The guest list was small; besides Phil and Rhonda, his kid brother, Parker and whoever he was currently dating, Perry and Lalique, and Sofia's sister, Thalia, and her housemate, Jerri. They had worked the date around so Phil and Rhonda could attend and stay with Dion during the honeymoon, but unfortunately that meant her youngest sister, Anneliese, could not be there as she was taking a vacation in Greece. It looked like Pres' third brother, Prince, would be a no show. He didn't seem to be at his home and had left no word with anyone. Not really an unusual thing for him to do, he often took long weekends at exotic locales, but ordinarily he did try to make himself available at big and important family affairs. Pres left message after message but Prince was either not answering or his phone was out of range.
"Probably on some tropical island with three women," he joked to Parker, nudging him. He could afford to laugh since he would soon be on a tropical island with his own woman. Who needed three when he had Sofia?
"What's wrong with that?" Parker grinned wickedly.
Pres shrugged as a smile tugged at his lips,
"I'm tellin' ya, kid, one of these days his outrageous behavior's gonna get him in hot water...I mean, like boiling water. Whatever you do, don't take after him."
Dion had no thoughts on any wedding, but he was surprised and pleased to have his father in the house with him all the time. Pres had been working on getting a "daddy" out of him that was actually understandable.
The day of the wedding dawned clear, bright and hot, which was good since they had planned a wedding outdoors in the side yard. Sofia had been having qualms about it all through the preparations and was still concerned.
"What if it rains tomorrow---what if it just pours?" she asked her sister, Thalia, who was helping with every aspect of the wedding.
Thalia had accepted Pres into their family to everyone's surprise. She'd always liked him, really, up until she found out about the existence of Arlene Jankowski, compounded by Sofia's pregnancy. But once Sofia had explained everything and was now so happy to be with Pres Thalia decided to just forget the bad stuff and give him another chance. If he didn't make her happy this time, though, watch out. Besides, the truth was she loved her nephew way too much to give grief to his father now that they were a family.
"Honey, be happy; everything is good; everything is in control," she advised Sofia now, hugging her, "Your wedding will have your favorite colors, pink and rose, just about everywhere--it's gonna be beautiful. The dress you made is gorgeous--Pres will flip over it when he sees it. His parents got in yesterday and are over at Perry's house. Rhonda brought a beautiful dress that blends right in with yours," Thalia assured her, "By the way, your new mother-in-law is just the sweetest thing I've ever met--except for you, of course, 'Fia."
As far as both her sisters were concerned, Sofia, although the middle child, was treated more like the "baby" sister.
Parker kept Pres away from the house that morning; having him shower and dress at Parker's apartment. Now Pres stood at the bower of flowers and watched while Sofia emerged from the house and walked slowly toward him.
She wanted to remember every moment of this day. As far as she was concerned her dream had finally come true. It had taken longer than she had originally hoped, but it was all the sweeter for that. When she stood across from Pres she was amazed to see tears in his eyes.
"You've never been more beautiful, baby, never," he whispered, taking her hand.
They spoke their vows and Pres placed the ring on her finger and she did the same for him.
After they kissed briefly the small group of people burst into applause and Thalia broke rank and sang out,
"Way to go, Sofia! All right!"
On the patio under the shade Dion played with his ring stack toy while Pres and Sofia enjoyed several more kisses. And then the guests started looking longingly toward the refreshment tables where there was plenty of chilled champagne to slave the powerful thirst worked up in the hot sun.
Toasts to the bride and groom were barely finished when, of course, it started to rain. Thalia quickly enlisted everyone's help in moving the tables and food, chairs and gifts into the house and Rhonda scooped up Dion and his toy.
"I should have decorated inside just in case," Thalia muttered as she carried the cake in and put it on the counter, "Oh, well, my bad."
The bride cut the cake and, as traditional, gave the groom the first piece. Of course, Sofia had a custom pink and lavender cake that she'd ordered from "Take the Cake Bakery" in Bluewater Village.
After everyone had enjoyed the food and the cake, Thalia put on some soft romantic CD's and Pres pulled Sofia out to the makeshift dance floor while there was, again, applause and the women sighed, "Awww".
Parker, who had not brought a date after all--decided he, as the only single man there, should offer to dance with the two unescorted women; Jerri and Thalia. Both were quite attractive but a bit tough looking compared to the usual type of woman Parker was attracted to. It was a shame Prince wasn't here to help even things out, but Parker was sure he was man enough to tackle the job alone if he must.
