We are people who need to love, because love is the soul’s life, love is simply creation’s greatest joy. –Hafez
Erin grabbed dylan’s pants from out of his hand. “No! You can’t wear them yet.”
“But Erin, what do you want me to do, stand here in my underwear?”
“Put on a pair of sweats,” his sister said, walking away with his tuxedo pants. She carefully hung them back up next to his brand new shirt and suit jacket.
Turning back around, she looked at him with an appraising eye. “Have you been working out? You’re lookin’ buff, bro!”
Dylan couldn’t stop a smile from covering his face. He had been working out. His nagging guilt at not getting enough exercise, and slightly more free time with his new medical residency had finally allowed him to get to the gym. There was definitely something to be said for private practice in pediatric medicine. It wasn’t quite as hectic and all consuming as working in a hospital where he’d been on call or at work 18 hours a day, six days a week.
“Dylan! Why aren’t you getting dressed?” his mother yelled, popping her head into the bedroom door and making him jump. She looked amazing. Her straight blond hair had been pulled up and curled, and she was wearing an elegant pale blue skirt suit.
“I was trying to, but Erin told me not to,” he shouted back, beginning to get frustrated.
“Dylan, what are you doing standing there in your underwear?” asked Susie, his eldest sister, coming into the room half a minute after their mother. She was looking good too in a black pantsuit. Like Dylan, she had their mother’s fair coloring.
She began to laugh. “You aren’t planning on going to your wedding like that?”
Susie’s six-year-old daughter, Bridget, started running circles around him, her ponytail flapping behind her, holding a plastic airplane up above her head. “Zzzzzooooommmmmmm!” She covered her mouth with one hand and then said, “Uncle Dylan, this is your captain speaking. We are cruising at an attitude of thirty feet. Please put on your pants.”
Erin and his mother started to giggle, while Susie, trying her hardest not to laugh at her child, shooed the little girl out the door.
“You ready to go…oh.” Dylan’s father was the next one in the room He was wearing the second of the two suits he owned. His blue one he’d worn last night; today it was his black one—the one he reserved for funerals.
“That’s it! I’m getting dressed,” Dylan said. “And stop trying to stop me,” he added, pointing a finger at his little sister.
“I just didn’t want you to crease your pants before you even left for the courthouse,” Erin said in her own defense.
“It was a good thought, sweetie,” their mother said, taking out his pants from the closet, “but if he doesn’t get dressed now we’ll all be late.”
“I’ll see to rounding up the kids,” his father said, slipping out the door.
“Yes, get everyone on the road,” his mother called after him.
Getting everyone out the door was going to be no small feat. Dylan was the sixth of seven children, and although all of his brothers and sisters were adults, most of them with spouses, they were notoriously difficult to get moving. Add to that mix all of their children, ranging in age from 12 to an infant in arms, and it was going to take a good twenty to thirty minutes just to get everyone moving.
The hum of people talking and his father’s voice shouting over them telling them all to get their shoes on filtered up the stairs. The house seemed to be in chaos, but it was just the normal semi-organized upheaval of the Freyn family.
Dylan checked his watch. He still had forty-five minutes before his wedding, but he wanted to get there a little early to make sure everything was ready to go. He knew there was really nothing for him to do, but he was nervous and just wanted to double-check everything anyway.
“Has the florist called?” he asked his mother while slipping on the pants of his dove gray Armani morning suit.
“Yes, she’s on her way.”
“Were you going to wear a pocket square and the rose on your lapel? Or just the flower?” Erin asked, holding up a white handkerchief.
“I was going to do both. The rose will go on my left lapel…but not that handkerchief, the purple one,” Dylan answered, pulling his shirt from its hanger. It was so heavily starched the material hardly bent.
“Oh, okay.” She grabbed the pale lavender handkerchief from his dresser top and proceeded to tuck it carefully into the breast pocket of his suit jacket.
“Jared is wearing a matching suit?” his mother asked, watching him dress.
“Almost ready to go?” Xander, one of Dylan’s three older brothers asked, popping his head into the room.
“Getting there!” Dylan and his mother responded in unison.
“Okay!” Xander popped back out again with a laugh.
As he pulled on his vest, Dylan could hear his brother zooming loudly, followed by the squeal of a child he’d probably picked up. There was more shouting as people were herded out the door.
“Yes, matching,” Dylan answered his mother.
“So you’ll both be in morning suits? Erin asked, pausing to picture this in her mind.
“Yep. My rose will be white like Jared’s pocket square. His rose will be pink.”
“But your pocket square is purple,” Erin pointed out.
