Just what the title says...
“Mr. Way?” The office asked while noticing a crowed of people were moving out onto the porch behind the man.
Gerard forced himself to nod but his voice shook, “Holly.” It was the only word he could utter.
“She was involved in an accident.” The officer responded. “Her car slid off the road about five miles back.”
“Oh God.” Gerard’s body began to tremble.
The officer held up his hand, “Please calm down Mr. Way. She wasn’t hurt.”
“Where is she?” He was already mentally preparing to leave.
The office smiled, “Right now she’s in the back of my patrol car being a bit cranky I wouldn’t let her out.”
“You see sir your beautiful bride has had a rough morning. When I spotted her she’d just climbed back up to the road from the ravine. She lost her shoes in the mud. I was hoping if someone has an umbrella I’ll try to keep her from getting soaked while you carry her in.”
Gerard rushed past the officer without another word. It was Sally who spoke to the office. “Hold on. I’ll get the umbrella.”
Mindless of the pouring rain Gerard ran to the patrol car then threw open the door. “Holly.” He cried out as he leaned in to kiss her.
Holly hugged him tightly not caring he was soaked. “Gee, I’m so sorry.”
“Honey, there’s nothing to be sorry about.” He forced himself to release her. “You’re okay, that all that matters.”
By this time the office was standing beside the car holding the umbrella over Gerard who was still bending down.
“Ready?” He asked.
Gerard nodded then scooped Holly into his arms. As they made there way to the porch the office held the umbrella over them.
The guests began to clap as they neared.
Gerard carefully lowered Holly to the ground once they were on the porch.
Everyone was speaking at once.
"Holly, you had us so worried.” Alicia said rushing up to hug her.
Gerard’s arm was tightly around her shoulder. “Why didn’t you call?”
“I didn’t take my phone charger last night. The one in the car doesn’t fit the new phone you bought me.”
“So your phone went dead?”
She nodded, “And I was already running late. The car wouldn’t start this morning so I had to call and have it jump started. While I was waiting I thought if I put on my dress it would save time.”
For the first time Gerard noticed what she was wearing. It was a beautiful off white mid-length beaded gown. She looked beautiful even with bare feet.
“Mommy looks pretty.” Molly said pushing her way through the guests to get to her mother.
“Baby.” Holly pulled her daughter to her. “So do you.” Her eyes began to scan the people standing on the porch. “Is James still here?” She’d known he had to leave as soon as the ceremony was over.
“Hey, Holly.” James stepped out from behind Don. “I’m still here. We were all just waiting for you.”
“I’m so sorry.” Holly blinked rapidly. She’d been so afraid she’d missed her wedding.
“Mommy where are your shoes?”
Holly looked down at her. “They got stuck in the mud. Mommy’s car went off the road and I had to walk back up the hill.”
Gerard’s arm tightened around her automatically.
Sally looked over at the officer. “And you spotted her?”
“She’d just reached the road.” He nodded, “At first I thought I was seeing things. It’s not everyday you spot a bride in the rain with no shoes.”
Holly spoke to James, “Do you still have time to marry us?”
He nodded, “If we start now.”
Gerard turned Holly to face him. “Honey if you want to wait…”
“No” She shook her head, “Everyone’s here.”
He looked down at his jeans and tee, “I’m not exactly dressed.” He still wanted this wedding to be perfect for her.
Holly smiled, “And I’m not wearing shoes, my hairs a mess and my makeup isn’t done.”
“You look beautiful.” He said softly.
“So do you.” Holly giggled feeling the tension finally leaving her body for the first time today. “Let’s get married Gee.”
As the guests started to file back inside Holly turned to the officer. “Please, will you stay? I know you’re off duty now.”
He looked a bit uncomfortable.
Holly walked over to him. “We wouldn’t even be having this wedding if it wasn’t for you. There’s gonna be lots of great food afterwards.”
He smiled, “Guess I could.” It was then Sally, who’d gone inside the house, reappeared and handed him a towel.
“I’m Sally.” She said extending her hand. “Nice to meet you officer.”
“Nick.” He answered shaking her hand.
“Well come on in Officer Nick.” Sally smiled.
