In the three and a half months that followed our double date, Jada and Tucker’s undying love for each other have them teetering on the brink of matrimony. Their wedding is planned two Saturdays from now. To say that the entire church is excited about their nuptials would be an understatement. In the short time he’s been a part of our church family, Tucker has become indispensable and beloved by all. Reverend Cousins will both officiate and give Jada away. He says he’s always seen Jada as a second daughter. I’m the best man, and Viola is the maid of honor. And although Viola’s thrilled about Jada’s wedding, she’s planning for ours to be bigger and better than theirs.
Another problem for Viola is the fact most folks can see the genuine love, heat and passion between Jada and Tucker. To her, Tucker possesses the attributes every man should possess: compassion, passion, sensitivity, thoughtfulness, attentiveness and romance. I’ll admit he’s most things I’m not; and not only me, but most of the menfolk in the church. Most of all, it’s his faithfulness and fidelity that Jada, Viola, and all the church’s womenfolk value most. All women in general, to be honest. Of course it doesn’t help that I’m barely any of those things to Viola.
Nowadays, I find myself being constantly compared to Tucker. Don’t get me wrong, I love and respect Viola dearly, but just not in the way Tucker loves Jada. Marrying Viola will more or less get me to the place my father and I always envisioned for me: to be the next pastor of Grace Baptist Church. Our marriage will be the culmination of a pact sworn long ago between my father and soon to be father-in-law, Reverend Cousins. I’m so close to realizing the dream, that I can’t allow no one or nothing to jeopardize it.
In the last days leading up to the wedding, Tucker’s been a bundle of nervous energy. He and Jada are so looking forward to their wedding day, that neither one of them can hardly contain themselves. They both want to start a family immediately. So does Viola, but not me. I’d much rather establish myself as pastor for a couple of years before even considering starting a family.
In addition to being head over heels in love with Jada, Tucker has fully immersed himself into the church. As our youth minister, he’s created various ministries that have enthused the entire church. Membership among our youth has grown exponentially. He holds youth church during the regular worship service. He creates games and songs that help the kids learn more about the bible. He’s even talking about starting an after school tutoring and mentoring program. Here at Grace Baptist, he can do no wrong. If I didn’t already have the inside track to being named Reverend Cousins’ successor, and if Tucker wasn’t such a great friend and brother to me, I’d be worried.
Last night, I threw Tucker an impromptu bachelor party. I rented a suite at one of the hotels downtown. I invited a few of the younger guys from church and some of the guys from seminary. Liquor flowed freely and endlessly. After the crowd thinned out, Tucker passed out and I paid a couple of the dancers a little extra to undress him and pose for some provocative pictures. I hope I never have to use them, and I feel so guilty for stooping to such a level. But not so guilty to use them if I have to. Like my father used to say, “plan for war in times of peace.”