The Domination Game: Checkmate Vol. 2

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Chapter 11

That day when Davis and I went into the room to let them know that we were officially getting married on Wednesday, Lucy’s face beamed with pride and my mother wore a true smile despite her discomfort. My happiness at marrying this man was overpowering. Once again he’d brought about a whole new excitement I’d never experienced before. Davis was simply adorable about the whole thing, and I loved how my mom seemed to be warming up to him. He even sat in the room while she told me what she thought my wedding dress should look like.

My mother was worried about what she was going to wear to the wedding, and was nervous about meeting Davis’s mother. She wanted to look pretty, but Lucy assured her that she could be properly attired for the wedding and that she would be just as beautiful as always. That made my mother much more at ease. The thought of people seeing her not properly put together made her very anxious…hmm, sounds vaguely familiar, doesn’t it?

Once again Kitty was impossible to get hold of, but I did try. I left a message on her cell and on her home number, informing her that I was getting married and she’d better be there. The only excuse for not making it was physical injury to one’s person.

Allie was at the restaurant when I called her, and she had no problems getting a couple of days off. The last couple of times I’d talked to her she was upset, but didn’t want to talk about it, and would change the subject to my recent problems.

Davis had her staying in the same hotel as us, and as soon as she arrived in Savannah, we were off to look for a wedding dress. We made our way into a beautiful bridal shop, where we had at least ten dresses picked out.

Allie sat down on the couch provided, and I went and tried on my first gown. When I walked out she liked the dress. “It looks really pretty, A.B.,” she told me.

I grinned. “I’m going for more than just pretty,” I told her, walking back into the changing room. “So are you going to tell me what’s going on with you now? Or am I going to pry it out of you with a crowbar,” I asked from behind the curtain.

“It’s nothing, let’s just enjoy our day together,” she said.

“Allison, I swear!”

“Fine! Fine. Peter’s been acting weird lately. That’s all,” she confessed.

“What? Why is he acting weird?”

“He’s been gone all the time. Seems like he’s taking every flight possible to get away from me.”

“I think you’re reading something into nothing. That man is completely infatuated with you,” I answered. I heard her sigh as I zipped myself up the best I could and made my way out.

“Maybe at one point he did, now I’m not so sure. He’s been in London a lot lately.”

“That’s his route. What is that brain of yours concocting?” I laughed.

“Maybe he found some hot Frenchwoman. And now he’s thinking of a way to dump me.”

“Oh lord! Please, darling, you’re reading things into this,” I exclaimed.

“Maybe you’re right. Or could be wrong,” she mumbled.

She stood to zip me up completely. We both looked at the dress in the mirror, and frowned. “Too much…well, it’s just too much,” she commented.

“Yes, I’d have to agree with you on this one,” I told her, chuckling as I went back to my room. “Allie, could you please inform the woman that I would like something a little more unique? All these frills, ruffles and glitter really don’t suit me.”

“Sure thing, sweetie,” she said. A moment later she was at the door, holding a gown in her hand. “I found it!” she chirped excitedly.

“You found what?”

“The dress, oh my word. Only you could pull off a dress like this,” she told me, shoving the garment into my hands. “Hurry up and try it on. I can’t wait to see if I’m right!”

When I held it up to take a better look at it, she was right. It was something I would be enamored with. The fifties-style tea length dress was stunning, and all in cream. The bodice was done in Chantilly lace with a modest jeweled neckline. The bottom was a cream-colored satin with the lace lying over it, simple, classic, elegant, and stunning. When I slipped it on and the tulle underneath made the dress come out just enough, I was completely enamored. “You, Allie, are a genius!” I told her.

“Well, don’t just stand in your room, come out and let me see it!” she shouted at me with a laugh.

I opened up the curtain and walked out onto the platform. “What do you think?” I asked, fluffing up the tulle underneath the gown.

“Geezum crow, A.B. You’re stunning!” she exclaimed.

I laughed. “I think you’re a little biased, but I do adore it, Allie. Absolutely perfect,” I beamed at her.

