Ronan didn't know at the time that the knock on the door was about to change his life. Just as well; he's pissed off enough about having a visitor without knowing that.
The knock comes again, impatient, and he decides that getting to scare someone off his property is worth the annoyance of having to answer it.
He swings the door open just as the knock starts a third time, but the woman on the other side doesn't do anything decent like get caught off guard or thrown off balance.
"What?" he growls at her.
"Do you do weddings?" she asks.
She stares back, which, given that she's a step below him and about eight feet shorter, she really shouldn't have the nerve to do.
"Is this some kind of riddle?" he asks.
"The barns here," she says, like that's a clarification. "Do you rent them out for weddings?"
"Why would I do that?"
"You're not using them," she says. "They're empty."
"Have you been walking around my property?"
"Obviously. Can I rent the barns for a wedding?"
He rubs a hand over his face. He really thought the biggest headache he'd have living on a farm in rural Virginia was going to be homophobes. He hadn't even considered pixie Bridezilla, because really, who would?
"If I say no are you going to break in and get married here anyway?"
"It's not for my wedding, it's for my mom."
"Oh, well then, by all means. Throw your mom into a barn for her wedding."
"Hey, that's a thing. People do barn weddings all the time. It's rustic. This place is really beautiful," and she says it like that's an accusation.
"It's beautiful now, wait until a bunch of fucking vagrant daughters trample it trying to get their moms hitched."
"Look, will you rent it to me or not?"
When he'd moved back to the farm he'd grown up on, he hadn't really had a plan for how the place was going to make money. There's a couple fields of crops but -- at the rate he's going, he's going to burn through his inheritance faster than Declan can say I told you so.
"A hundred bucks."
Her mouth actually drops open, which is satisfying even if Ronan had given up on trying to shake her. He'll take his victories where he finds them. "Is that a joke?"
"Fifty bucks." She's still just looking at him. "Two hundred?"
She snaps out of her shock and snatches up his hand, shakes it violently. "Two hundred, we get the barns for the whole day and we get to bring all our catering and some portapotties."
He frowns. "Two fifty, just the two big barns, you use my bathrooms."
"You want a bunch of strangers walking through your house?"
"No keeping them out, apparently," and she smiles at him so wide that he forgets to be annoyed.
Ronan remembers how to be annoyed with her real fast over the next month.
"You were supposed to have the barn for a day," he grumbles. "Why are you even here?"
"Oh, hush your whining," she chides him from atop a ladder. He'd asked her if she was just climbing up it to feel as tall as him, and she'd spat over his head, wad landing right by his shoe, a clear warning shot. "You're not even using it for anything."
"I could be," he says. "Maybe I've got a load of cows coming in, you don't know."
She rolls her eyes so extravagantly he can see it from down on the ground. "I know they're called a herd, so no, you don't."
"What are you measuring for?" he asks, instead of engaging with her on the proper terms of dairy cattle, which he does, after all, know. They'd had cows when he was a kid. Maybe he should look into getting some livestock again; they could make noise the next time someone sneaks onto the property. Guard cows are a thing, right? "You don't get to make any structural changes."
"Trying to figure out how many twinkle lights I'm going to need."
"What the fuck is a twinkle light?"
"Like Christmas lights, but colorless and non-denominational." She recalls her measuring tape with a whirrr-snap! and jumps off the second highest rung of the ladder. Ronan doesn't let on that he's impressed. "They class up the place."
"Yeah, 'cause twinkling is the epitome of class. You know you can't plug anything in in here, right?"
"I'm bringing a generator."
"We didn't shake on that."
"You didn't say I couldn't."
"I didn't say you couldn't bring a war elephant, either. I didn't think it was worth listing every bullshit thing that shouldn't be at a wedding in the first place."
"Do you even know how much stuff it takes to throw a wedding?" she asks him. "We're bringing food in catered, but it needs to be kept warm; we need lights for the reception after sundown. We need to power the sound system -- "
"You're bringing a sound system onto my property?"
"For dancing! What do you think people even do at a wedding, anyway?"
Ronan shrugs. "Pray?"
Blue snorts. "Yeah, no, it's not that kind of wedding. The church in town made a lot of snide comments about it being mom's second wedding. So of course she told them that she'd never been married to my father and walked out on them, which was awesome, but then, you know, we had to cross that venue off the list. And there weren't a ton in our price range anyway."
"Not a lot of barns in the two hundred dollar range?"
"Try none. I'd feel bad about taking advantage of you, except you're kind of a pain in the ass."
"Hey," Ronan protests, "I'm a huge pain in the ass."
