Chapter 24 ~ The Show
“What can I help you ladies with?”
Enderly whips around and smiles at me, “oh, Pierce, would you just marry my daughter already.”
“Mum!” Lyera exclaimed.
Avaleria was standing in the kitchen with her mama, Cole and a few others, preparing the food. We had gone around to the Jonahson’s for a cookout, they were celebrating Kae and Cole settling into domestic life. Enderly had managed to turn her daughter into a bright red tomato, only Lyera didn’t know – but that’s exactly what I wanted too.
I wrapped my arms around her from behind and kissed her cheek, “soon, Mrs Jonahson, soon.”
I had never seen a room full of women gush at once, they were all beaming at us with unnerving grins. “Stop it the lot of you,” Lyera growled, knocking me with her lush ass. “Don’t encourage her Tyler, shit,” she scowled.
“Here they are…” Kae called out as he entered. “Shit sweet lips, why do you look like you’re about to cry?”
Everyone turned to Cole. “Your sister’s getting married.”
“I am not,” Avaleria paled at Kae, “I’m not, don’t anyone start that goddam rumour.” I was amused watching them all, they were desperate for a good wedding.
“Fuck, well, I’m stoked. Pierce, you’d make an awesome brother,” Kae chuckled, shaking my hand.
“Shut your traps all of you,” cowgirl warned. “Damn you Tyler,” she snapped walking out.
“She would say yes in a heartbeat,” Enderly patted my arm lovingly.
“Anyway, Cole baby, your grandma’s here.”
Cole stood up and walked over to Kae, she tippy-toed to chastely kiss his lips, “thank you.” As if she were bracing herself, Cole took a deep breath in and nodded, then grabbed Enderly’s arm. “C’mon Ma, time to meet my side of the family.”
I found it endearing how Cole called her Ma. Cole’s family didn’t associate with us ‘commoners’ much, I always knew there was a strained relationship, especially when her Grandmother was the only one to show up to her graduation. In fact, her family didn’t show up to anything she did at school, you could never miss the sheen of hurt that slid across her face when she looked out at the crowd and no one was there for her, so to see her being welcomed into a family so openly – was nice. She deserved to be loved.
“C’mon Saint Tyler, let’s go tease that sister of mine some more.”
I grabbed his elbow. “You ready?”
“Yep, are you?”
I tapped my pocket, “on your cue.”
He beamed proudly at me, “this is going to be one hell of a cookout.”
We made our way out to find an elderly lady, dressed to the nines with her grey hair in a high beehive, standing beside a limousine. Cole was embracing her fondly, “Nan, this is Enderly and Tom.”
The women extended her hand and shook it kindly. “Thank you both for the invite, it’s wonderful to see how happy Nicole is.”
“Well, she certainly has brought a lot of happiness to our home,” Tom smiled warmly, tousling her hair with his hand.
“Pa,” she whined, blushing furiously.
“Well, welcome to our home, make yourself comfortable. The dogs, ribs and steaks are almost ready so if you’ll excuse me, lovely ladies,” Tom kissed his wife on the forehead and headed back to the men.
I placed the potato salad down and strode over to the stables where I presumed Lyera would be, she did leave her horse here when she moved. As predicted, she was brushing down Rosegold when I entered, maybe she didn’t want to get married? She had stated previously that someday, she would like to get married, have a family and a farm of her own – maybe I was just over thinking her reaction?
“Why does Cole call your parent’s ma and pa?” She jolted in fright and dropped the brush.
“Dammit Pierce, give a girl some warning will you.”
“Sorry, I was just curious.”
“It started as Grandma and Grandpa, I think the more comfortable they began with each other, it got shortened,” She said, bending over and collecting the brush.
“Why are you hiding in here?”
“I’m not hiding, I’m visiting my horse.”
“You visit your horse five days a week, you’re hiding Lyera,” I affirmed flatly.
“Fine,” she huffed, “I was embarrassed.”
“Why were you embarrassed?”
“Because mama’s trying to pawn me off to you and you fed right into it.” She stared at her feet, before throwing the brush into a bucket. “It’s not that I don’t want to Pierce, I do want all of that someday. We just… we haven’t been together long and we’ve already been through so much, is it wrong to want a little time for just us?” I pushed off the wall and stepped in front of her, tilting her head up so our eyes can connect. “This is the first decent, healthy relationship I’ve ever been in, I don’t want to ruin things by moving too fast. We’ve moved in together – I still have a lot of shit to work through – I need…”
I silenced her plea with my lips firmly pressed against hers, “relax cowgirl. I never said I was going to ask you tomorrow. I know ‘we’ have a lot still to handle, you think I wanna add pressure to that? No. I will ask you someday soon - when I know the times right.”
