Ginny stood frozen in the lounge. Her parents both stood up from where they were sitting, not sure how to approach their daughter. Sebastien gave her a little nudge forward which jolted her out of her shock at finally seeing her parents after so many years.
“Go on,” Sebastien gently encouraged before telling her, “I’ll be at the lobby if you need me.” With that, he nodded to her parents before leaving the suite.
“Ginny…” Mrs Dawson began, holding her arms open for her daughter. It was all Ginny needed and she threw herself into her mother’s arms, hugging her as if she would never let go. Tears flowed freely as mother and daughter gave in to their emotions. Ted Dawson approached his daughter and wife and gathered them both into his arms.
“Mum, Dad, I’m so sorry…” Ginny said in between sobs.
“Shhhh, no need to apologise, sweetie,” Marie Dawson collected herself enough to assure Ginny.
“Yes, your mother is right. Come, sit down. Tell us all about your life here,” Ted held Ginny’s hand and led her to the sofa. Ginny turned to her father and hugged him again.
“I’m so sorry, Dad, for running away like that. You and mum must be worried sick about me. It was so irresponsible of me to do that,” Ginny rattled on, afraid that if she stopped, she wouldn’t have the courage anymore to say what she had wanted to say all these years.
Ted sat her down and sat beside her while Marie sat on the other side of her. Taking one of her hands, he apologised to Ginny for neglecting her after Gina’s death. They sat and chatted for what seemed like hours, with Ginny telling them about her life inLondon.
She did not hide anything from them; not even the terrible ordeal she suffered in the hands of Danny before and after she met Sebastien. Her parents listened in horror and Ted was especially angry at both himself and Danny that her daughter had suffered at the latter’s hands. He regretted not being by her side when she went through those terrible times and felt even more indebted to all the Divos who had risked their lives for his daughter. He was especially grateful to Sam for being there for Ginny all these years.
“This Sam, is she the one who’s getting married?” Ted asked when Ginny finished relating most of her life story thus far.
“Yes, Dad. She’s my best friend and she’s getting married in two days’ time. Seb told you about the wedding, didn’t he? He’s such a sweetie. I mean, when I told him about us, he sent David to look for you and brought you here. I wish it was my wedding that you’re attending but I guess Seb needed more time to plan. Perhaps after our baby is born,” Ginny spoke with sparkles in her eyes at the mention of Sebastien and their baby.
“Oh, honey, you’re pregnant? That’s the best news I’ve heard since learning that you’re safe and sound,” Marie finally found her voice. Mother and daughter shared another hug, while Dad patted Ginny’s shoulders, a wide smile adorning his face.
Sebastien sat in the lounge alone and waited, his coffee turning cold on the table in front of him. He couldn’t help but wondered how things were progressing upstairs and had on more than one occasion started towards the lift only to turn back and sat down on the seat again.
He looked at his watch and realised he had been sitting there for more than two hours and it was way past lunch time. Thinking that Ginny must be starving by now, he walked over to the house phone and called room service, placing an order for food to be delivered to theDawsons’ suite. Then he slowly made his way upstairs, praying that Ginny had reconciled with her parents and everything would be fine.
And it was. Ginny opened the door, her face beamed with happiness as she walked into his open arms.
“Thank you, my love,” was all she could murmur in his ears as tears of joy streamed down her face.
The next day just before noon, Joanne and Sandra turned up at Urs’s apartment, bearing bags of food and wine. Urs opened the door and welcomed both ladies with a big smile.
“She knows,” he revealed.
Eyes wide with disbelieve, both ladies said the same words, “You’re kidding!”
“I’m sorry. I sort of let the cat out of the bag,” Urs said sheepishly.
“Oh, man!” Sandra exclaimed before slapping him on his arm. “All the trouble we’ve gone through trying to keep our mouth shut and you had to open yours?”
Joanne joined in the punishment by pushing Urs on his chest, “Why did you do it?”
Before Urs could defend himself, Sam appeared from the bedroom and came to his rescue.
“Stop it, girls! He didn’t tell me anything. I just guessed it myself,” she explained as she stood between Urs and the ladies before any of the ladies could jump on her future husband again. Turning to Urs, she warned in mock seriousness, “I hope you learnt your lesson, Urs. Never mess with the ladies.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” he replied with a silly grin on his face which promptly earned him a smacking kiss on his lips from Sam. “I’ll go see if Sebastien is ready to leave.” With a hug and another kiss, he left the apartment.
“So, what excuse were you going to give me for turning up here?” Sam asked her two friends.
“What else? To give Ginny a hen night party!” Sandra winked at her.
“Now, why didn’t I think of that?” Sam rolled her eyes and they laughed.
The girls then set about preparing a light meal in the kitchen, chatting merrily about the wedding. Sam soon found out that Urs had invited some of her colleagues and a couple of her college friends whom she still kept in contact with and she was thrilled. But when she probed further about the arrangement of the wedding, including the venues, the girls kept mum about it. She soon gave up asking those questions and decided to just enjoy the moment and whatever surprises her Uber Lord had arranged for her.
As the girls worked happily in the kitchen, Sebastien and Urs had come up with an excuse to send Ginny over to Urs’s apartment.
