Aug 1, 2014

Part 34

     “Dance with me Liam, please?  I want to celebrate just the two of us, and the best place to do that is in your arms. We’ll be sharing this with our family and friends soon enough but right now I want it to be just the two of us.” Liam took me in his arms and began to waltz me around the living room with a grace and elegance that made me truly feel like I was his princess.  “The suit seems to have improved your dancing skills.” I teased him softly as we glided across the floor together.“Well I I do feel rather gallant in this outfit, eat your heart out Fred and Ginger.” He grinned at me as he leaned in and kissed me softly.  “Perhaps that old adage is right after all clothes really do make the man.” He added.   “It takes more than clothes to make a man Liam.  I assure you of that and you my dear are a man among men.”  I lapsed into silence as we swept across the floor, his one hand on the small of my back holding me close. If only this special time didn’t have to end.  Yes I was tickled pink and of course I wanted to share the wonderful news with our family and friends but for now I wished it could be just Liam and I in our own little world. 

     “Darling, is everything okay?  You seem so far away for some reason.” Liam asked me his voice a soft caress.  “Oh its fine Liam, it’s just….well.” I began.  “Come on out with it, you’ve just made me the happiest man on the face of the earth, and I was hoping you’d feel like you were on cloud nine at the moment as well.  It’s lonely without you sharing in in what should be such a joyful time for us.” He told me as he rubbed his nose against mine. I laughed.  “Liam I am over the moon with giddy, euphoria to be your fiancée and it was the most perfect proposal I could ever have hoped for and more.  I guess I’m just feeling a bit selfish at the moment and I don’t want to share you tonight.  I wish it were just going to be the two of us.  That and I think part of me is inwardly cringing about planning the wedding.” Liam looked a bit perplexed at that statement.  “You don’t want to get married?” he stammered at me.  “Oh I do my love, I do. I just don’t want to have to go nose to nose with either of our mothers on how, when and where the grand event should unfold.  I want it to be our day and not have to end up knuckling under to please anyone.  Let’s just run away and elope.  What do you say?” I added a note of almost desperation in my voice.
   He clasped me closer and gazed down at me.  “You know that wouldn’t work for either one of us. As nuts as our family can make us at times we both love them dearly, all though there are days I’m not sure if it’s in spite of that fact or because of it.  Besides we can both be stubborn as mules.  We’ll dig our heels in and if that fails we’ll hold our breath until we both turn blue.” He added glibly.  I began to laugh “Fortunately I do look good in blue and with my Mom it’s a distinct possibility we’ll end up having to do just that.” “I suppose we should really start thinking about grabbing a little something to nibble on and get ready for our guests to arrive, times slipping away on us.” I sighed not wanting to end my private time with Liam. “Yes to grabbing a little something to tide us over and no to you doing one more single solitary thing for the party tonight.”  He told me.  I looked a bit shocked at him as I questioned him.  “If we don’t start setting up the food and drinks, just who do you plan on doing it, Barclay? I know he’s quite a clever little fellow but that lack of opposable thumbs is going to be a challenge for him.

      “No.” he chuckled “Just another one of my little surprises for you.  I arranged with Skye and Matt to have a couple people they know, come over to do the rest of the setup, serve and do the cleanup afterwards.”   “You really have thought of everything, but can we afford it?  We’re going a bit over the top with this party.” I asked him anxiously.  “Are you questioning my judgement?” he asked his eyes shining.  “Constantly, because I honestly believe you’ll do anything in the world to indulge and spoil me if you possibly can.” I answered him quite frankly.  “I’m asking you to trust me that it’s in the budget, okay?” he asked me, as he tapped me softly on the tip of my nose with his index finger.  “I trust you, but in the future we sit down and discuss the financial things together okay?”  “Agreed.” And he leaned in and kissed me. “Holy Moly” he said after a quick glance at his watch “We’ve got to make like a tree and leaf, if we want to grab a bite before we have to greet our guests.  Grab your hat and let’s be off my good woman.” He instructed me.  “You, sir are mad as a hatter you know that?” I laughed at him.  “I just got through telling you it would never be dull with me Lor.  Not even married yet and already you aren’t listening to anything I say to you.” He lamented in a teasing tone, as he grabbed my hand and urged me to follow him.  We grabbed our hats were off and running.