She breathed out a sigh of relief, but then narrowed her eyes catching onto the way I worded it, “Pierce… there’s that word ‘soon’ again.”
I grasped her hand and pulled her out of the stables, “Lyera, I love you – but you’ve got to stop over thinking things. Now c’mon, we don’t wanna miss the show.”
“Show? What show? It’s a cookout?”
As we reached the crowd of conversing townsfolk, I spot Mac strolling up the driveway, bunch of flowers in hand. He didn’t look confident, in fact, he looked downright terrified. I had already spoken to Avaleria’s parent’s, explained the situation and they had given their blessing for him to join in the festivities – they were understanding people.
“Mac,” I hollered, probably shouldn’t have as a lot of eyes turned around.
His face paled, “you gotta be shittin’ me?” Cole, who appeared out of nowhere, scared the crap out of me.
“Cole, you can’t swear in front of the baby,” Lyera scolded.
“Like hell, I can’t.” Jesus, she cracks me up. “You got either a death wish or some huge gonads to show up here,” Cole stated.
“Nicole,” Mac exhaled then smiled, “I brought you some flowers, congratulations on your baby.”
Kae suddenly appeared right beside his woman, hell, everyone’s just popping in out of nowhere today. “Got anything else to say to her?” Kae crossed his arms over his chest, narrowing his eyes at Mac. I cringed knowing I had convinced him to brave it and come today.
“Yes, Kaeron, I do. I’m sorry, I’m sorry for everything I have said to you, everything I did.” He thrust the flowers forward, “I don’t deserve your forgiveness, but I would like to make amends for at least some of the stuff I put you through.”
It was a tense moment. We all stood there with bated breaths, waiting for someone, anyone to make the first move. My eyes flitting between Cole, Kae and Mac, but Mac stood firm, I knew he was sorry – he just had to prove it.
“I don’t trust you,” Cole finally spoke. “But I love flowers… so, thank you.”
Mac gave a relieved nod as she took them. “C’mon,” I interjected, “let’s get something to eat.”
“I like flowers, why didn’t I get any flowers?” Avaleria whined as I collected her hand.
“Cowgirl, I will grow you an entire garden of flowers,” I stated.
“Thank you,” she snipped cheekily with a mischievous grin on her face. God, she is cute.
After grabbing some food, we headed over to the group and made ourselves comfortable – well, we did, poor Mac didn’t look very comfy, at least not until Brett and Rhett, our farm hands came to join us, he had become friendly with them working on our farm.
“Everything’s going to change now… isn’t it?” Cole suddenly voiced.
“Yeah, we’ll need to find a new keyboard player,” I quipped, knowing that’s not what she meant.
“Shut up Pierce, I mean it…” she threw her half-eaten hot dog at me. “I’m pregnant, Kae and I are together, you and Lyera are living together, our biggest bully is sitting here with us, gay…”
“Ease up, what did I do to you,” Mac sunk in horror, “actually… don’t answer that, I’m an asshole.” Everyone chuckled.
“I mean it though, things won’t be the same.”
“Are you having pregnancy emotions darlin’, do you need a tissue?” Earl our tech guy offered.
She stuck her finger up at him while giving him the evils. “Everything’s going to be better,” Avaleria smiled, “do you know why?”
“Why sis?” Kae asked.
“Because we are adding more love to our lives.”
“Naw, look at my sister, getting all sentimental,” he teased. “Sure you ain’t pregnant too?”
“Shut up Kaeron, god – I think I prefer the rumour about me murdering someone over being pregnant.”
“Thanks, Lyera,” Cole poked her tongue out at her while we all laughed.
Kae looked over at me and gave me a curt nod - that was the signal, it was time for the show to begin. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to take a slash.”
“Shit, I’ll come with you,” Kae offered.
“Naw, you two have become so close that you pee together now,” Lyera teased.
“Yep,” I replied, kissing her cheek before we walked away.
“You ready?” Kaeron asked.
“Earl’s set it all up, Gerald and Fletcher are hooking up the rest – let’s do this.”
Kae heads off to the stables while I grab my guitar from the back of my truck. I attach the microphone headpiece just as Fletcher and Gerald, our roadies and back up vocalists, come around the side of Avaleria’s parent’s house.
“The speakers are all set,” Gerald states.
