Standard Disclaimers apply. I do not own the characters except for the ones I made up. The rest are the property of CBS, Tristar and Sony. Any lyrics to songs used are also the property of the writers not mine. No profit is being made by the use of these.
Summary:This is a continuation of my story Revelations. This picks up immediately where the other stopped.
send any comments to email@example.com ;)
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For Better or for Worse
by Darby Ross
"Are you ready?" Mr. Paige whispered.
Bailey smiled. "I'm ready."
She didn't think this moment would ever arrive. The month's since Gary's proposal had gone by quickly enough. But this last week had been a whole other story.
Bailey and Mr. Paige stepped into the auditorium and the crowd stood up. For a moment Gary was blocked from her view. Just for a moment. Then she saw him. The face that could hide nothing. Every emotion he felt was evident on his handsome face. She had never felt more beautiful in her life as she did right at this moment. It had nothing to do with the dress, her hair or makeup. It had everything to do with the look Gary had on his face.
Bailey reached the altar. She took a deep breath. She already felt like crying. She wouldn't cry though. She had promised herself that she wouldn't.
"Dearly Beloved. We are gathered together here in the sight of God and in the face of this company to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony." The preacher began.
"It is an institution not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly. But reverently, discreetly, advisedly , soberly and in the fear of God."
She looked at Gary who had a sparkle in his eye. She hadn't felt nervous until the preacher spoke those words. She knew marriage was a serious undertaking. But the preacher's words had really struck her as how serious this was. Gary smiled at her as if to reassure her. Suddenly her fears were gone.
But they were to be short lived.
"Into this holy estate these two persons present, come now to be joined. If anyone present can show any just cause why they may not be lawfully joined together. Speak now. Or forever hereafter, hold your peace." The preacher announced.
Bailey held her breath. She saw Gary unconsciously reach for the paper inside his tux jacket. Bailey slightly shook her head 'no' . Those few quiet moments seemed like an eternity................
Bailey walked out of the bathroom, towel drying her hair, singing. "These are the moments, I thank God that I'm alive. And these are the moments, I'll remember all my life. I have all I've waited for. And I could not ask for more. "
She sat down at her vanity and began to comb her hair. The phone rang.
"Hello!" She answered brightly.
"Hi, Bailey. It's me."
Bailey's heart lurched at the sound of his voice. "Hi, Gary." She sighed.
"Only one more week till the wedding. I can't wait to make you my wife." He said softly.
She had chill bumps run up her arms. "I can't wait either." She said blushing. "Are you on your way out?"
"Yeah, I just wanted to call before I left."
"Are you very busy today?" Bailey wondered.
"Mmm, hmm." He mumbled into the phone.
"What's the matter? Is there something serious going on today?" She asked worriedly.
"No, nothing I can't handle. I'm just busy." He paused. " What if I'm busy on our wedding day?"
"Gary don't worry. I would say the paper has been very cooperative as far as we've been concerned." She responded.
"I think it's more like you've been cooperative. You've been really understanding." Gary explained.
"I love you, Gary. I just want to be with you no matter what it takes."
Gary smiled on the other end of the line. "I'm glad you love me. Because I need to ask a really big favor. Chuck called and he's coming in a day early and I can't pick him up at the airport because of this paper. Could you..?"
"Of course Gary. What time is his flight?" She asked, grabbing a pen and paper to jot down the information.
"It's at 10 a.m. at O'Hare. Flight 216 American. I would do it but I have a hit and run to stop at 10:30 and a woman gets trapped in a building that gets demolished at 1p.m., clear across town. I know you are busy with the wedding and I hate to ask. I tried to get word to him so he could take a cab, but he's already gone."
"Gary, I'll pick him up and take him to McGinty's. I'm supposed to go over the menu for the reception with the chef anyway. It's not a problem."
"Great. I really appreciate this Bailey." Gary sighed in relief.
Bailey smiled. It was so hard for Gary to ask for help. "Well, just remember you owe me." She teased.
"Oh? And what will you ask in return?" He asked. A trace of laughter in his voice.
"Well, I will have to think about it. I'll let you know after the wedding." She laughed.
She glanced at the clock. "I gotta go, Gary. I'll see you this afternoon sometime. Be careful. I love you!"
"I love you too." Gary smiled as he hung up the phone. It felt so good to be able to say those three little words to someone.
"That must have been Bailey you were talking to." Marissa said as she walked into the office.
"No." Gary whispered conspiratorially. "That was my mistress. Don't say anything."
"Gary!" Marissa laughed. She smiled fondly at her closest friend. "It is so nice to have the old Gary Hobson back. I am just so happy for you."
"I'm happy for me too. Um, Bailey is picking Chuck up
at the airport and she's bringing him back here. They should be here
by noon." He looked at his watch. "Gotta go, Marissa." He
said as he gave her a quick peck on the cheek and dashed out the door.
Gary stood near the intersection of Dearborn and Burton. He checked the newspaper. 'Pedestrian killed in hit and run.' "Yesterday at approximately 10:30 a.m. ten year old Elijah Johnson was struck by a speeding vehicle. The child was attempting to cross at the light when a white Chevy Impala ran a red light." Gary read aloud.
Gary looked at his watch. 10:20. He was a little early. He leaned against the light pole and waited. He watched as families and couples in love walked by. A little over a year ago he remembered watching people like this wistfully. Wishing it was him. He smiled. Today it was him. Bailey may not actually be here with him. But she was always with him. Just a thought away, which was never far.
Squeaky tennis shoes brought him out of his day dream. A young boy of about ten approached the corner.
The child started to step out in the street. "Hey, son. You're shoe lace is untied." Gary offered.
Elijah looked down, then back at Gary. Just then a white car sped past. Horns blared. Tires squealed.
"What's your problem, mister. My shoe's not untied." The boy demanded.
"Made you look, didn't I?" Gary laughed.
"What a weirdo." Elijah said as he waited for another green light.
Gary whistled as he walked down the street. 10:45 his watch read.
Bailey waited at the gate for Chuck to appear. He stepped through the door wearing blue jeans, a white t-shirt a black pull over sweater vest, black loafers and a black tam on backwards. Even though they were indoors he wore sunglasses. She smiled when she saw him. He slung his bag over his shoulder. He walked with an air of confidence and cockiness that was almost humorous to see.
"Chuck!" She called out.
"Bailey!" Chuck exclaimed taking off his sunglasses. He dropped his bag at her feet and grabbed her in a bear hug.
Bailey gasped in surprise. Then laughed. He let go of her, stepped back and looked her over as if taking inventory. He cocked his head and raised an eyebrow.
"You're marrying Gary? Why?" He asked
Confused, she asked "What?"
"Ha! Gotcha!" Chuck laughed taking her arm. "That Gar. He's a good lookin' kid. Don't know how he made it this long without snagging someone. Of course that paper of his never helped out any." He ran on without taking a breath.
"I have heard so much about you, Chuck. It is so great to finally meet you." Bailey said as she looked around. "Where's your wife?"
"Uh, um. She won't be making it to the wedding. Business. You know how it is in Hollywood." He explained.
He stopped and turned to Bailey. "You've been good for Gary. I can hear it in his voice. He's happy. If you make him happy. You make me happy. So why isn't he here? Something with the paper? I'm dying to have a falafel. Have you ever had one? I know this great place we can stop on the way to McGinty's."
Bailey felt as if she'd been caught up in a whirlwind.
A whirlwind named Chuck.
Gary stood outside a building in the warehouse district. No one was around. Equipment stood vacant. "Must have taken an early lunch." He pondered aloud. He pulled the paper out of his back pocket.
"Body found in rubble of demolished building."
"The body of a young woman was found in the rubble of the Ashton Warehouse. The building was demolished around 1 p.m. yesterday. The body was discovered two hours later. Identification of the body is not being released. Pending notification of family." Gary read.
He looked at his watch. 11:40. He put the paper in his back pocket and tried to find a way into the building. He walked around the side where he found a board pulled loose from a window. Gary tugged at a couple more to make room for him to get through.
"Hello!" He called out.
"Help! I'm up here!" A frightened voice replied.
Gary carefully made his way up the stairs. They creaked and shifted every step he took. He got to the second floor. There were layers of dust everywhere. He could see freshly made footprints and he followed them.
He pushed open a door and saw an arm sticking out from under a pile of debris.
"Thank God you're here. Can you get me out?" The girl said when she realized Gary was there to help. "One of my arms is trapped and I can't get enough leverage to get this stuff off."
Gary moved cautiously toward the girl.
"What are you doing in here?" He asked.
"What does it look like, mister? I'm having a tea party." She snapped.
"Well, excuse me for asking." He said as he lifted pieces of plaster and wood off of the girl. He lifted a beam and she shoved with all of her might. Causing Gary to fall backwards. "Hey wait! Where are you going?" He called after her.
"Outta here. You think I'm gonna let you tell my parents I was in here? They'd kill me." She said as she ran out of the room.
"Ungrateful little....." Gary grumbled.
Back at McGinty's, Bailey and Chuck were on their third round of pool.
"So how is it you're Snow's granddaughter?" Chuck asked as he got ready to take a shot.
"Well, he married my grandmother and they had my mother. She married my dad and they had me. You know the usual family tree." Bailey laughed.
"I know that! So, Snow was married. We just assumed he was alone all of his life and never had a family." Chuck stated.
"He and my grandmother got married in 1944 and they had my mother less than a year later. My grandmother died from cancer about a year before I was born. My mother was 20. She married my dad the same year. I think that's why her judgement was a little off concerning him." Bailey explained.
"I wonder if that's when Snow started getting the paper?" Chuck pondered.
Bailey got a puzzled look on her face. "That's a good question. It would make sense. Gary started getting the paper under similar circumstances. Hmm, that may be one of those questions we never get the answer to." She responded.
Bailey took her shot. She sank the 9 ball in the right corner pocket. She lined up her last shot and sank the 8 ball.
"That's $30 you owe me." She said and smiled.
Marissa who had been sitting in a nearby chair listening, laughed.
Gary picked himself up off the floor and dusted himself off. He pulled the paper out of his back pocket.
"Local bar owner dies in building demolition."
"What the..?" Gary looked at his watch. 12:10. Almost an hour till demolition was scheduled. He scratched his head. He scanned the article. "The body was found two hours after the building had been demolished. Hobson was to be wed this Saturday to Bailey Vandercliff, photographer."
"It doesn't say why I don't get out of the building. What a lousy reporter." Gary mumbled to himself.
Gary proceeded cautiously to the stairs. He stepped carefully down the first three steps. The third step gave under his weight and he grabbed the hand rail, which came loose as his body fell against it. As he fell the paper scattered in all directions.
"What is it?" Marissa asked Bailey.
"Hmm? What?" she replied.
"Somethings wrong. What is it?" Marissa asked again.
"I don't know. I just feel really funny all of a sudden." Bailey said as she walked into the bar area. She looked at the clock. 12:30.
"Pre-wedding jitters. Everyone gets them." Chuck offered. "Hey, pour her a ginger ale." Chuck told the bartender.
"It was probably the falafels." Marissa said. "I can't believe you took her there Chuck."
Bailey took a sip of the ginger ale and sat down at the bar as Chuck and Marissa argued about falafels.
"Gary hasn't called, has he Marissa?" Bailey asked.
"No. Do you think something has happened to Gary?" She responded.
Bailey rubbed her forehead. "I don't know. I just. Something is wrong. I can feel it."
"Did he tell you where he was going today?" Chuck asked.
"He had to stop a hit and run this morning and get somebody out of a condemned building before 1." She told him.
"Did he say where the building was? asked Chuck.
"No, he just said the two incidents were across town from each other. Chuck you don't think?"
"What's that?" Chuck asked pointing to the cat.
"What's what?" Marissa asked.
