A week before the wedding of the year, the brides, and grooms where at the house by the lake waiting for their wedding party to arrive. Smoke was going to be best man for Owen, and Bishop was the best man for Isaias. Desiree’s sister Monique was her Maid of Honor, and Whitney chose Russell’s sister, Camille, as her Maid of Honor. The limos arrived one at a time. Monique was the first to arrive. She rang the doorbell. Nigel opened the door.
“Good morning ma’am,” he bowed. “I’m Nigel. Butler and driver for Mr. Thomas. May I please have your name so I may announce you?”
Monique smiled. “Monique Martinez. I’m Desiree’s sister.”
“Please wait here.”
Nigel left her standing in the foyer. Moments later, Desiree came running from the back of the house.
The sisters hugged each other.
Desiree was very excited to see her sister. “How was your flight?”
“It was wonderful,” Monique replied looking around the room. “Wow this house is incredible.”
“I know. Come on; let me introduce you to Owen.”
The two women walked into the library. Owen, Whitney, and Isaias were sitting with a glass of wine, talking when Desiree and Monique entered the room.
“Everyone, this is my older sister, Monique,” Desiree said, smiling.
Owen got up and shook her hand. “Hello Monique. I’m Owen. It’s nice to meet you.”
“I’ve heard many wonderful things about you.”
Owen smiled. “I’m a wonderful man.”
Desiree rolled her eyes and clicked her teeth. “Owen, please.”
Owen shrugged. “What honey, it’s the truth.”
Desiree ignored her fiancé’s words and moved on with the introductions. “Those two are Isaias and Whitney.”
Isaias smiled. “It’s nice to meet you.”
Whitney reached for her hand. “Welcome Monique.”
“Thank you,” she said, cordially.
Desiree faced her sister. “How are mama and papa? I haven’t had a chance to talk with them in the past few weeks.”
“They’re fine. Papa is concerned though.”
“Concerned? About what?”
“You know what a traditional man he his. He’s concerned because Owen didn’t properly ask for your hand.”
Desiree scoffed. “When is papa going to let go of that old world stuff?”
“Never,” Monique said, shaking her head.
Owen felt obligated to his fiancée’s family values. “We can call him now if you like.”
“You don’t have to do that honey.”
“I insist. If it will put your father’s mind at ease about me, then I want to.”
Desiree smiled. “Don’t worry about it. Because even if he doesn’t like you, I’m still gonna marry you anyway.”
Owen returned her smile just as Nigel entered the room, again.
“Excuse me, Mr. Thomas.”
“Yes Nigel, what is it?”
“Mr. Bishop Matthews, Ms. Katrina Reilly, and Miss Camille Jones are in the foyer, sir.”
Isaias remembering his manners said, “Please excuse us everyone.” He took Whitney’s hand and they went to the foyer to greet their guests.
Isaias, genuinely happy to see his best man reached out for a hug.
“Hey! What’s up Bishop?”
“You and my sister, obviously.”
“I’m glad you made it.”
Whitney waited her turn and hugged her brother as well. “Hey bro.”
“Hey baby girl. How you been?”
“Wonderful.” She replied, and broke the embrace. “How have you been Camille?”
Camille hugged her long time friend. “I’ve been fantastic. I’m glad you asked me to be your Maid of Honor.”
“We’ve been friends a long time. I wouldn’t have asked anyone else.”
Bishop had a beautiful woman at his side waiting quietly for the friendship revelry to die down. Bishop turned to her and smiled. “Whitney, Isaias, this is my girl Katrina Reilly.”
Isaias looked at her obvious beauty and smiled. “Nice to meet you, Katrina. Bishop certainly knows how to pick ’em. You’re a very beautiful woman.”
“Why thank you, Isaias,” she smiled, at the obvious flirt.
Whitney nodded her head. “He’s right Katrina, you are very pretty.”
“Well look at you. Your pictures don’t do you justice at all.”
“Why don’t you all join us in the library?” Isaias suggested. “We will introduce you to our host.”
They went to the library and introduced everyone. No sooner than the introductions were finished, Nigel stepped in the room again.
“Excuse me, Mr. Thomas, sir.”
“I would like to announce the Misters, Jeffrey Rhone, Kenneth Seaholm, Alexander Davis, Ethan Doyle and guests.”
Owen smiled and thought, finally, everyone is here. “Wonderful. Show them in here Nigel. Oh yes and Nigel?” Owen said before Nigel could leave the room.
“Please bring my guests some water, and have Veronica start on lunch. We’ll be eating outside.”
“Anything in particular?”
“Nothing heavy or anything that will require a lot of time. Some finger sandwiches or something. Prepare some champagne, wine, and beer as well.”
“Will that be all?”
“Yes. Thank you, Nigel.”
“You’re welcome, sir.”
When the rest of the wedding party made their way into the library, and the introductions were complete, Owen got everyone’s attention.