“Yep, you’re all ready to go.” Fletcher tosses a headpiece to Gerald before attaching his. “I gotta get to the piano since the woman can’t play it,” he snickers and takes off.
I clicked my mic on and begin to strum. (Please listen too, Lewis Capaldi – Shallow)
As I slowly stepped out into the waiting crowd, the heads turned but the look on Lyera’s face was hilarious. She sat there, next to Cole, with wide eyes as I made my way forward. The atmosphere was electric, the buzz to see who I was singing to hung thickly in the air, I bet everyone was assuming it was cowgirl.
Suddenly, Rick our Drummer, Earl the tech guy, Drake our electric player, Fletcher, who had taken Coles usual place and Gerald joined me with backup vocals the moment it hit the chorus. Cole’s head whipped left and right trying to figure out why she was not a part of the band as I wandered up, serenading sweetly and stationing next to Lyera - I gave her a cheeky wink.
As Cole stared at me with a furrowed brow, Kae appears on top of his horse, dressed as a Knight – he had everything on except a helmet, the steel shinning away under the afternoon’s rays. I tilted my head in his direction and both girls’ heads snapped to him. Cole wept as the crowd cheered or whistled, cowgirl broke out into a wide smile and placed her arm around Cole’s shoulders whispering in her ear.
I finished my song just as Kaeron halted in front of her, swinging his leg over and dismounting – his foot getting caught in the stirrups and he almost went ass over tit. We were sniggering as he righted himself. Kae was wearing a headpiece too, which he started talking into as he kneeled before Cole, only, he forgot to turn the thing on and Earl comes running in and flicks the button. The speakers erupt with sound and gave everyone a mighty fright.
“Ah…” he clears his throat, “sorry about that, shit… ah… sorry… fuck this thing is hot.” We burst into laughter, the poor man looked so nervous, he clears his throat again attempting to gain control of himself as he remains on one knee. He finally reels it in and gazes lovingly up at his woman, I feel Avaleria grasp my hand as she watches his unfolding speech. “Sweet Lips, I didn’t do right by you in the beginning – I hid our relationship behind closed doors and secret meetups for a couple of years – I was an idiot. I never should have hid you out of my own fear of not feeling good enough. You always wished for a Knight to save you from your lonely mansion, someone that will love you, accept you and fight for you – well, here I am.”
He took a firm hold of Cole’s hand as she heaved and gulped, desperately trying to contain her emotion, it was so precious. “I am not a wealthy man and this is not the life I think you deserve, but I’m rich because I have you and now, our baby. I can’t afford to dress you in gold but I can keep you warm during those cold nights. Your smile is the only thing that keeps me centred and your heart is what fuels my drive to continue the hard work. You are the most stubborn, bull-headed, inspiring, selfless and talented woman I have ever met, you make me absolutely crazy and yet, I have never been happier in my life. I want you to drive me crazy for the rest of our lives. There have been mornings where I have woken up and you were not there and I got a glimpse of what my life would be like without you – that is simply a life I do not want.
“You make me want to be a better man, a stronger man and now, you have given me the most exquisite gift in the world – a baby on the way. I can’t wait to spend every second arguing over the fact that I left my shoes in the middle of the floor or that you left hair in the plug hole – as long as you are there – I’m happy. While I faced your parents and asked for their blessing in marrying you… they said no, however, your grandmother stood in front of them and said yes, so even though I fought hard and failed, at least someone from your family approved of my proposal. Nicole Ad-vanguard, you are my world, my equal, the only woman I have ever truly loved and the only woman I want to build my future with. I have everything I could have ever dreamed of sitting right in front of me. Will you do the grand honour in becoming my wife?”
Cole covered her face, the sound of strangled cries filled the stagnant air as we waited on tenterhooks for her answer. “Y-y yes,” she spluttered out before launching on Kaeron, smashing her lips against his.
I cleared my throat gaining their attention and held the ring box up, the one he had forgotten I had. “Oh shit… sweet lips…” I tossed the velvety box to him which he caught in one swoop. “I have no pockets on the dang Knights armour.” He opened the box, extracting the ring as she spluttered, coughed and hiccupped, all with tears streaming down her face. He placed the ring onto her finger before capturing her lips again. It was such a beautiful moment for the both of them.
The gathered townsfolks happiness exploded, everyone was well and truly over the moon about what transpired. Cole leans forward, “leave the suit on, I wish to thoroughly please you… Master,” she seductively purrs before biting her lip.
My face paled, holy shit, I had no idea they were into that.