     There were a million things running through my mind as we got in the car and pulled out of the drive way, like how little time we really had to go out grab something to eat. Who would let in the catering staff he’d hired for the evening? Being home to greet our guests, and most importantly why on earth were we heading to the beach?  I gave myself a stern lecture internally.  “Lorelei Gallagher you get a grip on yourself, the most amazing man in the world just proposed to you and here you are fussing things that are already taken care of.  Relax and enjoy the ride and whatever’s coming next.  Stop being such a control freak and trust him, he’s never steered you wrong yet, and he never will.”  I told myself. “I love you.” I said simply but it said just seemed to say it all, as I gave Liam’s thigh a squeeze with my hand as he drove.  “Ditto, here.” He returned.  We sang more than we talked as we drove and laughed a great deal over several of the musical selections that were playing on the radio in a tribute to it being Halloween.  Perhaps songs like Monster Mash by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt Kickers wouldn’t be in everyone else’s top ten songs to celebrate their engagement with but nonetheless it was working for us.  We also mutually came to the conclusion that as great as we were at giving private concerts for parties of two, we had both better hold on to our day jobs as it would be a bit premature for the two us to take our act on the road.

      Miraculously we had no trouble finding a parking spot despite the throngs of people that were on the streets. Children in costumes were darting up and down the street scampering through leaves, and giggling on their way to trick or treat and to play harmless pranks.  Music wafted out of bars and restaurants, as people began to trickle into them for an evening of merriment.  Jack o lanterns flickered in store front windows that were also adored with gourds, leaves, bales of hay as well as ghosts and other ghoulish figures.  Tomorrow they would be replaced with new displays more than likely Christmas themed ones, but for tonight it was a mystical, magical world where anything was possible. Liam was as always a perfect gentleman and opened the door for me and offered me his hand, which I appreciated greatly even if I wasn’t wearing a pair of high heels this evening.  I’d opted instead for comfort this evening and had on a pair of bright pink sneakers with bright blue laces through them.  As Liam was assisting me from the car with my long skirts in tow it was then I glanced down and noticed his own foot wear for the occasion.  I began to howl with mirth.  “I wondered how long it would take you to notice.” He grinned at me.  The shoes were the icing on the cake for his outfit. He’d taken a pair of white canvas shoes including the laces and had tie dyed those as well to match his outfit.  “That is just so totally classically you and I love it.”  “Why thank you kind lady I was hoping you would.” He returned to me.  “Now let’s grab a quick bite and then take a walk on the boardwalk just the two of us, before we have to share each other with so many other people tonight?”  “Both sound good to me” as I reached up on my tippy toes and kissed him on the cheek.

    We had a quick debate on what would be fastest and easiest and opted for slices of pizza. It was crowded in the little pizzeria but we managed to bag a small corner table for two with a view of not only the street action but the comings and goings in the shop as well.  “Elvis has just left the building.” I giggled. Liam started humming “Nana, nana, nana” As Batman in all his caped glory paraded down the street with his trusty side kick Robin by his side.  We were having a good time admiring both classic costumes as well as some very creative ones and still others that just managed to leave us scratching our heads trying to figure out who or what they were supposed to be.  When the last crumb was devoured and it was quickly as we we’d both been famished.  “Come on” Liam said as he stood and offered me his arm.  “Let’s be off I want you all to myself if only fleetingly before we have the masses descend upon us.  I think a stroll along the beach would be perfect today, as that’s where we both said those magic words ‘I love you’ for the first time. Today we’re cementing it with our engagement.”  He added his eyes liquid pools filled to overflowing with love and it was all for me. 

