Carmen and Adam's wedding day arrives, but things don't go as planned when Adam's father shows up with his new wife.
Adam and Carmen's wedding came unraveled into disaster before the day was over. It all started when the bride suggested that the groom invite his dad to the wedding. Adam looked at her with a face so pale.
"It's not a good idea," he said in a small voice.
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"He and I..." her fiance began. "...Aren't really close." Carmen threw her arms around Adam's neck.
"Well, you should invite him," she said. "Maybe you can try to patch things up. Please, do it for me?" Adam's eyes tried to look away from his bride-to-be.
"I'll see what I can do," he replied. She kissed him on the lips.
"Thanks, Babe," Carmen purred in his ear. Adam pressed his lips together as he nodded.
-Day of the Wedding-
Adam paced around outside of his house. Sakura sat on the bench, drinking a Pepsi as she watched him.
"Dude, stop doing that," she said. "Your old man's not going to come here any faster."
"I know!" he hissed. "It's just..." Sakura tilted her head at him.
"You didn't tell her about what he did to you, did you?" she asked in a low voice. The groom sheepishly shook his head.
"Oh..." Sakura said, "Dude."
"She insisted on me inviting him," he admitted.
"Damn," his gal pal muttered. She bit on her lower lip.
"Yeah," Adam answered. It felt pointless to say this, but the Japanese woman felt that she had to say something, anything.
"Maybe... he's different now," Sakura said with her voice trailing off at the end. Adam looked up at her with big desperate eyes.
"You think so?" he asked. Sakura was about to speak when she saw an old dark Impala pulling up along the driveway.
"Well, you're about to find out now," she said as she pointed behind him. Adam whipped around as the car pulled to a complete stop. He gulped as he clenched his fists.
"Wish me luck," he muttered.
"Yes sir!" Sakura said with a salute. Adam walked over to the car as if he was walking to an execution. His gal pal watched as both doors of Impala opened. An old man who looked like a throwback from Woodstock in the 60's closed the driver's side door behind him. On the passenger side, a middle-aged woman who also looked like a hippie looked at the palm trees with a cigarette pressed between her fingers. Adam pressed his lips together.
"Hello, dad," he muttered.
"Son!" the old man said aloud with his arms out and wide open. "Good to see you! You're finally getting married." He squeezed Adam against his leather vest. The younger man felt like gagging at the scent.
"Yeah, you're doing well too," he muttered. He happened to look over his father's shoulder at the woman by the car.
"Uh... dad," Adam spoke up, "Who's that?" The older man looked over at the woman in question.
"Oh, this is my wife Joyce," he answered. "Joyce, come over here and say hi to my son!" The woman turned around and flicked out her cigarette.
"Hi," she said. Adam frowned as he already had a bad feeling about this.
"Hi," he said back, trying to stay positive. Joyce looked back over at the house.
"This the lovely bride to be?" she asked.
"Huh?" Adam asked as he turned back to the house. "Oh, no, no; that's my friend Sakura?"
"She's Japanese?" she asked.
"Yes," Adam repeated.
"Well, I'll be!" his dad said. "You're not such a loser anymore." Adam gave off a nervous laugh.
"Well," he cut in, "Now that we're all here, shall we get going?"
"I'll drive," his dad said. Sakura rose to her feet and got into the backseat seat of the Impala. Adam straightened up his tie and took a breath before he followed.
"Joyce! Come on, we have to get going!" her husband yelled. His wife wandered into the car and they all drove off. The two-hour drive felt rather uncomfortable. Sakura leaned over to Adam.
"Everything looks okay so far," she whispered. Adam didn't respond; he seemed to be waiting for something to go down in flames.
-At the Chapel-
The guests all made it inside. Pete nudged Rose on the arm in the pew.
"You doing okay?" he whispered.
"Yes," she replied. He rubbed on her hand with his thumb. Duncan looked at his phone.
"Anything from Adam or Sakura?" Nessa whispered.
"Nope," he said. "They should be about here by now."