“Ginny, Joanne and Sandra are in my apartment right now,” Urs began tentatively. “They are trying to keep Sam occupied for tonight so that I can go and join David and Carlos for a party they’re throwing for me. Do you think you could join the girls and let me have the honour of having Sebastien at the party as well?”
“But I’m planning on seeing my parents and taking them out today,” Ginny was torn between spending time with her parents and keeping Sam company before her wedding. She had so much to catch up with her parents, but she also wanted to have some fun girly moments with the girls, especially the bride.
“Don’t worry sweetheart, I’ve arranged for your mum and dad to go on a city tour. I can tell you that they are now happily touring the city because I just called to check on them,” Sebastien said. Then smiling at her, he continued, “It would be good for you girls to get together tonight and you could tell Sam about your re-union with your parents. I’m sure she will be very happy for you. You could have a mini hen party for Sam and pretend it’s to celebrate your re-union.”
Ginny thought for a moment and smiled sweetly at him, “Of course Seb, go and have fun with the guys. But no wild parties or indulging in booze. We can’t have the groom turn up tomorrow with a hangover.” Then, in a more serious tone, she added, “And tell Carlos no wild women either or we’ll wax his chest.”
Laughingly, Sebastien replied, “Yes, ma’am. And that goes for you ladies, too. You’re having my baby, remember? So no booze, get it?”
“Ok, no booze, but do you think we can have some hunky guys over to entertain us?” Ginny asked innocently, her eyes sparkling with mischief.
Sebastien grabbed her and kissed her soundly on her lips before mumbling against her lips, “No! No booze and no hunks. Besides, where else could you find four hunky guys besides us Divos?” And then he resumed kissing her.
Urs stood at the side rolling his eyes upwards at the lovey-dovey couple hugging and kissing each other. “I’ll come back in an hour,” Urs finally said when there seemed to be no intention for the loving couple to breakup their embrace. Just as he was about to turn and head out the door, Sebastien grabbed his shoulder and laughingly told him to wait while he went to get his overnight bag.
The guys would be staying at the hotel for the night and they would be having a get-together at Urs’s suite. Being mature and respectable men, they didn’t intend to have a wild stag party. Instead, the intention was to chat and have a few drinks and they would head back to their own room to pass the night. The scrambling to get the wedding organised and at the same time keep it from the brides was taking a lot of their energy; they needed a good rest.
As the ladies chatted over an early lunch, Joanne looked at her watch and exclaimed, “Hurry up, girls, or we’ll be late for our beauty treatment.” The other ladies looked at her questioningly, even Sandra.
“I made an appointment for all of us at the beauty, spa and massage parlour. Thought it would be good for us to have some R&R and do something girly together,” she explained and then continued without waiting for their response, “Come on, let’s move or we’ll not be back early enough for a proper girly chat.”
She proceeded to clear her plate and the other ladies follow suit, chattering happily and excitedly at the thought of being pampered. Before they left the apartment, Sam put a hand on Joanne’s arm and whispered, “Thanks for doing this for us, Joanne. I really appreciate it. In fact, I’m getting all excited right now about the wedding.”
“You’re welcome, girl. When it’s my turn, I’ll expect something just as fun from you girls, get it?” Joanne winked and got a hug from Sam.
“Sandra, how is the wedding preparation? What am I supposed to do tomorrow?” Ginny asked in a hushed tone as they walked towards the lift, leaving the other two girls behind as Sam locked up the apartment.
“Don’t worry, Gin. I’ll brief you tomorrow when we get to the hotel in the morning. I’m sure you’ve been to some wedding ceremonies before; it’s not much different, except that we won’t be in a church but a hotel. Everything is well taken care of, from the ceremony to the banquet. Don’t worry,” Sandra assured Ginny.
“What about wedding vows? If she doesn’t know about her wedding, what’s she going to say to her husband in front of all the people? I’ll be at a loss for words for sure,” Ginny mumbled as they entered the lift with Sam and Joanne catching up with them. Sandra gave her a look to tell her not to say anymore but what Ginny just said set her thinking about how to get the girls prepared for the wedding. All the preparations had been taken care of by the wedding planner; all the wedding couples had to do was to prepare their wedding vows.
As they made way to the beauty parlour in Sam’s car, Sandra’s mind raced to come up with a plan. Sam might be prepared for it, but Ginny would need some help as she was totally clueless about her own wedding. Of course she could say the usual vow that couples exchanged at their weddings but Sandra thought both brides could do better than that. She made a mental note to bring this topic into their discussion later in the evening.
While the ladies were getting pampered by masseuses, hairstylists and manicurists, the men were busy at the hotel overseeing the final preparations. Sebastien was so excited and nervous about his big day that he couldn’t sit still for even five minutes, getting up now and then to touch the flower arrangements, the tables and chairs, the decorations, etc. His fidgeting while they were having a drink in the reception room almost drove Urs up the wall as he himself was starting to feel jittery about it all.
“For goodness sake, Seb, can you just sit down here and stop touching everything? You’re making the helpers nervous,” Urs growled as he tried to hide his nervousness.
“I can’t help it, I’m nervous as hell,” Sebastien confessed. “What if she freaked out at the last minute? I’ll have a runaway bride then. What have I got myself into?” he tilted his head and looked at the ceiling as if trying to find an answer from heaven.
