ACT 1

“It seems like there’s something I’m forgetting.”

Phillip heard the vague hint of panic in Rick’s voice, and fought the urge to laugh. It was the day before Rick and Mindy’s wedding, and he and Beth had come over specifically to make sure that everything was ready to go. Of course, Mindy could have done it all on her own, but she’d already spent most of the past two days finalizing various last-minute details; she didn’t need more stress on her shoulders.

Before Phillip could say anything, he saw Beth get up from her chair and move around the table so she could stand behind Rick and look over his shoulder at the checklist. Her voice was even, but he could hear a definite trace of amusement as she started verbally checking off the various items. “The flowers will be here at 10am. The caterer will be here at 9am to start setting things up. The band has already rehearsed all the music pieces and is ready to go. All the groomsmen and bridesmaids have their outfits and you know we’ve already practiced for the ceremony. The flower girl knows what to do. The…”

Phillip tuned out at that point, leaving the details to his wife and Mindy. Well, and Rick too, he supposed, though the reality was that while the other man was ostensibly involved, the two women had done most of the work of planning and getting things arranged. He suspected that Beth and Mindy mostly wanted to reassure themselves that everything was ready, and that soothing Rick’s worries was just a convenient excuse.

Two weeks after the Bauer barbecue, Rick and Mindy had come close to canceling their planned wedding. Not because they didn’t want to get married, but because tensions had been running so high with the fear of what Edmund might be up to. But there had been no sign of the man in recent weeks. There was none of the vandalism that had plagued the town, no further incidents at the farmhouse, and no suspected sightings of Winslow or his goons.

In fact, life in Springfield had been amazingly calm since the end of July. The town grapevine didn’t even have any interesting tidbits about torrid affairs, troublemaking teens, surprise visitors, or any of the other dramas that seemed to happen on a regular basis. Things in town actually reminded him of a Norman Rockwell painting – showcasing idyllic times that had existed in some ways, but which were as much idealized and imagined as anything.

Phillip was glad they’d reconsidered and that the ceremony was moving ahead as planned. He almost thought he was more excited about it than his two friends. It was just that the first anniversary of his father’s death was hitting him hard – harder than he’d expected, honestly – and he was taking comfort in the signs of new life and new love and the bonds with friends and family. Rick and Mindy’s wedding was one such bit of comfort; Lizzie’s pregnancy was another.

He drew himself out of his thoughts when he saw Beth straighten up and walk back over to her chair, sitting down next to him again. He looked at her and smiled, before glancing across the table to see Mindy reach up and gently caress Rick’s shoulder.

Mindy’s tone was kind. “See, honey, we’ve got everything under control.”

Phillip couldn’t help himself. “You do have the ring, don’t you, Rick?”

He tried to keep a straight face as he asked the question, but couldn’t. He mock-yelped when Beth hit him on the arm, and then ducked his head in apology when he saw Mindy shoot him a death glare from across the table. At least he knew his friend would get the joke.

And he was right. Rick merely rolled his eyes. “Of course. Like I’d really forget the most important thing of all.”

Phillip shook his head and chuckled, as his friend fumbled into his shirt’s breast pocket. He hadn’t really expected that Rick would actually pull out the ring to prove he had it. After all, he didn’t seriously think even the notoriously absent-minded doctor would misplace that.

But when Rick’s self-pat-down grew more urgent and a frown creased the man’s face, Phillip felt a twinge of alarm. He’d meant it as a joke, but now he was glad he’d said something. Better to find out today that it was missing, than to discover it tomorrow in the middle of the wedding. He was damn well going to insist that the ring be in his possession from now on, though. It wouldn’t do to have the ceremony stopped dead in its tracks for any reason, but especially not because the groom had to go home to get the ring. It would be anti-climactic, to say the least.

Rick’s eyes were darting frantically around the room and he was muttering, “Now what did I do with it?”

Glancing around the table, Phillip saw that Mindy was frowning and Beth’s eyes were wide. He forcefully pushed up out of his chair, nearly overturning the thing. “Don’t worry, Rick. We’ll help you find it.”

He started to walk around the room, ready to look under and over every single thing in the house, when it finally occurred to him that he was the only one moving. He spun around and fixed his gaze on the two women – Mindy just stared right back, but Beth had an overly innocent look on her face. A glance at Rick confirmed his sudden suspicions; the man was chortling and had a jewelry box in his hand. 

