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Re: Each Careful Step*


ONE-HUNDRED & EIGHT

DANI:


It was just after 10am the following morning when the doorbell rang. Not expecting any deliveries or visitors, I was surprised to open the door and find Loie standing there.

“Loie? Hi; is everything ok?”

As I ushered her in, she replied “Yes; and no.”

That was a little ominous and I started to worry, so after dumping her bags on the lounge, we headed to the kitchen for coffee. Moments after the coffee was on the table, she explained why she was here.

“I brought a whole bag of mail for you, and David. After Kat’s post on the forum**, Sony was inundated with well wishes and condolences. They forwarded them to us but David thought you might like to go through them. He said that if you wanted to wait and go through them together, he was ok with that too, although I got the impression he wasn’t looking forward to doing so. At least not yet.”

Wow. I had never expected anything like this. I hadn’t been on the forum since the last debacle and so had no idea about Kat’s post. Loie told me what she had written, only after David told her it was ok to post. I was going to have to thank her the next time we spoke. I was surprised that people would want to send me messages though, David being the star and all; they didn’t know me and yet they felt compelled to write all the same? I was blown away.

**”Hello everyone on the forum –

I am sure you are all wondering, and speculating, as to what happened with the tour with shows being cancelled and other non-appearances. I won’t go into details, but David’s fiancé miscarried a few days ago and he is with her now. This is a very private time for them and while we appreciate your well wishes, we respectfully ask that you give them the privacy and the time they need to grieve and regain this time together. Thank you for your cooperation in advance. Katrina Miller.”



~*~*~

“Thanks, Loie; you didn’t need to make a special trip for these, but I am glad you did. I’m actually a little afraid to ask but maybe you can tell me how David really is. We have barely moved beyond polite conversation since he re-joined the tour and so I have no idea. It’s not like he’s forthcoming with any real details.”

“He’s doing ok, Dan. Putting on a brave front and working hard but it’s not hard to see that it’s all still eating away at him. It’s to be expected of course. Both of you need some time together, to get through this and move forward, as a couple.”

“You don’t know how bad I want that but I’m scared. What if we can’t make it through? The last time I physically saw him I said some hurtful things, as did he, and then he left without so much as a word. He told me he forgives me but how can he, really? I accused him of not caring that we had lost our unborn son. I can’t forgive myself, so is it right that I should expect him to?”

“Time, sweetie; as clichéd as that sounds. I know you and David will come through this and be all the stronger for it.”

I shook my head. “We have had nothing but time and I’m still miserable. Yesterday I sat in the nursery and cried for a solid two hours. Each time I think I am finally able to move on and start functioning like an adult, something will happen or someone will say something, and it’s like I’m back to the day it happened. I don’t believe I will ever truly get over this.”

Placing her hand on mine, she gave me a sad smile. “Trust me, Dani; you will. It might not seem like it now but you will. I’ve been where you are so I can at least speak from experience.”

I looked at her. Something in the shadow of her eyes told me she wasn’t just spinning a yarn to make me feel better. “Really; I had no idea.”

She nodded. “It’s fine; it’s not exactly something you tend to advertise. No-one; including the father; knows and I haven’t even told Urs. It was a few years ago now but every now and then, I will have a moment; it took a while but I did finally come to accept that it was ok for me to move on and enjoy life, to find love and just be happy. It will be the same for you.”

 I squeezed her hand. “I’m sorry, Loie.”

Telling me it was ok, she then told me everything.

~*~*~

It had been several years ago, when she was actually with Nick, something I hadn’t been aware of. They had been friends forever and one day just took it to the next level. Things were fine but they both reached a level where they realized them as a romantic couple wasn’t working and so they parted as friends. Loie found out she was pregnant soon after.

Wanting to be certain she was, she never told Nick and ended up losing the baby before she had the chance. Realizing there was nothing he could do about it, she never told him which meant that even to this day, he was oblivious to the fact that he had almost become a father. I got a very real sense that this gnawed at Loie, no matter how much she might try to deny it. She had moved on and was very happily in love with Urs now but it was clear that the unresolved issue stayed with her. For all her toughness and professionalism, I could see through it to the torment she was still trying so hard to hide.

Loie and I bonded that morning in a way that neither of us would have expected. A tragedy for us both had been the catalyst but it didn’t matter. We cried together, we laughed together and promised to be there for each other, to chat about it, should either of us need to do so. I was more than beyond grateful to her for this. Chelle was my very bestfriend, my sister, but I couldn’t talk to her about this. As sympathetic and helpful as she had been, she hadn’t been through it herself and couldn’t fully appreciate what it was I needed. I prayed to god that she never knew.

~*~*~

The thing that actually got me onto the plane with Loie later that night was hidden in with the mail she had brought with her. I was going to wait and go through it with David, but thought that opening a few wouldn’t hurt. In a weird way, I was glad I had as it helped to reinforce for me what my priorities needed to be.

For the most part, what I opened was just a sympathy card, or the odd letter from a few women who had been through something similar. I supposed that like Loie, they wanted me to know that there was life to be had after such a tragedy. I was really blown away by the sincere and heartfelt wishes that were being sent to not only David but to me too. At least I had been, until I got to the letter that contained photos. I read it twice, not believing what I was seeing or reading each time. I even called Loie in and showed her. She was livid.

“Dani, I can categorically tell you that these aren’t real. Aside from barely having time to stop and eat lunch, the guys certainly didn’t have a chance to go and frolic, or make out with some random woman. You have to know that these aren’t real.”

I nodded. Deep down I knew the pictures were fake but it hurt all the same to think that someone took the time to send them. What were they hoping to achieve, honestly? The letter read:

“Hi

You don’t know me but I felt compelled to write and let you know what kind of man you’re about to marry. I heard of your loss, and I am sorry. Perhaps you are better off, given that the man you planned on spending the rest of your life with is nothing but a cheating dandelion. I was on Oahu a few days back and saw the Divos perform. It was the ‘performance’ I got to see the following day that has me concerned.

The man you love has just lost a child and yet he was out screwing around. What’s up with that? And before you think that I’m making this up, take a look at the photos I sent. The girl in question is a friend of mine and I was with them, so I know they are the real deal. As much as it pains me to tell you this, at this terrible time for you, I really do feel you should know what you’re in for if you go through and marry this man.

Get out now, while you can.

A concerned friend.”


The photos in question where still on the table, staring up at me, defying me to believe they were fake. The first was of a couple necking up against a rock wall, the second kissing with the setting sun as a backdrop, the third; taken from a distance; could have been anyone and the last of a laughing couple laying on the sand together.

I tore them up. There was no way on god’s green earth I was ever going to let David see these. I knew they weren’t him; the Divos flew out the same night as the show so he couldn’t have been fooling around the next day with some random woman. Having said that though, the first one with the guy in the NY baseball cap did have me going for a minute. And for !@#$’ sake, the last photo was of Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey! Did this !@#$ think I was that gullible?

David and I might be having a few issues right at the minute but I never for one minute would ever believe that he would do something like this. Having Loie there as confirmation that she had flown them to Sweden right after the show sealed it for me. I couldn’t believe someone would openly be this malicious, and to what end?

“Loie, can you help me pack? I need to go and see David; now.”

She smiled. “Of course. I’ll organize your ticket while you go and start getting things ready.”

And so, it was that I found myself on the way to Sweden. I wasn’t sure what I was going to say once I got there, but I was hoping the peace offering in my bag would help pave the way.”

~*~*~

The guys actually had the day off but were scheduled for meetings all afternoon, to discuss the upcoming album, the revised tour itinerary and New Year’s. Loie and I had arrived at the hotel after they had left for the day, and so we had a hell of time going through time-wasting rigmarole to get the desk clerk to believe I was who I said I was.

Finally, I was let into David’s room and because I had a slight headache, I wanted to rest up a little before he got back. Loie promised to ring me the minute she knew they were on their way, so I could freshen up.

I lay on the bed but between the anxiety, headache and butterflies, it was impossible to rest. In the end, I got up and showered and changed. It was a good thing as the guys finished early and were on their way back to the hotel sooner than expected. As promised, Loie called and told me I had about 30 minutes.

I went to my bag, picked out the peace offering and put it on the table, before I started to pace. What did I say first? Did I say anything, or just kiss him and hold him tight? Would he even ben pleased to see me there at all? I was working myself into a right state when the door to the room finally opened.
I picked up the package and stood there, holding my breath. David came in, muttering to himself which made me smile but the minute he saw me, his face was expressionless. Then he smiled. The smile I had so missed these last weeks. He came over and stood before me.

Holding the package out to him, I said, “I come in peace.”

He looked at it, then me, and a tear rolled down his cheek. Who would have thought a packet of Moon Pies could cause that kind of emotion?

~*~*~


---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

6/4/20, 16:53 Link to this post Email HeavenLea27   PM HeavenLea27
 
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Re: Each Careful Step*


ONE-HUNDRED & NINE

DANI:


Hours seemed to whisk by in seconds after the day I showed up in Sweden and before we knew it, the new year was upon us. If there had of been any way to track down the person who wrote that horrible letter with the photos, I would have done so and thanked them. Had it not been for their puerile attempt at splitting up David and me, I would never have thought to go and see him and we wouldn’t have spent hours talking, crying, apologizing and eventually starting the healing process together.

For the first time since the loss of our son, we were able to be together and feel hope; hope that we would make it, the pain would ease and that eventually our loss would subside, even if it never dissipated entirely. We were both smart enough to realize that it was going to take a lot of work but we were both finally on the same page, committed to keeping what we had together. With the never-ending love and support of family and friends, we could just make out the light at the end of the tunnel.