“Hello everyone, and welcome to our home. Desiree, Isaias, Whitney, and I are all happy you wanted to be a part of our wedding. We asked you because you are all very special people in our lives, and we knew you wouldn’t turn us down.
“Lunch is being prepared for us now, and when it is finished we will go out back and eat. For now enjoy and get to know each other. Explore the house, but don’t touch anything, and when it’s time to eat, Nigel will let us know. Afterwards Joshua will show you all where your rooms are. Then I would like you all to meet me back in here. I have a little surprise for you. Thank you again for coming.”
When Owen was finished, everyone but Smoke dispersed. He stayed behind and watched his band mates and friends enamored by the wealth before them.
Soon enough, it was only Owen and Smoke in the room. “Man, I knew you were ballin’ but nothing like this. This is incredible.”
Owen smiled and shrugged. “Yeah, filthy stinking rich. That’s me. Isaias is almost as rich as me but not quite.”
“Oh you’re kidding.”
“Not at all.”
Thirty minutes went by, and Nigel appeared back into the library.
“Mr. Thomas, sir, lunch is served.”
“Thank you, Nigel. Everyone if you will follow me to the garden, we can eat.”
Everyone went outside enjoyed a wonderful lunch. After lunch was finished, Owen again called on Nigel.
“Nigel, did you call the caterer?”
“Yes sir. Dinner will be served promptly at eight o’clock in the formal dining room.”
“Wonderful. Have Joshua take everyone upstairs and show them to their rooms. Afterwards everyone is to go back to the library.”
“Can I have everyone’s attention?” Owen said loudly, “Joshua is going to show you to your rooms now. There, you will find everything you need. If you need something else let Nigel or Joshua know, and they will get it for you. So please go freshen up if you like and I will see you in an hour. Therapy members, you only have twenty minutes to do whatever else you need to do. I’ll meet you in the foyer.”
Twenty minutes later, the band members were waiting in the foyer for Owen to tell them what was going on. Owen made his way to the foyer after all of his band members.
“Sorry guys. Desiree had me around the neck and wouldn’t let me go.”
“Well she’ll get tired of your ugly ass in about ten years,” Kenny said.
“Whatever man. Look guys. When my mother redecorated the house, I had her put something in for me. Actually it’s more for us.”
“What is it?” Smoke asked.
Owen smiled. “Follow me.”
They followed Owen to another part of the house that was taped up. There was a sign on the tape that read Construction Zone Do Not Enter. Owen stopped short of the tape.
Smoke looked at Owen. “We can’t go back there man. It’s probably dangerous.”
Owen shook his head. “No worries. I put this sign here to keep Desi’s nosy ass from coming back here and ruining the surprise,” he said, cutting the tape. “Gentlemen follow me.” They went a little further down the hall until they came to a set of double doors. “May I present the Nadia Raye Thomas Theater,” Owen said, opening the doors.
The band walked in and couldn’t believe their eyes.
They all looked around in wonder and amazement. “Holly shit,” Smoke said. “Would you look at this?”
“It’s not much, but we can have small concerts in here. This room will hold up to one hundred people.”
Jeff looked toward the stage. “Are those new instruments?”
“Yep. One for each of you.”
Alex pointed toward a corner of the room. “Hey Owen, is that a recording studio I see over there?”
“Yeah. So now when we are rehearsing, we can also record our rehearsals to work out the kinks.”
“Your ass is amazing man,” Kenny said still looking around the room.
Owen smirked. “I thought I was ugly.”
“You know I was just playing, man,” Kenny said with a wide grin.
“I know. So why don’t we start warming up, do a sound check, to test it out.”
As they walked toward the stage, it was Isaias’ turn to ask a question.
“How long did this take? I mean we were just here two months ago.”
“Mother hired some of the best contractors in the state. They worked around the clock in shifts, and got this done in a little over a month.”
“Well come on let’s get going. Everything is already set up.”
The six men got on stage and tested the room. Afterwards they went back to the library, to find their women and other guests waiting for them.
Owen smiled and got everyone’s attention. “I hope everyone is finding everything to their liking so far. Are you ready for your surprise?”
“Yeah!” Everyone in the room replied.
“Well after we get some things taken care of here in town, we’re going to Vegas.”
“Really baby?” Desiree asked.
“Bachelor and bachelorette parties. We’ll be there for two days. Isaias and I have already taken care of the small details, so what you do once you get there is on you.”
Bishop smiled. “I said you were incredible man.”
“Now if we can get a major record label to notice. So now, I think I want to play a little piano before dinner. All are welcome to join me if you like. If not, please have something to drink, sit in the hot tub, go for a swim, or take a nap. Do what you want. This week, my house is your house.
“Dinner will be served promptly at eight. I’ll see you in the formal dining room then. After dinner, you are welcome to retire for the night. If you aren’t ready to go to bed, we can continue our party. Don’t drink too much however. Work starts tomorrow. We are going to be extremely busy. Enjoy everyone.”
