Beyond The Masque Part II

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Chapter 31

“Oh Roxanne,” my mother’s voice cracks as she delicately wipes a tear from her cheek, trying not to smudge her makeup, “you look so beautiful.”

“Thank you, mom,” I whisper, trying to contain my own emotions.

I don’t want to ruin my makeup that has been applied by a fantastic professional makeup artist, set up by Les.

“Roxie, I can’t believe you’re getting married today. It feels like just yesterday we were in high school,” Casey gushes from behind me.

I’m standing in front of a large full-length mirror in an elegant and large bedroom at the ranch where my wedding to Spence will commence in less than a couple of hours. This day has finally arrived, and it’s a little surreal. Today I marry Mr. Spence Manfredi, the wonderfully unexpected love of my life. This year has gone by so quickly, and I can’t believe how far we’ve come since I met him for the first time a year and a half ago. Lena comes over and stands next to me, and then she wraps a slender arm around my waist and rests her head on my bare shoulder.

“I’m so happy for you, Rox. I’m glad that we met and that we became such good friends. I’m honored that you asked me to be a part of your big day.”

She looks up at me, and I turn to hug her tightly, the tears spilling over.

“Thank you, Lena, I love you,” I say quietly into her neck.

“Love you too, girl,” she says back with a sniffle.

Casey joins us, wrapping her arms around us and squeezing tightly.

“I love you guys too,” Casey says, and then she’s crying as well.

Just then, Les comes bursting into the room in a flurry. He spots the three of us crying and gasps.

“Ladies! You are ruining your makeup, stop that right now!”

I can tell he’s half teasing and half-serious.

“Sorry, Les,” I giggle.

The three of us break away from each other and grab tissues to dab away the tears.

“It’s okay, my dear. Bobby is at your makeup service all day, so cry away,” Les assures me.

“Roxanne honey, I’m going to go find your father,” my mom tells me as she kisses my cheek and disappears out the door.

“I hope she can find him in this place,” Lena comments.

This ‘Ranch’ is more of a vast and sprawling country mansion, on hundreds of acres of beautiful land. The owners only accept a few weddings here each year, and ours was one of them.

“I’m here with a special delivery,” Les says, coming over to stand next to me.

“What kind of special delivery?” I ask curiously, not being able to contain the smile on my face.

“It’s from the groom,” Les smiles, handing me a small blue box- Tiffany’s blue.

“Oooh!” Casey smiles and claps her hands together excitedly as I take the box from him.

“What is it?” Lena asks Les.

“I have no idea. I guess she’s going to have to open it to find out,” Les grins.

I untie the white ribbon and open the lid. I gasp at the contents. It’s a beautiful set of diamond cluster earrings, each with a delicate aquamarine stone hanging from it.

“Oh my goodness,” I sigh.

"Perfect. We still needed something blue," Les says.

“That man sure has good taste,” Casey approves.

Les takes the box from my hands and pulls the earrings out.

“Let's get these on you,” he says as he carefully brushes my hair away from my ears and inserts them.

I check them out in the mirror and smile. The earrings go perfectly with my dress. As for my wedding gift to Spence, I plan on giving it to him later.

“The perfect touch,” Les smiles approvingly.

“Rox, I’m going to go get Chris. He wanted to see you before the ceremony,” Lena informs me as she kisses my cheek and leaves, leaving only Les, Casey and I.

After a few minutes, we hear a knock on the door. I assume it’s Chris or Lena, but when nobody walks in, Les goes to answer the door.

“Can I help you?” I hear Les say quietly, so obviously it’s not anyone in the family.

I can’t hear the response, but I hear Les speaking again.

“Let me just check with the bride, please wait here.”

Les, closes the door and comes over to me with a puzzled look on his face.

“Who is it?” I ask, a little anxiously.

“He says his name is Seth Turrell?” Les replies, “I don’t recall his name on the guest list.”

What? Oh no! What is he doing here? How did he get past security? Nobody without an invitation is getting past security, Spence made quite sure of that.

“Seth? What the fuck is he doing here?” Casey huffs.

“No clue…” I mumble, feeling my palms go sweaty all of a sudden.

“Should I get rid of him?” Les asks, picking up on the sudden tension.

“I’ll do it,” Casey offers, frowning towards the door, “I can’t let him try and ruin your wedding day.”

“I’ll talk to him,” I say.

I know I should tell him to get lost, but I want to see him.

