With this Ring

Chapter 8

"O month when they who love must love and wed."

Helen Hunt Jackson

Winona looked around her living room. It looked as if everyone was having a wonderful time! She looked at Violet and Gavin's smiling faces…they looked very happy as they went from group to group accepting congratulations and good wishes.

Violet looked beautiful in her long simple amethyst colored dress. It had long tight sleeves, and a scooped neck line and it was in a princess style which set off her lovely figure and brought out the black in her hair and the rose in her cheeks and lips. Her bridal corsage had been a cascade of creamy white roses and violets and they looked beautiful against her dress. Her big brown eyes glowed with happiness. She had her hand in Gavin's and it was obvious that he wasn't letting go of it anytime soon. Peter was keeping an eye on Davy, but he was behaving perfectly, enjoying walking around and 'talking' with different people.

The wedding ceremony in the chapel had gone beautifully. Father Joe had made it as personal, warm and intimate as was possible. Uhura dressed in her lilac dress had looked radiant as she came walking in to the strains of Pachelbel's Cannon. Jim and Violet had followed. Winona thought he looked particularly handsome in his formal uniform. He had kissed Violet on the cheek, and smiled into her eyes, obviously happy to give her hand over to Gavin. Peter, holding Davy's hand had walked down the aisle with Davy holding the rings in a small velvet bag, clutching it tightly in his little fingers; everyone in the chapel held their breaths until the baby handed over the rings to Derek Bradford, who knelt down to Davy's level to receive them. Violet had smiled at her little son, and Peter had then led Davy to Winona who was sitting in the first pew. The baby sat on her lap, as good as gold during the entire ceremony. Janie's flowers on the altar were simple and lovely, and she had made special small boutonnieres of purple violets and Baby's Breath for Gavin, Derek, Peter and Davy. Jim wasn't able to wear one, since he was in formal uniform, but Winona had also received a small corsage of violets to wear on her wrist. The pews in the small chapel had been filled with friends; Dr. Snyder, Violet's boss, Major Cernock, Sonnai Connolly, Admiral and Mrs. Nogura, Mama and Papa Salvatore, Marie and her family, Gino and his family, Serena, Jonathon, and of course, Leonard and Spock. Only the closest and dearest of their friends had been invited to the wedding ceremony. For the reception, more friends from their respective work places would attend.

Mrs. Nogura came up to Winona, drink in hand. "Dr. Kirk, this is all lovely... I really enjoyed our tea yesterday. It's not often I get an opportunity to have a 'ladies only' afternoon. It seems I'm always surrounded by men, especially at home. I have four sons, and 6 grandsons," she smiled. "I think that's why I enjoy weddings so much, and this has certainly been one of the prettiest weddings I've ever attended, and you've done a wonderful job with everything here."

"Thank you, Mrs. Nogura," Winona smiled at the tall, stately former Marine. Her posture was still ram rod straight under her cream colored suit. "I understand from Commander Bradford that you had something to do with getting him back in time for the wedding."

Mrs. Nogura frowned. "It was entirely the Admiral's doing really. I can't imagine what that idiot Komack was thinking, trying to go over the head of the C in C by trying to prevent Commander Bradford from being at his own wedding. Heihachiro thinks an awful lot of Commander Bradford. Once he knew of Komack's machinations, he intervened immediately. I don't think I've ever seen him as annoyed as he was at Komack."

"I'm sure you had something to do with it also, Mrs. Nogura."

The Admiral's wife just smiled. "Please, call me Althea, Dr. Kirk."

Winona inclined her head. "Only if you'll call me Winona." They smiled at each other in perfect understanding as Mrs. Nogura moved away to speak with other guests.

Jim was standing by the fireplace, feeling relaxed and happy, and talking to Serena and Jonathon. "So, Jim, looks like everything worked out well, "Jonathon said. "Why do I have the feeling that you had something to do with Gavin getting back here on time? "

"Who, moi?" Jim asked, putting on his most innocent face. "Nonsense, Jonathon; purely a figment of your imagination. It was all Derek." Jim smiled looking over at Bones and Spock in deep conversation with Admiral Nogura. From the looks of it, the Admiral was getting an ear full about Komack. He caught Spock's eye, who just raised an enigmatic eyebrow at him and nodded slightly.

"Uh huh," Jonathon muttered, looking at him skeptically as he followed his line of sight.

Nyota came up to Winona. "The party is just wonderful, Winona. The flowers look beautiful if I do say so myself. I think we can pat ourselves on the back, don't you?"

"I certainly do," Winona laughed, looking at the flowers scattered all over the room. The main centerpiece sitting on the mantle, the huge milk glass vase from the attic, was filled with dahlias, scented geraniums, snap dragons and sweet grass. The flowers looked fresh and lovely against the creamy wall. The entry table by the front door had a large mason jar filled with roses and Queen Anne's lace. There were smaller mason jars all over the room, each one filled with individual flowers of lavender, pink dahlias and purple dahlias.

"It looks like everyone is enjoying the food, too. It's delicious."

"You can't get better than Mama Salvatore's recipes," Winona said. "Violet…."

"What about Violet?" said the object of her remark, as she put an arm around Winona and kissed her on the cheek.

"I was just going to say that you look lovely and very happy."

"All thanks to you, Winona," said Violet. "I can never thank you enough for all you've done for me. My own mother couldn't have done as much." She kissed her gently on the other cheek. 'You've been an angel to me, Winona."

