It was incredibly hard for Cecil to keep his mouth shut at first. He had the worst job ever for someone so overexcitable, often blabbing secrets to the whole town over the radio. Night Vale was small enough that everybody knew everybody, so it wasn’t like a lot of strangers were hearing it – and even if they were, Cecil never minded. He liked to talk. It was his job to talk. He could talk forever into a microphone, and confess every little hidden thought and feeling he had ever had. It was definitely good that he had material to report and a set run time, that way it could never happen. Lately, he had talked less about Carlos than he used to, because they were living together, and they saw each other every single day. It didn’t mean Cecil appreciated him any less, it’s just that there were less words to say. And he tried not to obsess over his man anymore, because he would be waiting to make fun of him for it when he arrived home.
But the wedding – oh, god, the wedding. This was the hardest thing in the world for Cecil to keep a secret. It wasn’t that they didn’t want the world to know, of course not. Night Vale was a small, tight-knit community, and everyone was to be invited. Cecil knew that everyone was going to find out about the engagement before the thing was planned anyway, but he and Carlos had agreed to keep it on the down-low at least until they could send the wedding invitations out.
Carlos had a surprising fixation on how he wanted a wedding to be. Honestly, Cecil had already been planning the wedding in his head the first moment he laid eyes on Carlos all those years ago, but much of that was thrown out the window by Carlos’ strong opinions and (better) ideas. Carlos had been the one to officially propose, and it had been clear before that he really enjoyed weddings (much to Cecil’s delight – he had always been a romantic at heart.)
Carlos brought a lot of non-Night Valean wedding traditions to the table, some that Cecil had never even heard of.
“We throw… a bouquet… okay…” Cecil was writing with an illegal pencil into a small notepad. “And the person who catches it has to get married? Is that legally binding?”
Carlos chuckled. “No, it’s not– They don’t have to get married, it’s just supposed to be like, a symbol of good luck.”
Cecil scribbled this down furiously. “A luckybouquet.” He looked up at Carlos again. “A bouquet of what? Of ferrets? I’d be okay with that, but only if–”
Carlos let out a surprised laugh. “No, silly, of flowers.”
“Flowers?” Cecil echoed. He jotted that down in his notepad. “Alright. What kind of flowers?”
“I’m thinking a variety of lilies and peonies. What do you think?”
“That sounds perfect.”
“Okay… Are you sure? I don’t want you to feel like I’m running the show here, it’s our wedding, if you want anything, don’t be afraid to mention it. I want to include your ideas too. Unless it’s a bouquet of ferrets,” he added. “We’re not doing that.”
The planning aspects had gone quite smoothly with Carlos taking the mantle. His exotic outsider ideas were fascinating to Cecil, and many of them were actually far more romantic than the Night Vale traditions, so Cecil was on board 100%.
The officiant, however, was to be a Night Valean, which meant keeping the traditions there during the actual wedding ceremony. Carlos was very okay with that. He had become a true Night Vale citizen over the course of his years, and he wanted to honour that side of himself well.
“Just remember, don’t spoil the wedding,” Carlos reminded Cecil as he was on his way out the door to head to work one morning. “It has to be a surprise.”
Cecil threw his hands up. “I won’t.”
“Good.” Carlos placed his hands delicately on Cecil’s waist, and pulled him in for a kiss. A pleasant shiver tingled down his spine.
“I love you,” murmured Cecil.
“I love you, too,” whispered Carlos. “Don’t spoil the wedding.”
While Cecil was at work, Carlos had been taking a bit of time off to organize the wedding. Many weddings hired a wedding planner, he considered. But Cecil hadn’t mentioned anything about a wedding planner. He guessed that Night Vale weddings weren’t normally as extravagant and expensive as weddings in the outside world tended to be, and having someone to manage all of the finances wasn’t a priority. Carlos didn’t care for huge amounts of money being spent on the wedding, he only wanted it to be romantic and suiting for both himself and Cecil. Still, he could use a helping hand, and he didn’t want Cecil stressing over this. Honestly, he knew his top pick for the position of wedding planner, but there was no way Cecil would agree with the choice.