Inside the sofa was being pushed back and everyone was getting ready.
“Bandit you look beautiful.” Holly smiled looking down at her soon to be step daughter.
Bandit beamed, “Mes a princess.”
Lindsey who had joined them hugged Holly. “Damn woman you had us all scared.” She whispered. “Thought Gerard was gonna have a stroke.”
“I thought I was going to have one.” Holly admitted. “I was driving too fast, I knew it but I was so scared I wasn’t going to make it in time. Suddenly there was a mud slide across the road and my car went right with it down into the ravine.”
Gerard was back at her side. He’d heard what she’d just said. “Thank God you’re okay.”
Holly smiled, “I waited in the car for a few minutes but then I decided that I had to get back up to the road or no one would find me. It was lucky Nick came alone when he did.”
Gerard’s eyes grew wide, “Nick?”
Holly nodded, “Yeah, Officer Nick.” They both were thinking the same thing.
Alicia bustled over, “Okay just a touch of lip gloss.” She said turning Holly towards her to apply the gloss to Holly’s lips.
“She looks just fine.” Gerard said softly.
Across the room Nick took a minute to speak to James. “Holly told me you have to make a flight.”
James nodded, “Yeah, gotta get home to my family.”
“As soon as the ceremony is over I’ll get on the radio and find out the best route for you to take from here. There are a lot of closed roads.”
“Thanks.” James nodded, “I’d appreciate that.” He turned back to the others. “Are we ready?”
Don who had moved over to speak to Holly hugged her then whispered. “Ready daughter?”
Holly was overwhelmed with emotion. “Yeah, Dad. I’m more than ready.”
So standing before their tree Holly and Gerard joined hands. One each side of them stood a little princess. Bandit’s tiara was crooked, Ray held the laptop Skyping the wedding for Frank and Jamia, Holly was barefoot, and Gerard wore his jeans and tee.
Years later when Holly looked at the photo that was taken by Donna she’d smile and think there had never been a more perfect wedding picture.
After the brief ceremony everyone went downstairs for the reception after saying goodbye to James. As promised Nick found him the best route to the airport.
Now as their guests enjoyed the food Holly took a deep breath then squeezed Gerard’s hand tightly.
“Hey, Mrs. Way” he smiled.
“Hey, Mr. Way.” Holly looked deeply into his eyes then their lips met.
“Break it up you two.”
Holly smiled at her sister-in-law. “Why?”
“Lindsey and I were wondering if you want the girls to change out of their dresses before they eat.”
Holly glanced over at the little girls. “What? Make the princesses change clothes? I don’t think so.”
Alicia hugged her, “Yeah, that’s what I thought. Okay, carry on.”
Gerard laughed then took Holly into his arms again. “You heard her.” He kissed her until she finally pulled away.
“Gee we have to tend to our guests.” She whispered happily.
“Suppose that’s true.” He whispered back. “But damn I can’t wait until they leave.”
Holly giggled, “Ditto” She spotted Sally taking to Nick while in line for food. “Be right back.”
Gerard watched as she walked over to Sally. Whatever she said Sally handed her plate to Nick then followed Holly. He didn’t have time to wonder what was going on because Mikey was at his side.
“So Bro, see everything turned out okay.”
Gerard nodded, “Yeah, it sure did.”
Holly lowered her voice. “Thanks for making Nick feel welcome.”
Sally gave her a surprised look, “Well he is sorta the hero of the day.”
“He really is.” Holly glanced back over at him then turned her attention back to Sally. “I was such a mess when he found me. I was crying just sure I was going to miss the wedding but he calmed me down and promised he’d get me here.”
“That was nice.” Sally said her eyes on the handsome dark haired man they were discussing.
“He’s a very sweet man. A very sweet unmarried man.”
Sally turned to her. “Holly, are you trying to play matchmaker?”
Holly giggled, “Hey, just thought I’d mention that.”
Again Sally turned her attention to the officer. “It’s almost out turn in line.” She hugged Holly quickly. “Thanks.” With that she rejoined Nick.
Gerard walked over to Holly. “What was that all about?”
“Just telling her a bit about Officer Nick.”