The rest of the night went well. After dinner, the four that were from the east coast went to bed. They were all dead tired from the long trip. The party ended for everyone else at around one in the morning.
At eight o’clock the next morning, a very quiet rap on their doors awakened everyone as Nigel announced breakfast. They again went to the formal dining room and ate a good hearty breakfast. Then they were on their way.
Owen and Isaias took the men in their party for their tuxedo fitting. Desiree and Whitney took the women shopping for their gifts, and the final fittings for their dresses. One o’clock in the afternoon was soon upon them, and they all went back to the house. They were fed a huge lunch, and they then went sight seeing. At the end of the day, they were dead tired. The next day they all sat around and relaxed.
The following day everyone flew to Vegas and the men separated from the women to have their perspective bachelor and bachelorette parties. When they returned from Vegas, they went back and checked the fittings on the clothes. Once everything was perfect, they decided it was time for more partying, so they invited their families to party with them. They partied into the night.
The clothing was delivered next day, and later on that night, was the rehearsal dinner. By the time that it was over, everyone was extremely exhausted. The wedding was the next day, and no one could sleep. Whitney and Isaias were in bed.
“Isaias, you awake?”
“Yeah. What the matter?”
“I can’t sleep.”
“Baby this has been an exhausting week. We didn’t do this much going when we were in school.”
“I just have so much going on in my head. I want everything to be perfect.”
“It will be. Don’t forget who organized this wedding. Nadia would have an absolute fit if everything weren’t just perfect as of yesterday. It will be fine.”
“Are you sure you want to marry me?”
“Oh, so that’s what this is really about. Whitney Matthews, you are the love of my life. I promise you I want to marry you, and our life together will be long. We will have children, and when I get ready to retire, they can take over the business so I can spend everyday I have left with you. Are you sure you want to marry me?”
“Yes I do. I really love you, Isaias. I never thought I could love anyone this much.”
“All right then it’s settled. We’ll get married tomorrow and be happy for the rest of our lives. Okay?”
“Let’s try to get some sleep.”
“I love you, Isaias.”
“I love you too, Whitney.”
The two of them tried to go to sleep. As it turns out, Owen and Desiree were also having a hard time going to sleep.
“Desi, you awake?”
“I just wanted to say I’m sorry.”
“For everything that I have done to you to ever hurt you. I just wanted you to know I really do love you.”
“I know you do. And I love you.”
“Do you want kids right away?”
“No. Because if we have children right away, how else am I going to be able to travel with you when you make it big?”
“And if that never happens?”
“Oh honey, please. You’re a musical genius. I can bet that this time next year, you’ll be booked at some famous jazz club in New York. From there who knows.”
“Seriously. If it doesn’t happen, are you okay if we go into the wine business?”
“You can do whatever makes you happy. I say that because I will always be happy as long as you are by my side, and I don’t doubt that we will be together forever.”
“Thank you for loving me so much honey.”
“You’re welcome. Now let’s try to get some sleep. We have a busy day tomorrow.”
The following morning everyone made their way to the church, and one of largest and most beautiful wedding ceremonies of the year took place. Over five hundred people attended. Richard and Grace, Charlotte and Jason, Victoria and Heath were also there. There was one other there, and no one knew it.
The ceremony was ending. The minister smiled at the two couples and announced, “Now before God and all of these witnesses, I now pronounce you husbands and wives. You may now kiss your brides.”
The entire church was on their feet. The ovation was an eternity. The wedding party went out and formed the receiving line. The unexpected guest waited until the last possible moment, and he got in line. Soon they would be in for the surprise of their lives.
One guest said to Whitney and Desiree, “You both look so beautiful today. Congratulations.”
“Thank you,” they said in chorus.
Another guest shook Owen’s hand. “You four take care of each other. Congratulations.”
“We will thank you.”
The next guest walked right up to Whitney and said, “Hello Whitney.”
Whitney was in a state of shock. Her heart was pounding so hard she almost couldn’t breathe. “Hello Russell.”
“You are indeed beautiful.”
Russell walked down the steps and waited for the happy couples to wave at everyone. The limousines were pulling off taking people to the reception. Russell waited until the last possible moment. Right before they were called back in the church for pictures, Russell approached Whitney.
“Can I talk to you for a minute?”
Isaias glared at Russell for a moment then turned to Whitney. “What about pictures honey?”
“I won’t be long,” Russell said quietly. “I just have to talk to her for a minute.”
Isaias continued to glare at Russell, remembering how much he hurt Whitney, but at the same time, he was quite satisfied, that she chose him instead.
“You gonna be okay honey?” Isaias asked, gently rubbing her back.
“All right,” Isaias said going back into the church.
“Russell what are you doing here?”
