Thaddeus Bruce Raymond III is an aspiring writer who knows a thing or two about weddings since he has been in more of them, over the years, than he can count. Always the groomsman, never the groom, Thaddeus has no problem being invited to a wedding or even being in one, but he feels haunted by the fact that he has yet to stroll down the matrimonial aisle in a wedding of his own. A great guy by anyone's standards, Thaddeus has to reconcile that he remains single due to circumstances which have caused him to be a bit reluctant to fall in love.
Tiffany Waters, his first love and the mother of his child, is a constant thorn in Thaddeus' side. Her need to control him and every aspect of his relationship with their daughter has reared its ugly head as the main culprit in making him apprehensive when it comes to relationships with women in general. Once bitten and twice shy in matters of the heart, Thaddeus tries to focus on reaching his goals in life, while constantly juggling issues concerning love, baby mama drama, a dead-end job and other stresses in life.
A damaged perception of relationships has Thaddeus all but ready to give up on any idea of finding a wife...that is until Vanessa comes along. Beautiful, witty, and down to earth, Vanessa turns out to be the perfect match for Thaddeus; but is it too late for him to separate himself from his past issues with women long enough to cultivate a relationship with Vanessa? Can love conquer all or will his past break the heart of his future?
The Wedding Man is an engrossing story of one man's desire to move past his trust issues and insecurities in order to give love a chance.
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The Wedding Man
By H. M. Trey
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 H. M. Trey
All right reserved.
Chapter OneIn the beginning
As I stand here thinking, many thoughts run wildly through my mind and there are questions that need to be answered. The shift in the mood of my thoughts quickly changes from confusion, to anger, to joy, to sadness, to fear; then back to joy, and so on and so forth. Today is a big day for a friend of mine. Today is his wedding day. As I stand in the front of the church with the rest of the groomsmen, my thoughts begin to tussle with one another in my mind. You see, Tony and I have not known each other very long; six months or so to be exact, but he thought enough of me to have me, of all people, in his wedding—one of the biggest days of his life. I guess I should feel honored about being part of such a special occasion, but it fills me with more uncertainty than a sense of privilege.
Over the past three years, I have witnessed twelve marriages, but what is so crazy about the whole thing is that I have actually been in eight of them; and we are not even counting the weddings that I could not make it to. Everyone is getting married these days, and for some reason, they want me to be part of their celebration; how about that! But on this day in particular, my emotions are getting the best of me as I stand and watch the lovely bride walk down the aisle.
Why am I here? Man, she looks beautiful in that dress. Why am I the only one not married out of the rest of his groomsmen? The groom should be me! I don't know any of these people here at this wedding!
Wow, the thoughts one can have in such a short period of time.
During my moments of reflection, I stop long enough to begin checking out the bride's maids. Most of them don't look half bad, which isn't always the case, so I can't help but smile at the fact that at least this time there is a bit of eye candy to drool over in the wedding party. But I quickly try to bring myself out of that frame of thought because it is not my day and it's not about me; although I am single and looking! And that takes me to the reason behind my emotional roller coaster today; I am just that ... SINGLE AND LOOKING!
And that, my friend, is where I am in life at the current moment in time while standing in front of those who have come to celebrate this special day. Surveying the congregation I see smiles, tears, and expressions of joy as the bride comes strolling down the aisle on the arm of her father to the distinguishable sounds of The Wedding March, a song so familiar to me that it is sickening to my ears. The rest of the ceremony goes on as to be expected; vows, lighting of candles, kisses, rice being thrown and all the usual turn of events that are routine occurrences as a couple sets off to begin a life of happily ever after. Both bride and groom seem made for each other and they appear to be very happy together. A nauseated feeling invades my stomach; I exhale deeply hoping that I can one day find my own happiness too!
Chapter TwoHow Did We Get Here?
As I walk back in the apartment and drop down my bags, I take a deep breath and take in the lonely air of my quiet place, almost deafening was the feel. The apartment is on the dark side due to all the blinds being closed, hence adding to the gloomy vibe. I walk over to the couch and plop down, laying my head back, taking a deep breath, and closing my eyes; in need of a mental hiatus.
A wedding should be a happy moment, filled with bliss, laughter, and tears of joy, but this one has served the opposite effect on me; leaving me a little more resentful, a little more depressed than before. I feel a little jealous of Tony at this moment; somewhat angry with him due to the fact that being in his wedding has led me to an unwanted evaluation of my life. I know I am being selfish and a little bit over the top but I can't help but have a "how dare he" mentality at the moment.
I mean, I had this issue under control before this blasted marriage came about. For the last four months or so I have done a real good job with being able to suppress my depressed state of mind. Demands of my job, my writing, and my daughter Aria have been my scapegoat from my overly active mind! I have stayed busy. Seeing all the love, all the happiness, all the joy at the wedding today simply opened up the old wounds that I had managed to hide securely in that ironclad shell that I enclosed my heart in. That warmth from the wedding had battled with the coldness that I have come to know within myself as it pertains to my current situation of being single and looking. And now I am left with the aftermath of that subliminal battle.