His eyes narrowed, “Oh really? And what do you know about him?”
Holly slid her arms around Gerard’s waist. “Just that he’s the man who got me here in time for my wedding.”
Gerard suddenly grew serious. “Honey I was so scared. I just knew something had happened to you but I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to try to find you but I was afraid if I left and you made it here…”
“And at first I was worried maybe you’d changed your mind.” He admitted looking down.
She’d been afraid of that. “Because of yesterday?”
“Yeah, I’m so sorry I didn’t remember. Last night it killed me not being with you. I should have been with you.”
“Gee” She waited until he looked up. “I honestly needed last night alone to allow myself some time to remember. I knew that today my life was going to change and I needed to reflect. But in my heart I knew Sonja would be here with me in spirit today. I know she’s very happy for me.”
He hugged her. “It was weird though Holly, it was like I could feel something was wrong even before you were late.”
“Did you feel a disturbance in The Force?” Holly teased.
“Oh, hell yes.” He nodded looking down into his wife’s face. “How bad was it really?”
Holly sighed, “Well the car will have to be pulled out so I’m not sure.”
“I’m not talking about the car. I don’t give a shit about that. I’m talking about you. Are you sure you didn’t get hurt? Did you hit your head?”
“No" Holly giggled, “I didn’t hit my head. I was wearing my seat belt and I didn’t even hit anything hard enough to deploy the airbags. I just slid off the road but there was no way I could drive the car out.”
“So you decided to get out and climb back to the road in the pouring rain.”
“My plan was to walk here if I had to.”
He pulled her close. “You were going to walk without shoes.”
“They got stuck in the mud and I couldn’t get them out without getting my dress muddy.”
“Crazy, beautiful woman.” He whispered.
Holly hugged him, “It’s not nice to call your wife crazy.”
“My wife.” He repeated softly loving the sound. “My beautiful wife.”
Across the room Bob and Angie sat watching the couple.
“What a crazy wedding.” Bob said shaking his head. “Should have expected it, Gerard rarely does things in a normal way.”
Angie tilted her head, “It wasn’t his fault.”
Bob laughed, “Didn’t mean to say it was. It’s just I remember what it’s like to be around him. The crazy finds him.”
“They look very happy.” Angie said turning her attention back to the couple who was now talking to his parents.
“Oh they are.” Bob nodded.
“Yet you still worry about her.”
Bob glanced over at her. “Well, yeah she’s like a sister to me.”
Angie gave him a knowing smile, “But you didn’t always feel that way towards her.”
He looked down at his plate.
“It’s okay.” Angie said softly, “Even though you didn’t tell me I knew you’d been in love with her at one time.”
Bob looked into her eyes, “I was until I met you.”
“So Son” Don said smiling, “You see I was right. The day turned out just fine.”
Gerard smiled at his father. “Yeah, you were right.”
Donna was looking at Holly. “Even with no shoes you made a beautiful bride.”
“Thanks” Holly laughed, “No shoes, no makeup….”
“Beautiful” Gerard said tightening his grip on her hand.
“So any thoughts on when you two are going to get a proper honeymoon?” Donna asked.
“Well’ Gerard sighed, “Gotta get the album done first. But maybe in a few months before the touring starts.”
Holly giggled, “We could always just pull the trailer out of the garage and pretend we’re camping.”
“Mommy.” Molly suddenly appeared at her mother’s side. “Look” She pointed to a spot on he dress, her eyes filled with tears.
Bandit had followed her over carrying her plate filled with food.
Lindsey quickly joined them as soon as she saw Bandit get up from the table carrying her plate.
“My Bridesmader dress is ruined.” A tear escaped down Molly cheek.
“Oh Honey.” Holly squatted down to her level. “It’s okay. You still look like a beautiful princess.”
“No” Molly sobbed.
Bandit stared at her a moment then before anyone realized what she was doing she stuck her hand in the potatoes on her plate then rubbed her fingers on her dress. “Lookie Molly.” She smiled, “Nows we match.”
Unfortunately before Lindsey could grab the plate she was balancing in one hand it titled brushing against Holly’s dress.