“Camille told me you were getting married. Even when I saw the invitation, I still didn’t believe it. So here I am. I had to see it for myself. I just wanted to say whatever I did to make you stop loving me, I’m sorry. I had hoped you would eventually come to your senses and come back to me. I guess Isaias is the better man. I hope he takes good care of you. If you ever need to talk, feel free to call me. I’ll let you get to your pictures now. Goodbye Whitney,” he said, turning to leave.
“Russell, wait,” Whitney said, grabbing his arm. She then put her arms around him and gave him a big hug. “Thank you for not being angry anymore. Just know that I will be here for you also.”
Russell smiled gently, and kissed her on the cheek. “Thank you. Come home soon.”
“I will. Goodbye, Russell.”
Russell walked away from her never to look in her beautiful eyes again. She stood and watched him get into a passing taxicab, and watched until it was out of sight. As she was standing there, Isaias came back outside.
“Honey come on we’re waiting for you.” Whitney didn’t answer. She just stood there. Isaias began to get worried. “Honey what’s the matter?”
“He came to tell me goodbye. I’ll never see him again.”
Isaias was happy in this fact, but he didn’t want to upset her anymore that she already was. He put his arms around her and held her tight.
“Oh honey, I’m sorry. But we have each other now. Russell and Victoria both are in our past. So come on and let’s finish this day, and when we get home we can talk about it okay?”
Whitney managed a small smile. “Okay.”
They went back into the church and took pictures. It was an hour before the wedding party arrived at the reception. Nadia walked in, and stopped the band from playing.
“Ladies and Gentlemen may I have your attention please! The happy couples are here now. Please welcome them warmly. May I present to you, Owen and Desiree Thomas, and Isaias and Whitney Reynolds. Please congratulate them.”
The bridal party made there way through the crowd and walked toward the head table. Everyone stood and clapped forever. Owen, Desiree, Isaias, and Whitney sat down. Bishop and Smoke both remained standing.
Smoke looked at Bishop. “So who goes first?”
Bishop nodded. “You go.”
“All right.” Smoke turned to the lawn full of people and attempted to get their attention. “Excuse me. Would anybody mind if I took this time to wish Desiree and Owen a happy one hour anniversary?” Most of the crowd chuckled, and some applauded. Smoke waited until it was quiet before he continued. “I would like to offer my gratitude to all of the parents, and what you have done to make this a perfect and special day. And finally, thank you, Owen for making such a good choice for the best man.”
The crowd laughed. Smoke went on with his speech telling everyone there how much Owen meant to him, and in the end, he toasted Desiree.
“Here’s to Desiree and Owen. A life of years, free of tears, bottoms up and lots of luck.”
“Cheers!” The guests replied.
Smoke sat down, and Desiree kissed him on the cheek. It was Bishop’s turn to speak.
Bishop paused, and the crowd got quiet as he thought about what he was going to say. “In our lifetimes, we are gifted a small number of truly landmark moments. They start small enough, say, riding a two-wheeler bicycle or throwing your graduation cap high into the air. They grow in power and significance; some of you may have seen.” The crowd nodded in agreement, and Bishop continued his speech about landmark moments. “It is with great pleasure I say congratulations to both couples. May you share many warm days and nights. Everybody raise your glass to celebrate the love they have for each other.”
The guests again toasted the happy couples. “Cheers!”
Bishop sat down and Isaias not one for many words, most of the time, stood up ahead of Owen.
“Please excuse me if I sound a little nervous. I really am truly overwhelmed. And if standing up and speaking to you all isn’t bad enough, I’ve still got to stand up and dance in front of all of you later on.” The guests laughed. Isaias then thought of his father. “Fate can move in such illogical directions. My father, Charles Reynolds passed away four years ago. Everyone who knew him remembers him as a lovely, kind man who embraced life. It would have been an honor to have him here today. So I hope you’ll join me in a toast to Charles Reynolds and everyone else who we wish could have been here. To absent friends.”
The crowd raised their glasses. “To absent friends.”
Isaias went on to speak highly of his mother, and the servants who helped raise him. He then toasted Whitney. “We were introduced by the other bride, Desiree. I’m still not sure whether she intended for this to happen. Nevertheless, my debt of thanks to her is eternal.
“Words cannot tell you how happy you have made me today honey. You are the kindest, gentlest, funniest woman I know. Knowing you has changed me for the better. I fell in love with you long before I proposed. And that was what made the actual proposal so nerve-wracking. I just had so much to lose. Fortunately, you said yes, and made me happier than I have ever been.”
Glasses went up again. “Cheers!”
Isaias sat down, and then it was Owen’s turn.
“Damn Isaias. I’ve never heard you talk so much. I thought I was the front man,” Owen said, and the guests all laughed. “No but seriously, thank you everyone for believing in us and loving us. That is all the accolades you will get from me. I stand here now, to praise my new wife.
