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CHAPTER 24 A
Natalia placed the garment bag on the back of the chair. She placed her makeup bag with the garment bag. The ceremony was scheduled for fifteen hundred hours. She showered while Kacey moved the keyboard to the auditorium where the ceremony would take place.
Kacey had a list of errands to run the first of which was to place her violin and stand on the stage. She stopped long enough to admire the decorations. The tables and chairs were set up. Servers were setting the tables. The floral arch was set to go. The same arch that had been used for several weddings and ceremonies.
Kacey was certain Liam knew about the party, but was also certain they were able to keep it from Patricia. She finished her list of errands and returned to their quarters by twelve hundred hours. She walked in the door just as Natalia came out of their bedroom. She tied her robe closed. Kacey smiled and went to her side. She smile rakishly. Everything is all set. We have a few hours to kill. How about we go back into the bedroom?" She kissed Natalia's neck.
"I would love to sweetheart, but unfortunately we do not have the time for that right now."
"What do you mean? We still have three hours." Kacey stated. It does not take three hours to shower and get dressed."
"You may not need three hours, but some of us do. I am going to Kate and Anya's to get dressed. Kate will come and keep you company. She will get dressed here."
"Why? What is wrong with you getting dressed here? Why all the secrecy?"
"You will see Colonel. I left snacks out on the counter for you and Kate to nibble on. Now I have to go so I can be ready on time. I will see you at fourteen thirty hours. Do Not be late. Hit the shower Colonel."
Natalia kissed her before she picked up the garment bag and make up case and left their quarters. Kacey headed to the kitchen where she picked up one of the snacks, Natalia had left. Within minutes the door chimed. She looked at the monitor.
"Come in Kate." She called out. The door opened. Kate carried a garment bag and flower box as she walked in. "Want a coffee or a brandy?"
"Coffee's good." Kate said as she laid the bag on the chair and went into the kitchen. She took the coffee Kacey handed her and grabbed a snack off the tray.
"Kate, explain something to me."
"Sure if I can."
"Why the Hell does it take our wives three hours to get dressed. It take us what thirty minutes tops, including a shower."
"Ahh little sister, that is a question that has been asked probably since the dawn of time."
"So what is the answer?"
"The answer is who the Hell knows." Kate stated. All I know is at the end of the time, they are knockouts. They have hair and make up. It take time for perfection to happen."
"When you put it that way it makes sense." Kacey stated. "Did you get a chance to shower before Anya kicked you out?"
"Of course I showered." Kate stated.
"Don't get mad. I was going to offer you the use of the bathroom in the soon to be nursery if you needed it. I was not insulting you."
"I am not mad. I told mom and dad that we were going to take them out for dinner and dancing. Told them to wear formal clothes." Kate stated. "Not a lie but not the complete truth."
"Everything is ready. Decorations hung in both rooms. Talia sent me to check on everything this morning."
"We have to meet our girls at fourteen thirty hours. Anya told me very emphatically not to be late."
"Talia said the same thing, so I better get showered. Make your self comfortable. Kacey said as she went into the bathroom.
Kate heard the water turn on as she refilled her coffee. She took a sip of her coffee and picked up another snack. Kate picked up the garment bag and went into the spare bedroom to change. She took off her off duty clothes and unzipped the bag. She removed the shoes and socks. She put on the frilled shirt, then donned the pants, carefully tucking the shirt into the waist before she did up the clasp. She sat down and put on the socks and shoes. She had problems trying to get the cuffs fastened and slipped the cuff links into her pants pocket. She would have Kacey help with them. She pulled the vest on and did up the top button before she put on the bow tie. Kate carried the jacket and draped it over the back of the chair. She tried once more to get the cuff links in, but gave up. She sat on the love seat and sipped her coffee. Kate glanced at the pad that was on the coffee table. She was surprised to see the list of names. There were several girl's names, but only one boy's. She smiled.
"Kate could you come in here?" Kacey called out. Kate walked into the bedroom. "Could you help me with these damn cuff links?"