"It's the paper." Bailey said as she got up and pulled the paper out from underneath the cat.
"How did that get there?" Chuck wondered.
"Local bar owner dies in building demolition." Bailey read aloud. "Oh my God! It's Gary!'
"Let's go!" Chuck ordered as he pulled her out the door.
She tucked the paper in her back pocket as she ran..
Bailey screeched her Jeep to a halt in front of the Ashton Warehouse. Workers were moving their machines into position. She and Chuck came out of the vehicle screaming and waving their hands.
"What are you doing? Get outta the way?" The crane operator hollered at Chuck, who had run in front of the wrecking machine.
Bailey had ran around the building looking for a place to get in.
"Gary?! Gary?! Answer me!" She cried out desperately.
She found the window with the boards removed. She lifted her leg and pulled herself up and through the window.
"Gary!" She gasped.
Gary lay sprawled on the floor.
"Gary? Oh my God! Gary!?" She screamed as she ran to him. She touched his neck. There was a pulse.
"Gary?" She whispered soflty. "Chuck! He's in here. Chuck!" She called out.
Chuck had stopped the demolition and was climbing through the window. Followed by some of the workers.
"Don't move him.' He instructed as he pulled his cell phone out and dialed 911.
Bailey sat on the floor next to Gary and stroked his hair. The paper? What had she done with the paper? Remembering, she pulled the paper from her back pocket. She opened it and looked at the headline. She handed it to Chuck who breathed a sigh of relief with her.
"It say's he'll be okay." Chuck said quietly.
"Arrgh." Gary groaned.
"Gary don't move. An ambulance is on it's way." Bailey explained.
He closed his eyes and opened them again. "How did you know?" He croaked out, then laughed.
"What's so funny?" She asked as she wiped a tear from her cheek.
"Nothing. It's just that someone is always asking me, 'how did you know?' instead of the other way around."
Bailey and Chuck laughed with him.
"Oww." Gary groaned again, placing his hand on his head.
Bailey rested her hand on his arm as they heard the ambulance siren.
"You're lucky you just have a slight concussion. It could have been much worse." Marissa stated.
Gary took a deep breath. "Believe me I know."
"Hey buddy. I'll stay with you. I'll just go check out of the hotel and be right back." Chuck offered.
Bailey saw the look of panic on Gary's face. Having been told how Chuck's things seem to have a habit of taking over a room.
"Thanks Chuck, but I'll stay with him." Bailey stated.
"Yeah, okay. Anyway it's your job now to look after Gar." He replied.
Bailey offered Chuck her Jeep to get back to the hotel. After everyone left, She curled up next to Gary on the bed.
"I don't think that was so wise letting Chuck take your Jeep." Gary said as he put his arm around her.
"Hmm. " She mumbled.
"Are you okay?" He asked her.
"You scared me today." She said softly.
"I'm sorry." He paused. "If you want to back out of the wedding. I understand."
She sat up and looked at him. "Are you kidding? I thought I might lose you today and it felt awful. Worse than I've felt since, since we were split up. I never want to let you go, Gary. Never." She said as she leaned in and kissed him softly.
She backed away suddenly. She turned on the bed to face him. She pulled her knees up under her chin.
"What?" Gary asked. Putting a hand on her arm. "Come back over here." He pleaded with this pathetic look.
"Oh no you don't! That look won't work on me tonight. We need to talk." She placed her hand on top of his that was resting on her arm. His fingers intertwined with hers as she talked.
"Your proposal was so unexpected and since then, between the paper and planning the wedding, we never really talked about what we wanted for our future."
She looked down at their hands. "Gary, where do you see us in 30 or 40 years? What will our lives have been like?" She asked seriously.
"I only get tomorrow's news." He said jokingly.
"Gary I am serious. Do we? Do you, want children? Do we want to buy a house soon, or remodel the storage room across the hall. Will you let me help you with the paper? I want to know what you want?" She waited patiently for his answer.
He sighed. "What do you want? Do you want kids?" He asked hopefully. Almost afraid to look at her. Almost afraid of her answer.
"I would love to have a dozen kids. All with your eyes." Bailey said honestly. "I want a big family Gary. I want all the things for my children, that I never had. A warm cozy home, with lots of friends, parents who love each other. Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts, little league, cheerleading, school plays, sleep overs, camping in the backyard." She bit her bottom lip. "Is that what you want?'
Gary leaned against his headboard with his head down. He didn't say anything for several moments. He thought of all the things she had mentioned. She had pretty much described his childhood. And that is exactly what he wanted for his children.
Nervous that he was taking so long to answer, she said, "Well, of course with the paper. It, It's not a good idea. We don't have to have kids. I, I can.."
"Shh." He shook his head and swallowed. "I want kids too." He looked at her intently. "I always have. Marcia, she never, well I didn't find out till later that she didn't want kids. Her career was more important. I was almost afraid to ask you. Not that it would make any difference in how I feel for you." He added quickly.
"Really? Lot's of kids. A big house?" She smiled brightly.
"Zeke." He stated.
"What?" She asked.
"Zeke. That's what I want to name my son. Zeke Hobson."
Bailey laughed. "You're kidding? Right?" She stopped laughing at the look on his face. "You want to name your son after Detective Crumb?"
Gary made a face. "Maybe Hank or Jeff would be better." He suggested.
They both laughed. "What if it's a girl?" She asked.
"Hank or Jeff, of course." He teased.
"I do think we should wait a while before we have kids, just to adjust. With the paper." He suggested. "We need to get settled and, I would like to find a house. And as far as you helping with the paper. You have your own career to think of."
Bailey was so happy she felt her heart would explode.
"I want to help you with the paper. I want to take some of the load off of you so you can relax. No, I really want to. And I want to help out around the bar more too. I can always take pictures in my spare time. Then when the time is right for us to have children, I'll stay home and you can go back to taking care of the paper all by yourself." She explained.
Gary looked at her closely. "I would argue if I thought I could win. But I think you've made up your mind on this. You working here would be a great help to me and Marissa. As far as the paper, I'll only agree to the small stories." He conceded.
She smiled. "Agreed."
Bailey yawned and stretched. Her body protesting to the sudden movement.
She heard Gary padding across the floor to the door. She sat up and yawned. The cat ran in and hopped up on the couch with Bailey. Gary picked up the paper and shut the door. He turned around and saw her.
"You didn't have to sleep on the couch. You could have slept in the bed with me." He said.
"Oh, no you don't. I don't trust you. We have just one week. One week." She said shaking her finger at him.
Gary rolled the newspaper and held it in one hand and gestured toward the bed with the other. "I was just trying to be a gentleman and offer you the opportunity to sleep in comfort." He smiled.
"A gentleman would offer the bed while he took the couch." She teased.
"I'm hurt." He faked.
"Get over it." She said as she stood up.
"Uh, I do have a concussion." He said furrowing his brow.
She smiled at him. "You seem to be doing all right. You woke up easily enough during the night, when I checked on you."
There was that look again. "Does your head hurt?" She asked. Genuinely concerned.
"No, just my feelings." He pouted.
He was just so darn cute in the morning. With his hair all sticking up.
"What's in the paper." She asked. Getting her mind back on track. She reached for it and he held it over his head, out of her reach.
"Fine." She said as she turned and went to the bathroom.
When she came out, Gary was making coffee. She snuck up behind him and grabbed the paper off the table.
"Give me that!" He ordered.
"No!" She giggled.
She ran around the back of his chair. They stood facing each other. The chair between them. Gary moved to his right. She moved to her right.
"I'm going to take care of this today." She stated.
"Nooo. You're not. I am." He answered.
"I am not backing down on this." She warned.
"Really. You need to rest." She said, raising an eyebrow.
Suddenly Gary jumped up on the chair and vaulted over it, causing Bailey to scream. She ran and he caught her next to the bed. He pulled the paper from her hands and tossed it on the floor and began to tickle her. They fell onto the bed.
"No! Gary! Oh my, Gary stop!" She squealed.
"Say Uncle. No. Say Uncle!"
"Uncle! Grr. No fair!" She whined.
"Winner and still champion!" Gary crowed.
As he let down his guard, Bailey rolled him over and sat straddle him, tickling him.
He laughed out loud and tried to squirm free.
"Oh!" He groaned.
Bailey stopped. "Gary?"
He grabbed her arms and rolled her over. "Ha! Gotcha!"
"No fair! You cheat!' She giggled.
"Me a cheater?" He feigned innocence.
"Yes, you." She looked up at him solemnly. Are you sure you're okay?"
He smiled at her and kissed her on the nose. "I'm fine. Really. Don't worry about me."
"I do worry and if you let me take care of the paper today I won't worry as much. Gary, please. You really should rest today." She pleaded.
"You have a wedding to take care of and don't you have to pick Emily up at the airport?" He reminded her.
Bailey sighed. Knowing she did have things to take care of. "Are you sure you feel up to this?"
The door to the loft swung open. "Oops! Sorry kiddo's. Didn't mean to interrupt." Chuck said, shielding his eyes.
"Chuck, don't you know how to knock?" Gary complained as he helped Bailey up off the bed.
"Well, excuse me. I thought Bailey might need her Jeep today and who would have expected you, Gary Hobson. The poster boy for monk hood, to get caught trying to make time with a beautiful woman. Come here gorgeous." Chuck said as he grabbed Bailey and spun her around.
She threw her head back and laughed.
"Let her go Chuck." Gary ordered.
Chuck playfully punched Gary's arm. "What? Jealous?"
"Ha ha ha!" Gary chortled.
"Chuck can you help Gary with the paper today?" Bailey inquired.
"Aw, no, no, no!" Gary shook his head.
"Aw, yes, yes, yes!" She said as she kissed him quickly. "See you later." She kissed Chuck on the cheek. "You too."
Chuck grinned from ear to ear as he watched Bailey leave.
He turned to see the paper on the floor and bent to pick it up.
Gary grabbed it first. "Oh no you don't."
"Gar, ole buddy, ole pal. Don't you trust me yet?" Chuck asked.
Gary cocked his head as he looked at his friend. "Ah,
that would be, No."
"Who gives this woman to be married to this man?" The preacher asked.
"I do." Mr. Paige answered. He kissed Bailey on the cheek. She handed her bouquet to Emily and Gary took her hand and helped her up the two steps to the altar.
"If you would join right hands." The preacher instructed.
Bailey's hands were ice cold and she was shaking. Gary rubbed her hand with his thumb. She looked up at him and he smiled. Lord she loved this man. She sighed and her shaking subsided.
"Gary will you take this woman, whom you hold by the hand
to be your wedded wife? Promising to keep, cherish and defend her and
to be her faithful and true husband so long as you both shall live?"
"Oh you've got to be kidding?" Chuck groaned.
"What?" Gary turned and saw Bailey and Emily walk into the bar. He smiled as he saw her. Bailey waved.
"Oh no! What's he doing here? Emily asked and turned around.
"What? Who?" Bailey asked, scanning the room.
"You know Chuck?"
Recognition dawning on Bailey. "Chuck's the weasel?" Bailey suppressed a giggle. "That was Bikini Squad you worked on. I thought it was Baywatch."
"Did I say Baywatch? I don't think I did. You must have misunderstood me." Emily said not meeting her friends eyes.
Bailey knew her friend too well. Sometimes she glossed over things to make them appear better than what they were. So seemed this case.
"Come on. I want you to meet Gary. Behave yourself." She warned as an after thought.
"I bet you ten bucks Chuck makes the first crack." Emily forwarned.
Bailey reached Gary. "Hi, hon. Are you feeling okay?" She said as she brushed her fingers over his hair.
"Yeah, I'm fine." He said and quickly kissed her. Embarrassed that she was still making a fuss.
Bailey took his hand in hers.. "Gary, this is Emily. Emily, this is Gary. I think you've met Chuck." Bailey introduced.
