My Last:Riley & ChelleBy: Melanie Shawn
Also, when Katie had returned to Harper’s Crossing last month for Sophie and Bobby’s wedding, Grandpa J had been the one to take the most drastic action in playing matchmaker – he had let the air out of the tires in Katie’s car so she would be forced to drive with Jason up to Whisper Lake, where the nuptials were being held. He had since said that, even during the years that Katie was dating Nick, he had always suspected that Jason was the right one for “his Katie girl.”
Chelle saw that Grandpa J had tears in his eyes when he leaned down to kiss Katie on the cheek. When the pastor asked, “Who gives this woman to marry this man?”
Grandpa J cleared his throat and smiled proudly as he said, “Well now, young man, I guess that would me.”
Then, when he passed Katie’s hand to Jason’s, he held his gaze and told him, “You take care of our girl, now, son.”
Jason beamed, “I will, Colonel.”
As Grandpa J made his way to his seat, Pam, Katie’s mom, surprised everyone. Seemingly overcome with love, she quickly stood, hugging both Katie and Jason before taking her seat next to her sister, Aunt Wendy. Chelle could see pleased smiles all around the congregation at this show of emotion by Katie’s mother. The whole time Katie had been growing up, although Pam had always been a very good Mom and there was no question in anyone’s mind about how much she loved Katie and how much she would sacrifice for her, Pam had never been very physically demonstrative or affectionate about that love.
Well, I guess weddings do tend to bring out the mushy side of people, Chelle thought as she turned to face the pastor.
The ceremony began and Chelle did her level best to focus on the pastor and what he was saying, but if she was honest with herself, it was the conversation with David that kept running through her mind as she tried to enjoy the beautiful ceremony. Her brain kept torturing her with the list of things that she should have said, the many questions that she should have asked. She had just been so blindsided by what David had revealed, that it was like her brain had been short-circuited.
Katie and Jason stepped up to the alter and the pastor announced that they were going to exchange vows that they had written themselves. Chelle prepared herself for the onslaught of emotion she was sure to have when they spoke. Of all the times during the day today that she needed to guard against having a breakdown, surely this – during the freaking VOWS, for crying out loud! - was the most important. And yet, because of the inherent emotion that the moment was going to bring, it could also prove to be the hardest. She steeled herself.
Jason brushed a soft curl back from Katie’s face and she smiled up at him beaming with love. He took a deep breath and said, “Katie. My angel. I think that from the first moment I laid eyes on you, when we were putting our backpacks in our cubbies on the first day of Kindergarten, I knew that this day was in the cards for us. That it was coming, as surely as a sunrise after a dark night, no matter how far away that light might seem at some points, when you’re sitting in the darkness. I never lost faith in you…in us. I know we took a winding road to get here, but this is where we belong. With each other. In each other’s arms, and in each other’s hearts. My beautiful girl, now that I have you, trust me on one thing – I will never let you go. You are my angel, the light of my life, forever.”
Chelle felt tears falling from her eyes, but that was fine. There was nothing suspicious about that, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. Still, she certainly wasn’t out of the woods yet. She still had to get through her DFF’s speech without falling apart!
Katie took a deep, shaking breath and beamed up at Jason.
“Jason,” she began tremulously, and then squared her shoulders, a determined look coming into her eye. She began again, her voice stronger and more confident, “Jason, you are the strength that I never knew that I had. You call me your angel, but the truth is – you are my guardian angel, and you always have been. Whether I knew that you were doing it or not…whether I even knew that I needed it or not…you were always looking out for me. Love isn’t expressed through the things that we do which we expect credit for, or some elaborate show of gratitude in return. Many of the sacrifices you have made for me, I never knew about until fifteen years after the fact. I’m sure there are many more that I still don’t know about.