“Vali,” I gasped, “what are you doing?” My eleven year old daughter had for some reason decided to play around in my makeup while in her fancy dress. I did not want to be late to my sister’s wedding.
“I’m putting on makeup for the wedding,” she explained as if I couldn’t already see that.
“Honey, makeup isn’t for eleven year olds. Come on, we can’t be late.”
She pouted, but simply put the brush back without another word. I bet she just doesn’t want to not be allowed to go. Seraphina was already waiting downstairs, so once I told Vali to go down and wait, I went over to Ethan’s room to get him.
“Hey,” Dani said with a grin, “you look gorgeous.”
“So do you,” I laughed, nudging her. Sure, we had three kids and would soon be adopting another, but that didn’t change anything in how attracted we were to each other. If anything, I’m more attracted to my beautiful wife now, after all the time and memories we’ve spent together.
“I’m definitely going to do you tonight,” she giggled flirtatiously.
“Dani,” I gasped in astonishment, looking from my little boy and back to her. He looked up at her as to wonder what was going on, as she just grinned.
“He’s three years old, Adelaide. I doubt he’ll remember those words. But I’m not taking them back,” she winked, kissing me straight on the lips before walking downstairs with our son. There is definitely something about weddings that puts everyone in a flirty mood. If we didn’t have three kids and didn’t have to be at a wedding in thirty minutes, I wouldn’t object to doing my wife right now. Sometimes it’s hard to fit sex in with our crazy life, but that just makes it all the more special when we finally have some time to ourselves, and as the kids get older, we’ll have more and more of that.
Valentina seemed to be in a sour mood the whole drive over to the wedding venue. I couldn’t tell if it was because I’d told her to get out of my makeup or if it was another fight she and Seraphina were having, but I sure hoped she’d put on a happy face for her aunt. She and Lexie have always been close, so I’m sure she’s happy for her. As we got out of the car, I could still see Vali’s signature ‘something isn’t going my way’ expression all over her face.
“Valentina, come over here,” I said once we entered the building, bringing her over to the other side of the room.
“This is your Aunt’s special day, young lady, so you better turn that frown upside down, okay?”
“But Mommy, I don’t want her to get married!”
My eyes widened and I sucked my breath in. Why the hell would she not want her Aunt to be happy? “Why?”
“She’s going to leave us and move in with Mr. What’s-His-Face Goth! Who else is gonna help act out parts with me?”
“Vali, me or your mama can do it, or your sister. Aren’t you happy for your Auntie Lexie?”
“Well, I guess, but I thought she was a strong lady and doesn’t need a man! Single girls are just as powerful if not more – ”
I stopped her short, since the Watcher only knows how long she could rant once she started. Who the heck was putting these ideas in a little girl’s head? I mean they aren’t wrong – women don’t need to be married to be strong – but Valentina isn’t exactly getting the point. “Valentina Lilah Clemonte. Your aunt is a very strong woman and she decided to get married because Luca Goth makes her happy. Strong women know what makes them happy in their life and they don’t let that go. Do you think your mother and I are lesser people for realizing we loved each other? Because when two people are good for each other, they make each other stronger, you understand?”
She just nodded, looking at her feet. She was a very opinionated young girl and she interpreted everything she heard, whether she fully understood what they were saying or not. “Okay. But what if she forgets about us when she’s gone?”
Forgets. Vali’s always been scared of being forgotten- something I’ve never understood. Anyone who’s ever met my daughter will never forget her.
“Honey, she isn’t going to forget us, we’re family! She might not be able to see us as often because she won’t live with us, but I promise she will not forget us. She will not forget you.”
“I promise. Now go play with your sister and mama, while I help your Aunt get ready, okay?”
She nodded, running of to the kids playroom this venue conveniently had. I bet it was a big selling point, too. I’m sure plenty of engaged couples have family members with children, or even children themselves.
“Oh my Watcher,” I gasped softly the second I walked in. It wasn’t some big princess dress like Vali had envisioned, but it was perfect. Lexie looked beautiful. But the second she turned around, she looked completely frazzled and on the verge of a complete breakdown. It was startling. She’s been so much better with her emotions since coming back from Selvadorada- in fact I hadn’t seen her look so out of control since before she left for Selvadorada years ago. Having to go through out mom’s death when she was so young really impacted her on top of how insecure she’d always been.
“Oh Watcher, you can totally tell, right?” She tugged at the piece of fabric near her stomach and looked up to me, biting her lip.
“Lexie, breathe. In…out…” I knew some people got wedding day jitters and all – I know when I married Dani, I was shocked it was actually happening – but nothing like this. She looked like she was about to pass out any second now.
“I can’t get married,” she gasped, sitting down. “Who am I kidding, I can’t get married!”
“Lexie. You’ve known Luca for twelve years. You two love each other. You’re perfect for each other.”
She just buried her face into her hands, and when she looked back up, her face was wet with tears. I felt so bad for her. This was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, but for some reason, her emotions were getting the better of her. “I’m not ready for this. Oh Watcher, this wasn’t supposed to happen!”