By the time the wedding actually happens Ronan has gotten used to the sight of Blue tromping around the farm, measuring things and taking photographs and once standing ominously with swatches of different colored fabric, muttering at the sunset.
He'd had the vague idea of not being around the day of the wedding, going somewhere and killing time, and then Blue arrives in the morning, trailer truck full of generator and twinkle lights and periwinkle tablecloths, "oh, good, help me get this set up and I'll make sure the caterer leaves a plate for you," and it's not like he had anywhere to go, anyway.
Ronan has never been to a wedding before, but, well, maybe twinkle lights are a little classy, and the food is good enough that it almost makes up for the fact that some terrifying woman who may or may not be Blue's aunt bullies him into putting on a tie. He'd be impressed with everything that Blue managed to pull off, planning this whole thing and making it happen, except then he thinks about the fact that she's the woman who trespassed on his property on the off chance that it would make for a good venue and then somehow convinced him to attend a wedding where he doesn't know anyone, and he decides he's not impressed anymore. There couldn't be any doubt that such a person could pull off something as simple as a wedding.
There's a knock on Ronan's door.
He swings it open.
"No, your dad can't get married in my barn, he can go fuck himself."
"Oh, yeah, he can totally go fuck himself." Blue shoves her way into the house. "He's a loser."
"You can't have your twinkle lights back." He's stolen a few strings at the end of the night, after a couple of trips to the open bar. They were classy.
"Keep 'em, they were two bucks a string." She squares off facing him, hands shoved in her pockets, tense like a gunslinger at noon. "So, my cousin is an Instagram celebrity."
"What the fuck."
"And one of her photos of the wedding went viral."
"What the fuck."
"And, there's a bunch of people on the internet saying they want to get married here."
"What the fuck."
It's several minutes before Ronan is able to say anything more substantial than that. Blue pulls out her phone and starts explaining about the dms her cousin has been getting, and then after a few confused minutes of who's on first fuckery, explains what Instagram is, and then, increasingly sarcastic, explains the concept of a photograph, until Ronan spitefully steals three of the barrettes out of her hair.
Eventually, though, the point gets across to him, that people want to get married at his farm. His farm, which is not a wedding venue, except to people who illegally trespass and annoy him into it.
It doesn't escape his attention, in between Blue's explanation that light passes through a hole in the camera called a shutter and him snagging her phone to try to find embarrassing photos (most of her gallery is wedding inspiration ideas, which Ronan maintains is extremely embarrassing and Blue refuses to be ashamed by), that the viral photo is as much showcasing Blue's dance floor and tablecloths and stupid classy twinkle lights as it is showing off Ronan's barn and farmland.
"They don't even want my farm," Ronan grumbles, "they just want your stupid -- snowglobe wedding cake."
"It's a crystal ball," Blue says, "and yes, they do, anyone would be lucky to get married on your farm."
"Only because you did all this stupid organizing, you put together an entire event out of thrift store dumpster dives."
"It only worked because your home is beautiful and tranquil and romantic, dammit!"
They stare at each other, mulishly.
Ronan is the first to break.
"One wedding," he says.
"A trial run," Blue agrees. "I'll probably hate you by the end of it."
"I already hate you," Ronan says. "No structural damage to my property."
"No trying to curate the DJ's music."
"Electric Slide blows."
"Yes, but people still like dancing to it."
"We split the money fifty-fifty."
"Fine, but we split the manual labor fifty-fifty."
They shake on it.
By the end of the day, The Barns at Singer's Falls, has a website that proclaims they specialize in second+ weddings, queer weddings, and polyamorous weddings, which Ronan figures means they aren't even going to find their one trial run customer.
Within a month of Blue doing the paperwork to officially establish their business, they have to make a waiting list, because every divorced polyamorous godless gay heathen on the East Coast has decided they just have to get married in Ronan's barn.
Seriously, what the fuck.
Meet Our Staff
Blue is a jack of all trades who discovered, when her mother got married, that wedding planning allows her all of the fun of commanding an army with slightly fewer moral dilemmas. She can't wait to tell you and everyone you love what to do on your special day.
Ronan is a farmer by day, photographer by evening (or morning, or night). He grew up on the idyllic countryside farm that is the Barns, and he's happy to share his home with you. Yes, really, that's what his face looks like when he's happy. When he's not happy you'll know.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is that thing about second/LGBT/polyamorous weddings a joke?
No, not a joke. We believe that love is love. In an ideal world, we wouldn't need to specifically state that we're open to "unconventional" weddings, but we don't live in that world, we live in the American South. Sometimes it's hard for people to find a venue that tolerates them, let alone EMBRACES them, and we want to change that. You should never have to apologize for existing, but especially not on your wedding day.