"Gary it's so nice to finally meet the man of Bailey's dreams,
literally. I've been hearing about you for the last four or five
years." Emily stated.
Gary gave her a perplexed look. "Howzat?"
"She's just being funny. Aren't you Em?" Bailey gave her a warning look to let her know she hadn't told Gary about the dream.
"Yeah, that's me. Crack 'em up Emily." She turned to Chuck who she had been ignoring. "Chuck." She spat out.
"You're right, Bailey. We've had the displeasure of meeting before." Chuck said sarcastically.
"You owe me ten, Bailey." Emily said not taking her eyes off of Chuck.
"Em, behave." Bailey suggested as she nudged her friend.
"What? I told you he'd make the first crack." said Emily.
"Me? Why you butcher!" Chuck exclaimed.
"Butcher? Why you slimy weasel!' Emily exclaimed as she reached toward Chuck in a motion to strangle him.
Chuck quickly stepped behind Gary using him as a shield.
"What are you doing?" Gary asked as he moved away from Chuck.
He stepped behind Gary again as Emily kept reaching for him.
"She's a psycho!" Chuck accused.
"Stop this right now. Both of you." Bailey ordered. "Let's take this into the office."
Chuck opened the door to the office and entered.
"A gentleman usually holds the door open for a lady." Emily said under her breath as she followed him into the office.
"Of course. Excuse me." Chuck said as he walked back out of the office and held the door open for Bailey. "Since you are the only lady I see."
"Pig!" Emily spat out.
"Stylist wanna be." Chuck responded.
Gary shut the door behind him. Wondering what the heck was going on.
"Okay you guys. Cool it. Each to your own corners." Bailey ordered.
Gary was confused. "What is going on here?"
"Well this so called stylist almost ruined Bikini Squad." Chuck began.
"It was not my fault. You just assumed. You never shut up long enough to listen to anyone.. Unless of course she is tall, blond and has huge..."
"Listen to you? Your voice can curdle milk." Chuck said between clenched teeth.
Emily lunged at Chuck again. Bailey grabbed her as Chuck once again stepped behind Gary.
"Stop doing that!' Gary stated to Chuck.
"Why don't you tie her up and muzzle her while you're at it." Chuck suggested.
Bailey grabbed Emily before she could react.
"Both of you sit down and shut up. No! Far away from each other. If we are all going to survive the week. We need to clear the air. Chuck you first. Why did you fire Emily?" Bailey asked.
"You fired her?" Gary asked in surprise.
"Gary, hush!" Bailey snapped.
Gary looked at Bailey in astonishment.
"Oh, I'm sorry honey. " She quickly kissed him in apology. "Chuck go ahead."
"I fired her because she chopped off the leading stars hair. She went from having hair down to the middle of her back to hair up to here." He said indicating his shoulder. "Hair that length is not sexy."
They all turned to look at Bailey. Whose hair was the same length Chuck had just indicated. She unconsciously smoothed her hair.
"Not you, of course you're sexy. But you're a brunette. It's different." Chuck said trying to smooth over his statement.
"Don't even try to smooth talk it , buster. You're foot is so far in your mouth it needs to be surgically removed. Did your star tell you why I cut her hair? She had gotten her hair over processed by someone who didn't know what the heck she was doing. And no it wasn't me. Her hair was fried beyond repair and she came to me for help. After the fact. I tried everything before I cut it off. I was trying to save her butt and yours. And the thanks I got was to be fired for the first time in my life." Emily explained.
Sheepishly Chuck said, "Well. You could have told me."
"I tried to tell you and you said to talk to the hand." Emily said holding up her hand in imitation of Chuck. "You, slimy, self centered, egotistical, obnoxious weasel." She said glaring at him.
"Gary! Bailey!' Lois said as she entered the office.
"Oh no." Gary moaned. "Mom, Dad. You're here early."
"Hello!" Lois said. Acknowledging the others in the room, before hugging Gary.
"Bernie!" Chuck said as they hugged each other.
"We wanted to get here early to help with last minute details. Hi, you must be Emily. I'm Lois Hobson, Gary's mother. And this is my husband Bernie." She introduced.
"Where's Marissa? Marissa!" Bernie called out.
"Bernie? Lois? Hi, you're here early." Marissa stated as she walked into the office.
"Oh boy!" Gary muttered.
The room was alive with chatter.
Gary took Bailey's hand and pulled her aside.
"Would you like to elope?" He asked as he swallowed hard.
Bailey smiled up at him and laughed. His facial expression
Bailey bolted the door to her apartment and yawned. She couldn't recall a time when she felt more bone weary than she did right now. The stress of the wedding, Gary's incident and tonight Chuck and Emily had all taken their toll on her.
She had finally got Chuck and Emily to agree to a truce for the week. She hadn't expected Lois and Bernie till Wednesday. But it didn't alter her schedule any.
Right now she just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep till the wedding.
"Of all the people in this whole wide world. You have to be marrying Chuck Fishman's best friend. I did something really bad in a former life to deserve this." Emily said as she kicked her shoes off.
"You? What about me. I was the one having to play referee for you two tonight. I'm warning you Em. You best behave this week. What got into you? I have never seen you react like that to anyone before except Billy Bonner. Oh my. You like..."
.... "Her don't you?" Gary asked. "Have you forgotten that you're a married man?" Gary whispered.
Chuck lifted his bottle of beer and took a drink. "I've been meaning to talk to you about that."
"Howzat?" Gary asked.
"About me being married, or not as the case may be. And I don't like Emily. She disgusts me, totally, completely absolutely disgusts me." Chuck stated.
"What? You're not married?"
Chuck raised an eyebrow. "You're surprised? I figured you'd be the first one to say I told you so."
"No! No. Chuck, what happened?" Gary asked.
"We lasted about six months. Then she decided being married was too stifling for her. I should have known it was too good to be true. Have a woman like that love me. That's why I didn't come to Marissa's wedding. I was so ashamed."
"Chuck don't be so hard on yourself. We all make mistakes. But we get second chances. And sometimes those second chances are worth waiting for." Gary explained.
"You really love her don't you?"......
..."Of course I love him. He's the most perfect man in the world. And don't change the subject. You've got it bad for Chuck." Bailey said.
"No, I don't! Jeez. Don't you have enough to occupy your mind without creating fantasies in your head? Just because you're crazy in love doesn't mean that I need to be committed also." Emily said as she walked into her room.
"Well, good. I'm glad to hear it because he's married." Bailey informed her friend.
"No he's not."
"Yes, he is. Her name is Jade. They got married here in Chicago a couple of years ago. Gary was the best man." Bailey explained.
"Well, if he's married its a very liberal marriage. He dated a couple of women I know and it's been recently." Emily said.
"Wow, I wonder why he never said anything? Poor........"
".........Chuck. You can sit there and throw a pity party for yourself if you want to, but it's not going to make things any better. I know I've been there." Gary stated.
"You know you sound an awful lot like Marissa."
Gary laughed. "Well, I guess I have listened to her advice long enough to know she is right most of the time."
"Well at least you had the two or three years of happiness. I only had a few months." Chuck said sadly as he took another drink. "Gar, it was different with you and Marcia. At least she loved you for a while. I don't think Jade ever really loved me. I was just so humiliated. After what happened here before the wedding. How I stood up for her against you. Then to have her dump me. I just couldn't face you. You, you've never done anything in your life you were ashamed to tell someone about. I love ya Gar, but I just don't think you quite understand."
Gary took a drink from his beer. He looked at the bottle and swirled the liquid around.
"Yeah, I understand exactly how it feels to keep something from people you care about." Gary looked intently at Chuck. "No one knows about this but Marissa and Erica." Gary began.
Chuck sat his beer down and gave Gary his full attention.
"It was about a year before your wedding. I, I had this simple apartment fire. I just had to turn a boiler off. The boiler room door was locked. So I got everyone out of the building. Or so I thought. I checked the paper again. The headline said that a homeless man hiding on the roof was going to die. I got to the roof and found the man. Jeremiah." Saying the name brought back a flood of feelings for Gary.
"We tried to get down the stairs but the fire was too close." Gary spoke automatically.
Chuck listened intently to Gary whose eyes had glazed over in remembrance.
"I went over to the edge and put a ladder across to the next building. I crawled across. I told him, Jeremiah, to do the same. He got all the way across and , and just as he reached me he slipped. I grabbed his hand but I couldn't hold on. He , he fell. I let him fall." Gary rubbed his forehead. Even after all this time the hurt was still fresh.
"Oh man." Chuck said as he turned and crossed his arms on the bar. "That's tough."
"I'd never lost anyone before. A day or so later I saw my obituary in the paper. I went to the building where I was to die."
"Are you nuts?" Chuck interrupted.
Gary chuckled. "I guess I was. It was so strange Chuck. I didn't plan to go, but I saw him. Lucius Snow. I didn't realize then who he was. But I had seen him earlier and I followed him. I ended up at that old building just as two kids entered. I tried to leave but I kept seeing the headlines for their demise in my mind. I, I couldn't leave them. I got them out and the building started to collapse. I was knocked out and when I came to, there was Snow." Gary explained.
"Gar, Snow's dead!" Chuck exclaimed.
"I know that. I don't know why I saw him. I just did." Gary whispered.
"Did he say anything? Chuck asked.
"Yeah. He said 'Lousy day to die. Are you sure you want to do this?" Gary repeated.
Chuck sat up straight. "You wanted to die? Gar!'
Gary rested his elbows on the bar and rubbed his temples with his thumbs. A dull headache had begun.
"Chuck, I could never make anyone understand how I felt those few days. Yeah, I wanted to die. I felt I deserved to die. " He turned to look at Chuck. "I never told anyone about what happened in that building. Till today. It's taken some time to get over. But everything happens for a reason. Just like Bailey. I know the paper brought us together. I know somehow Snow was involved."
"This whole paper thing gets weirder and weirder. I wish you had told me what you were going through. You know I am always here for you, bud." Chuck said as he patted Gary on his back.
"The same goes for me too Chuck."
"You haven't told Bailey about all of this?"
Gary raised an eyebrow. "I will eventually. There is a lot I will tell her. In time."
Lois quietly closed the door to the loft. "Bernie. Did Gary ever tell you that he almost died a couple of years ago?" She asked.
"What are you talking about Lo?"
"I went to tell Gary good night and I overheard him telling Chuck that a couple of years ago he almost died in an old building. Why didn't he ever tell us?"
"Lois, he's a grown boy. He doesn't tell us everything."
"But to keep this from us? We're his parents. We should..."
The door to the loft opened and Gary entered.
"Gar, did Chuck head to the hotel already?" Bernie asked.
"Yeah, he just got a cab." Gary ran his fingers through his hair. His head was starting to hurt terribly and he was getting stiff. After effects of the tumble he took the day before. He walked over to the cabinet and took out the aspirin bottle and swallowed a couple followed by a drink of water from the tap.
"I'm beat." Gary stated as he walked past them into the bathroom.
Lois finished making out the sleeper sofa. Gary came out of the bathroom wearing a gray t-shirt and bears sweatpants.
He walked over to Lois to give her a kiss on the cheek good night. Lois grabbed him in a tight hug. "Mom!" He choked out. "You're squishing me."
She let go of him. "Gary I overheard you talking to Chuck. I am sorry. I didn't mean to eavesdrop. But, why didn't you tell us what had happened to you Gary?" Lois said. Motioning to Bernie and herself.
"I didn't want you to worry. When it all turned out okay, I just didn't see the point." Gary explained.
"Could someone fill me in on what happened?" Bernie asked impatiently.
Gary sighed and motioned for his parents to sit down as he himself sat in his chair.
"Well, it was a little over two years ago. Remember
when I left a message on your answering machine........"