“Oh crap.” Lindsey muttered grabbing the plate out of her daughter’s hand. She saw Holly’s dress had not escaped untouched.
Bandit realizing what she’d done began to cry. “Sorry Ollie.”
Holly kneeled completely down then pulled Bandit into her arms. “Hey, it’s okay. Now we all match.”
“Bandit was just tryin to make sis feels better.”
“I know.” Holly smiled. “That was very nice of you.”
“Yeah” Molly nodded, “Thanks.”
Gerard was looking down at his daughters with love in his eyes. He saw Holly look up then grin. She motioned for him to squat down. Then with a giggle she reached up stuck her fingers in the plate Lindsey was holding. Gerard knew what she planned.
“There” Holly said as she rubbed her fingers against Gerard’s tee. “Now we all match.”
“Oh Lord.” Lindsey laughed. “Hey Jake, get a picture of this.”
He was at her side in a moment with his phone. It was another memorable wedding photo.
After the bride and groom opened their gifts and the cake was served the reception started to slowly wind down. Sally found Holly talking to Alicia and asked if she could speak to her in private for a moment.
“Thank you for inviting me today.” She said once they’d found an out of the way spot to talk.
Holly smiled, “Well of course we wanted you to be here today. I know you’re one of Gerard’s best friends and I’m hoping you and I will get to spend more time together too.”
“Uh, I’m going to be taking off in a few minutes.” Sally was looking around the room. “So is Nick.” She had to know, “So I was wondering, if your car went off the road just five miles away how much time did you get to talk to him?”
Holly believed she understood the question. “You’re wondering how I knew he wasn’t married?”
“Well, like I said I was a mess when he found me and honestly sorta cranky. I was just sure I was going to miss the wedding. Nick told me to calm down, that he understood how I felt but not to worry. I asked how he’d feel if he was late to his wedding. That’s when he told me he was sure he’d feel like I did but since he’d never been married he could only guess.”
Sally grinned, “Oh, and so you thought you should pass that information along to me.”
“Well it did seem like you two immediately were drawn to each other.” She followed Sally’s gaze across the room where Nick sat talking to Don. “Was I right?”
Sally nodded, “There is something about a man in a uniform.”
“A very good looking man in a uniform.” Holly added.
“Definitely.” She forced her attention back to Holly. “He asked me what I had planned for tonight. You know since it’s New Years eve.”
Holly nodded. “And?”
“Honestly I didn’t have any plans.”
“He’s invited me to go with him to a party at one of his friend’s houses.”
“Are you going?”
Sally smiled, “He almost seems to good to be true.” She admitted. “He’s nice and did you see him talking to the girls? He’s great with kids. He says that’s because his sister has six children and he baby sits for her a lot.”
“That’s what I said.” Sally laughed.
They both noticed that Nick was making his way towards them.
“Holly I just want to thank you for asking me to stay.”
“I’m very glad you did.”
“And I just want to thank you for getting my barefoot bride here.” Gerard said walking over to put his arm around Holly’s waist.
“My pleasure.” Nick answered. “You know it’s strange.” He paused, “But the way I was driving home today wasn’t my usual route. I can’t explain it but for some reason it almost felt like I needed to go that way.”
Gerard’s arm tightened around Holly. “Thank God you did.”
“Well” Sally said speaking to Gerard “It was a beautiful wedding and a wonderful reception but we’re going to be taking off now.”
“You’re both leaving?”
“Nick’s invited me to a New Years Eve party.”
Gerard wasn’t all that surprised. During the reception he’d seen Sally and Nick together almost the whole time. “Thanks for being here.” He gave Sally a quick hug.
As they said their goodbyes to everyone else Gerard turned to Holly. “They seem to have made a connection.”
Holly smiled, “Yep”
He lowered his voice. “Okay I have to admit it, when he said he doesn’t usually drive that way home…”
“I know.” Holly smiled, “Another Nick miracle.”
Gerard laughed, “Seems the fates were working for us again.”
“I love you.” Holly said moving into his arms.
Arthur was the next guest to leave followed shortly after by Ray, Christa and the baby. However Bob wanted to speak to Holly alone before he and Angie took their leave.
“Well so now you’ve married your Jackass.”
