tagRomanceComplex Family Ch. 07

Complex Family Ch. 07

byPaulStevens©

Edited by luvtaread

The weeks leading up to the wedding were interesting to say the least. They started with the normally sure stomached Mel throwing up the morning of her doctor's appointment, at which the ultrasound confirmed that she was indeed pregnant. Upon hearing the news Ashley pledged to head up the baby shower. Partly in thanks of the bridal shower she had received the weekend Brandon had gone to find Bob. Something she felt more up to doing now that her night classes were done for a while. Now she only had to complete the school year and get the wedding out of the way and everything would be a lot less hectic.

As the wedding got nearer everyone, even Katy, got more and more nervous trying to nail down final details. Near the end of May Brandon got a call from Bob saying that he wanted to come a few days before the rehearsal to get acquainted, so arrangements were made for him. They arranged for him to stay at Mel and Katy's as it had already been determined that for the week of the big day Katy and Mel would be living primarily at the condo anyway.

So on the day he arrived Katy arranged for him to be picked up at the airport and after dropping his bags at the apartment, to be taken to the condo for the surprise. As it turned out that day Ashley was running a little late, this being her last day of school. Brandon, who was off as a part of a near two week vacation covering the wedding and the honeymoon, sat in the condo with Bob waiting for Ashley to arrive home. It was clear that both were nervous at what Ashley's reaction would be, but Brandon was not sure which was more nervous.

When Ashley arrived Brandon got up and greeted her at the door. She gave Brandon a quick kiss and launched into why she was late and had set down her bag before she noticed they were not alone.

"Brandon, who is that?" she said looking at Bob who by now was standing.

Brandon nervously cleared his throat and said, "A surprise for you honey, its your..."

Brandon never finished that sentence because at that moment Ashley's eyes widen in recognition and she said, "Daddy!"

She ran at him and hugged him. Bob was at first surprise then hugged her back looking pleased and Brandon's nerves faded away instantly. When Ashley had finished hugging her dad she stepped back and asked, "How? How did you..."

Bob smiled and he pointed at Brandon and said, "He found me and invited me, that's some man you have there Ashley."

"Yes it is daddy," Ashley said with a smile, "Not only has he saved my life, twice, but he was a big help in my becoming teacher."

"Really?" Then looking at Brandon he said, "I believe he left that little part out."

"That's my Brandon, modest as ever. I guess I'll have to tell you," Then after a beat she said, "But first let's have a seat, it's a long story and I don't know about y'all but it's been a long day."

When they had all sat down Ashley told Bob about the island, the incident with the Carthingtons in Miami, and the help Brandon had given her with her teaching career. When Bob began asking questions about how Ashley had been, Brandon excused himself to let them catch up, noting he still had a few things to finish up before being fully able to take his vacation.

That evening all three went to dinner with Mel and Katy, who seemed to get moderately along with Ashley's dad.

After dinner was finished and they were saying their goodbyes, Bob thanked them all for dinner and Katy asked Ashley, "So Ashley did you ask him yet?"

Ashley did not answer and Bob said, "Its okay honey you don't..."

"But I want to," Ashley said cutting him off, "I've always wanted you to escort me down the aisle dad, I just didn't think you wanted to."

Bob looked surprised and said, "And why wouldn't I? You're my little girl, my only daughter, why wouldn't I want to?"

With tears in her eyes Ashley asked, "So will you, Dad?"

Bob smiled wiped the tears from Ashley's eyes and said, "I'd be honored." There was a mini celebration before they all parted ways.

The following days were a little crazy, but having Ashley's dad around helped keep Brandon and Ashley distracted as they showed him around the city while final plans were arranged. Which thanks to the efforts of Katy, Gina, and Mel barely involved Ashley, she and Brandon were free to enjoy the days leading up to the wedding. In fact it would have been a very smooth wedding if not for the surprise visitor at the rehearsal.

Brandon happened to be outside the church talking with his brother when he saw her arrive. Striding toward the front door was none other than Cassandra Carthington.

"Jack, go inside and whatever you do make sure neither Ashley nor her dad makes it out here, got it?" Brandon said quickly to his brother.

Jack followed Brandon's look and seeing who it was asked, "Is that?"