Lalique and Perry, being technically still newlyweds themselves and barely back form their own honeymoon, got up to dance next. Rhonda looked around and saw her husband in the kitchen, sneaking another piece of cake. She grabbed his hand and dragged him out on the floor for a dance, too.
Parker actually danced about three times in a row with Jerri who seemed eager to get to know him, and was an attractive woman except for the way she dressed. Then he decided he would no ask Thalia for a dance or two since she was just sitting there watching the other couples enjoy themselves. Actually both women were older than him; Jerri by about 5 or 6 years and Thalia by about 10. He knew she was several years older than Sofia, with a gap between the two sisters kind of like between him and Pres. However; he was not only chivalrous; but also unused to being around single women without trying to charm them. So he'd been flirting outrageously.
When he escorted Jerri back to her chair her eyes were shining and he thanked her then turned to ask Thalia if she'd care to dance. He was astounded when Jerri jumped to her feet and then hauled off and bitch-slapped him. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Thalia quickly get out of the line of fire. Before he could even speak Jerri started telling him off and saying that he was a tease and a cad, that he led her on, and did he think he was better than she was?
"Look, Jerri--" he began.
With that she socked him in the eye with her fist and he saw stars; it felt like that side of his face blew up. He was brought up NEVER to hit a woman so he was at a real disadvantage, he still thought he could get her to discuss this calmly.
"I didn't mean--" he tried again, but she cut him off when she plowed her fist into his mid-section and he bent double. What was she some kind of Ninja lady?
"Pssst!" Thalia was stage-whispering, "Shut up, honey-boy, don't try to talk!"
So Parker just stayed quiet, trying to straighten up, blood running down his chin from the split lip she'd given him when she slapped him wearing her heavy rings.
All he'd done was dance with her a couple times. He did not know she was an undercover cop and used to having to fight off tough guys, he just knew that she was a friend of Pres and Sofia. He looked for his brother hoping for help or at least an explanation, but Pres was dancing with his new bride, looking deeply into her eyes. He hadn't noticed a thing.
Others had, though, and it put a real damper on the proceedings. Jerri glared daggers at him, retrieved her purse from where she'd flung it and stomped out of the house. Climbing on her motorcycle she beat it out of there. The rest of the wedding guests began getting ready to leave.
"Great wedding, brother of mine," Perry put his hand on Pres' shoulder and grinned, his other arm around Lalique, "You're beautiful, Sofia, take good care of him. And now I think there's a very good chance Parker should go to the hospital. We'll take him there."
Pres had no idea what had happened but it was starting to sink in when he got a look at Parker's red and rapidly swelling face. He just didn't know why it happened. Was Jerri having PMS? He started to ask Parker what the deal was but Sofia pulled gently on his lapel and said in a very low voice,
"Don't ask, Pres, please. I don't want to be in the middle of a fight at our wedding."
"Yeah," he agreed, "Let's have a quiet evening and get Dion settled with my Mom and Dad."
Thalia was clearing the tables and Rhonda was washing Thalia's fragile china she had loaned Sofia for the wedding, while Phil loaded up the wedding gifts and put them in Sofia's sewing alcove upstairs.
"I've never seen Jerri like that," Thalia confided in Rhonda, "She's tough but she doesn't have a hair trigger; I'm the one with a bad temper. And I've never known her to be jealous. I was afraid she was gonna take a swing at me next and I would have made it an even worse public spectacle by punching her lights out.
"My boys do seem to have a devastating effect on women," Rhonda said and then paused and asked fearfully, "Doesn't she live with you? Aren't you afraid to go home?"
"No, by the time I get home she should have calmed down."
Pres and Sofia would be sleeping downstairs on the sofa bed that night so that Phil and Rhonda could have their bed and when Pres and Sofia left at the crack of dawn they wouldn't have to wake up his parents or Dion. Thalia had volunteered to Rhonda and Phil to help out with Dion any time they might need it while the bride and groom were on their honeymoon.
"Some wedding night," Pres wrapped his arms around Sofia, his chest against her back, and whispered in her ear, "We'll make up for it when we get to Twikkii!"
Next blog update Jenny Lomax-Hammond Ch. 10 Dropping the Bomb Part 1