Phillip mimed being shot through the heart with an arrow, before rolling his eyes and joining in on the laughter. It wasn’t every day that his friend managed to get one over on him. He’d let Rick enjoy the moment. It could be an early wedding present.

***  

 

“I thought we were planning to leave soon, to get to the baseball game early.”

Christina tried to keep her tone mild, even though she was a little frustrated with the fact that she’d walked into the bedroom to find Remy back in his sweatpants and torn tee-shirt. He was sitting on the edge of the unmade bed, holding the baby. It wasn’t so much that she was chomping at the bit to go or anything. It was just that he’d come back an hour ago, after doing some police work, and suggested they go ahead and leave soon, so they could go out to lunch before the game. She’d raced around to get ready, and yet here he was, back in his old clothes.

If she’d known he wasn’t serious, she could have taken a little nap and tried to get some more sleep. Well, that probably wouldn’t have happened, since Clayton had a knack for waking her right as she was drifting off.

She saw the slightly abashed look on Remy’s face as he spoke, even though his attention remained on their son. “Sorry, honey. I thought it would be nice to have a day out. But CK’s fussy and…I don’t know…does he feel warm to you? I’m not sure if we should go or not. Maybe we should take him to the doctor.”

As always, she smiled at the nickname Remy had taken to using for their son. It seemed to fit the little guy somehow. Walking over towards the bed, she ran her hand over the baby’s head, resting her palm against his forehead. The soft skin felt perfectly normal to her touch, but she made a show of trailing her fingers along Clayton’s cheek as well. “He feels fine to me.”

She saw the doubt on her husband’s face before he schooled his expression and nodded. Christina understood his concerns; she really did. Even though she hadn’t lost a child like he had, she could imagine just how paranoid she’d be if she’d gone though such a horrible experience. But at the same time, his constant worry about every little gurgle and sniffle was taking a negative toll on him, as well as on her.

Still, she knew she needed to be extra sympathetic and supportive for a while, until he finally could relax enough to believe that everything would be ok. All they could do was take care of their son to the best of their abilities and trust that it would be enough. It was all any parent could do.

Sitting down on the bed next to Remy, she put her arm around his back and rested her head against his shoulder. At first, she could feel the tension in his muscles, but after a minute or two, he started to relax. She kept her voice soft, coaxing. “Why don’t you let me take him for a while? I’ll get him fed and dressed, while you get yourself ready. And then we can take him to see his first baseball game and let everyone in town see our beautiful little boy.”

Moving her head off his shoulder so she could look up at him, she saw Remy smile at the thought of showing off his pride and joy. Their family and some of their friends had, obviously, seen Clayton, but this would be his first public outing in Springfield. She was excited about it – proud of her family. And she knew her husband was, too – no matter how anxious he was at the moment.

She could tell he’d warmed to the idea when he said, “Maybe we could stop by and pick up Mel on our way to lunch, and then make a family event out of the game. I think she said she was planning to go and cheer on Shayne’s team.”

Christina nodded enthusiastically. While she hadn’t spent a whole lot of time with Remy’s parents, she loved his sister. She honestly didn’t think she could have asked for a better sister-in-law. Now that Daisy and Ashlee were off at college and she was busy being a mom, her friendship circle had shrunk, so she was glad to have another person in her life that she could talk to and could consider a friend.

“Why don’t you go call her?” she suggested, reaching out for CK. Remy carefully handed the baby to her and she smiled down at the precious little bundle. Then she smiled up at her husband as he levered himself off of the bed and stood next to her. His eyes sparkled and she could tell he was back to his usual good-natured self. His words only confirmed it.

“Nah, there’s no need to call her. We’ll just swing by and pick her up; it can be a surprise. I’m sure she’s already up and about, probably doing some work from home or something. She always turns her phone off when she’s working anyhow. I’ll just go take my shower and get ready.”

His lips were warm on her forehead and she reveled in the feel of having her two favorite people in the world right next to her. She tracked Remy with her eyes as he moved out of the room, before her attention went back down to her son. He looked so peaceful and content, sleeping, his little face slack. Even as that thought came to her, she saw the baby shift and yawn, his face contorting as he woke up. It was darned cute and she was fairly impressed with Clayton’s sense of timing.

