Gary was driving back to McGinty's, while Jillian was setting in the passenger seat, going over in her head, everything that needed to be done. She wanted to make sure that nothing was left out and that her and Gary's wedding would be the most glamorous wedding that the city of Chicago, or any city for that matter, had ever seen. S uddenly she remembered something that everyone else seemed to have forgotten.
"We need to come up with a song that Marissa can sing at our wedding," said Jillian.
"I'm sure that as soon as we arrive at McGinty's, that you and Marissa can talk about what song she can sing," said Gary.
"But, Gary I want you in on this decision too. After all, you are the groom," said Jillian.
"Oh Jillian, I think this is something that the bride should pick out. I'm sure that Marissa, Shelly, Jade and my mom would be more than happy to help you come up with something," said Gary.
"Okay," said Jillian sadly. "I'll ask them when we arrive at McGinty's, but you better like what we decide on Mister."
"I promise I will, beautiful," said Gary as he took Jillian's hand and gave it an affectionate squeeze.
Within minutes, Jillian and Gary returned to McGinty's. They both got out of Gary's Jeep and walked into the bar, hand in hand. At the bar was a familiar face. A face that Gary hadn't seen since that person had left McGinty's to move to Bend, Oregon to become a kindergarten teacher. Patrick Quinn was back in familiar territory, behind the bar and he was looking at all the fixtures and bottles. Yes, he was feeling quite at home and was more than happy to be back, even though it was only temporary.
Patrick turned at the sound of footsteps walking across the floor. He couldn't believe his eyes, for he was seeing his friend for the first time since he left McGinty's about year and a half ago.
"Hey Mr. H, it sure is nice seeing you again," said Patrick as he embraced Gary in a huge bear hug.
"Ah-ah-Patrick, you're squeezing," said Gary while trying to catch his breath.
"Oh sorry, Mr. H. It's just that I'm really glad to see you," said Patrick.
"Patrick, I'm glad to see you too. Surprised, but glad," said Gary.
"Excuse me," said Jillian, "How about introducing me to your friend Gary."
"Oh, Patrick, this is my fiancee, Jillian Matthew. Jillian, this is my former bartender, Patrick Quinn," said Gary.
"Wow, hubba hubba, Mr. H you sure know how to pick 'em. Boy, she sure is a knock out," said Patrick.
"Well thank you Patrick," said Jillian, as she blushed a little from the compliment.
"Yeah, thanks Patrick, but what are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be teaching your class right about now?" asked Gary.
"Well, you see Mr. H, when Mrs. H, called me and told me about your upcoming wedding, I just had to take a few days off and get on my motor bike and drive back here for your big day. So I found a replacement for a few days and here I am," said Patrick.
"You mean my mom called you?" asked Gary.
"That's what I said. Mrs. H," answered Patrick.
Jillian walked over to Patrick and placed her hand on his arm.
"Patrick, even though we just met, I would be more than pleased to have you attend our wedding. Wouldn't we Gary?" asked Jillian.
"Yeah sure, we would," said Gary nodding his head in agreement.
"Hey I bet you two have a lot to catch up on, I'm going to find Marissa to discuss her song for the wedding," said Jillian.
"Jillian, Patrick. Call me Jillian."
"Okay, Jillian. Marissa is going over the inventory in the office," said Patrick.
"Okay, thanks Patrick," said Jillian before she headed to the office.
Gary watched as she went. He loved how she walked, he loved how every curve in her body swayed as she moved across the floor. 'Oh God, she's beautiful and just think in only three more days, she will be mine and I will be her's,' thought Gary to himself. Gary was soon shook out of his day dream by Patrick, who could hardly wait to tell him about his kindergarten class.
"Hey Mr.H, would you like to hear about my kindergarten class?" asked Patrick.
"Sure Patrick, I'd like to hear all about it," answered Gary.
Jillian entered the office just as Marissa was shutting down her computer.
"You all done?" asked Jillian.
"Yes, I just finished," answered Marissa.
"Good, now we can decide on the song that you're going to sing at the wedding," said Jillian.
"Okay. Do you have one in mind?" asked Marissa.
"Yes, I do. I've always liked the movie An Affair to Remember. I would like you to sing the theme song. Do you know the words to it?" asked Jillian.
"Yes, I do and it's a beautiful song for the wedding. Is it okay with Gary?" asked Marissa.
"Well I haven't told him yet, because I just thought of it myself, but I'm sure he will be alright with my choice. After all he was the one that said I could choose the song," said Jillian, with a wide smile on her face.
"Okay, now that that is settled, there's one more thing that we should talk about," said Marissa.
"What's that?" asked Jillian, puzzled.
"The reception. Have you thought of where you are going to have it?" asked Marissa.
"Oh no! We've been so busy with everything else that we never even thought about the reception. Oh God, we'll never get one together in time," said Jillian, frustrated.
"Sure we will," said Marissa. We can have it here. We'll get the girls together and we can start planning the whole thing," said Marissa.
"Okay, let's pick up Jade and go over to my apartment, my mom and Lois are over there helping Lorraine put the final touches on her and Allison's dresses," said Jillian.
"Great, we can plan everything over there," said Marissa.
"Good, I'll let Gary know where we're going and then I'll come back and we'll go and pick up Jade," said Jillian.
"Okay, I'll give her a call to let her know we're coming," said Marissa.
"Okay," said Jillian and she walked out of the office and into the bar.
"Now that we're all here together, let's get started on the plan for Gary and Jillian's reception. Remember we only have three days, so let's come up with something nice but simple," said Shelly as she picked up a tablet and pencil to write down the plan.
"Okay, who should we order the wedding cake from?" asked Shelly.
"Oh you don't have to do that, I can bake the wedding cake," said Lois.
"Can you bake the traditional layers?" asked Jillian.
"Sure, no problem," said Lois. "I really would like to do this. I promise, you and Gary won't be disappointed."
"Okay Mom, put Lois down for the wedding cake," said Jillian.
"Okay, Lois for wedding cake," said Shelly as she wrote it on her tablet.
"I can make little finger sandwiches," offered Jade.
"Okay, Jade down for finger sandwiches," said Shelly.
"Okay what else?"
"Oh wait, what about the pictures?" asked Marissa.
"Oh, that's no problem," said Wayne coming out of the kitchen with a ham sandwich in his hand.
"Wayne, you just ate an hour ago," said Lorraine.
"Yeah I know, but I'm hungry again," said Wayne. "Oh, you're always hungry," said Lorraine as she patted her husband's belly.
"Okay you two, I would like to know what you're talking about Wayne," said Jillian.
"Jillian have you forgotten?" asked Wayne.
Jillian gave Wayne a confused look.
"My older brother Ray is a professional photographer," said Wayne. "I called him a few days ago and he will be here in plenty of time for the wedding."
"Oh thank you Wayne, but are you sure he'll arrive in time? After all he is coming from Pittsburgh," said Jillian
"Sure, I've called him in plenty of time. He will be here. I promise. If not, I will take the pictures myself," said Wayne.
"Oh boy, let's hope that Ray arrives in time. When it comes to taking pictures, my dear husband is all thumbs," laughed Lorraine.
"Oh ha ha, Lorraine, you sure are a riot today aren't you?" asked Wayne with a hint of irritation.
"Oh honey loosen up, I was only kidding," said Lorraine before she lightly kissed Wayne on the lips.
"Okay, I forgive you," said Wayne and he returned Lorraine's kiss.
"Alright, now that that's settled, who's going to arrange the entertainment?" asked Shelly.
"Marissa," everyone said in unison.
"Me?" asked Marissa.
"Yes, Marissa, you are the only person for this job and Gary and I know that you will do a great job. "
"Sure, I'm pleased and I will accept," said Marissa.
"Fine that seems to be everything, so let's get started," said Shelly.
"Yes Allison," said Lorraine.
"Can Chris and I help too?"
"Yeah Mom, we want to do something too!"
"Yes you can," said Jillian as she squatted down and placed her arms around both of the children.
"Do you know what you can help us do?" asked Jillian.
"What?" Allison and Chris asked at the same time.
"You can help us decorate McGinty's for the reception. How does that sound?" asked Jillian.
"Oh boy, that sounds like fun," said Allison.
"Yeah, I can't wait to help," said Chris.
"Okay then, that will be your job," said Jillian.
"We'll do a good job too. Won't we Allison?" said Chris.