“Stop worrying, Seb. You know she’s going to be so thrilled about it all. Ginny’s not like Sam who asks a lot of questions and has her own mind about everything, even the wedding,” Urs said ruefully.
“What do you mean, even the wedding? You didn’t spill the beans, did you?” David asked incredulously as he caught that guilty look on Urs’s face. Urs signed and proceeded to tell his friends about his little conversation with Sam.
“I can’t believe you did that, Urs,” Carlos shook his head in disbelieve. “It’s supposed to be a secret wedding. You’re supposed to surprise her and not give her hints by asking stupid questions.”
Sighing, Urs explained that he wanted a feel of how Sam would react to all the surprises but he didn’t gambled on her being so sharp as to detect that something was going on behind her back.
“Come on, Urs, she’s a policewoman, used to picking up small details. How stupid do you expect her to be? I’m sure there’s a better reason for marrying her,” David mocked.
Feeling his ego slightly dented by David’s remark, Urs glared at him and retorted, “At least now I know how she feels. I’m glad she knew about it now instead of tomorrow, otherwise I’d be the one having a runaway bride!”
“She doesn’t like your idea of a surprise? Or she doesn’t like the wedding plan?” Sebastien asked curiously.
“She knows she’s getting married tomorrow but doesn’t know anything about the plan at all. I told her I’m not telling her and she’s fine with that. But she did say she wanted to be involved in her own wedding and she might regret not having that memory to keep.”
“Ooops! Looks like she’s one tough cookie. I hope you’ll able to keep her happy, Urs,” David said sympathetically, patting Urs on his back.
“Nah, she has come to terms with it. I’m now worried about what she might think of the house I bought and designed for her,” Urs confessed.
The other guys stared at him in shock as they pondered on the possibility that two surprises might just be too much for Sam to take. She was after all a very independent lady who was used to being alone and doing things her own way, especially after her parents died and left her without any relatives to turn to. She was more of a hands-on type than Ginny, who loved to be pampered, and the three divos wondered why Urs had picked her instead of some other more feminine women that he knew or would normally date. David risked his own neck by posing that question to him.
“Don’t let her looks and her ability fool you. She’s really very soft and gentle. But that’s not what I’m attracted to. I’ll always remember looking into her eyes the day she was tailing Big Ben; I couldn’t tear myself away from her. Her fearlessness in the face real danger and her willingness to sacrifice herself for others are what attracted me. Even when she knew it was going to be very dangerous trying to apprehend Big Ben, she didn’t show any fear. Instead, she was more worried for my safety. I’ve never met a woman like her before. She’ll always have my love and admiration,” Urs explained, a faraway look on his face as he reminisced on their early encounters.
“Yeah, and from what you recounted, she ran after that crazy Danny guy on her own without any weapons. Things would have been different if you hadn’t shown up at the right time,” Sebastien said thoughtfully, then added, “Not that I thought she wouldn’t be able to handle him, you know what I mean?” Urs nodded. He shuddered at the memory of seeing her running after Danny, who was still armed with the knife that almost took Sebastien’s life.
After the helpers had left, the guys decided to adjourn to Urs’s suite to go through the details of the wedding. It was near dinner time when Urs called Sam to check on her. He missed her already.
“How’s everything?” he asked when she answered the call.
“Oh, we’re just done getting pampered and now heading to dinner.”
“Sam, did I tell you how much I love you?”
“Yes, and I think I told you many times that I love you too.”
“Are you mad at me for arranging the wedding without your knowledge or participation?”
“No, and I did participate, didn’t I? I took Ginny out shopping, got us pampered at beauty parlours, have my gowns fitted even though I have no idea what they look like,” Sam chuckled at the thought, and the sound of it made Urs miss her even more.
“You know, I had thought of just whisking you off and then getting married at the first chapel that we came to,” he confessed.
“Really? Hmmm, that sounds like a wonderful idea. Why didn’t you just do that?”
“Because you wanted a double wedding with Ginny.”
“But that was then. Now that I’m getting all the jitterbugs, I’m not so sure a double wedding is a good idea anymore,” Sam said wistfully.
There was a pause before Urs replied, “I’m sorry, Sam. Please promise me you’ll turn up tomorrow.” He sounded so serious and worried that it brought a smile to Sam’s face.
“I promise, my love.”
After hanging up the phone, Urs decided he needed to be alone and told his friends he wanted to check on the house. The other guys could tell he was troubled but said nothing as they felt it was something he had to deal with himself. He left them and hailed a cab.
Sam awoke with a start. The doorbell rang incessantly as she hurriedly put on her robe and went out to open the door. Sandra stood at the door with a big grin on her face.
“Are we ready to go?” Joanne smiled as she sashayed into the apartment in a beautiful red dress.
“I’m sorry, I just woke up. Couldn’t sleep last night,” Sam explained as she walked back into her room to get ready. “Please make yourself comfortable while I get ready.” She had packed a small bag as instructed by Sandra who told her she would need it for her overnight stay at the hotel after the wedding. No honeymoon was planned as far as Sandra knew and Sam was glad.
Over at Sebastien’s apartment, Joanne, who had stayed overnight, woke Ginny up.
“Come on, Ginny. The big day is here.”
Sleepily, Ginny sat up from bed and asked the first thing that came to her mind, “How are we going to get Sam to the hotel without telling her anything?”
