Chapter 12

It was 7:00 a.m. on July 5th, Jessie's wedding day. This was the day she had waited for and planned for since she was 6. School was over for the summer and she and Chris had their whole lives ahead of each other. When she got up her mother was already in the kitchen preparing breakfast. Mike came down the hall still looking hung over from the bachelor party two nights ago. The guys did the usual, strip club and drinking till sun-up. When they got home, Mr. Burlingame had to help his son up to his room to sleep it off.

Jessie's father was next to come into the kitchen. He too had been at the bachelor party, but unlike the other men there had shown some restraint, using his age as an excuse. 'Can't hold my liquor like I used to' he had told them. He had agreed to be the designated driver for the evening.

Jessie and her friends had also been out all night, though a little tamer than the guys. Her cousin Amanda was her maid of honour and thus decided that they had to spend at least an hour at a strip bar. Jessie was sure that her mother would disapprove of going to the strip club, but surprisingly her mother did not hide in the washroom as she thought she might. Once she had a couple of drinks she was well into it, in fact she didn't want to leave. 'That's the last time you are drinking' Jessie told her mother when they left.

After the bar they went to the movies dressed in their pyjamas. The girls had made Jessie wear all this paraphernalia identifying her as the bride-to-be so everyone at the theatre would know it. She was embarrassed, but had a blast anyway. After the movie they went to Timmy's for coffee and spent the rest of the night there. When they got home, the guys were just coming home also and it was almost dawn.

The four of them finished their breakfast and put their dishes away. Jessie went and showered and put on her shorts and a tank top. Her mother met her at the bottom of the stairs and they left for the beauty salon. First Jessie had her last tanning session; she had been going for the last 3 weeks 3 times a week to get a nice golden tan. Then she and her mother met the other girls involved in the wedding, the maid of honour and 3 bridesmaids. They sat down in the chairs and let the stylists work their magic.

While the girls were off getting pampered, the guys were all sitting in Chris' living room watching a double-header baseball game between the Yankees and Mariners. With only 2 hours to go until the moment when Chris would say 'I Do' the men got up and made their way to the church. They were met there by a friend of Mr. Burlingame's who would make sure that they looked their best, sometimes even men want their hair to look right on their wedding day. When they were in their tux's they had nothing left to do but wait. Chris' father had met them at the church and was now alone with his son while they waited.

"Chris, I'm so proud of the man you've become. You know that right?"

"Yeah I do dad."

"I've never been much for sharing my feelings, but I'm going to try now. You are marrying a wonderful young woman and I know that the two of you will be happy for many, many years to come. But I want to offer you one piece of advice."

"What's that dad?"

"Always remember to communicate, don't go to bed angry. Life is going to throw you some curves but you will get through them."

"I will dad, and I love you too."

They hugged; his father didn't know what else to tell him so he left it at that. Someone came to tell them that they were ready to begin so Chris and the others made their way into the sanctuary and took their places. His father sat down with his mother who was already beginning to cry. His best man nudged him and smiled as the ceremony began. First Amanda came down the aisle, followed by the three bridesmaids. Then came the flower girl and ring bearer, this was taking so long. He wanted to see Jessie. There was a pause and then everyone stood up, the doors opened and Jessie started down the aisle holding onto her father's arm.

Chris held his breath; he had never seen her look so beautiful. Her dress was simple and hung off her shoulders. The neckline was modest and there was a one-foot train behind her. 'Breathe' his buddy told him. Chris did just that and smiled at her, she smiled back. When they reached the front of the church the minister asked,

"Who gives this woman to be married?"

"Her mother and I do," Mr. Burlingame replied. He lifted her veil and gave Jessie a quick kiss on the cheek and handed her over to Chris.

The ceremony proceeded and when they got to the vows, Jessie and Chris had written their own, so the minister instructed them to recite them to each other. Chris was first.

"Jessie, two years ago I had my life all planned out, down to every last detail and then I met you. I decided that what I had planned wasn't all that great and I started to plan a life with you in it, boy am I glad you decided to join me. I love you with everything I have and I promise to stand by you in good times and bad. I promise that only death will separate us."

Jessie was starting to cry, which made her mother and Chris' mother start to cry even more.

"Chris, you have been my hero since the day we met. You save me when you bring me coffee or something to eat when I'm studying late, you stand by me in whatever I endeavour to do. Something was missing before I met you, but once I met you that void was filled. I promise to love you everyday for the rest of my life and to stand by you in good and bad, until death do us part."

The minister instructed them to exchange rings.

"I now pronounce you man and wife."

Everyone started to clap and cheer.

"You may kiss your bride."

Chris took Jessie into his arms and kissed her. He held her for what seemed like an eternity and when they parted they looked in each other's eyes. Then they faced the people in the sanctuary and the minister said,

"May I present Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Flynn."

As people clapped and congratulated them, Jessie looked up in the balcony of the church and tapped Chris' arm.

"Look, do you see that?" she whispered in his ear.

"What do you see?" he whispered back.

"Nothing, I must be seeing things."

But what Jessie didn't know is that she wasn't seeing things. Up in the balcony were Scott, Evan, Francine and Carly all smiling and clapping.

"See I told you that they would make it." Carly said.

"Yeah, you were right babe." Scott replied.

"They make such a good couple." Francine said.

"I think they'll be together for a long time." Evan replied.

The four of them watched as the bride and groom made their way down the aisle. They blew kisses at them and wished them all the best in their new life together. They knew that one day, a long time from now they would be reunited again. Just as they had appeared, they were gone again, not to be forgotten.

The End