"Yeah," Allison agreed as she nodded and jumped up and down with excitement.
"Well that's my little jack-in-the box," laughed Wayne and everyone else laughed too.
Gary sat at the kitchen table, picking at his blueberry hot cakes.
Sure, the hot cakes looked as good as they aways did when Lois made them for him, but he couldn't eat a bite. He couldn't stop worrying about the fact that his Dad and Chuck were handling the paper this particular morning. 'What if something goes wrong?' he thought to himself as he continued to pick at his hot cakes. Lois could see that Gary was worried, and she tried her best to reassure him.
"Gary, sweetie, try not to worry too much about the paper today. You have other things to worry about. I'm sure that Bernie and Chuck can handle the paper this morning," said Lois.
"Mom, I just can't help thinking that something is going to go wrong. I was more than an hour late for rehearsal because of that paper. I don't want to be late for our wedding too," said Gary with concern.
"Honey, I promise that if they do anything to change the paper they'll both answer to me, and believe me, that won't be pleasant. Gary, I know that Bernie and Chuck wouldn't do anything to spoil this day for you and Jillian, besides, Bernie told me they only had a couple of easy ones, nothing to worry about and that they would be done in a couple of hours. In fact they should be back soon, so try not to worry," said Lois.
"Okay Mom, I'll try, but believe me it's not going to be easy," said
Gary as he swirled his fork in the syrup that he had just poured on his hot cakes.
"Okay sweetie. Say, I bet those hot cakes are getting cold, let me make you some more," said Lois and she started to reach for the plate.
"That's okay Mom. I not very hungry anyway. I guess I'm just too nervous to eat anything right now," said Gary.
"Gary, honey, you have to eat something. Why don't you let me fix you a bowl of cereal," said Lois.
"No thank you, Mom, but I will take a couple slices of cinnamon toast and a small glass of orange juice," said Gary.
"Okay, sweetie, that's not much of a breakfast, but I'll have it for you in just a few minutes," said Lois.
Lois soon sat Gary's breakfast down in front of him. "Here's your breakfast Gary. It doesn't look like much to eat. Are you sure that you don't what me to make you some more blueberry hot cakes?" asked Lois.
"No Mom, this is fine. With all the things that have to be done before 4, I don't even know if I can eat one bite of this," said Gary.
"Alright, you try and eat what you can. I'm going down to the kitchen to put the final touches on the wedding cake and then I'm going over to Jillian's apartment to help get her ready for the wedding. Bernie and Chuck can help you when they return," said Lois.
"Okay Mom," said Gary. Lois started for the door, when she was stopped by Gary's voice.
"Hey Mom," Gary called out.
"Yes sweetie?" asked Lois, as she turned to look at her son.
"I love you, Mom," answered Gary.
A broad smile spread over Lois's face. Flowing down her cheek, was one single tear, it was a tear that was from total happiness, for she hadn't heard those words from her only child in quite a while. Sure he would nod his head or say 'me too, Mom', whenever she told him , but he hadn't spoke the words himself since his high school graduation. Yes, Lois had no doubt that Gary loved her, but it meant so much more to hear him say it. Lois crossed back over to where Gary was setting. She threw her arms around her son and placed a tender kiss on his cheek. "I love you too, sweetie. You know on this day, 36 years ago, your father and I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful gift than you, and now this afternoon we will be welcoming your beloved Jillian into our lives and we couldn't be happier. Oh did I say that? Hmm maybe a grandchild or two would make us even happier. I hope it happens right away, I just can't wait to be a grandmother," said Lois.
Gary just laughed, stood up from his chair and gave his mother a gentle hug. "Mom, I promise we will try our best to make you and Dad grandparents. On one condition," said Gary.
"What's that?" asked Lois.
"You don't spoil them too much," said Gary jokingly.
"Oh, don't expect your dad and I to keep that promise," laughed Lois.
"Any child that Jillian and you will have, will certainly be spoiled rotten and that's a promise that I can definitely keep."
"Mom, Jillian and I wouldn't have it any other way," said Gary.
Allison was sitting on the LaZBoy that her Aunt Jillian fixed up for her to sleep on. She was talking to her friend, her best friend, Baby Bop.
"Guess what today is Baby Bop?" Allison asked. Baby Bop sat on Allison's lap, looking up at her as if she was listening to every word that Allison was saying.
"Do you know? No, well in that case I'll tell you. Today's the day that Aunt Jillian and Uncle Gary are getting married and guess what else? I get to throw beautiful flowers at them. What do you think about that?" asked Allison.
Baby Bop showed her happiness by smiling up at Allison.
"Hey, I'm glad that you're happy too and don't you worry, you will get to go to the wedding too," said Allison as she hugged her Baby Bop.
"Allison, honey come on in here," said Lorraine from the kitchen. "We have a lot to do today and you need to have some breakfast."
"Okay Mommy, I'm coming. Let's go Baby Bop. We have to eat breakfast, so we can get ready for the wedding," said Allison. Allison grabbed Baby Bop and began walking towards the kitchen. When she arrived, she could see Chris sitting at the table, eating a hot bowl of cream of wheat.
"Hi Chris, did you save me the one with the strawberry swirl?" asked
Allison as she climbed into the chair next to her brother.
Chris, gave his little sister a look, the look that said, 'you always get your own way' and handed her, her favorite flavor of cream of wheat.
"Okay, now you two hurry up and eat your breakfast, because we have a lot to get done before the wedding," said Lorraine.
"Mommy? Baby Bop want's to come to the wedding too. Can she Mommy?" asked Allison.
"Mom! You're not going to let her drag that stupid thing to the wedding are you?" asked Chris, hoping that the answer would be no.
"Baby Bop is not stupid and she's going. Isn't she Mommy?" asked Allison before she stuck her tongue out at her brother.
"Allison that will be enough of that. Finish your breakfast and we will talk about Baby Bop later.
(door bell rings)
"I have to go and answer the door. Now please stop arguing over Baby Bop and eat your breakfast."
Lorraine was soon at the door. When she opened it, Lois was standing there with a small package in her hand.
"Hi Lois. What's in the package you have there?" asked Lorraine.
"It's something that I wore at my wedding and I think that Jillian would love to wear them as something old for her wedding."
"Oh let's go and show her then. Come on, she's in the bedroom, where Mom is fixing her hair for the wedding," said Lorraine.
Lois stepped into the apartment and followed Lorraine to Jillian's bedroom. Jillian was sitting on a chair in front of her vanity, while Shelly was experimenting with different types of hairdos, for her long dark auburn hair. Jillian turned her head when she heard foot steps entering into her bedroom.
"Jillian, please sit still, or I'll never get your hair done in time," said Shelly.
"Mom, don't worry, we will get my hair done in plenty of time," said Jillian, holding her mother's hand and reassuring her. She then released her mother's hand and went over to greet Lois. "Lois, I am so glad that you are here," said Jillian as she hugged her mother-in-law to be.
"Jillian, I wouldn't miss helping you get ready to marry my son for anything in this world, and thinking of helping, here's something old that you can wear. I wore them at my wedding and since I don't have a daughter, I would love for you to wear them. I offered them to Marcia, but she refused to wear them. I hope that you will take them and know that Bernie and I love you very much," said Lois. Jillian took the package from Lois and when she opened it, her eyes couldn't believe what she was seeing. The most glorious pearl necklace that she had ever seen.
"Oh my God, Lois. They are so beautiful. Thank you so much! I will be more than honored to wear these at my wedding," said Jillian as she threw her arms around Lois and with happy tears in her eyes whispered.
"I love you and Bernie too." Lois just smiled, while she and Jillian continued to hold one another.
The clock on the wall had just dinged 12 times. Gary was in the office, pacing back and forth on the rug covered floor. He was dressed in a black tux, with white shirt and a black tie to match.
In just four hours, he and his beloved Jillian would be standing at the altar in The United Methodist Church, preparing to exchange vows with one another. He was pacing back and forth, because his dad and Chuck had not yet returned from dealing with tomorrow's paper and Gary was beginning to fear the worst. "Where in the name of God could they be? I swear if they did anything to change that paper and ruin my and Jillian's wedding day, so help me I'll....."
Gary dashed over to pick up the phone, nearly tripping over cases of wine in his haste.
"Dad?" asked Gary hopefully.