The woman who was helping us came over. “Oh my, I would’ve never thought of such a dress. I guess your friend was right.”

Allie put her finger over her mouth, tapping it in thought. “What about a veil?”

We looked at each other as we both thought. “You know, there’s a small one over next to the mannequin. It’s a short sheer veil that was held on with a flowered beret. Let’s see how that one looks,” I told her.

Allie ran, yes ran to retrieve the veil and I put it on. The flowers were simple and the sheer material only went down to my chin. It was short, neat and very elegant. “Oh, A.B. It’s perfect,” she breathed. She looked around. “Shoes?”

I smiled at her, then looked at the saleswoman. “I saw you have the new Louboutins, Top Vogue. Those would be perfect with all the sparkle, and I love how the backs of them are blood red. It’ll match my lipstick.” I winked at her. “I’ll take those, please.”

“Oh lord, Davis just doesn’t know what he’s getting into,” Allie giggled with glee over me and my very naughty ways.

“Oh darling, he so knows what he’s getting into,” I informed her with a laugh, and she joined in. The poor saleswoman was smiling, but was wondering what was so funny. If she only knew.

Allie and I picked out her dress and Kitty’s. They were tea length as well, red satin and stunning. I wanted my mother to feel confident, so I chose a beautiful red gown with a cream-colored pixie collar. She would adore it. I found a gorgeous dress for Lucy that would go well with my mother’s, and picked up a hat to match. You know those Georgia women and their beautiful hats.

We went to a local florist’s for the wedding bouquet. I told Allie that I thought flowers were an extravagance that was unnecessary for me. She told me, and her exact words were, “Shut the fuck up.”So off we went. I informed them I didn’t want or need an enormous bunch of flowers, that I would love just a simple bouquet of red roses. After much fuss, I finally chose the corsages for my mother and Lucy. I wanted them to have red and white roses with baby’s breath. And the girls were going to be carrying small white roses; very simple, very beautiful, and they would match everything to a tee.

Allie and I went to have a nice dinner in downtown Savannah, and made sure we brought back some sweet peach pie to the hospital for dessert for all of us. We’d had a great day together, talking and catching up.

The next day it was just the four of us sitting around talking, after our outing to get our nails and feet taken care of. Allie, Lucy, and I had left my mom resting while we went out to have that done, to give her a break from all the excitement.

My nails were painted a bright candy apple red, and both women laughed at me when I showed them the color I picked out. Lucy decided to go with my color choice, thinking my Mom would love the red as well, and they’d match perfectly. So I bought the bottle of matching color, and when we got back to the hospital I gave my mom a manicure. I painted her nails the same vibrant red as mine, and was pleased with the smile on her face. We put Fried Green Tomatoes in the DVD player, and had a lovely afternoon together.

Allie and I sat with my mother and Lucy, talking about how the two of us were always in trouble when we were younger. My mother was telling Lucy how the two of us could never keep clean, when the third troublemaker walked through the hospital door.

“All right ladies, the party can begin!” came Kitty’s happy voice.

I chuckled as her arms flew up in the air flamboyantly, like she was the life of the party. “I see you finally and once again rolled out from under whatever man you’re with now,” I laughed.

“Hey!” she whined.

Allie got up and gave her a hug and then a tweak on the arm. “Ouch! What the hell?” Kitty asked, hurt.

“My thoughts exactly. Where the hell have you been? We’ve been trying to get hold of you for a month now,” Allie said, crossing her arms.

I raised my finger at Kitty but smiled at my mom, who was softly chuckling. “Hence the term, rolling out from under your new flavor,” I offered.

She rubbed her arm where Allie had pinched her, and went over to kiss my mother hello, then made her way over to Lucy. “For all of your information, I’ve fallen in love,” she stated.

Allie and I groaned, and my mother and Lucy gushed. “All right, who’s the man you’ve fallen in love with?” I asked skeptically.

She bit her lip and didn’t just shout it out, which made Allie and me squint at her. “Well, spit it out, Kitty,” Allie told her.

