The last day of the shoot took place in the Chapel. It was beautifully decorated for the occasion, though the massive amount of filming equipment marred the beauty and sanctity of it.
The men were in their respective trailers getting their make-up done after they had donned their specially tailored suits. Mr Armani had kindly offered his exquisitely tailored suits for the guys’ shoot and they all loved the designs. Each suit had a different design and cut and made each Divo stand out from one another.
Urs looked at David and commented, “Boy, do you look like a real groom.”
“Really? Too bad Claire isn’t here to see it,” David replied absentmindedly while looking in the mirror. He thought the suit was perfect for the wedding and wondered if he could wear it on his big day. He smiled when he thought of that and Claire. He had called the night before and had spoken first with Amelia, who was excited about visiting the Denver Zoo with grandpa and grandma, then with Claire.
She couldn’t contain her excitement when they talked about their own wedding after David had described their first few days of shooting. When he told her about the brides for the wedding scene, she asked about his partner. He described Lisa and told her how they’d met before and also that she was a huge fan of his.
“Did she get up to any hanky-panky with you?” Claire demanded to know, albeit teasingly.
“No, of course not. We’re professionals that’s why we managed to shoot ahead of the schedule. Tomorrow will be the final chapter of the script and I’ll be home soon. Did you miss me? Did you miss my…spiky hair?” he did an impersonation of Carlos giving his speech to a live audience, replacing the world ‘little curl’ with his own ‘spiky hair’. She giggled at the familiar line.
“Are you ready to go, Baby Bear?” Urs asked.
“Urs, if anyone’s a bear, it’s you. Your name means bear, not mine,” David retorted, annoyed at being jolted out of his reverie. “Besides, I’m not a baby anymore. I’m getting married.” He gave a haughty look and sauntered out of the trailer with his head held high, leaving Urs to chuckle at the drama queen.
When they stepped inside the cathedral, they were greeted by the sight of many people milling around. These were people invited to take part in the shoot to act as family members, relatives and friends of the wedding couples. Most of these people were Il Divo forum members, fans of the guys, and they were delighted to see the guys’ appearance in front of the altar. An actor dressed up as a priest stood in the middle of the altar while the director’ assistant organized the extras.
The guys were happy to see some familiar faces among the extras and they waved to them whenever they could. The make-up artist busied herself by powdering the guys’ faces, putting their hair into place, straightening the ties and whatever that was needed to make them look good in front of the camera.
“Listen up, everybody. We’re going to start rolling. I’m sure you all know what you’re supposed to do by now, if not, just look at the cue from that cute little guy there,” Carol pointed to a young man who was giving them a mad wave and an elaborate bow, causing some laughter among the people.
They had already shot some scenes just with the extras before the Divos appeared. So now they were shooting the scene where the brides appeared down the aisle, while the grooms stood at the altar singing and waiting for their respective bride.
“Cut!” Carol shouted. “David, what’s wrong with you?”
For the fifth time he had forgotten to sing to the music in the background when it was Lisa’s turn to walk down the aisle. Urs, Sebastien and Carlos sniggered while he looked at the director sheepishly.
“Sorry, Carol. My mind keeps wandering to my own wedding next week.”
“Well, does Lisa look like your wife to be?” Carol asked.
“Did you feel an urge to run from her?” The guys’ laughter became more audible.
“Do you want to be ready for your own wedding?”
“Then stop daydreaming and get this over and done with!” Carol rolled her eyes and threw up her hands in despair.
A considerably red-faced David mumbled an apology before giving his brothers a miserable look. The guys gave him a sympathetic pat on the back before resuming their positions.
It was supposed to be the final scene of the video and there was a sense of anticipation among the guys as they were all anxious to see the end result of their hard work. All except David who couldn’t wait for it to be over because he had never been so embarrassed before in his whole life. It took almost ten hours before the director called it a day. By then the extras had already been dismissed and only the Divos and their screen brides were left.
“I’m sorry for messing up the shoot guys,” a very contrite David apologized to his band mates.
“It’s alright, David. We all know how anxious you are about your own wedding,” Urs replied before any of the other guys got a chance at a wisecrack.
“Yeah, and we won’t tell Claire you thought Lisa was her,” Carlos couldn’t help himself despite the warning glare that Urs had given him and Sebastien.
Ginny, Sam and Joanne, who stood at the side while the filming took place, returned to their hotel after two hours at the set and were all gathered in Ginny’s room to run through their roles for the wedding.
Claire, on her part, had rehearsed the children’s role with them almost daily. Little Nick and Tony would be the ring bearers and Grandpa John stood in for the groom. Amelia and Grace would be the flower girls while Lily and Angel had a special role which they were trained for by a very special teacher just before they flew over here. Every morning they got together to practice as Claire and David’s parents looked on touched and extremely proud of them.
The three girls dropped by the older Millers’ place to pick up Claire for a girly outing and also to see how the kids were doing, and both Sam and Ginny were very impressed by their children. They practiced with the children a couple more times and when they were sure they had it all covered, they bid farewell to the kids and headed into town for a little fun. It was supposed to be a toned down hen party.
They went for a spa treatment, had their hair and nails done, and settled down in a pub for a drink while their husbands and husband-to-be were hard at work at the set. The three wives shared with Claire their funny conversation at the shoot, admitting that they were being unkind to the four acting brides but couldn’t help amusing themselves with the jokes. None of them of course was truly bothered by the actresses since they had full confidence in their husbands, and the actresses were indeed very professional and respectful of the guys.
