And so it begins
Gerard ran his finger under his collar, which seemed to grow tighter with each passing second. Ten minutes had passed since the time the wedding had been scheduled to start and still there was no sign of activity from the hall leading to the living room. What was delaying the start of the wedding? His eyes locked with his Mom’s. Donna could see he was silently pleading with her to find an answer. She handed Joe to Luke and stood. Gerard watched as she made her way out of the living room and out into the hall. The clock on the mantel seemed to tick louder with each passing second.
“What’s going on?” She whispered to Alicia who was standing at the foot of the stairs with the other bridesmaids.
“She asked if she could have a few minutes alone.” Alicia whispered back. “Should I go get her?”
Kelly, who was holding Elle’s hand looked over at Don. He was standing slightly off to the side waiting to walk Monica down the aisle. She moved towards him and put Elle’s hand in his. “I’ll go.” She announced.
Kara locked eyes with Kelly wondering if her sister knew something she didn’t. Kelly shook her head slightly as if to say she didn’t. All eyes were on Kelly as she ascended the steps. At the bedroom door she knocked softly but didn’t wait before opening the door. “Mama?”
Monica was standing at the window, still holding Liv’s box. It was open but she was staring outside. She blinked to hold back the tears. She looked down, shutting the box before turning. “Let’s go.” She said as she placed it on the dresser.
“Mama, what’s wrong?” Kelly asked softly.
“Come on.” Monica said moving towards her daughter.
“But Mama.” Kelly glanced at her nervously.
Monica shook her head. “Let’s go Kelly.” She took Kelly’s shoulder and turned her around. At the top of the stairs Kelly tired once more to talk to her.
“No, Kelly.” Monica started down the stairs. She smiled to the faces looking anxiously up at her. “Sorry.” She whispered.
Christa stood at the foot of the stairs. “Are you ready?” She whispered.
Monica blinked twice then nodded.
Gerard’s mind was racing. What was going on? Was something wrong? He looked over at Mikey again. His brother’s eyes held uncertainty. He glanced out at the guests, his friends, and saw that they too seemed to realize the wedding was being delayed for some unforeseen reason. The icy cold hand of fear began to clutch at his heart when suddenly he saw his Mom walk back into the room. He watched as she walked down the aisle and back to her seat. Donna took Joe from Luke then looked into the eyes of her eldest son and smiled. Gerard released the breath he’d been holding. Suddenly the sound of the prerecorded music filled the air.
The guests stood and turned. Elle appeared in the doorway smiling brightly, her basket of rose petals clutched tightly in her hand. She looked adorable in her light green satin dress. She grinned and waved at Gerard. He waved back as she slowly she took a step, stopped and dropped a few rose petals.
Gerard smiled proudly at his youngest daughter. The guests watched with amused smiles as she took another step and dropped a few more. It was obvious by the look of determination on her face she wanted to do her task as perfectly as possible. This was evident when she took another step, didn’t like the way the petals fell and bent down to pick them up. The guests hid their smiles as the little girl once more dropped the petals and took another step. Gerard felt his heart would burst with love.
After Elle took several more steps carefully scattering her rose petals Kelly appeared in the doorway. Her dress, like Elle’s and the rest of the bridesmaids was made of sea foam green satin. To Luke, who was watching her every move she was the most beautiful girl in the world. Kelly clutched her bouquet of flowers nervously and began to follow Elle. Her eyes met Gerard’s and she smiled hoping that this wasn’t all a dream.
Next Christa appeared. She began to slowly walk down the aisle. Ray smiled thinking to himself that she out-shown everyone else in the room. His own wedding had been just a week ago, the memories of that day still fresh in his mind. He hoped Gerard and Monica would find the true happiness he’d found with Christa.
When Jamia stepped into sight Frank’s breath caught. Soon they would be the ones marrying and that thought caused a huge grin to appear on his face. Jamia locked eyes with him and the love they felt for each other radiated.
Slowly Kara moved into view. Her eyes sought out Bob and she smiled only for him. She was happy for her mother but to her way of thinking no wedding would ever be as wonderful as her own. Bob suddenly remembered the first time he’d ever seen Kara. It was at that moment he had known his life would never be the same.
Mikey smiled broadly when Alicia appeared at the end of the aisle. She was his love, his life, his everything. Not a day passed that he didn’t think about both of the weddings they’d celebrated. This wedding was nice but it was nothing compared to having Elvis join you in matrimony. Alicia knew he was watching her and gave him a quick wink. Mikey grinned and winked back.
Gerard realized he was once again holding his breath. He exhaled slowly and tried to calm his racing heartbeat. Suddenly the traditional Wedding March began to play and he caught his first glimpse of Monica in her wedding gown. Pure love coursed through his veins. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life.
Don glanced over at Monica. He’d felt her tremble slightly as he’d taken her arm. “Are you alright, Daughter?”
Monica blinked. “Yes” She whispered not trusting her voice to say more.
Slowly they began down the aisle. Monica felt as if she was suddenly outside her own body watching a scene from a movie. Don felt her tremble again and tightened his hold on her arm.
As they neared the waiting wedding party Joe suddenly woke and began to cry. Jamia and Frank exchanged a worried look. Donna tried to quiet the infant but his cries grew louder. The sound seemed to bring Monica back to the present. She saw that Donna was preparing to stand to take the baby out of the room. Monica quickly let go of Don’s arm and walked over to her. Without a word she took Joe from Donna’s arms and nestled him in her own. As the surprised guests and wedding party watched she walked over to Jamia and handed the baby to her. “He wants to be part of the wedding party,” she whispered.
Jamia took her son, who quieted almost immediately at his mother’s touch. Jamia smiled at Monica and whispered a thank you. Monica leaned over kissed the baby’s cheek then returned to her place at Don’s side.
Gerard watched with a huge smile on his face. His Monica was the most unpredictable, kindhearted woman he would ever know. As she and his father grew closer it suddenly hit him. Not once since she’d started down the aisle had she looked at him.
Monica and Don had reached their destination. Don turned to Monica and kissed her cheek. He saw the tears in her eyes, as did his son. Gently he took her hand and placed it in Gerard’s. Monica looked down at their intertwined hands. It took every ounce of willpower Gerard had not to lift her face to make her look at him. He knew in his heart something wasn’t right. They both turned to face the reverend.
“Friends we are gathered today to witness the joining of Monica and Gerard.”
“Wait.” Monica’s urgent cry shocked everyone in the room. She turned to finally look into Gerard’s eyes, “This is wrong.”
Authors Note: One more chapter to go. I can't begin to explain the sadness that fills me when I realize I won't be writing about these people anymore. They are like family to me. But the story has to end. Thank you all so very, very much for reading. I love each and every one of you. --- SanDee XOXO