The album – Ancora – was released to even more record-breaking acclaim, the tour started back up and the audiences were flocking to shows. It was hard to believe there had been a break at all, such was the smooth transition of things. Life as we had once known it seemed to be back.

Christmas Day found David and I in Central Park, where we scattered Elijah’s ashes, near a tree that we had planted in his honour. It was a small thing but it meant a lot and would give us a place to come and be near him, if the need arose. When trying to think of an inscription, we found several beautiful pieces that would have been perfect, but it was actually Sébastien; with an off the cuff comment; who led us to our eventual choice – a quote from A.A. Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh.

“Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest, a little boy and his bear will always be playing.

In loving memory of our beloved Elijah David

Thank you for choosing to be with us but a moment. You will never be forgotten. Mom and Dad xx”

Under the inscription was an etching of Christopher Robin and Pooh hugging, sitting on the top of a hill. It was perfect.

~*~*~

Going back to work was a lot harder than I expected it to be but I was finally able to do a couple of days here or there, working on autopilot, not allowing myself to think about anything other than the job at hand. I know Felipe appreciated the help, even if he would never say so, and Chelle seemed happy to have me around more. On the days I worked, I stayed in the apartment with her, rather than spend four hours a day traveling to and from. I also knew it was easier for her to report to David about how I was, if I was under foot.

One of the things we had talked about in Sweden was the wedding and we decided we still wanted to be married. It might have wavered ever so slightly but the love never really faded, so it had been an easy decision. We also chose a date, finally; the 16th April. We had wanted it to be on the 14th, his birthday, but this year that fell on a Thursday. While the guest list had been cut right back, some of the people we definitely wanted there couldn’t make it that day.

Once more the idea about eloping came up but we both agreed that with all that had happened, a celebration was just what we all needed. If nothing else, it also gave me something to focus my attentions on, when I wasn’t working. As she had gone a long way into helping me start the healing process by bringing David and I back together again, I asked Loie to also be a bridesmaid. It wasn’t a hard decision.

Something else that now had my focus was the surprise wedding party we were going to throw for Nick and Kat. Despite promising my sister-in-law that I would keep it to myself, I actually let her parents in on it after they both swore they too would keep quiet. As expected, Denise hadn’t been happy that her only daughter had married without her but she did understand why she had kept it quiet.

So, with the help of the other girls, a big party was organized. It felt strange but in a good way, to be doing something that was going to leave us with happy memories. It wasn’t all roses for me but it was a start.

~*~*~

“Thanks Kat, I appreciate this.”

Hanging up the phone, I looked over at Chelle. “She is going to meet Loie and me there, but I got the feeling she wasn’t happy. Probably hoped to be spending some alone time with Nick.”

Chelle smiled. “Well, she’ll get over it. Does David know he has to keep Nick out most of the day?”

I nodded. “Yeah; I think they’re off to some kind of hockey thing or something; I wasn’t paying all that much attention to David this morning” I laughed. “I was busy writing a list of stuff to remember and I heard him speak, but who knows.” Chelle laughed too. “After that, they were going somewhere else, making a day of it.”

“I didn’t know David liked hockey.”

“I didn’t either but he said it was the first thing he could think of and when he mentioned it to Nick, it went over well. At least it shouldn’t cause too much suspicion. Ok, we better get started too; we have a party to organize.”

~*~*~

Between the pair of us, Chelle and I managed to get the house in ship-shape order and ready for the much belated wedding celebration for Kat and Nick. My folks wouldn’t be here, as Dad had put his back out playing golf and could barely stand, let alone sit on a plane for several hours. Denise and Sam had arrived earlier this morning and had offered to run a few errands for us.

Friends and other assorted family members had all been contacted on the sly and would make their way in throughout the day. The house was going to be once more crowded with people but unlike last time, I wasn’t dreading it. If anything, I was really looking forward to it.

I still had my moments, of course, but I was dealing with it better and being surrounded by the people I loved, who loved me in return, it definitely helped. Elijah would never be forgotten but there had to come a point when we could celebrate life and all it’s wonders, and not feel guilty about moving on.

The house was really looking festive by the time the Millers returned. They had gone out to pick up the things I had forgotten and from the looks of things, they had picked up extras, if the dozen or so bags Sam was carrying was any indication. Chelle and I helped him out and got them sorted before I had to go.

I had called Liz and asked if it was possible to do a fitting of my wedding dress, explaining that we now had Loie to dress too, and thankfully she was more than happy to accommodate. She wouldn’t be there personally but had left instructions and promised we would be taken care of. Mostly it was an excuse to keep Kat busy for a couple of hours, but I really did need to do a new fitting, for obvious reasons, and I was excited about seeing the dress again.

It was going to be the first time in a couple of months that I had even thought about the dress, let alone to go in and try it on. Part of me wondered if I was going to feel the same about it as I had before, but I knew I would. It was the design of my dreams, so what wasn’t to love?

~*~*~


---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

8/4/20, 16:09 Link to this post Email HeavenLea27   PM HeavenLea27
 
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Re: Each Careful Step*


ONE-HUNDRED & TEN

DANI:


With a look that once would have chilled me more than the wind, Kat said “Dani; it’s freezing. We should both be at home, in bed, preferably with the men we love to keep us warm. Are you sure this couldn’t have waited? It’s not like they get a lot of days free now, you know.”

I gave her a smile. “I suppose it could have but it’s not all that often that we are in the same place at the same time and I wanted to make the most of the chance. Now that Loie is part of the bridal party, she also needs to be fitted and she’s in town less than you are. The wedding is two months away, you know.”

She pouted. “I know. What about Chelle then? How did she get out of it?”

“She’s working or you can believe I would have dragged her arse down here too. And don’t forget that your brother has gone to some hockey game with Nick and a couple of mates, so it would have been lonely in bed.”

She laughed. “Fair enough. Let’s just get inside before my fingers snap off.”

We continued to joke as we headed in, the rush of warm air instantly cheering us both up.

~*~*~

There was a different girl seated at reception this time around and unlike her predecessor, she was both happy and friendly. Becca; the new receptionist; went to organize hot coffee for us once she had escorted us down to meet up with Jake, who was going to be helping us out in Liz’s absence. We found Loie already here and in the process of being measured.

After a friendly greeting, Jake told us it was time to get busy so we left him to it, Kat and I chatting about various things, with Jake and Loie adding their own comments on occasion. Loie was soon all measured up and after the notes were handed to one of the many tailors Liz had working here, Jake turned to Kat, for her turn.

My sister-in-law to be went to change and when she came back, she had that frowny look on her face again. It was there more than it should be, I noted. “I don’t know why this is necessary” she started to grumble. “I haven’t changed weight since we first did this.”

Loie rolled her eyes as I said “Kat, just humour me, please? Think on it as a chance to spend some time together for laughs, and not the chore you perceive it to be. Maybe you can plot the premise of your new book or something while you’re standing there.”

She actually glared at me but then she smiled. “Fine; but I am telling you right now, nothing will have changed. I have been the same weight since high school.”

Jake was shaking his head as he removed the measuring tape from around her hips. “Perhaps you need new scales. You have actually added an inch around the waist since last time.”

~*~*~

All of us instantly looked at the tallish man, and all with different expressions. Kat was shocked, Loie amused and I just had to wonder about the reason for the gain. It could be that she was pregnant, or perhaps it was true about married people being content, and therefore packing on the pounds. Whatever the reason for it, Kat was having none of it.

“I don’t mean to tell you your business Jake, but you might need a new measuring tape. That one is clearly faulty.

We all laughed, including Kat but it was clear she still wasn’t happy. At the end of the day though, the difference was only an inch and it wouldn’t mean altering her dress. Not unless she continued to gain weight. As it was now, it was going to be a smidge comfier and she was fine with that.

Leaving Kat to go and change, Jake turned to me. “You, our lovely bride to be, will definitely need yours altered. You have clearly lost weight since you were last here.”

How he could possibly tell that without me having tried on the dress was anyone’s guess. He hadn’t been here when I first tried it on so I could only speculate that he had all the measurements in front of him and had an excellent eye for detail. At the end of the day though, it was true; I had lost weight but it wasn’t through my own choices. I wasn’t sure what to say.

Seeing the look on my face, he quickly added “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to offend, it’s just that Liz left me your measurements, and looking at you now, they’re clearly not the same. Don’t stress; we will have it fixed in no time. And like most brides who diet before the big day, we will probably need to alter it again anyway; at least with this design it’s an easy fix.”

Now I really didn’t know what to say. Without realizing, Jake had really put his foot in it, which is why he looked confused when I suddenly had tears spring to my eyes. I fought them every inch of the way, determined not to break down in front of everyone. As I stood there, trying to gain control, Kat gave him what for. I hadn’t even seen her walk back over.

“You stupid clod! She hasn’t been dieting, she’s just lost a baby. Don’t you have any tact at all?”

As the color left his face, he couldn’t apologize fast or often enough. I simply said “It’s ok, Jake. You had no way of knowing. Look, I’m just going to go and change.” I then headed for the change room, the tears falling now. Hearing Kat tear strips off our host wasn’t helping matters at all.

~*~*~

I didn’t want to put my dress on now, worried about what I would see but it was a good thing I did. Jake had been right; aside from the obvious weight loss around the waist and hips, my bust was also considerably smaller, even more than it had been before I was pregnant. All those weeks of not eating at all or properly when I did start, had clearly taken their toll.