“I will if A.B. doesn’t get mad.”

I sat up in my seat. “Me?” I asked, my hand going to my chest in question. “As long as your bed isn’t occupied with my man, believe me darling, I’m just fine with whomever you’re fornicating with,” I laughed.

My mom’s smile was huge, and Lucy slapped her legs. “How come even the nasty stuff that comes out your mouth sounds as sweet as apple pie. I’d swear you’re French, sweet pea!” she giggled.

Allie kicked her feet up on Mom’s bed. “Geezum crow, just spill it, would yah.”

She rolled her eyes and uncrossed her arms. “Fine. I flew in with Richie.”

“With Richie? I thought…wait, you’re seeing Rich?” I asked, baffled over the news.

Allie’s eyes narrowed as she tried to remember who he was. “Which one’s Rich?” she asked. My mom’s and Lucy’s heads went back and forth as if they were watching a tennis match, bouncing from one person to the next to see how everything was going to play out.

I smiled at Kitty’s pout and told Allie, “You remember, the one she was gushing over on Christmas Day.”

“Oh, him…” she nodded at me, remembering Kitty asking about him.

She pulled up a seat next to us. “Hey, it’s not that. He’s really nice, and I really like him, you guys,” she began.

Allie and I glanced at each other with little snickers. “That’s fine, Kitty. I don’t care if you’re seeing Rich. The only thing I ask is, I don’t want to hear how big he is.”

“Well…”

“Ah, ah, ah. And I don’t want to know if he hums when he’s using the bathroom.”

Allie cut in: “Or if he eats his toenail clippings.”

“Or if he asked you to measure his penis when he was soft, and then when he was hard…” With that Allie tried to keep in a laugh but was failing miserably. “And…” I was already starting to tear up, holding back my own laughter, and Allie was about to slide off the chair. “I don’t want to hear: Fuhck yah, fuhck yah, yah fuhck me so good baby, yah fuhck me so good!” I finished, tears streaking down my face as I laughed.

Allie was on the floor, hitting the plastic chair with her hand. “I can’t breathe!” she choked out, gasping and laughing.

Kitty crossed her arms, glaring at us laughing at her past mistakes. “You guys are a bunch of bitches, yah know that?” she moped, as round two started in with laughter. Lucy was laughing as well, and smiled at my mom. “This is better than the afternoon soaps, Loretta!”

“Yeah, they’ve always been a bunch of jokers,” my mom chuckled carefully.

***

Davis hadn’t seen his little woman in a day--well, technically two and a half. Tony dropped Allie off, Abie gave him a kiss and off she went with her best friend. Lucy patted him on the shoulder with a smile, going back in to see Loretta.

When he went back to their hotel room, he got a call from Allie that his little woman wouldn’t be making it home that night; he was informed that he’d see her on their wedding day, to be exact. He was also informed that they had woman things to discuss, and it would be bad luck if he saw Abie before then. Whatever the hell was going on with the womanly talk, he knew for sure he didn’t want to know about it. So he laughed and told her that was fine, just to make sure that his little woman was on time for the day of their nuptials.

The next day she did manage to call him. She came on talking quietly, and damn, if her thinking about him when they were apart wasn’t everything he was hoping for. “Hey, sugar. Whatcha up to?” he asked with a grin.

“I only have a minute. The ladies are just finishing up, but I wanted to see how you were.” Then he heard her sigh.“I also wanted to tell you how sorry I am for leaving you so suddenly when Allie came into town. And for not being there with you last night.”

“Now don’t you be frettin’ your pretty little head about such things. I knew my woman would want some girl time to get ready and all. This is our weddin’, so you’re just compacting everything into two days, sugar… no worries,” he exclaimed with a smile.

She laughed at him, and damn if he didn’t miss that. “It was our last night together as the two Musketeers, then the third showed up! But I’m spending the rest of the day with my mom and the girls. I’m so glad Kitty made it. I really wanted her to be here for this. I know she’d have been upset for missing something we promised each other we would never miss,” she told him.