“What? Are you nuts?” Casey gasps.

“No, I need to finish this. Once and for all,” I say adamantly.

“Do I need to alert the groom?” Les asks me.

“No! Don’t do that. I don’t want him going to jail on our wedding day,” I laugh nervously.

I don’t even want to know what Spence would do if he knew Seth was here.

“Okay, if you say so, honey, but something tells me that this is not a good situation,” Les says.

“Right you are, Les,” Casey grumbles.

Les walks over to the door and opens it, ushering Seth in. I turn towards him as he enters the room. Standing there, looking handsome and clean-cut in his black suit and tie, I watch his face as he takes me in. It’s a heartbreaking mix of awe and pain.

“You shouldn’t be here, Seth, this is stupid,” Casey snaps at him, but he ignores her, coming closer to me.

“Roxanne,” he says my name in a whisper.

“Les, Casey… can we have a few minutes please?” I ask them, not taking my eyes off of Seth.

They nod solemnly and leave the room, but not before Casey shoots me a hard look of disapproval.

When we are alone, Seth closes the distance and comes to stand right in front of me. I look up at him, and he looks down at me wordlessly for a few seconds before either of us speaks.

“Seth,” I whisper, “what are you doing here?”

“I had to see you one last time before this became official,” he tells me.

“Seth, it is official.”

“Not until you say I do,” he shakes his head.

I sigh and take his hand in mine and lead him towards a large white sofa near a window. I sit down carefully, and he sits down next to me.

“You are so beautiful, Rox.”

“How’d you get in here anyway?” I ask curiously, ignoring his compliment.

“I’m someone’s date,” he smiles, giving me a hint of his mischievous smile that I used to melt over.

I can guess who his date is.

“Anya?” I ask, and he nods in response.

Figures. We had to invite her since she is the daughter of the best man, and Spence has known her since she was a child.

“Anyway, Roxanne, as much as you may think that I’m here to ruin your wedding day, I’m not. I just wanted to say goodbye to you,” Seth says, taking my hand in his.

“Goodbye?” I repeat, and he nods.

Slowly, he lifts my hand to his mouth and kisses it gently. He strokes my fingers with his thumbs, and I allow it while I wait for him to continue.

“I’m uh, relocating.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m moving my business to Los Angeles. I’ve decided it’s time for a fresh start. Business here is alright, but the big money is in California.”

“Is this all because of me, Seth? I don’t want you to uproot your whole life because of me.”

“Actually, I’ve been considering this move for a couple of years now. When you came along, I put it aside, but now that you are no longer an option, I’ve decided to go ahead and do it.”

“Lucas told me that you weren’t doing so good. That you were acting kind of reckless lately,” I tell him.

Seth nods, not denying it.

“I was stupid, I’ll admit it. I was on a tear, but I’m done with all that. I’m thirty fucking one years old. It’s time for me to grow up and get serious. This whole thing with you has shown me that.”

“I’m glad, Seth. I hated to think that you were so…so torn up about me. I didn’t understand it, because it’s not like we were ever really together.”

“I know, and I didn’t understand it myself exactly. I guess there’s just something about you, Rox. Lucas seen it, I seen it, and Spence most definitely saw it. He truly deserves you, Roxanne, because he’s the only one who fought for you.”

“I love him, Seth.”

“I know. I just wish it had been me, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. I do hope you two are happy together, and I truly hope this is it for you both.”

His words touch me, and I feel the tears start trickling down my cheeks.

“Oh Seth,” I sniff and wrap my arms around his neck and hug him tightly.

He hugs me back tightly and rubs my back comfortingly.

“I’m always going to have a soft spot for you, Rox. You’re the first girl ever to make me feel this way and question everything.”

“I’ll always care for you too, Seth,” I whisper against his shoulder.

Seth pulls back a little and looks me in the eye. He tenderly swipes a thumb across my cheek, wiping away a tear, and then he leans in and plants a small soft kiss on my lips.

“Just a goodbye kiss,” he whispers, pulling back again.

I smile at him. I know he means it that way, so I won’t give him crap for it.

“Are you staying for the wedding?” I ask him, and he shakes his head slowly.

“No, I can’t do it. Letting you go is one thing, watching you get married is another.”

“Won’t Anya be disappointed?”

“Too bad for her,” Seth shrugs, flashing his dimples at me.

“You’re so bad!” I giggle and swat his arm playfully.

“Always, baby,” he laughs.