Gary rolled over and pulled his pillow to him and hugged it tightly. He groaned. He certainly was stiff this morning. He inhaled deeply and stretched. "Ow!" he muttered through clenched teeth. He rubbed his eyes and looked over at the clock. 9:30 a.m.
"Good, a couple......9:30!" He sat straight up in bed.
"Marissa! Where's the paper? Where are my parents?" Gary asked as he skidded into the office.
"They left a couple of hours ago to take care of the paper. Your mother said to enjoy the morning off." Marissa explained.
"Enjoy the morning off? How am I supposed to enjoy it knowing they're out there with the paper? This is great. Just great." Gary mumbled as he paced back and forth.
"Gary relax. Your parents have handled the paper before. It will be all right."
"Good morning, you two." Chuck said as he entered the office, holding a coffee mug. He took a sip. "What are you still doing here? The paper give you a day off?"
"My parents took the paper." Gary stated as he slowly sat down at his desk.
Chuck raised an eyebrow. "Are you okay, buddy?"
Gary waved him off. "I'm just a little sore from the fall I took yesterday."
"Well, it looks like you need a day off to recoup. What's the big deal with your parents taking the paper. Aren't they going to take care of it while you and Bailey are on your honeymoon?" Chuck asked.
"You know that's not a bad idea, Gary. You should have your parents take over the paper for a few days so you can take Bailey on a honeymoon." Marissa interrupted.
"You weren't going to take Bailey on a honeymoon?" Chuck asked in shock.
Gary opened his mouth then snapped it shut.
Chuck took another sip of coffee and looked at Gary over the top of his mug.
"It's not a bad idea, Gar. You know I'd offer to do it if I didn't have to be back in L.A. the day after the wedding. Have you even thought about a honeymoon?" Chuck asked.
Gary sat with his arms crossed on his desk. He raised his right hand and scratched the back of his head. "Nah, that wouldn't work. Would it?" Gary wondered.
"As long as your mom is there I wouldn't worry about it. Now if it was just Bernie. That's a whole other story." Chuck admitted.
"Gary, you and Bailey need a honeymoon. You need that time alone together." Marissa stated.
"We discussed it. But the paper is such a big responsibility, we decided not to go on one.. She didn't seem to mind." Gary explained.
"Of course she'd say she didn't mind, Gary. She knows what a responsibility the paper is. If she knew you had reservations about leaving the paper, she would never make an issue of it. Surprise her, Gary. Take her someplace romantic. Women like that." Marissa said.
"I have less than a week. What could I..... I know the perfect spot." Gary realized.
Bailey woke up and stretched. Then she yawned. Mmm. Coffee was brewing. She looked at the clock. 10:00 a.m. She bolted out of bed. "I can't believe I forgot to set the alarm." She mumbled to herself.
"Coffee?" Emily asked as she walked into the room."
"Yes, thank you. I can't believe I overslept. I have a ton of stuff to do today. The week's gonna be gone before I know it, and nothing will be done." Bailey complained.
"What's on the schedule for today?" Emily inquired.
"I have to meet with the florist and the musicians. Then stop by McGinty's to sample the menu for the reception." Bailey said as she looked through her planner.
"Tomorrow, we all have fittings for our dresses. I need to go over decorations with the crew at McGinty's.
Wednesday, I need to go over music selections with the D.J. for the reception, then later we can try to figure out a hairstyle that worksbest with my veil.
Thursday we meet Miguel at the church to take my portraits.
Friday, decorate McGinty's for the rehearsal dinner and then the rehearsal.
And finally, Saturday, try not to fall apart before the wedding." Bailey read off.
"Did you schedule time to relax?" Emily teased.
"If one thing doesn't go to schedule this week, I'll never make it through." Bailey offered.
"Be prepared Bailey. No wedding goes off without a hitch. Here give me your cup and hop in the shower so we can get started." Emily offered.
"Bailey that is the most beautiful gown I have ever seen." Lois gushed. "Gary is going to be speechless when he sees you."
"Let's hope not. I'd like him to at least get the vows out." Bailey said and they all laughed.
"How did you find this exact dress?" Emily wondered.
"I came in here and looked through their catalogues and there it was. Just exactly as I had pictured it." Bailey answered.
Emily shook her head in astonishment.
"Well, go try it on. I can't wait to see you in it." Lois urged.
"Miss Vandercliff. I can't seem to find your bridesmaids dresses." The clerk stated.
"What? I was called last week and I was told they were in. What happened to them?" Bailey asked.
"I'm not sure." The clerk responded.
"Do you not have Mrs. Hobson's dress either?"
"I'll go check."
"You do that. I can't believe this. What could they have done with them?" Bailey asked, her voice raising a pitch.
"Bailey, calm down. I am sure they are here somewhere." Marissa soothed.
"They should have been with my dress. I knew something like this would happen." Bailey worried.
"Here they are, Miss Vandercliff. I apologize for the confusion. They got put under the name Hobson." The clerk explained.
"See there. Everything turned out okay. Problem averted.
Let's go try on our dresses." Lois suggested.
Bailey stood there in the middle of McGinty's bar trying to figure out how she wanted decorations for the rehearsal and reception.
Lois and Emily had gone shopping after leaving the bridal shop. Chuck and Bernie had left out early that morning on some secret mission, Gary was out dealing with the paper and Marissa was busy in the office.
Bailey sighed and scribbled on her note pad.
"Whenever you are ready to go over things, Miss Vandercliff, just let me know. " Mary offered.
"Thank you, Mary. I will. I'm still trying to decide on things. I'll come and get you when and if I get this figured out."
Bailey turned as the front door swung open and a young woman about Bailey's age entered. She had short black hair and an olive complexion. She walked up to Bailey. "I need to see Hobson. Is he here?"
"No." Bailey began.
"What about Fishman?"
"No." Bailey began again.
Impatience showing on the woman's face. "Fishman's wife wouldn't happen to be here, would she? No. Right?"
Bailey was beginning to get irritated with this womans attitude. "May I ask why you want to see them?"
"Has something happened? I'm Gary's fiancee." Bailey asked, concerned.
"You're Hobson's fiancee?" The woman snapped as she looked Bailey up and down.
"Yes, Bailey Vandercliff. And you are?" Bailey offered as she extended her hand.
"Detective Toni Brigatti, Chicago P.D." Brigatti said as she shook Bailey's hand.
So this was Brigatti. Wow, she certainly was beautiful. Bailey had her hair twisted up into a clip. She absent mindedly tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear. Toni was dressed in black suite that fit her beautifully. Bailey felt self conscious in her presence.
She would have preferred to meet any of Gary's exes dressed in something smarter than faded jeans and Gary's Chicago Bears t-shirt.
"Well, I need to speak to Fishman when he get's back. Can you have him call me?" Brigatti asked, her tone softening some.
" He and Mr. Hobson left out this morning. I'm not sure where they went or when they will be back. But I will have him call you as soon as I see him. Is everything all right?" Bailey wondered.
"Do you know if Fishman's wife will be coming to the wedding?" Brigatti questioned.
"No. She won't be here. Her and Chuck are, well they're not together any longer." Bailey stated.
"Oh, well. Good. I'm glad. No, what I mean. I'm glad she won't be here. Well, I better be going. Just have Fishman give me a call anyway." Brigatti said as she turned to go.
"Toni?' Bailey called after her. "It was nice to meet you."
Brigatti stopped and looked at Bailey. "I hope you know what you're getting into. Hobson. He has a lot of secrets."
"Not from me he doesn't." Bailey responded.
"Hmm. I hope you and Hobson are real happy." Brigatti said as she closed the door behind her.
That evening, after having given Chuck the message from Brigatti, Bailey sat in Gary's chair in the office. "She seemed concerned about Chuck's wife. Ex-wife coming to the wedding. " She told Gary.
Gary paced back and forth. "Yeah, I can understand why Brigatti would be worried. I'd be worried. Did she say anything else?" Gary asked as he cocked his head to the side.
Bailey bit her bottom lip. "She said you had a lot of secrets and she hoped you and I were real happy." Bailey said as she slumped back in the chair.
"I'm sure she was talking about the paper. She's beautiful."
"Yeah." Gary answered absent mindedly. Wondering if now was the time to tell her about Jeremiah. He dreaded having to tell it one more time. Bailey sat quietly. She had just said Brigatti was beautiful and he had answered yeah.
"I, I mean..."
"It's okay, Gary. I know what you mean. Why would you be concerned if Chuck's ex-wife showed up?"
Gary took one hand off of his hip and motioned with his two forefingers. "I told you about when I met Jade. She was Amber then. Shestole the Lermatov diamond. Then when she and Chuck got married there was the whole thing with the Harland diamond. When she shows up trouble follows." Gary explained.
"That was when you and Toni had to pretend you were married." Bailey stated.
"Mmm, hmm. When Amber, uh Jade stole the Lermatov." Gary furrowed his brow. Wondering where this conversation was leading.
Bailey looked up at him. She never imagined she could love a person so much. She quickly wiped a tear away from the corner of her eye.
Gary walked over to Bailey and put his hands on each side of the chair and leaned in close to her. "Bailey, what's wrong." He said softly.
Bailey shook her head. "Nothing. I'm just tired. I haven't had enough sleep. I'm going home early tonight to get some extra sleep.I'll be all right tomorrow." She said as another tear escaped her eye.
"You're not worried about me and Brigatti are you?" Gary asked.
"No." She said.
"She's just so beautiful." Bailey sniffed. "And I looked like this. I just don't want her to think you settled for less."
Gary smiled. "Less than what? Her? She dumped me. A long time ago. I'm not concerned with what she thinks of you or me for that matter."
He put his hand under her chin and raised her face to look at him. He squinted his eyes as he looked at her intently.
"You're the one that I want. The one I chose. The one I was destined to be with. You are the most incredible woman I have ever met and I feel so fortunate that you chose me too." He explained.
"I'm sorry. I know you love me. I don't know why I felt so intimidated by her."
Gary laughed. "She has that way about her."
Bailey sighed. Gary lowered his head and kissed her. His hand moved from her chin to the back of her neck.
"Now you go home and get some sleep so you'll feel better." He said as he broke their kiss. "It's only four days till I can quit sending you home."
Bailey stood and hugged him. He held her close. Hoping to reassure her of his love.
"Come on. Let's go get Emily." He offered.
They walked out of the office into the bar where they spotted Emily and Chuck sitting together. Their heads close to each other.
Gary scratched his head and looked to Bailey. Who wasn't
quite sure what she was witnessing either.
"I will." Gary responded.
Bailey felt the tears forming as she heard Gary's voice crack.
"Will you Bailey, take this man whom you hold by the hand to be your wedded husband. Promising to adhere unchangeably to him in all life's changes, and to be his loving and true wife till death divide you?" The preacher asked.
Bailey sat in a tub of hot water. Inhaling deeply the scent of vanilla hoping it would help to calm her nerves.
She hadn't slept much again last night. She had got up early and sat on her balcony and watched the sun come up. She had taken a few snapshots. But nothing had stilled the butterflies in her stomach.
Pre-wedding jitters. That's all it was. But she just couldn't seem to shake them.
Everything was going according to schedule. The only hitches so far had been the mishap with the dresses, the early arrival of Gary's parents and the tension between Chuck and Emily. Fortunately the two of them seemed to be getting along better, which still worried Bailey some.
She missed Gary. She had only seen him briefly a couple of times this week. He had been busy with the paper. Maybe that was what had her worried. What if something came up that kept Gary from the wedding. She breathed deeply again.
Then there was Brigatti. She didn't know wh meeting Brigatti had left her so rattled. She knew that Gary and Brigatti had dated for a while and that Gary had cared deeply for her. But when he had told Brigatti about the paper she had thought he was insane and had told him she didn't want to see him any more.