“Desiree, you have been the only woman in my life that has never left my side. I can count on you for anything, regardless of where you are or what you are doing. To know that there is someone out there who will do anything for you, is the greatest feeling in the world. I never feel alone because I have someone who is ready to hold me up and support me in whatever I decide to do.
“Four years ago we met at school. You were not like any other girl I had ever met, and that was a good thing. While most of my friends were just looking for a hookup, I was constantly looking for a woman who was sweet, intelligent, and still supportive. I had difficulty finding anyone close to those qualities, so to come across someone so randomly was a shock.
“After we met, I knew you would have a permanent spot in my life. It didn’t matter that I had only known you for a moment. It was such a blessing to find someone so real and ready to grab life by the neck. You pushed me into gear and I finally was able to do something with my life. Now today, as I stand here married to you, I have no fear. I know in my heart you will love me forever and I will try to be the best husband I can to you. Thank you for the past four years. They were amazing and I know the rest of our lives will be even better. I love you, Desiree.”
Owen held up his glass to toast his wife.
“Cheers!” The crowd exclaimed.
Desiree stood and kissed Owen full on the lips, and everyone cheered.
Nadia got up on stage, and took the mike.
“Dear guests, it is time to eat. At this time, I would ask the Reverend Darryl Stewart to lead us in the blessing.” Reverend Stewart blessed the food, and the two unions. “Thank you, Reverend Stewart. After we are finished, and the plates are clear, we will cut the cakes. Please enjoy.”
When the cutting of the cake was finished, and the dessert, consumed, Victoria decided it was time to introduce Heath to Isaias. They walked up to the head table.
Victoria smiled, happy to introduce Heath to Isaias. To her, it was almost like; you could’ve had me if you just waited kind of thing.
“Congratulations everyone. I’m happy for you.”
“Thank you, Vic,” Isaias said, honestly.
Victoria turned to Heath and said, “I’d like to introduce you to Heath Sutton.”
Owen nodded. “Welcome.”
Heath played his part well. “Thank you. Isaias I would just like to say that you have a wonderful son.”
Isaias was surprised. Who was this man who had spent and obvious amount of time with his son? “Thank you, and just how would you know that Mr. Sutton?”
“I’ve been dating Victoria for a while, and I’ve spent a lot of time with him.”
“Really?” Isaias asked, forgetting his earlier suspicion. “Well I look forward to getting to know the both of you then.”
“I’m sure. Well, congratulations again. And you two are positively the most beautiful brides I’ve ever seen.”
Desiree smiled at the compliment. “Why thank you.”
Victoria looked at Heath, obviously annoyed, elbowed him in the ribs. She then smiled. “See you all later.” She took Heath by his arm and led him away from the head table. When they walked away, Owen laughed.
“What’s so funny?” Desiree asked. “He paid us a compliment.”
“Not Heath. Vicki. She’s so jealous she can’t even see straight.”
Isaias watched them move through the crowd. “Serves her right,” Isaias said, taking a sip of his wine.
The next to approach the table was Charlotte and Jason. She was holding his hand showing him off to everyone on the way. She reached the head table, and stopped in front of her son.
“Congratulations everyone. Jason said that he wanted to come over here and say hello to his father.”
Isaias seemed to beam every time he heard someone say that. He smiled widely and looked at his handsome son. “Hello, Jason.”
“Congratulations father,” Jason managed to say with some difficulty.
“Thank you, Jason. Come on around here and give me a hug.”
Jason walked around the back of the table. Isaias picked him up and put him in his lap.
“So have you been a good boy for your Nana today?”
“I’ve been a very good boy, father.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”
Jason turned to Whitney. “Hello, Miss Whitney.”
Whitney couldn’t help but smile at Jason’s cuteness. “Hello, Jason.”
“Well son, give me a hug, and go join your Nana. I’ll play with you later okay?”
“Okay!” Jason said, excited.
Jason hopped down, and went back to Charlotte.
“Isaias, whenever the two of you get some time, I want you to come to my house so we can talk about the business,” Charlotte said, taking Jason’s hand.
“It will have to wait until after our honeymoon. We leave in the morning for Paris.”
“Fine then. I’ll see you when you get back. Come Jason. Let’s go meet some more of your Nana’s friends.”
Jason waved to everyone at the head table, and followed his grandmother close behind.
Whitney took her attention away from Victoria only for the short moment Jason said hello, but she was watching her closely. Whitney had an idea Victoria was up to more games, but she wasn’t sure what.
The first thing she noticed was the large diamond ring on her left hand. Victoria was at least engaged, and she didn’t even bother telling Isaias. Heath said they were dating. Whitney believed that to be a lie. What was she up to now? Whitney decided not to concentrate on it to hard or she was going to ruin her good time.
Richard walked up on stage with a glass of champagne in his hand. “Excuse me ladies and gentlemen. Forgive me, but I would like to propose a toast. To a boy I once knew. Smart, and talented with a rough exterior but a soft heart. He hasn’t changed much in all these years, except now no longer a boy, but a man. I hope he’ll never change. I love you, son.”