“What about David’s partner? He mentioned they knew each other and she’s a big fan of his,” Claire couldn’t help feeling curious about Lisa.
“Lisa? Oh, she’s tall and blonde, pretty and a little shy. Though she wasn’t too shy to let David know how she feels about him.” Ginny tried her best to be objective, but she had a natural dislike for women who shower their guys with too much attention.
“Oh Gin, come on, she’s not that bad. At least she’s quite respectful and I’m sure she’s just a little awestruck that’s all,” Sam tried to reason with her best friend.
“How do you know?” Claire looked doubtfully at Sam.
“Because I checked with my sexy Uber Lord. He says she’s very polite and shy, and a little bit nervous since this is her first video shoot. David had to coax her out of her shell in order to make her relax in front of the camera.”
“No wonder he was always making her laugh,” Joanne grinned, “and I thought he was trying to find a temporary replacement for Claire.” Then seeing the look of hurt on Claire’s face, she quickly added, “Oh Claire, I was just kidding. David has been a good boy, really he has. All the guys were just being themselves, friendly, thoughtful and easy-going. You shouldn’t worry too much about your teddy bear; he’s not one to stray.”
“Thanks, Joanne. This is all too new for me. Before he came along I was just a broken-hearted housewife with a daughter. Then suddenly we met and within months, we’re planning a wedding. Good thing I’ve been too busy with the planning or I would’ve gotten cold feet just thinking about how fast things have changed, not just for me and Amelia, but for him as well.”
“Don’t worry, between Seb, Carlos and Urs, they’ll keep an eye on your groom.” Joanne nodded assuringly at Claire.
“Carlos keeping an eye on Dave? He could barely keep himself out of trouble!” Ginny teased.
“Oh, ok, so they keep an eye on each other then. Seb looks out for Carlos, Carlos looks out for David, David looks out for Urs, and Urs looks out for Seb. Happy now?” Joanne stuck her tongue out at Ginny before they broke out laughing at the idea.
Suddenly Claire froze, her drink midway to her lips.
“What’s the matter, Claire? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost.” Ginny looked at her with concern.
“My ex-husband’s here.” Claire lowered her eyes and tried to hide the shock and anger at seeing Jonathan.
“That son-of-a…” Ginny stopped when Sam nudged her ribs.
“Bitch!” Joanne finished it off for her.
“Yeah, and he’s with my ex-best friend, Suzie Krammer,” Claire said when she caught sight of the familiar figure of Suzie.
“Suzie Krammer? Sounds familiar.” Ginny frowned as she tried to connect the name.
“Blonde, sexy, Suzie Krammer? Ha! It’s that woman who was all touchy-feely with your David!” Sam exclaimed.
“What!” Claire and Joanne both exclaimed at the same time.
“That is, if she had been in London before.” Sam was a little less sure now. Who knew if there weren’t more than one Suzie Krammer?
“She moved there a while ago,” Claire said as she continued to pin her eyes on the couple seated at a table diagonally from them, whispering to and touching each other, oblivious to the four ladies staring at them.
“Then it must be the same one Urs told me about. I believe Seb told you too, Gin?” Ginny nodded, her eyes never leaving Claire’s exes.
“You said she was touchy-feely with my David?” Claire’s eyes were wide with fury. At the nod of both Sam and Ginny, she took her bags and walked towards the couple who were whispering sweet nothings to each other.
“Hello,” Claire began sweetly. Sam, Ginny and Joanne crowded around her, wondering what she was up to. The couple looked up, shocked to see her.
“Just wanted to thank you, Jonathan, for divorcing me,” said Claire as she smiled sweetly to her ex-husband. Then turning to Suzie, she said, “Oh Suzie, have you met the American tenor, David Miller, before?”
At the mention of David’s name, Suzie’s eyes brightened up. “Yes, I have. In fact, we had a drink together at a pub back in London.”
“Well, he has a message for you.”
“He wants you to know he’s getting married.”
“Oh! When?” Suzy looked a little disappointed.
“Soon,” Claire continued smiling. The other girls tried to stifle a snigger.
“ME! So thank you, Suzie, for stealing my good-for-nothing husband from under my nose.” Bending down to see Jonathan right in the eyes, she purred in a sexy breathless whisper, “Now I’m free to marry the LOVELY…SEXY…HUNK of a guy David.”
Jonathan looked at Claire, stunned, not sure if this was really the meek woman he once married.
“You’ll never match him in looks,” Claire said and then looked further down at him, “and certainly not in size.”
With that she pulled herself up before sweeping her hand over the table, upending the wine glasses on Suzie’s lap in the process. “Ooops, I’m sorry. I must have had too much to drink.”
With a toss of her head, she sashayed towards the door of the pub, her girlfriends following close behind her. Before they reached the door, Sam turned to glare at the astonished couple, sending them looking elsewhere but the girls. Sam gave a satisfied smirk; the glaring trick she learnt from Urs certainly worked.
When the shoot ended, it was already very late and David couldn’t wait to get back to his hotel room to start packing. The producer had told them to stay for one more night while she reviewed the whole video shoot, just in case they needed to re-do some parts. However, he knew it was all good and he was raring to go home the next morning. He could’ve gotten home that evening if he wanted to, being so close to home, but he couldn’t be so irresponsible.
