Fast forward another year to when Kevin marries Kristin. Some awkwardness for Casey ensues.
“Kristin and I have talked and we both want you to be a junior bridesmaid,” he said over the phone. “Would you like that?”
“Yeah,” she said enthusiastically. Inside, she actually groaned at the thought of being in the wedding. It wasn’t that she wasn’t excited about being in the wedding, it was just that, she and Kristin had never gotten along. “When will I get to see you?”
“Right now I’m still finishing up the tour with the guys, but I’ll be done in mid-March. But don’t worry, Kristin will be meeting with you soon to go over dresses and colors and such.” Sure enough, a week later Kristin took Casey out to lunch to go over wedding plans. She also brought along the other two bridesmaids.
“So what do you think of the color beige for the dresses?” she asked the three bridesmaids.
Casey didn’t actually speak much. Kristin, her sister Tina, and her friend Jill made all the decisions. Casey found out the wedding would be in Kentucky, near Kevin’s home. Casey was excited about that as she had no memories of her life before moving to Florida with her mom.
Casey did like Kristin. She was a nice person and was always cordial to Casey the few times they’d met. Kevin loved her, and that in itself was enough for Casey. But Casey also knew that every time Kristin looked at her, she saw the mistake Kevin made when he was 14 years old. She liked Casey too, but sometimes had a hard time looking past the reference to Kevin’s past. Casey did all she could to make it easier for her, which is why she never offered her opinion during the wedding discussion. She wanted it to be all about her father and his bride.
The dress fittings were long and tiring for Casey. She did her best to stay positive, always reminding herself she was playing a part in her father’s happiness. That got her through almost every awkward or tiresome situation. Only one gave Casey’s optimism a run for her money. She was trying on the refitted dress while Kristin was talking to her sister in the hall. They were whispering, but Casey still heard what she said.
“I know Kevin wants her to be part of the wedding, but if you’re so uncomfortable with it why don’t you talk to him?” Tina suggested.
“She’s his daughter Tina, no matter how much I may not like that. She’s a part of his life, and I’ve accepted that. It’s just hard when every time I look at her I see so much of Kevin in her, all I can think of at first is that I’m not going to be his first.”
Casey heard Tina comfort Kristin for a minute before calling out to see if the dress fit alright. She quickly composed herself, reminding herself not to be the cause of any problems for this happy occasion, at least not intentionally. She showed them that the dress fit perfectly with the new adjustments, and returned to the fitting room to change back into her t-shirt and jeans.
The final months of preparations flew by, and Casey soon found herself standing in the airport next to Brian. Her mother had decided not to attend the wedding, though Kevin had assured her she was more than welcome. She told Casey she would have felt uncomfortable, and knew Kristin would have felt just as uncomfortable. She wanted the day to be perfect for Kevin and Kristin, so she stayed home. She made arrangements for Casey to fly with Brian and his fiancé Leighanne to Kentucky. Kevin had already flown out ahead of time with Kristin to make any last minute decisions.
“Are you excited?” Brian asked her.
“About the wedding or about flying, because I’m excited for both.” Brian laughed. “When my mom and I moved out here when I was four, we drove. This is my first time on a place and I can’t wait to get on.”
“Don’t get too excited,” he warned. “There’s never enough leg room and the bathroom’s are entirely too small.”
“But the take off is the best part,” Leighanne said. “I love the feeling of being pushed back into my seat as the plane soars into the sky.”
“You’re so poetic,” Brian said, giving her a quick kiss. Casey turned her head, feeling a bit awkward watching them kiss.
The plane began boarding, and Casey found she had the window seat. Brian sat between her and Leighanne. She found out Leighanne was right, and taking off was amazing. A few minutes into the flight Casey decided to ask a question she’d been thinking of for some time.
“Am I invited to your wedding?”
“Of course, but you might have to miss school. Will your mom let you skip school?”
“Yeah, I think so. Of course, you have to pay for my plane ticket to Georgia.”
The rest of the plane ride went smoothly. Being an evening flight, Casey fell asleep half way through. Brian woke her up when they landed and guided the sleepy teen to their waiting car. Kevin was staying close to Kristin, so Brian arranged to have his parents pick them up at the airport.
The next day was crazy. Everyone was getting ready and preparing for the wedding. Casey managed to get up with plenty of time to finish getting ready, and had to help Brian fix a loose button on his shirt while Leighanne was taking a shower. They all drove to the wedding together. Casey immediately found Kristin and was told where to go and what to do and when to do it. Brian and Leighanne joined the other Backstreet Boys in their reserved seats.
Everything happened just like it was supposed to. No one said anything wrong, no one tripped down the aisle, nothing bad happened. Casey started tearing up as she watched her father start crying. He was happy, but very emotional. Casey had always been emotional, and now she knew where she got it from. At the reception, he was still emotional, and wasn’t able to perform the song he’d wanted to with his band mates. After several hours, Casey felt herself wearing down from the long day. She was grateful when Brian and Leighanne left, taking her with them. She was leaving on an early flight home, this time with Howie, AJ, and Nick. Brian wanted to stay with his family, so Leighanne would stay with him, and Kevin and Kristin were obviously going on their honeymoon. No one wanted Casey to fly back by herself though, Casey included.
“What did you think of the ceremony?” she asked them once they were seated and waiting for the plane to take off.
“I liked it,” Howie said. “It was very romantic. I think they’ll be really happy together.”
The other two guys fell asleep quickly in their seats. Thankfully they were sitting next to each other. Casey had always been a morning person, and enjoyed talking to Howie for the rest of the plane ride. Her mom picked her up at the airport when she arrived back in Florida, and she enjoyed telling her every detail about the wedding. Casey couldn’t help but wonder how long it would be before she could see her father again.