“Let’s leave that to Joanne. We’ll go separately, so she won’t suspect anything,” Sandra replied, albeit a little guilty conscious. She promised herself that when this was over she was headed to the church to confess her sins of telling too many lies.
Soon both sets of girls were headed to the hotel where their stylists and makeup artists were waiting in the wedding suites.
“Urs, open the door,” Carlos bellowed when nobody answered the door after a few minutes of ringing the doorbell. He banged his fist on the door and shouted out again, bringing David out of his suite next door.
“What’s up?” David asked.
“I don’t know, he’s not answering the door,” said Carlos.
“Have you tried calling him?”
“Well, he could be at the gym working out. You know that’s how he clears his mind,” David reasoned. However, a nagging voice inside his head told him Urs wasn’t at the gym and that he did not return to the hotel the night before.
Sebastien came out of his suite at the other end of the corridor and asked them what the commotion was about. He had gotten up early as he was unable to sleep, and with butterflies in his stomach, he went about showering and shaving when he heard the banging and shouting along the corridor. When David told him that Urs wasn’t in his room, an alarm bell sounded in his head.
“Don’t tell me he chickened out?” he couldn’t help but felt even more worried for Urs than he was last night.
“I wouldn’t worry about that. I’m sure he’ll turn up on time. He’s Swiss, remember?” David tried a little humour and it worked. They all went back to their own room to get ready, still feeling a little perplexed though.
The girls had already arrived at the wedding suites. Ginny and Joanne in a room on one end of the corridor while Sam and Sandra in the room at the opposite end. The two sets of girls had arrived at different timing as planned and Ginny kept wondering if Sam had realised what was going to happen. She wished she could pop over to help her best friend to get ready. Thinking that she was going to be the maid-of-honour she couldn’t understand why Joanne insisted that she stayed out of sight of the bride-to-be. Instead, Joanne fussed around her with her stylist and make-up artist.
In the other room, Sam sat staring at her own reflection in the mirror. “I’m so nervous, Sandra,” Sam smiled timidly at her bridesmaid.
“Oh come on, Sam. This can’t be any worse than apprehending the toughest crook on earth or some crazy guy like Danny,” Sandra replied as she helped the stylist with Sam’s hair.
“You need to get ready too,” Sam said when she realised that Sandra wasn’t even dressed in her bridesmaid gown.
“Don’t worry about me. It’s your big day, not mine. I’m just a supporting act,” Sandra smiled and winked at the bride and continued to assist the stylist. “Have you come up with your wedding vow yet?”
“No, I haven’t. Guess I’ll just say whatever comes to my mind because I probably won’t be able to remember anything that I have prepared.”
“That’s what Ginny said too when I asked her what she would say to Seb when her big day arrives.”
“I wonder if she has seen her wedding gown yet. I think she’ll be surprised that a maid-of-honour gown would be so elaborate. I like my gowns, especially the evening dinner gown,” Sam said as she eyed her gowns that were hanging on the door of the wardrobe.
“I’m sure you’ll look lovely in both. Urs had a hand in picking the designs.”
“Really? What good taste he has,” a delighted Sam exclaimed, her eyes twinkling at the double meaning to her words which made Sandra laugh.
“Both grooms are really hands-on in planning this wedding. You and Ginny must be the luckiest brides on earth.”
“Oh, I’m sure David will come up with something spectacular for you. Whenever the two of you are together, I see the love shining in his eyes each time he looks at you.”
“Well, he’s still not moving. I’m beginning to wonder if I should make the first move and propose to him instead,” Sandra rolled her eyes in exasperation at the thought.
“Sounds like a good idea. Who said that men must make the first move? You could always do what Urs and Seb are doing now, plan your own wedding and invite David along.” The craziness of this idea made all the ladies in the room laugh and the chatter continued until the door bell rang.
It was Mr and Mrs Dawson, Ginny’s parents. Sandra invited them in and introduced the elderly couple to Sam.
“So you are my daughter’s best friend and saviour,” Ted Dawson said as he shook Sam’s outstretched hand, a glimmer of grateful tears in his eyes.
“Please don’t say that, Mr Dawson. We were there for each other,” Sam blushed a little at Ted’s sincere appreciation of her. Marie moved forward and hugged Sam, words were beyond her as she sobbed quietly while embracing the young lady whom her daughter had depended on all these years. “Please Mrs Dawson, you’re making me want to cry too. Ginny and I are like sisters; we’d do anything for each other. Besides, she provided me with the company I needed ever since my parents passed away. She was there for me as much as I was there for her.”
“Well, since you said you’re like sisters, may I be so bold as to ask if I could walk you down the aisle, together with Ginny?” Ted asked with a hint of uncertainty as he wasn’t sure if Urs had arranged for someone to give Sam away.
It took a moment for the request to sink in and when it finally did, Sam looked into Ted’s eyes with tears in her own. “I’d be honoured, Sir.”
“Please call me Ted. The honour is mine, young lady,” Ted replied before giving Sam a bear hug.
At the other end of the corridor, Ginny’s jaw almost dropped when the wedding gown was brought out of the wardrobe.
“Is there a mix-up? Is that supposed to be for Sam?” she looked at the gown with eyes so big and round that she looked like a Barbie doll with the make-up and hairdo.