"Ashley's grandma, yes. So in order to avoid a major fight it would be best if you keep Ashley and her dad away from her."

Brandon then moved to intercept her and as he got closer she said, "Brandon you're a nice boy, and I don't want to hurt you, but I will you if you don't get out of my way. As I told my stubborn husband when I got on the plane to come here, my only granddaughter is getting married tomorrow and no one, not him, you, or anybody is going to stop me from at least seeing her before she does."

"If that is the way you feel than far be it for me to stop you, as far as I'm concerned the more family Ashley has here to support her the better." Brandon quickly replied before asking, "You are here to support our marriage right?"

Cassandra was taken aback by this and nodded before asking, "Then why are you still in my way?"

"Mainly, because you're not the only member of Ashley's family here, so is her dad."

Cassandra paused and said, "Oh..."

"Yeah, so needless to say if you storm into the chapel it's going to cause issues." He said dialing a phone.

While it rang Cassandra said, "Well, I still want to see her but I have no interest in upsetting Robert."

"Maybe you won't have to," Brandon said. Then hearing Gina answer said into the phone, "Gina, its Brandon is Ashley still downstairs talking with the priest?"

"Yes, and why is my husband causing a commotion upstairs?"

"I asked him to buy time, listen can you open the door to the basement stairs on the side of the building?"

"Sure, but why? What's going on?"

"You'll see why when we're there." He heard her agree before hanging up and leading Cassandra to the side stairs, when they got to the bottom he knocked once and Gina opened the door.

As Brandon and Cassandra moved past her she asked, "What did you mean w...?" She asked but seeing Cassandra had no need for the question. "Brandon is that?" Brandon nodded and she opened her mouth to tell him off, but just then there was a crash upstairs. Gina changed her mind and turned saying, "Damn it Jack what did you do now?" before heading for the stairs. Brandon smiled as the crash had undoubtedly drawn Katy and Mel as well.

"This way," he said leading Cassandra to where he was sure Ashley still was. "Before we have more people to get through."

"I can't believe you're helping me, I thought for sure after what you said to Sam that you would be my biggest obstacle."

"Well ma'am, if you took the time to come up here against your husband's wishes, and you're not opposed to us getting married, then you're welcome in my book. However, it's not me that you hurt, this is between you and Ashley. I figure least I can do is give you a chance to plead your case." He said when they reached the door to he priest's office.

Brandon knocked and entered as he did both the priest and Ashley asked, "Brandon? What's going on?"

"What?" Brandon asked confused, then understanding said, "Oh, the crash, Jack was buying time, not sure exactly what is going on, but you may want to make sure its nothing major Father."

The priest rose and said, "Yes, I think I'd better, I dare say you have some things to discuss. I'll be taking confession the rest of the evening so I'll see you two tomorrow."

As he left Ashley turned to Brandon asking, "Brandon? What did...?"

"Ashley, there is someone here," he said cutting her off. At that moment Cassandra stepped into the room.

Ashley got angry and asked, "Why is she here?! I told you Brandon, I never want to see her or grandpa ever again!" and she stormed out.

Brandon went to stop her but Cassandra said, "Don't Brandon, she doesn't want me here, and I deserve that. After the way I treated and allowed her and her mother to be treated, I deserve it. Thanks for trying. Sam was wrong about you Brandon, you are a good man. Just promise me you'll take good care of her."

Brandon nodded and seeing her leaving asked, "Where are you going?"

"I'm going see if the priest is ready for confession yet, as I have sins I need to confess." She replied.

Brandon nodded and went to find Ashley. When he found her she was surrounded by Katy and Mel all three glaring at him.

"Can I please talk to..." He tried to ask nervously.

"After what you did?" Mel spat at him, "Just go!" Seeing no good coming from arguing he went to help upstairs.

When he got there Gina must have noticed the look on his face and asked, "Brandon what happened?"

"Ashley's grandma came, on her own, to speak to Ashley I tried to give her the chance and Ashley went ballistic and stormed out she didn't even wait for a reason."

"She's not here to stop the wedding?"

"Not as far as I know. Quite the contrary it seems. She even stopped me from trying to argue on her behalf to Ashley."

Gina thought a second and said, "I'll go talk to Ashley."