“I’m sure glad, too. Everything else will be fine.”

“Are your mother and sister here yet?”

“No, but they’ll be here shortly.”

“I’m glad they’ll be there to keep you company tonight. Just a little reminder if you and Rich head out this evening. You, my darling cowboy, need to be a very good boy,” she warned him.

That got him laughing. “I will, sugar, I promise. I’ll see you in the afternoon. I’ll be the one in black up front, waiting on my little ass-spankin’ woman.”

He could hear her smile, he could swear it. “Just for your information, Davis. Eleven a.m. is considered late morning, not early afternoon,” she informed him.

“Don’t worry, I’ll get you used to my time.” He grinned, having seen how she managed herself in the mornings.

“I’m sorry, darling, I must warn you now. I don’t do mornings.” She paused. “Oh, the girls are done, and Allie is giving me her scary stare.”

“All right, Abie, I’ll see you in the late morning then.”

“I’ll be there. I’m going to be the one walking down the aisle in white.” He could hear her walking away from the voices. “I love you, I’ll see you tomorrow,” she said softly.

“Damn it, sugar, I love you too. I’ll be there waiting for you,” he declared.

“Bye.”

“Bye, honey.” After she hung up, he smiled as he put the phone in his pocket. Now he was at the airport, waiting on his mother and sister to show up. When he saw the jet land he prepared himself for two very excited women to accost him. And that’s exactly what they did.

The next morning he got up to meet his mother and Jessie downstairs for a nice quiet breakfast together before the wedding. He knew he needed to have a talk with them about Loretta. Davis knew this was going to be hard on his mother as well. William Mills was the love of Betty Ann’s life. She put up with so much from him and all the shit he put her through because she loved him so desperately. Even now, after she’d signed the divorce papers and truly went her separate way from him, she still loved him. That was one of the many reasons he never said more to his mother about what his father, her husband, had done to Abie’s mother. After Abie shouted at his father on Christmas, everyone had a vague idea of the atrocity that his dad inflicted on her mother. But he wanted his mother to know that Loretta had had no clue that he was married, and she was just as unaware of Betty Ann, as Betty Ann was of her.

Last night after he and Rich came home from their drinking and talking, a very good bachelor party, he realized that his mother and sister had no clue that Loretta didn’t know he was the son of William Mills. And it had to stay that way. His momma could have a very big mouth when she was nervous, and seeing one of his father’s ex-lovers, even one that she knew was badly hurt by him, would make her nervous and her conversation…an outpouring of information.

As he sat at the table thinking of how to start such a conversation, still keep most of the information about his father’s brutality a secret and his mother’s feelings unharmed, the women came down into the hotel restaurant.

“Good morning, ladies. Y’all look particularly lovely for me,” he offered. He kissed his mother on the cheek, helping her with her chair, then did the same for his sister. As he took his seat he realized both women were smiling at him, looking happier than a raccoon trapped in a chicken coop. He decided this was as good a time as any to bring up a couple of things before he introduced them to a part of his new family.

“I need to have a quick word with y’all,” he told them seriously.

“Okay, bubba. Is everything all right?” Jessie asked, concerned over his sober appearance on such a joyous day.

“Yes, everything’s fine.” He glanced at his sister, then to his mother. “I told you that we were getting married in the hospital because Abie’s momma’s sick.”

Jessie nodded, squinting at her brother. “Yeah, you did…”

“Well, the thing is, she’s been sick for a long time…”

“You mean like sick with a cancer?” his mother interrupted him.

He shook his head. “No, not like cancer. Well, I can’t say for sure now, but not before.”

“Before, bubba?”

“I know this is going to be hard for you today, Momma, but I need to let you know that Loretta never knew that Dad was a married man. From what I gathered, he told her that he was divorced, or in the process of getting a divorce when the affair took place.”

Betty Ann looked down at the table, and he knew he had just opened a festering wound for her.

“Why the hell would you bring up such a thing, Davis?” his sister asked angrily. “We know not to say anything about that time in their lives.”