The ribbon ties at the back could be tightened to bring in the waist; an easy fix as Jake suggested; but the bodice was a whole different story. If I didn’t have it altered correctly, it was going to gape and that is not a look any bride in her right mind wants to be remembered for on her big day. With eyes that were a little red, I went out to join the others. Both Loie and Kat gasped. Chelle had been the only one so far to actually see me in the dress, so this was a first for them.

“Oh my god, Dani! That dress is so you! You were right; it is perfect.”

Loie concurred. “Gorgeous, Dani; truly. David is going to be blown away. Absolutely gorgeous.”

I blushed as Jake just smiled, approaching warily until I told him it was all good and I was ok. As he helped me stand on the dais, he told me I was vision, which almost made me laugh – here I was in a dress a good size and a half too big and I had a puffy face and red eyes. Damn he was good at his job because it did make me feel better.

As he then walked around me, pinching in material here, tightening ribbons there, changing the length a little now that my boobs weren’t there to hold it up higher, he made notes on his clipboard so he would know what to do when it came time to alter. My friends also continued to tell me I looked beautiful, which was a lie but a lie I appreciated.

By the time Jake was done, I was feeling a lot better about things. I even allowed myself to start feeling more excited about the wedding, which was only a few short weeks away at this point. It wasn’t that long ago when I thought my world was crashing in around me, but now there was real hope that David and I could be happy. Yes, it had been a good idea to come today and not just for Kat’s benefit.

~*~*~

As part of the plot to get Kat back to my place I suggested, once we were leaving the fashion house, that she come back to mine for dinner as Loie was already coming.

“I’ll call David and get him to bring Nick back too, and we can all have dinner together. I know you really want to spend some alone time with him, but I just figured it would be nice to have a meal together again, before the guys headed back to the tour.”

I could see her mind ticking over, trying to find a reason to get out of it that I would accept. Loie clearly saw the same thing as she piped up with “Hey, what if we turn it into a card night? Kat, you’re always going on about having another chance to win back all that money you lost to the boys last time, right?”

That was clearly the right thing to say. “Ok,” she agreed. “You’re on but fair warning; if David cheats again, brother or not, he’s going down.”

We all laughed and I got out my cell. Dialling David’s number, he answered after the fourth ring. Pretending that wherever he was, it was extremely noisy, I said in a slightly raised voice “Babe? Where are you? I can barely hear you.”

“I take it Kat’s nearby? Are you on your way home?”

“Yeah, we just finished and were heading back. We were talking and decided to have a card night; are you up for it?”

“Ha ha” he joked, getting in on the act. “I bet Kat wants a rematch too but she’s going to have to wait.” He paused a moment. “Ok, Nick is just getting the last round and then we’ll head home as well. I’ll call the folks before he gets back and let them know you’re on the way. I love you, Gidge.”

“I love you too. See you then.” I rang off the call, turning to the girls. “The guys are just having last drinks then heading to ours. Knowing them and their last shouts, we will probably beat them back, even if we have the longer drive.”

The girls both laughed and then we headed for the car. It had just started to snow again and it was really freezing now. For the trip home, we spent most of it talking about anything and everything about what was really happening tonight back at my place. I couldn’t wait to see the look on Kat’s face once she realized what we had been up to.

~*~*~


---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

8/4/20, 16:20 Link to this post Email HeavenLea27   PM HeavenLea27
 
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Re: Each Careful Step*


ONE-HUNDRED & ELEVEN

KAT:


Pulling into the drive back at the house, I had to wonder about the extra cars. Maybe David had called for backup, from his mates, for the card night. I smiled at the prospect, knowing that I could just as easily take their money as his. Unbeknownst to my little brother, I had been practicing since last time and I was damn good, even if I said so myself.

Nick could also attest to it, especially as I had been taking his money for a while now. There was no way I was going to let David, or anyone else, rip me off like last time. I couldn’t wait to see the look of surprise on their faces when it happened, but in the end, as we walked into the house, it was me that got the surprise.

Walking into the house, we found my parents, brother, the other Divos and assorted partners, along with other family and friends all there to greet us. Standing in front of the crowd, with an embarrassed kind of smile on his face was Nick, suggesting he hadn’t known about this either.

For one of the few times in my life, I found myself speechless, not even sure what it was all in aid of. It wasn’t until people started to come over and congratulate me on my marriage that I twigged. When Dani hugged me, I squeezed her back tight.

“I cannot believe you told everyone!”

My sister-in-law to be only smiled. “I didn’t tell everyone, just your folks but then the idea for the party came up, so of course I had to tell. Besides, news like this needed to be shared, not kept away like a dirty secret. I hope you’re not too mad at me.”

I hugged her again. “No; I love that you did this, especially after everything that has happened. It means the world to me.” Telling me I was more than welcome, she walked away so I could next be congratulated by my mother.

I braced myself for a reprimand but it never came. Instead I got tears as Mom hugged me and told me that she loved me, adding that she was happy because I was finally happy. Dad pretty much echoed those sentiments when it came time for him to hug me. For as much as I was loving the attention and the warm wishes, I needed to get to Nick so I quickly accepted the greetings and headed straight for him.

He kissed me; causing everyone to cheer; and then asked me if I had known about this. I told him I had been in the dark as much as he was, not that it mattered now how it came about. All I really cared about was the fact that we no longer had to hide the news that we were husband and wife.

~*~*~

Needing to freshen up, I did so and then back to re-join the party, grabbing a drink along the way. I managed to corner Chelle and take her from Séb’s side for five minutes, wanting to thank her for her part in the charade. She agreed it had been fun, and then asked about the actual wedding, to which I told her all about the Vegas chapel, complete with Elvis minister.

Joking that she wished there had been photos, I laughed and told her I was glad there wasn’t. After asking about what I wore, she asked how the dress fitting had gone, sorry she couldn’t have been there too.

“The dress is gorgeous on” I admitted. “I mean, I liked the design when Dani first showed me but I couldn’t say I was as much of a fan as she was. Having seen it on her though, it’s absolutely perfect. Even with red eyes and dishevelled hair, she was beautiful. I can’t wait to see David’s reaction when he first sees her in it.”

“Why did Dani have red eyes? Please tell me she didn’t go all girly on you when she tried the dress on?” Chelle laughed.

“No, actually. Jake; the guy doing the fittings on Liz’s behalf; put his big foot in it about her having lost weight since the last visit. I tell you, Dani held it together pretty well considering but I just know it was eating at her the whole time we were there.”

“Bugger.”

“Bugger is right. I gave him a piece of my mind; you can bet on that. Although, to be fair, I suppose he really had no way of knowing. It was just that once I started, I couldn’t stop.”

My friend nodded, now knowing me well enough to believe I could do such a thing. “Sorry I missed it. Oh well, all we can do is support her and let her know she’s not alone. I’m just happy that she and David sorted out their problems too; they both had me worried when they were barely speaking to each other.”

“You and me both, but the love was always there, so that’s something. Hopefully this will be water under the bridge now and we can all go forward.” I shook my head a little, changing subjects by calling out to the room “Ok, this is supposed to be a party; where’s the music?”

There was laughter from those that heard and so between Chelle and I, we managed to hi-jack the stereo. Within minutes, the whole room was abuzz with laughter, activity and a noise disguised as heavy rock, just as it should be. The party ended up lasting well into the early hours, with some people staying, others leaving but all admitting that the night had been a success. I couldn’t have agreed more. It was a rare occasion that we could all be in the same space at the same time and so we had made the most of it. Such a great time did I have that I never once stopped to begrudge the fact that I had given up a day in bed with my husband.

~*~*~

DANI:

I was lying in bed with David in the early hours the following morning, when he asked “How are you going, Gidge; really?”

I looked over at him and wondered why he was asking. “I’m good; why?”

Putting an arm around me so he could pull me in closer, he kissed the top of my head. “Kat mentioned what happened at the fitting. I’m worried about you.”

I sighed. “It’s fine, and so am I. Jake had no way of knowing why I had really lost weight; it was an off the cuff comment. He’s not likely to repeat it again, with me or anyone else, especially after the talking to Kat gave him. I swear, his face went every shade of red in the Crayola caddy. I just need to remember that it’s going to happen time to time; I need to toughen up and let it go.” He squeezed me but before he could say anything, I quickly changed the subject.

“Do you think Kat and Nick were really surprised about tonight?”

Letting the change of subject slide by without debate, he answered “Kat was. I had to tell Nick what was happening in the end, because he refused point blank to come to the game; although, I still don’t know the real reason why. Maybe it had something to do with the big plans he had for my sister today. I do know that they both loved the thought though, especially Kat. She acts as tough as nails and like nothing phases her but deep down, she is a girly girl. Just don’t tell her I said that.”. I laughed. “You did good, Gidge.”

I smiled a little wider. Knowing that we had made them both happy, made me happy. After all the weeks of misery we had been through, it was nice to have fun things to do and look forward to. The next big event in our lives was the wedding and regardless of the dress, the reception, the guest list or even the honeymoon, the thing I was most looking forward to was finally becoming Mrs David Miller. That to me was worth more than all the money in the world.

“I love you, David; no matter what. I may not always show it but you have to know I do. No matter what happens going forward, promise me that you will always believe that.”

Moving down the bed a little so that we were now face to face, he looked at me in such a way I might have swooned. “Always, Gidge; always.”
He kissed me then, gently, on the lips as though to confirm his declaration, before he advanced to my neck and bare shoulder. We had made love since the accident, but this would turn out to be the first time it didn’t feel like a chore, like something we felt we had to do because we were a couple. It felt more like we had finally reached a point where we knew that everything was as it should be and we were allowing ourselves permission to be ok with it. The best thing though was that we were moving forward, together.