Besides, we are polyamorous and gay, respectively, and we like to reach out to our communities. (Neither of us is divorced or widowed, but give it a few years.)
Should you really make a joke about divorce on your wedding planning website?
If you can't handle a little gallows humor then you are talking to the wrong wedding planners.
Ronan hates basically everything about their business, or that's what he tells Blue, but after four years of somehow working as a groundskeeper/photographer/wedding planner, he's decided that the thing he really and truly hates is the fact that he's constantly meeting cute guys and none of them are single.
Blue always talks to the customers first, which means Ronan can't even refuse to book a couple because one of them is cute or one of them is annoying or just because he feels like it, which they both know he would do given access to that kind of power. She gets introductory information about the customers, how they met and what their plans are for the future and what they envision for their wedding, which she then writes up and which Ronan then refuses to read. He doesn't need to know that a couple met in college or that their favorite color is green; he learns what he needs to know when he meets them.
Like this couple. Blue had emailed him her notes on Richard and Henry and told him to just glance at them this time, you illiterate Neanderthal, and of course he'd deleted the email. He's already learning all kinds of things about them: for one thing, them call each other by their last names, Gansey and Parrish instead of Richard and Henry. He bets Blue hadn't included that in her intake notes, or the fact that Parrish really clearly doesn't give a shit about his wedding.
"Oh," Gansey says, looking at a photo of some of Blue's weird napkin origami in a really unfortunate shade of purple. "These are perfect."
Parrish looks at the photo out of the corner of his eye for all of a microsecond. "I didn't realize everyone on the guest list was color blind."
"I'm sure the color is negotiable," Gansey says.
"Nope," Ronan says. "That's the only color those birds come in. We already hunted them and had a taxidermist stuff them."
Blue gives him her patented 'you are not as funny as you think you are' look.
Parrish gives him a look, too, like he thinks Ronan is funny, and maybe has some other opinions about Ronan that he'd like to share.
Ronan looks away, swipes to a different image on their iPad catalogue. Parrish is getting married; let him turn those eyes on his fiancé.
"It's a bit early to worry about that fine of detail." Blue doesn't know why Ronan is annoyed, but she knows that he is, and she knows that annoyed Ronan leads to annoyed customers, which is funny sometimes, but even with her snarky takedowns, there's only so many one-star reviews she wants to get. "This is more to give you an idea of what we could do. Let's talk dates. You wanted a summer wedding?"
"First week of June," Gansey says, and Parrish nods.
"Let me check." Blue frowns at her calendar. "We're booked up for that weekend -- "
"You do weekday rentals, though, right?"
"Sure, they just aren't as popular."
"That's fine," Gansey says. "We want the first day in June we can get."
Parrish nods, so fine. He wants to be a June bride but he's making eyes at his wedding planner; whatever, Ronan's job is just to get him married, not to deal with the inevitable fallout when they get divorced in a year. Maybe he and Blue will get a repeat customer out of this.
The date turns out to be the absolute last thing that Parrish and Gansey agree on about their wedding. Gansey tells Blue that they're expecting a guest list of around two hundred people, and Parrish actually says "why" in a tone that makes it clear that no answer would suffice. Gansey comments that the wedding party will be "a dozen or so people," and Parrish stares at him in naked horror.
"We'd really like to do a local menu," Gansey says, earnestly.
Parrish says, in exactly the kind of snide undertone that Ronan is tuned into at all hours of the day, "whatever you feed the livestock will be fine."
"You haven't seen what we feed the livestock," Ronan mutters back, before he can think better of it.
Parrish raises an eyebrow at him, somehow loud over the sound Blue telling Gansey about their local suppliers.
"Just tell me honestly if any of your animals are cannibals."
"I'm always honest," Ronan snaps at him. "They eat grass and hay. We grow our own."
"And a little weed, yeah."
"Okay, never mind, I'm on board with this local thing now. I definitely want to see you feed marijuana to a cow."
Ronan glares at him, because really, it's bad enough when the engaged boys have the nerve to be cute, without being sarcastic assholes, too.
"I'll just need you to sign some paperwork," Blue says, standing and clutching her iPad and smiling -- at Gansey, who had decided, unilaterally, to sign a contract with them, without even checking in with his fiancé.
After they've left, Ronan asks, "What are the odds they end up calling off the wedding and eating the deposit?"
Blue looks surprised, like she's above making bets on customers, which she isn't. "Not great? I think Richard and Henry make a cute couple."
"Sure. Richard ignores everything his fiancé says and Henry tries to get back at him by flirting with me. Real cute."
Blue stares at him, face scrunched up in a morass of confusion that he hasn't seen since that time she caught him singing Irish pub songs.