Joanne laughed at the look of wonder on the bride’s face. “No, Ginny. No mistake here. It’s your gown. It’s your wedding gown.”
Ginny’s eyes opened even wider as reality hit her. She turned to Joanne and in a near hysterical voice, said, “You mean I’m getting married today? How? I’m not even prepared for it!”
“Oh calm down, girl! You’re all ready, except for the gown. Now hurry and put it on. Margie here will make adjustments if necessary, but you must hurry. I’m going to get myself ready now,” Joanne replied before turning to the make-up artist to have her make-up done. Margie the stylist began helping Ginny with the gown, and fortunately, it fitted very well.
“Is that why my parents are here, to attend the wedding?” Ginny asked as Margie continued to fuss over her.
“Yes, my dear. Your loving husband-to-be wanted a fairytale wedding for you, so he sent David over to the States to invite your parents over for the wedding. Such sweet guy, you’re so lucky,” Joanne answered with a hint of envy. “Now it’s going to be hard for Carlos and David to match up to both him and Urs after what they’ve done for you and Sam.”
“Aww, please don’t say that Joanne. I’m sure Carlos loves you and will do everything he could to make your special day as unforgettable as ours.”
“He had better do that or I’m not going to forgive him. He knows I’ve waited long enough.”
As Ginny looked into the full length mirror, she couldn’t’ have been happier at the choice of wedding gown that her husband-to-be had picked for her. It had a fitted strapless bodice with a three-tiered silk dupioni full bubbled skirt. Silk flowers accentuated the waist and throughout the skirt which had a chapel train. It was elegant yet playful, which absolutely suited Ginny’s character. A beautiful diamond choker around her neck and a diamond tiara over her up-swept hair completed the look.
Ginny twirled around in front of the mirror and admired her reflection for a few minutes before turning to Joanne to ask what she thought of it.
“I think your husband outdid himself in picking the gown. And that diamond choker, it must have cost him a bomb,” Joanne fingered the choker admiringly.
“He loves me so,” was all Ginny could say as she choked up on her emotions. All the things he had gone through for her, how could she have ever doubted him?
“Come on, Ginny. This is not the time to cry. You’ll ruin your make-up,” Joanne gently chided as she hugged the bride.
Ginny pulled away from Joanne and looked at her friend. She was stunned at the transformation as instead of just a pair of designer jeans and top, Joanne was now dressed in a beautiful strapless pink satin and chiffon dress with a gathered bodice, an asymmetrical hem, and a satin ribbon around the waist. She wore her hair loose and the shining locks flowed down her back in wavy curls.
“Carlos will be finding it hard to take his eyes off you,” Ginny remarked as she turned Joanne to face the mirror with her. “You look absolutely lovely in that dress,” she continued.
While the two girls were marvelling at their gowns, Sam looked in the mirror and gasped at the change she saw in the reflection.
“Is that really me?” she questioned in wonder.
“Yes, Sam. You are beautiful. Didn’t Urs tell you that?” Sandra smiled at the modesty of the bride.
Sam was dressed in a satin gown with a strapless bodice that was over-draped in front. Embroidery and little pearls adorned the centre of the bodice and an A-line skirt with chapel-length train completed the gown. Urs thought the dress was simple yet elegant, and it suited his wife perfectly for she was never sophisticated yet had an air of confidence about her, making her graceful and elegant.
The stylist had Sam’s hair swept up in beautiful curls on top of her head, and beautiful tendrils framed the sides of her face. A lovely diamond tiara the same as Ginny’s sat on top of her head.
Sandra handed her a jewellery box and as she carefully opened it, she found a necklace with a big sparkling tear-drop diamond in the red satin box.
“Urs had this specially made for you. He really does have great tastes,” Sandra praised as she helped put the necklace around Sam’s neck. “There you go, Princess. You look stunning!”
Sam was touched beyond words as she gently caressed the diamond pendant lovingly. Turning to Sandra, she mumbled sadly, “And I’ve nothing for him on this special occasion.”
“No, Sam. There’s no need for you to give him anything; you are everything to him.”
The girls shared a hug before Sandra pulled apart and said it was her turn to change. And change she did as she donned a very sweet pink bridesmaid gown, almost the same as Joanne’s, but with a halter neck instead of a strapless bodice.
“If David doesn’t make any move soon, he’ll soon find himself having to fight off some stiff competition,” Sam remarked as the stylist and makeup artists helped put the finishing touches to Sandra’s appearance.
While the girls were getting dressed, Carlos helped Sebastien put on his tuxedo. He was in full white which made him look like a Prince Charming; what was missing was a white horse, Carlos joked. Sebastien’s fans, the Sirens, had often raved about how good he looked in white and they were right: he was irresistibly handsome though not just in white, but the white tux enhanced his good looks. His eyes were constantly smiling and Carlos couldn’t help but felt envious.
“I should have proposed to her when I was inMadridtelling her about the wedding. We could’ve been married today too,” he said regretfully.
“I don’t understand why it took you so long to realise that. You obviously love her very much and I know you have the engagement ring in your pocket all the time. What are you waiting for?” Sebastien finally broke his silence about the subject.
“For the right moment, I guess.”
“What if that moment never comes?”