"No, Gary, this is Mom, is everything okay?" asked Lois, her voice laced with worry.
"I don't know Mom. Dad and Chuck aren't back from dealing with the paper yet, and they have to start getting ready for the wedding. I'm just afraid that they did something to change the paper. I just know that everything is going to go wrong because of that stupid paper. I can just feel it," said Gary with traces of anxiousness in his voice.
"Gary, honey, try not to worry. Maybe handling the paper today, took a little more time than they expected. I'm sure that they will be back soon," said Lois. Not only trying to calm Gary's fears, but her own as well.
"What if they aren't?" asked Gary. "Then what?"
"We'll cross that bridge when, and if, we get there. Now I'm going to help things along here, and don't you worry. No matter what happens, you and Jillian are going to have a beautiful wedding. I promise," said Lois.
"Thank's Mom, Jillian and I really appreciate everything that you, Dad and Shelly are doing for us," said Gary.
"You're welcome, I'll see you soon and Gary, I love you very much," said Lois.
"Me too, Mom." Gary placed the receiver back in it's cradle before walking into the bar.
Chuck was sitting in his Lexus, waiting for Bernie to return from finishing up the demands of the paper. It had all ready taken more time than first anticipated and certainly, Gary was on pin and needles by this time.
The opening of the door shook Chuck out of his daydream and he watched Bernie get into his Lexus and sit next to him.
"Is that it?" asked Chuck as soon as Bernie was seated and buckled in.
"No, there's one more," said Bernie.
"One more! But we have a wedding to go to this afternoon. We don't have time to do any more of that paper's demands," said Chuck in an irritated tone.
"I know where we have to be this afternoon, but a child will die if we don't handle this," said Bernie.
"Look, are you sure that's what will happen? Maybe the paper's wrong and the child just stubs a toe or something," said Chuck.
"No, the paper says that five year old Billy-Jean Carter will die instantly, when she is struck by a rock that her older brother shoots from a homemade sling shot," said Bernie as he read the article in the paper.
"A sling shot? I thought those things were outdated years ago. And how in the world does a little rock do so much damage?" Chuck asked.
"I don't know, I guess it was the speed and force of the rock, that causes the fatal blow. All I know, is that Gary would save the child, wedding or no wedding," said Bernie.
"Okay, how much time do we have and where is this supposed to take place?" asked Chuck.
"We have 20 minutes and it takes place over on Dearborne. 19000 to be exact," said Bernie.
"Okay let's go. I'll call Gary on my cell phone on the way over, and tell him what's going on," said Chuck. "Maybe I can reassure him that we will be back as soon as we can."
"Yeah, come on let's go, time's a wasting," said Bernie. At that, Chuck started the motor and took off in the direction of Dearborne to save the life of a five year old child.
Shelly was finishing up Jillian's hair, when Allison and Chris burst into the room. Chris had Baby Bop and was holding her up high and out of Allison's reach.
"Give me Baby Bop!" cried Allison tearfully.
"Nanny, make Chris give me Baby Bop!"
"Look you two, today is a very special day for Aunt Jillian and Uncle Gary, and we don't have time to deal with you two bickering. Now Chris give Allison back her Baby Bop and go see your father so that he can help you get ready for the wedding. Now be off with you," ordered Shelly.
Chris handed Allison her Baby Bop, but not without mumbling "brat" under his breath before he left to find Wayne.
"Nanny, did you hear what Chris called me?" asked Allison with disgust.
"Yes, I heard, and I will talk to Chris later. But right now we have to see about getting you ready for the wedding. Come on, let's see if your mother is ready for you yet."
Turning back to Jillian, Shelly reassured her that she would be back soon and headed out of the room with Allison in hand. Jillian nodded her head and stood up to get a better look at the hair style her mother had chosen for her. Looking in the mirror, she could see how good Shelly was at this. Her hair was swept up on top of her head in a cluster of curls, with soft ringlets framing her face and neck. To top it all off, there were flecks of gold sparkling through out it. Tears of pure happiness started to steak down Jillian's face. In just a little while, she would be Mrs. Gary Hobson and her heart was beating with absolute delight.
At that moment Shelly returned to the room and heard Jillian sobbing softly to herself. She walked over to her daughter and pulled her close to her breast. "You're getting kind of anxious aren't you sweetie?" asked Shelly as she kissed the top of Jillian's head.
"Yes, I just can't wait, and Mom my hair is so elegant. Thank you so much," said Jillian before she gave her mother a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"You're welcome, sweetie. Now let's finish getting you ready," said Shelly.
Jillian nodded her head in agreement and both mother and daughter began to work.
Allison was standing in the hallway looking in the long mirror that was on the closet door. She had just put on her gown and was admiring herself.
"Allison? Where are you? I have to start getting you ready for the wedding. Where are you?" asked Lorraine as she walked towards the hallway.
"Here I am, Mommy and I'm all ready," said Allison, sounding quite proud of herself.
Lorraine stopped in front of Allison and burst into a fit of laughter.
Allison had some how put on her gown upside down. How she did this Lorraine could only wonder. "Hey silly girl, first, you have to take a bath and have your hair done and on top of that, you have the gown on upside down. Come here so Mommy can slip it off you," said Lorraine. Lorraine soon had the gown off of Allison and placed it neatly across the bed. "Come on, let's get you bathed, so I can get you ready," said Lorraine and they both headed for the bathroom.
But they weren't alone in the room. Sherman, Jillian's dog was also there. He had been lying quietly under the bed and decided to come out. When he did, he jumped on the bed and instantly decided that Allison's gown was a play toy and quickly grabbed it.
Bernie and Chuck soon found themselves parked in front of 19000 Dearborne. Chuck opened the door and stepped out on the curb. Bernie soon followed.
"Is this the place?" asked Chuck.
"Yes and according to my watch, the incident is suppose to happen any minute now. Come on we have to save that child," said Bernie. At that, Bernie headed at full speed towards the back of the house, with Chuck close at his heels. In the back they could see a boy around 11, shooting tin cans on a wooden fence with a sling shot. Nearby was a small girl, Billy-Jean, who was running towards the rope swing that the children's father had put up for them. But in her haste she was running in the path of where her brother was shooting at the cans.
"Billy-Jean! Stop! You're going to get hurt!" cried Bernie as he ran for the young girl.
"Grab her Bernie! My God please grab her!" yelled Chuck who was desperately trying to catch up.
Bernie caught up with the young child and swept her up in his arms just seconds before the rock flew by.
"Hey mister, thanks. Boy that rock could have creamed my sister," said Fred. "Sheesh, I didn't expect her to run in the path of my target area."
"That's why, when using something like a sling shot, you have to make sure that no one is around. You can never be too careful," said Chuck.
"Chuck's right. It's alright to shoot cans with your sling shot, but make sure that nobody's around before you do," added Bernie.
At that moment the children's mother had appeared from around the front of the house. Noticing Bernie holding her daughter, she went over to find out what was going on.
"Excuse me. May I please have my child?" asked Mary Kaye as she took Billy-Jean from Bernie's arms. "Now that I have my child, would you please tell me what you are doing here in my yard?"
"Mommy, that man helped me," said Billy-Jean pointing to Bernie.
"Yeah Mom, they both kind of helped. Billy-Jean almost ran in the path of where I was practicing with my sling shot, and if it wasn't for these two men, she would have been hit with one of the rocks," said Fred.
"Is this true?" asked Mary Kaye as she turned to looked at Bernie and Chuck.
"Yes, it's true," answered Bernie.
"Well, thank you very much," she said gratefully.
"Thank you so much."
She gave both Bernie and Chuck a hug and thanked them once more before she took her two children into the house. Soon, Bernie and Chuck were back in Chuck's Lexus. Chuck was already buckled in when Bernie slipped into the passenger side of the car.
"I sure hope there's nothing else for us to take care of in that stupid paper. We have to get back to McGinty's. The wedding is in just a little over 2 hours. We don't have much time you know," said Chuck as he looked at his watch. Bernie checked the paper. Seeing that nothing else seemed to need their immediate attention, he turned to Chuck and said, "The paper seems to be clear right now, so let's get going. Because like you said, we don't have much time."
Chuck nodded his head in agreement and then started up his Lexus and headed back to McGinty's.
"Hold still you little wiggle worm," said Lorraine as she wrapped a towel around her young daughter and lifted her out of the tub.
