One week later
"Martha, Martha," Alex called out as he exited his office.
Martha sat up on the couch, where she had been reclining while she read a book. Her morning coffee sat on the table by her side. "I'm in here, dear."
"I just spoke with Gerald in Washington. I called a week ago and told him I want to attend my granddaughter's wedding. He's been checking for any possibility that anyone knows I'm in New York. He is certain that it will be perfectly safe for me to go. The intelligence community is convinced that I am living in the Mediterranean on some island. Some of them even believe I'm dead, since I've been absent for over a year."
"I know Alexis will be pleased to get your affirmative RSVP. Let's call her tonight."
Alex dropped to one knee beside the sofa, "Martha, will you marry me? Will you marry me, this month? We could have a simple ceremony the morning before Alexis gets married. Family only. I don't want to wait."
"Darling, I don't want to steal Alexis's moment. It's her weekend for Joy. I am sure this will be her only wedding. She and Brian are besotted with one another."
"Just say, 'Yes.' We can have the wedding anytime, anywhere you want. Just say, 'Yes.'"
Alex reached into his pocket and pulled out a jewelry box. He removed the diamond solitaire from the box, placed the ring on Martha's finger and kissed it. Martha stared at the ring for a moment, then pulled Alex to her for a kiss. She ended the kiss and smiled at Alex, her blues eyes shining with tears. "It's lovely, it's perfect."
Alex swept Martha into a deeper kiss, slid his arms underneath her, and rose up with her in his arms bridal style. He carried her off to their bedroom.
Alexis and Kate were checking the RSVP list for the wedding, when the phone rang in the loft. Rick and Ian were building a Lego castle near the phone, so Rick answered it. The caller ID was blank.
"Richard, how are things in New York?"
"Da…uh, Alex. We are all well. I'm leaving the wedding insanity to the ladies, while Ian and I construct a truly spectacular Lego castle. Are you and Mother doing well?"
"We are wonderful, son, absolutely wonderful. Is Alexis there? I need to speak with her."
"Certainly. Just a minute." Rick handed the phone to Alexis. "Pumpkin, Alex wants to speak with you."
"Hi. It's great to hear from you."
"Alexis, I have been assured, that it is perfectly safe for me to come to your wedding. You can list me as your Grandmother's plus one."
"Awesome. Brian and I really wanted you to be there." Alexis covered the phone and spoke to Rick and Kate, "Alex is coming to the wedding."
"Your Grandmother and I also have some more news. Can you put the phone on speaker?"
"Of course, just a minute." Alexis pressed the speaker button and motioned for her Dad to come closer. "Okay, the phone is on speaker. Dad and Kate are right next to me."
Martha spoke next, " I thought about what Richard and Katherine said. Aanndd, Alex and I are engaged."
Alexis squealed with delight. Rick exclaimed, "Yes," and Kate beamed. Ian looked at the adults like they were silly, then returned his attention to his Legos.
"When do you plan on having the wedding?" Alexis asked.
"We only need our family there, but we'd like to do it soon. We aren't getting any younger," Alex was the one who answered.
Alexis spoke up almost instantly, "Why don't you do it just before my wedding? We'll all be in the Hamptons for a few days before the wedding. We could do it there."
"Alexis, we don't want to take anything away from your moment. I am certain that this will be your only wedding. This is my third, " Martha protested.
"Gram, unless you plan to run off on a honeymoon and skip my wedding, I don't see why a simple ceremony with just our immediate family would be a problem. Do you want a sunrise or sunset ceremony?"
"Oh Darling, you could never get me up in time for a sunrise ceremony. I'm not picky about the time. The who is all that's important," Martha laughed with her reply.
Kate spoke up next, "Martha, I think sunset two days before Alexis' wedding is a perfect option. It won't interfere with anything, and we all plan to be at the Hamptons house then anyway, even my Dad."
"I told you they would get on board," Alex could be heard telling Martha. The distinctive sound of a kiss followed.
"No fuss is needed, dears. We just need a license, an officiant and our family. You're sure that it won't interfere with setting up for Alexis' wedding? I don't want to get in the way of the workers for that."
"Mother, they are due that morning and should be finished well before sunset. If it rains, the tent will be set up for the reception, and we can use it. I could really get my money's worth out of it that way."
All the adults laughed, and Ian wandered over to the sofa. He reached up to his sister, and she pulled him into her lap. "Gram and Alex are getting married. Isn't that wonderful?"
Ian rested his head against Alexis's shoulder and nodded his head. "Gram, Ian just gave his approval. It's unanimous."