The guests raised their glasses and joined in the toast.
“Now my wife tells me that sometime today we are going to do the money dance. I’m sure you are all familiar with it. But since we already have more money than we can count, all donations will go to the charity of their choice. Happy marriage to all four of you.”
Richard stepped off the stage, and Nadia took his place.
“My assistant in this grand event told me that as Owens’ mother, I had to talk about something from his youth to embarrass him. I thought to myself, no way would I embarrass Owen. He can handle that himself,” Nadia said, and the guests laughed. “Seriously, I remember these two boys were forever competing. It didn’t matter what it was, I would always here them say, “May the best man win.” Owen won some. Isaias won some.
“As you know, both of them are now talented musicians, and I personally am dying to see them compete once more. So now, I would like to do something new and unheard of. Something reserved for musically inclined families only. I want to have a charity play off. Isaias on drums and Owen on piano. Only this time, all of you will decide who the best man is.
“Here are the rules. We flip a coin to see who goes first. When it is your turn, you play your heart out for fifteen seconds. We will do this three times. Then it is time for everyone to vote. Vote for your favorite by placing a donation of any denomination in the bowls held by their wives. They will tally up the dollar amount, and whoever has the most money in their bowl is the winner, and gets both bowls to donate to a charity of their choice. Owen will you do this for me?”
“But of course mother. I haven’t kicked Isaias’ butt in a long time.”
Isaias slowly raised an eyebrow and turned to Owen. “Is that a challenge?”
“Why wait? Let’s do it now.”
“May the best man win?”
The guests cheered as the two of them took the stage.
Nadia shrugged. “I wasn’t quite ready, but they are the guests of honor. Bring on the bowls, the stopwatch, and a quarter.”
Nadia’s butler, William gave her everything she needed.
“Thank you, William. Now since Isaias is the younger of the two of them I will let him call it. What do you say Isaias?”
Nadia tossed the quarter in the air, and watched it as it landed. “Ladies and gentleman it is indeed heads. All right Isaias, when I say go you play until I say stop. Got it?”
Isaias looked over at Owen. “May the best man win?”
Isaias played the beginning of one of their own songs where he has the opening solo. The guests went crazy. Owen then got his turn. He also played something from their repertoire. The guests again went crazy. This went on twice more, and then Nadia got back on stage.
“Wow that was something wasn’t it? Now it’s time to vote.”
Owen and Isaias came down from the stage, and put a one hundred dollar bill in the bowl with their own name on it. When everyone was finished voting, and the money counted, Nadia announced the winner.
“Well ladies and gentlemen the winner of the best man charity play off is…Isaias!”
The guests cheered. Isaias grabbed the bowl from Desiree and held it up in the air, and went on stage with Nadia.
“Well there you have it folks, six thousand dollars will go to what charity, Isaias?”
“The Hospice Foundation of America. My father had terminal cancer, and this organization helped us get through his death with the least pain as possible. There are thousands of other families in our country that go through what I went through every day. So thank you very much everyone.”
Up next was the money dance.
“Dear guests, I have a special treat for you. We have two bands here today. We have Jake Griffin and his orchestra, and we have a not so known local band by the name of Therapy. Just for a little while, Jake and his band are going to take a break and Therapy is going to play for you.
“Have fun everyone!”
Thirty minutes later, the hired band stepped down to take a break. Smoke didn’t bother waiting for them to get completely off the stage before he started with his introductions.
“Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the wedding of the year. I would usually say that two of our band members are missing, and then introduce the rest of the band, but this isn’t a typical show, and that would be a lie now wouldn’t it?
“My name is Ethan, but most call me Smoke. I play the booming bass. Jeff is our trombonist extraordinaire. Kenny is our most talented trumpeter. He says not to call him that, but eh, okay then, he’s on trumpet. The man who rivals John Coltrane on sax and boasts that he is the best, we have Alex. To play drums for you is one of the grooms, the most distinguished drummer in the business, Isaias Reynolds. Last but not least. The master and genius of the ivories, slave driver, front man and other groom, Owen Thomas.”
Owen sat at the piano and began to play their first song lightly. This would tell his band what he had in mind. Whenever he sat at the piano, and he was in a room full of people, he couldn’t help himself. He became the entertainer.
“Wow. Look at the people. I would love to have this many people at a venue that I normally play. But unfortunately, none will hold this many. Maybe I should call our agent and add this house as a venue. I don’t think mother and father would approve though.”
Owen waited for the laugher to die down, and continued with the show.
“I appreciate all of you coming out to the wedding of the year. No one else can say that since no one else is getting married this year. No offense mother.”
Owen continued to play lightly as the guests laughed again. He played for a moment to allow them to listen to his genius before he continued.