A few minutes later Ashley found him and giving him a hug and a kiss said, "I'm sorry darling, I didn't mean to do that, I realize you were trying to help, it's just there are so many bad memories. They have ruined so much."

"I know, and I'm sorry if I over stepped. It's just I think family should get along, I know not everyone's does or can."

"Still..."

"Look honey I may be out of line and its asking a lot, but she did come here from Georgia alone to talk to you, couldn't at least see what she has to say?"

"She's still here? Brandon you didn't..."

"No, I didn't she just said something about sins to confess. I think while she was here she wanted to get a few things of her chest, even if they weren't to you." Ashley nodded and as Katy tried to call things to order Ashley left the chapel and Brandon followed.

When they reached the hall Ashley stopped him saying, "No darling this is between me and her, you've done enough."

When he went back to the chapel Katy asked, "Where is Ashley? We'll never get this finished at this rate!"

"She had something to take care of she'll be back soon." Brandon said "Why don't we start going over everything before her arrival. As I am sure there is plenty to do that does not involve her."

So the practice continued and a little while later Ashley entered the chapel.

"Sorry I'm late. Where are we?" She asked as she strode to the front. As Katy was about to bring her up to speed Cassandra entered the chapel and sat in the back. Upon seeing her Bob got furious but his outburst was cut off by Ashley.

"Daddy, she comes in peace, and is here on my request. We may not get along, but she is my grandma. Now you are both my family and I have little of that left. After seeing a close friend lose her's it made me realize how precious family is. So daddy, please don't make an issue out of this."

Bob looked ready to protest but one look at Ashley and he nodded and said, "Okay, if her being here is what you want..."

"It is," Ashley said stubbornly.

"Then its fine by me."

"Then you don't mind if I wear these tomorrow?" Ashley asked pulling out and opening a small jewelry box. Inside was a pair of earrings. "Grandma said you gave them to mom, to wear at your wedding."

Bob was surprised and said, "Yes, but your grandpa threw them out when he had me run out of town." Then looking at Cassandra he asked, "Where did you find them?"

"I pulled them out of the trash when Sam wasn't looking, they meant so much to Anna after all. Too bad I didn't have the courage to get the real thing that mattered to my daughter. There is no way I can make up for what I have done, or rather not done Robert, but I hope one day you can forgive me."

Before he could answer Katy came to investigate and seeing the earrings said, "Ashley those are beautiful and they'll be perfect with your dress, where did you get them?"

"They were my mom's, grandma brought them." They turning to her dad she asked, "So dad can I wear them?"

"What do you need my permission for? You're a grown woman. Besides someone should wear them and it'll be great to have a piece of Anna here tomorrow. She'd be so proud of you Ashley."

Things went smoothly for the rest rehearsal and the dinner. Afterwards Brandon said goodnight to Ashley, knowing the next time he'd see her was the wedding. He then headed to his brother's house which was where he and his groomsmen were staying. Readying for the big day tomorrow and hoping the old adage about play rehearsals was true for weddings.

As it turned out everything did go to plan under Katy's watchful eye. Although that did not mean that Brandon did not have any weird moments during the ceremony. It was seeing Mel walking up the aisle in her light green bridesmaid's dress that made Brandon realize that although he was here to pledge his love to the woman of his dreams, one of her bridesmaids was at this moment carrying his child. Brandon mentally reflected on this as the procession continued with Katy coming up the aisle next, followed by his nephew as a ring bearer, and niece as the flower girl. As they passed he realized that he was THAT guy, the one who marries one girl, but gets another pregnant. Regardless of circumstances he never thought he would be standing here on his wedding day in this situation, and yet here he was. It kind of disgusted him a bit that he had let it happen.

"Yeah, let it happen," he thought as if he had any choice in the matter. Ever since he had saved their lives his fate was sealed. Those three had formed a pact and he would not be surprised if they had planned all this out. He was in this ride for life, he would just make sure to stay on their good sides. One thing he could say about his life now, it was not boring, and from the looks of it the craziness was just getting started.

The music Ashley had chosen for her walk started and the thoughts vanished from Brandon's head as his attention fixed on Ashley. Even with the entire church separating them Brandon was awed at how beautiful Ashley looked. For him nothing existed but her in those moments when she walked down the aisle toward him. When she reached him she hugged her dad, who Brandon hadn't noticed, and Brandon shook his hand before escorting Ashley to the altar.