"Of course. I need the same help myself." The cuff link problem was taken care of.
"Did we have cuff links the last time we wore these duds?"
"No. It seems our lovely ladies decided we needed new dress shirts when they bought their dresses."
"Did Anya tell you?"
"She did. I take that to mean, Natalia forgot to tell you? Don't forget your shoes." Kate reminded her.
"Would you get them out of the closet for me?" Kacey asked as she put on the vest and tie. She struggled with the tie. No matter what she did, it looked crooked. "Come on you piece of shit, straighten up." She spoke to the tie. Kate slapped her hands out of the way and fixed the tie. Kacey checked her reflection and adjusted the belt buckle. She sat down and put on her shoes. She brushed a speck of dust off the toe. She checked the time as she picked up her jacket and went into the living room. "We have twenty five minutes before we have to pick up our ladies. Want a brandy?"
"Sure why not. A small one." Kate answered. "So when will you do that song?"
"Just before they renew their vows. The Chaplin will announce that there is a special musical selection. Then at the party it will be the first song played. I have a surprise for dad when he is singing it to mom. I managed to get some practice time in with the band on it."
"Better put your jacket on and get the flower box so we can be ready on time." Kate said as she finished her brandy.
Kacey opened the flower box and handed the smaller rose to Kate to pin on her lapel. She did the same with Kate's. She checked her reflection one more time and smoothed the shirt front.
"Ready to get our ladies?" Kate asked.
"Ready." They both picked up the flower boxes and checked the time. They left Kacey's quarters and made their way to Kate's. Kate rang the bell. Kacey looked at her. Kate held up her hands.
"Those were my orders." She said as they waited for the door to open. The girls greeted them. They wore pale pink dresses which skimmed the tops of their shoes. The blond hair was held back by garlands of pink roses. Kate smiled at them. "My darlings you look beautiful." She said and bent down to kiss them.
They pulled the two into the room. "Mama said Aunt Kacey has to stand here." Erica said, and pointed to a piece of tape on the floor." Kacey took her place.
"Mummy you have to stand here." Erin directed, and pointed to another piece of tape. Kate took her place.
The girls knocked on the bedroom doors. The doors opened at the same time. Both Kate and Kacey could only stare at the vision before them. Natalia's gown of emerald green fell in graceful lines down to the floor. The bodice was low cut and held up by impossibly thin straps. The empire waist hid the thickening waist that was their babies. She carried a green silk shawl. The emerald necklace and earrings, Kacey had given her sparkled and matched her gown. Kacey felt her heart beat double at the vision Natalia was. Her hair was curled and gathered to fall down her back.
Kate had an identical reaction as Anya stood before her dressed in a low cut sapphire blue strapless gown. Her blonde hair was loose and touched her shoulders. The flowing gown moved gracefully as Anya walked towards her. She closed Kate's mouth which hung open.
"Breath Kate." She whispered. Kate took a breath.
"My darling you are absolutely beautiful." Kate managed to get out.
Kacey had not moved and continued to stare at Natalia as she walked forward.
"Sweetheart, you are perfection." Kacey said as she ran her hands up Natalia's bare arms. Kate was right." She whispered.
"About what?" Natalia asked as she placed her shawl on the back of the chair.
"That perfection take time." She said and leaned down to kiss her. "This time I know where the corsage goes." Kacey joked and opened the box. She placed the corsage on Natalia's wrist. Kacey held her hand and brought it to her lips. She kissed the smaller hand.
"We had better go get your parents before we are late." Natalia stated.
"Parents?" Kacey questioned.
"For their party?"
Kate laughed. Just show a little cleavage and an I.Q. of one hundred sixty drops to forty in a heartbeat."
"You are no better Kate." Anya scolded. "I know what you were thinking." Anya handed Kate the lace shawl which Kate placed over her shoulders.
Kacey did the same and offered her arm to Natalia. She readily placed her hand on the strong arm.
The girls led the way to their grandparents. Kate rang the bell. "Computer begin recording." She said.