He sighed as he looked over, seeing tears in his momma’s eyes. “I didn’t want to bring up anything, but there is a very important reason why I’m bringing this up now, Jess,” he told them, taking his momma’s hand.

“Okay, what, then?” his sister asked, a little annoyed with him.

“You see, I need you both to keep quiet about who we are to Abie, at the wedding. Hell, I need Loretta to never know that I’m the son of William Mills,” he said.

He could see the shock in his mother’s face, and the hurt in her eyes. “Why?”

“I wish I could tell you everything of why I’m asking this of y’all, but I can’t. One, because it would hurt you too much if you knew the whole truth. And two, it just isn’t my place to tell y’all about Loretta’s secrets. I almost lost Abie when I went digging through her life, finding things that nightmares are made of, Momma. I can’t take that risk again,” he explained pleadingly. “But what I can tell you is that Loretta’s been sick, mentally, for a very long time,” he hinted, hoping they’d put two and two together.

They didn’t say anything, they just sat and stared at him in confusion, not understanding his hint at all. He sighed again. “Let’s just say, since Dad hurt her she’s been afraid of men, and has been mentally unable to live on her own...”

A light seemed to go off in Jessie’s head, and her eyes went wide. “Oh shit,” she whispered, her hands going to her mouth in shock.

Betty Ann swatted her arm lightly. “Missy, you need to tame that tongue,” she told her softly, and turned her head back to Davis. “What Abie said, it was true then? I mean really true… It was really that bad, bubba?”

“No, Momma, it was so much worse. Worse than you could ever imagine. She’s been afraid for a very long time of all men, and now she’s starting to warm up to me. If she finds out who my dad is, whose family we come from…I might lose Abie.”

He looked at the two women in front of him. “She will do everything to protect her momma, and I have to understand that, and I do. Because I would want to protect mine as well. I would hope if the roles were reversed I could be as strong as she is, but honestly I don’t know if any of us could be truly as strong as she’s been under such circumstances,” he admitted.

Jessie moved her hand away from her mouth, only to stop the waiter and ask for a screwdriver. She shook her head at the information Davis just gave them. “That’s why you’re going after Daddy like a madman. This was something a lot worse than we knew about…isn’t it?” she said, lost in thought.

“Yeah, a whole hell of a lot worse. That’s why she left me in the first place,” he told them softly. “I love her so damn much. I just can’t lose her again. That’s why her momma can’t know the truth about me…about us.”

Betty Ann’s hand went over his on the table. “Don’t fret, baby. As hard as it is for me to hear about all your daddy’s trysts, I’d never do anything to upset your happiness with such a lovely woman. I promise neither of us will say anything about who we are. So don’t worry about us saying something to upset Loretta. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t even know who that man is anymore.”

She reached over, taking Jessie’s hand in hers and squeezing Davis’s. “This, this right here is my family. You and Jessie, and I’m so very happy that Abie and her mother will be joining our family as well.” She shook her head in thought. “I would never want to cause her momma any grief,” she said gently.

His hand went over hers. “Thanks, Momma.”

“You’re welcome, baby,” she smiled.

The food was being passed around when a thought hit him. “Oh, and you’ll meet Lucy today. I believe I was told that she’d be walkin’ Abie down the aisle this afternoon.”

“And who’s that?” his mother asked, putting sugar on her grapefruit.

He started to dig in to his eggs. “Let’s just say she’s Abie’s second mother.”

Betty Ann was about to take a bite of her food, then stopped, not quite understanding what he meant by that. “What?”

Jessie chuckled, drinking her “juice.” “Well now, that’s something very cool, Davis. You’re marrying into a real up and trendy family.” She grinned when his momma turned to look at her. “I must say I approve,” his sister said to him.

After breakfast was done they spent the rest of the morning talking and enjoying one another’s company, after such a serious beginning. He looked down at his watch, and knew it was about time to go upstairs and get ready for his wedding.