Meeting her had brought up all the old insecurities in Bailey. She had never imagined she would find someone like Gary. Let alone that he would love her. There were times when she still found it hard to believe. All of her relationships had ended with her feeling like a piece of paper someone had wadded up and tossed in a can.
She stepped out of the tub and put on her terry cloth robe. She wiped the steam off the mirror and looked at her reflection. Bailey ran her hands across her face and caught the reflection of her ring. She looked at it and smiled. Brigatti may be a knock out, but Bailey had Gary's heart. And she wasn't going to let anyone take it from her.
Bailey sat patiently as Emily applied the finishing touches of her makeup.
"What were you and Chuck talking about the other night at McGinty's?" Bailey asked again. Not having got a straight answer the last few times she had asked Emily this question.
"Okay. Done." Emily proclaimed.
"Perfection." Miguel stated as he walked into the room. "I'm all set up and ready when you are."
"We just need to get her dressed and we'll be right out." Emily told him.
Miguel left the room. Emily took the dress out of the bag as Bailey slipped out of her dressing gown. Emily helped her on with the dress and buttoned up the row of tiny buttons in the back.
"I would really like to know what is going on with you two." Bailey said as she stepped into white satin pumps.
"Sit down so I can put your veil on." Emily instructed.
It was a tiara with a cluster of netting in the back that fell to the middle of Bailey's back. Her hair was piled into curls on top of her head with curled tendrils loose on the side.
"We were just trying to get along. Isn't that what you wanted?" Emily asked
"Yes, but you being too nice worries me." Bailey responded.
"Why?" Emily wondered as she handed Bailey a silk bouquet , identical to the real one she would carry at the wedding, that was made for the photo's and to toss at the reception.
"I don't know. I guess I just need something else to worry about." Bailey said, standing up.
"You don't need to worry about us. We are just keeping it civil for the sake of your wedding. After that, the gloves are coming off. Oh, Bailey. You look beautiful."
Bailey turned to look at her reflection. The dress was gorgeous. Just as she had seen in her dream.
"Did you ever tell him?" Emily asked.
"Tell him what?"
"About the dream?"
Bailey raised an eyebrow. "No. He'd think I was silly." She laughed. "Come on let's go get this over with."
"Wow. How'd Hobson get so lucky?" Miguel asked.
Bailey blushed. "I think I am the one who is pretty lucky.
Bailey had met with the florists that morning at the church to set up the candelabras and the silk arrangements and bows.
Emily lit the candles while Miguel posed Bailey and arranged her dress and veil.
"Look down at the bouquet. Give me a far off daydreamy look. Perfect." He said as he snapped the shot.
He posed her with her back to the camera, looking over her shoulder with her bouquet held at her waist.
Then he had her turned sideways her face to the camera. Her dress swirled around her.
"Look right over my shoulder to the door. Pretend Hobson has just walked in that door and give him a 'honey I'm glad you're here' smile. Beautiful. Gorgeous." Miguel stated as he then started to change the lens and flash for more shots.
The door to the church opened and a woman walked in. She stood at the door and didn't say anything.
"Can we help you?" Emily asked.
The woman just stared at Bailey and didn't say anything.
Bailey felt the hair on the back of her neck stand up.
"Are you all right? Do you need some help? Bailey asked.
"I'm sorry. Excuse me. I'll come back." The woman said and went back out the door.
"Did you know her?"Emily asked. "She just kept staring at you."
"No, I've never seen her before."Bailey responded.
Miguel took several more photo's. Then they went outside into the church gardens to take the final pictures.
Bailey spotted the woman from the church, watching her from across the street. She frowned. Who was this woman?
Emily and Bailey joined Lois and Marissa for dinner at McGinty's. Bailey was discussing plans for the next day with them all.
Bailey looked up and saw Chuck and Bernie enter the bar.
"There you two are. I was going to report you missing in action. What have you two been doing the last couple of days?" Bailey asked as they approached the table.
"Emily." Chuck said as he pulled up a chair across from her.
"Chuck." She acknowledged.
Bailey looked from one to the other.
"Mmm. I'm hungry. You didn't order my dinner for me?" Bernie asked.
"We've been busy, busy, busy. Busy as little beavers, we have. And I think we both have worked up a huge appetite." said Chuck.
"Busy doing what?" She asked again.
Chuck and Bernie looked at each other with questioning looks on their faces.
"They've been working on a gift for you and Gary. So don't ask them any more questions because they aren't talking." Lois intervened.
"Oh. Well, it must be some gift. I haven't seen you for days." Bailey said.
Chuck nodded his head. "Big gift. Very big gift. A huge surprise for you. Ow!"
Emily kicked Chuck under the table afraid he would give away the surprise. She waved the waiter over. "Aren't you ready to order?"
"Yeah, sure. " He said as he rubbed his leg.
Bailey looked at her watch.
"Is Gary not going to join us?" Emily inquired.
"I'm not sure." Bailey said.
"Where does he go all day?"
The table got extremely quiet. Bailey, Chuck, Marissa, Bernie and Lois all responded, "He has errands to run."
They all laughed nervously.
"I didn't know there were so many errands involved in running a bar."
Just then Gary walked in. He smiled when he saw her.
She smiled in relief. She got up and met him halfway across the room where she met him with a big hug.
This was just what he needed. Plus some food. He was
starved. This is what had been missing these last few years.
Someone waiting for him at home after a hard day.
"I will." Bailey answered.
Gary turned to receive the ring from Chuck. He placed it over the end of Bailey's left ring finger, and held it there.
The pastor asked Gary to repeat after him. "I Gary, take thee
Bailey, to be my wedded wife. To have and to hold, from this day forward,
for better for worse. For richer for poorer. In sickness and in health.
To love and to cherish till death us do part.
According to God's holy ordinance and thereto I plight thee my troth With this ring I thee wed. And with all my worldly goods I thee endow.In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost."
Bailey turned and received the ring from Emily. She
placed it on Gary's left ring finger and held it there.
Bailey worked with the crew at McGinty's, moving tables around to clear space for a dance floor. Emily and Lois began putting table cloths on the tables.
"I'll be right back." Bailey announced. " I need to get some more decorations from the jeep."
She walked outside and opened the back of her jeep cherokee. She leaned in to tug on the box with the decorations when she spotted the woman from the church standing across the street. Watching her.
Bailey decided she was going to find out what was going on. She stood up and shut the back of the jeep. She waited as a truck passed by to cross the street. The woman was gone. Bailey jogged across the street and looked around. No sign of the woman anywhere. She headed back across the street and reopened her jeep. Gary came walking up the sidewalk.
"Here, let me get that." He offered as he took the box from her hands. He gave her a quick kiss, then followed her into the bar.
"Can I see you in the office for a minute?" He asked.
She followed him in. He shut the door, looked around to make sure the coast was clear, then pulled her into his embrace.
"I've missed you." He whispered in her ear.
She sighed. "I've missed you too."
She backed away. "How's it going with the paper?"
"Good. Thankfully it's a slow day. I only have one more save today and I'm done."
"Really? When?" she asked hopefully.
He pulled the paper out of his back pocket . "I have a convenience store robbery at 4 this afternoon ."
"So we don't have to worry about the rehearsal dinner? Wait." She said as she tried to look at the paper. "What happens at the convenience store? Do you need someone to go with you?" She became worried.
He smiled at her. "I'll be okay...Oh, boy"
"Gary? What is it?"
"This wasn't here before. 'Woman drowns in Lake Michigan'. 'Witnesses report that a woman intentionally jumped into Lake Michigan, yesterday at approximately 4 p.m. An attempt to save her proved futile. She was pronounced dead at the scene.' It's the same time as the robbery. "
"Is anyone seriously hurt at the robbery?" Bailey asked.
"The clerk is hit over the head from behind and dies from the blow. I can't be both places."
"Gary, I'll go to the lake." She offered.
He started to protest. "Gary I can do this. All I have to do is find the woman and keep her from jumping into the lake. I think I have experience with this type of thing. We're partners now. Let me help."
"Oh, all right. But be careful." He said as he tore out the article and handed it to her.
"Me? You're the one who better be careful. I don't want
you getting hurt." She said and kissed him quickly.
Bailey read over the article to make certain nothing had changed. She was headed to the location the paper indicated. She read the description of the woman again. She would be wearing a bright red t-shirt. Her name had been withheld pending notification of family. She looked at the description again. It couldn't be. That would be too strange. Bailey chuckled.
"No stranger than her life had been since she had met Gary." She thought to herself.
Bailey came up over the top of the hill and headed to the lakes shore.
It was her! The woman turned and saw Bailey coming towards her. She narrowed her eyes.
"What are you doing here?" The woman snapped.
"Who are you? Why do I keep seeing you?" Bailey demanded.
The woman crossed her arms. "Where's Gary? He's supposed to be here not you!'
"Gary? Why would he ....Who are you?"
The woman half smiled and raised an eyebrow. "Maybe you should ask Gary." She said and turned to walk away.
Bailey stood there stunned. "Hey! Wait a minute." She called after the woman.
The woman hailed a cab and got in. Bailey ran up to the cab. "Who are you? What do you want?"
The cab pulled away.
Bailey finished taping to guaze over a cut on Gary's forearm that he received earlier in a scuffle with the would be robber at the convenience store. After scolding him for being so daring she told him about the strange woman she kept seeing.
"Well, evidently she knew about the paper." Bailey informed him.
"What makes you think this woman knows about the paper?"
"She wanted to know why I was there instead of you. She must have staged the whole thing because the story changed after she left. She is the same woman from the church yesterday and I saw her outside earlier." Bailey explained.
Gary had an idea of who the woman was and he hoped he was
wrong. "I don't want you to worry about this, Bailey. I'll find out
what's going on and I'll take care of it, okay? In a little over 24
hours we'll be married and all this craziness will be over. Come on.
Everyone's waiting. Let's get to the church and get this rehearsal
on it's way."
"I Bailey take thee Gary, to be my wedded husband. To have and to hold. From this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. To love and to cherish till death us do part. According to God's holy ordinance and therto I plight thee my troth. With this ring I thee wed and with all my wordly goods I thee endow. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."
"Then I pronounce you man and wife and you may kiss the bride." The pastor stated.
Gary grabbed Bailey and bent her backwards and kissed her. Everyone laughed.
When their lips finally parted, Bailey said breathlessly, "Gary!"
He smiled. "You're blushing." He teased.
She playfully slapped at his arm. "Let me up."
He did so reluctantly. Bailey brushed the material of her black sheath dress and smoothed her hair.
Chuck hopped down the steps of the altar. "It's been a long time since I've seen him like this." He said to Bernie and Lois.
Lois wrapped her arms around Bernie's and hugged it. "I know. I am so happy for him."
She placed her hand softly on Chuck's arm. "You'll find your happiness too, Chuck. Just be patient."
Chuck looked across the room at Emily who was talking with Marissa and Emmitt.
Just then the door to the church swung open.
"Oh, boy." Gary said when he realized who had walked in the door. Bailey looked at Gary, whose face was frozen in agitation.
"Erica." Gary said through gritted teeth.
Bailey turned to observe the visitor. "Gary, that's her."
"She's the woman from the lake today."
Erica strolled up the aisle, smiling. "Hello, Lois. Bernie." She acknowledged. "Marissa! I've missed you." She said as she hugged her.
"Erica! What are you doing here?" Marissa asked.
"Well, I saw the announcement for Gary's wedding and I wanted to wish him well." She explained.
"You could have done that over the phone or in a letter. You write those so well." Gary stated.
Erica recoiled as if slapped at the reference Gary made to the letter she had written him when she left Chicago almost three years ago.
"I could have. But I missed everyone and I thought I could kill two birds with one stone. Where's Patrick. Is he coming?" She asked looking around.
"Patrick lives in Oregon. We don't know if he will be at the wedding. You didn't keep in touch with him?" Gary asked.