Holly threw back her head and laughed, “Hey, you’re not allowed to call him that. Only I can.”
“Yeah” Bob grinned, “Suppose that’s true.” He looked deeply into here eyes, “I’m really happy for both of you.”
“Thank you.” Holly looked over at Angie who was across the room. “And I’m very happy for you. So will we be getting invited to a wedding anytime soon?”
Bob shrugged, “Don’t know. I mean we just moved in together.”
“And you both seem very happy.”
“We are.” He admitted.
Suddenly Bob pulled her into his arms for a tight hug. “Be happy, Holly. That’s all I’ve ever wanted for you.”
Holly hugged him back. “I know and thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I couldn’t have ever asked for a better friend.”
“Hands off my woman.” Gerard teased as he neared them.
Bob stepped back, “You better take good care of her.”
Gerard placed his arm around Holly. “That I will do.”
“Good” Bob nodded, “Cause if you don’t I’ll be back.”
Gerard smiled, “About that. I really mean this man, I want you and Angie to visit us again. I don’t want us to lose touch.”
Bob was momentarily surprised but pleased. “You guys are always welcome in Chicago too.” He felt Angie slip her hand in his as she moved to his side. “We’d love for you to be our guests.”
Angie smiled, “Definitely.”
Suddenly Holly stepped away, “Oh hold on a minute.” They watched as she ran upstairs. A few minutes later she retuned holding two wrapped gifts. She handed one to Bob and one to Angie. “Did think I’d forgotten it’s your birthday, did you?”
Bob smiled but Angie was confused, “This is for me?”
Holly nodded, “Yep” As they unwrapped the gifts she added, “It gets mighty cold in Chicago.”
“Oh Holly this is beautiful.” Angie said once the colorful scarf was unwrapped.
Bob smiled, “I still use the one you gave me.”
“I know.” Holly said staring into his eyes. “But now you and Angie have matching scarves.”
As Gerard was enjoying another piece of wedding cake and a cup of coffee Lindsey sat down next to him.
“So how does it feel to be married again?”
He smiled at his ex. “Damn good, doesn’t it?”
Lindsey looked over at Jake before answering, “Yes, it does.”
“Linds thanks for being here today. Thanks for sharing this with us.”
“I’m glad we got to be a part of this.” Lindsey said softly. “Things worked out for us just like they should.”
Gerard, Holly and Molly walked them upstairs to the door to say their goodbyes.
Bandit was upset they were leaving.
Gerard scoped his youngest daughter up into his arms. “Hey B don’t be sad. I’m gonna pick you up Friday night and you’re gonna spend the weekend with us.”
Molly who was standing beside them looked up at her sister. “I won’t even play with the doll house until you get back.”
The adults all smiled.
Gerard placed Bandit back on her feet. “It’s okay. Bandit will be back soon.” The little girl said hugging her sister.
As Jake helped Lindsey on with her coat Holly kneeled down in front of Bandit. “Thank you for being one of my bridesmaids.”
Bandit threw her arms around Holly’s neck. “Now Ollie is Bandit’s second mommy.”
Holly’s eyes teared up. “That’s right, Honey.”
When they returned to the downstairs Holly smiled at her remaining guests who were all seated together.
Alicia got up, walked over and pulled her in for a tight hug. “This was such a perfect day.”
“It was.” Holly whispered happily. “The perfect day.”
Gerard was looking around, “And not even much to clean up.” The caterers had done an excellent job before leaving.
Donna rose to her feet. “Well guess it’s time for the rest of us to go.”
Don walked over to his son to give him a hug. “Damn proud of you.” He whispered.
Gerard understood his father was proud of how he’d turned his life around. “Thanks”
He then turned to Holly. “Daugher, take good care of my son.”
Holly hugged her older man tightly, “I will.”
Mikey saw that Molly was looking longingly at the last of the cake. “Uh, I think someone wants more.”
“Someone has had three pieces of cake.” Holly smiled. “I think that’s probably enough.”
However a moment later it happened. Regardless of all of Gerard’s lists, all of the planning, something very important had been overlooked.
AUTHORS NOTE: Just one more chapter...thanks to all who have read this story!