Lies, Sacrifices, and Alibis

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Chapter 74

It was nine months later. I looked around the church. It was filled with flowers and lace. There were balloons positioned everywhere. On each of the tables was a beautifully created centerpiece. I should know about those. It took three months for us to get them done in time.

Corey was dressed in a black suit, running around making sure all the people were in the right sections. Lots of people had filed into the church, two at a time with a steady stream. They were all being seated on either the Groom’s side or the Bride’s side.

I was back in the waiting room. I was pregnant and overdue and I swore my dress was ready to rip at the seams. We knew the baby was going to try and make an entrance during the ceremony. Hell, I had dreams of that.

I brushed Tania’s hair in place, gently pulling the veil over her face. She was a beautiful bride. I tried not to cry when I looked at her. My mother was walking around her, ironing it out with her hand, trying to get all the wrinkles out.

“Thank you for bein’ my maid of honor. I’m so sorry about–”

I held up my hand and shushed her. My engagement/wedding ring set caught the light and it sparkled. “Today’s not the day to talk about the past. You look so beautiful. I’m so glad ya found the man who makes ya happy. You finally know what I have felt all along for Corey.” I added a few flowers in her hair. “Now, let’s get you married before ya change your mind.”

Tania laughed. “That won’t happen.”

My mother came up between us, putting her arms around us. “I love to see my babies smilin’ an’ happy.”

The wedding ceremony happened without any incidents at all. There was no one that interrupted them or claimed their love for the bride, which was something we all bet on. There was no one rushing forward to say that the groom was a murderer or a thief. There wasn’t even a cell phone ringing to interrupt the ceremony. It was nothing like a normal soap opera. It was an ordinary wedding.

At the reception, there was a lot of dancing and laughing. Logan was just over a year old. He danced and gave the crowd something to cheer about. Everyone was having a good time until…

Uh-oh. I tried overlooking the pain in my stomach. I really did. I went for a half hour just sitting and breathing. Finally, I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I made my way through the reception and found Corey talking to the groom. “James, do ya mind if I still him away from you?”

The groom smiled. “I wouldn’t mind at all my darling sister-in-law. I need to go find my beautiful bride before someone steals her away.”

“That’s not likely to happen. I’ve never seen her more in love.”

He smiled. “Thanks. Thanks for everything.”

“Welcome to the family.”

As he walked off, it took all I had to keep the straight face on. When he did, I clutched my stomach.

Corey blinked. “What’s wrong, honey?”

“It’s time.”

“You mean...?” He scooped up Logan and rushed over to his grandparents.

I slowly waddled in their direction, trying not to look like I was about to scream. “Mom, Dad; it’s time. Can ya keep Logan an’ meet us at the hospital later?”

“What?” My mother took Logan, and then shrieked. “Oh baby, your daughter’s about to be born?”

Corey purred. “I love you, Mom! I knew it was a girl!”

“Do ya want us to come with you?”

Corey answered. “No. Stay for the reception. Don’t ruin it for Tania. Wait until after everything is done then come to the hospital. I’ll see you there.” He turned and helped me out the door. “I got ya, babe.”

“Ya know as much as this pain hurts, it’s amazin’ that I want so many kids, but I do. I wanna have so many kids that when we walk in–” I stopped short, leaning on him, slowly breathing in and out, waiting for the contraction to stop. When it did I finished my sentence. “…the store, people are amazed that they’re all our children.”

He laughed. “Yes Dear. We will have just as many as you want. You know I love kids, especially mine!”

At the hospital, we watched our baby girl sleeping. I looked up at Corey. “Ya know, we never thought of a name for her.”

He looked down at our daughter as he held her, gently rocking back and forth. “A name fit for a beauty.” He leaned down, kissing her head gently. “I think she should be Chloe Maureen Tanner. I think our moms would love that too.”

“I think you’re right. Chloe Maureen Tanner it is. I love you.”

Corey looked down to the little pink bundle and back up at me. “I love you too. You have made me the happiest man in the world so many times over. I only hope that I make you feel the same way.”

I nodded. If only he knew. “…an’ then some.”

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