“I’ll regret it for the rest of my life,” Carlos shrugged as if it was just an idle conversation, but deep down inside he knew his friend was right. He had to make it happen soon, propose to Joanne and tell her how much he loved her. When the wedding would take place was another matter. They had been apart too often, it was important that he let her know how he really felt about her. Her demand for a grand wedding was her way of saying she had waited long enough. He promised himself he would make things right.
David paced in his own suite, wondering when Urs would return to get ready for the wedding. He tried calling his friend but the phone was switched off. Finally he decided to look up Urs’s mother who was staying in a room with her daughter.
“Hello Mrs Buhler. Have you heard anything from Urs yet?” David had earlier called the groom’s mother to see if his son was with her, but he wasn’t.
“No, I haven’t, David. I’m so worried. It’s not like him to just disappear like that.” As she said those words, her mobile phone rang. “Urs, where are you?” she spoke in her native Swiss German tongue. David picked up on the name and walked closer to the elderly woman.
Mrs Buhler exchanged some words with her son, dabbing her eyes occasionally with a handkerchief and finally hung up the phone.
“What did he say, Ma’am?”
She smiled apologetically.
As the guests took their seats in the reception room, with two gorgeous-looking best men and a charming, handsome groom playing hosts to them, the ladies waited in Sam’s wedding suite for the time to make an appearance. Till now, none of the ladies knew what awaited them in the reception room: that a groom was still missing.
Ginny and Sam had reunited after getting ready for the big moment. They squealed and hugged and laughed at the silliness of it all: the secret planning where one thought the other was getting married, when in actual fact both were getting married on the same day. Joanne and Sandra stood by with a big satisfied smile on their faces as they felt they had accomplished their missions.
When David came knocking on the door, Sandra opened it with a demure smile on her face. His heart did a flip-flop at the sight of her and at that very moment, almost got down on his knees to propose. He kept that urge in check and kissed her tenderly on her cheek before announcing, “Let’s go.”
Sebastien and Carlos kept checking their watches. More than once, Carlos went outside the room to wait for the other groom, a scowl on his face. He cursed under his breath when Sebastien appeared behind him, “If he doesn’t turn up at all, I’ll kick his sorry ass.”
“He’s not coming,” came Sebastien’s reply.
“What?” Carlos almost shouted.
“Haven’t you realised his family members aren’t here?”
Carlos took a peek inside the room and realised that Sebastien was right. Apart from the two friends of Sam’s and her colleagues, the Buhler contingent was nowhere in sight. “Oh my God, we have a runaway groom!” he exclaimed.
Before they could discuss this revelation any further, they were ushered into the room to stand in front of the wedding minister. The minister waited patiently as David made an appearance and took his position on the other side of him, and seeing that the other groom was still not there, he cocked his head towards David and asked the same question that everyone in the room had on their minds.
“Let the wedding begin,” David announced, loud and clear. And strains of the music of The Wedding by Julie Rogers could be heard over the speakers as the double door to the reception room opened. David broke into the song in his beautiful tenor voice as Ginny’s father led both brides into the room with their maids-of-honour following behind. Carlos joined in on the second verse, and together, they were unbelievable.
You by my side
that’s how I see us.
I close my eyes
and I can see us.
we’re on our way to say “I do”
my secret dreams have all come true.
I see the church
I see the people.
Your folks and mine happy and smiling.
And I can hear sweet voices singing:
Oh my love
this can really be
that some day you’ll walk
down the aisle with me
let it be
make it be
that I’m the one for you.
I’d be yours
now and forever.
I see us now
your hand in my hand.
this is the hour
this is the moment.
and I can hear sweet voices singing”
Ted Dawson was amazingly in tune with the song as he slowly led both brides, making sure their walk down the aisle didn’t end before the music. Ginny looked up and saw her husband’s eyes. She gasped when she saw the worried frown on his face and turned her vision slightly towards David. Where was Urs? She looked over at Sam and sure enough, her friend noticed it too.
Sam’s steps faltered as she searched the room for the face that she loved with all her heart and soul, but he wasn’t there. She turned to look at David, who was still singing away.
“Come on now, Sam, have faith,” Ted said. Turning to look at Ted, Sam saw an encouraging smile. She breathed in deeply before continuing the march forward. The whispers among the guests got louder when the song ended and the brides were right in front of them.
“Please everyone, let me say something,” David began. Ginny and Joanne looked at the men beside them with a puzzled and worried expression, but all Sebastien and Carlos did was shrugged their shoulders, indicating that they too were not sure what was going on. Sandra pulled on David’s sleeve discreetly but he just smiled at her before continuing his speech.
“As you know, we are gathered here to witness not just one, but two lovely couples saying ‘I Do’ today. However, as you can see, one of the grooms is nowhere in sight. Why? You might ask. Well, as the youngest member of the band, I’ve often been bullied into doing things that I hate to do,” and he gave a cheeky grin in the direction of his band mates, who laughed along with the guests despite feeliing perplexed. “So here I am, armed with a very important and unenviable task of telling the friends of Miss Samantha Ryan…that her wedding will not take place here.”
Loud gasps rang through the room as everyone tried to make sense of what they were told. Sam stood and stared at David, her mind a blank from the profound feeling of loss and betrayal.