It clears up pretty quick, replaced by exasperation, which is par for the course with Blue.
"Ronan. Did you read my client notes?"
"I looked at them."
He figures he's in for a rant, but instead -- it looks like Blue is going to laugh, and then she turns away. "Okay, well, I have some florists to call, you do whatever the hell it is you do when you're not bowing to my superior intellect."
"Can't bow to something that doesn't exist."
"Sure you can, weren't you raised Catholic?" and she ducks out of the room, a cowardly retreat.
Richard and Henry are back a few weeks later to walk the grounds and discuss details -- something Ronan normally helps with, but not something that Blue can't do on her own.
Today, Blue shows up outside his window blasting factory manufactured country pop music when he tries to sleep in late. He chucks a half-empty bottle of Heineken at her, but she dodges, so all that does is make a mess on his front lawn that he has to clean up.
Normally he likes walking around the property. Normally people are appreciative and he gets to be smug, or sometimes they're complete fucking idiots and don't like it and then he gets to be snide to Blue later, or occasionally right to their faces if they're rude enough about it. Normally they stick to the old buildings, which have been given over to full-time wedding venue business, and they avoid the new buildings out of sight on the back of the property which are used for actual farm business.
For some godforsaken reason Richard Gansey wants to see the new barns, and for some even more godforsaken reason Blue is humoring him, so -- yeah, today is not a normal day.
"What's this one named?" Gansey asks, holding a hand through the pasture fence and trying to tempt a cow to come close enough for him to touch it.
Parrish scrunches up his nose at Ronan. "Like the little horrible little yellow things?"
"Like the steak," Ronan clarifies.
"The cows all have two names," Blue explains, "my names and Ronan's. Ronan's names are all terrible."
"They're my cows, I can call them them all filet mignon if I want to."
"Well, you could," Parrish says, "but you really ought to name them after different cuts of meat. You wouldn't name all your children the same name."
"I wouldn't eat my kids, either."
Gansey pulls his hand away from Mignon, queasy.
"They're dairy cows," Blue tells him, because Blue ruins all of Ronan's fun.
"C'mon, you're going to spook them," Ronan says. "I don't want a stampede."
Parrish rolls his eyes. "They don't have enough room here to stampede."
"You don't know what my cows can do, city boy."
"I grew up twenty miles from here, go easy on the 'city boy'."
Blue gives Mignon one last pat on the neck and steers the party back up toward the main buildings. "Gansey, I think you said you grew up around here too?"
"Closer to DC," he says. "I was at prep school out there -- that's actually where Henry and I met. My parents still live there."
"Sometimes our job gets very awkward," Blue says, segueing into one of their standard second appointment conversations, "I like to just face it head on and apologize as necessary. Will your family be attending the wedding, or should we not mention them again?"
"No, we're luckier than most," Gansey says. "I think my parents hoped that bi meant I would marry a woman, but -- they like Henry, they've really made him feel like part of the family," except Ronan glances at Parrish, who has a look on his face like his feelings about his in-laws are anything but so rosy. As Blue and Gansey walk back out to the ornamental barns, chatting about Gansey's coming out to his Republican family, he falls farther and farther back.
Ronan slows down as well, keeping an eye on him.
"I didn't think we'd sold you on our venue," he says, because he doesn't know what the hell else to talk about.
Parrish blinks a few times, like Ronan is pulling him out of some deep thought. "Gansey fell in love with your website. Really, as long as you guys didn't knife us as soon as we set foot on your property I figured he'd book here."
"We save the knives for the actual wedding."
"Oh, good, something to look forward to."
"Sorry we couldn't impress you without resorting to violence."
"Hey, if Gansey wants to get married on a farm that's so much better than the alternatives."
"Which are?" Ronan asks. "I gotta know what who the competition is so I can go sabotage them."
Parrish snorts. "Honestly, I was terrified this wedding was going to take place at some kind of country club old money monstrosity. Or else, I don't know, a flash mob at a dance club? Is that a thing? This is a weird middle ground, but I'll take it."
Ahead of them, Ronan can hear Gansey asking Blue, "what's in these fields here?" And she's giving an explanation, nevermind that this part of the farm is entirely Ronan's responsibility, but she's talking lower than Gansey, so her answer gets caught away by the wind.
Parrish raises an eyebrow at Ronan, like he's waiting for an answer, so Ronan gestures broadly at the field and says, "here we have crops. Those are the things that grow out of the ground."
"I still don't buy that you guys produce anything with tangible value," Parrish says. "For all I know this is more wedding theater."
'What, for all those scarecrow-themed weddings people want to have?"
"I guarantee you by the end of today Gansey will have requested five things that are dumber than scarecrow wedding."