"Mommy, can I go and put on my pretty dress now?" asked Allison with all the excitement of a 5-year-old child.
"You go into the bedroom and wait for Mommy. As soon as I empty the tub, I will be right in to help you get ready for the wedding," said Lorraine.
"Okay Mommy," said Allison as she scampered towards the bedroom.
Lorraine turned and was about ready to drain the tub when she heard Allison scream.
"Mommmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyy!!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!! "
"What in the name of God!" said Lorraine as she ran out of the bathroom and towards the bedroom, where she had sent Allison. When she arrived at the door, Allison was standing by the dresser, screaming and crying uncontrollably. On the bed was Sherman, and in his mouth he had a piece of Allison's gown that he had ripped to pieces. Lorraine looked at Sherman and the mess that he had made.
"Oh Sherman, how could you? Just look at the mess you made of Allison's dress! Bad dog! Bad, bad dog!" said Lorraine with irritation in her voice. She grabbed the dog's collar and pulled him off the bed and into the hallway. After shutting the door behind her, she picked up what was left of Allison's dress. She was so shocked and upset, that she wasn't sure what to do next. Hearing her daughter's sobbing snapped her out of her trance.
"Mommmmmyyyy! Now I can't go to Aunt Jillian and Uncle Gary's wedding," wailed Allison, crying even harder than she was before.
Lorraine lifted Allison in her arms and began to comfort her but she continued to cry. Suddenly ,Lois opened the door. "I heard Allison screaming, is everything all right?" Allison lifted her head off her mother's shoulder. Lois could see how swollen her face was from crying and her eyes were red and swollen too.
"Auntie Lois, Sherman ate my dress and now I can't go to the wedding," said Allison still clinging to her mother.
"Oh Allison, don't cry, you can still go. We'll just have to buy you another dress," said Lorraine.
"But, Mommy, I want you to make it for me," said Allison.
"Allison, I don't have time to make you one. We only have a couple of hours before the wedding."
"Tell you what. Why don't Jade and I take Allison and buy her a new dress for the wedding?" offered Lois. "That way you can get ready and we can finish getting Allison ready when we return. "
"Okay, but you'll have to hurry, there isn't much time. Here's some money for the dress," said Lorraine as she pulled some bills from her purse.
"Oh no, you put that back where you got it. This is on me," said Lois.
"But Lois, I don't what you to have to pay for Allison's dress. Please take the money," said Lorraine.
"No I insist on paying for it. Now, no more arguing. I'll get Jade and we'll get going. Come on Allison, sweetie, let's go and buy you a new dress," said Lois.
"Can Baby Bop come? She want's to help pick out my new dress too," said Allison.
"Of course she can come. Let's go find Jade, so we can get going," said Lois.
"Okay," said Allison and ran to find Baby Bop. Baby Bop was sitting on top of the coffee table in the living room and underneath the table was Sherman, sleeping soundly as if nothing had happened. Allison knelt down and saw the sleeping dog and reached over and began to pet him.
"You know Sherman, you were a bad dog, but I still love you," said Allison. Sherman seemed to know that he had done wrong and tried to apologize by licking Allison's face. "That tickles," Allison giggled. "Okay Sherman you're forgiven," Allison then gave Sherman a hug.
Lois walked over to where Allison and Sherman were. "Let's go sweetie, Jade is waiting in the car for us."
"Auntie Lois, Sherman and I are friends again," said Allison happily.
"That's really wonderful, sweetie. I'm glad that you and Sherman have made up, but we have to hurry so we can get back and finish getting ready for the wedding. "
"Okay," said Allison and she took Lois's hand and they both walked out the front door to Jade's car.
It's was already going on 2:00 when Chuck pulled up in front of McGinty's. Bernie was out of the car before Chuck had a chance to unbuckle his seat belt.
"Hey, come on, Chuck. Get a move on, we don't have much time and we still have to get ready. Shake a leg will ya?" said Bernie as he started for the front door.
"Okay, Okay, I'm coming, just hold your horses okay?" said Chuck, grumbling.
Gary was pacing the floor, when Bernie and Chuck walked into the bar.
"Boy, am I glad to see you two. Did you get there in time to save that little girl?" asked Gary.
"Yeah, we got there in plenty of time," Bernie answered.
"Good you can tell me about it later, but for now you two have to get ready, there isn't much time. Patrick left a little while ago. He and Wayne are going to be ushers, so I told him to go on to the church," said Gary.
"Okay, we'll be ready in a flash," Bernie stated.
"Yeah Gar, you can count on us," said Chuck. Bernie and Chuck left the bar and Gary took this moment to go over the wedding vows he had written for Jillian.
"Ouch, Dad, your choking me!" exclaimed Chris as Wayne was trying to tie his bow tie.
"Chris, please stand still. I have enough problems trying to tie this stupid thing. Geez, I hate bow ties, I never could tie one," said Wayne, frustrated.
"Oh good, in that case, I don't have to wear the dorky thing," said Chris hopefully.
"Oh yeah, you still have to wear it, maybe your mother can help us. Come on let's go see if she can," said Wayne.
"Oh gee, Dad, do I have too?" asked Chris, disappointed.
"Yes, you have to. Come on now, we don't have time to dilly dally. Let's go and find your mom," said Wayne as he put his hand on Chris's shoulder and together they went to look for Lorraine.
Lorraine was standing in the living room, examining, in her hand, a piece of material that was left from Allison's dress. Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard a whining voice coming from her ten year old son.
"Mom, do I have to wear this dorky bow tie?" asked Chris as he walked into the room with Wayne.
Lorraine turned to look at her young son. She was still upset about Allison's dress and was in no mood to argue with him at that moment.
"Chris, please don't act like that, the wedding is just in a short time and we still have a lot to do." said Lorraine.
"But Mom, I don't want to wear it," whined Chris.
"Christopher Alan Porter, I am in no mood for your whining! Yes, you have to wear that tie, now come here so I can tie it for you," said Lorraine sternly.
"Hon, I'm sorry, I tried, but you know I always did have trouble tying a bow tie," said Wayne.
"It's okay, Wayne and I'm sorry if I seem a bit snippy, it's just that Sherman ripped Allison's dress to pieces. Jade and Lois had to take her and buy her a new dress for the wedding and right now I could just scream, because everything is going wrong," said Lorraine.
"Don't worry Lorraine, I'm sure that everything will turn out alright for the wedding."
"I sure hope so," said Lorraine. "There you go Chris, now let's see if I can tie your dad's tie."
"Mom, I'm sorry I acted that way. Are you angry with Sherman?" asked Chris.
"No, Chris and just a little upset with him. Maybe it was my fault as much as it was his. I shouldn't have laid Allison's dress on the bed, it was just asking for disaster. There was no doubt, the temptation was too much for Sherman to ignore," said Lorraine as she glanced over at the sleeping dog. "Well what's done is done. Here, Wayne, let me help you with your tie."
Lorraine had just finished with Wayne's tie, when the telephone began to ring.
"I'll answer the phone, Wayne. You go ahead and take Chris over to the church. After all, you and Patrick are ushers and you should be there early to greet the guests," said Lorraine.
"Okay, hon, do you want me to see if Marissa would like to come along with us?" asked Wayne.
"Yes, I think that would be a great idea," said Lorraine.
"Well I better answer the phone, before it rings off the hook," said Lorraine.
"Hello," said Lorraine as she picked up the receiver.
"Lorraine, this is Lois. We've picked out Allison's dress and to save time we will finish getting her ready over at the church. There is a dressing room that we can use," said Lois.
"Okay, I'll bring her shoes and what ever else she will need," said Lorraine.
"Oh no, Jade and I have already bought those items too. All you have to do, is bring her flower basket and the little bag of flower petals that she will be tossing for the wedding," said Lois.
"Oh Lois, you and Jade didn't have to do that, but I know that Jillian will appreciate it." said Lorraine.
"It was no problem. Jade, Allison and I will see you over at the church in a little while. Bye," said Lois.
"Bye Lois, see you soon, and thanks again," said Lorraine.
"You're welcome," said Lois as she hung up the phone. Lorraine returned the receiver to its base. She then turned to Sherman and said. "What in the world is Jillian going to do with you young man? Oh well, I guess I better go and see if they need my help," said Lorraine, and at that she went to offer any help that she could.
"Hey you two, aren't you ready yet?" asked Gary as he entered his loft.