“Sam, before you break down in tears, please read this.” David handed her an envelope, the expression on his face confused her.
With shaking hands, Sam opened the envelope which contained a card. A single red rose was the only decoration on the card and as she flipped it open, she let out a small cry. Dropping the card, she hiked up her gown and spun around, running as fast as she could. The helpers at the door barely managed to open the door and she was out of it, creating a record of running the fastest timing in her killer heels.
Ginny picked up the card after her initial shock of seeing her best friend running off and read the card. Urs’s unmistakable handwriting wrote, “I love you, Sam. Let’s run away together.” Then, she too, picked up her gown and ran. Her groom had no choice but to follow her, and so did everyone else in the room. The poor minister was left standing there wondering what to do when he, too, hastily left the room to join in the spectacle.
And there was the groom just outside the hotel entrance, leaning against his Harley bike. When Sam saw him, she ran and flung herself into his outstretched arms. Urs swiftly swept up her up and spun her around, their lips meeting in a crushing kiss that held so much love and passion that they were oblivious to the applause that rang out among the wedding guests and the other wedding couple.
When he finally put her down, they turned to face their friends and guests. With a wave in their direction, Urs swept his bride up once more and this time, he put her into the sidecar that was attached to the Harley and carefully arranged her gown around her. At the back of the bike was a sign that read: “Just Married!”, a David Miller creation.
Before Urs could start the engine, David rushed forward and shouted, “Urs, catch!” And then he threw the jewellery box that held the wedding bands. Urs caught it effortlessly and shoved it into the pocket of his black tuxedo. Giving his best man a salute, he turned to start the engine.
“Wait!” Sam called out to her husband-to-be. She turned to face the ladies who stood in front of the guests and threw her bridal bouquet in their direction. Sandra caught it beautifully and smiled brightly into David’s eyes. The engine roared to live and the runaway couple sped off amidst shouts of well-wishes and wolf whistles. It was a good few minutes before the guests and the remaining wedding couple made their way back to the hotel.
Ginny was taken to a room adjoining the reception room to freshen up. Happy tears had streaked her face and ruined her makeup and so she was badly in need of a touch-up. As the makeup artist worked frantically to restore her beauty, Sebastien walked in and stood behind her.
“Hey, are you all right?” the tenderness evident in his voice.
“Yes. I’m just so happy for Sam. I know that’s what she wanted. She never did like the big crowd,” Ginny gave him an assuring smile. Sebastien took her hand in his and kissed it before leaving the room.
As the guests were slowly settling down in the reception room and the wedding minister, after confirming with David that the other couple would not be wedded by him, had taken his place in front of the witnesses, Sam and Urs had already made it halfway to their destination.
Sam revelled in the wind on her face and the man she loved riding beside her, and Urs looked contentedly at his bride who was grinning from ear to ear. He had stopped briefly when they were out of sight of their friends to put a helmet on. Sam couldn’t help but laughed when he reluctantly confessed that he thought it un-cool to be wearing the helmet in front of all the guests when he was all dressed up in a tux. It brought back the memory of her hitching a ride on his bike without a helmet when she was trailing Big Ben. She just hoped she wouldn’t be caught without a helmet on this happy occasion.
As they rode along, Urs filled Sam in on what he had done after they got off the phone the night before. He had gone to his house and did some thinking over there. He decided that if Sam wasn’t sure of the wedding preparation, then they shouldn’t go through with it.
“So, what are we going to do now? Are we still getting married?” Sam shouted across to him as the wind and the roar of the engine made it difficult for them to hear each other. He gave her a smile and said, “You’ll find out soon enough.”
While they covered the miles, Ginny had to re-do the entry into the room, with Ted walking her in, and David and Carlos singing the song a second time. Nobody complained about that as they thoroughly enjoyed the fairytale scene being played out in front of them, and of course, the best men’s singing was phenomenal.
David, after apologising to Sam’s friends on behalf of Urs and Sam for running away as “they had a better wedding plan”, called upon these friends to give their blessings to the other wedding couple. The guests gave a hearty round of applause to show their approval and understanding.
David then delivered a fantastic speech littered with good humour. Sebastien was seen having tears in his eyes as he listened to Davids’ funny speech, at times because of the laughter, at times because of the pure emotion of happiness and feeling blessed to have such wonderful people sharing the happiest moment of his life.
When the minister started presiding over the ceremony, Urs and Sam had reached the main gate of the house. Sam needn’t ask where they were as she could see the sign “Buhler Residence” hanging on the entrance. She felt elated. So this was what he had been busy with, she thought as understanding dawned on her. As they rode the distance from the gate to the main house, she took in the sights. She could smell fresh flowers and as they got nearer the house, she could smell food too. She hadn’t realised how hungry she was until that moment, but she knew her stomach would have to wait.
As Urs helped her out of the sidecar, his family members came out of the house to welcome the wedding couple. Urs introduced them one by one to Sam and each one of them gave the bride a hearty embrace, especially Urs’s mother, who smiled warmly at her daughter-in-law and said in her limited English, “Welcome to our family.”
One of his sisters handed Sam a bouquet made of fresh roses picked from the bushes that surrounded the house. They made way for the couple to move towards the garden patio, where a canopy was set up overnight. Several chairs were placed there and a priest was waiting there for them.