Ronan frowns. "And you're fine with that?"
"Oh, not at all, don't take my surrender to the inevitable as an endorsement."
"You could try to talk him around to what you want."
"It doesn't matter what I want," and Ronan feels a stab of anger at Parrish, that he can say that so easily. He wants to grab him and say yes it fucking does matter, but Parrish has already moved on. "And this'll be much funnier than whatever a traditional bisexual wedding is supposed to look like, anyway."
Ronan has to breathe in-out, slow and rhythmic, before he can dredge up a response to that.
"Tug-o-war," he says, and Parrish raises an eyebrow at him. "Pink team pulls one arm, blue team pulls the other, which team wins determines what sexuality you'll get misidentified as for the rest of you life."
Parrish laughs, actually laughs away the gloom of families and the too easy insistence that his own wants didn't matter.
Which wasn't the point. Ronan was just entertaining himself -- except if that's the case, why isn't he in a better mood? He's just buttering up the customers -- except he's never bothered to do that before, and they've already signed the contract. He's just passing time -- except then why the hell does he keep going it, every time Parrish frowns, every time Gansey steamrolls over his objections, why does Ronan keep finding new ridiculous things to say?
"Actually, we have a friend that we want to DJ the ceremony," Gansey starts.
"Gansey," Parrish says, "you wanted to know when you were being excessive? This is excessive."
"Whatever do you mean? Lots of weddings have DJs."
"Disc jockeys, yes," Parrish says, fake patient in that way you are when you're building up to winning an argument. "Not Grammy nominated celebrity DJs."
"Well, it's our own take on it."
Parrish rolls his eyes, this is in no way his take on anything, and how could Gansey not see that for himself.
"Electronic music is the key," Ronan says. "Why involve a human at all? Just have a robot DJ your wedding."
Parrish grins at him, suppressed mirth, and Gansey even looks like he's considering it, until Blue points out, "we do not have musical robots, Ronan is attempting to be funny."
"Wait, you want to have the ceremony outside?" Parrish asks Gansey. "In Virginia, in June? Do you remember what Virginia is like in June?"
"Oh, it might be a little hot -- "
"It's going to be humid and you're making me wear a tux, and now I have to stand outside on top of that?"
"The grounds here are beautiful! It would be a crime not to take advantage of that."
"It'll be a crime when your friend Malory dies of a heart attack, he's ninety years old. They call that manslaughter."
"There's trees," Gansey says, firmly. "There will be shade. Right?" and Blue nods. "It's fine."
"Couldn't the ceremony at least be in the evening?" Parrish asks, but like he already knows he won't prevail.
"We want to leave plenty of time for the reception," Gansey says, "and anyway, it's summer. The sun won't set until late."
Parrish sighs, already resigning himself to a too early, too humid wedding.
"If you really want a beautiful vista for the ceremony," Ronan says, "may I suggest the fields?"
Gansey blinks at him, but Parrish is already smirking again. "What, the hay fields, or the weed fields?"
"The hay," Ronan says, with a loudly implied duh. "We can trample down a flat space for you to stand in."
"What you're saying is, you want the ceremony to take place in a crop circle."
"How does alien-themed wedding compare to scarecrow?" Ronan asks, and Parrish's smile is completely worth the confused look he gets from Gansey, and the annoyed way that Blue wrests control back of the conversation.
The third time that Parrish and Gansey butt heads, Parrish looks to Ronan before Ronan's even had time to put together a snarky comment.
The words die on his lips.
Maybe it's all just stupid jokes and differing tastes. Maybe none of it matters. It's not like a good wedding is what makes a good marriage, or he and Blue could change a thousand times what they do.
It just that Parrish didn't even glance at his fiancé, when he wanted support. He looked to the guy that he barely knows, and how fucked up is that?
Ronan turns to Blue. She's not psychic, but she knows him, and she knows when he needs an out.
"Ronan, aren't you supposed to be doing something useful like feeding the cows?" she demands, and he ducks out of the barn.
That's the last time that Ronan has to think about Richard and Henry's wedding for a while; Blue handles all communications with their vendors and has ever since that time Ronan told one of their caterers they could take their coq and shove it rub up their au vin -- Blue still whines about how much she misses that caterer's spinach puffs, whatever, it's bread wrapped around fancy grass, who cares.
It's the last time that he has to think about their wedding, and he tries to make sure that it is the last time he thinks about their wedding. He mostly succeeds.
So it hits him, off-guard and unwelcome, when Blue sets him prepping the Barns according to the contract specifications. He slaps an impassive look on his face and ignores the fact that the decorations are loud and expensive and that he doesn't see Parrish reflected in them, anywhere.
