish, we would find ourselves becoming anxious. We needed to put our trust wholly in God's promise to bless his people, working out of that trust, rather than working instead of trusting. That hit me hard—one point I managed to remember!—and when we discussed it later it seemed it had hit Ellen even harder.

The third section, he said, was obviously directly talking about marriage. In a day when children are treated as disposable, when people said every child should be wanted and then advocated and allowed mass murder of children as a means to that end, we were to truly rejoice in the children we were given. He brought in the vows we had just made—for better, for worse, in sickness, in health—saying that by committing ourselves to each other, we were committing ourselves to accept children in that same spirit. And he noted that there is a promise in this, that if we truly do this, our children will stand with us and for us, accomplishing what we can't by ourselves. I saw Ellen flinch slightly as he made this last point. He pointed out that, until the Lord's return, we will each run out of time to accomplish our tasks, and that part of God's provision for this is our children. He related this back to the early verse about anxious toil.

That was the substance of the sermon. Then it was time for the exchange of rings. I had vetoed any reference to worshiping her with my body, and I was pretty sure Ellen was with me. I certainly planned to enjoy her body with mine, doing everything in my power to assure that the converse held as well. We had made our commitments in our vows, but at this point we promised to remain faithful, the ring being a symbol. I removed the engagement ring from her finger, took her wedding ring from Jim, and put them both on her finger, saying my part as I did so. Ellen had decided not to follow the widespread custom of moving the engagement ring to her right hand, electing to leave it where it had been since I put it on her after Christmas. She took my wedding ring from Sam—who looked ecstatically, luminously happy through this whole sequence, as the video clearly showed—and said her part as she placed it on my finger.

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