When Sam asked during their phone conversation why he didn’t just whisk her away, Urs knew he had to do just that. After leaving the hotel, he had gone to his house to re-think his plan. Finally deciding he only wanted to be alone with Sam and his family members on this special occasion, he managed to convince the priest of a nearby church after almost an hour of explanation and persuasion to preside over their wedding. Then he proceeded to rope in his brother and sisters to set the place up for the ceremony. After several frantic phone calls to companies that provided outdoor wedding services, they finally managed to find one that was willing to do it in less than twenty-four-hour notice.
As they walked towards the patio, Urs asked Sam if she needed a moment to freshen up but she declined, telling him with a big smile, “I can’t wait to say I Do.”
By this time, Ginny and Sebastien had already exchanged their vows. Sebastien’s vow was funny at first, “When I first met you at the mall, I wasn’t looking to get into a relationship, but you somehow made it into my heart and I was not the same anymore. I forgot my cues on stage…” everyone laughed at that, “and I forgot I wasn’t Superman,” and they sobered a little at the memory of him lying in a hospital bed. “But I’ll never forget the first kiss we shared under the stars…but of course, Carlos had to spoil it all by hitting the horn,” and he turned to look at Carlos with a twinkle in his eyes. Carlos made a face as the whole room erupted into more laughter.
“But seriously, Ginny, how do I even begin to tell you how much I love you? You’re all that I think of, no matter where I am. We have gone through so much together in a short space of time, I believe we’re destined to be together. Now that we’re standing here, in front of the people we hold dear to our hearts, let me offer you my solemn vow that I shall be your best friend and faithful partner. I shall love and comfort you, in sickness and good health, in good times and bad, and in joy as well as sorrow. I love you, Ginny Elisabeth Dawson.”
Ginny choked back her tears and composed herself before beginning, “Sebastien, I love you so much that it’s hard to put into words what I really feel. Before you came along, I never knew love could be so wonderful. You changed my life completely with your smile and gentleness. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life showing you how much I really love and treasure you. You are everything to me and I promise to love you eternally.” She said it with so much conviction that Sebastien could only look lovingly at her as he wiped the tiny tears away from his eyes.
As Ginny and Sebastien sealed their vows with a passionate kiss after the minister pronounced them husband and wife, Urs and Sam were just starting their own vows. With a devilish smile, he began, “Sam, first of all I want to thank you for going through all this madness with me. Believe me, it’s not easy second-guessing what a woman wants.” This drew a chuckle from Sam and their guests. “So from now on, I will learn every detail about you, to better understand you and be your confidante. I promise to cherish and respect you, to love and care for you, in good times and in bad. I promise that I will always love you, now and forever. I love you, Samantha Ryan.”
Sam looked into his eyes and felt herself drowning at the love shown there, and it took a moment for her to remember what she was supposed to do. “I’m so glad you whisked me off and brought me here, Urs. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am today. In fact, ever since I met you I’ve had the most wonderful time of my life, and if that’s an indication of what our life together will be like, then I can’t wait to start my life with you as your wife. I love you with all my heart and soul, Urs Toni Buhler, and I promise you this love will never end.”
After being pronounced ‘husband and wife’ and having slipped the rings into each other’s ring finger, they then shared a tender but passionate kiss amid applause from their teary-eyed guests.
While Ginny and Sebastien had their first dance as husband and wife, Urs and Sam had their wedding breakfast in the cozy dinning room of the new house. Sam couldn’t wait to take a tour of the house, but Urs, knowing that she hadn’t eaten a bite the whole day, urged her to eat something before she fainted from hunger. And so it was, the Buhler family dining over a simple meal and having a lively chatter, while the Izambards graced the dance floor with their families and friends.
A year later…
“Push, Sam, push!” Urs urged from his position behind Sam as he supported his wife while she laboured to give birth to their first born.
“It’s easier said than done, Buhler…” grabbing his collar from behind her, she gasped as another wave of pain shot through her even as she tried to push as instructed. At the respite before another contraction came, she hissed, “If you make me go through this one more time…I’m…I’m gonna…kill you! Ahhhhh!”
“Yeah, come on, PUSH!” was all he said.
In the waiting room, Ginny paced the floor as she waited anxiously for news of Sam’s delivery. Her own little bundle of joy, a baby girl named Lily, was at home with Sebastien’s mother. Sebastien, amused at his wife’s actions, walked over and hugged her from behind, “You’re wearing a hole in the carpet. Sam’s going to be fine.”
“But I can’t help it. I’m nervous as hell, like I was when I gave birth to Lily.” But she didn’t have to suffer for long.
Soon, a loud cry could be heard in the delivery room as the doctor lifted up a baby.
“Congratulations, you have a healthy baby girl!” he announced almost triumphantly.
The nurse wrapped the baby up in a blanket after cleaning and measuring her and put her in her mother’s arms. The little girl was still screaming at the top of her lungs but when Sam put her on her breast, the cry subsided and the little bundle of joy began suckling.
“You’re a natural, Sam,” Urs said admiringly.
“With all the pregnancy and motherhood books you bought me, I think I’ll easily get a doctorate for my knowledge in this field,” she turned her head and kissed him. “She has your lungs.”
Smiling, he asked, “So when can we have number two?”
“Soon, I hope.”