There was a knock on the door and he went to open it, letting his three band mates in.
“Let’s go out for the night, shall we?” Carlos asked him.
‘I’m tired, why don’t you guys go ahead?” David said.
“Come on, David. Let’s hit the town for a relaxing time. Treat it as your stag party,” Sebastien persuaded.
“I’ve booked a table for us at the Italian restaurant that you recommended.” Urs took David’s arm and propelled him out the door.
David was still protesting when the lift door closed and took them downstairs. By the time they reached the hotel entrance he’d given up.
“Ok, it had better be good or I’ll consider this night wasted.” He pointed a finger at Urs.
“Don’t worry, Carlito had it all planned.” Sebastien grinned and winked at him.
“Yes, you know you can trust me when it comes to partying.” Carlos gave him a pat on his back.
Shaking his head, David entered the limousine that was waiting for them. Soon, they were at the restaurant, sitting in a quiet corner.
“Stag party is supposed to be loud and wild, so are you guys going to perform some wild dance for me or you’ve arranged for some sexy dancers to do that?”
“Yes, Carlos is going to do a strip tease and we get to spray him with cream,” Sebastien mumbled in between mouthful of steak.
“You mean we get to shave his chest hair? Oh goodie!” David laughed, rubbing his hands gleefully.
“Why always Carlos’ chest hair? Why couldn’t it be Sebastien’s or Urs’?
“Because it takes us longer to grow it back but you, you only need to sleep on it and it grows back the next day,” Sebastien answered.
“We have a warning from the girls that no wild partying is allowed, so we’re toning it down a little,” Urs finally spoke up after cleaning up his plate; he was that hungry.
“Why tonight? Why not tomorrow or the day after tomorrow? We still have like five days before my wedding.”
“Because we’re in town and it seems like a good idea, celebrating the end of the shoot as well as the end of your bachelor status. Seriously, do you know what you’re supposed to do on your big day?” Carlos asked as he dug into his food.
“Claire said it’s just the usual stuff, nothing special since she had one and it didn’t work out. Be at the church on time was all she said.”
“So how do you feel about it?”
He thought about it for a while before replying, “I supposed it’s all good. I mean, at least I don’t have to run around planning all that stuff. I remember Sandra and I having countless meetings and phone calls with the wedding planner. Then there was the need to find a venue for the wedding. The internet provided some information we needed, but sometimes you have to be there to see it for yourself. So we went to like five venues before settling for one, and that was done during our tour breaks. I was close to exhaustion, I tell you!”
“Seems like Claire has done a good job sparing you all the trouble.” Urs looked closely at his friend, pleased to see he no longer had the sad, haunted look when he talked about Sandra.
“Yes, she’s been fantastic. Guess I’m one hell of a lucky guy.” He gave a smug grin and the others chuckled quietly in the posh restaurant.
After dinner, they arrived at a night club where they were given a VIP room, and some people were already seated and waiting there.
“Congratulations, David!” the people in the room shouted and champagne popped when he stepped in, followed by his band mates.
“Wow! This is wicked, guys!” he turned to his brothers and laughed gleefully like a birthday boy while they gave him back slaps and bear hugs.
Seated on the big round sofa in the spacious room was some of the production crew members, including the director, their screen brides and Patrick with his assistant, Doris. They took turns to congratulate him with hugs and handshakes.
“Since you weren’t going to invite us to your wedding, we pestered your brothers to include us in your stag party,” Patrick explained.
“This is awesome! Thanks! I’ll never forget this night,” David beamed.
As champagne flowed and snacks devoured, they chatted about the actual wedding, laughing at how David was being treated as a guest to his own wedding. It was a mild stag party as Urs had promised, more like a gathering of friends old and new.
When the talk turned to the video shoot, Carol cleared her throat and announced, “I’m sorry guys, I was going to tell you later but since you’ve brought up the topic, I’ll tell you now. We’ve gone through the last scene just now and found some stuff that needed fixing. I’ll need you guys to be back at the set tomorrow at ten.”
“What!” the guys sounded incredulous. Carol looked at them apologetically but promised that it would be the last shoot.
“Claire’s going to kill me. I told her I’d be back tomorrow morning,” David sighed. The other three guys looked at him accusingly. “What? Are you trying to say it’s my fault?”
“No? Who got six takes for one scene?” Sebastien gave him a disgusted look.
“Not fair! Carol didn’t even say which scene we’re going to redo,” David shot back, feeling hot under the collar now.
Carol quickly stepped in. “Guys, please! It’s nobody’s fault. I just want to re-do one of the scenes from a different angle, add a little bit more substance to it as I thought it was quite bare. It will be only a slight change.”
Despite his unhappiness at being unable to return home to Claire sooner than expected, and the fact that his brothers had somehow linked him to the re-shoot, David managed to enjoy himself, especially after the effects of the alcohol had kicked in. He was laughing, gesticulating wildly whenever he talked, his cheeks red and he had a permanent grin on his face whenever someone mentioned Claire’s name.
Lisa and the other three actresses found an almost drunk David adorable and wanted to have their pictures taken with him despite the no photo-taking warning from Patrick. He didn’t want any of their merry-making, no matter how tame, to be photographed and posted on the internet or ended up in the tabloids.
