Wedding of the Century

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Chapter 4

Trixie stood in the doorway of the Manor House study, holding two cups of coffee, and enjoyed the view of Jim's jean-clad derriere as he bent over rubbing Sherlock's belly. The old, soft denim molded to his narrow hips and strong thighs. On a sigh, she walked into the room and handed him one of the cups.

Jim pressed a kiss on her forehead. "Why the sigh, pretty lady? Are you all right?"

She wrapped an arm around his waist and squeezed gently. "I'm fine. That was a dreamy sigh of appreciation for the view I had from the doorway." She smiled as she hugged him close.

A bark of laughter erupted from Jim. "Oh, like you aren't trying to torture me to death in your tight jeans and suit skirts." He pressed a kiss over her ear. "Those jeans you have on…the little tear over your left cheek shows nothing but skin. Since you got here this morning, I've wondered just what kind of underwear you have on to show that lovely bit of flesh." He waggled his eyebrows at her as he tickled her through the mentioned hole.

A pink blush spread across Trixie's face as she tugged her sweater down over the tear. "Wouldn't you like to know," Trixie stammered with a toss of her head.

Jim pulled her to his chest, lowered his mouth toward hers and growled, "You know I would, sweetheart." He took her lips in a searing kiss.


Breaking away from each other, Trixie breathed rapidly and looked at Jim with smoldering eyes. "May can't come fast enough for me." A mischievous look slowly spread across her face. "Are you sure you want to make it special and wait?"

He grabbed her and kissed her slowly. Nibbling on her lips, Jim admitted between kisses, "Heck, no! I don't want to wait but I do want it to be special. Most importantly, I want your undivided attention on me and only me, because I plan on making love to you the entire week we're gone."

"Oh, my," Trixie sighed as she put her head against his chest and willed her heartbeat to slow.

***

Voices were heard from outside the room getting louder as they came closer.

"Darling, I'm excited to see the latest set of plans for Ten Acres. I bet Jim and Trixie are anxious to have it underway," Maddie said happily.

Matt's arm brought his wife tight to his side. He whispered softly, "My love, I think we should go spend a week in France before Honey's graduation. You, me and Paris…a week of romance."

Maddie giggled and kissed her husband of twenty-six years. "It's a date."

Jim and Trixie turned to see the laughing couple enter the study.

"Morning, kids," Matt said, walking to the desk where the blueprints were open to the floor plan. "Let's have a look at the house plans. Jim, give us a walk-through."

Jim drew Trixie to his side as the two couples gathered around the plans. "This is an elevation view of the Dutch farmhouse style home we picked out. It's not anything like the old house at Ten Acres but it has exactly the homey feel we wanted."

"It is going to be beautiful," Maddie exclaimed. "It has gable windows like the Manor House but the cozy feel of Crabapple Farm." She smiled happily and said, "Honey's favorite phrase, 'perfectly perfect' comes to mind."

Pride shone on Jim's face. "Thanks, Mother. This plan is perfect for us." Jim flipped back through the pages until he came to the floor plan showing the layout of the rooms.

He urged Trixie closer to the plans, wrapped an arm around her and indicated the key features of the home. "We were so impressed with the plan. The layout of the rooms is exactly what we wanted." Pointing he added, "A storage room directly off the three-car garage. Two powder rooms are on the main floor besides our bathroom. Trixie and I love that huge laundry room, too. The whole house flows from room to room."

Jim's enthusiasm was contagious and Trixie joined in. "I like that the kitchen is open to the family room so you can visit with guests while making last-minute food preparations. The kitchen has plenty of counter space and a big pantry." She moved her finger to the family room and tapped it. "The family room and library each have a lovely stone fireplace and there is a built-in entertainment center big enough to hold a sixty-five inch flat panel TV."

"I know where I'll be watching my sports from now on," Matt chuckled. He then leaned in for a closer look. "Will the library have pocket doors off the foyer?"

"No. That was one of our modifications. We made that a solid wall so we can install bookshelves around the room," Jim replied. He rolled his eyes and said, "Some people have enough Lucy Radcliffe novels that they could fill an entire wall."