After another few minutes or so, Seth leaves, gone for good, I suppose. I’m glad we got to talk, and this time, it’s actually over. It’s time to move on now. It only takes Casey a few seconds after he leaves for her to come storming in.

“Alright, tell me what happened before anyone else comes in here,” she orders.

“Calm down Case. He was saying goodbye, for good this time,” I inform her.

“For good?”

“Yeah, he’s moving to California,” I say.

Her face finally softens from a scowl.

“Really?”

“Really,” I nod, “he’s leaving, and he wished Spence and me the best. That’s it, that’s all.”

“Wow. That’s good then.”

“I’m just glad to know that he’s out of the funk he was in.”

Casey nods in agreement, and then Les enters the room, scanning the room. When he sees that it’s just Casey and me in here, he breathes a loud sigh of relief.

“Drama over?” he asks.

“Done,” I confirm.

“Okay good. We have more visitors,” he tells me before Lena comes in with Chris, and my mom comes in with my dad.

Chris is looking quite dashing in his tux, and he runs over to me and wraps his arms around me.

“Rox, you look, gorgeous girl,” he steps away and holds me at arm's length, “Spence is a lucky man.”

“Thank you, Chris,” I blush and kiss him on the cheek.

“I still think I could’ve pulled off one of those bridesmaids dresses quite well though,” he laughs, gesturing at Casey and Lena in their cream-colored Vera Wang bridesmaid’s dresses.

“I think the tux looks better on you, though,” I giggle.

“I agree,” Lena laughs.

“Anyway Roxanne, I just wanted to tell you how happy I am for you, and how honored I am to be a part of your Big day. You really are my best friend, and I hope it always stays that way. And this summer, I want you to be my best man, but you don’t have to wear a tux,”

“Awe Chris,” I sniff, again choking back tears as I hug him.

“Okay everyone, we need to get everyone in their places, we’re starting shortly,” Les announces.

“Already? I guess that means I need to get back to the groom,” Chris says.

He winks at me and kisses Lena quickly before running out the door.

“Are you ready for this?” Casey asks me quietly with a smile.

“Ready,” I grin back at her.

My heart is almost bursting with happiness and excitement.

Soon, we are ushered outside, into a small white tent to await the beginning of the ceremony. Les gets us into our places. Lena, Casey, followed by my father and me. I hold onto my bouquet tightly in one hand, and his arm tightly in the other.

“Nervous, honey?” My dad whispers to me.

“A little, but mostly excited,” I whisper back.

I just want to lay eyes upon my future husband- See his devastatingly handsome face, that smile that makes my knees go weak every time I see it. I hear the music start, a string quartet softly playing Pachelbel Canon. Les tried to talk me into a less used piece, but I just love it. The curtains are pulled open, and Lena starts her trip up the aisle. Casey starts moving forward, and we follow behind her. Les stops us before we exit, causing a dramatic pause after Casey before my father and I come out.

“Okay sweetheart, this is it,” Les says excitedly, giving us our cue to go.

We step out into the warm sun and onto the grassy aisle, sprinkled in fall leaves. That’s when I get my first glimpse of the person I want to see the most. Everyone gets to his or her feet as I make my way towards him. The look on Spence’s face makes me want to sprint up this aisle and run away somewhere more private with him, but I keep pace with my father instead. Spence watches me like he and I are the only ones there, and the smile on his face is his very best yet. This man is about to become my husband; I almost can’t believe my luck.

We finally make it to the front. My dad kisses my cheek and steps back. After a few words from the officiant, Casey takes my bouquet, and I turn towards Spence. He takes my hands in his and holds them securely. I mouth, ‘I love you’ to him, and he repeats it to me. I barely hear the next words spoken until its Spence’s turn to recite his vows.

I listen intently, not able to pull my eyes from his face. I nearly miss my cue to say my vows. I hear quiet laughter coming from the guests as I’m brought out of my daze by Spence tapping my hand to pay attention. He chuckles softly when I finally acknowledge the officiant. I recite my vows and then come the rings. Everything is happening so quickly, and before I know it, we are announced as Mr. and Mrs. Manfredi, and Spence may kiss the bride.

Spence wraps his arms around me, and I excitedly wrap my arms around his neck, pulling him eagerly towards me. His lips find mine, and I kiss him back with fervor. There is more chuckling from the crowd, and when the kiss continues for a little longer than expected, laughter turns to cheer. Spence gently breaks the kiss and hugs me tightly. We turn, hand in hand towards our guests and smile before retreating down the aisle and into the tent.