However, David being the sweet guy that he was, allowed them one photo each with him. “But pleaseeeeesssssss don’t post anywhere on the internet or distribute it or my reputation as the Divine One will most definitely be ruined!” He leaned against Lisa grinning like a little boy with a new toy, his speech a little slurred and Urs, Sebastien and Carlos looked on with amusement. By the time the party ended, he had to be helped into the waiting limousine and then into bed.
“You think he’ll be alright in the morning?” Sebastien asked with a concerned look on his face.
“He had better be,” Urs looked on with an equally worried expression on his face. They both turned to Carlos and glared at him.
“Did you have to make him drink so much?” Sebastien gave him an accusing look.
“What? It was his stag party, not my fault he couldn’t even hold five glasses of champagne,” the senior member defended himself.
“Stop arguing, I’m not dead yet. Let me sleep it off,” David mumbled as he turned over to a more comfortable position and promptly fell asleep.
The guys stared at each other and laughing quietly, they left the Yank alone.
True enough, David turned up the next morning at the lobby wearing a hoodie, a pair of worn out jeans and sunglasses, and barely in time. The others were waiting for him at the lounge and when they saw him, they quickly went over and hurried him into the waiting van.
“What’s the hurry?” he asked, puzzled.
“Thought you wanted to get this over and done with so you could be back in Claire’s arms again,” Sebastien replied.
“We’re anxious to get it done too. The girls are getting impatient with the wedding and stuff,” Urs explained.
“Where are the girls? Are they coming along?”
“We’re not even worried about them, why should you?” Carlos answered a little impatiently. The rest of the ride was done in silence as David quietly nursed a mild headache.
The van stopped in front of David and Urs’ trailer and they all got out. Before David could look around the place, Urs dragged him up the trailer and into it.
“Time to get dressed before Carol comes after us,” he told the tall Divo. So quietly they got dressed. Soon, the hair and make-up girl appeared and helped Urs get his curly locks ready and applied light make-up on him. Then she turned her attention to David. She had to laugh at the sight before her as David still had the sleepy look on his face, his hair a tousled mess. He still had his hoops on his ears but she left them alone.
“Ok handsome, we’re done,” she announced proudly.
Urs took a peek outside the trailer before turning around and told David to follow him. David gave him a strange look but did not say anything until he was led to the back of the chapel.
“Why are we going through the back?” David asked.
“Oh, we have word that some reporters are sneaking around so Patrick thought it would be good for us to stay out of their sight,” Urs replied.
“Ok,” was all David managed to say, still trying to get rid of the cobwebs in his head. Urs led him through the back door, made a turn on the left and entered an office.
“We’ll wait here while they set up the place.”
David looked around the office and observed the framed pictures on the wall. Lots of weddings had taken place here and he thought he recognized the priest, which wasn’t so surprising considering he grew up around the area.
“Where are Spain and France?” he asked.
“Europe,” Urs replied. Then seeing the annoyed look on David’s face, he quickly amended, “Probably still dolling up.”
“Can’t we go out front and see what’s going on there?”
“Carol says she wants to talk to us first.”
“Don’t know. The script, maybe?” Urs shrugged. Just then Carol came in and Urs heaved a sigh of relief; he hated waiting and doing nothing.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting, but I’ve decided to change the script a little,” she told them before going on to explain what she wanted to do. “Both Sebastien and Carlos are already out there, so let’s start.” She hurriedly moved in front of them, but before they left the room, their stylist came in and made sure they were both still looking fresh and good. Urs gave her a smile and she winked at him in return.
They could hear voices coming from the hall but it soon became silent. Sebastien and Carlos were already standing at one side of the altar, looking elegant in their suits. Urs walked towards them and stood next to them, and then David went and stood just next to the priest.
David tried to look out at the rows of seats in front of them, but with the bright light shining at them, he couldn’t see very clearly. So he turned to look at Carlos and Sebastien who were looking very seriously back at him.
“This had better be good,” he mumbled to Urs.
Urs smiled, “I sure hope so.”
Soon, the lights dimmed and the sound of a piano playing in the back of the hall filled the room. Strains of Ave Maria by Bach/Gounod were heard loud and clear.
“Wait a minute. That’s not our song,” David turned to Urs and whispered. But before he got any reply, the sweet voices of two little girls accompanied the piano.
“That sounds familiar,” David thought just as the door opened. Nick and Tony slowly walked down the aisle bearing a red wedding ring pillow each, causing his eyes to open wide, his mouth agape. Then when Joanne walked in with Grace on one side and Ginny with Amelia on the other side of the aisle, he turned to look at his brothers who were trying not to snicker at his look. Then he stole a look at the priest and realized he was the guy whose photo he had seen hanging in the office just now.
Sweet Amelia and Grace were dressed in similar sleeveless satin and tulle petal dress, with gold colored organza sashes tied into a big bow at the back and rose buds adorned the helms. They scattered flowers religiously as they walked alongside their aunties. It seemed all so surreal to David.
As they slowly made their way towards the front, Lily and Angel appeared from their places behind the piano and moved in front of the matron of honour, Sam. They were dressed in sleeveless tea length gowns with scoop necks. Gold coloured sashes around the waist were highlighted by two flowers in the back with hanging streamers. Microphones attached to their dresses allowed their beautiful voices to carry across the big hall.