I'm a little frustrated at this point because at this time my mind should be at rest. I mean it is Saturday night, I just left a wonderful wedding ceremony, and I have Sunday to rest and mentally prepare myself for the week ahead. I should be at ease. But not me, No sir! My mind is going a million miles an hour at this point. Deep in thought with the fact that I am a single guy when what I really want is companionship. I am nowhere close to having that companionship at this point of my life all because of that dreaded word—Circumstances!
As fate would have it, certain events in my life have caused me to still be single despite my desires to be happily in a relationship, or even married for that matter at this point in my life. Never did I have any clue back when it first happened that one event in particular would have such a negative effect on my life. What event might that be you ask? The one that has led to years of so much drama, many sleepless nights, much confusion and stress. The one event that caused me to be moving along in life as if I was walking in quicksand; going nowhere fast. The one event that has lead me to lose faith in there being a trustworthy woman out there worth committing to and opening up my heart to without getting it shredded into millions of pieces—the day I met Tiffany Waters.
The moment she walked into my life, it was turned upside down and she quickly became my evil adversary, my sworn enemy, the Kryptonite in my life that would cause me years of frustration and headaches. When I first met Tiffany, I had no real clue as to what I was getting into. I was young, dumb, and very inexperienced with the ways of life outside of what I learned coming up in Raleigh. My sheltered upbringing did not prepare me for the monster that came to me in the form of a female. If I had it all to do over again, I would have simply let that chick pass me by, but being that I did not take that course of action, my future was doomed and I was forced to experience what it would be like to have Hell up here on Earth. I was very impressionable and somewhat naïve when it came to women when I left home for college; and it was just my luck that my first real encounter with a woman was with Medusa's little sister.
Tiffany presented well at first. It might even be that I was blinded to reality by the fact that she even gave me a chance in the first place. The rose-colored glasses of infatuation caused me to fail to see her true colors. But when she revealed those true colors to me, they came in the form of spitefulness, deceitfulness, cruelness, and crazy mood swings. Tiffany was real good at mind games and playing on my self-esteem. You know doing mess like, breaking up with me but tripping when I would speak to another chick. Being that I was very inexperienced when it came to women and the fact that I seemed to settle for whatever came my way, I dealt with Tiffany and her bullshit throughout my entire time in college; just happy to have a woman to call my own.
After college was done our relationship, or whatever you want to call it, changed forever for the worse. I mean we were together; but then again we were not. I was confused. I was a little older, but I can't say I was any wiser concerning relationships. We had been a couple for four years in our jacked-up situation, so my views were different than they were when I first met her and I was not taking as much of the shit that I did as a freshman from her. We were already doomed not to have any positive interactions with one another by that time, but one event changed everything! Changed my world and shifted all my stars out of line. I remember it like it was yesterday. The hurt and the deceit that came from that day transformed a loving spirit to one filled with resentment.
It was the day that I got a surprise visit from Tiffany. By that time things were pretty much over between Tiffany and me. I had not heard from her for about a month or so when she showed up at my place out of the blue, unannounced. We were not even on speaking terms by then, yet there she was. I opened the door without even uttering a word to her; no "hello," nothing! I just returned back to what I was doing before I was so unexpectedly interrupted by her, playing my PlayStation. She simply entered the apartment and walked past me to the downstairs bathroom. On her way to the porcelain throne, she threw a card at me and uttered the words, "Happy Father's Day." I was really into my game and at first paid no attention to Tiffany as she made her way to the bathroom. In fact, I simply dropped the card on the floor by my feet. A few seconds went by and I came to my senses and realized that Tiffany had said, "Happy Father's Day" on her way to the bathroom. Those words would later echo in my head for months on end; HAPPY FATHER'S DAY. I was so into the football game on the PlayStation, that I did not pay what she said any mind at first. AT FIRST! I mean, I was in the middle of the playoffs and I was going to win the game! Then I thought about the card that I dropped on the floor, and I reached down and picked it up. I slowly opened the card and in it was a sonogram of a baby.
Time stood still and my heart dropped.
As reality sunk in, Tiffany came out of the bathroom.
I asked her the obvious questions, "So are you pregnant and how far along are you?"
The conversation between us began to make me feel like I was having some sort of out-of-body experience. I remember Tiffany stating how far along she was. I, in turn, asked why it took her so long to tell me that she was pregnant. What Tiffany told me then forever changed things between the two of us. I mean our relationship was already eternally damaged and I did not think anything could possibly top what she has done in the past. But then again, it's Tiffany that I am talking about, who never ceases to outdo herself in the category of what can I do more evil than the last thing I did. I had been foolishly seeking Tiffany to state from her own mouth, the confirmation of a belief that has, up till this point, simply been an assumption. What she told me brought everything in perspective. The confirmation that I had sought after for a long time was finally before me staring me down like defeat. As Tiffany formed her lips to utter the words that would seal the fact that I would begin a long fall into severely hating a person; I could feel the anger that had been stored in me begin to surface like that of lava surfacing from within a volcano. Tiffany replied, "I did not tell you because at first, I did not think it was yours."
AT FIRST SHE DID NOT THINK IT WAS MINE!
