A special gift for a special person on a special day.
I survey the crowd and smile. Almost everyone I love is out there, waiting for us. Most of the others that I love are behind the doors of one of the adjoining rooms.
As I turn the handle, I realize my cheeks hurt. It should be illegal to be this happy, but I'm not complaining. It wasn't an easy road to this place, and it still isn't easy some days, but this is the culmination of several years of hard work and passion.
“Hey, dude,” I say to the lone wolf boy-child, Aiden. “Have you seen your mom?”
He doesn't look up at me or respond with words, just points to the closed door and grunts.
“Thanks,” I say, undeterred. One of these days, he won't hate me. I just know it.
Knocking softly, I open the door Aiden pointed at and peek my head in. “Can I come in?”
“Of course,” Amy's best friend, Ivy, says.
The moment I see Amy, my knees go a little weak. Something about her always gets to me, but this day... so hard-fought. It's a knot in my chest in the best way possible.
“You're not dressed yet.”
I hear the words she says, watch her lips as they move, but nothing registers in my brain until I feel the warmth of her body next to mine.
“Can we just escape somewhere for a few minutes? You're way too hot for your own good,” I say, my hand sneaking under her silky robe. My fingers explore, figuring out exactly what she has on, and I have to fight to remind myself the room has countless other people in it.
“No,” she says, kissing me. “We've got something very important to do in a few hours.”
My lips turn up again, still pressed lightly to hers. “Yes, we do.”
“When was the last time you checked on Brett?”
“It's been a while,” I confess. “I'll check on them on the way back to my room.”
If I know them, by now, there's some kind of video game set up in their room, and at least one laptop.
“Okay, get out of here,” she says, shooing me. “I'm about to put my dress on and I don't want you to see it yet.”
I steal one last kiss. “I love you.”
On my way out, a few of the kids wander back to my room with me.
After we meshed our households, it took time for me to adjust to them, and vice versa, but now it's almost like we've lived together from the start. The kids come to me just as often as they go to Amy, and sometimes they even seek out Brett. Especially if it's for ice cream.
“Okay, guys,” I say, settling everyone in with something to keep them busy. “Ruby, you're in charge. I'm going to go check on everything in Dad's room.”
My teenage daughter nods at me, her smile simmering under the surface. Apathy takes over her hormone-riddled body at times, but I know she's almost as happy for this day as I am.
Inside the boys' room, as predicted, there are video games going in a few corners. I walk up behind Brett and kiss his neck, biting it quickly.
“Gonna get everyone ready soon?”
I'm sure the not-so-subtle reminder that he's in charge of more than just himself is lost at this moment, as he mutters back about raids and bosses and other random shit I couldn't care less about. I know today is important to him, too, though, and he'll get what he needs to get done finished in time. At least, as I look around, I realize the kids are mostly ready.
Back in my room, I nibble on some fruit and snuggle with one of the girls. After so many years apart, I want nothing more than to be together, every single day. I want the noise, the chaos... everything. Every one of our kids feels like mine, whether they were born of my own body or hers. There is no mine, his, hers, it's all melted into ours, not without great effort.
I look down at the littlest, Elizabeth, our flower girl. “Ready?”
When she nods with enthusiasm, I get up and find her tights, shoes, and dress, then help her into them. “What should we do with your hair?”
“Curls!” she says, pointing at the hot curling iron.
Bending down, I kiss her cheek and make eye contact in the mirror. “You got it.”
Twenty minutes later, Amy's mom finds us in the same space, singing and curling. Ruth's hand rests on my shoulder. “You've spent more time on the kids than you have on yourself. You aren't even in your dress yet!”
“It'll take me ten minutes, max.”
I smile at Ruth, and when she smiles back, my heart squeezes. I know this day isn't easy for her. None of this has been, but the way she's been strong and stood by her daughter through moments she doesn't agree with or quite understand touches me.
“Okay, cutie, I think you're all ready,” I say, spraying hairspray in a tornado over Elizabeth's hair.
Ruth leaves with a promise to send the hair and makeup lady over for me, and I stare at the dress hanging on the back of the door. A long time ago, I dreamed of dresses like this one. I never had a clear vision of what it would look like, just that I would one day need and want to wear one again.