CHAPTER 24 B
Liam opened the door. He was dressed in his tuxedo. He smiled and backed up to let his family enter.
"Don't you lasses all look beautiful." He said. "Patsy told me to send Anya and Natalia into the bedroom as soon as ye all arrived." Anya and Natalia went to the bedroom door and knocked. The door opened and they slipped inside. "What are you lasses planning?" He asked. "Seems like a lot of fuss for dinner and dancing. Your mother handed me, me tux three hours ago and chased me out of the bedroom. I have not seen her since."
They both smiled. The door opened several minutes later. Anya and Natalia walked out first.
"Liam, would you stand here please?" Natalia asked.
He walked to the spot Natalia pointed to.
"Ready Patricia." Anya called out.
The door opened again and Patricia stood in the door way. They all hear Liam take a sharp breath as he saw his wife. The deep russet gown had a brocade bodice and fit her perfectly.
"Patsy me darling, ye are a true vision." He walked to his wife and kissed her. "Ye are more lovely today than the day we married." He kissed her again.
"Okay you two. You keep that up and we will not keep our reservations." Kacey said, which earned her a nudge from Natalia and a stern warning look from her father.
"Lass." He warned.
She went to speak when an arched look stopped her. "Fine. You really look great mom." She said and walked to lean on the back of the love seat. Kacey stuck her hands in her pockets.
"What time are the reservation?" Patricia asked.
"I thought they were for fifteen hundred hours, mom." Kacey answered.
"Then we had better go." Patricia stated.
"We have a couple minutes before we have to leave." Kate said
"But, I thought..." Kacey stammered.
Patricia handed her shawl to Liam and he draped it over her shoulders. "What ever you say Patsy darling. "He stated as he offered his arm to Patricia. "Ready lass?" He asked Kacey.
"Whenever you are." She said and stood up. Natalia went to her side and pulled Kacey's hands out of her pockets.
"Relax Colonel. We do have a few minutes. We planned for this and pushed everything back fifteen minutes just in case. I forgot to tell you. Forgive me?"
"Of course, Talia. Anything else I should know about before I get my ass into trouble?"
"What are you in trouble for now, dear?" Patricia asked.
"Nothing yet, mom. I hope." Kacey said.
They left the quarters and headed for the lift. "Deck three." Kate said.
"Three? There are no restaurants except for the Mess Hall on deck three." Patricia stated.
"There is a little more going on than just dinner and dancing mom." Kate stated. They walked off the lift towards the auditorium.
"Because this is your thirtieth anniversary, we thought you could renew your vows." Kacey added.
She opened the doors. The auditorium was filled. The Chaplin stood under the arch and waiting for them. The keyboard player waited for Kacey's signal to start playing.
"You lasses are in a lot of trouble." Liam said with a smile. "Thank you all."
Anya led the girls to the head of the aisle. She and Natalia took their places behind them. Kate and Kacey stood in front of their parents. Kacey nodded for the music to start. They started to walk down the aisle. At the foot of the stairs, they divided up with Erin, Natalia and Kacey on one side. Erica, Anya and Kate on the other. Liam and Patricia climbed the stairs alone to stand before the Chaplin.
"Please be seated." He said and waited for the guests to sit. Kacey and Anya moved to the keyboard to wait for their signal. "Thirty years ago, these two loving hearts stood before God, their family and friends and vowed to love each other for the rest of their lives. Today they will renew those vows. Their family and friends have gathered once again to witness their love. We have a special musical selection for this beautiful occasion. They turned to look at Kacey and Anya. He nodded to Kacey.
Kacey began to play. A slight nod at Anya and she began to sing.
You and I were meant for one another.
Today we'll join our hearts eternally.
And this moment, I'll always remember
All the words that mean so much to me.
And you're my only love,
My only love
And I will thank the lord of above for you each day.
I can't believe the way I feel,
You're so precious, you're so real
And I know you'll always be my only love.
Listen closely to the words I am saying.
I know I've never meant them more.
For your love only I've been praying
You and I are what this love is for.