"Yeah, son, I'm ready, I just have to finish tying my tie," said Bernie.
"How about Chuck is he ready?" asked Gary, impatiently. "Hold your horses, I'm just putting on my cuff link," said Chuck. "Boy I'm sure glad that you don't get married every day. You'd have us all in the funny farm."
"Very funny Chuck. It's just that I would like to be standing at the altar, waiting for Jillian, before she starts walking down the isle," said Gary.
"Oh Gary, don't fret so much, we'll get there in plenty of time. Besides, Jillian can't walk down the isle without me," said Bernie.
"Okay, okay, let's get over to the church before something else happens," said Gary.
"Oh no you don't, I'm on my way to the church to marry Jillian, there is no way that I'm going to do something for that paper now. What ever it is, you handle it Cat, because I'm not," said Gary.
"No! No, uh huh, forget it. No way, no how," said Gary.
"Why are you doing this to me? Why can't you let me be? Don't you understand? Today's Jillian's and my wedding day. I don't have time to deal with the paper now," said Gary impatiently.
"Gar, you and Bernie go on over to the church, I'll check and see what the cat wants and I will catch up with you," said Chuck.
"But Chuck, we don't have time to deal with it right now. Oh brother! Let's see, Cat. Let's see what needs to be done to ruin my life," said Gary. Gary took the paper from underneath the cat and started to read what Cat wanted him to see. This is what was in the paper. "Congratulations to Mr. Hobson and Miss Matthew on your wedding day. Best wishes from Cat and the Man in the Bowler Hat."
"Oh, Jillian you look so beautiful," said Lorraine as she walked into Jillian's bedroom. "And I know without a doubt, that Gary is one lucky guy, sis."
"Why, thank you, Lorraine. By the way, Wayne told me all about what Sherman did to Allison's dress, and I am so sorry. I just don't know what to do about him. It seems no matter how much I punish him, he still seems to want to chew on things that he shouldn't be chewing on. Well, just the other day he completely destroyed one of my best pair of jeans. My Calvin Klein's, the ones that cost me $60.00. Boy, I'm just at my wits end. I just wish I knew what to do, I certainly don't want to give him up," said Jillian sadly.
"Well, it seems to me that Sherman has some behavioral problems that you are going to have to deal with. Maybe you should take him to a pet psychologist," said Lorraine.
"A pet psychologist?" asked Jillian.
"Why, yes, they have been known to do wonders with pets that have behavioral problems. Remember, Jillian, you and Gary found Sherman, hurt on the side of the road. You don't know what kind of life he had before you found him. I think you should take him, so you can find out how to help him. It could be that his behavioral problems are too much for you to handle. After all, if you don't do something, he's just going to keep on chewing and destroying things. And can you really afford that, sis?" asked Lorraine.
"I guess you're right, but it's so expensive. I'm not sure if I can afford a pet psychologist. Oh, I just wish there was an easier way to solve my problem," said Jillian.
"Well, if you want my opinion, I still think that you should come up with some kind of a punishment, Jillian. After all, Sherman is like your child, and like a child who does something wrong, he should be punished," said Shelly as she stood there with her arms folded.
"I know, Mom, but I'm just not sure what kind of punishment to use," said Jillian.
"Well, sweetie, that's totally up to you, but I still say you have to do something. And if a pet psychologist is the answer, then we will do everything in our power to help you out," said Shelly.
"Thanks, Mom," said Jillian as she wrapped one arm around Shelly and reached out her left arm to Lorraine so that she could join in the hug.
"Hey, sweetie, we really have to be going. Do you have somewhere you can take Sherman, while we're all gone?" asked Shelly, as she looked into Jillian's violet eyes.
"Yes, Mom. I asked Mr. Marple, my neighbor, if he would run Sherman over to Best Friends Kennels, and he said he would. I'll go call him and let him know that Sherman is ready to go," said Jillian.
"Jillian, give me his phone number and I'll call him," said Shelly.
"And then we better be getting over to the church. After all, we can't start the wedding without the bride," said Shelly before she left the room.
"Well, sis, I guess this is it. You know I'm..,,I really meant what I said earlier. You really do look great and, sis, I couldn't be any happier for you," said Lorraine as she wiped a stray tear from her cheek.
"Thank you so much and you know what? Of all the sisters in the world, God couldn't have picked anyone better than you to be my sister. I love you so much, Lorraine," said Jillian.
"I love you too, Jillian," said Lorraine as they embraced each other in a hug of sisterly love.
"Hey sis, I think we better go now. I'm sure everybody is waiting, you know, like maybe the natives are getting restless," teased Lorraine.
"Okay, I'm ready, so let's go, sis," said Jillian as the sisters walked out of Jillian's room hand in hand.
"Allison, please stand still, so I can put your hair piece on straight," said Lois.
"But Auntie Lois, I don't want to wear that stupid hair piece," Allison whined.
"Oh, Allison, don't you want to look nice for Aunt Jillian's and Uncle Gary's wedding?" asked Lois.
"Yes, but I don't want to wear that hair piece. I want to wear what Mommy made me," said Allison, with tears beginning to form in her eyes.
"Oh Allison, sweetie, I know, but you can't...."
"I know, Sherman ate it. Auntie Lois, Sherman was a bad boy, wasn't he?" asked Allison.
"Yes, sweetie, he was, but I'm sure that he didn't mean to be. I guess he just didn't know any better," said Lois.
"Yeah, I guess so," said Allison with a hint of sadness in her voice.
"Hey, today is a day for happiness not tears. Come on, give Auntie Lois a smile," said Lois as she tried to coax Allison into smiling. Allison wiped away a tear from her cheek and then gave Lois the biggest smile that she could muster. "That's more like it. Now, do you think we can try and put on your hair piece again?" asked Lois.
"Yes, Auntie Lois, but can I put it on by myself?" asked Allison.
"Why, you certainly can," said Lois. Lois handed Allison her hair piece and she soon had it in place.
"Is this okay, Auntie Lois?" asked Allison.
"Yes, it's just fine," said Lois as she bent over to straighten it just a bit. "You look just like a little angel. Don't you agree, Jade?" asked Lois.
"I certainly do and those pretty pink and white roses that are all around your hair piece, make you look even prettier," said Jade.
"Thank you, Jade," said Allison as she gave Lois and Jade a little bow.
"Auntie Lois, when's Mommy going to get here with my flower basket?" asked Allison.
"She, Grandma, and Aunt Jillian will all be here soon. In the meantime, why don't we go and see how they decorated the church and if Aunt Jillian's friends, Regina, Carly and Amy Lou have arrived yet," said Lois.
"Okay, let's go," said Allison and she started to skip into the church, but then she stopped dead in her tracks and ran back to Lois and Jade. She thanked them for buying her dress and she then she hugged them both.
"You are so welcome, sweetie," said Lois.
"Yes, you are very welcome," said Jade. "Now, let's go see how beautiful the church is."
Lois took Allison's left hand and Jade took her right and all three walked into the church together. Jade, Lois and Allison walked down the hall to the archway that led into the church. The archway was decorated with exquisite red and white roses that weaved intricate patterns all around it. As the trio walked under the arch and into the church, they could see how elegant everything was. Miniature white roses with silky white ribbons were attached to each pew and small lacy wedding bells were hanging down from the ceiling. The altar was decorated with even more red and white roses, trimmed with white baby's breath, that set off the beauty of the entire church.
Allison stood in awe. Her little eyes looked all around and she could hardly hold in her excitement.
"Oh, Auntie Lois, isn't the church beautiful?" she asked with innocent eyes.
"Oh yes, Allison, the church is very beautiful. Don't you agree Jade?" asked Lois.
"Absolutely, I think, without a doubt, that this is one of the most beautiful churches I've ever been in and it looks like more than half of the pews are already filled," said Jade.
"Yes, it looks as if Patrick and Wayne have been quite busy getting everyone seated," said Lois. "Hey look up front, there's Jillian friends and co workers, let's go greet them."
"Hi, girls," said Lois as she greeted Regina, Carly, and Amy Lou. "You look very beautiful in your bridesmaid dresses."
"Thank you, Mrs. Hobson and you all look very beautiful too," said Regina.
"Hey! Do you like the purty dress that Auntie Lois and Jade picked out for me?" asked Allison as she spun around for the girls to get a better look.