They sang their beautiful rendition of the sacred classical piece as they moved down the aisle, their voices in harmony with each other and their diction and pronunciation of the words so clear that their beautiful voices resonated off the walls of the church, giving goosebumps to everyone present. The groom was dumbstruck.
Urs looked at the girls proudly, the extensive lessons he gave them before the trip to Denver working like magic. He turned to observe David and had to hold back his laughter; David was still gaping at the sight and sound and couldn’t believe what was unfolding before him.
Seeing Sam slowly approaching him, it finally hit him that this was it, his surprise wedding. The moment he saw Claire walking in with her arm on her father’s, his heart did a summersault. He stood transfixed as father and daughter slowly made their way down the aisle.
Claire slowly approached the altar, dressed in a halter neck gown with gold metallic accent. The crystals and beads embroidered on the bodice and along the edges that opened up to the metallic accent down the front of the dress sparkled in the bright light. The gold accent that wrapped her waist accentuated her shapely curves and flowed down center front and center back, with crystals and beads adorning the helm of the chapel length train. With her proud father beside her, she was a picture of elegance and grace.
By now the ring bearers were already standing in front of the altar with the grooms, best man and groomsmen. Sebastien put a hand over Nick’s shoulder and smiled down proudly at his little boy who had been on his best behavior ever since he was told to play the important role of a ring bearer. Urs wrapped his arm around Tony’s shoulder giving him an approving nod and a blinky-wink. Then he bent down to whisper something in his boy’s ear. The boy nodded, a serious look on his face.
When Ginny and Joanne approached the front with the two little girls, they brought the girls to sit with the groom’s parents, and then went to stand opposite the men. Sebastien looked at his wife appreciatively, smiling his approval at the dress she wore, a short, strapless gold coloured dress with a sweetheart neckline and sunburst shirring around center front.
Carlos observed as Joanne took her place beside Ginny, her hand resting on her baby bump which showed a little under the chiffon knee length gold colored baby doll dress with a draped empire bodice and a sweetheart neckline. He smiled when he caught her eyes and she playfully blew him a kiss.
The song ended when Lily and Angel reached the front. They gave a little curtsy to David before taking a seat on the front row. Urs nodded approvingly at his daughter, a mirror image of her mother.
Sam reached the altar and giving David a cheeky wink, she walked over to join the two bridesmaids. Looking up, she caught Urs staring at her with a tender smile on his face, setting off the butterflies in her stomach. She smiled back at him. He couldn’t wait to tell her how beautiful she looked in her simple white prima satin strapless gown with a pleated gold cummerbund and tails.
Soon Claire was brought up to the altar and was stood in front of David. Her father entrusted her hand to him.
“Take good care of my baby,” Thomas whispered to groom who was still a little dazed by the turn of events.
David looked deeply into Claire’s beautiful blue eyes and smiled. How did she pull this off? There were so many questions in his mind that he wanted to ask, and he found himself unable to concentrate on the ceremony. Suddenly he felt a nudge on his arm.
“Say ‘I Do’, David,” Urs hissed under his breath.
He couldn’t believe he had actually missed a big part of the ceremony, including the sermon, while gazing into his brides eyes and trying to figure out how it had all happened. He had followed the instructions as if on autopilot but his mind didn’t really register what he was doing until Urs nudged him.
He looked behind at the guests and finally saw his family members seated there, along with Claire’s family. Even Simon was there with Patrick and the film crew, Simon’s eyes showing his amusement at the look of surprise on the younger man’s face.
The priest cleared his throat and repeated the words again, “David Miller, do you take Claire Morgan to be your wife, to love her, to cherish her, and to continually bestow upon her your heart’s deepest devotion?”
In a loud and clear voice, David replied, “I do.”
Turning to the bride, the priest asked, “And Claire Morgan, do you take David Miller to be your husband, to love him, to cherish him, and to continually bestow upon him your heart’s deepest devotion?”
“I do,” Claire’s voice resounded off the walls of the chapel.
“I believe you have written your own vows,” the priest said as he turned to David. Again, he was in dreamland as he looked into his bride’s beautiful blue eyes and Urs had to nudge him again.
“Oh, where were we?” he whispered to Urs.
Collectively, his three best friends replied, “Your vow, David!” The hall erupted into laughter and lightened up an otherwise solemn ceremony.
Throwing back his head in laughter, he composed himself before he begun, “Claire Morgan, what have you done to me?” The laughter continued. Then trying a more serious approach, he said quietly, “You light up my life with your love and your special brand of humour.
“Your understanding and your strength propelled me from the depth of darkness that filled me before I met you. You made me whole again. I’m not sure if I could ever thank you enough for what you’ve done for me, but I’m glad I have the rest of my life to show you how much I love and appreciate you and our daughter, Amelia. You are truly amazing and I vow I’ll be yours faithfully and eternally. I love you, Claire.” His eyes glistened and his voice wavered a little as he said those words, his emotion threatening to engulf him.
“David…” Claire’s breath caught in her throat, her emotion evident as she tried to collect herself. In a stronger voice, she continued, “I never dreamt I’d meet someone like you, someone who brings out the best in me, makes me laugh, and makes me feel confident about myself again. With you, I am who I am again and I thank you for that. I promise that I will cherish you and be your best friend and partner for eternity. I love you, David Miller.”
It was time to exchange the rings. David turned towards Nick and the little boy held up the pillow for him. David smiled at the little boy decked out in a little white tux; his dark blonde hair gelled up to look almost like his father’s. David took the ring and slipped it on Claire’s finger.