And you're my only love,
My only love.
And I will thank the lord above for you each day.
I can't believe the way I feel,
you're so precious, you're so real.
And I know you'll always be my only love
And I know you'll always be my only love.
Their voices blended for the song. When they had finished, both Liam and Patricia wiped tears from their eyes. They turned back towards the Chaplin as Kacey and Anya returned to their places.
"Liam and Patricia please join hands. Thirty years ago, you gave your hearts to each other. Do you wish to strengthen that bond today?"
"I do." They both answered.
"Liam will you speak what is in your heart?"
"Patsy me darling, ye have enriched me life in so many ways. Ye have given me love, support and two beautiful daughters." He paused. "Thirty years ago ye made me a very happy man. Today ye make me happier still Me arms were made to hold ye safe, me heart to always love you. I will never stop loving ye."
Patricia sniffed at the beauty of his words.
"Patricia will you speak what is in your heart?"
"Liam, you dear man. My dearest husband, in our years together we have laughed and cried. We have enjoyed life. We watched our children grow and have families of their own. In the past thirty years you have given me love and joy. you have enriched my life. And have never given me one second of regret. I would marry you all over again. I will love you forever."
"Liam will you continue to love honor and protect Patricia. Will you care for her and provide for her all the days of your life?"
"I do so indeed."
"Patricia, will you continue to love, honor and protect Liam? Will you care for him and provide for him all the days of your life?"
"I certainly do."
"Today, these two loving hearts have reaffirmed their love for each other, before God, their family and friends. Let us all bear witness that no other will come between them. Liam and Patricia, you may now reseal your vows with a kiss." Liam took Patricia into his arms and kissed her tenderly. Those watching stood and applauded. They turned and smiled at their family and friends before they walked back down the aisle. The girls followed their grand parents. Anya took Kate's arm, Natalia took Kacey's as they all left the hall. They lined the corridor for the receiving line before they went into the reception.
Song is My Only Love written by Jimmy Fortune.
CHAPTER 24 C
The staff went through and filled the glasses with wine and juice. Kate and Kacey both stood up. Kate raised her glass.
"Thirty years ago, I was fortunate to witness the union of our parents, Liam and Patricia O'Malley. In those years, I have not seen them look happier than they are right now. Their love for each other is an example to all of us." Kate stated.
Kacey raised her glass. "I was not there for their first wedding. I am incredibly happy to be able to witness their renewal. To Liam and Patricia..." Liam cleared his throat. "To mom and dad" She corrected. "May their love continue to grow."
The guest raised their glasses in unison. Kate and Kacey sat back down as the servers brought their meals and another brought their drinks. Liam leaned over to Kacey.
"Dad..." He held up his hand to stop her.
"Lass, I understand. We just wanted to thank you for that lovely song, ye and Anya sang. Twas perfect."
"You're welcome, dad."
"Did ye have a chance to find that song I asked ye about?"
"I did. It will be the first song played."
"Tis good to hear. How are you feeling?"
"Pretty good. Although I do seem to feel the cold more now. The Doctor said that might go away in time. She is not sure though."
"Has your mother talked to you about that?"
"No. Should I expect to get yelled at again?"
"Lass give her a chance. Listen to what she has to say. Please?"
"Okay dad. I will listen to her."
Dinner was finished and the plates cleared away. Kacey took a sip of her drink before she climbed the stairs to the stage. The band took their places. Kacey stood behind the microphone.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we have a very special request for a song to be played for the first dance. Mom, dad would you come to the dance floor?" Liam escorted Patricia to the open area. Kacey bent down to whisper in Liam's ear. "Watch me. I will nod when you should start singing."
Liam nodded in understanding. Kacey picked up her violin. She held it differently than normal so that it rested more on her shoulder than under her chin She started to play. The band join in. Kacey nodded to Liam. He started to sing to Patricia as he moved her around the floor. She looked into Liam's eyes through tears at the beauty of the words and his voice as he proclaimed his love.
Look at us. After all these years together.