He almost -- almost -- manages to ignore that he'll be seeing the actual Parrish the next day, and then of course first thing in the morning on the day of the wedding he runs smack into him.
"Oh, thank God, Lynch, I have never been so happy to see anyone in my life," and it really isn't fair that he says that, not when he looks so good in a tux. Ronan doesn't even like tuxes, but damn if it doesn't work for Parrish, who's wearing his with two buttons undone and his tie untied and a wild look in his eyes.
Except whatever trouble he's having has surpassed cold feet and gone straight to mindfuck disaster territory, because the next thing he says doesn't make a lick of sense:
"I have been trapped in the green room with Gansey all morning and he is freaking out, and when he freaks out I get mean and sarcastic, and when I get mean and sarcastic he gets high and mighty which makes me meaner, so can you please, please find Henry and tell him that I don't care what kind of superstitious vapors he's having about not seeing the groom on the wedding day, he needs to come talk Gansey down right now?"
Ronan gapes at him. "What?"
"Oh, not you too, can't I just have one productive conversation today?" Parrish runs a hand through his hair. Ronan fights down the urge to run his hand through it, too. "Can you please just find Henry before I murder one or both of the grooms?"
Ronan blurts out, "but you are the groom."
Parrish stares at him like Ronan is the one who doesn't make sense. "What?"
"You and Gansey are getting married."
Parrish blinks, several times, and turns half away, like he thinks maybe there's someone behind him who could explain what Ronan is talking about. "That's -- " he frowns and turns back to Ronan. "What do you think my name is?"
"Oh God. No. God, no." Parrish shudders. "That's the worst thing anyone has ever said to me. My name is Adam."
That still isn't adding up in Ronan's head, but one fact shoves its way through the noise and demands his attention. "You're not getting married," he says.
"Not today," Adam confirms, "probably not ever. I'm the best man."
"But you guys planned the wedding together."
"Yes, because Gansey needed moral support."
Blue walks by just then, "Adam, can I help you with anything?"
Adam looks back and forth between her and Ronan a few times, and then it's like something breaks in him, enough to let the rest of him snap into place. "You know, I was looking for Henry, but right now I think I need a Valium. And one for Gansey. Just, a round of Valium for the entire wedding party."
"Sorry, drugs are on you," Blue says, "but Henry is out in the side barn."
"Thanks," and Adam leaves, follows the direction Blue is pointing, but he's looking at Ronan instead of where he's going.
Ronan waits until he's out of sight. "You knew."
She snorts. "Oh yeah."
"You could have said something."
"You could have read my email," she says. "I really didn't think we'd make it all the way to the morning of the Gansey-Cheng wedding before you figured it out."
Ronan stalks off, and of course his phone chimes at him a moment later: Blue forwarding an email she'd sent him months ago new potentials: Richard and Henry. It includes such helpful facts as Henry is currently living abroad for work but they want to get married as soon as he's back in the country and Richard's best man Adam will be coming to the meeting "to talk me down if I get too anxious or too extravagant, as I am wont to do," his words not mine and he warned me that Adam is "a touch sarcastic" so I figure you can keep the sarcastic friend busy while I make the sale, that feels like a smart division of labor.
As if that's not bad enough, Blue texts him a second later: don't say I never did anything for you.
Ronan knows three emojis and approves of two of them, so it's a trivial matter to compose the reply: poop emoji, flipping off emoji.
Blue shoots back a second later with the winky face kiss emoji.
Ronan gags and goes off to change into his respectable wedding photographer costume.
They all sweat and squint their way through the ceremony. Parrish -- Adam -- was right on about the weather, except nobody seems to mind much, not even Adam. The grooms are beaming, the oversized wedding party wearing matching smiles, even Gansey's Republican parents are sporting expressions of well-bred happiness.
Ronan takes his typical metric fuck-ton of photos, every moment from every conceivable angle, and by the time he needs a break from all of the genuine emotion that's flying around, they're well into the reception and there's no one to notice if he sneaks around the side of the barn.
Or that's what he thinks, except Parrish -- Adam -- is also out skulking around the side of the barn.
"Is the best man really supposed to be hiding?" Ronan asks.
"You've been to more of these than I have," Adam says. "You must have seen worse."
"Well, unless you've poisoned someone's food in a jealous fit -- "
"Oh, God, not really."
" -- yeah, really. Safe to say I've seen worse than you."
Adam shrugs. "Henry's sent me a dozen Snapchat videos of his practice bouquet throws. He's like a sniper with that thing."
"Catch it and chuck it right back at him."