He knew Abie loved him, knew it down in the depths of his very soul. But he was still nervous as the thought of his last almost-marriage kept running through his head, and Lucy’s comment about her running from him at the altar… He had just buttoned up his shirt when there came on a knock on the door, and for a split second he froze, thinking someone was coming to give him bad news. Damn it, he was pissed at himself for thinking the woman he was marrying was anything like the one he was now so happy got away from him. He walked over to the door to open it, and even though he knew he had nothing to worry about, he was nervous just the same.

When the door swung open his best man was there to greet him with a shit-eating grin. “Hey bubba. You’re lookin’ a little pale. Not thinking about changing your mind, are ya?” he chuckled as he sauntered into the room.

Davis’s shoulders dropped in relief. “Damn, Rich, I thought you might’ve been one of Abie’s friends telling me she doesn’t want my ass anymore,” he told him, shutting the door. “Believe me, sometimes you never know what kind of shit will happen. Especially after my last almost wedding day.”

Richie laughed back at him. “Naw, that woman loves you. Kitty was telling me about how they were shocked when she let, and I’ll repeat that word, let you take her out that first night from the dance club. She said that her and Allie knew you were different when you took her off like you were in charge,” Rich told him, sitting on the bed and kicking his feet up.

Davis was straightening his bow tie in the mirror. “Yeah, she is one feisty little filly, Rich… Wait, what, Kitty? Abie’s best friend Kitty?” he asked.

Richie smiled at him. “Yup, that’s the one. Talk about a feisty filly!” he said with that “guy” smirk on his face.

He shook his head. “Damn it, Richie. If you screw things up with her, then Abie will be pissed at you. Hope you’re not wantin’ to come over for Sunday night football any time soon. Especially if you manage to screw this up,” he told him, making his way into the bathroom to do his hair. “And please don’t tell me anything about getting a piece with her. The last thing I need is images of you and her in my head when I see her today,” he groaned.

He heard Richie’s booming laugh from the front room. “Fine. I won’t tell you what an amazing piece of ass she is!” he yelled back at him, at which Davis groaned again as he came from the bathroom and slipped on his tux jacket. “So, I think I’m ready to go.”

Richie looked up from the TV, smiling. “Yup, you clean up good, bubba. I think your little missus will be mighty pleas… Oh shit.” He walked over to the little fridge. “You almost forgot this.” He handed him a red rose boutonniere.

He took the plastic carton from Rich’s hand. “Thanks.” Davis stood and fastened on the rose that Abie had Richie bring over the other day. When he glanced up he saw Richie staring at him. “What?” he asked.

“Nothin’, just want to make sure you still want to do this? I mean really sure?” Rich asked him.

Davis chuckled, buttoning his tux. “Damn, Rich. Of course I’m sure I want this,” he assured him.

“Then what’s up with the look?”

Davis smiled, more to himself than anything. “You gotta understand, I’ve known I was going to marry this woman since the first time I laid eyes on her.” He tried to sum up his feelings for his best friend. “It’s like waiting for something for a very long time, knowing you could lose what you want the most in the world so easily, after so much has happened. But now here I am, going to have everything that I’ve been waitin’ for.”

Rich nodded his head happily. “Okay then, brother, let’s go get you hitched,” he told him, slapping him on the back with a laugh.

They got to the hospital, where his mother and sister were already waiting for him. When he made his way from the cab his mother came up to him, gushing with pride. “My, you look so handsome, bubba,” she beamed, straightening out his bow tie.

“Thank you, Momma.”

His sister took the crook of his other arm. “I say it’s about time that I get a new sister, don’t y’all?” she smiled. “Shall we?” She took Richie’s arm, then Davis took his mother’s. “Ladies, I believe there’s a wedding waitin’ on us.” He smiled as they walked into the hospital and to the chapel.

It was ten to eleven and the minister was already there, smiling as Davis and his family made their way into the room.They were all standing and chatting with the minister and among themselves when Kitty came in, holding the door open for Lucy who was pushing Loretta in a wheelchair. Davis took Richie by the arm and pulled him back from the ladies.