“No really. I think that my mother has done a wonderful job our wedding. My beautiful wife couldn’t decide on a date and almost drove her crazy. The date changed four times. I expected my mother to have a stroke, but she came through for us. Let’s give a round of applause for the always charming, forever going, always planning, never tiring, Nadia Raye Thomas, ladies and gentleman. Socialite of the year.”
The guests gave a standing ovation, and Nadia stood up and took a bow. Owen went on with his thanks.
“Let’s not forget the most important man of the house, my father, and the man with all of the loot. Without him, the fun you are having right now would not be possible. Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Vigneron Richard Michael Thomas. Stand up and take a bow!”
Richard stood up and took his bow, and the guests were again on their feet.
“Well I guess it’s time for the money dance. My father explained the rules earlier. No dough, no dance. The first song that we would like to play for you, Isaias wrote, and inspired by Whitney herself. The name of the song is Philly.”
Owen gave the count, and the song began. They played through their first song. When it was over, Owen went back into show mode. “We have a spectacular bass player in our man Smoke. Everyone asks me, why do they call him Smoke and his name is Ethan? I simply reply. “Hell I don’t know. Maybe he can tell you.
“He wrote an extremely hot song called Master. I don’t know for sure, but I can only speculate that it is between him and his woman Brenda. You listen, and you decide.
Smoke gave the count, and the song started. When they were finished, there was more money for the various charities.
“All right, All right. That’s what I’m talking about. The best-looking women in the room thank you. Let’s get this over with. I want them to sit down and rest. It is our wedding night after all.”
Again, there was laughter from the crowd.
“As much as I would love to play all night, the rest of my band members would bail on me. I don’t want them to do that. I still have one more tune in me. So the fellas can have a seat. When I first met Desiree, I had commitment issues. She didn’t know that until a few weeks ago. Back then, I could only blame the obvious, when in fact it was really me. I poured all of my feelings into a song, and I played it in public for the first time a few weeks ago. Now I would like to play it for you. It isn’t something we as a band that would normally play, so I will do it alone. I also would like to say, that I once was afraid to tell the world my feelings about her, but no longer. I will be the first to admit that I didn’t love her until strawberry topping was involved.”
“Oooh,” everyone replied.
Owen chuckled. “Hey, draw your own conclusions. Ladies and gentlemen a song about my personal struggle. Confusion.”
Owen sang, and it moved everyone to give him a standing ovation. When the song was finished, Owen ended the set.
“Thank you very much. I really do appreciate all of your donations. If you liked what you heard, well then go on out and buy it. The name of our album is Blood, Sweat, and Tears. Desiree pointed out to me one day that those three words mean more than just hard work. Take them as you may.
“Dear guests, I would like to think of our music as the treatment of physical, mental, or behavioral problems that is meant to cure or rehabilitate someone. Come on out one night and see us. Ladies and gentleman, we are Therapy.”
Owen and his band took a bow, and went back to their table. Nadia then took the stage once more.
“Well, it’s getting late, and all of our pockets are empty. There is still more fun to be had. Would the brides and grooms please go to the front of the dance floor? It’s time for the bouquet and garter toss. Have you been waiting for the one meant just for you? Get in line ladies and gents. With the good luck on the bouquet and the garter, you are certainly to find that special one. Ladies first.
Whitney and Desiree threw the bouquets one at a time. The garters were next. Finally, a last dance, and everyone went home.
The entire wedding party was exhausted. They made their way to the library, and plopped down in the nearest seat.
Owen looked around at everyone and noticed the exhaustion carved into their faces. He wasn’t ready to end the party. “Well everyone, I have really enjoyed all of you this past week. I hope you have had fun as well, but the fun isn’t over. Is everyone ready for Paris?” Owen said, excited.
All in the room replied, “Yeah!”
“Well, make sure your bags are packed. We leave in the morning. We can finish the party here if you’re not to chicken to do so. I plan to get just enough sleep to get me on the plane, and I can sleep on the way to Paris, what about you?
“Yeah!” Everyone replied.
“Nigel, break out the booze. You can join us if you like,” Owen said, meaning every word.
Nigel declined. “No thank you sir. If I did, your mother would kill me.”
“As you wish.” Owen shrugged. “Drinks all around everyone!”
Nigel and the other help poured each guest of the house the drink of their choosing. Isaias sipped his favorite wine, looked into his wife’s eyes, not believing for a second that she was really, and finally his.
He remembered at the reception, she said something about wanting to talk to him, and he also had something to talk to her about.
Isaias ran his fingers through her hair. “Honey, let’s go outside. I want to talk to you in private.”
The two of them went out into the garden. Isaias smiled and hugged Whitney.
“What’s up?” Whitney asked.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Isaias began, “but I want to talk about Russell.”
Whitney shook her head in confusion. “It doesn’t matter to me either, Isaias.”
“Oh but it does. If you could’ve seen the look on your face when you saw him.”