~*~*~

A couple of days later in New York…

“I will do your hair, Danica, and you will look spectacular.”

I looked at Felipe, not quite sure how to respond. Aside from the fact he was a world renown stylist, I knew he didn’t just offer to do anyone’s hair. In fact, he was most renown for being VERY particular about his clientele, outside of his official work. He allegedly turned down Barbra once, and no-one turns down Barbra!

“I’m not sure what to say, Felipe; other than thank you. It’s a very generous offer.”

“Generous nothing; I am in it for the coverage! I know your wedding photos will be featured in the media, because of the dress designer, so it is only natural that you will need the best hairstyle to showcase it. Of course, only I can make that happen for you.”

I tried not to laugh at the grandiose comment but then he laughed so I joined him until he walked over to yell at one of his ‘incompetent’ assistants. He might well have cited that being a part of the photoshoot was his reason for offering, but I got the impression there was another reason. This was something that Chelle confirmed for me later.

“He really likes you, chick. Given that he doesn’t usually take to people, you should feel flattered.”

I told her I did. Felipe worked so hard at fostering his ‘Mr Unapproachable’ persona, it was sometimes hard to remember that he was really just a big teddy bear. Not that anyone with any brains would ever tell him that. I can say that I have seen both sides to him – good and bad – and I definitely knew which I preferred.

And so, it was that I was all set for the big day – dress on hand, hairstylist ready to go, and Chelle’s friend Reece had offered to do the photos. Everything was finally falling into place and I was allowing myself the tiniest chance to be excited. I wondered if David was too.

~*~*~

DAVID:

A couple of days later in Auckland…

Standing there looking at the wedding band, I realized it was perfect. I even managed a smile, thinking about the look on Dani’s face when she saw it. I hoped it would be a happy surprise. Maybe I should show her ahead of time, rather than take the chance. I’d hate for her to see it, hate it and throw it back at me as we stood there in front of friends, family and god, about to become man and wife. Deep down though I knew she was going to love it just like I did.

The minute I had spotted it in the store window, I knew I had to get it. I didn’t realize at first that it was an actual wedding band, and not just a fancy ring. I had been on the lookout for a present for Dani, to celebrate our upcoming nuptials and to reaffirm my love for her. I spotted the ring, and the unusual inscription.

It wasn’t until the store owner explained that it was an Elvin love ring and told me what the inscription meant, that I knew I had found the perfect replacement for the wedding band we had already picked out to go with her engagement ring. Thankfully this one would match it quite well.

Designed exactly like the ‘One Ring’ from Lord of the Rings, the inscription ran around the outside of the white gold band, in Elvin script. But rather than talk about being ‘one ring to rule them all’, the words had been changed to represent something more beautiful:

‘One ring to show our love
One ring to bind us
One ring to seal our love
And forever to entwine us’


The minute I heard that, I had to have it. I needed to order a smaller and narrower size for Dani’s finger and a larger one for mine but that was ok. It was funny really, because until I had seen the ring, I hadn’t planned on wearing a ring at all, but this one changed all that. I left the store that day feeling rather pleased with myself.

As I was getting ready for the show later that night, I found myself going back over everything that had happened since the day we met – from the awkwardness of seeing me naked and yelling obscenities, becoming friends and eventually lovers until the happy day she agreed to be my wife.

There were also some sad times in there too, most notably the loss of Elijah and while it still hurt; very much so; with love, patience and time, things were slowly moving back to some kind of normal. It was never going to be exactly as it had been and we shouldn’t expect it to but that was a good thing. All I knew was that when I give Dani this ring, I will give with it a promise of a new and better life, held together with only good things.

~*~*~


---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

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Re: Each Careful Step*


ONE-HUNDRED & TWELVE

DANI:


With a week to go before the wedding, I found myself waiting to see my doctor. The girls had thrown me a surprise hens party and quite frankly, I had drunk more than my share. No longer being pregnant, I decided to let loose and now I was paying for it in spades. When I woke the following morning, I couldn’t believe how lousy I was feeling.

It had to be more than a hangover however because I was feeling all scratchy, my eyes itched to the point where I wanted to rip them out and my sinuses were giving me grief. On top of all that, I ached all over. All signs pointed to me having the flu, which pissed me off no end, given I had managed to escape winter without getting it, only to get it a week before I had to walk up the aisle and marry David.

I couldn’t believe my luck, although I really shouldn’t be surprised, given all that had already happened. How I was going to front up in church next week and get married and not look like death warmed over was anyone’s guess at this point. I knew I would; look like death; because it was never over in a few days for me. When I got sick, I really go sick and it was going to take me more than a week to get over this, I could just feel it. It wasn’t bloody fair.

And so it was, with aching and tired bones, I dragged myself out of bed so that Kat; who along with Nick was staying with us for the week; could drive me to the doctor’s. Struggling to get dressed, I was grateful that the guys had all been at a friend’s place for David’s bachelor party, because I didn’t want him to see me in this condition. Not that the girls were faring any better, except for Kat, which is why she got the job of driving me to the doctors.

Doctor Gannon thankfully believed it wasn’t the flu, but took some blood and gave me a prescription for some antibiotics, along with an order to spend at least two days in bed, just to be sure. Had the wedding not been so close, I might have argued the point but I just couldn’t risk prolonging whatever it was I had.

I planned on looking radiant as I walked down the aisle, and that was because I was happy and in love, not because I was all red and blotchy with a stuffed nose, puffy eyes and a voice that squeaked. The last thing I needed was for David to run for the hills at the very sight.

I was praising the good doctor for sainthood a couple of days later, because I was feeling at least 70% better, the antibiotics having worked their magic. When I called him for the results, he told me it wasn’t the flu, or even severe hay fever, but a reaction to some kind of fruit.

That was when I explained that I had been drinking mango cocktail smoothies the day before I got sick, and we deduced it had to have been those. I had never actually had a mango before and it seems I was never going to have one again. I suppose I could live without them but it was a shame, given that I had loved those bloody smoothies. Or perhaps it had been the alcohol that I loved… Either way, I at least knew I was still going to be able to look gorgeous on the big day.

~*~*~

“Dani, what’s wrong chick? You look like you were a million miles away just then. What did the doc say?”

Looking at my best friend, I smiled. “I’m ok. I don’t have the flu, thank Christ, but it would seem I’m allergic to mangoes. No more smoothies for me.”

She laughed. “Hey, we can always find a fruit you’re not allergic too, but it is good news that you don’t have the flu. At least we know you’re not contagious.” I nodded. “You’re still not feeling the best though, are you?”

“I do feel a little dodgy but I still have a few days of antibiotics to take, so I’ll be fine. At least now I can stand up and not feel like the world is spinning too fast in the wrong direction.”

“Why don’t you head home? We can manage here and you really should be resting. Besides, it’s best if Felipe doesn’t see you like this, because you know what he’s like. You don’t want him pissed off at you when it comes time to do your hair.”

I laughed and nodded again. “So true; thanks chick. Once the wedding is over, I will be able to give you 110%. I’m just sorry I can’t do that now.”

Giving me a hug, she replied “It’s ok, Dan. We’re nearly done here anyway and then we were going to take a couple of weeks off. Don’t stress, as I’m sure that won’t help you. Go home, relax and just think about how this time next week, you are going to be Mrs David Miller.”

I loved hearing that and knew I would never tire of it. After a quick goodbye, I headed home. I probably shouldn’t have driven, being so worn down and my mind not focusing, but I managed to make it there safely so that was all that mattered.

~*~*~

Walking into the house, I dumped my bag unceremoniously near the door before heading to the lounge room, where I flopped onto the sofa. Leaning my head back and closing my eyes, I was enjoying the quiet, only to be startled a minute or so later when a voice asked “Hard day at the office, honey?”

Opening my eyes, I looked up and saw David standing before me in nothing more than a towel. Seriously, if he could get away with being naked all the time, I just knew he would be. As it was, I had to guess he had just had a shower, given his hair was all wet and he still had a damp torso. He gave me a killer smile and I sighed, before laying my head back again.

“Yeah, Chelle’s a bloody slave-driver.” I could feel him sit down beside me as I added “Not really; I’m just tired. Nothing a good night’s sleep won’t cure, I’m sure.”

“Maybe I need to go and stay with Jack for the rest of the week. I don’t want to be keeping you up all night.”

I turned my head so I could look at him. He had been joking, perhaps, but I knew that if I had asked him to do just that, he would. He wouldn’t like it but he would go all the same. He had nothing to fear though because I wanted him nowhere but right beside me.

~*~*~

“Forget that. Besides, I get to see you rarely enough as it is, so we have to make the most of our time together while we can.”

Smiling, he leant forward so he could kiss me. “You’re a little warm, Gidge. Are you sure you’re ok? What did the doc say?”

“I’m fine, except now I know I’m allergic to mangoes. That’s why I was sick and so itchy. Doc Gannon told me I should be fine in a few days, as long as I finish the course of antibiotics he prescribed. I’m thinking I probably should listen to him, or I’m going to end up walking up the aisle all red, blotchy and wheezy.”

“As long as you show up, then I don’t care.” Standing, he offered me his hand. “Come with me.”

Reluctantly and a little slowly, I got up. I felt like I was 103 and every part of me was aching. David led me to the bedroom but before I could tell him I was too tired to fool around, as much as I would have loved to, he told me to sit down. I did so, and then he knelt before me, so he could remove my shoes. Waiting until I was laying back on the bed, he then covered me with the blanket at the foot of the bed.