    “You’re a hopeless romantic Liam and I hope that never changes.” I said softly as I threaded my arm through his.  It was a beautiful night for a walk.  “It’s unseasonably warm for this time of year.”  Liam remarked as we wended our way down the street to the park which we’d meander through on our way to the boardwalk. “I know it’s great. I always hated it when I was a kid and it was either raining or bitterly cold, we even had snow a couple of times. Crumby weather always led to some major begging and pleading on my part to convince my parents to allow me to go out trick or treating on those occasions.   They’d eventually give in, but it was still a downer to have to wear a jacket covering up my costume.” I sighed over the memories of some of my less than stellar Halloween nights of my youth. “Well no need to cover up tonight and you look absolutely stunning in that outfit.” Liam replied cheerfully.  “Thank you.” I said as I blushed.  I still wasn’t the best at receiving compliments, even the ones from Liam but I was working on that.

     As we approached the boardwalk and strolled along for a bit I noticed a flurry of activity further ahead.  “I wonder what on earth is going on.  Do you think it’s a coven of witches celebrating?” I mused out loud.  It was Halloween after all in a major metropolitan city full of diversity and anything was therefore possible.  The closer we drew the more I realized what must be going on.  There were rows of folding chairs on either side of what was a make shift aisle through the sand between them.  People were seated on either side and it was quite the eclectic group as many of them were in costumes.  There were flowers, flickering candles on tall stands protected from the breeze of the lake by glass coverings.  “Oh my stars Liam it looks like somebody is having a wedding down here.  How cool is that?” I enthused.  “Very cool indeed, whoever came up with the idea must be a total genius.” He answered. I was so busy trying to take everything I was unaware of how intensely he was watching me.

    “Care to participate in it?” I asked her.  “Liam we can’t just gate crash some strangers wedding even on Halloween that just wouldn’t be right.” She protested.  “It would be different if we’d been knew them and had been invited.” “Lorelei darling we do know them, and I’m personally inviting you here and now to be the guest of honour.”  I took in each and every nuance of her facial expressions.  They ran the gamut from being genuinely mystified to finally having the meaning of my words register in her mind after she scrambled to process them.  “Cat got your tongue?” I gently teased her. “Liam, I’m seriously trying to grasp all of this. The guests of honour at these things are the bride and the groom.  Are you saying you want to have a mock wedding tonight as part of the make believe that is Halloween?”  “No, there is nothing mock about this at all.  It’s the real deal.” I said as I reached into the inner pocket of my tuxedo jacket and produced an envelope which I handed to her.
    She took the envelope from me and withdrew its contents and quickly scanned it.  “Liam this is a marriage licence filled out with today’s date, in our names, the only thing missing are the signatures.” “Well of course they aren’t there yet, but they can be if you’ll just say yes and walk down that aisle and marry me tonight.” She was clearly flustered by the words I had just delivered to her and needed a few minutes to collect her thoughts.  “Lorelei I love you and you love me.  I told you I didn’t want a long engagement period so I figure after waiting nearly four hours to make you my wife I’ve been pretty patient about the whole thing.  I want this to be the perfect day for the two of us.  Your Mom actually gave me the idea about what your perfect wedding would be and planted the seeds for conceiving this whole thing in my mind.  You confirmed it for me when we talked more about it and it all suits me just fine as well.  So I took matters into my own hands and decided to make it our reality.  I have no doubts in my mind about any of this because you are my today, my tomorrow, my very raison d’etre.  So what do you say?” I asked her.
    “Well I could argue that its bad luck to see the bride in her gown before the wedding, or that I don’t have the traditional something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue that are supposed to provide me with the status of a bride and bring us luck in this marriage but since we’re talking about us, than the answer is an unequivocal yes.” I smiled at him. “Not that we need the luck Lorelei because we are already luckier than anyone I know because we already have each other but I’ve taken care of those other details.” With that I beckoned to Molly who had been waiting in the wings ready for her cue to approach. She gave both of us a hug and stood back looking us up and down.  “You two are a couple of lunatics and are the only couple I know that could pull something off a hair brained scheme like this and make it seem like the most logical thing on the face of the planet all at the same time.” She said as she smiled warmly at the two of us.