“I know. I forgot to bring mine from home, and the only other I could find was Pepto-colored,” Dylan said, scrunching up his nose as he remembered the god-awful handkerchief he found at the very bottom of his drawer.
His mother laughed. “Oh yes, from your prom.”
Dylan closed his eyes, trying not to picture how he looked for his high school prom. It wasn’t pretty.
“Why don’t you ask Jared to bring it when he comes to the wedding?” Erin asked.
“He’s already pretty stressed out. I don’t want to add another thing for him to think about or remember,” Dylan said.
His heart went out to his fiancé as he sent thoughts of strength to him. For the first time, Dylan wished he hadn’t decided to spend the night at his parents’ house. Yes, it would make their wedding night more special, but Jared could probably have used Dylan’s help this morning. Well, he had his parents and maybe his brother or sister would stop by. That should be good enough.
“And you both have white ties,” his mother said, bringing his attention back. He should not be worrying about Jared. He had enough to think about on his own.
“You guys will look so cute,” Erin said.
Dylan sighed. “The point is not to look cute but…”
“Festive?” Erin asked.
“Festive it certainly will be. Festive and elegant,” his mother agreed.
“All the flowers will be white and pink,” Dylan informed his sister.
“Oh! That’ll be pretty,” she said, holding his coat as he slipped in his arms.
He hoped so. It had taken him and his fiancé hours to decide on the wedding colors. They’d carefully arranged everything in white and purple from their clothing to the flowers at the wedding and reception, even the balloons and table clothes would all match. Months of planning. Months of deciding. Months of waiting.
And it was finally here!
The pre-wedding dinner the night before had been perfect. Their two families had gotten along wonderfully—not that their parents hadn’t met before, but it was the first time Jared’s whole family had met all of Dylan’s siblings. They’d kept it to just the adults, but still it had been a lot of people for the Winstons to meet. And it had all gone smoothly, Dylan thought with a sigh of relief.
He only prayed that today went as well.
There was no reason why it wouldn’t. They’d planned everything and had gone over every detail again and again. There shouldn’t be a hitch.
At this very moment, Jared would be getting dressed at their apartment and then heading over to the courthouse where they’d arranged to have the largest room available. Jared’s brother and sister, their respective spouses and kids, and his parents would meet them there.
They’d thought of having a church wedding, but neither Dylan nor Jared was particularly religious. Their parents had been fine with a courthouse wedding, and since there happened to be a room big enough to fit both their families, they couldn’t see why not.
“Dylan!” shouted Nick, Xander’s twin, pulling him from his daydream.
“Yeah! Geez, what?”
“Yeah. I was just going over all the details again in my head,” he explained to his brother.
“Uh-huh. Well, if you’ve forgotten anything, it’s too late now. Come on, you’re riding with me, Mom, and Dad.”
“Okay. Um…do I look all right?” Dylan stood back for his brother to take a good look at him.
Nick looked him up and down then stepped forward to flick Dylan’s reddish-blond hair back off his forehead and pull him into a hug. “You’ll do great, little bro. I’m proud of you. You really found a good one in Jared.”
Dylan gave him a squeeze back. “Thanks, Nick. That really means a lot to me.”
His brother slapped him on the shoulder and turned toward the door. “Just don’t forget to put on your shoes,” he said as he walked out the door.
Dylan went scrambling in the closet for his dress shoes. They weren’t there! Shit!
“Mom! Dad! Where are my shoes?” he yelled, running out the bedroom door.
“Your shoes? Dylan! Don’t tell me you forgot to bring them,” his mother scolded.
“No, he didn’t,” Erin’s husband, David, answered from the kitchen. “I’ve got them.” He came out holding up his shoes. “All freshly polished.”
“David, you’re the best!” Dylan said, with a sigh of relief.
“He is, isn’t he?” Erin said, giving her new husband a loving look. They’d only married the year before, and they were still in that wonderful honeymoon phase that Dylan looked forward to enjoying for the next few years with Jared.
He gave a laugh and took his shoes from his brother-in-law.
“Now are we ready to go?” his father asked, jingling his keys in his hand.
“Yes,” Dylan answered.
“Good. Everyone else is on the road except Erin and David—”
“And we’re gone. See you there,” Erin said, giving Dylan a kiss on his cheek.
David slapped his back as he walked past, giving him a wink. “Don’t throw up in the car, okay? I don’t think your father wants to have to clean that up.”
Dylan laughed. “It’s okay. I haven’t eaten anything today.”
“What?” his mother screeched.
“No, Mom, it’s okay! Honestly, I couldn’t stomach a thing. Let’s just go, okay?” Dylan said, heading out the door after David.
With an audible sigh, his mother followed him out. He could hear Nick chuckling behind her.
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