“What the hell, man?” Rich chuckled, confused.

“Just stay back. Remember about Abie’s momma…”

Rich looked at the women who’d just come in, and the worried stare of the woman in the wheelchair. “Oh shit, yeah I do,” he whispered. He stood back with his friend and fell silent.

Lucy pulled Loretta to the opposite side of the room, but she smiled at the ladies in front of her. “Lovely to be meeting y’all under such happy circumstances,” Lucy beamed. Betty Ann walked over to her, along with Jessie. She extended her hand and Lucy happily took it. “Yes, it’s such a pleasure. I’m Betty Ann, Davis’s momma. And this is Jessica, his sister.”

“Pleasure,” Lucy smiled.

Davis came up slowly to the women, and Loretta seemed to be okay with it. She kept glancing warily at Rich, who was now standing quietly with the minister. “Momma, Jessie, may I introduce Lucy, and Abie’s mother, Loretta,” he said softly, very calmly.

Loretta’s eyes met his mother’s and she smiled a true smile, even though anyone around could see she was still very tired. “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. My kitten has never talked about a boy like she does your Davis. I’d say she’s very much in love with your son.”

Betty Ann smiled widely at such a statement. “I must tell you that my bubba is plumb head over heels with your daughter as well, Loretta. Nice to see two young people so in love nowadays,” she laughed.

“Oh lord, it’s such a pleasure to see young people happy, and those two are both so lovely,” Lucy said.

“Yes, they really are,” Betty Ann agreed.

Lucy’s hand went to Loretta’s shoulder. “Loretta, A.B.’s ready. I need to go walk her down the aisle, darlin’,” she whispered gently. Loretta’s hand came up quickly, taking hold of Lucy’s.

Lucy’s eyes met Davis’s. “I think you should maybe go wait up front with Minister Hills, and your friend,” she hinted to him. He nodded and walked back to go stand with the men.

His mother smiled and Jessie came and stood next to her. “I know it’s not very traditional but, would you mind if me and Jessie came and sat next to y’all during the wedding?” Betty Ann asked Lucy.

Jessie smiled as well. “That’s a great idea, Momma.” Then she turned her head to Loretta. “Would you mind if we sat with you?” Loretta glanced over at the group of men, and then back to Davis’s family. “Don’t worry about them. They can’t move from their spot. It’s weddin’ rules for the boys, you know,” Betty Ann softly joked.

Loretta gave them a slight smile. “I think that would be nice,” she told them.

Lucy nodded gratefully at Betty Ann. “All right, I should be back in about four minutes, walking your kitten down the aisle.” She squeezed her shoulder, then made her way out.

Davis waited up front and Kitty popped her head out to tell the minister to start the music, softly. He kept his eyes on the door; lord he was so excited and nervous. When Kitty walked through the door and down the short aisle, smiling over at Rich, Davis chuckled and the nerves started to wash away.

Allie walked out, smiling over at Lucy and Loretta, and everything fell into place. When she looked over at Davis and Rich she giggled. Who knew what they had been talking about the last couple of days. But he thought it was about what his little woman had planned, more than anything else.

Then Abie walked through with Lucy next to her. How could a woman be so breathtakingly beautiful--he just didn’t know. But there she stood, smiling at him with red lips under a sheer veil, and his heart started to race. This stunning creature was going to be his, and his alone, and once again he never felt so damn lucky in all his life.

He heard his momma gush about how beautiful she was, and Abie’s head turned and she smiled at both of their families. She winked to her momma, whose hands were covering her mouth, tears coming down her face. Betty Ann gave her a tissue and the women smiled at one another. They all sat together watching her walk to him…like they were already family. He watched as she walked with such grace, and when his eyes finally managed to pull away from hers, they roamed over her whole magnificent ensemble. When he caught sight of the beautiful jewel-encrusted heels she wore, he grinned.