"No, I kind of lost track of everyone and I have just been
so homesick. Chuck, isn't it?" She said finally acknowledging his
"You've been in town at least two days. Why did you wait so long to see everyone?" Bailey asked.
Erica raised an eyebrow and looked Bailey up and down. "And you would be Gary's intended?"
Gary possessivley put his arm around Bailey. "Yes, this is Bailey. Bailey this is Erica ."
Erica turned her back to Bailey.
"Erica, honey. It's very good to see you, but I don't think showing up here was the smartest thing to do. This is my son's wedding rehearsal." Lois said.
Erica started to speak and Gary cut her off. "Erica, I appreciate you feeling the need to extend your congratulations. But, I, I, ah.."
"Oh, Gary. Haven't you been able to control that stutter by now? It's cute and all, but really?" Erica laughed.
Bailey's blood began to boil. She would keep her cool. She would not have Gary thinking she was going to feel jealous or insecure everytime a woman from his past showed up.
"I happen to think his stutter is adorable." Bailey stated. Bailey placed her hand on top of his where it rested at her waist. He squeezed it. "If you wanted to talk to Gary why did you keep showing up where I was?"
"You weren't supposed to be at the la........... I was trying to get a moment alone with Gary. I just had trouble locating him and I thought he might be where you were. " She narrowed her eyes as she spoke. "Is it all right if I have that minute with him now?" She spat.
"Why all the nerve." Emily said as she moved forward.
"Sure, I'll just wait outside for you honey." Bailey said and kissed Gary.
Bailey wanted to choke Erica right then and there. But she was in a church. There would be a better time and a better place for a confrontation if needed. If there was something she wanted to say to Gary, better she do it now than tomorrow during the ceremony.
She smiled at Erica as she passed her.
She stepped outside of the church. "I was just trying to get a minute alone with Gary." Bailey mimicked in a sing song voice.
"Are you okay?" Chuck asked, startling her.
"Yes, thank you. I am okay."
The rest of the wedding party walked out of the church and joined them.
"It was in such bad taste to show up like this. What was she thinking?" Lois asked.
"I don't know how you kept your cool with her, Bailey." Emily stated.
"Well, I'm really not the violent type now am I?' Bailey responded. The whole while knowing she could have easily decked Erica.
She felt a hand rest on the small of her back. "Bailey are you okay?" Gary asked softly.
"That was quick. Is everything okay? What did she want?"
"She didn't want anything. She won't be a bother anymore. I think I set her straight. Come on . Let's go back to McGinty's and eat."
Bailey still had an uneasy feeling. But she was not going to let Erica ruin her night.
Erica stood at the door of the church and watched everyone get into their cars. She pursed her lips and squared her jaw. This wasn't over by a long shot.
Gary took the napkin off his lap. Folded it and placed it on the table. "Tony outdid himself tonight." He stated.
They all agreed.
Emily, who was a little tipsy off the wine, stood up.
"I would like to make a toast. To Bailey, who has been my best friend for most of my adult life. She has always been there for me. Through all of my ups and downs and all my idosincricies. I wish I could say I had been as understanding of her crazy moments. Who would have thought that your dream would actually come true. That they guy you dreamt about was a real guy." Emily rambled on.
Bailey sat up straight. "Emily!'
Emily put her hand over her mouth and giggled. "Oops."
"You're such a cheap drunk." Bailey said under her breath. Amazed that her friend could loosen up so, on just two glasses of wine.
Gary put his hand on her arm. "You dreamt about me?"
Everyone was looking at her. She just wished she could slide right under the table. "Yes, I've been having the same dream for the last 5 years. And after I met you, I realized you were the one. I know it sounds crazy. That's why I never said anything." She looked pleadingly at Gary. Not knowing what his reaction would be.
"Well, it's not any crazier that getting tomorrow's new... Ouch!" Chuck cried out as he stood up from the table. Where Marissa had just kicked his shin. "When did it become so popular to kick me under the table?" He strode off into the kitchen area.
Gary took Bailey's hand. "If you'll excuse us for a few minutes." He said then led her through the office to the stairs leading to his loft.
"Bailey, I understand why you didn't tell me about the dream. But I want you to know you can tell me anything. Nothing will change how I feel about you. Nothing." He said his hands on her upper arms.
It felt so good to be so comfortable with her that he could express himself. There were so few people in his life that he could do this with.
She smiled, relieved. "Okay. I should have known you'd understand."
Gary thought about things he wanted to tell her. About Jeremiah, about Earl and about the occasions he had gone back in time. But not tonight."We don't know everything there is to know about each other yet. But we have the rest of our lives to find out. We know we love each other and that's the most important thing." Gary said softly and kissed her.
They spent several moments by the stairs enjoying the privacy. When all of a sudden they heard the squeal of feedback from a microphone. "Test, Test. thump, thump, Okay! We're ready to go." Chuck was heard to say.
"What's going on?" Bailey asked.
"With Chuck, who knows." Gary grumbled.
"Oh no he's not!"Gary exclaimed as they heard music begin playing.
Bailey began to laugh. "Come on." She took Gary by the hand and they walked back into the bar area. There stood Chuck, microphone in hand. Gary looked from Chuck to Bailey then back to Chuck and shook his head.
Guests for the bachelor's party had started to arrive. Gary tried to introduce them to Bailey over the wail of Chuck's voice.
"If ya want my body, and ya think I'm sexy. Come on suga let me know." He sang.
Bailey couldn't help but laugh. Chuck was enjoying himself way too much.
When the song was over, Chuck announced. "Your turn, Gar."
"Ah, no, no, no. You're not getting me to sing. This is the entertainment for tonight?" Gary asked.
"Hey, you won't let me get a stripper so it's Karaoke. We have to have some kind of fun tonight." Chuck explained.
"Oh, I love Karaoke. " Bailey said as her eyes lit up.
"Really, now?" Chuck grinned.
Gary looked at Bailey in surprise.
"One of those little things you don't know about me." She smiled.
He frowned and scratched his head.
"Maybe I should have thrown the bachelorette party for you instead of this one for Gary. You'd be more fun." He teased as he put his arm around her shoulders.
"Can we stay?" Bailey asked hopefully.
Chuck considered it a moment. "Oh, it's very tempting, but it goes against tradition. You can't have women at a bachelor party."
"Yeah. No dames ya shee." Gary teased imitating James Cagney.
"Oh, all right. Can we at least stay for a couple of songs?" She pleaded.
"Okay, but you have to sing." Chuck relented.
Bailey began to scour through all the selections. Chuck put her choice in and the music began to play.
She took the microphone that Chuck handed to her and began to sing.
"If I could grant. You one wish. I wish you could see the way you kiss. Ooh, I love watching you, baby. When you're driving me, crazy."
She walked up to Gary and put her arm around him as she continued to sing.
"Ooh, I love the way you, love the way you love me. There's no where else I'd rather be. Ooh to feel the way I feel with your arms around me. I only wish that you could see. The way you love me."
Gary turned beet red. The guys began to tease him and whistle. Making his blush creep down his neck.
"Aw, isn't that sweet." Chuck said ruffling Gary's hair."
Gary swatted his hand away.
"You're the million reason's why there's love reflecting in my eyes."
He blushed again.
When she finally finished singing, she looked apologetically at Gary. "I hope I didn't embarrass you too much." She laughed softly. "We're gonna get out of here now and leave you guys alone." She kissed him quickly. Which sent the guys into another session of ribbing.
He watched her walk out of the bar along with his mother,
Marissa and Emily. He didn't even care what the guys were saying.
He was just darn lucky to have her and he knew it.
"I am really sorry that I let it slip about your dream tonight." Emily apologized.
Emily and Bailey were straightening up the kitchen as Marissa and Lois visited.
"It's all right. It's better that it is out in the open.
I shouldn't keep things from Gary." Bailey acknowledged. "Besides,
can I be angry at you when it got us a few minutes alone in the stairwell." Bailey said, grinning.
Emily laughed out loud. "He is a pretty great guy. He just never seems to sit still for too long."
"Hmm, I'll take him any way I can get him." Bailey stated as she led the way back into her living room.
The four of them had spent the last couple of hours visiting after Bailey had opened the gifts she had received. Lois and Marissa had taken turns telling Bailey stories about Gary. Lois had told her how sweet a boy Gary had been. How he was always helping people out. During the summer he mowed lawns for extra money, but he would mow the elderly neighbors lawns free of charge. Marissa had told her about the time Chuck had pantsed Gary. Bailey felt horrible for him but couldn't help but laugh.
"I'll have to be sure and check for that lollipop." She declared. Then realizing she had said that in front of Gary's mother, blushed a bright red. Lois laughed at her embarrassment and assured her it was okay.
Bailey yawned. Lois looked at the clock. "I think it's time we called an end to this party. We don't want Bailey walking down the aisle with blood shot eyes." Lois stated.
Bailey smiled in gratitude. "I'll give you and Marissa a ride home." She offered.
They both protested. But Bailey insisted. She dropped Marissa off first then took Lois to McGinty's. They entered through the back door. They could hear the crowd of men singing loudly to 'You don't even call me by my name.'
"Sounds like they are having a good time in there." Lois commented. "Good night sweetheart." She said as she hugged her future daughter-in-law. "Be careful going home."
"I will. I just want to say good night to Gary."
"That's bad luck." Lois warned.
"I'll take my chances. I just really need to see him."
Lois patted Bailey's arm and smiled. She turned and started up the stairs.
Bailey waited till she got to the top. She heard someone come into the office.
When she heard Gary's voice, she paused in the hallway.
"Erica, I thought I made myself clear earlier. You shouldn't have come here." Bailey heard Gary say.
"I'm just supposed to give up. Just like that?" Erica pouted.
"Give up just like that? That is exactly what you did two years ago. It didn't bother you then. Why should it now?" Gary demanded.
"I made a terrible mistake leaving you. I was so unfair to you, Gary. I blamed the paper and you. But it was all me. I see that now. I've grown up so much the last few years. I miss you. Henry misses you. Please give me a chance to prove to you that I can be good for you." She pleaded as she placed her hand on his face.
"Erica." He stated as he removed her hand. "Leaving me was the best thing you could have done for both of us. I'm getting married tomorrow night. Come Hell or high water, to the woman I love. Bailey."
Bailey smiled in the dim light of the corridor.
" I miss Henry too and tell him hello for me. It's late and you should really be going." He informed her.
Erica raised up on her tip toes and tried to kiss Gary. He grabbed her by the arms and stopped her.
"Just what do you think you are doing?!" Bailey demanded as she entered the office.
"What! Were you eavesdropping on our conversation?" Erica accused.
Bailey's patience with this woman was gone. "How dare you show up and try to get Gary back. Did it ever occur to you at anytime during the last two years to try to make it work with Gary? Why did you wait till he's engaged and days before his wedding to show up and try to change his mind." Bailey said trying very hard to keep from yelling.
Erica looked her up and down. "I was sizing up the competition and then I realized you are no real competition. You couldn't hold his attention for too long. It's just a matter of time and he will tire of you." Erica sneered.
That was it. The final straw. Bailey pulled back and landed a right hook across Erica's mouth.
Gary was shocked. His mouth forming an O.
"Why you little witch!' Erica said and lunged for Bailey.
Gary grabbed her. "Hold on just a minute. Stop it both of you. Bailey there is no need for you to hit Erica. And Erica, you need to go. What we were, what we had, if there ever was anything, is in the past. My future is with Bailey. I'm sorry, I really am. You, you just have no place here." He explained.
Erica rubbed her slightly swelling mouth. She looked at Gary then at Bailey. She narrowed her eyes. "I could press charges for assault, you know." She threatened.
"Let it go Erica, let it go." Gary said, fatigue evident in his voice.