"Think he got cold feet?" Noriko whispered.
"Nah," Duncan said. "Maybe they had car trouble or something." He paused after saying that. "I hope..." They all tried to hold out for a positive outcome.
In the dressing room, Carmen took in all of the gleam as her dress was zipped up by her mother. All of the women in her family did her hair and make-up. She couldn't way to be wed to the man she fell in love with months before. Even Sakura being at the wedding wouldn't ruin her joy.
As long as she behaves herself, I will be fine, the bride thought in pride. She went out to the hallway to prepare to make the walk.
The rest of the car ride to the church remained in silence. Sakura made her own observations about Joyce. The woman didn't seem altogether there. Her hands trembled in her lap and she looked so pale.
Is she... on drugs? Sakura thought. The woman shook her head. /Maybe she's just nervous/, she thought. But why would she be? The four of them walked into the chapel. Sakura took her seat among the other journalists.
"Hey guys," she said.
"What took you so long?" Greg asked.
"His dad's here," the Japanese woman answered. Everyone went grim with silence.
"Does she even know?" Duncan asked.
"I don't think so," Sakura murmured. Everyone began to hope for the best from this point on.
In his dressing room, Adam stared in the mirror. Days earlier, he spoke with his dad on the phone. The older man sounded happy on the phone.
"You're getting married!" he exclaimed. "That's nice to hear." His son swallowed uneasily. He remembered the shouting, hitting, booze, and shoving back in Arizona. Adam's mother took the worst of the abuse. The son could only stand by and watch when he was younger. He still feared that he would turn out like his old man in a relationship to this day. His father claimed that he was a changed man now.
"I'm not the same man I was," he swore up and down. Adam didn't really believe that in his heart of hearts.
"Will you be there?" he asked.
"Of course!" the older man said. Now, Adam started to have his doubts again about everything from his father to his relationship with Carmen. He shut his eyes to try and clear his head. What should I do?
He paused when he suddenly heard arguing in the hallway. Adam opened his eyes and jerked his head upwards. I know that voice... The groom walked over to the door and peeked outside. His father and Joyce stood in the hallway in an exchange of heated words. The former yelled at his woman for drinking already as she looked down at the floor in what appeared to be shame. Adam bit on his lower lip as his headed filled with flashbacks from his childhood about his father's drunken nights with his mother.
I should do something, but what should I say? Adam thought as the situation started to turn for the worst. His father raised his hand to Joyce and slapped her in the face so hard that she fell to the floor. He was about to hit her again when his son ran over to break up the fight.
"Stop it! Stop it, Dad!" he shouted as her grabbed onto the older man. His father pounded away at him to push him off.
"Get off of me, asshole!" he snapped.
"Leave her alone!" Adam shouted. "Why are you doing this to her?!?" His father smacked him away towards the wall. The old man stood over his wife and son panting.
"Stay out of my way, damn it!" he barked. He stormed away to the chapel still in his cloud of rage. Adam clenched his fists before he turned to Joyce.
"Are you alright?" he asked. Joyce trembled as she nodded. She drew her knees to her chest and broke into tears. As Adam sat on the floor comforting her, he realized what he needed to do.
I walked up to the altar, expecting my husband-to-be to be waiting for me. Instead, only the preacher stood there with a confused look on his face. I kept up a brave face as everyone stood with whispers buzzing in the air. I made up to the preacher who gave me a concerned look on his face.
"Where's Adam?" I whispered. He closed his Bible and turned to the audience.
"Please take your seats everyone, I have an announcement to make," the pastor said in a serious tone. I looked around as all of the guests took their seats. He sighed before he spoke.
"Adam apologizes by saying that he can't do this," the pastor said. More whispers filled the chapel. The shock slowly crept over my face.
"What?" I asked.
"He's gone," was all the pastor would tell me. "I don't know where he went." My bouquet of yellow roses hit the floor at my feet. Before I could fully grasp what happened, my world came crashing down.
By that evening with one long angry phone call, I knew it was over.
Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone