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Hello Again

I don't update as often as I'd like. I never did, let's face it. But recently, I've become a slave to my own demise. I...


I Do

Photo from PIxabay

“Everything looks so beautiful.” Jessica said with a sigh. Danielle put a hand on her shoulder.
“What's wrong? Are you having second thoughts?” She asked softly. Jessica shook her head. As she did, some of the curls that made up her hair fell out of the bun it was pulled into.
“No, no. I want this more than anything.” She assured. Danielle nodded.
“Then what's got you down?” She asked. Jessica sighed again.
“I just can't shake the feeling that something is going to go wrong.” She whined.
“Sweet heart, it's your wedding day. Don't stress. Everything's going to be fine.” Jessica faked a smile.
“My son has done everything possible to make this perfect for you.” Danielle added. Jessica half-smiled, nodding more to herself. Ritchie was, by far, the sweetest and most thoughtful man she had ever met. She knew how lucky she was to have him in her life in any way. She felt like she was the luckiest person in the world because he wanted to spend his life with her. She equally wanted to spend her life with him. Jessica sat down, pulling her gown over to the side.
“He's great. I know. That's why I'm marrying him.” She joked. Danielle laughed.
“You're worried about your parents, aren't you?” She questioned. Jessica nodded.
“They fight every time they're in the same room.” She whined. Danielle sat beside her.
“They don't approve of Ritchie?” She asked. Jessica nodded. She was glad Danielle was such an intuitive woman. She could never bring herself to tell Ritchie that her parents didn't like him.
“They don't approve of anything. I mean, when my dad approves, my mom doesn't. Or it's the other way around. This is the only thing they've ever agreed on. I didn't want them here.” She explained.
“Why did you invite them then?” Danielle asked. Jessica half-laughed.
“I didn't. Your son invited them here. He said I'd regret not having them at my wedding.” She said.
“That sounds like my Ritchie.” Danielle laughed.
“Does he know they don't like him?” She asked after a minute of silence. Jessica shook her head.
“I just couldn't bare to tell him.” She confessed. Danielle nodded. There was a knock on the door, interrupting any previous thoughts. Danielle walked over to the door, and opened it a crack. It was her other son, James. Jessica stood up to greet him.
“You look beautiful, bijou.” He complimented, kissing both her cheeks.
“Thank you.” She replied bashfully. He stepped back, hugging his mother.
“Your dress is, something else. Who designed that?” He asked, looking back at Jessica. Her wedding gown was a blood red, with black roses sewn in. It held it's own form, billowing outward.
“My brother's friend.” She answered. James raised his eyebrow.
“I didn't know you had a brother.” He confessed. She shook her head.
“He's not biologically my brother. He's my brother by choice. He was supposed to come, and finally meet you guys, but, he's out of the country on business.” She explained. James nodded.
“Well, since you're going to be around a while, I think I'll get the chance to meet him.” He assured. She nodded, looking him up and down. He was wearing all black, with the exception of a red tie. The entire wedding party was dressed in black, and red. The theme was the same. It was mutually agreed on by both herself and Ritchie. They were both into a more Gothic style then traditional. Ritchie was an artist, and Jessica was his muse. They complimented each other perfectly. When they planned the wedding, the colors were Jessica's idea. Ritchie took charge of almost everything else. She smiled, picturing what Ritchie was going to look like. The thought came to life a second later when he walked into the room.
“You're not supposed to be in here.” Danielle scolded, trying to stop him. Ritchie walked over to Jessica and wrapped his arms around her. His usually messy black hair was gelled back. There was a glow in his brown eyes. He looked the happiest she had ever seen him. She smiled, kissing him. She left a light mark of her lipstick on his lips. She giggled, wiping the color off.
“They're not exactly being traditional, mom.” James reminded Danielle. She shrugged.
“It's still supposed to be bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding.” She insisted. Jessica took Ritchie's hands in hers.
“I need him right now. He's my rock.” Jessica insisted.
“Fair enough. We'll leave the two of you alone.” Danielle offered. Her and James walked out of the room, with Danielle shutting the door behind them.
“What's wrong sugar?” Ritchie whispered. Jessica shook her head.
“I'm nervous.” She confessed. He smiled.
“Don't be nervous. Everything is going to be fine. Not perfect, but fine. You'll see.” He assured her. She smiled, looking up at him. She was only 5'4”, so even though Ritchie wasn't tall, he was tall to her.
“Thank you.” She whispered. He kissed her, running his hands up her back.
“How are you feeling?” She asked softly. His smile spoke with more volume than words ever could.
“Excited. Pumped. This is the best day of my life.” He answered, sounding giddy. She laughed.
“I love you Ritchie.” He kissed her again.
“I love you too Jessica.”

“She's just too young to be getting married.” Martin insisted. Joanna shook her head.
“Martin, you haven't been involved her life at all in the last 12 years. Don't start trying to act all protective now. It's a little too late for your concern.” She argued.
“She's just too young.” He repeated. Joanna sighed.
“You know, you didn't have to come, Martin. If this is how you're going to act, you're better off to leave. I mean, I'm not happy about this either, but, there is nothing either of us can do.” Joanna barked.
“Have you tried talking her out of this?” He asked. Joanna nodded.
“Of course I have, Martin. I've tried a thousand times. I've tried explaining to her that this is a foolish and impulsive decision. I've tried telling her that Ritchie is too old for her. But, there's no talking sense into that girl. She's, determined to ruin her life.” Joanna ranted.
“Exactly. She's ruining her life.” Martin repeated. Joanna shrugged.
“What exactly do you propose we do?” She questioned. Martin shook his head.
“Stop our little girl marry this guy?” He answered.
“I'm not your little girl anymore.” Jessica clarified, crossing her arms over her chest. Martin turned around to see Jessica tapping her foot on the tile.
“I just want you to think about this. This isn't like quitting ballet, sweetie. This is a life changing decision, and I just think you're too young to be making it. Do you know how many people get married at your age and end up divorced?” Martin rambled.
“Just because you two couldn't make your relationship work, doesn't mean I'm doomed to follow in your footsteps. Ritchie and I love each other, and we're actually willing to put the energy into this relationship required to make it work. That's all it's going to take to stay together forever. Effort.” Jessica tried to reason. Martin shook his head.
“Jessica, you're too young to even know what love is. Don't you think Ritchie should be with someone more his age?” Martin questioned. Jessica shook her head.
“This is exactly why I wasn't inviting you.” She yelled. Martin looked offended.
“Ritchie is the one who invited you. Both of you. I didn't want either of you here. I love you both, but your disapproval is unwelcome. So are you.” She said, storming off.
“Look at what you've done, Martin.” Joanna lectured. He put his hands up.
“This is your fault, woman. You didn't raise her right.” He insisted.
“You have some nerve, Martin.” Ritchie stated walking up to the pair. Joanna shook her head.
“The only thing wrong with Jessica is the pathetic mess she's cursed to call her family.” Ritchie stated, heading off after Jessica. Martin looked down at the table.
“You should be ashamed of yourselves.” Danielle added, walking over to them.
“Who are you?” Martin asked rudely. Danielle sighed.
“Ritchie's mother.” She announced. Joanna shook her head.
“I told you. You're so uninvolved in your daughters' life. It's no wonder Jessica didn't want you here.” Joanna continued rambling. Danielle looked over at her.
“Keep in mind she didn't want you here either, Joanna. And this, is just as much your fault as it is Martin's.” She assured. Joanna stayed quiet.
“The two of you are ruining this for Jessica. This is the most important day of her life. You are her parents. You should be happy for her right now. You should be putting aside your differences, and your own personal opinions. For your daughter's sake.” Danielle explained. Martin shook his head.
“I don't know how you can approve of this either.” He argued.
“Ritchie and Jessica love each other. They support each other. They know the level of commitment they're getting into. They're welcoming the challenges, and they're doing it together. There's nothing the two of them can't make it through, as long as they have each other. It's a not phase. It's love.” Danielle continued, trying to reason with both parents.
“The lady's right.” Al agreed, walking up beside Danielle. He smiled, putting his arm around her.
“Martin, this is my husband, Alvin. We're been happily married 50 years and we got married when I was 15 years old.” She introduced. Martin looked down at the ground.
“She's right.” He mumbled. Joanna nodded.
“We have to support our daughter, because we love her. We don't have to agree with her choices, but she's not a child anymore. She'll choose her own path, and she'll make the right choices for herself.” Joanna reworded, slowly shaking her head. Martin nodded, standing up.
“I'm going to apologize.”

“You were right. I shouldn't have invited them.” Ritchie apologized, wrapping his arms around Jessica. She pulled back slightly, looking up at him.
“You were just doing what you thought was right. I understand the gesture.” She assured. He smiled.
“I never want to be like them.” She mumbled, putting her head on Ritchie's chest. He laughed.
“Don't worry sugar, we'll never be like anyone but us.” He assured her. She pulled back, smiling.
“You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.” She mumbled. He smiled.
“Ditto.” He winked. They were both quiet until the door opened behind them. She looked behind Ritchie to see Martin coming outside. She shook her head.
“Jessica...” He started. Jessica didn't answer him.
“I think you've done enough damage today.” Ritchie suggested. Martin sighed.
“Look, I'm sorry. To both of you.” He continued.
“I don't know what I can say. Probably nothing. I know I'm wrong to be so judgmental. I just, can't stand the idea of loosing my little girl.” He confessed, tearing up.
“You have a real funny way of showing your feelings.” Jessica barked. Martin nodded.
“That's exactly why your mother left me.” He agreed. Jessica shook her head, looking at him.
“I just want you to be supportive of me. I didn't realize that was asking so much.” She continued.
“I've been selfish. I've been so scared of losing you, I ended up pushing you away. You're right. I need to be supportive of you. I realize that now. Like your mother said, you know what's best for you. You're the only person who can make that call. I may not understand, I may not agree. But, you aren't a little girl anymore. You're a smart woman who knows what she wants. From now on, I will support you. I don't want to loose you completely like I did your mother. I want to be a part of your life, both of you. Someday, I hope I'll be a part of your children's lives.” Martin apologized. Jessica hesitated, letting out a sigh. She slowly walked over to him, and he opened his arms.
“I just don't want to lose you.” He repeated. She faked a smile as she returned the hug.
“Then don't push me away.”

“You honestly had no thoughts about your son marrying someone 12 years younger than himself?” Joanna asked Danielle. Al laughed.
“Of course we did! Any good parent would be concerned.” He assured. Joanna nodded.
“So, how did you overcome it?” She asked.
“All it took was seeing the two of them together. They compliment each other so well, and they make each other so happy. They are truly perfect together, and anyone who sees them together can tell. It was really easy to forget there was any age difference.” Danielle answered.
“Besides, Jessica is very mature for her age.” Al added. Joanna looked down, nodding.
“The divorce was hard on her. She was only 11.” Joanna mumbled. Danielle laughed.
“It's not a bad thing. I think she's a stronger woman now because of it.” She offered. Joanna nodded.
“I hope Martin can talk to her. She can be really stubborn sometimes. I guess she got that from me.” Joanna confessed. Danielle laughed again.
“Your daughter is something else.” Al commented. Joanna half-laughed.
“Thank you?” She questioned.
“I can see her and Ritchie happily growing old together.” Al added. Joanna stood up as Jessica and Martin came back into the hall. Martin walked over to the table, sitting where had been. Jessica and Ritchie continued walking, heading back to the dressing room.
“What happened?” Joanna asked. Martin shrugged.
“I apologized for being an asshole.” He answered casually. Joanna's jaw dropped.
“I'm sorry, you admitted fault to something?” He questioned. Danielle shook her head.
“Joanna, don't start.” She scolded. Joanna nodded, sitting down.
“So where did Jessica and Ritchie go?” Joanna asked. Martin shrugged.
“I think they went to get ready. The ceremony is about to start.” He answered.
“Already?” Danielle asked, checking her watch. Al nodded.
“Where's James?” He questioned as the lights dimmed. Danielle laughed, pointing beside them at the aisle. James was walking his cat up the aisle. The cat was wearing a small basket with rose petals in it.
“Oh that's adorable.” Al commented. To James, his cat Bunny, was his child. Danielle nodded. Following James were two women dressed for a funeral. They were both wearing black floor length dresses that had flowing tails, and black veils over their faces. They each had a bouquet of flowers in hand with 11 black roses, and a single white one.
“Who are they?” Joanna whispered. Danielle pointed them out.
“That's Lindsey, my daughter in law, and Natalie, Jack's wife.” She explained quietly.
“Who's Jack?” Martin asked. Danielle pointed down the aisle to where Jessica was now coming in. She was on the arm of a short, dark haired boy.
“He's like a brother to Ritchie, and Jessica too.” She added. Jessica waved as she walked past the table. Ritchie wasn't standing at the altar. When she got up to the front, a soft music started. Jack walked to the left, standing beside James. Lindsey and Natalie were standing on the right. Jessica stood in front, but between the two girls. The song started over the loud speaker. Jessica looked down, blushing, as she recognized Ritchie's voice. He stepped out from behind James, continuing to sing. There was a loud cheer from everyone in the audience. Jessica clapped as Ritchie finished the chorus, handing the microphone off to the minister. Jessica smiled, looking up at Ritchie.
“Ritchie, do you accept me, for everything I'm not? Will you be at my side no matter what the cost? Will you support me, endlessly? Will you be my everything?” She asked.
“Jessica, you accepted me through my many flaws. You supported me through every cause. You stood by my bad, and worse decisions. For your support, I'll be your every wish.” He answered.
“Do you accept the roller coaster our life will be?” She asked. He nodded, confidently.
“I do.” He replied. Jessica couldn't help but smile, nodding herself. The minister also nodded.
“Well by the power invested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.” He announced. Ritchie put one of his hands on the back of Jessica's head. Leaning forward, he kissed her softly. She smiled as his lips rested against hers.
“Ladies and gentlemen, let's now join Mr. and Mrs. XXXXX as they share the first dance of their new life together.” The minister called, turning the microphone off. Ritchie held out his hand.
“May I have this dance?” He asked softly. Jessica blushed, taking his hand. They walked onto the dance floor, which was right in front of the altar. As they got onto the dance floor, the music started playing. She put her arms around his neck. His hands went to her lower back.
“So?” He asked.
“So?” She repeated. He smiled.
“How do you feel?” He asked softly. She shook her head, smiling.
“I love you, Mr. XXXXX.” She answered simply. He continued smiling, and nodded.
“I love you too, Mrs. XXXXX.”

“That was, unorthodox.” Al commented as they finished their vows. Danielle nodded.
“Our son is unique. Well, so is our daughter in law.” She observed.
“They're adorable. I completely understand what you were talking about.” Joanna commented. Martin was quiet, watching his daughter on the dance floor.
“Martin, what's wrong?” Joanna asked. She knew very well Martin was never quiet. He shook his head.
“That was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life.” He mumbled. Danielle and Al looked over at him. Joanna raised her eyebrow as she noticed he was lightly crying.
“Martin?” Danielle questioned.
“I've been such a horrible father to that girl.” He commented out of no where. Joanna kept her eyebrow raised. She was literally shocked speechless.
“It's never too late to make an honest attempt. As long as you're doing it for the right reasons.” Al suggested, motioning to the dance floor. Martin nodded, walking over to the newlyweds.
“Ritchie, can I have this dance with my little, sorry, your wife?” He asked. Ritchie smiled, handing Jessica's hand towards Martin. Jessica put her hands on Martin's back. He did the same.
“You grew up so fast.” He commented. She nodded.
“I'm sorry I wasn't there for it.” He whispered. She shook her head.
“Don't think like that.” She argued. He smiled.
“I can't help it. Yesterday I was changing your diaper, today, you're married.” He said in disbelief. Jessica didn't say anything, but she didn't have to.
“I just want you to know you were always in my thoughts.” He added. She smiled as the song ended.
“I want to be more than just in your thoughts.”

“So, how does it feel to be a married man?” Jack asked. Ritchie laughed.
“The same. I knew the first minute I laid eyes on that woman that she'd someday be my wife.” He answered, motioning to the dance floor. Lindsey laughed.
“Ritchie, you're adorable.” She commented, laughing. James leaned back in his chair.
“That's my big brother.” He teased.
“Here.” Lindsey motioned, handing Ritchie a beer. He shook his head.
“No thanks.” He dismissed. Lindsey laughed again.
“It's your wedding day.” She reminded her brother-in-law. Ritchie looked over at Jessica and her father. She waved to him. He smiled, again, shaking his head.
“I'm not putting her through that, on top of everything else.” He commented. Lindsey nodded.
“Understandable.” She agreed, putting the bottle back in the ice bucket.
“We actually figured you wouldn't want to drink, so, we got you this.” Natalie announced, pulling out a different bottle. Ritchie raised his eyebrow, motioning to the label.
“What's that?” He asked.
“It's non-alcoholic champagne. It was Jack's idea. Go ahead, celebrate your way. You deserve it.” She answered, handing it over to him. He laughed, looking at Jack.
“That's really thoughtful of you.” Ritchie observed. Jack shrugged.
“You'd have done the same for us.” He reminded him. Ritchie laughed.
“Hell, he did.” Natalie added, looking at Jack. He nodded.
“I'm still drinking.” James announced, grabbing another beer. Lindsey laughed nodding.
“Me too, unless you'd rather we didn't.” She added. Ritchie shook his head.
“Be my guest.” Ritchie offered. James held up his bottle.
“Congratulations, Ritchie.” He toasted. Jack handed Ritchie a glass of the champagne. Everyone else held up their bottles as well. Ritchie nodded, tipping his glass forward.
“Thank you guys, for everything.”

“She really loves you, Martin.” Joanna commented as he sat back down at the table. He nodded.
“I know.” He mumbled.
“I think we should dance.” Al announced, taking Danielle's hand. She laughed as they headed onto the dance floor. An assortment of people were now dancing. Martin was quiet for a minute.
“I really fucked up my life.” He blurted. Joanna looked over at him.
“I didn't realize it until today. I mean, I knew I fucked up, but I never saw how badly.” He continued.
“What are you talking about?” Joanna questioned. Martin sighed.
“I was so self involved, I took advantage of my loving family.” He mumbled. Joanna shook her head.
“Are you feeling okay?” She questioned. Martin shook his head.
“No. I mean, I lost everything, and for nothing. I know I put my job first, but, I wanted to give the two of you everything you could ever want. I never realized I was just pushing you further and further away. I never realized what I was doing to either of you. I thought I was securing my family, but I was losing you. I lost my baby girl, my beautiful wife... For what?” He confessed. She half-laughed.
“Oh Martin.” She sighed, smiling. He looked over at her.
“I've been waiting 12 years for you to realize that.” She muffled, starting to cry. He held out his hand.
“Joanna, can I please have this dance?” He asked softly. She put one of her hands on her chest, and handed him the other one, advertising how flattered she was.
“What's come over you?” She asked, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. He pulled her into his arms, swaying her on the dance floor.
“I've missed so much, I'm not letting another minute pass me by.”

“I'd like to propose a toast.” Danielle started, standing up at the table. The reception was in a small room, with only friends and family. Most of the guests were only invited for the ceremony.
“Love, knows no age, and has no restrictions. True love conquers even time. May the two of you over come any challenges you may face, and may you do it together. May life bring you happiness and triumph.” She finished. Jessica and Ritchie raised their glasses. No one actually tapped, but everyone made the motion as though they were going to.
“I'd also like to say something.” Martin announced, standing up. Danielle smiled.
“Ritchie, I never got the chance to know you, and for that, I truly am sorry. But seeing the way you are with my daughter, and how happy you make her, I know all I need to. I know you'll take care of her, and you'll be there for her no matter what. I had to lose my baby girl someday, and, I'm glad it was to you. I know you'll treat her right.” He rambled. Jessica clapped.
“Thank you, Martin. It means a lot.” Ritchie thanked. He put his arm around Jessica and kissed her.
“I love you, baby.” Martin added, raising his glass. Jessica leaned forward to tap his glass with hers.
“I love you too.” She replied, smiling. The two of them drank, but no one else did.
“I want to thank you all for sharing in this moment with us. I know some of you weren't enthusiastic, but, I do, truly, appreciate the support of each and every one of you. To my friends, my family, I wouldn't be where I was today if it weren't for your support. And, Jessica, I don't even want to think of where I'd be if it weren't for you. You gave me the reason to keep going.” Ritchie trailed, looking over at her. She smiled, taking his hand. She leaned forward and kissed him.



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