Sadness and regret filled Erica's eyes. She sniffed slightly. She turned to leave, but not before she gave Bailey a parting glance of disgust.
Erica left through the kitchen. When she was gone, "Oh my God! I am actually certifiable." Bailey cried, as she shook her hand.
"Here let's get some ice for that." Gary offered.
Bailey sat on a stool in the kitchen as Gary wrapped some ice in a towel for her hand.
The kitchen door swung open. "What happened?" Chuck asked as he walked in, still looking back into the bar. "Oh!" He laughed when he saw Gary tending to Bailey's hand.
"You popped the blond chick?"
Gary shook his head in an attempt to warn Chuck not to say anything.
Chuck ignored him. "Was it a left or right hook?" Chuck questioned.
"A right hook." Bailey mumbled.
"Hah! " Chuck slapped Gary on the back. "You better stay in line buddy." He whistled. "I bet Erica won't need a collagen injection in her bottom lip any time soon."
With that Bailey stifled a laugh.
Gary and Chuck turned to look at her.
"It's not funny. I just assaulted a woman." She tried to say seriously.
The corner of Gary's mouth twitched. Chuck ducked his head and turned away.
"It's not funny!' She emphasized again.
"Aww, but honey. You're so cute when you're jealous." Gary teased.
"I wasn't jealous!"
Gary raised an eyebrow.
"Oh, all right. I was jealous. Why? I don't know. The girl needs her hair done. Her roots were showing." Bailey complained.
"Rowr!" Chuck said making clawing motions with his hand. "I wished I could have seen it." Chuck stated.
"Oh Chuck she was great! Didn't even see it coming. One second Bailey's standing there, cool as a cucumber, the next second she is Lennox Lewis." Gary gushed.
"Why is it that two women fighting, gets men going?" Bailey asked.
"Ah, well, you wanna explain, Gar?" Chuck asked.
"Ah, no, no,no. I'm going to take Bailey home. No explaining." He said blushing.
Bailey raised an eyebrow and smiled. He was so cute when he was embarrassed.
"I've got my car Gary. I'll drive myself home."
"What about your hand?"
She flexed it and winced a little. "It's all right. I can make it okay. But you can walk me to the car."
She kissed Chuck on the cheek. "Sweet dreams there, Chuck." She teased.
Gary held open the door for her. He looked back at Chuck who was giving him the thumbs up. Gary smiled and shook his head.
Bailey reached to open her car door. Gary reached around her and put his hand on the door stopping her. "Bailey pulled back to look at him. "Gary, I am really sorry about the way I have acted this week. First with Detective Brigatti and tonight with Erica. I shouldn't be causing you any more concern. You have so much to worry about with the paper."
Gary laughed softly. "You're only human. You can't do everything on your own. You've been under a lot of stress this week. Don't feel like you can't unload on me just because of the paper. I'm here for you just as you are for me. You need to let others help you every so often." Gary repeated advice Marissa had given him countless times before.
She leaned up against the Jeep. "You're so sweet." She said softly.
He put his other hand on the Jeep so he had her blocked in. He leaned in slowly. "Less than 24 hours." He whispered.
She got goose bumps up her arms. She loved to hear him whisper.
"Mm, hmm." She said as she cocked her head.
"Have I told you lately, how happy you've made me?" He whispered again.
She smiled and ducked her head, leaning her forehead on his chest. She wrapped her arms around his waist.
She raised her head and buried it in the warm spot of skin between his neck and shoulder. She inhaled deeply.
He moved his hand up to her hair and ran his fingers over it.
"You've made me the happiest woman in the world, Gary."
She tilted her head up and he kissed her, ever so softly.
"If only my parents weren't upstairs." He whispered against her lips.
"Gary!" She giggled as she pushed him away. "I need to get home. Now!" She stated.
He trapped her with his arms again. "But you want to stay, don't you?" He asked as he nuzzled her neck.
"Gooood, night, Gar, Gary." She murmured. Snapping out of it. "I'll see you tomorrow night." She said and kissed him again.
It was a while before she got in her Jeep and drove home.
"Has he made it yet?" Bailey asked as Lois entered the room.
Lois rubbed her hands together. "No, but Gary will be here."
Bailey took a deep breath. She took Lois off to the side. "Did he say where he was going? What did he have to take care of?"
"There were just a few small incidents earlier today. Then he had to stop a child from drowning around 5:00 this evening. We knew it would be cutting it close. You don't think something has happened?" Lois asked worriedly.
"No, I just need to get him a cell phone so I know where he is from now on." She laughed nervously.
There was a knock on the door. Emily opened it. "Chuck?"
"Oh, Wow!" He said. Emily blushed.
Bailey rushed over. "Gary?"
"Gary just called. He's not coming." He stated.
"What? NO!" Bailey screamed.
"Good morning Chicago. Looks like we have a beautiful day ahead of us."
Bailey sat up in bed. She hit the alarm clock. Her breathing labored. She ran her hands across her face. She was going to be sick. She got up and ran to the bathroom.
Bailey splashed cold water on her face. Her mind muddled in confusion. Had it all been a dream. What was real and what wasn't? She looked at her reflection in the mirror. She was as pale as a ghost. She shook her head trying to clear it. Was Gary real or had it all been a dream. Tears ran down her cheeks. She brushed them away and saw her ring. Relief flooded her. Reality was finally dawning on her. Gary was real. They were getting married. She had just had a doozy of a nightmare.
She heard a soft knock on the door. "Bailey are you okay in there?" She heard Emily ask.
Her voice cracked as she spoke. "Yeah, I'm fine.
I'll be out in a minute."
"Good Morning Chicago. Looks like we have a beautiful day ahead of us." Gary slapped at the alarm clock. "Meow! thump." Gary stretched then threw the covers back. He padded to the door and opened it. The cat sat staring up at him.
"You are going to take it easy on me today, aren't you? Well, let's have a look." Gary said as he shooed the cat off the paper and picked it up.
Lois had got up and put her robe on. "Morning Gary."
"Well, how does it look for today. Are there any conflicts with the wedding?" She asked.
Gary scanned through the paper. He heaved a sigh of relief. "No. The last thing I have is at 5 this evening."
"Gary, the wedding is at 6. Will you have enough time?" Lois asked concerned.
"Yeah, It's not too far from the church and I'll just have you take my tux with you and I will change there. It should be all right." He stated.
As he walked to the bathroom, he muttered to himself. "I hope it will be all right."
"Bailey you have to eat something." Emily chastised. "You'll faint dead away if you don't."
"I don't feel like eating okay." Bailey rubbed her neck.
"Okay, fine." Emily retorted as she headed towards the bathroom.
Bailey walked over to the phone and picked it up. It was working. She put the phone back on the receiver. It immediately rang.
"Hello! Gary?" She asked hopefully.
"Bailey, it's Marissa. Is everything okay? You sound anxious."
"I'm fine. Have you talked to Gary today?" She asked.
"No, He had left by the time I got to McGinty's." Marissa answered.
"Oh, I was just wondering." Bailey said softly.
"Lois said he left out pretty early this morning. He wanted to make sure he took care of everything in time for the wedding. I'm sure if he gets a minute he will call you." Marissa said encouragingly. She knew how nervous a bride could get on her wedding day. Remembering back to how she had felt.
"I'm sure he will. Is everything okay at McGinty's? Do you need me to come by?"
"No everything is going like clockwork. All the employees are very fond of you and Gary and they are working extra hard to make this special for you."
Bailey smiled for the first time that day. "Tell them I said thank you very much. "
"I certainly will. Are we still meeting at the church at 4:00?" Marissa wondered.
"Yes, Miguel wanted to take pictures of us before the ceremony starts."
"Okay, I will be there. Take it easy today alright?"
Bailey said she would and they hung up.
"Ouuuuch!' Bailey heard Emily cry.
She ran to the bathroom. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, just waxing my legs. You want me to do yours?" Emily asked.
Bailey looked at her friend whose eyes were brimmed with tears. "I don't think so." She said as she shook her head and laughed in spite of herself.
Gary looked at his watch. 3:30. In less than three hours he would be a married man, again. He had some time before his next save and for some reason wanted to take time to visit someone.
He stood at the gravesite of Lucius Snow. He didn't know why he felt the need to come here today. The last time he had been here was the day after Bailey had found out the true story surrounding her grandfather.
Gary pulled a note out of his pocket. He had thought of it this morning before he left the loft. He was in a hurry so had tucked away. Now he pulled it out of the envelope and read the words again.
I imagine by the time you get this letter, you've got a whole
more questions than I have answers. I can tell you that I wasn't the
first to get the paper, and I doubt that you'll be the last. But I am
certain that by now, whatever debt you think you owe me has been paid in
full a thousand times over. In this you've found your gift. And I know
you serve it with honor.
I can tell you that we are the messengers between time and
keeper. You of all people know how fragile life is. So somewhere
between the pages of our newspaper, Gary Hobson, find time to live it."
Gary still seemed to have more questions about the paper than he thought he would ever receive answers to. Maybe it was best not to know. At least any farther than what was going to happen tomorrow. He smiled wryly.
Gary knew that Snow was involved in sending Bailey to him. That was one thing he didn't want to question.
"But I am certain that by now, whatever debt you think you owe me has been paid in full a thousand times over." Gary reread. Snow had saved his life all those years ago and he had saved it again through Bailey. And that was a debt Gary knew he would never be able to repay.
He folded the note and returned it to the envelope.
There were still times he wondered if he could do this. Balance a marriage
and the paper. Was it going to be fair to Bailey. Would she resent
the time he had to spend taking care of the paper? Would she grow to
resent him. It had been a harsh blow when Marcia left him. But he had
recovered. Deep down he had known they were headed in separate directions
but it had still hurt. He stood there staring at the headstone.
had all the answers. He looked at his watch. He turned to go. Then paused and took one last look at the stone.
"Has he made it yet? Bailey asked as Lois entered the room.
Lois rubbed her hands together. "No. But Gary will be here."
Bailey took a deep breath. She took Lois off to the side. "Did he say where he was going? What did he have to take care of?" Suddenly Bailey was very cold.
"There were just a few small incidents earlier today. Then he had to stop a child from drowning around 5:00 this evening. We knew it would be cutting it close. You don't think something has happened?" Lois asked worriedly.
Bailey swallowed hard. "No,I just need to get him a cell phone, so I know where he is from now on." She laughed nervously.
This couldn't be happening. She put her hand on the wall to steady herself. The room pitched suddenly.
There was a knock on the door. Emily opened it. "Chuck?"
"Oh. Wow!' He said. Emily blushed.
Bailey rushed over. "Gary?"
"Gary just called..."
"What? NO!" Bailey screamed as the room went black and
she collapsed into Chuck's arms.
"I told her to eat something or she was going to faint." Emily stated.
"She hasn't eaten? Good heavens. No wonder she fainted. With everything that has gone on this week. Poor girl." Lois said softly.
Bailey heard the murmur of voices. She opened her eyes to find Lois sitting on the edge of the sofa next to her. Lois was applying a cool wash cloth to her forehead.
Bailey tried to sit up. The room spun again and she groaned.
"Honey, lie still for a few minutes." Lois instructed.
"Chuck run to the deli around the corner and grab her a sandwich." Emily ordered.
"No! Wait." Bailey pleaded. "Gary?"
"Gary's on his way. That is what I was going to tell you when you fainted. He called from the loft. He had to take a quick shower and he'd be on his way. He should be here very soon." Chuck explained.
Bailey heaved a sigh of relief. "He's really coming?"
"He wouldn't miss this for the world. His tux is here. As soon as he arrives we'll get him dressed and ready to go." Lois said patting her hand.
"Chuck? Why are you still standing there?" Emily demanded.