He let out a pitiful little cry and she couldn’t help chuckling. Time to feed her little milk monster.

***  

 

Mindy smiled as Danny finished his toast with, “To the happy couple.” She lifted her champagne flute and joined in on the clinking of glasses. She and Rick, Danny and Michelle, and Phillip and Beth were all enjoying a cocktail party luncheon – a sort of pre-wedding celebration. While most brides-to-be might be nervously running around the day before their nuptials, she had the luxury of being able to kick back and relax and enjoy herself. Mainly because she had the best friends in the entire world.

She smiled as Rick leaned in for a kiss, only vaguely hearing Beth’s murmured, “Aww.”

Someone else said something, but she didn’t hear it, focused as she was on Rick’s presence beside her. Whatever it was, it must have been funny, because the group broke out in laughter. That reaction, on what was supposed to be a solemn occasion, probably would have seemed strange to an outsider, but it warmed her through and through.

Mindy leaned against Rick and heard his dry, “It took a long time. A hundred and forty years.” She laughed along with everyone else, though she didn’t fail to poke him in the ribs and jokingly tell him to stop.

Predictably, he completely ignored her, continuing, “But I finally cornered her. I got the girl.” She didn’t miss his look towards Phillip as he added, “I got the girl, right?”

Mindy shook her head at the last part, still laughing. Like he even had to ask the question.

Then she heard Michelle, blessed with the same dry humor as her half-brother, jump in with, “Good luck, Mindy; he’s all yours.”

Before she could come up with a suitable retort, she heard Beth’s encouraging, “If anyone can handle him, it’s Mindy.”

She chuckled at that. “My only concern is that he’s on time for the wedding tomorrow.” She couldn’t resist poking him in the chest to emphasize the point, despite the fact that she was holding her champagne flute in that hand.

As she’d expected, Phillip stepped in to reassure her. “Don’t worry. I will get him there.”

She smiled when Rick didn’t bother to argue the point and simply said, “Thanks, buddy.”

She was so grateful that Phillip was back in Rick’s life. She wasn’t sure she’d be here right now if Phillip had died last year. That would have been a deep, deep blow to Rick and she doubted he’d have been able to open his heart to her.

Her attention only half on Phillip’s response, she heard him say, “The best man’s job, right?” But she knew the simple statement meant more than just the obvious; it was about the Four Musketeers banding together again, being there for each other.

There was more clinking of glasses as they toasted to the wedding, and then Michelle started clamoring for a picture. As one of the Spaulding’s maids took the camera and the group lined up for the shot, Mindy found herself thinking that she couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend the day. She was with friends and soon-to-be family, and they were sharing love and laughter. Really, that was what life was all about.

*** 

 

James grinned as he took a curve in the road just a bit faster than he should have. What was the point of driving a sporty little car if he couldn’t at least have a little bit of fun with it? Though he did know he’d better be careful – his dad would kill him if he wrecked the mini-Cooper. It had taken a lot of persuading before his parents had allowed him to drive out to California on his own to visit Daisy and Ashlee. He didn’t want to give them a reason to regret that decision. Not to mention the fact that his girlfriend would kill him if he did anything stupid.

He was just happy for the chance at a little adventure. Sure, he loved his home town, now that he and his dad were getting along, and he could see that he had a pretty good life as a Spaulding. But the place just didn’t have the kind of excitement he craved sometimes. He’d never admit it to Daisy, but part of him envied her for getting out and experiencing a whole new life and meeting new people. He enjoyed working at Spaulding, learning more and more about the business and getting some valuable experience. And he didn’t really want to commit to college and sit through boring classes when there were so many other opportunities he could explore. Most of them were even legal.

The car slid to a stop at a stop sign and he smiled at the trio of little old ladies picking their way cautiously across the street. One looked up in apparent alarm at his sudden presence, but another waved a slow hand and he waved back.

A year ago, he probably would have rolled his eyes at them at best, and debated whether to play chicken with them at worst. Now, he was content to sit and wait, even though he had places to go and people to see. It surprised him a little to realize how much things had changed in his life now that he wasn’t angry at almost everyone and everything.

The past year hadn’t been an easy time; that much was for sure. His girlfriend was across the country, his grandfather was dead, and even though he’d made peace with his father, it had been plenty awkward for a while as they settled in to their new reality. But he could honestly say that all the bad stuff had been worth it, because he was glad for the life he had now – even though things were a little boring from time to time.

