A note for my readers...
Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience.
Please be advised!
|Maureen and Ted attend their rehearsal dinner.|
If he had learned anything at all in the last 12 hours, it was that the O'Kenneys liked a good time. Apparently, when more than two of them were gathered in any location at the same time, it was cause for celebration. And as Beckett looked around the packed banquet room of Salvatore's Restaurant, it appeared that tonight they were in the mood to party hardy.
It was Maureen's brother Patrick who had hosted evening's event, insisting that it was his duty to do so as her eldest brother. What the groom couldn't understand, was why the entire family was present, when only a handful of them were actually involved in the actual rehearsal? In fact, he wasn't really convinced that anyone needed a "run through" for the simple process of saying "I do", and was rather annoyed at Fr. Kevin's need to take them through the entire ceremony, step by step. In his mind, since everyone was already gathered, the priest should have just married the two of them, instead of just "practicing"at it.
Once the family had played audience to the rehearsing part, they re-convened at the Italian restaurant for a huge meal, and enough alcohol to put down an entire platoon. He might have enjoyed the evening more if he had not been worried over the past due arrival of Mike Nolan, long time friend, and soon to be Best Man, who was several hours late. It was already embarrassing to know that the groom's side of the church would be virtually empty, his estranged family having sent unanimous regrets. Not that their reaction was any surprise. He had burned enough bridges to keep his family alienated far too long for them to make any attempt at attending. But it would surely be a tad humiliating if he had no Best Man at his side tomorrow, and ended up scrambling to find a proxy.
As if the wedding gods could read his mind, Mike appeared at the doorway of the room, searching the crowd for a familiar face. Weaving his way through mobs of festive O'Kennys, Beckett met the man in whose hands he had placed his life on several occasions. He and Nolan had known each other since their early military days, and both had come through Special Forces together. It was Mike who had drawn him into the job after their discharge from the Army, understanding that his friend would never quite adjust to a normal life in corporate America. They had served together on countless missions, and if there were one person in the world Beckett could completely count on, it was Michael Nolan.
Clapping each other on the back, Beckett pumped the man's hand. "Was startn' to worry, buddy. I'm glad you're here."
"Aw, damn, Teddy, you shoulda known better. Always got your back, man. Even if you're about to do the stupidest thing I've ever seen ya do. Are ya sure there's no way around this?"
"This is a good thing, my friend. It's all gonna work out fine. Trust me." Beckett turned, and looked across the room to locate his bride, and waved her over. "I want to introduce you to Maureen."
"Can't wait. Looking forward to meeting the only livin', breathn' woman who trapped 'Bed 'Em, and Boot 'Em Beckett'. She must be quite the specimen to achieve that honor."
Laughing out loud, Beckett retorted, "I'll leave you to make that call, but I'd damn well appreciate if you didn't mention that nickname in front of my bride. She's a might sensitive these days."
Nolan shook his head. "The Great Lover already whipped. Never thought I'd see the day."
Maureen joined the men, and let Beckett wrap his arm around her waist. "Darlin', I'd like you to meet my oldest buddy, and my best man, Mike Nolan. Mike, this is my fiance, Maureen Margaret O'Kenney."
Maureen stuck out her hand to welcome the man, but he surprised her by pulling her into an embrace, and kissing her on the cheek.
"Nice to meet you, Miss Maureen." Nolan stepped back, and gave the bride a lingering once-over, before continuing his comment. "You are definitely a delight. All peaches and warm Irish cream. Simply delicious. Like a little dessert."
Blushing at his words, the genuine smile on Maureen's face faltered, and was replaced with a stiff one pasted on her face like a postage stamp. "And you, Mr. Nolan, are very...friendly. So, you've know Ted for a long time, have you?"
"Longer...and better than just about anyone, kitten. So if you need any advice on how to best please your husband, little one, you just come see me."
Beckett noticed Maureen's eyes narrow, while her jaw set itself firm, ready for a fight. He thought about jumping in, and smoothing things over, but thought better of it. He knew Nolan well enough to know that his bantering with Maureen was just his way, a method to see what she was really made of, and that he was in no way disrespecting her. Nolan and Maureen needed to come to terms with each other, and the sooner the better. His relationship with the man was solid, and he was counting on Mike to look after Maureen when he wasn't around, and to see to her needs if the unthinkable should happen. She, in turn, would have to learn to trust him should the situation arise, and it was best if two of them saw each other in an honest light right from the very start.
The smile still firmly stuck in place, she replied, sarcasm winding it's way through every forced word. "I assure you, Mr. Nolan, that I am quite capable of meeting my husband's needs. All of them. And I am doubtful that the day will ever arrive in which I would need to seek your counsel." She glared up at the man, and added, "But thank you for the generous offer. I'm sure you meant well."