The workers from the party rental company had left a little before 4pm. The tent was set up on the grassy area near the beach. A small platform with a lattice arch had been constructed on the edge of the grass nearest to the water. The latticework of the arch did not have any greenery and flowers entwined in it yet. The florist would do that the next day. Chairs for the wedding were not set up yet. That task was planned for the morning of the ceremony. No chairs would be needed for the small wedding to take place this evening. The day had been sunny with a cooling breeze coming off the water.
A few clouds were gathering near the horizon as Martha gazed out her bedroom window at the beach. A simple bouquet of white roses tied with a blue satin ribbon lay on a table nearby. Sunset was approaching. She was dressed in an ecru lace sheath dress over a pale blue charmeuse silk slip. The dress had sleeves that ended just above her elbows in a scalloped lace border. The same border graced the jewel neckline and the hem that fell just above her knees. The dress was fitted to her slim figure. She wore nude pumps, her diamond engagement ring, diamond earrings and a diamond bracelet. A Broadway costume designer had made the dress. Richard wasn't the only one who 'knew a guy.' Richard had arranged transportation for Martha's designer friend to and from Lake George. The final fitting had been in New York 2 days ago, and the dress had been delivered the next day.
"Martha, you look exquisite," Kate beamed at her Mother-in-law.
"Thank you, dear. When Jerome showed me the lace and this design, I knew it was the one. I wanted to look classy for my final wedding," Martha chuckled and posed like a model on a runway. Kate and Alexis laughed.
"Gram, the dress is elegant. I want you to wear the sapphire earrings. Kate gave them to me a few days ago. You can return them to me on Saturday." Alexis handed the box that contained the heirloom earrings to her grandmother.
"Thank you, Darling. I look forward to giving them back to you. Did Katherine tell you the history of these jewels?"
"Yes, Gram, and I will be honored to wear them on Saturday. We only have a few more minutes. Dad is downstairs with Granddad, Jim and the Judge. Do you want me to send him up?"
Martha replaced her diamond earrings with the sapphire ones. She pulled Alexis in for a hug. "Send your father up and get everyone else out to the beach. The sun has it's own schedule, and I don't want to get married in the dark."
Kate was about to leave the room, but Martha stopped her. "I want to thank you for all the joy you have brought to our family. I remember the simple ceremony we had here for you and Richard. It was beautiful that evening, and it appears that Alex and I will also have a perfect sunset for our wedding." The two women hugged, just as there was a knock on the door. They separated and Martha called out, "Come in."
Rick walked into the room. "Mother, you look gorgeous." Rick turned back towards the hallway and looked down at the happy boy tugging on his jacket. "Ian, you were supposed to stay downstairs."
Ian peeked around his father's legs and smiled at his Grandmother. " I just wanted to see Gram. She looks bootifull, doesn't she Daddy?"
Martha smiled at her grandson. "Thank you, my sweet boy. Would you escort your Mother to the beach?"
"What's 'scort mean?"
"Escort means, my man, that you get to take Mommy by the hand and walk to the white arbor where we are going to have the ceremony."
"Okay, Daddy. Come with me, Mommy. We go first."
Ian grinned as he led Kate from the room. Rick and Martha waved at him as he peeked at them while he closed the door.
"Dad is pacing down there like a caged tiger. I have never seen that man nervous before."
Martha smiled and turned toward the window. "Ian is truly strutting out there with Katherine." Rick looked out at the family members walking towards the arbor. Ian was holding Kate's hand, walking very stiff and proud. Jim, Alex and the Judge followed them. Alexis and Brian walked hand in hand to the same spot where they will be married in two days.
"Thank you for interceding on your father's behalf and for asking Katherine to do the same. I don't think I would be doing this if you hadn't. Time to give me away for the last time. "
"Sol is painting a beautiful backdrop for you. Let's go get you hitched." Rick handed the bouquet to his mother.
Martha took Rick's extended arm. As they reached the back door to the house, Rick paused and turned to Martha. He kissed her cheek and whispered in her ear, "I love you, Mother." Martha could only smile at him, too emotional to speak.
Alex smiled broadly at his son and his bride as they approached. He had waited decades for this moment. His dream was coming true.
Ian bounced at his mother's side. Kate had instructed Ian to be very quiet during the ceremony. He was looking at his family as they all smiled at his Gram. He listened to the Judge talking and his Gram and Alex saying words he didn't understand completely. His Dad placed a hand on his head and Ian leaned into Rick's leg. He quit bouncing and popped his thumb in his mouth.
Alexis held her Grandmother's bouquet. The sunset was spectacular, and the breeze from the water kept everyone cool. Brian stood next to her, holding her other hand. The ceremony used the traditional vows and was over quickly. When the Judge pronounced her grandparents as husband and wife, Alexis wiped a tear from her cheek. Brian squeezed her hand as her Grandparents kissed.
His parents were married. Rick was stunned by how emotional he was feeling. Kate leaned over Ian and touched her shoulder to Rick's. The simple gesture of his wife was perfect. The moment was perfect.