Look at us. After all that we've been through.
Look at us. Still leaning on each other.
If you want to see what true love should be, then just look at us.
Look at you, still pretty as a picture.
Look at me, still crazy over you.
Look at us, still believing in forever.
And if you want to see what true should be, then just look at us.
In a hundred years from now, I know without a doubt,
They'll look back and wonder how, we made it all work out.
Chances are, we'll go down in History, And when the want to see how true love should be,
They'll just look at us.
And when they want to see how true love should be,
They'll just look at us.
They were both surprised when Kacey's voice joined Liam for the last verse and chorus. Her voice blending with Liam's. Patricia rested her head on Liam's chest as she cried. He held her tenderly.
Applause filled the room as the song ended. Kacey placed her violin on its stand and walked off the stage. She tried to sneak past her parents, but Liam's hand reached out and caught her arm.
"Thank you lass." He said and kissed her cheek.
She smiled and continued to Natalia's side who held her tightly.
"That was so beautiful." She stated. "All your practice paid off."
"I was so nervous. So afraid I would make a mistake and ruin the beauty of the words." She admitted. "I am not used to holding my violin in that position."
"It did not show in the least. Now Colonel, you get to dance with me."
Kacey led her to the dance floor. "That sweetheart will be my extreme pleasure."
"When we have ben married as long as your parents, will you sing that for me?"
"For you, anytime. Thirty, sixty, ninety, tonight, whenever you want to hear it."
"I love you Colonel."
"I love you holder of my heart." Kacey leaned down and captured Natalia's lips. The kiss continued until she felt a poke in her back. She looked up to see a smirking Kate. "Yesssss?" She drew out the word.
"Keep it clean. There are children present." Kate said.
"Kate stop that." Anya ordered and kissed Kate.
"What were you saying Kate?" Kacey asked. Kate had the decency to blush.
The band took a break. Everyone took the opportunity to relax and catch their breaths from the dancing. Kacey sipped her brandy. Natalia was off with Anya discussing god only knew what. She let her mind wander. Until she felt a tap on her arm.
"May I join you?" Patricia asked.
"Of course, mom. Have a seat."
"Kacey, thank you for this wonderful party and for those two songs. You obviously worked very hard on them. "
"I need to tell you, that I did you a great disservice when I refused to accept the fact that you are not my little girl anymore. You are an extremely capable adult."
"Please hear me out." Kacey nodded for her to continue. "I want to apologize again to you for accusing you when Kate was injured. I also want to tell you how very sorry I am for getting angry at you when you were hurt this last time. Kate yelled at me, which finally got through to me. I did not have all the facts when I jumped to the conclusion that you were careless with your life. Just the opposite was true. I was wrong for being so hard on you. For what it is worth, I have a tremendous amount of respect for you. As well as your abilities, your talents, and your bravery. I am extremely proud to be your mother."
Kacey felt her eyes fill with tears as she listened to her mother. She cleared her throat before she spoke. "Thanks, mom. That really means a lot coming from you." She smiled. Patricia hugged Kacey which she returned. "Does that mean no more milk?"
"Only if you ask for it. I will not force you to do something you do not want to do. You know what you want and what you need." Patricia stated. "Most of the time anyway." She smiled. "Be patient with me, I have done this for many years and it will take some time to break the habit."
"Thank you, thank you, thank you." Kacey stated lifting her hands in the air. "Mom, there will always be a tiny part of me that knows I was not as observant as I should have been that day. I can tell you that it will not happen again. I will not allow myself to lose focus again."
"I will not hold you to that promise, because you are human, we all are. Just tell me that you will all try to make it back in one piece when you and Kate go out exploring."
"That I can do, mom."
"How are you feeling?"
"Like I told dad earlier, that except for feeling the cold more, I am fine. The doctor said that may straighten out in time."
"Will you be careful when you go out on your flights?"
"Yes I will. I will not be going off alone. I do not allow my pilots to do that, and I will not break my own rules. There is way too much to lose in my life to be careless."
To be continued...
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