I'm lost in thought about the day Amy and I went dress shopping, when there's a knock on the door.
“Ready?” Constance asks, holding up her tools.
“As I'll ever be.”
I sit and we chat while she does a very simple and subtle job on my hair and makeup.
“Everyone else is fixed up and ready to go. You should see the crowd out there. They look so happy and ready to have a good time.”
That certainly describes our friends; always ready for a fun time, and willing to use any excuse to celebrate. Of course, tonight's excuse is my favorite so far. We've invited friends from around the globe, people we've met in person and not. I'm excited to hug everyone and have brunch tomorrow after the ceremony and festivities.
“Thank you, Constance.”
“You're welcome, honey,” she says with a smile. “See you out there.”
It's almost time to go, I realize as I look at the clock in the corner of the room. In the bathroom, I recognize myself, but the person smiling back is so different from a few years ago. Happier. Lighter. More authentic.
“Want some help?”
“Thanks, Rub,” I say, turning around to look at her.
My robe falls to the floor and Ruby unzips the dress, then holds it out for me. When I step in, I laugh a little. I feel like I'm a kid again, playing dress-up.
“You look amazing, Mom.”
“Thank you. Let's hope everyone else thinks so, too.”
I tuck a few tissues into my pocket and take Ruby's hand. “Everyone left?”
“Yeah, they're all out there,” she says, squeezing my hand and nodding toward the outside.
The tears well up in my eyes and we approach the door together.
“Last chance to escape,” she quips.
I smile. “No way.”
Our arms link and we walk out to where the edge of the white carpet is. Brett's waiting at the end, and I can see our kids scattered around. There are deep red rose petals everywhere, and I smile and mouth a quick thank you at the girls who threw them.
Ruby leads me down to the end of the aisle, reminding me to walk when I forget. At the end, I turn to her, our height equal thanks to my heels.
“Thank you,” I say. “I know the last few years haven't been easy, and I love you so much.”
“I love you, too, Mom.”
She hugs me tight, then hugs Brett and sits. There are no sides to our audience, just one large group of loved ones. As I take Brett's hand and look out, I see familiar faces and new smiles. My heart swells again at this giant outpouring of love and support, and I reach for my tissue to dab my eyes quickly. I don't bother to put it away since I know Amy is walking to us next.
I see Aiden first, and then Amy. Sure enough, my throat tightens and Brett reminds me to breathe. They walk together, and our eyes never leave each other's.
She leans down to whisper something to Aiden when they reach the end of the aisle, and after they hug, he takes his seat. Amy reaches her hands out, and the three of us join together. Our smiles can't be contained, and even Brett, who's admitted more than once he doesn't need to go through the non-legal formality of the ceremony, seems to be affected.
“Today, we're here to celebrate a bond of love that exists in your hearts.”
The words from the officiant ring in my ears and I begin to tune her out as I stare at the two people I love the most in the world. Sure, our commitment isn't legal, it's entirely symbolic, but it's a commitment we've made to each other with all of our hearts. There's nothing but our love binding us together, and knowing that means we need to put effort in every day to want to be together.
By the time the last words are spoken, I'm ready to move on to the party... and especially after the party.
Before we join the reception, we sneak into the room where the guys got ready for a few minutes of privacy.
“I love you,” I say, looking at them.
“Love you, too,” Amy says, wasting no time and attacking me.
The three of us become a tangled mass of limbs and mouths, laughing and moaning depending on what's happening. We shift from euphoric to horny and back again. Unfortunately, someone knocks on the door before anyone's clothes are off.
“There's a whole party out here waiting for you, pervs,” my best friend, Faith, says, opening the door.
We laugh and have the decency to look properly ashamed before we climb off the couch (and each other), and straighten our clothes. Inside the reception, people are eating and drinking and having a great time. It's perfect.
There are no first dances, but there are people dancing, and we take turns partnering up and making fools of ourselves. When I watch Brett and Amy dance, I try to focus on their connection and intimacy and how it makes me feel. The tidal wave of emotions ranges from jealousy to finding it extremely hot.
After we've eaten dinner, we feed each other cake – each of the tiers is a different flavor picked by us, and I smile at the representation of our differences.