Again, he kissed me gently. “Close your eyes, babe. I want you to get some rest.”

I didn’t argue. I just closed my eyes and let my mind free itself of all things. I barely remember hearing him get dressed or even leaving the room.

~*~*~

Waking from my nap a couple of hours later, I actually felt a lot better. While I wasn’t going to run a marathon anytime soon, I did feel well enough to leave the house for a bit and so David and I spent the afternoon trying to find gifts for the bridal party. I wasn’t sure about him but I wanted something more than just a flashy bracelet or earrings for the girls.

I would have been lost without them these last months, and so I wanted to show them how much we loved and appreciated them. When he joked about getting ties for the boys, I rolled my eyes and walked into the store without him.

In the end we went with several items, not being able to narrow it down at all. Each member of the bridal party was to receive a gift basket full of the usual chocolate, wine and other goodies to share with their partners. It was actually David who suggested we also get something personal, and so the search began.

In the end, for Chelle, Kat and Loie we found a throw pillow that said ‘What happens at the reception, stays at the reception’, a crystal frame with a red crystal rose at the base, and a matching earrings and necklace set that would pair perfectly with the color of their dresses for the big day.

Jack, Sébastien and the newly appointed Nick were a little harder to pick for. David may well have been joking about the ties but it was looking more and more likely that this is what we would settle for. Thankfully, the last store we walked into managed to have a few items that were just what we wanted.
Firstly, there was a set of suspenders that had a treble clef design that I spotted near the back of the store. As luck would have it, there was also a tie pin and cufflinks to match and so David said it was perfect. He had already picked up a pen and keyring set that came with a hip flask, something he would have the guys’ names engraved onto.

As he was paying the clerk for the items, I spotted something that I would love to give his parents. It wasn’t fancy by any means but it summed up perfectly how I felt, so it was the ideal gift. It was a silver and diamante studded frame with a picture of a rose in the middle. Written over the rose was ‘Thank you for raising your son to be the man of my dreams’. It really was perfect, so I grabbed it. I would have it engraved later with my name and the date of our wedding on it, when David had the flasks done.

By the time we got home, we were worn out but happy. I was probably a little more tired than I let on but it had been fun to actually do this one thing together, as a couple. While David went to make a start on dinner, I wrapped what I could and put everything else in the spare room. Kat and Nick were still not home from wherever they had gone but I wanted to make sure they didn’t see what we had bought. There was quite a lot and I was going to have to find somewhere else to put it all, once the folks showed up and would be using the room, but for now, it was all still a surprise. I couldn’t wait to hand them out.

~*~*~


---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

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Re: Each Careful Step*


ONE-HUNDRED & THIRTEEN

DANI:


The following day, I was actually feeling about 90% better, with barely a sign that I had been unwell. My throat was a little scratchy still but Doc Gannon had told me that was normal, but so long as I finished the course of antibiotics he had prescribed, I would continue to improve and be fine in a day or so. The man was a miracle worker because a couple of days ago, I felt like I was on death’s door.

Both sets of parents were meant to be flying in today, at different times, which meant that David’s and my day would be spent coming and going from the airport. Kat and Nick had kindly offered up the spare room they were using, for Sam and Denise, so they could go to a hotel. We all knew it was so they could be alone but were too polite to mention it. With the nursery still set up as a nursery, we only had the two spare rooms to use and I felt bad they had to leave, so I offered to pay for the hotel but they wouldn’t hear of it. Kat assured me she was quite fine with it.

After breakfast, I was just going in for a shower as David was getting out. It was as he was drying off, that I noticed ‘it’.

“Babe, when did you get the tattoo?” I hadn’t noticed it yesterday, even though he had been standing before me in nothing but a towel. I was surprised I hadn’t noticed it before then, either.

Looking over his left shoulder, as though he was trying to see what I was talking about, he replied “Oh; when I was down in Wellington. We had a day off and so Carlos and I did the tour for the ‘Lord of the Rings’ sites. One of the places we stopped was the tattoo parlour, where all the members of the ‘Fellowship’ had their tattoo done.” Turning to look at me, he gave me a coy smile. “I was hoping to keep it a surprise, as part of your wedding present.”

“I am surprised; I never thought you were the type to get inked.”

“You don’t like it?” he asked, although it came out as more of a statement.

I smiled. “I didn’t say that. In fact, I think I like this ‘bad boy’ side to you.” He laughed. “Does it mean anything, or is it just a fancy design?”

“The script above is your name, in Elvish. I saw the script on some samples in the shop and just knew I had to do it. The triple twist underneath was the tattooist’s idea. Apparently, it’s one of the most favoured of the Maori symbols. The twists represent the joining together of two people, for eternity, and even though they may experience life’s up and downs, they remain bonded together by friendship and loyalty for life. I figured with all that we’ve been through, this was the perfect thing to symbolize our love, and life together.”

It was hard not to have a tear but it was a tear of pure and unadulterated love for this man. Even in our darkest times, he had known we were perfect for each other and now, he would have a permanent reminder of that. I didn’t think I could possibly love him any more than I did right in this moment.

“It’s perfect. I love it, and that you did this for me; for us. I love you.”

He leant down to kiss me. “I love you too, Gidge.”

~*~*~

Sitting around the dinner table later that night, with all the family present; except for Chelle who insisted she had to see Sébastien about something important; made me smile. Everyone was talking ten to the dozen, catching up on the news since the last time we were together. For some of us that was barely a week but listening in, you would have thought it was much longer.

I was surprised they all had that much to talk about but talk they did. I sat back and listened for a while, feeling a real sense of love and belonging. It had been a moment since I had last felt like that. I was then thinking about getting up and heading to the kitchen to get dessert ready, when Denise asked a question of her daughter that had the whole room fall deathly silent.

“So, Kat; when will your next sex book be released? And are you ever going to put your real name to the work, or do you plan on remaining anonymous?”

Kat’s face went from ghostly white to fire-engine red in the blink of an eye. She immediately looked over at me, giving me the stink eye and I just shrugged. Sam clearly wasn’t in on the news, and so asked his wife what she was talking about. Her response and the looks on everyone’s faces was something I will never forget.

“Didn’t you know our beloved daughter is the author of soft-porn?” Turning to Kat, she added “Or do they call it erotica these days?”

David almost spit his drink across the table, while his sister looked about ready to cry. That was when Denise put her hand out over the table and placed it on her first-born’s. “Don’t be embarrassed sweetie; I’ve read all of them and they are surprisingly good. You should be very proud you can write so well.”

“You’ve read them?” Kat asked, the mortification growing on her face. Had I not been blocking her into the corner with no means of escape, I was sure she would have run from the room.

“Sure. I’ll admit when I first heard about them, I was a little taken aback. But then I came across one of your drafts when you were staying with us, and once I started, I couldn’t stop reading. Let’s just say that you have given me some food for thought.”

All eyes went to Denise as David said “Mother!” Clearly, he was shocked to hear his mother talk like this, as we all were no doubt. It was bad enough to think of your parents as still ‘doing it’ without having to hear them talk about it as well. That was just wrong.

The conversation started back up again then, with questions coming thick and fast for Kat and even Denise. I decided dessert was definitely needed and got up to go and get it. I asked Kat to come and help, something she appeared to be grateful for.

~*~*~

Barely had she put the dinner plates on the bench when Kat was on the defensive.

“I cannot believe you told, Dani! I asked you not to and you promised me; you actually looked me in the eye and promised. It’s bad enough everyone knows now but how am I supposed to go back out there, knowing my mother knows the truth?”

I tried to explain that I hadn’t told but Denise, who had followed us into the kitchen, got in first. “Dani didn’t tell me Kat; which is a conversation for another day. I actually overheard the two of you talking about it, the day we went to Belmont Park. We had not long returned from seeing Will and you were trying to cheer her up.”

Kat looked at her mother with incredulity. “You have known all this time, and you didn’t say anything? Why?”

With a slight chuckle, her mother replied “How exactly was I supposed to bring the subject up? Honestly, Kat; you and your secrets. First the books and then the wedding. Am I expected to wait until you’re in the delivery room to find out you’re pregnant?”

I looked at Kat, who was looking back at me. She wasn’t, was she? Seeing my look, she answered my unasked question. “No, I’m not.” She then turned back to her mother. “I’m sorry, Mom. The wedding was spur of the moment; no-one but Nick and I knew about it. When we heard about Dani’s accident, it hardly seemed like an appropriate time to bring up the subject.

“As to the books, well, it’s not exactly the easiest subject to bring up to your mother; I mean, it’s not like we ever talk about sex so how was I going to explain that I write adult fiction? I know you wanted better for me and so I suppose, deep down, I didn’t want you to be ashamed of me.”

Denise walked over and hugged her daughter. “Darling, I would never be ashamed of you. You have had your moments over the years, but I love you. I am also extremely proud. Like your brother, you took the one thing you loved most in the world and turned it into a career. Not many people can say the same. I guess if we had of been a bit more open about sex and things when you were growing up, you wouldn’t have felt the need to hide this from us.”

Kat pulled away and actually grimaced a little. “Please tell me you are not going to start being open now. I love you and Dad but what you do behind closed doors, should stay behind closed doors. I don’t want to be scarred for life.”

Denise swatted at her as we all laughed. I was glad they had sorted it out and that I no longer had to temper my words when around the parents. Kat apologized to me, for thinking I had blabbed her secret, to which I told her I understood and that it was ok. We all then pitched in to get the dessert and coffee ready, before heading back out to the inevitable questions. It turned into quite the memorable dinner; one in which we would laugh about for years to come when relaying it to others.