"Oh, right." He turned and took a couple of quick steps to the door, then stopped and turned back around. He looked at Emily for a moment and decided now was not the time for a quick comeback. He turned again and ran out the door in search of a sandwich.
Lois helped Bailey to sit up. "I'm so sorry." Bailey apologized.
"Don't be silly. You've just been as nervous as a rabbit at the dog races. It was bound to catch up with you." Lois comforted her.
"Come on. Can you get up and over to this chair? Your dress is getting rumpled." Emily noticed.
They helped Bailey to a chair just as Marissa came in with a glass of water. "How is she?"
"Over here Marissa. She's okay now. Just a little woozy.' Lois explained taking the water from her and handing it to Bailey.
"I'll go let the pastor know it will be a few more minutes." Marissa offered.
Chuck arrived with the sandwich. Emily draped Bailey's robe across the front of the dress to protect it from anything falling on it.Bailey was hungrier than she realized. After eating she felt much better.
"I'll go check to see if Gary is here yet." Chuck announced.
Emily began to touch up Bailey's hair and makeup.
"He's here. Chuck is helping him get ready." Marissa said as she entered the room.
Bailey nibbled on her bottom lip. "Can you give me just a minute alone?" She requested.
"Are you all right?" Emily asked.
"I'm fine. I just need a couple of minutes quiet."
Everybody emptied the room.
Bailey took several deep breaths and tried to still the butterflies in her stomach. She walked to the full length mirror and looked at her reflection. She brushed her skirt down and straightened the veil. She closed her eyes and prayed.
There was a soft tap on the door. "Hon? Are you okay?" She heard Gary say.
She smiled. "I am now." She said as she walked to the door. Gary could hear the faint rustle of her dress.
"Chuck said you fainted. What happened? Do you need a doctor?" He asked, concern evident in his voice.
"No, I don't need a doctor. I was just worried."
"I'm sorry I'm late. I got to the kid in time, but I couldn't get away from his parents. The one time I get a proper thank you and I'm more concerned about getting here." He laughed.
"Oh Gary, I thought you weren't coming." She confessed.
"What would make you think that?"
"I had a dream." She said so softly he could barely hear.
" Hon, it was only a dream. You're as much my destiny as that darn paper is. I can't run away from you any more than I could run away from it and the cat" He reassured her.
" You still want to marry me, don't you? After all I'm here and all dressed up in this monkey suit. I would hate for it to go to waste."
He heard her laugh softly. "So are you ready to get this show on the road?" He asked.
She placed her hand on the door, unbeknownst to her that Gary had done the same thing. "Yes, I am. More than ready. See you in a few minutes."
He turned to walk away and paused. "Bailey?"
"I love you."
"I love you too."
"For as much as Gary and Bailey have consented together in holy wedlock, and have plighted each to the other your sacred troth, in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I pronounce you husband and wife. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder...........You may kiss the bride."
Bailey wanted to shout for joy. Then Gary kissed her.
Her husband kissed her!
And then he kissed her again.
"May I present Mr. & Mrs. Gary Hobson. "
Gary felt a tap on his shoulder. "Ahem. Gary, buddy. It's time to go." He heard Chuck say. He looked up. Embarrassed. The audience applauded.
Gary took Bailey's hand and they walked back down the aisle to the foyer of the church. Bailey giggled with joy as she hugged Gary.
"Come on. Lets get back to McGinty's and get the party started." Gary said.
Bailey looked at him apologetically. "We can't go yet.
We have pictures to take."
"Come on Diaz. How many more pictures are you gonna take?" Gary complained.
"Chill, bro. Talk to your wife there. She's the one who ordered them." Miguel explained.
"My wife." He whispered. "I like the sound of that." He said as he leaned his head close and kissed her. The camera flashed.
"There, I think we're done here. Ahem! Hobson? I'm done."
Miguel smiled and shook his head.
When they walked into McGinty's their friends and family applauded again.
McGinty's had been totally transformed from a local
bar to an elegant dining room. Tables were covered in lace table cloths.
Centerpieces were made of white roses surrounding silver candles. The brides table held a four-tier white cake with white roses with silver ribbons run through. There was also a crystal punch bowl and cups and a silver coffee set.
The lights were dimmed and candles lit. Music played softly in the background. Bailey and Gary greeted guest and made introductions.
"If my hand gets squeezed one more time I think it will fall off." Bailey murmured as she massaged it.
Gary took her hand and held it tenderly in his. "It still hurts from last night?" He asked, a twinkle in his eye.
"Yes, but it was worth it." She said as she squared her shoulders.
"Dance with me." He suggested as he lead her onto the dance floor. He took her in his arms. "Well, we finally made it. How does it feel to be Mrs. Gary Hobson?" He asked.
She sighed. "Wonderful!"
"I haven't told you how beautiful you look tonight." He said softly.
"Yes, you did."
He pulled back and looked at her. "I did?"
"You didn't actually say it. But I knew what you were thinking?"
He smiled and pulled her close.
"What exactly is going on with those two?" Gary asked nodding in the direction of Chuck and Emily.
Bailey looked in that direction. They were standing by the punch bowl, obviously bickering. "I have no idea." She laughed.
"Excuse me." Bernie said as he tapped Gary on the shoulder. "Could I have this dance with my new daughter-in-law?"
"Sure." Bailey smiled.
"Welcome to the family." He acknowledged as they moved across the dance floor.
"Thank you for making me feel welcome." She said and looked across the room at Gary who was talking with Emmitt and Marissa. She looked back at Bernie. "Thank you for raising such a wonderful son."
"He's a great kid. That's all Lois's doing. We're pretty proud of him. But you, you're the one who made him smile again. Which I know has been no easy feat."
Bailey blushed. "I don't know that it's because of me."
"Well, I know and Lois knows. That boy had a rough few years with Marcia dumping him like she did. Then he started getting the paper and that has been a huge responsibility. Lo and I were really worried about him. But look at him now." He said as he nodded in Gary's direction.
Gary had just thrown back his head in laughter.
Bailey smiled. "He makes me very happy too."
Bernie kissed her on the forehead as the song ended.
'At last' begin to play. "Do you mind if I cut in. I'd like to dance with my wife." Gary stated.
Bernie stepped aside and patted his son on the shoulder.
"What were you and Dad talking about?"
"You, and how happy you make me." She said.
He pulled her close to him and rested his cheek against hers. The crowd disappeared. It seemed as if they were the only two people in the world.
"I just thought of something. Where are we going to stay tonight?"
"Where are we going to stay? Em's at my place and your parents are here. Maybe we could..."
He put his mouth to her ear. "It's all taken care of."
"Mmm. Little place out of the way. No city, no neighbors, no cat, no paper."
She felt him smile against her ear. "No kidding. Just the two of us. All alone. Mom and Dad are going to take care of the paper."
She pulled back to look at him. "Are you sure?"
"Yeah. Mom and Dad helped out this week and it went okay. I think it'll be all right. Things have worked out for us so far. Besides I want to be totally alone with you for at least three days with no interruptions." He whispered again as he pulled her close.
" Oh my. So where is this place that we will be so all alone?" She quizzed him.
"My parents cabin by the lake. Dad and Chuck went up this week and got it ready for us."
The music stopped and they heard a spoon clinking against a crystal cup.
"I would like to make a toast to the happy couple. Everybody fill your glasses." Chuck announced.
Emily brought Bailey and Gary a glass of punch.
"Gar, my bud, my pal. We've known each other most of
our lives. Through out the good and bad, happy and sad. The ordinary
and the impossible. And in all those years I've never seen you this
happy. You have met a wonderful woman. Congratulations Buddy.
I wish you years of joy, love and plenty of those kids you've always wanted.
I'm happy for ya, and Emily and I have a surprise for you. We went
together and reserved the Honeymoon suite at the Congress Plaza Hotel for
tonight. To the happy couple."
They all held up their glasses to the newlyweds and drank to their happiness.
"When did you do this?" Bailey asked Emily.
"The other day, when you were trying to pair the two of us
together.." Emily said frowning at her friend. "Chuck suggested it
since I was at your place and." She paused. "Did you tell her yet?" She asked Gary.
He nodded, yes. "We knew it would be late when you got out of here and we figured we would spare you the drive to the cabin tonight." Emily explained.
Bailey hugged her. She turned to Gary. " Did you know about this?"
"No, I had no idea." He turned as Chuck walked up, grinning ear to ear. He stuck out his hand. "I'm so happy for you buddy." Chuck said and pulled Gary into a bear hug.
They cut the cake , took pictures and danced some more.
"I'm ready to get out of here. What about you?" Gary suggested.
"I still have to throw the bouquet." She said.
"Well, throw that thing so we can go."
Bailey waved to Miguel who was taking candids of the crowd.
"I think we're about ready to leave, so I am going to toss the bouquet." She informed him.
They gathered all the single females in a group and Bailey tossed the bouquet, which landed right at Emily's feet. She bent to pick it up. Blushing as everyone cheered.
Bailey shrugged her shoulders, as if to say 'I didn't do it on purpose.'
"Okay Hobson, your turn." MIguel said as he pulled a chair into the middle of the dance floor.
"I don't have a bouquet to throw." Gary said dryly.
"Funny Hobson. You take off her garter and toss it." Miguel instructed.
"Dddo you ha have a garter?" Gary stammered.
She smiled and began to inch the hem of her skirt up.
"Hobson. Get a grip!" Miguel stated as he took Bailey's hand and led her to the chair where she sat down.
"Come on Hobson." Miguel said, nodding his head in Bailey's direction.
When Gary had the garter off, he flung it over his shoulder into the group of single men. Chuck made a dive and caught it in mid air. He landed with a thud and skidded across the floor. Emily ran to his side. Showing her concern.
"Oh boy. That my be trouble waiting to happen." Gary
said and they both laughed.
They headed out of the door of McGinty's and were pelted with birdseed.
"Your bags are in the limo, Gar. Have a good time." Chuck stated.
"I packed your bag earlier today and it's in the limo also." Emily informed Bailey.
"Thank you so much for everything. I'm gonna miss you." Bailey said to Emily. "Chuck you're a sweetie." She said as she hugged him.
They both hugged Bernie and Lois then stepped into the limo. Chuck tapped on the glass. Gary rolled the window down.
"You kids have a good time. And don't do anything I wouldn't do." Chuck said nodding his head.
Gary looked at Emily. "Get him away from the car, will ya? Or we'll never get out of here." Gary said.
Emily took Chuck's arm and pulled him back into the crowd.
Bailey wrapped her arms around Gary's arm as the limo pulled away. She snuggled close to him.
She picked up his left hand and turned the ring on his finger.
"I never realized how sexy a wedding band could make a man look." She said honestly.
"Sexy, huh?" He asked.
"Mmm, hmm." She murmured as he leaned into kiss her.
"Wait right here. Uh uh. Don't move."Gary instructed.
Bailey stood where she was told. The bellhop sat their luggage in the room and Gary tipped him.
Gary walked back out into the hall.
"I should have changed before we left. I felt so silly walking through the lobby in this dress." She offered.
"Don't you worry your pretty little head over it." Gary said as he picked her up in his arms.
She gave a delighted squeal as he carried her across the threshold. He kicked the door shut behind him and carried her into the room. He sat her down gently and took his jacket off. Bailey reached up and carefully took her veil off and laid it across a chair.
Suddenly music came on. They both jumped.
"What the..?" Gary muttered.
He and Bailey walked over to a table that held a chilled bottle of champagne and a covered plate of fruit and chocolate.
Gary picked up the note. "Best wishes for a long and happy marriage." He read aloud. The note wasn't signed.
"Meow!" They heard again.
"How did he get in here?" Bailey asked.
"I don't even want to know." He picked up the cat. "What are you trying to do here? Go on, get out of here." He said as he opened the door and set the cat into the hall.
"Now. Where were we?" Gary asked as he closed the door.
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