I make the rounds to each table, sitting and talking, in some cases meeting my friends for the first time. It's an amazing gift they've given us, and at each stop, I'm reminded through them of how loved we are. Our family isn't traditional by any stretch of the imagination, but it's what works for us. I could not exist without either of them, and they know it and feel exactly the same.
As we get ready to leave, I check in with Faith and Shawna, who graciously agreed to help with child care while we're gone on our honeymoon. It's only a week, but six kids is too much for any one person. Thankfully, I'd trust either of those women with my life, and it was their gift to us, so it worked out perfectly. I somehow suspect they'll all have a blast together, like a mini-vacation from their own lives, in our house.
“Need anything before we go?” I ask, hugging my friends.
“We got this covered. Don't even worry for a second,” Shawna says, and I laugh.
It's like she's never met me before.
“Okay,” she says, seeing my expression. “Just don't worry too much.”
Amy suddenly appears behind me. “We plan to distract her plenty.”
“That's my cue to leave, ladies.”
One last hug and I'm off to find the kids to say goodbye. Most of them should be in bed by now, but I can't bring myself to care. They deserve a stress-free night, too. We've asked so much of them, and although they haven't always done it without complaint, they've always done it.
There's a black Town Car waiting for us outside the venue, and I smile at Brett.
“For us?” I ask, lifting an eyebrow.
He nods, and we slide in, ready to get to our hotel room. We have an early flight, so I know there won't be too many shenanigans, but I'm eager for what little bit of them I'll get.
At the hotel, I laugh at the reaction of the front desk clerk. She's clearly trying to contain herself, but can't quite figure out why two women are in wedding dresses with one man in a suit … all checking into one room.
I pull Amy to the side by the elevator and kiss her. Brett shakes his head as he walks up with the keys, and we laugh. He's had years to get used to us, but I suspect it still sometimes catches him by surprise, the intensity of our connection and need for each other.
Inside the room, we look around. It occurs to me after a moment that we're in a giant room.
“Honeymoon suite?” I ask, my fingers sliding under Brett's lapel.
“Only the best for my girls.”
Together, Amy and I take his clothes off. I lose track of hands and mouths as my dress is carefully removed, and then there's a group effort to take Amy's off. We're standing there in lingerie that just seems like it gets in the way now, whereas it was planned with forethought and a desire to appear sexy. Nothing can make Amy sexier than when she's naked, and from the look she gives me, I suspect she's feeling the same. We quickly shed the expensive scraps of fabric and two of us climb onto the bed.
I make my way between Amy's thighs, my hands and fingers and mouth bringing her whole body alive before I begin, as Brett stands behind me.
The sensation of her in front of me, him behind me, isn't one I'm unfamiliar with, but as cliché as it is, it feels different. I don't have long to simmer on the thought, as her hands weave through my hair, pulling me closer, and his fingers begin to push into me.
I can barely focus on one of them, but the way they drive me crazy is unparalleled. Watching her writhe, feeling him as he begins to fuck me... it's sheer insanity. My eyes flick up and watch her face as my tongue makes frantic circles. The pressure from Brett pushes me into her, and I know from experience it makes her come fast and hard. I smile against her pussy, waiting eagerly for her first orgasm.
It takes me by surprise when I realize my orgasm is slamming into my like a freight train. The moaning and humming from me straight into her body triggers Amy, and she bows her hips up. She's loud and gorgeous, her body tightening in pleasure.
Behind me, Brett begins to grunt with exertion, and I know he can feel my body around his as my orgasm slows. He picks up his pace, though, and pushes me harder, faster. When his fingers dig into my hips, I know he's coming, and I wink up at Amy. She drops her head back and laughs, then moans as I wrap my lips around her clit and suck gently.
We're a sweaty, sticky mess on the bed, and it takes a few minutes to muster the strength and energy to take a group trip to the bathroom for toothbrushing and cleaning up.
Back under the sheet, we touch softly.
“Best day?” I ask.
“Definitely,” Amy says.
“Absolutely,” Brett says at the same time.
I know a few things deep in my heart and soul. We'll fall asleep together, like we have so many nights before. Amy and I will wake up and no doubt have more fun – probably somewhere other than the bedroom, so we don't disturb Brett.
And, mostly importantly, we'll be together forever.