Once the trio cleared the crosswalk, he stepped on the gas and headed down the road, enjoying the sunny day and the feel of the wind in his hair. Before long, he found himself pulling up to the spot on the side of the road where Daisy and Ashlee were waiting. The girls had decided to meet him off-campus after they had lunch with one of their friends.

He came to a stop and put the car in park, then honked the horn before getting out and heading over to his friends. Daisy came running over and he caught her up in a hug and kissed her. It was so good to see his girlfriend again. In reality, it hadn’t been that long, he knew, but it seemed like forever. She and Ashlee had gone back to California two weeks before classes started, so they could get settled back into their little apartment. He hadn’t seen Daisy all that much during her last few weeks in Springfield, between his job and her job and conflicting family schedules. It surprised him, just a little bit, how much he’d missed her.

When the enthusiastic kiss finally broke, he smiled at Daisy, before going over to give Ashlee a big hug. He’d barely seen the blonde at all over the summer and he found that he’d missed her company as well. She’d turned out to be a good friend to both of them.

He walked back over to his car and opened the door for his smiling passengers. Ashlee climbed in back and Daisy opted to sit up front. He paused long enough to give his girlfriend another kiss, before walking around and slipping into the driver’s seat. The plan was for them to pick up a few essentials at Daisy and Ashlee’s apartment, and then get on the coastal highway and take a nice, long, scenic drive. The duo didn’t have to be back on campus for a few days, so they planned to have a little adventure in the meantime.

Putting the pedal to the metal, so to speak, he sent the car jumping forward, delighting in the girls’ laughter. It seemed like they were as eager to get out on the road as he was. Well, he figured Daisy was, at least. She had the same kind of restless spirit he did; she liked being in Springfield, but needed excitement. It was probably one of the reasons they’d spent half their summer fighting with each other – it gave them something to do.

He kept his focus mostly on the road, listening with one ear as Daisy turned in her seat to talk to Ashlee. It wasn’t that he didn’t care, but they were rambling on about some college friend of theirs who he didn’t know, talking about something that had happened earlier in the week. He didn’t really need to pay attention to the whole thing. The lilt of their voices was pleasant enough and made him feel relaxed, happy that he was here and could spend this time with his friends.

Life really was good these days. He hoped that if his grandfather was up in Heaven somewhere, he was looking down on him and smiling.

*** 

 

Dinah shut the door quietly behind her, so as not to disturb the wedding that was going on in the church’s sanctuary. She’d convinced Mallet to stick around and watch the happy couple exchange vows, and he’d obliged her – the two of them opening the door slightly and poking their heads inside the room to watch. He’d already retreated and it was time for them to get out of there, before the ceremony ended and they got caught at their spying.

She walked towards Mallet, staring at him for a moment before letting him know she was ready to go. He asked if she wanted a ride, and while she didn’t know exactly what he meant by that, she said “yeah” anyhow. When he bent down and reached for her legs, she figured out what he was doing and fought the urge to roll her eyes. Instead, she held out her arms so they weren’t in his way and let him hoist her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.

Something about the vaguely Neanderthal move made her chuckle as he turned them in a circle and then headed towards the door to the outside. When they’d cleared the narrow space, he took off at a run. Now that they were safely outside, she allowed herself to laugh out loud at the absurdity of her boyfriend running away from a church like a bat out of hell, with her still draped over his shoulder. It wasn’t exactly the reverse of carrying someone over the threshold, but that image came to mind for some reason.

When they’d gotten well away from the church, Mallet slowed to a jog, but didn’t put her down until they were under the shelter of a tree. They’d crossed an open field that stood between this grove of trees and the church – the old building now appearing small and square against the horizon. They stood on a slight hill, allowing her to take in the scenery below – the softly rolling hills and thick woods surrounding this country chapel.

She felt Mallet’s presence behind her as she looked around, her eyes feasting on the sight of daisies and small purple flowers dotting the hillside below them, bright green leaves fluttering in the slight breeze, and a handful of white butterflies dancing on the wind.

Something about the sight reminded her of home and she chuckled at the thought. They’d been traipsing all over Europe as part of Mallet’s work with the CIA, and yet she swore every place they went ended up looking like Springfield in some way. As she’d noted when she was there with Jeffrey, the resemblance was strongest in Bosnia. It was truly uncanny.