“Give us a minute?” I ask Les before anyone joins us.

He nods and closes the tent so Spence and I can have a moment of privacy before the party starts.

“You are stunning, my wife,” Spence murmurs in my ear, “and my gift was the perfect touch I see.”

“The earrings are beautiful, thank you,” I whisper back, “and I just so happen to have a special gift for you too.”

“Oh, you do?”

“Yes, would you like it now or later?” I smile at him.

“Here, right now?” he asks teasingly.

I nod, a coy smile on my lips.

“Alright, what is it?”

“Well, it’s a little last minute, but I know you’ll love it.”

Here it goes.

“I’m uh…Spence, I’m pregnant,” I tell him, my voice barely coming out in a whisper.

There. I’ve been holding that in for almost a week.

“Pregnant?” he whispers back, a slow grin spreading across his face. “How? I mean, I know how, but like how? When?” he adds excitedly.

“Well,” I begin, “my period was already a few weeks late when we went to Vegas, but I just chalked it up to wedding stress. When it still hadn’t shown up this week, I took a test, a low and behold, it was positive. I guess my pill didn’t do its job.”

“You’re having my baby?” Spence’s voice cracks slightly, and I notice that his eyes have become glassy.

I nod in response; his reaction is making me want to cry again. Oh, what the heck? I just let it out. As soon as the tears fall down my face, a few escape Spence as well. This is the first time I’ve ever seen him cry. Promptly, he wraps his arms around me tightly.

“I love you so much, Rox. Thank you for the best gift I’ve ever received.”

“For the man who has everything,” I giggle into his shoulder.

“I truly do have everything I could wish for, now that I have you and…”

Spence gently places a hand on my abdomen and rubs it. I put my hand on his.

“I had been hoping to have you all to myself for a little while first, but sometimes you just can’t plan these things,” I say with a sniffle.

I had been pretty shocked when I saw that little positive sign on that stick- and the half dozen I took after it before the doctor confirmed it. I guess when you go at it like bunnies the way Spence and I do, eventually something was bound to happen. The amazing thing was, the thing that I wasn’t expecting was my reaction to the news. I thought this would terrify me, but it was the opposite. The thought of actually having Spence’s baby inside me thrilled me. Though, I had been anxious about the fact that I had been drinking, not knowing of my condition. The doctor told me that as long as I stopped immediately, all would be fine.

“Doctor says that I’m about seven or eight weeks along,” I tell him excitedly.

Spence’s lips land hard on mine. He kisses me like his life depended on it.

“Are you two done yet? You’ve got people waiting?” I hear Casey’s impatient voice coming from outside the tent.

Spence breaks away, and we are nearly panting, then we start laughing.

“Are we telling anybody yet?” he asks me quietly.

“No. I don’t want to say anything for a while yet. For now, let’s just keep this our little secret,” I smile and rub my belly.

“Our little secret,” Spence confirms, and then he flashes his megawatt smile.

I hope our little one is blessed with that family trait.

“Well, shall we go join the rest of the party?” I suggest.

“I guess we should, though I wish I could have you all to myself right now- just whisk you off somewhere a little more private,” Spence smiles.

“You know? I was thinking the same about you the second I saw you standing at the end of the aisle,” I tell him, and he chuckles.

“Excellent. Well, maybe sometime today, we can carve out a little time in the festivities and do just that,” Spence says, running a finger down my cheek.

“Okay, you two,” Casey’s voice breaks in, and we turn to see her standing in the entryway.

“I know you two have a hard time keeping your hands off one another, but seriously.”

She’s trying to keep the amused smirk off her face but fails.

“You’ve got guests waiting to wish the happy couple well, and Les is a little worried that we’re going off schedule.”

“Screw the schedule,” Spence says with a smile.

“Sorry Case, we’ll be right out,” I tell her and look up at Spence, who hasn’t taken his eyes off of me.

I take his hand and give it a little squeeze as we head out of the tent and towards our friends and family. I feel so happy right now that I can barely contain myself. I am now officially Roxanne Manfredi. I’ve got the most loving, caring, and sexy husband a girl could ask for, and I’m carrying his baby.

How did this happen?- To think that it all started with one little masque. How my life has changed and how it’ll continue to evolve. This is the best decision I’ve ever made.

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