"Why, that is the prettiest dress that we have ever seen," said Carly as she stooped down and took Allison's hand in hers. "Don't you agree Regina and Amy Lou?"
"Yes, we certainly do," said Regina and Amy Lou together.
"I was supposed to wear the dress that Mommy made for me, but Sherman ate it," said Allison.
"Sherman, ate it?" asked Regina with a puzzled looked on her face.
"It's a long story, I'll explain it to you later," said Lois. "It sure looks like Jillian and Gary are going to have quite a few wedding guests here today."
"Yes, they started to arrive about an hour and a half ago and they have really been keeping the ushers hopping," said Amy Lou as she looked out towards the pews.
At that moment, Patrick was escorting a young couple down the aisle and into a pew on the brides side. "Here you go, here are a couple of seats for you," said Patrick as he made sure that the couple was seated comfortably. On the groom's side, Wayne had just finished setting Lorraine and Jillian's cousin, Marlene in her seat and then he headed back to the doors to greet the next guest, with Patrick following close behind.
Lois watched the two men and thought that they were working quite nicely together and were getting along just fine. As she was watching them, a thought entered into her mind and she needed to find out about it. "Excuse me girls, but I need to ask Wayne something. I will be right back," said Lois before she made her way down the aisle towards Wayne.
"Wayne?" asked Lois as she approached him.
"Yes, Lois?" said Wayne as he turned and looked at her.
"I just wanted to make sure that your brother was able to make it for the wedding," said Lois.
"Oh yes, Ray's here and he's in the back setting up his equipment. Don't worry Lois. I promise Ray won't let us down. By the way, where are Shelly, Lorraine and the bride to be? After all we don't have much time left and the guests are still coming in. I just hope that we have enough room for every one," said Wayne.
"Oh, I'm sure that we will and Shelly, Lorraine and Jillian will be here soon. They just had to make sure they had everything in order, that's all. Thinking of the bride to be, where's the groom to be?" asked Lois.
"He's in the room behind the altar, with Bernie and Chuck. Marissa is up in the balcony. She and Jim, the church organist, are going over the song that she will be singing today," said Wayne. Lois looked up towards the balcony and saw Marissa with a young man, that looked to be around 25, sitting together on the bench doing exactly that.
"Okay, I guess I'll go back and see how my little boy is holding up. Thank you Wayne and you too Patrick for all your help today. Oh boy, here comes three more guests. I guess you two better get back to work," said Lois with a gleam in her eyes.
"Yes, I guess we better," said Wayne. "Come on Patrick, our guests await us. Lois?
"Yes?" said Lois as she started to walked back up the aisle.
"You are quite welcome," said Wayne.
"Me too," added Patrick. Lois smiled at the two ushers and then continued back up the aisle. As she arrived she could hear Allison, describing to the girls what Sherman had done to her dress.
"-----and that's how Sherman ate my dress," said Allison.
"Oh that was a bad thing that Sherman did, but I'm sure that he didn't mean to," said Regina as she stooped eye level with Allison.
"That's what my Grandma and Auntie Lois said," said Allison and then she turned around and ran down the aisle towards Lois.
"Auntie Lois! Aunt Jillian and Uncle Gary won't get rid of Sherman will they? He didn't mean to be bad," said Allison with a tear streaking down her cheek.
Lois bent down and pulled Allison into her arms. It had been a long time since she had held a small child and she had almost forgotten how wonderful it felt. "Oh, of course not sweetie. Sherman did a bad thing, but he's not a bad dog. Aunt Jillian and Uncle Gary will just have to find a way to help him, so something like this won't happen again," said Lois. "Say, how would you like to go back with me and see how the groom is holding up?"
"Can I? Can I really go with you?" asked Allison.
"Well, I don't see why not. I don't know of any tradition that says that the groom can't see the flower girl before the wedding."
"Yeah, that's right. Besides Chris is back there with them and I want to show them my purty dress. Don't you think it's purty, Auntie Lois?"
"I sure do, sweetie and Uncle Gary, Uncle Bernie and Chuck will think so, too," said Lois.
"Chris, too?" asked Allison.
"Yes, Chris, too," answered Lois.
"Oh, first I have to run back and show Daddy my purty dress. He hasn't seen it yet," said Allison and she begin running back to the main doors to show her daddy her dress.
"Daddy! Daddy! Look at how purty I look in my new pink gown," cried Allison as she ran towards Wayne. Wayne turned around to see his young daughter running down the aisle. As soon as she got to him, Wayne bent down and swept her up into his big, strong arms.
"Hey, 'Love Bug'. Boy, don't you look beautiful," said Wayne as he gave Allison a kiss on the cheek.
"Do you really think it's purty, Daddy?" asked Allison.
"By gosh, I think that's about the purtiest gown I have ever seen. Yep, no doubt about it. It's definitely the purtiest I've ever seen," said Wayne.
"Thank you, Daddy," said Allison as she wrapped her small arms around Wayne and gave him the biggest bear hug she could muster.
At that moment Wayne and Allison heard a familiar voice. "Hey you two. Can I get in on this little bear hug, too?" asked Lorraine.
"Mommy! Look at my purty gown that Auntie Lois and Jade picked out for me," said Allison.
"Well, that it a very pretty dress indeed and Auntie Lois and Jade were so nice to help us out like this. I have to be sure that I thank them for all their help. But right now young lady, I have to take you back to the room where Aunt Jillian and Grandma are waiting, so we can get you ready to go. Wayne, please send Chris back too. The ceremony will be starting any time now," said Lorraine as she gently took Allison from Wayne's arms.
"Okay, sweetie, I'll send Chris right back," said Wayne and he kissed his wife and young daughter and started up the aisle, towards the altar to get Chris.
"Gary, you look so handsome and I'm not just saying that because I'm your mother. I'm saying that because it's true," said Lois.
"Oh, Mom," said Gary as he gave her a modest look.
"Now Gary, you don't have to be so modest. Your Mom is right. You do look quite handsome. Take after your old man, you do," said Bernie.
"Thanks guys, but I can't help being a little nervous," said Gary. "What if something goes wrong? Maybe I'll forget what to say during my vows. Boy, a little nervous? Scatch that. I'm a nervous wreck. That's what I am, just a nervous wreck."
"Gary that's just nerves, which is natural. Don't worry, everything will work out fine and when it comes time for you and Jillian to repeat your vows, the love you have for each other will help the words come flowing out. You'll see, everything will work out all right," said Lois as she pulled her son close and hugged him.
"Thank's Mom and you too Dad. Thank's for everything and putting up with me all these years," said Gary.
"Gary, you are the best thing that ever happened to your father and me and the last 36 years have been worth all the happiness, the tears and love that we have shared, and we wouldn't change any of it for anything in this world. We both love you so much," said Lois as tears of happiness streaked down her cheek.
"Me too, kiddo, me too," said Bernie as he gave Gary a tight squeeze.
"Hey you two, your squishing me," teased Gary. "I know I don't say it much, but you two are the best parents that any guy could ever have and well, uh, I, uh, I love you both very much," said Gary and then he let them both hug him, not caring if he was being squished or not.
"I really hate to break this up, but we're just about ready to start," said Rev Jerry.
"In that case, I better be getting back there, if I'm going to be giving the bride away to my son," said Bernie and he excused himself and walked out the door and towards the back of the church.
"Is everybody ready to go?" asked Rev Jerry.
"I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be. Mom, where's Chuck?" asked Gary as he nervously looked around the room.
"Sweetie, Chuck is out there talking to Ray. Don't worry, he will be right at your side when the time comes. If it will make you feel better, I'll go tell him that we're just about ready to start," said Lois.
"Thank's Mom. That would make me feel better," said Gary.
"Okay sweetie, I'll go tell him right now," said Lois as she left the room.
"I'll have Sherry go up to the balcony and see if Marissa and our grandson, Jim, are ready. I'd do it myself, but because of my breathing problems, I have such a hard time climbing those steep stairs," said Jerry."
"Mom do I have to wear this tie? It's really tight," complained Chris.
"Yes, you have to wear that tie. Come here and I will loosen it a little. Now please stop complaining," said Lorraine. "Here, this is the pillow that you will be carrying the ring on. I want you to hold it just like this, so that the ring won't roll off," Lorraine said as she demonstrated how she wanted Chris to hold the pillow.
"Like this Mom?" asked Chris.