Before she could get too sidetracked with that train of thought, she heard Mallet’s amused drawl.

“So what made you decide we needed to crash a bunch of weddings today?”

Dinah fought the urge to laugh at the genuine confusion on Mallet’s face. He always looked so damned earnest when he was trying to piece something together and not quite managing the trick.

She wanted to answer his question, she really did. She felt like she owed it to him in a way, since he’d been so good-natured about following her around for the past several hours as they stopped at church after church – not to mention indulging her whims over the past few months. Any other man would probably have been frustrated long before now, instead of treating the whole thing as a source of amusement.

The problem was that she didn’t really know how to answer his question. She honestly didn’t know what had possessed her to run around touring various churches today. Except for the reminder that she’d missed her mother’s wedding several months ago…and how could she explain to him the reason that was suddenly on her mind? Well, she could; she just knew it wouldn’t be fair. He had a job to do here; she’d come with him, knowing the stakes. He couldn’t just up and leave because she was having a bout of homesickness.

She mumbled some nonsense about tradition and beauty, and watched him nod. She felt a stab of guilt for not being honest with him, but it was minor and easily ignored. After all, it certainly wasn’t the worst lie she’d told in her life. Hell, it probably wasn’t even the worst one she’d told since breakfast.

To soothe her conscience, she turned and smiled up at him. “Ready to head back to the city?”

Much to her surprise, he shook his head. “Let’s do some more sightseeing. I’ve heard about a couple of neat old churches in a town not far from here. They’re supposed to have some great architecture and stonework. You probably won’t find any weddings going on, though.”

Dinah grinned. “It’ll be a hardship, but I’m sure I’ll manage. Race you to the car?”

She laughed as he just gaped at her for a second, and then she took off running before he could gather his wits. It was a dirty trick, she knew. But after all, as the old saying went, all was fair in love and war.

*** 

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Mel groaned as she heard the knock at the door.

Before she’d even finished the sentence, Cyrus had scrambled out of her bed, wrapping a sheet around himself as he went. She stared at him in disbelief, not too surprised when he simply smiled at her. “Maybe it’s the Publisher’s Clearinghouse, here to award us ten million dollars.”

She rolled her eyes. “Have you ever actually filled out one of their forms and sent it back?”

If anything, his smile grew wider at the question, his mischievous streak showing. “Well, no. So maybe it’s one of those door-to-door religion pushers and I can shock him or her into silence by opening the door like this.”

She didn’t bother to answer her incorrigible boyfriend, just pulled the covers over her head, jokingly, as he opened the door. And then there was a moment of silence and an awkward clearing of a throat and she heard the sound of her brother’s voice.

It was now official. Remy had the worst timing on the planet.

Hadn’t he done the exact same thing to them last year?

Why yes, he had. She remembered the scene clearly – she’d thrown open the door to find Remy and Christina standing there, the two of them struck by the sudden urge to make sure they were really married. They’d seen Cyrus lying in her bed, wearing nothing but a layer of blankets and a big grin. It had been a rude interruption to a very pleasant birthday celebration.

The moment had definitely been awkward, to say the least. At that point, she and Cyrus had just moved from being friends to being “friends”. But by now, since the two of them had been dating for nearly a year, it shouldn’t be any surprise that they shared each other’s beds. Then again, things had cooled between the two of them in recent weeks, and she knew both Remy and Christina had picked up on it, even as preoccupied as they’d been with the baby.

It wasn’t that she and Cyrus had stopped caring about each other; it was more that they hadn’t been able to decide whether to move forward into something more serious than dating, or take a step back and just be friends with benefits. Last night, Cyrus had shown up at her door and taken her to a fancy restaurant in a nearby town. They’d talked for hours, finally naming themselves as a committed couple for the first time. While the declaration hadn’t come with a ring or an engagement, from either of them, it had been a huge step forward.

They’d always had fun while dating, but she hadn’t really realized until recently just how much she appreciated being around someone she could goof off with and who could bring out her light-hearted side. Her natural demeanor, not to mention her job, usually kept her life tuned to a more serious note. It still felt a little weird that she, as a lawyer, would hook up with someone who, while not exactly a criminal, definitely had walked on the other side of the law as needed. But he was a good guy at heart; he’d turned over a new leaf and was even doing some work with Remy and Anna Li. Heck, with the kinds of antics that passed for normal in this town, it shouldn’t raise any eyebrows that someone with a shady past was now connected with the police department.