Trixie elbowed Jim gently in the stomach. She sniffed and tossed her head, stating, "Well, others have a room full of nature, psychology, education and fiction books that will need a home first."

"Aw, Trix, you know I only have a few books," Jim blinked his eyes innocently.

A giggle escaped her lips as Jim's parents laughed. "I guess we have a library's worth of books between us," she conceded.

Maddie pointed excitedly at the large his and her wardrobe closets off the master bedroom. "Matthew!" she cried, as she grabbed his arm. "I want a closet like that!"

Matt groaned aloud and said with feigned sarcasm, "Thanks, son. Now I have to remodel our bedroom for your mother just so she can have a larger closet." He pulled his wife to his side and kissed her cheek. "Whatever you want, darling."

"Oh, Matt. Thank you!" Maddie cried, before she hugged and kissed him.

"We shouldn't have looked at these plans," Matt muttered. "I knew it would cost me money."

"But, darling," Maddie whispered in his ear. "I'll be very appreciative." She could feel him smile as he hugged her closer.

"Huh-hmmm," Jim cleared his throat to remind his parents of their presence. He moved his finger to the master bath and tapped. "Trixie, this is one of the questions from the architect and builder." He felt her move closer then asked, "Do you need a dressing table and do we need two sinks?" He placed a sheet of translucent architect's onion skin paper depicting an alternate bathroom over the plans. "Lester Mundy suggested we use the space where the dressing table and sink are located for an extra large, tiled walk-in shower with several shower heads. We could put the second sink and a linen storage cabinet where the shower shows now. What do you think?"

As Trixie studied the proposed change, her mind raced. What should I answer? If I knew for sure I was going to marry Jim and live here forever, I'd agree in an instant. Me, Jim and that whirlpool tub. Maybe the shower. She shook her head to clear it and blurted out her thoughts. "If it were my bathroom, I would make the change." Trixie saw the perplexed look on Jim's face and tried to clear up her answer. "I mean, the change would make the space better for us."

Matt noticed the slight frown on Jim's face and tried to smooth the situation. "Maddie, I think we should look at remodeling our master suite and several of the rooms. There are so many innovative and beautiful ideas that would add to the house." He raised a brow to signal his wife to pick up the hot potato and run with it.

"I couldn't agree more," she said. "It's been years since we did any updates." A wave of her hand over the plans seemed to break the spell holding Trixie and Jim in place.

Trixie cocked her head and looked into Jim's troubled green eyes. She wrapped her arms lightly around his trim waist. "Sorry," she whispered very softly. "Sometimes I think if I look too far down the road, I'll jinx what we have together. I'm still scared that this is all a dream and I'll wake up alone."

His eyes softened as he saw the worry on her beloved, beautiful face. "Shamus, it's not merely a dream but a dream coming true. We'll live happily ever after. I promise you," he whispered back into her ear before placing a sweet kiss on her lips.

Jim turned back to the plans and his concerned parents. He winked at them over Trixie's head. "Now that we have that settled, let's look at the upstairs."

Matt flipped the plans to the next page. "Wow, Jim. Four bedrooms? And look at all the storage," he noted. "Who will fill all the bedrooms?" he asked, with a twinkle in his eye.

A blush stole across Jim's and Trixie's faces. "Dad, that reminds me of the other question needing an answer." He pulled out a second piece of onion skin paper and placed it near the plan sheet. "Lester is big on suggestions for improvements and he's really good at them."

Jim tugged Trixie in front of him, then continued, "Lester's idea this time is to not put a bath with each bedroom on the second floor. It's a waste of money and a pain to keep up." He covered the second floor area where three of the four bedrooms were located. "If we leave the bath by bedroom five, it's available for use from the rec room. What Lester and I discussed was to change from four bedroom suites upstairs to two suites plus two bedrooms and a shared bath. One room with a bath would become an upstairs master suite. When the kids come, we'll want to be near them," he reasoned, with a smile at Trixie.

A becoming blush stole across Trixie's face as she thought of making their future babies.

Maddie and Matt exchanged amused glances as they watched their son and his 'special girl' share goofy grins with each other.