When Claire turned to little Tony to take her ring from his pillow, she was amazed at how much he looked like his father, with his curly locks tamed and tucked behind his ears, his little body dressed in the same white tux as Nick’s. As she removed the ring from the pillow, he gave her a blinky-wink and she broke out in a fit of giggle. David laughed before saying, “Oh no, don’t start.” It had the guests all laughing again as Claire tried to calm down, and with shaking hands, she slipped the ring on David’s finger.
Ginny muttered to Sam, “I bet Urs taught Tony that.” Sam could only nod her head as she tried to stifle a giggle. She had seen her husband giving Tony a little nod before the boy turned to blink at the bride. That irrepressible husband of hers sure knew how to please a woman and he was showing his son how to do just that.
The reception hall was abuzz with talk and laughter as everyone took turns to congratulate the newly weds amid a scrumptious meal. After a heart-warming speech by Claire’s father, David stood up and delivered his speech, assuring the Morgans that he would take good care of their daughter, and thanked everyone involved in planning such a big surprise for him, “I have to be the luckiest groom in the whole world to have my wedding planned and executed without having to even lift a finger.”
Then the groomsmen and best man each took turns making funny speeches that had everyone in stitches.
Sebastien started, “Dear David, the reason why we didn’t involve you in the planning is because you are always coming up with some hare-brained ideas. Your bride is too kind to keep saying no to you, so to spare you the disappointment of being rejected, she decided to go at it alone.”
Carlos, “Yes, that’s why this wedding is a success, because you weren’t around to ruin it with your crazy ideas.”
The guests couldn’t stop laughing, and so were David and Claire, whose facial muscles almost suffered a cramp.
“Jokes aside, we, his Divo brothers, would like to propose a toast to the groom, for being brave enough to jump on the bandwagon to the chaotic order of a married life. And to the bride, we’d like to propose this toast as it’s most probably the last time she’d want a toast; having a big kid to contend with for the rest of her life will be tough,” Urs’ powerful voice rang across the reception hall drawing loud cheers and laughter from everyone.
“But seriously, we’d like to take this opportunity to wish David and Claire a long, loving and fulfilling life together filled with love, laughter and many little ones,” he blinky-winked at the newly weds before raising his glass in a toast.
As the reception came to an end almost all of the guests had left. Little Amelia left with Claire’s parents as it was decided they would babysit her while the newly weds spend a few days just enjoying each other’s company. The other kids left with David’s parents until their parents were ready to pick them up later.
The Divo brothers and their wives sat around the table to unwind, admiring the framed photo of David and the four screen brides taken at the stag party. The girls had thoughtfully put the photos together in a big frame and presented it to him as a gift. Claire couldn’t help but laugh at how silly her husband looked in all the photos. In the middle of the frame was a photo of Amelia, David and Claire, taken when they were in Disneyland. The girls had managed to get that photo from Urs, who had it in an email from David.
Simon and Patrick had joined in their chat. “Here’s a little gift from me.” Simon put an envelope on the table and pushed it to David.
David looked at him quizzically before opening the envelope. “Oh wow! A week’s stay in a resort in Hawaii! Thanks, boss!” he exclaimed happily before showing Claire the itinerary.
“Thank you, Simon.” Claire stood up to give Il Divo’s creator a big hug.
“I’m also pushing the tour back by six months, seeing as how you just got married, and Carlos is going to be a father soon. It’s a better alternative than having you guys mess up the concerts either with daydreams of your new wife or worries of your wife giving birth,” Simon pointed first to David and then Carlos as he announced the new tour plan. “Before I leave, David, you might want to hurry up and catch that flight to Hawaii. My private jet will be waiting at the airport two hours from now.”
David stared at his boss speechless, unable to come up something appropriate to say to that. Instead it was Claire who thanked Simon on their behalf and saying goodbye, he left them.
“Now, what do you make of that?” David finally found his voice.
“That you’re one lucky bloke,” Sebastien said, his eyes twinkling. “Now with you two away on honeymoon, I’m sure Amelia will sleep better at night.”
Claire didn’t get the joke but when Ginny spoke, she blushed, “Don’t mind my husband, David, but we’ll make sure to soundproof your room before you get back.”
David chuckled as the rest of the group howled with laughter, then hugging Claire to him, he conceded, “Ok, I deserved that.”
“Not just the room, the whole house has to be soundproofed,” Carlos chipped in.
Urs looked at him, barely holding back his laughter. “Is that how Joanne got pregnant?”
Carlos gave a sheepish look in his wife’s direction. “Maybe.”
Fortunately Joanne was in a happy mood as the wedding went well and she didn’t mind being teased. Saucily she replied, “Well, you know how hot-blooded we Latinos are. Urs, seriously, if you don’t know how I got pregnant, then it begs the question of how Sam got pregnant, not once, but twice!”
By now Claire was in a giggling fit and was unable to stop the tears from flowing down her face.
Urs came back with “Of course I knew, I just didn’t know you needed the whole house to get where you are,” and drew a fit of laughter from all the guys.
Seeing the redness on Joanne’s face, Sam whacked her husband on the arm. “Pardon my husband, Joanne, he’s had one glass too many.”
That wasn’t far from the truth as Urs did have quite a few glasses of champagne, more than the normal amount that he normally consume on an occasion such as this. He was giggling and leaning against Sam, his arms around her waist and even tried to nibble at her ears.
