Chapter 003: Should I?
Hours before the proposal
Shortly after a celebratory lunch for Mina's graduation, the party of six moved quickly to ship their working woman across the pond with Pete and were currently processing their goodbyes.
"Have everything, Mina-bean?" Bert asked hugging his cousin close as Pete and the boys looked on.
Mina squeezed him back as she went through her mental checklist, "Yep. Relax, Bertie, I'll only be gone a week...so you can let go now, my respiratory system is filing a complaint about you."
Chuckling genially, Bert held her at arms length, studying the young woman before him. A feeling of nostalgia washed over him as he realized how much his little ballerina had grown up since he had taken up her guardianship seven years ago. He remembered how much he had enjoyed shining his revolver in front of her school dance date every time they came around, how proud he felt to find she had made honor roll every year, and how angry she would get when he and the boys came home drunk, high, and or stark naked. But, he knew, those days were coming to a close and soon, Mina would be calling elsewhere, with Pete, home. Bert sighed somewhat sadly, perplexing Mina.
"What? Oh, come on now, its okay. It's not like I'm leaving forever." she tried to lighten up her cousin's look but only succeeded in making it harder for him to say goodbye.
"Yeah, but we wouldn't want that now, do we boys?" he called over his shoulder to distract Mina from his expression. Bert moved aside to allow the others to hand in their London souvenir wish lists.
"Could you get me a British babe and fly her over here?" Jepha suggested dreamily.
Bert shook his head at the joke as he made his way over to Pete who stood just out of earshot of the rest.
"Anybody suspect anything yet?" Pete asked worriedly, trying to keep his nerves down so he could safely get on the plane.
"Nah. They all still think it's a vacation with you for a bit. What a surprise this is gonna be, huh?" Bert mused.
"Hopefully, we've been planning this for weeks now." the other man said. "Remember how scared I was when I asked for your blessing? Man I almost shit myself!"
Bert sniggered at the recollection of Pete squirming under his gaze as he asked for Mina's hand in marriage. "I think you did, there was a nice crusty brown spot where you were sitting you know? Anyway, you shouldn't have been scared, I still would have said 'hell yeah' even if you asked last year."
"Are you serious?"
Bert adopted a thick raspy Italian accent as he said, "I ah-like you for my Mina."
Pete laughed at his friend's attempt at 'The Godfather' just as the loudspeaker came on with a cool female voice, "All boarding flight two-sixty-one for London, please proceed to gate twelve please."
"I'll take care of her until you guys come in on the next flight, alright?" Pete assured Bert as they approached the group again.
Bert managed to give him a knowing look as Branden, Jepha, Quinn, and Mina were within hearing range again.
A last round of hugs and goodbye sent off the couple in high spirits as they finally boarded their plane. Bert was all smiles as Mina and Pete disappeared through the gates then turned to his friends with a gleam in his eyes.
"Let's go." Bert chirped heading for the opposite side of the airport and father away from any exits. "No time to waste boys, I already had our luggage shipped over ahead of time, hup hup!"
Quinn looked down right confused but followed along with the others as he questioned the scraggly haired man's motives. "Where are we going?"
Bert stopped and dragged his crew into a nearby bathroom, ready to explode with the announcement he had kept a secret for nearly a month now. "Mina doesn't know it yet but, Pete's going to propose at the concert in London tonight!" he squealed in a high pitched voice excitedly. "And we're going, in secret to see it all roll out!" he finished before starting to jump up and down, making more girly noises.
"Oh My GOD!" Branden joined Bert in a bouncing hug.
"Its about damn time that boy proposed." added Jepha who settled for a relieved grin.
Quinn, however, stayed motionless, unable to believe his ears. 'This is not good, how are Mikey and I supposed to get Frankie and Mina back together if she's going to get married?!' He thought, his mind bursting with ways to split up the pair. "Don't you mean it's a too much too soon?"
Bert and Branden stopped their hyper activity to stare wide eyed at their blond friend. It wasn't like Quinn to say something like this. Sure, it was a known fact that, as an early advocate for Mina's relationship with Frank, he did not personally think Pete was up to par, but this was an unusual comment, even for Quinn.
"What do you mean by that?" Bert quarried.
Quinn shrugged, "She's kinda young isn't she?"
Branden waved off the comment, "She's old enough to make her own decisions, if she feels she can't commit yet then Pete, being the good guy he is, will wait until she's ready."
"I doubt she'll even consider saying no." Jepha mumbled, hands in his pockets
Bert, who had taken Quinn's interjection as concern for Mina instead of a statement to try and stop the engagement for Frank's benefit, patted his blond friend on the shoulder consolingly. "You're probably just feeling all big brother-ish because she's going to be flying the coop for real now. Don't worry, I've got sedatives just in case you lose it at the encasement party, which is still a surprise for everyone save us and Pete, Orr if you start bawling at the wedding-whichever gets to you the most."
'You're the one who's gonna need sedatives if I tell you Mina is still hanging onto Frankie and vice versa. When are these people going to pay attention to the details like me and Mikey?' He sighed mentally at his thoughts then gave in to seeing Mina and Pete again, "Right. Okay, let's go see the love birds."
"That's the spirit!" Bert said, pinching Quinn's cheek as they exited the bathroom. "Ah, I can hear the wedding bells already, our little Mina, soon-to-be Mrs. Wentz!" he trilled happily.
*Presently, in London*
"Say, you'll marry me..." Pete sang softly as the crowd took in a shaky breath, all eyes on the girl in question.
'No, no, no, no.' Quinn prayed fervently as he and the others watched from above the stage, in the rafters. But those prayers were not answered as he heard that fateful word,
"Yes!" Mina practically shouted as she tackled Pete to the stage floor as the fans cheered and stamped their feet in approval.
Bert whooped in celebration from the rafters above the stage as he, Branden, Jepha and even Quinn threw confetti downwards. Quinn watched the bright pieces of paper swirl around the newly engaged couple as Pete swung her around him after slipping on the ring. He had to admit, it was one of the cutest things he had ever seen, apart from Mikey of course. Maybe splitting them up wasn't such a good idea after all...?
Yeah, right and I'm a donkey. There's no chance in hell that this is the end folks. Uh-uh. So stay tuned, 'cause this is far from over. Oh and here's the ring, just in case you wanted to see it. I think it reflects Mina's simplicity, beauty, and elegance, don't you?