     “The dress is something old, since we found it in the vintage shop, the something new is your engagement ring.” I began. “The something borrowed,” chimed in Molly “Is this broach that my Grandmother Conlin gave me as a teenager, it’s been in the family for years and Conlin brides have worn it for generations on their wedding day.” It was a beautiful broach, an intricately crafted Celtic design with an emerald embedded in the heart of it.  I took it from my sister’s hands and carefully pinned it to Lorelei’s gown for her. “That just leaves the something blue.  Megan.” I called to my young niece.”  She was dressed as a fairy in a pink frothy creation complete with gossamer wings, a wand and a wreath of autumn blossoms on her head.  Clasped in her small childish hands was a bouquet of roses in a riotous rainbow of colours to match the tie dye colours in my suit.

  “Every single colour in there signifies something about you Lorelei the reds are for my love for you, the yellow for your friendship, the white for this new beginning our marriage brings, orange for the enthusiasm you have for life, pink for your pureness of heart, lavender because it was love at first sight for us, green for fertility of our dreams and future family and the blue because you’ve shown me that nothing is truly elusive or unattainable if you only believe.”  The look on her face told me she already had known the meanings of the colours which didn’t’ come as any great surprise to me at all.  Her eyes told a story too, theirs was one of gratitude that I cared enough to learn the language of her beloved flowers. Lorelei stooped to take the bouquet from Megan and gave her a hug and a kiss on her cheek. “Are we going to start soon?  Mom says that there’s going to be cake afterwards and I’m hungry.”  Lorelei laughed and arched an eyebrow at me.  “I can see the family resemblance to your Uncle Liam munchkin.” She said smiling warmly at Meagan. 

     “Okay then places everyone.  Let’s cue the music and start the show.” Liam directed.  “First though I want one final kiss from my beautiful fiancée because after this, she’ll be my beautiful wife.”  He leaned down taking me in his arms and kissed me deeply.  Molly had ushered Megan off so it was just the two of us.  As we kissed the strains of music drifted across the air.  “Okay this is it Lorelei. I’ll meet you at the end of the aisle. In case you don’t recognize me I’ll be the guy grinning like an idiot because his dream is about to come true.”  With a final kiss to her cheek I was gone. 

       “I still think he’s a bit of a fruitcake at times but I can’t help but like the guy.” My father’s voice loomed behind me.  I turned, “Daddy?” I smiled at him.  “That boy is nuts but he’s also nuts about you so it balances it all out in my books princess.  You two will be fine honey, he’s a good man.”  “ I know Daddy.  So are you ready to walk me down the aisle and give me away.”  “No honey I’m not, no man is ever fully prepared or ready to do that.  Fathers’ have a hard time coping with the fact their little girl loves another man more than they do him.”  “Not more Daddy, just differently is all.”  I told him as I gave him a quick peck on the cheek.  “Ready princess?” he asked through misted eyes.  I nodded my head affirmatively and hiked up the hem of my skirt to reveal my sneakers.  “That’s my girl still a rebel.” He chuckled as he offered me his arm.  “Let’s boogie.” I responded as we started my last walk as a single woman.      I’d done this walk several times in the past as a bridesmaid but this time it was a far different experience for me.  My father was trembling slightly and while I empathized with him my eyes and mind were on Liam.   He looked so handsome standing there.  Tall, poised, confident with that grin across his lips that I knew oh so well now.  The man of my dreams and he was waiting for me.

      She was a vision floating down the aisle on the arm of her father the most beautiful woman in the world to me.  I loved her for so many reasons, her intelligence, wit, her joy for life and so many countless reasons more.  In my heart I knew this was the best decision I’d ever made in my life and it was definitely with the right woman. “Who presents this woman to be married?” Solemnly intoned the clergy we stood before.  “Her mother and I do.” Her father said, his voice at first ringing out strong and clear into the night but warbling slightly by the last word.  He kissed his daughter on the cheek, squeezed her hand and took his seat beside his wife in the front row.  “Friends and family we are gathered together on this joyous occasion to unite this couple in the bonds of holy matrimony. It is my understanding that this couple has chosen to say their own vows.  Liam if you’ll begin please.”

     Liam took my hands in his as he faced me his eyes penetrating my soul as he locked his eyes on mine. 