“Stop it, Urs,” Sam tried to straighten her husband much to the amusement of the others.
Sebastien laughed, “I think you better take him back to the hotel before he embarrassed himself.”
“I never embarrass myself, Frenchie,” Urs wagged a finger at his friend.
“Of course not, you only disgrace yourself,” David retorted, tongue-in-cheek.
“Ha! Look who’s talking. The baby bear who behaved like a sissy after saving the damsel in distress.” That got the whole table roaring with laughter again.
Wiping the tears off his eyes, David saying, “Thanks everybody. I haven’t felt so happy in a long time.” Leaning over to give his bride a tender kiss on the lips, he continued, “I’m afraid we have to make a move. Don’t want to waste away Simon’s jet offer.”
On the flight to Hawaii, David managed to get most of his questions answered by his wife. He found out that Sam was the one behind the idea of getting Simon to help plan the wedding. She met up with him to discuss the plan and he came up with the ingenious idea of killing two birds with one stone. He wanted a romantic music video and she wanted a romantic wedding for her friends, so the wedding shoot was a win-win decision for them both.
“What would I do without you ladies? You’re an amazing bunch.” David leaned in to kiss her.
“You’d probably have to plan your own wedding and worry if your bride would ever show up.”
“I knew you were up to something but still I was totally caught off guard. I really thought Carol wanted to re-shoot the last scene. You girls deserve an Oscar for your acting skills and Urs too. That man didn’t even bat an eyelid while lying to me as he led me to the back of the chapel.”
“And Sam said he’s not a good liar,” Claire giggled.
They spent the rest of the flight cuddling, kissing and whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ears. It was just as well the flight was short or they would have embarrassed themselves on board as the gentle touching soon became more heated.
The Marins were back in the hotel and sat in the bed talking. Carlos recapped some of his video shoot with Joanne while she told him what she and the other girls were up to while the guys were busy filming.
“That’s not very nice, making fun of the innocent ladies,” Carlos gently admonished.
“Well, we were just amusing ourselves. We know the girls are harmless, or at lease, they would have no effect on you guys.”
“That’s right. You should never doubt your husband, and you should always feel confident about yourself because you are the only one for me.” He tilted his head from its position on the baby bump to look at her. Joanne ran her fingers through his curls as he turned his attention back to the unborn baby, placing a kiss on her stomach and then speaking in Spanish to the baby.
“I’m tired, Carlito. It’s been a long night,” her eyes fluttered sleepily.
“Mommy’s tired. Try not to kick, ok baby?”
Joanne giggled and thought that soon he would be reading bedtime stories to the unborn child. Carlos positioned himself next to her and cuddled her, stroking her hair till she fell asleep. He would have liked to try one of those positions he read about in one of the pregnancy books that Urs had passed to him but he knew how tired his wife was. He fell asleep watching her sleep.
Sebastien checked on the kids one last time before closing the door to the room in their hotel suite. He walked into his room to see Ginny coming out of the bathroom, towelling dry her hair. She wore only a towel around her beautiful body and his eyes roamed her body appreciatively.
Ginny caught his look and asked, “Do I pass the test, Sir?”
“Oh you more than pass the test, my sweet Ginny.” He walked over and pulled her into his arms. “I miss you. All the time while we were filming the video I kept thinking how good it would be if you were the bride.”
“Really? I thought Rosemary had you all occupied,” she teased.
“No, she’s lovely, but you’re all that I want. Now, and forever,” he whispered in her ears, causing a shiver to run down her spine.
“Seb…” She didn’t get to finish what she was going to say; his lips captured hers in a hot and passionate kiss.
He slowly guided her to the bed, their lips still locked together. Somewhere along the way she lost her towel. Feeling her naked body with his hand, he gently stroked her sides, causing her senses to reach a feverish height. She clawed at his shirt, pulling it off his pants. Hands between them, she worked on the buttons while he pulled on his belt and zipper. Soon he was free of his clothes. With a swift move borne of regular practice, he placed her in bed and continued to assault her with a fiery kiss, letting his passion guide them both to a dizzying height.
Two doors away and lying in bed after having picked up their children from the older Millers’ place, Sam snuggled up to Urs and giggled.
“What’s so funny?” Urs asked sleepily.
“You. You’re so cute when you’re less than sober.”
“Hmmm. I think this will be the last time I indulge in booze. Think I’m going to get a big headache tomorrow.”
“Why did you drink so much? You always know your limit.”
“Because I’m very happy. Sandra’s dying wish is granted; David is happily married and moving on. And it’s all because of you. You made it possible.”
“I did not. He found her himself. I only hurried it along with the wedding plan.”
Giving his wife a kiss on her forehead, he whispered, “I’m so proud of you, Sam. Have I told you lately how much I love you?”
“Maybe you did, but I wouldn’t mind hearing it again.”
And he did more than just tell her; he showed her.
Four months had passed. Il Divo regrouped in London going through their concert set list, venues and dates. In two months’ time they would be flying across Europe, America, down to the Far East, across the Pacific Ocean to Australia, New Zealand and possibly South Africa as well. The men couldn’t wait to get started and spirits were high.
The music video turned out to be a wise decision as the few weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, the DVD was flying off the shelves at a rate that made even Simon’s head spin. It proved to be a good promotion for the group too as they saw a surge in the number of forum membership, an indication that they had many new followers.