She wasn’t counting on her relationship with Cyrus being love everlasting. But she was content for the moment with companionship and a splash of romance. It was more than she’d thought she’d find again, that was for sure.

Hearing the low murmur of Cyrus’s voice pulled her back into the present with a vengeance. She pulled the blanket back and waggled her fingers at her brother. He had the good grace to look embarrassed, though she could see the amusement in his eyes.

Clearing her throat, she asked the obvious questions. “What are you doing here? Where are Christina and Clayton? Why don’t you ever call first?”

She turned her best big sister glare on him and struggled not to laugh as he shifted from foot to foot. “Uh, we thought maybe we could have lunch with you and then head over to the big game. Of course, Cyrus can come too. Christina and CK are waiting in the lobby. And…um…well…”

She couldn’t help it, she laughed out loud at his stammering. She sat up in the bed, clutching the blankets around her, and stared at Cyrus with one eyebrow raised in a question. He shrugged and said amiably, “Sure, we can do that. I was planning to go to the game anyhow, and you know me, I can always eat. I’m actually pretty hungry after last night…”

When Remy raised a hand, as if trying to keep the rest of that sentence from being spoken aloud, Mel laughed again. She took pity on him, though, and said, “Give us twenty minutes to get ready. Maybe we can meet you over at Company.”

She saw Remy shake his head. “They’re closing early to go to the game, since Buzz is supplying a bunch of food. We’ll head on over to Towers and get a table for all of us.” She watched his eyes dart between Cyrus in his sheet and her in her blankets, before he backed away from the door and finished with, “Ok, see you in a bit. Bye!”

She chuckled as Cyrus shut the door behind Remy. “Your brother really needs to work on his timing.”

Rolling her eyes, she added, “Or learn the concept of picking up the phone and calling.”

Cyrus laughed, then turned on his heel and headed toward the bathroom, saying over his shoulder, “Come on, we’d better get ready to go.”

She smiled as she crawled out of bed to follow him. It wasn’t the start to her day that she’d expected. But she had to admit, it was a pretty darn good one.

*** 

 

Rick smiled at his friends as he lifted his glass of champagne under a sunny sky. The day was gorgeous and tomorrow was supposed to be more of the same. While it wouldn’t be the end of the world to have cool temperatures or even rain on their wedding day, he wanted everything – even the weather – to be perfect. He wanted it to be as beautiful and memorable as possible for Mindy. She and Beth had poured their hearts into the planning and arrangements and he wanted them to have the satisfaction of seeing their hard work pay off.

Besides all that, Mindy deserved the best of everything in the whole world, just because she was such a special lady.

He laughed and smiled along with everyone else as Phillip and Beth exchanged wisecracks in their attempt to make another toast, then watched as Mindy, Beth, Danny, and Michelle raised their glasses. Not that anyone was really paying attention to what was being said, since they were all too busy laughing at each other or razzing Mindy about having her hands full with him. But he wasn’t paying too much attention to that last part.

He was glad that his half-sister and brother-in-law were here today, that he had the chance to celebrate his happiness with them. And he was overjoyed at having his best friends here with him, instead of them being off at the baseball game. He’d expected Phillip and Beth might prefer to go to that instead of spending the afternoon and evening here, especially since Lizzie and Bill planned to be there. But they’d decided that the Four Musketeers needed to be together today.

Standing in the side yard of the Spaulding mansion, surrounded by people he cared about, Rick couldn’t imagine anywhere else he’d rather be. Well, as he thought about it, he knew he’d also enjoy being on a secluded tropical beach or at a fabulous resort. That, however, was an experience he’d save for when it was just him and Mindy. As much as he loved these people, he darn well didn’t want any of them tagging along when it was time for him to be alone with his wife.

He glanced over at Mindy, struck by the beauty of her smile and the mischievous twinkle in her eyes. Life would never be dull with her around.

He smiled and laughed as they raised their glasses again, toasting to more long life and happiness. As they drank their champagne, his mind drifted. The past few years had been momentous, that was for sure. He was grateful for everything that had happened, though – both good and bad – because it had brought him here, to the eve of his wedding.

It had brought him to this moment, where he was ready to say “yes” to love and to let its light be his guide.

***