Then giving them both a dazzling, full-dimpled smile, "If you'll excuse me, I need to talk to some of the other...guests." Offering her hand, and stepping back out of his reach, she spoke to the Best Man. "It was a...pleasure...meeting you, Mike. I'm sure we'll speak again." Turning her back on him, she flounced off, her spine straight and rigid."
Grinning, Nolan faced Beckett. "Meow. Me thinks the little kitty has some very sharp claws." He thought a moment and added, "No...not much of a kitty. More like a fox. A little red fox."
Ted couldn't help but smile. "A little of both, I think. But I wish the two of you hadn't gotten off on such a bad foot. I'm counting on you to keep an eye on her when I'm...gone" Now serious, he added, "And to...take care if things if I don't return."
Nolan gave him a slight shove. "Don't go getting all morose on me, you asshole. You'll do your job like always, and come home safe and sound to little Foxy. That's just the way it's gonna be. Count on it." Pausing a moment, Nolan continued, " But if ever needed, you know I'll see to everything. No worries."
"Thanks, Mike. Appreciate it."
"Like I said, Beckett. No worries. She does know, right?"
The groom remained silent, and then shook his head no.
"You haven't told her yet?! What the fuck's wrong with you? You can't go marrying this woman and not even give her a clue to what it is you do! How are you gonna explain your absence for days and weeks at a time? She needs to know the protocol, if nothing else. This is pretty shitty, Beckett, even for you."
"I'm planning on telling her. It's just not the right time."
"Not the right damn time? You're getting married tomorrow afternoon! I'd say you're running out of time."
"Look, Nolan. I got it covered. I know my Maureen. It's best not to give her a lot of advance notice about things...something for you to keep in mind for future reference. She has a tendency to think...spontaneously. Goes with the first thought that pops into her head. Plus, she likes to do a disappearing act. I've had to chase her down on more than one occasion."
"So... what you're telling me is that you have yourself a subbie brat."
Beckett ran his hand through his hair, a definite sign to his long time partner that what was to come next he wouldn't much like. "Fact is, Mike, she's not really into the lifestyle. Not yet, anyway."
Nolan shook his head in disgust. "You're tying yourself to a vanilla? Now I know you've gone off the deep end! We both know that there's no way in hell this is ever gonna work out. I ought to beat some sense into you!"
"Look, Nolan. I don't need a lecture...or your approval. I do as I please, and I intend to marry this woman tomorrow afternoon. What I do need is your promise to be there when it's necessary. And if you can't do that, I'll understand."
"We've been partners a long time, Beckett. You know damn well I'll do what you ask, but you're never gonna convince me this isn't the worse idea you've ever had. Kid, or no kid."
"Your word's enough for me. As long as I know you'll be here when it's necessary, I'm satisfied. I'll deal with my own consequences as they appear." Looking at his watch, Beckett tugged at Nolan's sleeve. "Why don't you have a seat, and I'll see if I can still rustle you up something to eat. There's another issue I want to run by you."
"Might be. But eat first...have something to drink...and then we'll talk. It could be that I'll require some assistance."
Beckett tapped a spoon on the edge of his rock glass, containing a finger of the house's best Irish whiskey, and raised his voice over the din of the crowd. "If I could have everyone's attention, please?"
He waited until the room hushed, and then continued. "Maureen and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Patrick, for putting together this wonderful evening. Pat, I am grateful to you for showing me how the O'Kenneys celebrate...even something as simple as a rehearsal." There was a chorus of catcalls, whistles and hoots while the groom worked at regaining the floor. "So if you'll all raise your glass, I'd ask that we toast to Patrick's hospitality...Slainte!"
The room returned the sentiment with much hoopla, and it was several minutes before Beckett could once again snare the guests's attention. "And if I could beg your indulgence for just few more minutes, I'd like to share with you all a special moment I've planned for my lovely bride." He motioned for the waiter, who nodded and left the room, only to return a few seconds later with a large wrapped box. "I realize it's customary for the groom to give his bride a gift on the actual day of their wedding, but I'm hoping Maureen doesn't mind that I broke with tradition." Bending down to kiss her, he placed the box on her lap.
|Beckett gives Maureen her wedding gift, as Allison looks on|
The bride herself blushed, and looked curiously at the size and heavy weight of the box. It was obvious to him that she was expecting something more along the jewelry line, and he smiled at the thought that she didn't have a clue. She glanced at Beckett and then at the package, suddenly embarrassed at being the center of attention.
Behind her, Jamie tugged at a loose curl hanging at her neck. "Go ahead, Red. Don't keep us in suspense. Open it!"
Allison stepped next to her. "Yeah, Momo, open it already! You know you love presents. Plus, I need another reason to hate you even more."