Sitting by the bank of the river, Sam turned to David and asked, “So how’s married life?”
“Fantastic! Every morning I wake up to see the woman I love lying next to me and when I walk into the next room, I’m greeted by a little angel. Life couldn’t have been better,” David said as he gave a shy smile. He’d been anything but shy whenever they had a conversation like this and Sam thought it endearing to see him blush just talking about his new-found happiness.
“I’m really glad to hear that. You know, you should really get your butt off here and back in the kitchen to help out your poor wife. Unless you have something you really want to say to me?” Sam prodded, sensing his hesitation.
He looked at her briefly before turning away to look at the clear water flowing downstream, “I can never thank you and Urs enough, Sam. All the things you’ve done for me, right from the start when Sandra was lying in the hospital bed breathing her last breath, to my wedding, I never once said a proper thank you.” He turned to look at her, his eyes clouded with unshed tears of gratitude.
Sam reached out and hugged him, patting his back, “You don’t have to say it, David, we know how you feel. We’re family and besides, you’ve always called me ‘sis’.”
“Yeah, though you’re more like a tomboy.” He grinned cheekily even as he wiped away the tears that he had tried unsuccessfully to keep from falling.
“That’s how we get along; a sissy and a tomboy,” Sam shot back with a smug look.
They laughed all the way back to David’s new home, the property further down the river from the Buhlers’. After the honeymoon, David decided it was the right time to get the house that Urs had mentioned his neighbour wanted to sell. It didn’t take long for the paperwork and renovation to be completed and now he, Claire and Amelia had settled down and was hosting the Divo family dinner for the first time.
Everyone was in the family room chatting away when the two ‘siblings’ got back from their walk. Urs caught Sam’s eyes and in silent communication, asked if everything was alright. She smiled, and that was all he needed to know. He reached out a hand to her and when she obliged, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her forehead.
Sebastien shared a knowing look with Ginny, and so did Joanne and Carlos. They had all wondered if David was facing another bout of depression when he asked Sam to take a walk with him but now they knew it wasn’t the case.
As they took their seats around the table, Amelia asked, “Where is the baby mommy?”
“He’s sleeping in the bassinet,” Claire replied as she cut the food on Amelia’s plate into smaller pieces.
“Can I go play with him when he wakes up?”
The dinner progressed without incident. The kids were well-behaved, chatting among themselves, though most of the time they had to shout across the huge table to get themselves heard amid the chatter of the adults. It was noisy, but in a calm way.
As soon as dinner was over, Amelia and Grace ran into the family room to see if the baby was awake.
“Look, Daddy, he’s yawning,” Amelia exclaimed excitedly.
“Yes, isn’t he cute?” David picked Amelia up to look at the baby from the top. The Buhler and Izambard kids were gathered around the baby as well, all eager to touch the baby. Amelia stroked the baby’s face gently, giggling all the time.
“He’s so cute, he looks like a mini-Uncle Carlos. He even has Uncle Carlos’ curl,” Angel pointed at a little curl on Reyes Marin’s forehead and giggled, making the adults laugh.
“That’s because he is Uncle Carlos’ baby,” Lily stated, as if she knew it all.
“I want to see baby Rice too!” Grace shouted to her daddy, opening her arms wide for him to pick her up.
“It’s Re-yes, darling, not Rice,” Urs corrected amid some chuckles from the others before holding her up to let see and touch the baby.
“Rice is so beautiful,” she exclaimed.
Urs rolled his eyes and shook his head, “He’s handsome, Grace. Boys are handsome, girls are beautiful.”
“Not so, Urs. Fans on the forum said you’re beautiful,” David’s correction got them all chuckling.
“Well at least I’m beautiful and not goofy,” Urs’ retorted, the corners of his lips lifting into a smirk.
“Touché,” the American responded.
“I look like my daddy too!” Tony piped in from the end of the baby bassinet where he was stroking the baby’s legs.
“No, you don’t.” David teased.
“Yes, I do! Mommy said so!” Tony crossed his arms in front of him and huffed.
“No, you don’t! And I said so!” David imitated the little boy’s action of crossing his arms.
“Yes, he does! He has daddy’s hair and eyes and they both give blinky-winks!” Angel defended her little brother.
“Yes, see,” Tony promptly gave a blinky-wink to prove the point. “Daddy, show him!”
“Ah Tony, I think Uncle David knows what you mean now,” Urs grinned, his dimples showing.
Claire saw that and turned to Sam and whispered, “Why didn’t I notice those dimples?”
“Because you were too busy noticing the rest of him,” Sam whispered back, making the younger woman giggle.
“Mommy, do I look like daddy?” Nick wanted to know.
“Yes, but you look much better.” Ginny gave a cheeky sideways glance at her husband, making him scowl while the others laughed quietly, trying not to startle little Reyes.
“Daddy, will our baby look like Re-yes?” Amelia ran over to Claire and stroked her stomach.
“Ah, no, I hope not,” David grinned. All eyes were now shifted to him and Claire with great interest.
“Because our baby should look either like you, mommy or me, sweetie.”
“Claire’s pregnant?” Sam asked the obvious on behalf of everyone else, all of them staring expectantly at the three Millers.
Looking proud as a peacock, he announced, “Yup! Eight months from now I’ll be a daddy again!”