~*~*~

The wedding was now barely three days away and things were really becoming hectic. Reece Collins; Chelle’s photographer friend; had flown in a day early so she could take some candid shots of all the preparation. These of course wouldn’t be published but something special for David and I to share. I was nervous and happy about it all, at the same time.

The house seemed to be constantly abuzz with activity, thanks to the assorted family and friends who were coming and going at irregular intervals, everyone with their own task. Everything seemed to be prepared, except for the things that needed to be taken care of on the day itself. The only urgent task left for me to do was to find David a present. He had already given me mine; the tattoo; and whilst I loved him to the moon and back, I wasn’t going to reciprocate. No, I had to find something else just as special that didn’t involve me permanently marking myself.

I managed to sneak out the house for a couple of hours, alone, and while I was gone, I picked up exactly what I needed. The first part of his present wasn’t something he could actually use, but I hoped he would get a kick out of it all the same. I know I had fun making it and the guy who printed it thought I was odd but I didn’t care. Others would look on it and laugh but they wouldn’t quite understand the meaning behind it and that made it special. I also bought some new lingerie for the wedding night; that was for David’s eyes only.

Thankfully when I got home David had gone out, so I was able to sneak off and wrap his presents and hide them, all the while wondering if I should perhaps get him something else. It wasn’t about on-upping him, more about him having something he could wear on the day, and I thought maybe a new set of earrings would be the go.

As I debated about whether or not to go back out and get them, I headed towards the kitchen. I had barely walked in when Denise called out from the lounge, telling me I had a call from someone called Joe. Unbeknownst to me, I was about to have something else I could give David as a present.

~*~*~


---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

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Re: Each Careful Step*


ONE-HUNDRED & FOURTEEN

DANI:


The morning of the day before the wedding, David and I had to say goodbye to each other. He was being taken to parts unknown by Jack and the guys, to do all the things a groom-to-be does before he gives up his freedom, I supposed; like play golf, get drunk, go to a strip club. I was hoping he wouldn’t have to go until the last-minute tonight, but knowing I would see him again tomorrow made it seem not as bad.

Before he left and while everyone else was eating breakfast, I decided to give him his presents. David told me he wanted to go first, to which I told him that I had already seen the tattoo. He smiled and told me he also had something else. With that, he went over to his side of the dresser and opened the second drawer, pulling something out from between his socks. Coming back to sit on the bed, he handed me a long box, about 30cm in length. I opened it and gasped; inside was a silver rose.

“This is your something new” he explained. “It opens.”

I carefully removed it from the box and opened the hinged lid of the rose bud. I wasn’t quite sure what to say when I saw what was inside. It was a necklace, with two D’s intertwined, both covered in diamonds. It was absolutely gorgeous. Trying not to get all weepy, I hugged him.

“I love it; it’s beautiful. Thank you.” He told me I was welcome.

Carefully putting the rose back in the box, for now, it was my turn to get off the bed. I headed for the wardrobe, where I had hidden his present. As I handed it to him, I said “This is just part of the present. I’ve saved the next bit for tomorrow night, when we’re alone.”

“Oh, really? Any chance we can skip the whole ceremony and reception and get to the honeymoon now? I’m game if you are.”
I blushed as I sat down. “Sure, I’m in. Only you get to go and tell everyone out there they have to go home, that there’s not going to be a wedding.” He just laughed and unwrapped his present.

I had made him a certificate for one million shares in Moon Pies. Some of our happiest memories included said Pies, so it seemed like the perfect thing to do. Seeing the reaction on his face told me I had picked his present perfectly.

Once he saw what it was and had a read, he laughed; it was a laugh I hadn’t heard in quite some time and I realized with a pang of guilt that I had missed it. His question brought be back before I could bring the mood down.

“Gidge, this is priceless! Is it real?”

“As real as you want it to be, babe; I’m sure the company does trade on the market; they’d have to be crazy not to. I’ll give them a call when we get back from our honeymoon.”

Kissing me and only just stopping before we ended up forgoing our own breakfast, David then stood up and with certificate in his hand, offered me his other. “Shall we? Everyone will think we’ve eloped for real if we don’t go out there soon.”

I took his hand but didn’t stand up. I suddenly had a million butterflies and wasn’t sure what to do or say next. I still had the final part of his present to give him and I was actually having second thoughts.

“What’s wrong, Gidge?”

Worry etched his face as he sat back down, still holding my hand. “I have something else to give you, and I’m not sure if I can. I was going to wait until tomorrow, but I don’t know that I can hold out that much longer, despite my reticence.”

He gave me a questioning look. “Whatever it is, you can tell me. You’re not getting cold feet, are you?”

I cupped his face in my hand. “No, sweetheart; never. Nerves, sure but not cold feet. I’m going to be there tomorrow, come hell or high water.”

The relieved sigh and smile he gave me encouraged me to go ahead. Taking a deep breath, I did so. “I’m pregnant.”

~*~*~

Although he was looking at me, I wasn’t able to read his face; at all. “Are you sure?” he finally asked.

I looked at my hands as I wrung them, fear of his possible negative reaction being unable to see. “Doc Gannon rang a couple of days ago. Apparently, some of my bloodwork was waylaid and he only got the part about my allergy. His assistant found the rest of it two days ago, which is when he called to let me know.”

Now that I had spoken the words out loud, I started to get all weepy, it suddenly feeling too real. When I got the news earlier, it had kind of bounced off the sides, not really sticking or sinking in. With all that was happening around me, I never had the chance to just sit and process the news but now, telling David, it was no longer a distant thought of something to think about and take or leave.

Instantly he held me tight. “Dani, this is great news! Right…?”

I just continued to sob. “I don’t think I can do it again, David. I can’t go through all those months of hoping and waiting, only to lose another child. We only just lost Elijah.”

Moving in closer so he could embrace me fully, he spoke gently “Gidge, nothing is going to happen. Losing Elijah was an accident, just an accident. Sure, there were some underlying factors, but now that you know about them, you’re better prepared. It’s never too soon to bring a child into the world. He or she is meant to be here, with us, at this time; I really believe that. It’s a sign, sweetheart; a sign to say that it’s ok to keep living, welcome new life, be happy.”

I honestly wished I could share his faith and enthusiasm but it was hard. I didn’t mind admitting that I was scared. Part of me also felt like having this baby would be like moving on too quickly, belittling what Elijah had meant to me, us; almost as though we were replacing him with nary a thought or acknowledgement that he had even been here, albeit temporarily. It had barely been six months since I worked on the nursery, preparing it for his arrival. It wasn’t right; how could it be.

David did seem to be ok with the news and yet I spoke to him about my fears and worries going forward. Despite knocks on the door, we stayed in the room a good hour, talking it all the way through. By the end of the chat, I had stopped crying and found myself a little more receptive to the idea that I was going to be a mother after all, even if it was to be a little later than we anticipated.

We decided to keep the news to ourselves for now, not wanting to detract from the wedding but I also didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up, lest something else terrible should happen. I just had to pray that the karma gods were on our side this go around and would give David and I our happy ending. Once I had washed up and fixed myself up so it didn’t look like I had been crying, we finally left the room to go and join the ever-expanding group of people now taking over the house.

~*~*~


---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

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Re: Each Careful Step*


ONE-HUNDRED & FIFTEEN

DANI:


My final day as a free woman went by in a blur. The men had all gone to do what they had planned, leaving the women to go their own way. Kat had organized for a mini-bus to drive us around, so that we all could sit back and relax and not worry about one person missing out as the designated driver. Reece managed to spend a bit of the day with each group, and assured me she had managed to get some really candid moments from both.

Our first stop of the day had been to a salon, so we could be pampered – massages, manicures, pedicures and for a couple of the ladies, a new hairstyle. Felipe had left strict instructions that I was to do nothing to my own hair, as he would be doing it all, and he didn’t want to spend half the morning correcting someone else’s mistakes. I had no idea what he had planned but he assured me it was going to be fabulous.

Having been beautified to within an inch of our lives, we next headed to the Hillcrest Country Club for some lunch. The meal was delicious and with no great rush, we were able to sit around and laugh and chat for a couple of hours, rather than just scoff down the meal and move on.
I wasn’t drinking anything alcoholic, given I knew what I did, and Loie actually made a comment about it. I simply gave her half the truth, that I was still on antibiotics and I wanted nothing to jeopardize my health until after tomorrow. Thankfully it seemed to be an acceptable answer. I noticed that like me, Kat wasn’t drinking either, but she had vowed never to touch another drop after the hen’s night, and seemed to be keeping true to that.

~*~*~

When our meals had settled sufficiently; and before a few of the women could get a little too tipsy at this point of the day; we hopped back on the bus and were taken to an unknown destination. At least it was unknown to me, although I should have known. Chelle and Kat had organized for an afternoon in a strip-club, and despite not really wanting to go in, I did so.

I wasn’t a prude by any stretch of the imagination; something my David could attest to; I just wasn’t all that jazzed about watching a naked stranger dance, getting his bits all up and in my face. For me, a man in a suit or a uniform was sexier – at least it left something to the imagination and wasn’t half the fun the unwrapping? Besides, the only man I wanted to see naked was David, something he was only to happy to comply with. Maybe before I marry him, I need to check he wasn’t going to give up the Divo life and go and become a nudist.

Thankfully we didn’t stay all that long, as Mirelle was feeling decidedly uncomfortable and needed to go and rest. At almost seven months pregnant, she was finding it increasingly hard to just sit for long stretches of time – something I could relate to – and this was more so the case because the little bambino was taking after its father, and being overly active. Despite the tinge of jealousy, I didn’t envy her this, knowing it was going to be me again in a few months.

