Holding Hands (novella)

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Dave and his son looked puzzled. To them, it all looked just fine. Fortunately, my two cousins showed up, and we started smoothing and fluffing my wilted flowers.

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After an hour and a half, I was satisfied everything looked in order, and my cousins and the reception staff seemed duly impressed with how things looked. Checking: Another hour was spent checking out where the food stations, the two bars, and the photo booth would go. I had brought sleeping bags and toys for the kids, rented a video player with movies, and ordered pizza and milk to be delivered to the room later. Baby-sitters were hired from the day-care center my girls used, and they would show up about a half hour before the wedding began at p. False Lull: Then it was lunch time.

We took our time and relaxed. I was annoyed at myself for having been so uptight earlier. This was my wedding day — my very last time ever that I would get married, and I was going to enjoy it.

I think we ended up in the casino just to kill some time. Pictures were set to begin at I needed to shower, shampoo, do my makeup and get dressed. The leisurely day I had thought I would have had turned into a frantic race against the clock. I was part-way through blow-drying my hair when a knock on the door came. Several guests, as a matter of fact.

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They were just wanting to wish me good luck and to give me hugs and kisses. I could never be an actress. Being the wonderful friends they were, they asked me if they could help. I wanted to shout, Yes, leave me alone! Thank heaven I bit my tongue and just thanked them, but no thanks!

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One finally got the hint and told the others they really should run. She wanted to check out the casino before the wedding started. Oh, no! I took a deep breath and smiled. Dave was standing right there, about to open the door so he could come talk to me. Instead he stood in the doorway and talked to my friends. I caught his eye, and he immediately sensed I needed some privacy. It could have been because my eyes were bulging, the veins in my forehead were protruding and I had a nasty sneer on my face.

I had rushed back to the bathroom to finish drying my hair. Dave ushered the ladies out, closed the door, and came up behind me to kiss my neck. I wanted to hit him with my brush, but I refrained. I willed myself to soak up some of her poise. Tell me I told you we have the rehearsal at in the ballroom!

I looked at her with a loving smile. That made sense. I had no choice. We were still late to the rehearsal because I had to have a group photo of me, Dave and our combined families. It absolutely had to be taken before the wedding because of the babies and their nap times. By the time we got the little ones rounded up and cajoled them into sitting still for a few seconds, I certainly could have used a nap.

Finally, we all headed to the wedding site to meet Pastor Tim for rehearsal. My plans had been for the practice to be from I was never good at math.

In retrospect, there would have been no way to have that many people come through in 15 minutes, even if it was an emergency, let alone that many that we would have been giving welcoming hugs and kisses to. Most notably there early were relatives notorious for always being late.

Everyone else in the world was nonplussed about the situation except me. And thank heaven for that! Tim calmly gathered everyone around, had Dave walk in first, our kids next, and told them where to stand. One of the babysitters helped corral the flower girls and the ring bearer, and they looked adorable walking two by two.

The ring bearer raced to his mom.

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Then it was my turn. Sandwiched in between my parents, we walked together. He looked puzzled, too. Maybe he means at the end when he is Elvis. It was closer to by the time the service started, but that had given me time to calm down again and reflect on how incredibly lucky I was to have so many family and friends gathered together. I was so fortunate to have found love again, and to such a wonderful man, but the circumstances that allowed Dave and me to be together suddenly hit me and I started to tear up. Who knows what life will bring us and what paths Dave and I will be on, I wondered.

Forty years ago, my Dad had walked me down the church aisle. To still have both of my parents be with me this time was indescribable. My mother had on a long dress compared to my short dress so that I could dance more easily and she looked beautiful. I was thrilled to see her corsage I made adorning her wrist. Dad was having a great time. They both had told me they loved me, and that they loved Dave, and I knew they meant it. I wiped my eyes and smiled. Everything was alright. For another minute, that is.


The music for the entrance began and the guests quieted down. The minister walked to the dance floor and turned around to face us. Suddenly, Weezie, the month old, started crying. I have a picture the photographer snapped of her finally walking down the aisle bare-footed, her eyes swollen from crying, holding hands with the babysitter. The babysitter, a darling young woman with an outgoing personality and a love for all the children in her care, happened to be clothed in gothic black, covered in tattoos, with her straight black hair streaked with electric blue.

But what the heck! Finally, my parents escorted me to my new husband. I looked at Dave beaming at me. And I looked at all the smiling faces around. But rats! I had tears streaming down my face. If my luck was running the way it had all day, my makeup would be turning my tears black.

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I tried wiping my eyes inconspicuously, which was rather hard to do since I was surrounded on three sides by family and friends. Dave and I took turns during the quick service to address our guests.

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We told how lucky we were, thanked everyone for being with us through the saddest times in our lives, and welcomed them for joining us that evening for the happiest time so far! I looked at Dave, he shrugged, and we found two chairs and sat down. The lights dimmed momentarily, and then brightened as a black-haired figure in a white and spangled suit made his entry into the ballroom.

The crowd roared! It was Elvis Presley. Fat Elvis — complete with his muttonchops, blue cape, big belt, and sunglasses. He whipped around and played up the crowd. Unbeknownst to Dave, I had cooked up a little surprise for him. Because so many of his family and friends would be on hand, it was a no-brainer to throw in a birthday party. His favorite cake was from Cheesecake Factory — the site of our first date.

Yes, a stripper.

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