Earl Harlan, Cecil’s friend and chef from Tourniquet was to bake the wedding cake. Old Woman Josie and the Erikas had agreed to help set up the event, so long as they didn’t have to help clean up after, which Carlos said he was okay with doing. Almost everything could easily be taken care of, except right now, Carlos was stumped on suits. Carlos honestly had no idea where to go for that. There didn’t appear to be any business in Night Vale that rented or sold nuptial attire, and it made Carlos honestly a little afraid to ask. But they were coming up on the day here, and he needed to figure this out somehow.
Carlos glanced at the clock, which of course, did not work. He surmised that he still had an hour or so before Cecil returned home (whatever that meant today.) He decided to make a call.
He tapped his fingernails against the table as the phone rang.
“Hey, Carlos. Is somethin’ the matter?”
“No, but… um… it’s about the wedding, actually. I need help.”
“Oh boy, really? You want my help?”
“Of course, Steve. I know Cecil can be … stubborn, but I know you love him and wish only the best for him and me. I wanted to ask for your help with the wedding planning from the start, but I knew he probably wouldn’t agree to pick you, so I never brought it up.”
“That’s okay, I-I get it. I’m flattered that you even thought of me! What do you need, Carlos?”
“Um… Sorry if this is a stupid question, but… Where do you buy suits in Night Vale? Like, tuxedos,” he clarified. “Bridegroom attire. Or is it … groom-groom? There will be no brides at this wedding. If you’re both bridegrooms… I guess you should probably just say, ‘groom.’ Save the confusion. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, yes, suits.“
“Suits,” Steve Carlsberg agreed. “N’ yeah, that’s kind of a hard question to answer.”
“Well, there’s kind of a ritual…”
Carlos sighed. He had suspected as such. “Did you do this for your wedding?”
“Yeah. It’s kind of a long, weird process, but I wanted to impress Abby really badly, so I went through with it.”
Carlos sighed again. “I want to impress Cecil, too, but…”
“You could try Jackie Fierro’s Pawn Shop first. People pawn the craziest stuff here,” Steve laughed. “I bought my car there for $11. Can you believe that? Cecil makes fun of it all the time, but it’s in perfect condition. It was just cheap because everything is $11 at Jackie Fierro’s. I don’t know why, but who am I to question a good deal, right!”
Carlos found himself laughing. Then, he found himself increasingly more stressed. “Thanks, I’ll try there. But I still need flowers, too. Oh and who’s going to do my hair for the ceremony? And print out the vows on little note cards so that we can’t get arrested by Sheriff Sam for using writing utensils? And what if the rings aren’t ready in time? Oh god.”
“You know what, Carlos? You need to stop worrying so much.”
“But it all needs to be done, someone has to–”
“I’ll take care of it.” Steve’s voice was gentle and assuring. “If you’ll let me, that is. I understand that Cecil probably wouldn’t like it, and this is his wedding, too, I wouldn’t want to go against his wishes–”
“Cecil sometimes doesn’t know what he wants,” Carlos interrupted. “You can help. You know Cecil and I better than he gives you credit for. I think you’ll be perfect for the job.”
“Absolutely. You’re hired.”
“Oh, thank you, Carlos! I’m so honoured. I’ll take care of everything! And Cecil doesn’t even have to know it was me.”
Carlos’ heart panged. Steve was so willing to help Cecil and not even receive any credit. “No, I’ll make sure he knows. I’ll pick the right time to tell him, but he’ll know. For sure. You deserve recognition for your hard work.”
“Okay.” Steve sounded unsure. “I’ll leave that part up to you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a wedding to plan!”
“Thank you so much, Steve. I’ll see what I can do about the suit situation today.”
“Alright, soon-to-be-brother of mine. I’ll take care of everything else! Flowers, hair, rings – it’s all good! You need to relax. It’s your wedding, too.”
Carlos couldn’t help but smile. “I suppose you’re right. I was so focused on making Cecil happy and taking the work out of his hands that I guess I kind of forgot. It means a lot to me that you’re helping. It’s like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.”
“Hey, I’m always happy to help. I love you.”
“I love you too,” Carlos chuckled. “Thanks again, Steve. Talk to you soon.”