Kat asked the driver to stop on the way back to the house, so we could get some supplies, although I was sure we had enough food and beverages at home to last until the apocalypse. Tomorrow was looking to be a rather full day and now that they had seen the strippers, the girls were quite happy to go back to the house and relax and play games there, something we did as Mirelle took a nap.

As day turned to night, we played some games, watched movies, talked, had dinner and just enjoyed the company. All except Kat, Chelle, Loie and both mothers had left not long after we had eaten, allowing me a chance to give out the presents. I had managed to get my mother a nice white gold rose – her favourite flower – necklace and some earrings to match, so she wasn’t left out in the giving.

Thankfully all the girls loved their gifts, making me happy that David and I had managed to pick the perfect items. Denise even sprang a tear or two over hers, despite her best effort not too. Naturally, my best friend had to comment on the pillow as she held it up.

“So, chick; is this approval for us to do what we want tomorrow at the reception, and no-one will ever know?”

Kat responded first with “Hey, if it’s good enough for Vegas, it’s good enough for a Miller wedding.” We all just laughed.

~*~*~

Despite my intention to be in bed before midnight, it was well after that before we all got to bed. I was tired but excitement and nerves about the ceremony were rumbling in my mind and so I found myself at 0114, still awake. I got out of bed and went to make a glass of warm milk. I was also feeling a little queasy and suspected it might be morning sickness, although it was probably too soon for that.

No doubt it was just nerves and being a little bit scared. I had no doubt that David was my future; I loved him honestly and sincerely; and so, marrying him was all I cared about. That’s not where the fear came from. No, the fear came from having to be at St Ignacio’s in less than thirteen hours, ready to walk up an aisle and stand in front of a church full of people as I declared that love for him. I have never felt comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, so the thought of tomorrow was starting to terrify me.

I had no sooner taken the milk from the stove when my mother walked in. I poured her a cup too and then joined her at the breakfast bar. Despite not sharing anything profound, we did talk for close to an hour, with her telling me all the things she hoped for me and David, telling me now, rather than in a room full of people. I had missed our talks and was grateful that she and Dad could be here for my special day.
When I could feel myself drift off, I went back to bed, only to notice the cell on the bedside table was flashing. I picked it up and saw that David had sent me a text. It had come through only fifteen minutes earlier, meaning he couldn’t sleep either. I opened the message.

“I love you Gidge, and can’t wait
For you to be my wife. See you soon.
All my love, David xxxx”


I smiled as I hit reply.

“I love you back, and cannot wait
Either. It can’t be soon enough. Always,
Dani xxxx”


I switched off the phone and closed my eyes, out completely a moment later.

~*~*~



---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

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Re: Each Careful Step*


ONE-HUNDRED & SIXTEEN

DANI:


The actual ceremony wasn’t due to start until 2pm, and so feeling that there was no major rush, I lounged in my pj’s for half the morning as everyone else was scurrying around to get ready. Felipe had promised to be at the house around 10am to make a start on my hair, so despite the lounging, I made certain I had taken a bite for breakfast and then showered, ready for his arrival. My dress had been delivered, along with the girls’ dresses a couple of days ago, and were now hanging on doors, waiting to be put on.

Both mothers were in a bit of a flap, racing around to make sure that everyone knew what they were supposed to be doing and when. Surprisingly, I found I was letting it all wash over me, a lot calmer than I had been in some time. It took a while but I finally realized that if something was going to happen – good or bad – then it would happen, despite what I wanted. Stressing about all the way things could go pear-shaped was only inviting disaster. David and I had already had more than our fair share of those, so I was determined that going forward, everything would be perfect.

Dad arrived at the same time as Felipe, relaying to me that David was nervous but he was also fine, having escaped the bachelor party shenanigans in one piece. I did have to laugh when my father added that he had been sent to the house with the express orders to make sure that I not only arrived at the church, but on time as well. I had to smile at that.

Reece had shown up as I was eating a piece of toast, and had been taking candid shots; mostly of the others, thankfully; and I was starting to believe that she had taken so many photos already, we were going to need at least ten albums to put them in. I was more than happy with that, imagining David and I looking back on them when we were old and grey, sitting on the back verandah, surrounded by grandkids. I couldn’t wait.

~*~*~

Ever since working with Felipe, I had noticed that he loved to talk, especially as he was doing someone’s hair. Watching him, you would think he’d forget something or slip up because he was laughing or really getting involved in his story, but not once had I witnessed anything bad. If anything, the talking seemed to put him in a zone and the end product was always perfect. I was more than happy for him to do my hair.

As expected, while he was brushing, curling and styling, he was regaling both my mother and Denise with stories of some of his more famous clients; he never gave names but you always knew who he was talking about, thanks to the clues he dropped. I was thinking about it and suspected he had started to do so, to stop them fussing and worrying for five minutes, so they didn’t end up looking harried when it came time for formal photos.

The end result of my hair took about 70 minutes to achieve, although to look at it you would think it had taken only ten. It hadn’t felt like I had been sitting there that long though, as Felipe regaled us with stories that had us in stitches. Some of the stars he had worked on would be horrified to think he was telling stories out of school, not that we would tell; I mean, who would believe us if we did?

When I finally got a chance to see the outcome, I was blown away – it was perfect. While my fringe had been straightened and pulled to one side, the ends of it were mixed in with the length of my hair, which had then been pulled into a chignon of sorts, a few wisps left out and curled before being pinned into place, forming delicate loops.

In lieu of a veil and to finish off, a small scattering of silk roses the same color as the trim of my dress were added. Mom already had tears in her eyes and I still hadn’t put on the dress, so I could just imagine what she was going to be like then. Dad, who had just walked in, smiled, told me he liked it and put his arm around his wife’s shoulder in support. I kissed them both before going to finish getting ready.

~*~*~

When I tried to put on my makeup, I found I was shaking a little too much, so Chelle offered to help me. I had been chill earlier, thinking it was going to be a breeze, but on seeing my hair done so beautifully and knowing it wouldn’t be long before I put on the dress, it started to sink in; this was really going to happen. My best friend simply told me to take a breath.

Once she was done, I stood up and jokingly said “All painted up and no-where to go.” Kat, who had been in the room chatting with us, made a comment that wasn’t fit for mixed company but it did make us laugh, Reece getting some great shots I’m sure. It was then time to go and get dressed.

Chelle helped me put it on, careful not to mess my hair lest Felipe go nuclear, before doing up the ties at the back. At one point I said “Could you pull a little tighter, please? It feels a little loose and I don’t want to be walking up the aisle and have it slip down.”

As she chuckled, she replied “I would but I don’t want to squash the little one.”

Forcing her to drop the ties as I turned to face her, I looked at her. “How…?” I started, but she didn’t let me finish.

“I know the same way I knew the first time, chick. Only this time I’m 100% sure. The look on your face confirms it.”

I could do little more than nod as she hugged me, the ties at the back of my dress loosening now that she had let them go. As I turned around to let her fix them and finish up, I asked her to not to say anything just yet. She was just promising me, as Mom walked in.

“Promise not to tell what? What are the pair of you scheming now?”

I quickly admitted “We’re not scheming anything. I’m just scared half out of my mind, but I don’t want anyone to know.”

Now that Chelle had finished tying me up, Mom hugged me. She then stepped back to take in the full picture and that was when the tears really did start to fall. “You look beautiful, baby; absolutely beautiful.”

I told her not to cry as it would set me off and I didn’t want mascara to run onto the dress. Chelle, who was a little weepy herself, concurred. We finally managed to compose ourselves and headed out to join the others, allowing Reece to get even more shots.

~*~*~

Walking into the living room, Chelle holding up the slight train of the dress, everyone stopped talking. I wasn’t sure if this was a good or a bad sign, although I really shouldn’t have worried.

“Do I have something in my teeth?” I jokingly asked.

Dad stepped forward, his eyes actually brimming with tears. I had never seen him cry and so the sight was enough to fill my own. “You are a vision, sweetheart. As much as it will hurt, I am going to be proud to walk down the aisle with you on my arm, even if it is to give you away.” I could only hug him, words escaping me.

Kat, ever practical, said “Ok, enough of the mushy stuff. Let’s get some photos done so we can head off. It’s a bit of a drive, you know.” It was enough to lighten the mood.

Reece took some shots of the girls first, making sure to get some closeups of the dress, so we could give them to Liz for her display wall. They had turned out wonderfully and the navy blue worked perfect with each of their very different complexions. With its unique off-the-shoulder V-neck bodice that gave the appearance of small sleeves, it had a floor-length A-line skirt, and built in ties at the back that matched the strapping at the back of mine. They truly were wonderful.

It was my turn next and I could feel my cheeks burn already at the attention. I knew it was going to be on me all day and I had to get used to it, but even so, I was feeling decidedly warm. Thankfully no-one noticed or if they did, refrained from commenting. As the comments were handed out from everyone, I was thrilled that my vision had come to fruition. Seeing it on the tv was one thing but to have it made and be perfect was another.

The dress had a ball-gown silhouette with a chapel train, featuring a V-neck and regular straps. The back tied up with ribbon, the same shade of red as the trim on the bodice and the panel at the back. The panel and the bodice both featured embroidery that just set it all off perfectly. At my final fitting, Liz pointed out that she had incorporated the double D for us as part of the pattern, making it even more special. I was going to owe her more than a dance with Carlos for this.