Maureen laughed at her friend, tugged at the ribbon, and slipped it off the box. Lifting the lid, she pushed back the tissue paper, and stared at the pile of terry cloth lying inside. She ran a hand over the material, and looked up at Ted, her face registering her confusion. When he grinned at her, and gave no explanation, she hesitantly asked, "So...you're giving me beach towels as wedding gift?"
Laughing, he replied, "No darlin'...I'm giving you the beach." When she just sat there staring, he prompted. "Look underneath the towels."
By now, several family members had moved in for a closer look, with Patrick standing at her left. Maureen began pulling the towels out, and laying them on the table. In the bottom of the box was a large color photograph, and a thick stack of legal paperwork. Realization slowly dawned, and her eyes grew round and large. She tried to speak, but nothing came out, and she put her hand to her mouth.
Patrick could wait no longer, and pulled the stack out for a closer look. Peering through his glasses, he asked, "Is this what I think it is?" Beckett nodded, and Pat shook his head in amazement, and held up the photo. "Well, I'll be damned! He bought her a beach house on the Cape!"
Maureen grabbed the photo from her brother, and examined it closer, shock hanging on her face. "Is this...the same one? From our day trip?"
Beckett smiled. "The very same."
"But...I didn't...it wasn't...for sale."
"Baby, anything's for sale for the right price."
Standing behind the groom, Kevin spoke up. "Do you think the two of you could stop talking in cryptic code, and let the rest of us in on the story? Is that really Maureen's beach house?"
Maureen was too stunned to speak, emotion stuck in her throat like heavy cotton. "You tell them, Ted."
Taking a sip from the rock glass, he let the room quiet down, and then continued. "When we first started dating, Maureen and I took a day trip to the Cape. She had suggested she liked antiquing, so we headed down there for the afternoon."
From across the room, Nolan piped up, "She already had the biggest antique around, old man."
The room erupted with laughter, except for Maureen, who evil eyed Ted's best man with
a look of disgust, and would have stuck out her tongue at him if proper ettiquette would've allowed. The ten year difference in their age was a sore spot with her, and her dislike for the man grew by leaps and bounds.
Enjoying the telling, Beckett went on with the story. "During that trip, we drove by some beach homes near Yarmouth, and Maureen told me how your family would sometimes rent a cottage there when she was younger. She went on to say how she always wished that she could buy a place the whole family could gather at all summer long. After lunch we walked down the shore, and I jokingly asked her which one would she pick if she had a choice. She chose this particular one. Because...?" He looked at Maureen, and waited for her to finish the sentence.
She was quiet a moment, and then answered softly, recalling the conversation of that day. "Because...I said...there were enough windows for all the O'Kenney's to have an ocean view."
"My bride related that the cottage your parents rented only had two bedrooms that faced the ocean, and that there was a battle each year about who would sleep in the second one, your folks obviously taking one for themselves. According to Maureen, she frequently ended up on the sofa sleeper in the sun room towards the back of the house... the room which faced a busy gravel road."
At that point in the story, Brendan O'Kenney yelled out from his position at the bar, laughing in bellowing guffaws. "And don't think she didn't complain about that, Beckett. Drove us crazy the entire week over the sleeping arrangements."
"Well, that won't be a problem with this house. There are four bedrooms on the second floor, and two more on the first, all with windows facing the ocean. Plus the sun room has floor to ceiling windows. Plenty of ocean views for everyone."
Overwhelmed, the room suddenly went still, and Maureen spoke up, her voice barely above a whisper. "So...it's really mine? It belongs to us?"
"No, baby girl. It belongs to you. The paperwork is entirely in your name. It's not part of any of the marital property. It's 100% yours. In addition, I've put money in trust to take care of the taxes on the place for at least the next ten years. We can revisit that issue later in the future, but you can do whatever you wish with the property. Patrick can look over the paperwork, and have you sign it. Then he can take care of the rest, I'm sure. In the meantime, you have many summers ahead of you to invite family and friends. Just like you always wanted. Happy wedding day, baby."
Maureen threw herself at her fiance, wrapping her arms around his neck. "Oh Ted! I don't know what to say. I'm...stunned. Thank you. I love it! It's an unbelievable gift."
"You are most welcome, darlin'." Beckett kissed her, long and deep, ignoring the multitudes of whooping, gawking O'Kenneys cheering around them.
The noise in the room rose to the point where people needed to shout to be heard, and once the music started up, conversation was impossible. The bride and groom were kept busy meeting and greeting their excited family and friends, and it was because of those things combined, that the groom never noticed the growing number of voice mails left on his phone.
|The Cape beach house...with ocean views for all the O'Kenneys|
Copyright 2013 Victoria T. Rocus
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