Tears came to Winona's eyes. "Thank you, sweetheart. You know I love you like a daughter. It was my pleasure."

"Ma!" Jim said in reproach. "Are those tears I see in your eyes?"

"Happy tears, darling, only happy tears."

"They better be," Jim said. "You can be very proud of all this, Ma. The food is delicious, the flowers beautiful and everyone is having a wonderful time."

"That's just what I was telling her, Jim."

Winona looked aghast. "But Jim! I had so much help! I couldn't have done it without all of you."

"Maybe so, Ma, but you were the leader of the tribe."

Gavin came up to them, hugged and kissed Winona and put his arm around Violet. "We can't thank you enough, Winona. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful wedding," he said. "For a while there, I didn't know if there'd be a wedding at all."

"You can thank Admiral Nogura for that, Gavin," Jim told him.

"I did, Jim. At length. However I have a feeling it's not just the Admiral I have to thank."

Jim put on his most innocent look. "Don't look at me, I know nothing," he said.

Gavin looked at him knowingly. "Yes, well I'm not buying that bridge, I can assure you, so thank you, Jim; from Violet and I both and from the bottom of our hearts."

"Gavin..." Jim protested, flushing slightly.

Derek came up to them. "I think it's time for the best man to propose some toasts," he told them.

"Not yet, Derek. I think it's time for us to bring out the wedding cake," Winona told Nyota and Violet. "After you two cut the cake, and pose for a few pictures, and then we'll do all the toasts," Winona told Derek.

The three of them went into the kitchen and returned with the beautiful cake. The Riverside Bakery had outdone themselves. It was a round white cake, two layers and not very large since the guest list was small. The butter cream icing had been piped all around the edges of the layers in the form of violets and green leaves that had been tinted purple, lavender and green. In the center of the cake were the porcelain small bride and groom that had graced Winona and George's wedding cake. Winona had saved that as a small surprise for Violet and she was delighted.

The cake was placed on the main table along with the small cake plates. Gavin and Violet came forward to cut the cake while Jonathon took several pictures. Gavin picked up Davy and held him in his arms to get a picture of all three of them and then some with Father Joe, and some with Jim, Nyota and Winona. Nyota and Winona cut the rest of the cake and passed the plates around; the champagne flutes were filled and also passed around.

Derek stepped forward and clinked his champagne flute. "May I have everyone's attention please? It's now time for that most important part of a wedding reception. The toasting of the bride and groom. So before I offer a toast to Gavin and Violet, I'd like to share with you this thought that came to my mind when I thought about these two: you don't marry someone you can live with, you marry someone you can't live without. In this case, these two really have married the right person. And now it only remains for me to get you all on your feet and with charged glasses, I'd like you to join me in toasting the newly wedded couple, Commander Gavin Bradford, and Violet Palomino. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the wonderful bride and groom!"

"Here, here. To the bride and groom!"

The champagne disappeared quickly, and the party continued in full swing. It was obvious everyone was having a wonderful time. At last Winona and Nyota went up to Violet to whisper in her ear that it was time for her to change out of her bridal dress for something more comfortable to travel in. The women went into Winona's bedroom and helped Violet change.

"Now Violet, you are not to worry about Davy. He'll be just fine. He loves to be here with Jim, Spock, Leonard, and Nyota. We'll all keep him happy and busy until you and Gavin get back. You know how he loves my cooking and Jim will put him on Dapple again and he'll play with Peter and Sorrel. You'll only be gone for three days, so enjoy yourselves and don't worry."

"I'll try not to, Winona. I'll comm you every day while we're gone so I can talk to him." Violet still looked a little anxious.

"Davy will love that. I'll put him on my lap in front of the big comm so he can see you. Now, then you're all ready. You look lovely, sweetheart."

Violet did look lovely in her cream colored slacks and silk blouse. She went back to the living room and stood for a minute. As the guests saw her, smiles broke out and there was a soft wave of applause. She smiled shyly, looked around and spotted Admiral and Mrs. Nogura. She walked up to them, leaned in and gave the formidable Admiral a soft kiss on the cheek. "Thank you," she whispered. The Admiral looked startled for a second then smiled. She turned to Mrs. Nogura and placed the bridal flowers in her hands. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

"You're very welcome, my dear." Mrs. Nogura patted her hand gently.

She then walked up to Jim. "I love you so much James Tiberius Kirk! Next to Gavin, you're the best man I know." She hugged him tightly. "You better be careful out there, we wouldn't know what to do without you."

Jim hugged her back and kissed her rosy cheek. "I will. Be happy, Violet. You deserve all the happiness in the world," Jim told her softly.

She looked deep into his hazel eyes, nodded and turned to find Gavin with Davy in his arms. When Davy saw her he stretched out his arms, "Pitty mama," he said and everyone smiled. Violet took him, kissed him tenderly and handed him to Jim. "Mama will be back soon, darling. Have fun with Ma and Jim and Peter. Bye, sweetheart."

"Bye, Mama." Davy said smiling, happy to be in held in Jim's arms.

Gavin took her hand; they waved at everyone, and laughing, they went out the front door to the waiting shuttle to begin their honeymoon.


N/B As always my thanks go out to my friend Carol for her invaluable help in proof reading these chapters.

My thanks also go out to my friend rootsnbloom for sharing with me her ideas about the flowers for Violet's wedding and reception.