Finally, all the shots and various combinations of family and friends were taken and it was time to leave. On the way out, I noticed the wraps and reminded the girls to take them. It was spring but the weather was still cool of an evening and they were going to need them. After a final kiss from Mom and Denise, I was helped into the waiting town car and then Dad and I were on the way.

~*~*~

As the car pulled up at the church, I was surprised at the rather large crowd waiting outside, not all of whom were guests. There were a couple of photographers, as we half expected there to be, but the rest of the crowd seemed to be made up of onlookers who had stopped to see what the big to-do was. I did happen to spot someone walking into the church and was shocked to see it was Mel. I couldn’t believe she was there but I was happy to see her. I would find out later in the night that Kat had been the one to invite her.

Dad squeezed my hand. “Ready, baby?”

Taking a deep breath, I smiled and nodded, telling him I was. He hopped out first and then the chauffer hoped out to open my door. The girls were already there and down by the car by the time I was out, ready to help me smooth down my dress and make sure the bouquet was ok etc.

The nerves were really kicking in now and so I toyed with the necklace David had given me, as I waited to hear it was time to go in. Thankfully it wasn’t too long or I might have changed my mind and gone home. Making our way up the stairs of the church, I was grateful for Dad’s strong hold on my arm as I was shaking so much. At the rate I was going, there were going to be no petals left on the roses in my bouquet because I would have shaken them clean off.

Inside the vestibule, we all stopped, gathered ourselves and again made sure everything was as it should be. After what felt like an eternity but was mere moments, the doors opened and the opening strains to Mozart’s Andante began to filter down to us. Loie headed in first, followed soon after by Kat and then Chelle. Then it was Dad’s and my turn.

I knew the church was full of friends and family and even a few acquaintances but as we headed up the aisle, the only person I could see was my David. He had the biggest and brightest smile and I could just feel his love for me pulling me forward. Despite wanting to rush up to be with him, I allowed Dad to set the pace, and sure enough, I was soon by his side, right where I was always meant to be; for now, and for ever.

~*~*~

DAVID:

Standing at the top of the aisle, it was hard not to fidget. I never had been one to sit still and today wasn’t any different. I had been up since just before five this morning, such was my excitement, so between that, a little fatigue and the lake of coffee I had drunk since then, it was no wonder I was on edge. Nerves also played their part; I had been waiting for this day for so long, I was starting to think it would never happen.

“She’ll be here, Dave” Jack whispered as an aside.

I looked at my best friend, grateful to have him here. Giving him a smile, I nodded. “I know, I guess I’m just eager to see her.”

He gave me a cheeky grin. “Well, no-one would ever guess by looking at you.” Sébastien and Nick both laughed, having heard the last bit.

Finally, the music began, the doors opened and the girls started to walk in. I smiled as each of them took their place but my focus always returned to the aisle. The closer Dani got, the more I could feel the love I had for her pour forth.

“Sweet Jesus…” I half mumbled, although from the nod he gave I knew Jack had heard me. I already thought of my girl as beautiful and of course I had seen her dolled up to the nines before, so that was nothing new. It was actually more than the fancy dress and nice hair-do though; there was a real glow to her, something almost celestial. She literally took my breath away.

How I got to be so lucky to have her in my life was anyone’s guess but the real miracle was that she loved me back, as much as I loved her and wanted to be with me. I hoped never to stop doing whatever it was that made all of this happen. Dom and Dani finally reached the top of the aisle and he gave me her hand, along with a wink, and then took his seat next to Robyn, a small tear in his eye.

Squeezing her hand, I looked at my better half, standing there all glowing and gorgeous, believing that this was truly the best day of my life; not even my career could hold a candle to this moment; and that nothing could surpass this day. Over time I would come to learn I was wrong, of course; not only would we surpass it, many times, but it would always be with Dani right by my side.

~*~*~


---
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

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Re: Each Careful Step*


EPILOGUE:

DANI:


“That’s it, Dani; one more push. You’re almost there.”

“Come on Gidge; you got this sweetheart. Just push.”

It was alright for everyone else present in the room; they didn’t have to push something the size of a watermelon out of a hole no bigger than a grapefruit. The urge to push really was strong though and so I gave in to it. In an instant, everything just stopped.

“It’s a girl!” Doc Harmon said, standing up, giving me a smile from under his mask. I waited anxiously for the slap and then the cry; both of which happened quickly; and that was when I started to breathe again myself, months of worry and fear leaving my body quicker than my little girl had.

The doctor handed her over, placing her in my arms before going back to finish what he needed to do. I couldn’t believe how tiny she was. Despite still being covered in goo and blood, she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It was hard not to cry at how wonderful it was to finally have her here with us.
With tears in his own eyes, David kissed me. “You did it, Gidge; she’s perfect.”

Through my own tears, I did a quick inventory, noting she had exactly what she was meant to and the right number too. I picked up one of her tiny hands and held it in my mine, kissing her tiny fingers. I thought I had loved her as she was growing inside me, but the rush of love I felt for now was like nothing I had ever experienced, even for David. It was like I had come full circle and was finally able to put aside the guilt and grief of Elijah’s death, now to think of him with nothing but love.

As the medical staff did what they needed to, David and I just shared this bonding moment with our little girl, a family at last.

~*~*~

DAVID:

Reluctantly, I kissed Dani again before kissing the forehead of my new daughter, leaving the delivery room. There was a waiting room full of concerned people waiting to hear the news and for as much as I didn’t want to leave my girls, I didn’t want to leave them hanging out all night waiting.

Not everyone was here, but would fly in when they could. Dani had actually gone into labour three weeks early, catching us all by surprise. It was just lucky for me that the Divos were performing in New York this week and so I was close enough to be here for the birth. I would never have forgiven myself had I missed it. The moment I walked into the waiting area I was surrounded. Dani’s folks were here, as were Kat, Chelle, Nick and Séb. My parents were due in tomorrow.

“Well, son; which do we have? A grandson or granddaughter?” Dom asked.

Tired as I was, it was hard to keep the smile from my face and the emotion at a controllable level as I replied “The newest member to the Miller clan is a healthy baby girl; 6lb 7 ounces, 20.4 inches long. All bits present and accounted for.”

Chelle gave me a smirk. “Didn’t I tell you she was having a girl?” I just grinned and nodded. This time around our friend had kept her thoughts to herself about the sex and unlike the first time around, both Dani and I decided to wait to find out the sex of the baby, but it turned out she was right. It just happened a little later than we had expected.

Everyone got in on the congratulations and wanted to know when they could go and see the new bundle of joy, if we had decided on a name, how Dani was. I tried to answer each question as it came by, but basically told them that they had to wait until Dani was taken back to her room before they go and see her. I promised to come and get them when it was time but for now, I had to get back to my girls so I left them to chat and celebrate as I went back to the delivery room.

~*~*~

DANI:

She was barely an hour old but Cadence Celeste Miller had already stolen many a heart. She was perfect. I was tired and wanted nothing more than to roll over and sleep for a week but I didn’t want to let her go. Naturally when her grandparents and assorted aunts and uncles came in, I had little choice but to give her up.

“Baby, she is perfect; and so tiny!” Mom said as she kissed me. Taking Cadence from me, Dad then gave me a hug and congratulated me, as did the others. David simply stood close by, not letting his little girl out of his sight.

There were oohs and ahhs all around, everyone telling me how beautiful she was etc. They also said they loved the name, understanding Cadence for the musical connotation, although Kat did have to question the choice of Celeste.

“Seriously you guys, in this day and age? Do you WANT her to be picked on?”

David and I just gave each other a secret smile. We had never given much thought to a middle name, boy or girl, but a couple of months ago we had been joking around and David made a comment about calling the baby Celestial, or even Luna, as a slight reference to Moon Pies. I had looked at him, rolled my eyes and told him it would be over my dead body. But as we were looking at her moments after her birth, it seemed fitting to go with Celeste and perfect as a middle name; after all, she was celestial, having been sent to us from heaven.

As much as I was happy to see them, I was glad when the others were ushered out so I could get some sleep. It had been a 27-hour labour and I was exhausted. A nurse came in to shoo them all out, leaving only David to remain. He lay on the bed beside me until I was asleep, although not so close as to squash Cadence. He would go on to tell me later that his arm had gone to sleep but he didn’t care because he was just so happy. I think his exact words were “I’m happier than a pig in !@#$!”

~*~*~

Over the course of the couple of days that I was in the hospital, I had many a visitor. For those that couldn’t physically make it, flowers, toys, balloons and other gifts started coming in, along with calls or emails. We were hoping that most of them, if not all, could at least make the christening in a months’ time, schedules permitting.

A couple of months before she was born, David and I had asked both Chelle and Jack to be godparents and of course they were more than happy to accept. Jack had moved back to London after our wedding, to be with his new girlfriend Cherise but promised to be back to take part in the special day.

My biggest concern right now however was getting our baby girl home. As was policy and against my insistence that I could walk, I was wheeled to the front door, David left to carry Cadence, a job he was only too happy to take on. At the entrance we thanked everyone and then he put our daughter into her capsule before coming back around to help me into the car.

Driving off, I closed my eyes to get a little more rest, David still grinning and chatting away happily, driving a lot slower than normal now that we had precious cargo on board. At one point he mentioned he couldn’t wait to do it all again, to which I flung my arm out and slapped his, all without opening my eyes. Easy for him to say. In the end though, we would add to the brood, making our family well and truly complete, just as it was meant to be.

~*~*~


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"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."

11/4/20, 11:23 Link to this post Email HeavenLea27   PM HeavenLea27
 


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