As he stood there with her he could not help but reflect on the events that had transpired to get them here. Part of him still in disbelief that the woman he had admired from a far in a church on a small Caribbean island, now stood next to him ready to become his wife. It was not until they had exchanged vows and he heard her 'I do' that it really hit home that this was really happening. Not long after he finally heard a phrase he had been dreaming of since that first date on the ship.

"I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss the bride." He looked at Ashley, lifted her veil, leaned down, and kissed his new wife for the fist time. It was not until it was over and he heard the applause that he remembered that others were in the room.

As he looked out into the crowd of his and Ashley's family and friends he heard the priest say, "I present you Mr. and Mrs. Metcalf."

Amid the clapping he took Ashley's arm and they left the church together. After that things were kind of a blur for the next hour, between transit and pictures. Before long it was time for the reception and after getting seated Brandon's brother gave his toast. It was short but good. He congratulated Brandon, while welcoming Ashley, before wishing them both the best of luck. Then it was Katy turn and she stood to give her speech.

"Hi, for those of you that don't know me I'm Katy, and I have been lucky enough to count both Ashley and Brandon as two of my close friends. We all became friends under rather odd circumstances, but when we did I had no idea just how incredible my two new friends were. Ashley is by far, outside of my partner Mel, my best friend in the world. I lost my family in the same accident that brought us all together and Ashley was there for me when I really needed a friend, and she has continued to be there ever since.

As for Brandon, Brandon literally saved my life, something for which I am thankful for everyday. He's kind of like the big brother I never had, always there when I need protection. I guess what I am getting at is that these two are not just my friends, they are like family. As someone who watched their love grow everyday on a small island it makes me so happy to see them take this final step to cement what their hearts did months ago. So to Ashley and Brandon, may your love continue to grow and inspire us all."

Ashley's eyes filled with tears as she hugged Katy, and Katy insisted on hugging Brandon too. After dinner was finished and the cake cut the dancing began. Brandon was still not a big dancer but he danced all the traditional dances, as well as one with each of the bridesmaids.

As he danced with Mel she said, "It's a great ceremony, don't you think?"

"Yeah, you, Gina, and Katy did one heck of a job." Brandon then pulled her close to avoid another obviously slightly drunk pair. As he felt her press against him she winced a bit. Concerned he asked in a low whisper, "The girls still a little sore?" She nodded, and looking into her eyes, he asked, "How are you holding up?"

"Fine, thankfully the morning sickness has faded, or I'd be in worse shape. But enough about that Brandon, I'll be fine, it's your and Ashley's day."

"That doesn't mean I ignore my other responsibilities."

"I am NOT your responsibility!" She hissed under her breath. Brandon noted that they were drawing attention.

"This is not the time and place for this," He said quietly. "So we'll agree to disagree on that point okay?" Mel nodded and when the dance had finished she left the ballroom for air and he followed.

"What are you doing here?" she asked angrily as he came up behind her.

"Continuing our discussion in a more private setting," Brandon responded calmly.

"There's nothing to discuss, or if you had any sense there wouldn't be."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Brandon asked anger flaring to his defense.

"It means that tonight your focus should be on Ashley and Ashley alone."

"It is!"

She turned to face him and said, "Oh yeah? Then why are you out here and why were you on the dance floor asking about me?" Brandon did not get a chance to respond because another voice came to his aid.

"Because Mel, he's a friend who cares about you," Ashley said.

"And a future father who cares about the health of his baby, which is why we picked him." Katy said joining the fray.

"I don't see the big deal here Mel it seems like an innocent question." Ashley said.

Mel looked at her in disbelief and said, "Ashley, this is your wedding day, you should be furious!"

"Why? Because my new husband asks a friend about how she is feeling after getting her pregnant, with my knowledge and approval? Mel if I was going to object it would have been weeks, no months, ago. I appreciate the help Mel, but somehow I suspect this has little to do with Brandon and I. In fact it has more to do with you and the fact that you regret your decision to let Brandon father your child."

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byPaulStevens© 3 comments/ 17859 views/ 6 favorites

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