"I don't find my perpetual singleness as funny as he does." Adam looks at him out of the corner of his eye. "The closest I've gotten to a date in the last year was flirting with a guy who thought I was engaged."
Ronan sighs. "You're not going to let me forget that, are you."
Adam makes him wait for a response. "I wasn't planning on it," he says, meaningful, "no."
One of the dozen groomsmen pops out, which is just as well, because what the fuck could Ronan say to that. "Adam, Helen's looking for you. She wants to start the toasts so we can get champagne out of the way and she can move on to hard liquor."
Adam pushes up off the wall. "I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, but angering Helen Gansey is not one I'm in a hurry to repeat. I'll see you inside?" and Ronan nods, but he gives it a minute before he follows Adam in.
Only a minute, though, because he's still the photographer and weddings are still what keeps him in crop circles and weed and cows named after French cuisine.
He gets some shots of the toasts -- more of Adam's than of the others, but Adam is the best man, that's to be expected. He gets photos of the couple's first dance, of the dancing that sprawls out in their wake. He even snaps a couple of shots of Adam and Gansey dancing, awkward and laughing and stepping on each other's feet. At the end of the dance Adam kisses Gansey's cheek, hands him off to Henry with a quiet word, and Ronan recognizes the wistful expression in his viewfinder as one he's seen on the faces of a lot of fathers and brothers and friends over the last four years: he doesn't belong to me anymore.
Ronan caps his lens and gives him some space.
The wedding wraps up around midnight. The grooms depart in an honest to God horse-drawn carriage, something Blue had arranged through a vendor since Ronan thinks horses are demon animals that have no place on his farm. Blue'd ducked out earlier, around about the time that Electric Slide had made an appearance in the DJ's repertoire -- she regrets her ban on banning songs, but not enough, yet, to admit as much to Ronan.
Ronan, for his part, can't call it an early night; he lives here, if guests pass out drunk on the grounds or sneak off somewhere to hook up, it's his home they're invading. So he makes his usual rounds, locking up the barns, shooing people out to the parking lots, ignoring the mess because that's a problem for tomorrow -- later today -- whatever the fuck.
He walks out to the cattle barn more because he likes to check on the cows before he turns in for the night than because he's expecting anyone to be around.
It just figures that Adam would be hanging out on Ronan's real farm, elbows propped on the empty pasture fence. He's not facing Ronan, but Ronan hadn't taken any care to muffle his approach.
"That," Adam says, "was an awful wedding, that I'm ashamed to have been a part of, and it was completely beautiful."
Ronan is used to that maudlin tone; he's been throwing fancy parties for a living for four years, not to mention the preceding lifetime of belonging to an Irish-American family. "How drunk are you right now?"
"Not at all."
He approaches the fence, gets within range of him. "Designated driver?"
Adam smiles, a not very nice expression. "Raised by alcoholics."
Adam snorts, almost a laugh, and he doesn't object when Ronan leans against the fence next to him.
"You have any other best man duties tonight?"
"If Gansey and Cheng can't handle the next part on their own, their marriage is just going to have to remain unconsummated."
"Good," Ronan says, and kisses him.
Adam returns it immediately, mouth opening to his and arm snaking around his back, pulling Ronan forward until he's pinning Adam against the pasture fence.
Ronan's stupid farm is romantic, after all. Who knew?
There's a knocking sound from down in the kitchen when Ronan drags himself out of bed.
Blue's had a key to the house for years, so it's not a surprise to see her in the kitchen, making a pot of coffee. Given that Ronan got about three hours of sleep last night, it's not exactly welcome, either.
She slurps her coffee, deliberately loud. "I squirreled us away three bottles of champagne from the bar last night, we can do mimosas while we take the decorations down."
Ronan pours a cup of coffee and then, after a thought, tosses some grounds straight in.
Blue makes a blergh noise, which is more envirogating than the caffeine.
"Gimme a minute," Ronan says, after he's chugged and chewed his first cup of coffee.
He climbs back up the stairs, soundless as he steps into the bedroom. Adam is still asleep, hair falling into closed eyes and lips slightly parted. Ronan wants to climb back onto the bed and kiss that mouth, open it wider and feel Adam stirring next to him, except that Blue has ways of getting even when he leaves her hanging. And then he's thinking about how he has to go take down a bunch of lights and decorations and move heavy equipment and how he's too fucking tired for any of that bullshit, and then he kind of wants to wake Adam up just out of spite, except that that seems like a good way of making sure that he never gets a second chance at the whole waking him up thing. He finishes getting dressed and scrawls a note instead, out in the barns, coffee in the kitchen.
Blue has already started folding up the tablecloths, wearing a broad brimmed hat and enormous sunglasses that are the closest she'll come to admitting a hangover -- he thought he'd seen her doing shots with the celebrity DJ.