Martha and Alex ended their kiss and smiled at the small gathering. Jim clapped and the others joined him. "Thank you, Jim. I always appreciate applause," Martha quipped. Everyone laughed.
Ian tugged on Rick's coat, "Is it okay to talk now?" the boy whispered a little loudly.
"Yes, you may talk. Gram and Alex are married now. Isn't that wonderful?"
"It is wonderful, but Daddy, I'm hungry."
"My son needs sustenance. There is a buffet set up in the tent. Let's all celebrate with some food," Rick announced to the group. He leaned down and picked up his son. "Let's go be first in line." Rick linked his free hand with Kate's. Rick, Kate and Ian led the group headed for the tent.
Alex held Martha back from the others, "I love you, Mrs. Craig. Thank you."
"Well, Mr. Craig, you are stuck with me now."
Music was playing as the moon created golden streaks on the waves. Ian was tired. He was sitting in Alexis' lap and sucking his thumb. Brian was sitting next to them, his arm draped across Alexis' shoulders. Ian popped his thumb out of his mouth to speak, "Will you still be my 'Lexi after you get married?"
"Of course, I will be. I'll always be your 'Lexi. I'll always be your big sister. Brian will be your brother-in-law after the wedding."
"Brian will be my brotherlaw? What's that?"
"When Alexis and I get married, I'll be part of your family, too," Brian tried to explain. "I'll be like your big brother."
"You'll be my Brian and 'Lexi is still my 'Lexi. I like that. I wanted a brother. I'm glad you're going to be my brotherlaw!" Ian moved into Brian's lap. He gave Brian a big hug. "Is Gram still going to be my Gram? Will she move away now? I don't want her to go away."
"She is still your Gram, and my Gram too. Do you know what Alex is now?"
"He's my Alex."
"Now he's our grandpa, like Jim is your grandpa."
"Do we call him Poppa, too. Two Poppas would be silly."
"We don't have to call him Poppa, we can call him Grandpa, or Grampa or GrandDad. What do you think we should call him?"
"Gramdaddy. I'm going to call him Gramdaddy."
"He'll like that. I'll call him GramDad."
"Do you really think he'll like that? Maybe we should ask him," Ian spoke softly and looked shyly over towards Alex.
"Let's go ask him, little bro," Brian stood up with Ian on his hip. He reached for Alexis' hand. They walked hand-in-hand to the newlyweds.
"Alex, Ian wants to ask you a question," Brian started the conversation.
"What would like to know, kiddo?" Alex lifted Ian from Brian's hip.
Ian whispered to Alex, "Alexis says you're my new grandpa, like Poppa is my old grandpa. Can I call you Gramdaddy?"
Alex kissed the boy on the top of his head. "I would like that. I would like that very much."
Ian reached up and held Alex's face between his hands, "I'm glad you're my Gramdaddy, but can Mommy and Daddy put me to bed? I'm tired."
The adults laughed. Alex and Martha kissed Ian on the cheeks. They walked with Ian over to where Rick and Kate were swaying to the music.
"Daddy. Mommy. Alex is my Gramdaddy now. Brian is gonna be my brotherlaw, and I'm tired."
Rick took Ian from Alex's arms. "Gramdaddy, huh. I like it. Are you going to call Brian brotherlaw?"
"No, he'll just be my Brian. I'm sleepy, Daddy."
"We'll take you to bed, kiddo. Tell everyone goodnight."
"Gram and Gramdaddy gave me kissies already. I need a kissy from Poppa."
Jim kissed the little boy, "Good night, Ian. Sleep sweet."
Alexis kissed her sleepy brother and Brian ruffled Ian's hair.
"Love you, Poppa, 'Lexi, Brian. Love you Gram and Gramdaddy," Ian leaned against Rick's shoulder, stuck his thumb in his mouth and fought to keep his eyes open.
"We'll be back in a few minutes," Kate told everyone as she and Rick turned to the house.
"Mrs. Craig, would you honor me with another dance?" Alex led Martha to the dance floor that had been prepared for the bigger wedding to come in a day and a half.
Once they were swaying together, Martha whispered into Alex's ear, "It's been the best wedding of my life."
"My dreams came true today. You're my wife, and my grandchildren can call me Gramdaddy." Alex chuckled. "Never expected the Gramdaddy, but I'll take it."
"Well, Gramdaddy, Gram is your wife and anxious to demonstrate how happy she is about that, " Martha pressed in closer to her new husband.
"Later, woman. Not in front of the granddaughter." Alex hissed into Martha's ear.
Martha growled quietly into Alex's ear. The couple laughed as they continued to dance.
A/N: I'm marking this story as complete. Thank you for reading.