"Yes, Chris honey, just like that," answered Lorraine.
"Mom, I'm sorry for all of my complaining," said Chris.
"That's okay honey, but let's try and settle down now. Okay?" asked Lorraine.
"Okay, Mom," said Chris. "Can I show Allison what she's supposed to do?"
"Well, you know how Allison can be sometimes. She so independent, she just wants to do everything herself, but maybe we can show her together.
How's that sound?" asked Lorraine.
"Okay, Mom, that sounds great," said Chris.
"Okay let's go then," said Lorraine.
"Mom, I guess this is it," said Jillian as tears started flowing down her cheeks. "I can't help being scared. What if I go in there and he's not there and he leaves me at the altar, just like Jimmy did three years ago?"
Shelly firmly placed her hands on Jillian's shoulder and said these words. "Jillian, now you listen to me. That man, standing at that altar, love's you very, very, much and he is waiting there for you, so that he can make you his bride. His name is Gary. He is not Jimmy and he will never, never, ever hurt you. I'm telling you all of this because it is true. You and Gary are going to have a wonderful life together. You'll see,"
"Thank you Mom, I really needed to hear those words. I feel better now and I'm ready to become Mrs. Gary Hobson."
"Well, then, let's wait no more. Bernie is out there waiting to walk you down the aisle," said Shelly.
"Okay, I'm ready," said Jillian as mother and daughter walked out of the room arm in arm.
Gary stood at the altar, along side Chuck. His hands were sweating and his legs felt like silly puddy. Chuck could see how nervous his friend was and did his best to reassure him.
"Hey Gar, it's going to be fine. You are getting a great girl and I know that everything will work out just fine," said Chuck.
"Thank's Chuck, I know I've been though this before, but I still can't help being a tiny bit nervous," said Gary.
"I understand, Gar. I understand. Boy you wouldn't believe how nervous I was when Jade and I tied the knot," said Chuck.
"Wanna bet?" asked Gary with a laugh.
"Not really," said Chuck, returning the laugh. At that moment, the back doors opened and the bridal march began to play.
Gary stood at the altar. The moment he and Jillian had been waiting for was just seconds away and his heart was pounding with excitement and enthusiasm.
Suddenly, the rear door opened and the wedding party began their march down the aisle. Gary's heart continued to pound as he watched and waited for Jillian to appear.
First came little Allison, skipping cheerfully down the aisle and tossing red rose petals everywhere, from out of her flower basket.
Chris was next, walking ever so carefully as not to disturb the precious cargo that he was carrying. Then came the brides maids and Lorraine, the maid of honor,
Finally! What his heart had been waiting for. There she was, being escorted by his dad. The woman who was about to become his wife, the woman that he was going to spend the rest of his life with and there was nothing in this world that he wanted more.
Bernie escorted Jillian down the aisle while the wedding march played. Every step that Jillian took, made Gary want her even more. 'God, she is gorgeous, but why does it seem like she is still a mile away'?
The altar seemed to be farther and farther away with every step that she took. All she wanted was to be up there with the man that she loved. The man she was going to marry. The man she was going to spend a life time with. The man she loved with all her heart.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she and Bernie were standing in front of the altar. Bernie walked her up the few steps to the altar and turned to look at both of them.
"Okay, you two love birds, this is it," said Bernie and he lightly kissed Jillian on the cheek before he placed her hand into Gary's, and turned around and walked back to where Lois was sitting.
Rev. Jerry took his place at the altar and he opened his book and began the ceremony.
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to join this couple, Gary and Jillian , in Holy Matrimony. They both have written their own vows and have come in the presence of God to exchange them. Chris, please come forward with the ring."
Rev. Jerry took the rings from the pillows and then faced the couple, "Gary and Jillian, join your right hands and Gary take her ring and begin your vows to her."
Gary gently placed the ring on Jillian's finger and nervously began his vows. "Jillian, after my divorce, I never thought that I would ever find happiness again. But you came into my life and proved me wrong. You're every dream that I have ever dreamed, you are my joy, my hope and my world. I want to be with you for the rest of my life. I love you with all my heart, with all my soul, and I will, every day of my life."
"Jillian, you will now say your vows to Gary," said Rev. Jerry.
Jillian placed Gary's ring on his finger and she began her vows. "Gary, three years ago, I met Jimmy and I thought I knew what love was all about, but I was wrong. I never knew what it was all about until I met you. You came along and showed me how to love again. You picked up the pieces of my broken heart and like a puzzle, you put them back into place. Gary, I want my world to be built around you. I want to have children with you and to grow old with you. Gary, I love you with every inch of my heart."
"Gary and Jillian you have both repeated your vows in the eyes of God and you are both now a part of each other. Gary and Jillian I now pronounce you man and wife. Gary, you may kiss your bride."
Gary and Jillian turned to each other. This was the moment that they had waited for, the moment when they were finally man and wife.
Gary placed his mouth fully on Jillian's lips and kissed her like he never kissed her before. To Jillian his lips were warm and gentle and she knew this is where she wanted to be. In his arms forever and ever.
Rev. Jerry stood with a smile on his face, as he watched the couple kiss. He had married a lot of couples in his 25 years of service and wasn't sure if all the ones he married were still together, but he knew that this was the one couple that would be together forever.
As Jillian and Gary finished their kiss, Rev. Jerry turned to the congregation.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr & Mrs Gary Hobson."
Gary placed Jillian's arm through his, gave her one more kiss on the lips and they both began to walk down the aisle, while Marissa began to sing,
~Our love affair is a wondrous thing
That we'll rejoice in remembering
Our love was born with our first embrace
And a page was torn out of time and space
Our love affair, may it always be
A flame to burn through eternity
So take my hand with a fervent prayer
That we may live and we may share
A love affair to remember~
After they were introduced to the congregation as husband and wife.
Gary turned to Jillian, took her hand and placed it gently in his.
"Well, Mrs. Hobson, are you ready to face the world as husband and wife?" asked Gary as he smiled lovingly at his new bride.
"Yes, I am, Mr. Hobson, I am ready to face the world," answered Jillian.
So at that, the newly married couple left the altar and began their stroll down the aisle. As they were doing so, they were greeted with words of congratulations and best wishes from relatives and friends in attendance. After thanking everyone, they continued to walk towards the door where their familes were waiting. They could hear the song that Marissa was singing and they couldn't help but stop and steal one more kiss before they finished their walk towards the back.
Allison was waiting at the door with her mother and Auntie Lois. Everybody else was standing in the back waiting for the couple to arrive.
"Mommy, why don't they hurry up? I want to kiss my new uncle. Gary is my uncle now, isn't he, Mommy?" asked Allison.
Lorraine, knelt down, so that she could be eye level with her young daughter.
"Yes, sweetie, Gary is now your's and Chris's uncle and they will be back here soon," answered Lorraine. At that moment, Ray appeared at the door. He had just set up his camera equipment and was ready to take the wedding pictures.
"Hey, you two love bugs. Are you ready to take some pictures now, as husband and wife?" asked Ray.
"We'll be right there," said Gary before he turned around and began kissing Jillian.
"You may be waiting a while. Looks like it might be quite some time before those two are ready," said Bernie, laughing.
"Yeah, you may be right," said Ray. "I guess I can wait a while longer."
Thirty minutes later, Ray was finally able to start taking the wedding pictures and in no time at all, he was finished. Chris and Allison were a bit fidgety, but he was able to finish without any mishaps.
"Okay everyone, that's the last picture. I will get them developed and you will all see them real soon."
"Hey, that's great," said Chuck. "But don't you think it's time to go to McGinty's? After all, we do have a wedding reception to attend."
"You know what Chucko? I think you're right," answered Bernie.
"Okay you two, the bride and groom leaves here first," said Lois.
"Lois! You didn't think that Chuck and I were going to leave before the love birds did you?" asked Bernie. Lois just looked at her husband with a smile and then turned around and walked away, leaving Bernie's question unanswered. Bernie just shook his head and followed his wife outside.
Allison and Chris were standing at the bottom of the stairs that led into the church. Standing by them, was Chuck's wife Jade. Jade was now two months pregnant and the glow on her face told how happy and excited she was to be expecting this blessed event. Chuck headed down the stairs and walked over to his wife.
"Everything okay, honey?" asked Chuck, as he gently took Jade's hand.