Lucy smiled as she brought Abie next to him, and he stood there like an adolescent fool just looking at her. “All right, Davis, here she is,” handing him Abie’s hand. Lucy kissed her cheek lightly, giggling and shaking her head as she made her way to Loretta. She whispered in her ear and Loretta smiled over at him.

Davis held on to her elegant fingers as he gazed down at their joined hands, then his eyes traveled up to hers. “You look absolutely beautiful, sugar. The most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen,” he murmured in that Texas drawl.

She chuckled softly at that. “I have to confess, you are quite a sight to behold as well, Davis. I’m swooning at this very moment.”

The minister stood in front of them and they turned to start the ceremony as he held the Bible in his hands, smiling at the two of them. “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today under the sight of God and in this holy temple to join these two people together in holy matrimony. This is not something to take lightly. Once the vows of marriage are spoken in the sight of Our Lord, you are forever bound to one another.”

The minister smiled over at Davis. “Do you, Davis Michael Mills, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife? Do you promise to love, honor, and cherish her? Do you promise to protect her in all circumstances, in faith and tenderness? Do you promise to live with her all the rest of your days in the holy bond of marriage?”

“I do,” he said, looking at Abie.

“Do you, Adire Apple Black, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband? Do you promise to love, honor, and cherish him? Do you promise to protect him in all circumstances, in faith and tenderness? Do you promise to live with him all the days of your life in the holy bond of marriage?”

“I do,” she answered lovingly back to him.

The minister looked over at their families. “Who gives this woman to this man in the sight of Our Father in holy matrimony?”

“I do,” came Loretta’s soft voice.

He nodded, then looked back at them.

“Now repeat after me,” the minster told him. “I, Davis Michael Mills, take Adire Apple Black as my wedded wife.”

“I, Davis Michael Mills take Adire Apple Black as my wedded wife,” he repeated

“I promise before God and my family to be faithful to you, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part,” the minister finished.

Davis stared into Abie’s beautiful speckled eyes as a tear escaped. “I promise before God and my family to be faithful to you, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. Till death do us part,” he told her possessively, lovingly.

The minister now turned to Abie but she just smiled, holding Davis’s hand and gazing steadily up at him.

“Now repeat after me. I, Adire Apple Black, take Davis Michael Mills to be my wedded husband.”

“I, Adire Apple Black, take Davis Michael Mills to be my wedded husband,” she repeated, all the while her thumb caressing the back of his hand.

“I promise before God and my family to be faithful to you, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”

She chuckled at the look he was giving her. “I promise before God and my family to be faithful to you, for richer or poorer, in sickness, and in health, till death do us part,” she whispered, so full of love.

Minister Hills looked over to Richie. “May I have the rings, please?”

Rich stepped up, placing the platinum band of diamonds on the Bible, and Davis’s plain and simple platinum band next to hers. The minister blessed the rings, then handed hers over to Davis. “Take her left hand in yours, and repeat after me.” And he did. “With this ring I thee wed.”

Davis slipped the ring on her finger and his smile felt huge on his own face. “With this ring I thee wed.”

He handed the other ring over to Adire, who smiled down at the no-frills band he had picked out for himself. “Take him by the left hand and repeat after me.” And she did. “With this ring I thee wed.”

She slipped the ring on his finger, making sure the tips of her fingers traced along his as she placed it on. “With this ring I thee wed.” She smiled that sly smile that first captivated him when he saw her in the nightclub.

The minister now took both of their ringed hands and placed them on the Bible. “By the authority invested in me I now pronounce you husband and wife. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder,” he declared. “Davis, you may now kiss your bride,” the minister smiled at him.

He lifted the veil that covered her face, and took her in his arms. She was finally his, and if he was going to kiss his wife in front of God and family, he wanted to let God see how happy he was for this blessing bestowed upon him. He gazed down at her, his arms wrapped around her waist. “I love you so damn much, sugar!” he growled quietly to her smiling face. Then he kissed her with all the joy and passion that he felt. And their families cheered.

When he finally let her go they turned, and the minister spoke one last time. “Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you, Mr. and Mrs. Davis Mills.”

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