"I agree," Trixie said softly. She moved to lean her head on Jim's shoulder. "Perfectly perfect."

Suddenly, a scream of "Trixie, we're late!" echoed down the hall. Honey appeared in the doorway still attaching a hoop earring to her left earlobe. She flew across the room, grabbed Trixie's arm and started to pry her friend away from her brother. "Come on, Trixie. We were supposed to pick up Di five minutes ago."

"Not my fault," Trixie argued, as she was pulled between Honey and Jim.

"You two be careful. Honey, drive carefully, please. You have precious cargo." Jim grinned at his sister.

"Oh, gag!" Honey snorted, as she dragged Trixie across the study. "Jim, you are getting entirely too sappy."

As the two women crossed the threshold, Jim said loudly, "No. I love you both and I don't want you in a wreck."

Honey and Trixie stopped in the doorway. Trixie blew a kiss then smiled and winked at Jim and his parents, as Honey replied, "We'll be careful, big brother, and we love you all, too. Later."

Two arms waved in the doorway and the best friends were off.

***

After Trixie and Diana accompanied Honey to her final bridesmaid's dress fitting, the three friends shared a lunch filled with gossip and giggles. Due to the schedule for her finals at Cornell, Honey had been unable to meet for fittings with the rest of the bridal party. At least that was the story Maddie had told Sally. Honey arranged to meet with Rosalee for the final adjustments to the 'chartreuse monstrosity' as Mart had dubbed her bridesmaid dress.

"I still can't believe Hillary asked you if you had anything with you," Diana said with disbelief as Trixie described a classic scene from women's restrooms everywhere.

Trixie shook her head as she finished a bite of her Caesar salad. "Technically, it was her assistant who asked me if I had anything with me. Luckily, a good agent is always prepared and I was able to help her out."

Laughter spread around the table as Trixie continued the tale of her travels to the Italian peninsula. "I was standing inside the doorway, waiting patiently, and I hear this woman speaking Italian. I know I cleared the room before we went inside, so I was confused. Where was the Italian coming from? Well, Italian isn't my best language; all I managed was 'Scusi?' Then the woman changed to English and all was well."

"That is too funny, Trix. I can just see it now. What about your translator?" Diana asked.

"Goodness, I use the translator at work all the time, but I was a long way from White Plains when I was in that bathroom," Trixie answered her friend.

"Um, Trix, there's an app for that. Give me your phone," Diana said, holding out her hand. Trixie recognized the no nonsense look coming from the dark purple eyes and meekly handed over her Smartphone. Seconds later, after a few taps on the screen, "Here you go; type in your password please," Diana said handing Trixie her phone.

She typed her password into the phone and placed it down on the table between herself and Diana. Soon a soft beep was heard. "There you go," Di said. "Google translate installed. The best app out there. I swear I survive because of that and Dragon dictate. My emails to Europe are so much easier."

"Seriously, Di, I can't believe for one second that you have any trouble with communication," Honey said, smiling.

"Well, I do smile in fourteen languages. So, Trix, other than your quick trip to Italy, what's been going on? How are things?" Di teased, wiggling her eyebrows and watching her friend blush.

Purposely, Trixie took a huge bite of her manicotti. "Oh, she's using the Mart-with-a-mouthful-maneuver. Not going to work, Belden. We can outlast you," Honey announced. "We're professionals. We've dealt with these tactics for years. Besides that, you're almost done with your pasta."

With a shake of her head and a sip of her wine, Trixie smirked, "Well it was worth a try. Things are fine. Sherlock is up to 10 pounds and growing like a weed. I upgraded my wireless service at the condo. Cooper bowled a perfect game last week and has been insufferable. Jim and I are going away to Mead's Mountain for my birthday. I found the perfect dress to wear for the wedding. Moms found some…"

"Wait one minute, Miss Belden," Honey said. "Back the bus up. Explain yourself."

"Oh, no biggie, not that I really understand it, but I gather a perfect game is a score of 300 and it's rather…"

"Funny. You and Frayne, spill." Diana interrupted.

Trixie took a large, slow drink to calm herself. Honey and Diana were going to poke at her some more when they noticed a telltale blush creeping up their fair-haired friend's cheeks. Knowing she had a hard time adjusting when she and Jim started dating, they waited for her to continue.