“Lorelei I have loved you since the moment I first laid eyes on you, I knew even then that you were my destiny and I’ve never once looked back.  You have the remarkable ability to always make me smile even when I’m having a rough day and things aren’t going right.  You make the time to listen to me no matter what else is going on, or how hectic things get or how crazy my ideas might be.  You love me unconditionally with an open and giving heart.  Basically I am a man of few words, so I’ll sum this up simply  I love you Lorelei and I know you know all the things that I harbour in my heart for you.” I squeezed her hands when I finished speaking.
   The officiate nodded at me to begin.   “Liam since you surprised me totally with this wedding this evening I really don’t have anything prepared but me being me I’m willing to wing it.” I heard several giggles and chuckles behind me but I continued on unfazed by them.  As I looked deeply into Liam’s eyes I said.  “Liam you are the centre of my universe.  You are the first face I want to see in the morning and the last one I want to see before I close my eyes at night, you are also my dreams in between.  If I ever lose my ability to see it’s your face and your smile that can light up even the darkest of days that I will carry with me in my mind. If I ever lose my ability to hear it is your laughter and the way you say I love you that will ring in my ears for ever more and comfort me in my otherwise silent world. You are my twin flame, the other half of my soul that completes me.  I believe in you, the person you are and in the couple we will become as we gown even closer with each passing day.      With my whole heart, I take you as my husband, acknowledging and accepting your faults and strengths, as you do mine. I promise to be faithful and supportive and to always make our family’s love and happiness my priority. I will be yours in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health, in failure and in triumph. I will dream with you, celebrate with you and walk beside you through whatever our lives may bring. You are my love and my life, today and always. I love you Liam.”

I squeezed her hands and winked at her.  People more than likely thought I was just being my usual cheeky self I’m sure with the wink I that I gave her but the truth of it was I think I was blinking back tears of joys that tugged at the corners of my eyes as she spoke such heart felt words. “Let us begin with the vows followed and the exchange of the wedding bands.  Liam, please take Lorelei’s left hand and repeat after me.  “I Liam Padraig Conlin take you Lorelei Siobhan Gallager to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold.”  I dutifully repeated the oaths in a clear and confident voice before I slipped the ring on that would unite with her engagement ring and become one just as we were doing.  Lorelei repeated her own vows to me in a serene voice secure that she too was doing the right thing. 

The ring she slipped upon my extended finger was smooth and cool in the night air. I had at one time worried that perhaps the ring would feel foreign and out of place upon my finger but instead it filled me with a knowing that it belonged.  It was a knowing on a deeper level than I had ever experienced before.  The words I longed to hear were finally pronounced.  “I pronounce you husband and wife.  You may now kiss your bride.”  Carefully lifting the small veil that had been covering her face I kissed my new bride.  I wasn’t immune to the radiance that emanated from her face both before and after the most perfect kiss I had ever experienced. “Ladies and Gentlemen it is my pleasure to introduce to you for the first time Mr. and Mrs. Liam and Lorelei Conlin.” There was a rousing round of applause and cheers as we turned and headed up the sand filled aisle. Neither of us knew for certain just what the future would hold for the two of us but we did know what thing, whatever it was, we were going to take this long strange trip called life together.



     Well I managed to pull of the wedding of my new bride’s dreams, and while it was a raging success I doubt that I’ll be giving up my teaching career anytime soon to go into event planning full time. All that mattered to me was that she and I were happy. 

     There are a few details that will remain locked in the vault about our wedding, such as the fact that we both got our way over not having traditional clergy of either of our parents faiths preside over the ceremony its self.  Since it was appropriate to the Halloween theme we in reality were joined in holy wedlock by a third degree Wiccan High Priest.  It seemed to me that would suit both Lorelei’s and my own earthy, nature loving nonconformist ways.  Just because he had made his own decision to wear a gothic styled set of clerical robes and our parents both just naturally assumed he was of a mainstream faith of their choosing and had merely decided to get into the spirit of things and wear a costume as well, was no reason to correct them was it?