She pauses long enough to pour him a mimosa that is about ten percent orange juice. He takes it and clinks it against her glass.
"Cheers," she says. "You're on ladder duty."
They work for a while in silence, Ronan making frequent trips up and down the ladder. Gansey had pushed for lots of bright reflective decorations, which made a lot more sense to Ronan after he'd met the real Henry Cheng. If anything, they'd underdone the shiny crap.
They've made good progress on packing up when there's a knock on the barn door.
He looks up and sees Adam, squinting into the dark of the barn and wearing clothes that he must have dug out of Ronan's closet, and Ronan doesn't know if his life is about to change, but he hopes.
"Hello, Adam," Blue says pointedly, and Ronan flips her off halfheartedly. "I wasn't sure I'd see you here. The whole 'Ronan thought you were the groom' thing didn't scare you off?"
"No, it's kind of nice getting to be the smooth one," Adam says. "That doesn't happen for me very often."
"Help yourself to mimosas, I need to go pull the truck around," and that's why, if Ronan will never go so far as to say aloud that Blue is a great friend and a fantastic business partner, he will at least never say that she never did anything for him, because she's not even that obvious about leaving them alone.
"Morning," Adam says, soft.
Ronan nods at him, steps off the ladder.
"I stole your clothes, I hope you don't mind."
"Yup." Ronan places his hands on Adam's hips and pulls him close. "You should take them off, right now."
Adam groans and turns his face away, so that Ronan's kiss lands on his ear instead of his mouth. "I changed my mind. I no longer find it charming that you are not smooth."
"Too late," Ronan says, just to be contrary, but then Adam tilts his head and looks at him, in a way that makes him shiver, in a way that Adam can certainly feel.
"Yeah," Adam says. "I think it might be."
three years later
"I have always known," Blue says, "that Ronan was going to be a nightmare when he got married, but Adam, I had hoped that you would make the situation better, not worse."
"What do you mean, I'm a nightmare?" Ronan says, eyes wide. "I'm a fucking delight."
"What am I doing wrong?" Adam asks, exasperated. "I'm easy, I just want a wedding, that's what you do, weddings."
"Yes, you say that." Blue glares at him. "You know that 'I have no opinion' is the least helpful input someone can have?"
"Well, I'm sorry," Adam says, not sorry at all, "but the whole thing is silly. We already mingled our bank accounts. It's hard to think of a wedding as a big deal when we're already bonded by the pressure of paying for necessities under a capitalist system."
Blue turns and looks at Ronan. "This is who swept you off your feet?"
Ronan rests his hand on his chin and bats his eyelashes at Adam, because it's a two-for-one; it annoys his fiancé and his business partner.
Blue shuffles through a stack of papers in front of her with an irritated sigh, which just goes to show that, whatever claims she makes about hipsters and phonies she's just as bad as anyone else: why did she bring a stack of fliers for Ronan's own farm to a meeting with him, except to have papers to shuffle? "Can we at least pick a date?"
"June," Adam says, and Ronan says, "December," at the same time.
"Or whatever," Adam adds, belatedly.
"Not whatever, have a fucking opinion," Ronan says. "June," and then, "why the fuck June?"
"I don't know, it's -- " Adam waves a hand, " -- traditional, why December?"
"Because everything's dead. What, do you want to have the same anniversary as Gansey and Cheng?" and Adam grimaces at that but doesn't concede the point.
"Okay, so, you'll get married at some point during the calendar year," Blue says, pure acid. "Helpful. Are we talking formal? Informal?"
"Adam's going to wear a tux," Ronan says.
"All right, formal, we can do tuxes," Adam agrees.
"Not we, just you," Ronan says. "I'm not wearing a tux."
"I'm not going to be more dressed up than you are!"
"You realize that you're one of the worst couples I've ever met," Blue says.
"Wait, who's worse than us?" Ronan demands.
"Oh, my God, you are broken as a person," Blue tells him. "After this wedding I am blocking your phone number and dissolving the company."
"We don't have to have the wedding here," says Adam, who is mostly, by now, used to Blue and Ronan's eccentric form of expressing affection for each other, but only mostly.
"Yes we do," Ronan says, at the same time that Blue says, "Yes you do."
Adam throws his hands up. "I was just thinking you might want to not get married at your place of work, but fine."
"Well, good," Blue sniffs. "Because I've already drawn up the invoice for you," and then she hands Ronan a sheet with one of their standard contracts on it, with a very unstandard number at the bottom: costs: TBD, planner's fees: $250.
"You little shit," Ronan says, fondly, and Blue holds her hand out for him to shake.