“You’ve been dating so long, you two are practically married anyway! But if you aren’t ready…” I trailed off, sighing. I knew she’d be so excited about the wedding in this last year leading up to it.
“No, no, no. Not that,” she insisted quickly, “I’m ready to get married.”
I gasped softly, pressing my hand to my mouth. Watcher. My sister’s pregnant! I’m going to be an aunt. Suddenly, everything made so much more sense. Her emotions were probably a bit out of whack because of the pregnancy hormones, and on top of that, Lexie isn’t the best at dealing with unexpected things. But she just seemed utterly terrified. Shouldn’t she be just a bit more happy? Excited? She was starting a family with the man she loved – what was so bad about that?
“You’re pregnant,” I mouthed quietly, still in shock.
She just nodded, looking down to her stomach.
“Oh my Watcher, that’s amazing,” I laughed softly, then stopped short as I realized why she might not be so excited. “Lexie… the baby is Luca’s, right?”
Her eyes widened. “Oh gosh, of course. It’s – it’s not that. I’m just not sure if we’re ready for this. You and Dani are the strongest couple I know, and I know caring for newborn Vali – at least in the early months – was really hard on you two. I just don’t want becoming parents to break us.”
I pulled her into a hug as a few tears dropped down my cheeks. “Yeah, it’s not always easy, but it makes you stronger in the end. You and Luca can do it. Being a mom has been the most amazing experience of my life.”
“But what if we don’t make it to the end? You know, the divorce rate is 50%…”
“Lexie, don’t let your fears stop you from being happy. I’ve seen you do that to yourself too many times, and I’m not going to let it happen now.”
She chuckled softly, nodding. “Oh Watcher, I ruined my makeup, now didn’t I?”
I gave her a small smile and shook my head. I don’t know if she’d unknowingly gotten waterproof makeup or what, but her wet cheeks were the only sign she’d been crying. “No, you look perfect.”
“Watcher, Adelaide, I don’t know where I’d be without you. Thank you – for everything,” she whispered as she pulled me into a hug.
“That’s what sisters are for,” I whispered back to her, “now…are you ready to get married?”
She laughed softly, nodding. “Hell yes.”
My sister has gone through so much. And I know it hasn’t always been easy for her, but that just makes today mean all that much more. To see her standing up there…
…it was almost a dream. But it wasn’t. My sister was actually getting married. And I couldn’t be more happy for her. She’s always been able to come out on top, and I know she’ll be a great mom.
“Hey, is everything alright?” Dani whispered as I slid into my seat beside her.
I nodded, looking up to where my sister and her soon-to-be-husband were standing. “Everything’s perfect.”
And it was. Everything had worked out for my sister. She deserved happiness, more than anyone else I’ve ever met. I’ve always thought she was perfect, imperfections and all. I’ve always wanted her to find someone who could see her like that. And I’m so, so happy she did. Right now, she and Luca were staring into each other’s eyes with pure, genuine love. They were simply admiring this moment – their last ones before becoming husband and wife. I’d been so surprised she’d wanted the traditional white wedding – she’s never been one for traditional things. But I have to say, this venue was gorgeous, and she looked so perfect in her white dress.
A few weeks after Lexie had gotten home from Selvadorada, she and her Selvadoradian boyfriend had broken up… and over the months, she and Luca had started talking more often. I had no idea they were romantically involved again until one day, I walked into the living room, and the two were heavily flirting with each other. Later that day, Lexie has explained she and Luca were indeed dating once more. In some ways, I feel like I’m handing her off to Luca. I’ve been the one that was there for her for so long – and I’ll always be there for her – but it’s Luca that’ll be taking care of her now. Her husband. She’s moving into the next stage of her life.
I watched her lean in and whisper something to him as his eyes widened. Everyone else might think she was telling a dirty joke, but I knew exactly what she was telling him. She’d just told him that he was going to be a dad.To my surprise, the kids were very well behaved during the ceremony and the reception.
Valentina put the piano they had to good use, getting the attention of many people.
If there’s anything she isn’t afraid of, it’s performing. She practically lives for it.
Dani got so many people telling her how talented our daughter was – because she was most obviously Valentina’s mom, with the red hair. Seraphina somehow made it outside to the pond, and while I could tell she was having a great time observing the fish, that could very easily become a disaster.
Once I got her back inside, she spent the rest of the time playing with her little brother.
“Watcher, I can’t believe I’m a married woman,” Lexie exclaimed.
I grinned. “Me neither. I’m so happy for you. I always said you’d get one of the good ones.”
She smiled, looking over to her now- husband. I knew she remembered all those times I told her not to settle. She had always lacked self-confidence, and I knew she would’ve easily married someone that she thought was just ‘good enough’. In high school, I told her over and over not to date anyone that doesn’t respect her, not to date anyone who didn’t truly love her. Not to settle.
“I really love him, Adelaide.”
“I know you do. He loves you, too.”