I was so angry. The kind of anger that one has when they trash a room, the kind of anger that causes some to blank out in the heat of the moment and do something that would forever change their life. And before I know it, I blurted out, "What makes you think it's mine now!" Tiffany's reply was that when she went to the doctor and they told her how far along she was in the pregnancy, she connected that time with the last time we had sex.
That made sense, it made all the sense in the world; but to be honest, at that time I was not hearing a damn thing that chick had to say, because I finally had gotten the confirmation that she was sexing the other dude and had been sexing him for quite some time. I instantly thought back to the times when we were in college and all the drama she gave me all while she was seeing him back then too! I was pissed! That's an understatement. I just thank God that I did not lose it, because I already knew in my heart that I was not the only one Tiffany was sexing. It's just that the confirmation stung me down to my soul. At that moment in time all I could think was, "Nope, the child is not mine." I refused to believe that it was.
From that day on, our interactions became bitter and resentful! I resented the hell out of Tiffany. I was in a state of mind that I was not gonna take part in whatever she had going on. I denied the whole thing in the beginning. I was deeply hurt. Our relationship had been over long before the pregnancy, but the idea that she was having sexing with me and that other dude at the same time, made me so angry. I mean, I did not start seeing anybody else until after we had the conversation to date other people, which came not long before Aria was conceived. All I could think about was all the times that she would give me the third degree when a female simply spoke at me! Yet she was doing a lot more than just 'speaking' to her male 'friend.'
I had to get past the feeling of deception and Tiffany's nonchalant attitude about her pregnancy. It wasn't easy because the entire mess with Tiffany scarred me. But despite my hatred at the time for Tiffany, I still tried to keep my faith in God. I prayed long and hard on it, talked with my mother about the situation, and I put my pride and my hatred for Tiffany aside and made what I believe had to have been one of the best decisions of my life. I opened my heart and my life to my little angel and once she was born, Aria would become a huge part of my life. From the first moment I saw her, my heart melted. My life changed with the birth of my daughter. I now had to grow up and become responsible for not only me but another person. That also meant that the drama that I had to deal with from Tiffany changed as well. I now had to deal with baby mama drama!
Anyone who remotely knows anything about me knows that I love my daughter. Coexisting in Aria's life with Count Tiffany has not been easy. The girl is a serious control freak and she uses my daughter to continue to have that control over my life, and she uses my love for my daughter as fuel for her control. For whatever reason, she has decided to make my life miserable by making it a serious challenge to partake in my daughter's life without the drama that she brings. Tiffany Waters! I cringe at the name!
My thoughts shift from Tiffany's sickening actions in the past, to the wedding, and back to the lonely feeling I have as I sit in my dark apartment.
Speaking of lonely, I think with a sarcastic chuckle, I am lonely! About as lonely as one gets.
It's getting late. Returning to the here and now, I realize that I have already sat in deep thought for over three hours. I need to get it together. I have to really work on all the stress that's building up inside me, because I don't think the amount of anxiety that I experience is healthy. I need to evaluate all the things that are stressing me the hell out. I mean I have to look out for my sanity. There are many days that I feel like I am going crazy, my mind is constantly in a whirlwind; as it is at this moment in time. I need some prayers to be answered. I promised Jamie that I would be at church for his initial sermon on Sunday, so I guess going to church will be a good start for me to figure things out. With that said, I come back to my senses in order to get to bed so I can make service in the morning.
Chapter ThreeA Week from Hell
It's Monday morning and the commute in rush hour traffic is horrendous. Why? Well, it's raining, school buses are everywhere, road rage is a passenger in almost every car around me, and today, out of all days, everyone seems to have forgotten how to drive! Charlotte traffic is never the best, but it is particularly bad this morning. It's as if these people are scared to drive. I mean where do people like this get their licenses—Walmart? It takes me thirty minutes longer than normal to get to work. Needless to say, I'm not in the best of moods. I have already been set up to have a bad day. My frustration level is already through the roof.
As I get to the office I find out that John has called out for the day. Damn! It's gonna be a long day, I think to myself since my homeboy won't be in to be a source for me to vent to. I immediately have to adjust to my partner in crime not being in the office today. And then it begins; the calls are frequent, the interruptions are abundant, and the people all seem to be idiots. No one appears to have a clue today. Just as I start to wish I stayed in bed this morning, a small bit of humor comes my way in the form of Tasha, Frita, and Janet from the medical records section. Anytime these three come around you gonna get a good laugh. Their comical personalities seem to feed off of one another. They have no qualms about joshing on each other. The female version of the three stooges! Even something as simple as getting a cup of coffee becomes a production number when it involves them. The laughs didn't last long though. Once the three of them left to go back to their department, my headache returned. The phone constantly rings, the families on my caseload all seem to need more assistance than normal, and my supervisor, Mrs. Barbara, is nagging the hell out of me about reports that all seem to say essentially the same thing. Not to mention that the damn internet is down in the office. Just how do these people expect me to work under these conditions? Oh, yes, you can tell it's Monday. Nothing seems to be running smoothly.
Excerpted from The Wedding Man by H. M. Trey Copyright © 2012 by H. M. Trey. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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