The process of acquiring wedding attire (for $11!) was sorted more easily with the behind-the-scenes help from Steve Carlsberg, as was hiring the minister, booking the venue, and… everything. The wedding was just around the corner now, and Carlos was surprised that Cecil had managed to keep it a secret for so long.
Cecil was just as surprised.
Although it wasn’t a secret secret. He managed to keep his mouth completely zipped about it over the radio, but the excitement was always bursting to come out of him.
Cecil was walking down the street one afternoon, when he bumped into Diane Crayton. They weren’t exceptionally good friends, but Cecil knew who Diane was, and Diane knew who Cecil was. (Everybody knew who Cecil was.)
“No, I’m sorry, Diane! I wasn’t looking where I was going. I’ve had a lot on my mind recently.”
“Haven’t we all.” Diane laughed good-naturedly.
“Yes, of course – but me, especially. I have a lot going on.”
“You see, I’m getting married!” Cecil held up his hand to show off the engagement ring. “Isn’t that wonderful? The engagement ring itself is pretty simple, the design is quite muted, but the actual wedding rings are being made from the family bloodstones. I’m really excited! I haven’t been allowed to talk about it on the air because it’s supposed to be a secret, and Carlos is really serious about it, but…!” Cecil made an unintelligible noise of excitement. “Carlos said we’re even going to toss a bouquet of flowers! Like, what even? And we’re going to dance, and wear suits, and feed each other cake! It’s going to be thrilling, Diane! … … Diane? Where did you go? She was just here a second ago…”
Cecil turned and spotted Diane, a few blocks up, briskly walking away from him into the distance.
He shrugged, continuing on his way. Waiting for the crosswalk light to turn, he spotted another familiar face.
“Frances! Long time no see! You’ll never guess what…”
The ceremony was beautiful. The tuxedos fit perfectly. Janice pelted the guests with flowers from her wheelchair, and an Erika acted as the ring-bearer. Through some convincing, Steve became their best man, and he cried through the whole ceremony.
The minister donned a sacred soft meat crown and gave a bizarre speech which easily brought tears to Cecil’s eyes. Despite the absurdity of it, Carlos found himself crying by the time he said “I do.”
Michelle Nguyen caught the bouquet, and proceeded to explain how purple peonies are "lame” and calla lilies are “so last year,” and that it’s offensive for anyone to assume that she would ever even get married, but her face reddened considerably as she passed the flowers on to former NVCR intern Maureen.
The first dance of the wedding was one of the most ethereal experiences of Carlos’s life.
The song was gentle and romantic, and all eyes were on Carlos and Cecil as they took to the floor, hand in hand.
A blush was igniting on both of their faces, but Carlos took it upon himself to lead. Cecil was probably the better dancer of the two, and Carlos knew it, but they had practiced a lot, and he felt a strong desire to impress his fiance – no, his husband. His entire being shivered at the new word.
One hand on Cecil’s hip, the other entwined in his long fingers, Carlos swung him in slow, beautiful circles across the dance floor. Despite initial embarrassment, Cecil’s steps were elegant, almost perfect in every way. Dance was truly the language of Night Vale, Carlos thought.
As they looked into each other’s eyes, Cecil felt himself beginning to float on air.
“You’re magical,” he murmured.
Carlos laughed – a single-syllable, incredulous sound of combined disbelief and captivation.
He felt himself losing his footing. Only… the dance never broke. Even with nothing to step on, they remained perfectly in step.
He held tight to Cecil’s waist, squeezing his hand as gravity ceased to exist for them, and them alone. The onlookers cooed.
They spun through the air, slow and smiling. As the song faded out, they embraced. Their bodies together and lips interlocked in a kiss that never wanted to end, they began their slow descent back to Earth.
As their toes touched linoleum again, the wedding guests all started to clap. They barely heard it.
Carlos blinked. “That was…”
“Beautiful,” punctuated Cecil.
Upbeat music began, and the rest of the guests had started to populate the dancefloor around them. But Cecil and Carlos still only had eyes for each other. Their hands and hearts never left each other for the entire rest of the evening.