“I was shocked that’s all.”
“Are you sure you didn’t invite him?”
“No baby. I learned my lesson the last time.”
Isaias began to get angry. Russell showing up at his wedding was one thing. Showing up uninvited was another. “Well what was he doing here?”
“He heard I was getting married. He said he wanted to see it for himself.”
Isaias took a sip of his wine. “So he crashed our wedding.”
“It’s not as if we had to feed him or anything. So what’s the big deal?”
“He disrespected me. That’s the big deal.”
“He didn’t. He could’ve easily gotten into a limo and came to the reception. That would have been disrespecting you. Listen Isaias, he just wanted to say goodbye. I don’t expect to see or hear from him ever again.”
Realizing his anger was coming from jealousy, he suddenly thought of his wife’s feelings. “And this makes you sad.”
“Well, yes. We had a history. I wasn’t just his girlfriend I was his best friend as well. Kinda like you and Victoria. But I made my decision, and I’m here with you now. You are the one I chose, you are the one I love, and you are the one I married. I’m just a little upset that I’m losing a friend that’s all.”
Isaias pulled her close, and held her tight. “I understand. Fate brought us together you know.”
“Yeah, fate. Owen and I were talking at our graduation party. I was looking at you and Desiree wondering how he and I landed the both of you. We just thought we were lucky. Owen and I share the same background, and so do you and Desiree. Both backgrounds so different, so what else could it be but fate. Now, you mentioned you wanted to talk to me. What’s up?”
Expecting Isaias to get angry, Whitney pulled away. “Victoria is still up to her games.”
“What?” Isaias said, remembering Victoria brought Heath to the reception. “So she has a boyfriend. As long as I get to spend time with my son who cares.”
Rubbing his arm, Whitney replied, “Honey listen. I know you weren’t paying attention, but I was. Did you happen to notice her left hand?”
“I think Victoria is married.”
“Yeah. At least engaged. She has a diamond on her finger that is by no means in comparison to mine, but a diamond none the less.”
Isaias clicked his teeth. “So what, Whitney. I’m a happy man tonight. I don’t care about Vic anymore. Just as long as we can get along long enough to be there for Jason. That’s all that matters. What is the big deal?”
Whitney turned her back. “Facial features and lies.”
“And that means what?” Isaias said, tilting his head to one side.
Whitney turned and gazed into Isaias’ eyes. “I don’t mean to alarm you. When we first met Jason, I had no doubt in my mind that he was your son. Today, we met Victoria’s new man.”
“I repeat, so what.”
“When your mother brought Jason to the table, I was watching Victoria. She couldn’t take her eyes off the two of you. It was almost like she was hoping you wouldn’t see what I saw.”
“What didn’t she want me to see?” Isaias asked, still confused.
“While Jason was sitting in your lap, I looked at him, and I looked at you. That boy looks absolutely nothing like you.”
Thinking back on Jason’s appearance, Isaias replied, “No, he looks like his mother right now.”
Whitney clicked her teeth in disbelief. “Isaias Reynolds, I don’t believe that Jason is your son. Victoria is pushing Jason on you for some yet unknown reason and I don’t like it.”
Suddenly offended, Isaias replied. “Whitney, why are you trying to start a fight tonight?”
“Baby believe me, I’m not trying to start a fight. I know you love that little boy.”
Not convinced, Isaias replied, “Well why are you trying to keep me from him?”
“I’m not. What I’m trying to keep you from is something that will break your heart later on.”
“I don’t think you’re ready to be a mom.”
Frustrated, and angry, Whitney replied, “Well if you want to fight then you’re on. Isaias look. I told you months ago not to trust her. I felt back then she was up to something, I just didn’t know what. I think Jason is Heath’s son, and Victoria is using that baby to get to you. She either married Heath or soon will to cover everything up. Now as your wife, I will say this. You can believe what that bitch tells you if you want to. When she breaks your heart again, don’t blame me. I will be an absolutely wonderful mother to our children. Yours and mine. Before tonight, I was ready to take Jason in because I thought he was a part of you. Now I’m not so sure. But if you want to keep on putting her between us, then you go right ahead. You will go on your honeymoon alone.”
“But babe-” Isaias tried to interrupt to no avail.
“For goodness sake, put some of those brains of yours to work and analyze the situation. You know her. You know just what she’s been up ever since she found out about me. I love you, and I will kick her ass in a New York minute for hurting you. But if you aren’t smart enough to see what she’s up to, then what would be the point.”
Whitney walked away from Isaias and went to bed. Isaias sat down, and thought about what Whitney said. Could Victoria be playing him? If she was, what was there to gain? Victoria knew he loved Whitney, and he wasn’t going to leave her. He believed that Jason was his son, and no one could take him away. Why would Whitney say such things? Perhaps she was jealous. Isaias decided that was the case, and decided to forget about the whole conversation.