    Immediately after the ceremony we both magically disappeared for several minutes to savour those first few moments of being newlyweds.  My bride was elated by all that I’d done for her and was on an ultimate high which she wasn’t soon to come off of.  Her fervent kisses and caresses told me as much or more about how she was feeling than her words did.  Sometimes it’s what’s not spoken that manages to speak volumes. The majority of our jovial guests made their way through the night back to our home where the reception would be held.  We had no qualms about it, knowing we had a more than competent staff on hand who would see to our guests every whim, and provide them with finger foods and drinks until Lorelei and I arrived a bit later.

    It was a rather eclectic group that gathered on the beach that night for wedding photos to me taken.  Our parents had been good sports about all of it and I must say my parents did cut quite the dashing figures dressed as Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind.  Her parents had chosen to come as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and needless to say we both knew her Mother “was not amused” on some levels but her love for the two of us was greater and she seemed to getting into the spirt of things.  Needless to say we were going to have some very memorable wedding photos to cherish in the years to come.  I was also pretty certain Lorelei would choose the perfect wedding photo of the two of us to proudly display in our home as a  

     The reception was I believe the best one I’ve ever attended in my life, and no I don’t think I’m being biased making that statement either.  People were relaxed and in jocular moods, the food was spectacularly presented as well as being able to deliver both enticing aromas and orgasmic sensations to the taste buds.  The libations flowed freely, and yes we had made arrangements to ensure the safety and wellbeing of any of our guests that might over indulge.  The music was as varied and lively as our guests were and I learned where Lorelei had inherited her dancing skills that night.  Her parents were really tearing up the dance floor and having a total ball doing it.

       We of course did the traditional things of course and there were speeches from our parents and friends, which were filled with love and humour.  Toasts were given, the spectacular wedding cake the Morelli’s had made was sliced with a pearl handled knife that had been in Lorelei’s family for generations and we tenderly hand fed each other morsels of that first slice.  The Morelli’s had even surprised me with a grooms cake which was completely over the top in the décor and may I add was still moist the next day when I indulged in a remaining slice as part of my wedding breakfast.  What can I say? I happen to love cake.

During our first dance as husband and wife, Lorelei despite the fact that all eyes were on us only had eyes for each other and were lost at least for the moment in our own world. The garter removal and toss caused a great deal of laughter as my buddy Dougie caught it and being the confirmed bachelor that he was tossed it over his shoulder as quickly as he’s got it, as though the thing were on fire and had singed his fingers.  Skye caught the bridal bouquet and I had noticed her chatting with Dougie a great deal of the evening so despite everything maybe just maybe Doug would be joining the ranks of the matrimony minded in the months to come after all. No one was left out of the celebration including Barclay who had countless photos taken of him, and was plied with numerous treats over the course of the evening.

I was having a whale of a time celebrating the happiest occasion of my life to date but I was also looking forward to being alone with my new bride.  I was pretty sure it was going to a very special and intimate time that we shared when we were finally alone together. We both had a life time of loving before us and we were both eager to continue our journey together.  We had so many more firsts to look forward to including a honeymoon at a later date compliments of our parents who had provided us with the very generous gift of open ended flight tickets to the destination of our choice as well as a tidy sum of cash to pay for hotels and other incidentals. To me I viewed marriage not as an end but rather the start of this lifelong intricate and intimate dance with the ultimate choice of partner.  If I’ve can offer any advice to you, it would be live, laugh and love often and well.



As the final curtain falls on the Tale of Liam and Lorelei, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that made this possible for me to achieve my dream of writing a book.  Thank you, so much to each and every one of you who has read, commented, supported and encouraged me, especially when I thought of giving up because I simply couldn’t do it.  Special gratitude it given to Laura Levine, the author of the cozy mystery series featuring Jaine Austen, who despite her hectic schedule gave freely of her time and efforts to encourage me in this endeavor.  I also owe a life time supply of brownies and the world to my editor, friend, sounding board, and sometimes therapist (when my neurotic ramblings kicked in) the incredible Mike Thomas.  I know you aren’t one for public accolades but take a bow because none of this would have been possible without you giving so generously of your time and talents.  I am grateful and love you one and all.  Thanks again everyone.  Cerridwen

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