"Oh yes, Chuck, I fine. I'm just so happy for Jillian and Gary. I can't wait until they come out here, so that we can throw all this birdseed at them. Hey you two?" asked Jade as she turned to look at Chris and Allison. "Do you both have enough birdseed to toss at the newlyweds?"
"Yeah! Chris and I have a whole bunch," said Allison.
"Don't we Chris?"
"Yeah," answered Chris.
At that moment Gary and Jillian stepped out of the church and onto the steps.
"Well, here they are now," said Chuck. "So if you're ready, let's start throwing."
And right on cue, everyone started to toss the birdseed as Gary and Jillian walked down the steps. By the time they got to Gary's Jeep Wrangler, they had birdseed all over them.
The Jeep was decorated with white streamers. On the back window, written in crazy foam, were the words, 'Just Married' and cans were tied to the bumper. Gary opened the passenger door and Jillian slid onto the seat. Gary then went around to the other side and got in. Then they both headed for McGinty's for the reception. All the guests and relatives followed behind in their vehicles.
McGinty's was beautifully decorated with a large silver wedding bell that was connected to silver streamers, and was surrounded by tiny white bells all over the ceiling. All the tables, except one, had lacy, white table cloths on them with silver wine goblets.
The table in the center had a lacy, silver table cloth with two silver goblets sitting in the middle of the table. This table was reserved for the bride and groom.
"Hey everyone, let's get this party on the move," said Bernie.
Gary looked at his dad and just shook his head and smiled. He turned to Jillian and said, "You know Jillian? I think Dad may be right. What do you think?" asked Gary.
"I agree. Should we go to our table and get things moving?" asked Jillian.
"Yes, let's do that," answered Gary.
Gary and Jillian were soon at their table and began opening their wedding gifts.
They got towels from Patrick and a casserole dish from Marissa. Pots and pans, from Bernie and Lois, and sheets from Wayne, Lorraine, Chris and Allison. As they showed each gift, the guests and relatives clapped and cheered their approval.
On the far left was a gift that Gary and Jillian hadn't opened yet. Gary picked it up and began reading the card.
'To the greatest friend that any man could have. Good luck to you and Jillian in the years to come. Luv ya buddy. From Chuck and Jade.'
"Hey, this one's from Chuck and Jade. Gee I wonder what they got us?" asked Gary.
"Well, why don't we open it, so we can find out," said Jillian.
Together they began to open the package. Inside was a lacy, black negligee.
"Jade and I thought that you and Jillian would be needing this," said Chuck.
"Yeah, but not for long," added Bernie, with a wink of his eye.
"Oh, don't worry. I'm sure that Gary and Jillian will get some good use out of it. Right you two?" added Wayne. "Well-a- a - "
Jillian smiled as she answered for her husband. "Chuck, I hope that you and Jade didn't pay an arm and a leg for this, because by the time Gary and I get through. I doubt if there will be anything left of it," said Jillian as she kissed Gary on the lips.
"Oh that's okay," laughed Chuck. "It was worth every penny."
Suddenly the band leader was heard speaking into the mike.
"It is tradition for the bride and groom to have the first dance. So,Gary and Jillian the floor is all yours."
Gary took Jillian's hand and they both walked up to the middle of the dance floor and began dancing to their song, 'I Swear'. Gary held Jillian tightly in his arms as they swayed slowly to the music. Jillian felt warm and safe in Gary's strong arms as she rested her head snuggly on his chest. Gary kissed the top of Jillian's head and as he did so, he whispered, "I don't know what I did to deserve a beautiful angel like you, but what ever it was, I'll thank the good Lord for you every day for the rest of my life," said Gary. "I love you so much."
"I love you too, Gary, " said Jillian.
At that, Gary tilted Jillian's face up to his and then placed his lips on hers, giving her a kiss that made her body quiver all over. As they finished their kiss they were interrupted by a small voice.
"Aunt Jillian? Aren't you and Uncle Gary going to cut the wedding cake?" asked Allison.
"Allison, don't bother Aunt Jillian and Uncle Gary. They're doing that yucky kissing right now," said Chris. "Boy, how can you two stand that yucky stuff?"
"Oh, I don't know, I kind of like doing that yucky stuff. How about you Jillian?" asked Gary as he looked lovingly into her eyes.
"Well, I sure do Mister. Come here so we can do some more of that yucky stuff."
"Oh, brother. Come on, Allison. They'll cut the cake in a few minutes," said Chris.
"I sure hope so, I'm hungry and I just love cake," said Allison.
"Yeah come on," said Chris.
Chris took Allison's hand and walked back towards Lorraine and the rest of the adults.
Soon Gary and Jillian were done with the traditional dance and were ready to cut the wedding cake. Gary picked up the knife and together they began to cut the first slice. When they finished they each picked up a piece and fed each other the white wedding cake. White frosting was smeared all over Jillian's face and she giggled gleefully as Gary gently licked it off her face, "Hey, Gary, that tickles," laughed Jillian.
"I know, that's why I'm doing it. That and the fact that you taste so good. I hope you never get tired of hearing this, but I love you so much," said Gary.
"Nope, that's one thing that I'll never get tired of," said Jillian and they both began to kiss.
"Ah gee, there they go with that yucky kissing again," said Chris.
At that, Gary just looked at Chris and said, "Hey, Chris you're just jealous, because you don't have a beauiful gal like your Aunt Jillian," said Gary.
"Yeah, as if," said Chris and he shook his head and walked away.
"Was it something I said?" asked Gary.
Everyone began to laugh and as soon as the laughter died it was time to serve the wine and to toast the bride and groom. They all went to the big table near the back and everyone began with their toast.
"Gary, I'm so happy that you have found someone to spend the rest of your life with and I hope that your future together is exciting and rewarding. Good luck to you and Jillian in the years to come," said Marissa.
"May you have lots of happiness," said Ray.
"Gary, may you and Jillian have a wonderful life together," said Lorraine.
"And may Bernie, Shelly and I have many, many wonderful grandchildren," added Lois.
"Yeah, Mom. When the time is right," said Gary.
"Which I hope will be will soon," added Jillian.
"Okay, it's mine and Jade's turn," said Chuck.
"Gary, I know that we have been though a lot and no one could have asked for a better friend than you. So, here's to you and Jillian. Have a great life, take care of one another and just be happy. Jade do you want to add to that?"
"Yes, I do. Gary I want to thank you for giving me a chance to prove my love for Chuck and if you and Jillian are anywhere near as happy as we are, I know that you are going to be very happy. Oh, what I means is I'm just so happy for you both," said Jade.
"Thank you, Jade," said Jillian.
"Well, let's hear it for the happy couple," said Bernie as he lifted his goblet for a toast to the newlyweds.
"Thanks everyone. Jillian and I thank every single one of you," said Gary.
"Yes, thank you all, for saying such wonderful things."
Soon all the toasting was over and it was time for the reception to come to an end. It was getting time to clean up and for Gary and Jillian to be leaving for their honeymoon.
Jillian still wasn't sure where that was going to be. Gary decided to keep it a secret until the last moment so that he could surprise her. He had gone up to the loft to retrieve the surprise.
"Close your eyes and hold out your hands and here comes the big surprise," said Gary as he placed two cards into Jillian's hands.
Jillian opened her eyes to see what the cards were and to her excitement, they were two tickets for a two week cruise to Jamaica, on the Disney cruise line.
"Oh Gary, this is such a wonderful surprise. How did you know that I always wanted to see Jamaica," asked Jillian, with tears of happiness streaming down her cheeks.
"I heard you and Marissa talking about it one day. So I decided that's where we would go for our honeymoon," said Gary.
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" said Jillian as she reached up and started to smother Gary with lots and lots of kisses.
Soon, Gary had the Jeep Wrangler packed up and Jillian and him were getting ready to take off for their honeymoon.
"Now Dad, are you sure that you and Chuck can handle the paper for two weeks?" asked Gary.
"Yes, of course we can, son. Don't you worry, Chuck and I won't let you down. Right Chucko?" said Bernie.
"Right, Bernie," said Chuck.
"Oh you two. Don't worry, Gary, us girls will make sure that everything will be alright. Now you two better get going and you both have a wonderful time," said Lois.
"Thanks, Mom, and I promise we will."
After all the kisses and goodbye's were finished. Gary started the car and the newlyweds drove off for their honeymoon.
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