"Well, we've, umm . . . That is we haven't . . . umm . . . It's not that we don't . . . Ungh!" Trixie pushed her plate away, crossed her arms on the table and put her head down. She took a deep breath and looked up at her two closest friends through her curls. Releasing the pent-up breath in one huge whoosh, she sat back up and looked them directly in the eyes. "Jim and I haven't had, well, we haven't made, argh!" Trixie took another deep lungful of air, and in one quick outburst said, "We haven't had sex yet and have decided to go away to remove all interruptions and distractions."

Honey and Diana sat silent, astonished by Trixie's admission. This wasn't the reaction that Trixie expected, and she was shocked by their stillness. "Bread?" she asked, giggling, holding out the basket of garlic bread.

"Wow, umm, Trix, I have to say I'm surprised," Di admitted. "And I know you and Jim didn't start dating until before Christmas, but it just kinda shocks me. I mean Jim is so…well, male."

"Ladies, could we please remember, this is my brother we're talking about. If at all possible, I would like to avoid the ick factor," Honey requested. "Can we leave his male-hood out of this, please? I think it's nice that you and Jim want to take a special trip."

"I'm just scared that we're making too big a deal about it, you know. I mean, it's just sex, right?"

"Oh, Trix, if you do it right, and sorry, Honey, I suspect Jim will excel in this area, it can be life changing," Diana said matter-of-factly, raising her glass in salute.

Being a good sport, Honey raised her glass, tapping it to Di's. "On that note, I am going to go to the restroom. I'll be back in a minute. Preferably, you'll be done talking about my brother's 'excellence'," Honey made air quotes with her fingers, "by the time I get back. Please!" Honey leaned close to Trixie's ear. "I'm begging you."

Di watched Honey cross the restaurant, "OK, we don't have much time, so cut to the chase, Belden. What's up? What do you want to know? And how can I help?" she asked, tucking her black hair behind her ears, looking completely earnest.

"If I forget to tell you later, I adore you, Diana Lynch, and you crack me up!" Trixie said, patting her soon-to-be sister-in-law on the arm. "To the point then. I'm just scared. What if I'm not any good? What if he's disappointed? What am I supposed to do? What do I pack? Why did we wait so long? UGH!"

"Stop, let's just deal with a few essential questions. Trixie, as Honey said, avoiding the ick factor, Mart and I didn't wait. And sometimes I regret that. I love your brother, but we were just kids when we got caught up. Prom is so cliché, but we fumbled around…a lot. I believe that you and Jim will be fine. There is something to be said for a man with control." Di wiggled her eyebrows and her lips puckered into a bow. "Trust me, teen-aged boys are not known for their control. And as to knowing what to do, sweetie, Mother Nature is all over that. Go with your instincts. They haven't let you down on a case and they sure aren't going to let you down now."

Honey was approaching the table. "And as for what to pack, since there is no ick factor involved for me, we're going shopping after the wedding!" Di stated.

"Finish solving the world's problems?" Honey asked hesitantly. She looked from Trixie to Diana and back again. She wasn't sure, but she thought she saw an unholy gleam in the latter's violet eyes.

Diana quietly picked up Trixie's phone and placed it on her lap under the table, her eyes sparkling mischievously. She became silent as her attention was required by her busy hands.

Trixie looked at Honey as she took her seat. "Actually, I feel a lot better. It's just nerves. As long as I don't think about it too much, I'll be OK, right?" she asked, looking for confirmation from her closest friend.

"I'm sure you'll be fine," Honey assured her.

"And besides," Diana said, placing the phone back on the table. "As far as what to do and how to do it…there's an app for that, too!"

"You didn't. You did. Oh my gosh. Lemme see." Giggling like school girls, they all huddled around the small screen and laughed at the diagrams and suggestions from the Kama Sutra for Dummies application.

Several minutes later they sat back. Their faces were flushed from trying to hold in their laughter and their eyes were bright with the humor of the situation. "I'm totally going to have to delete that," Trixie said, turning the phone off. "But, I'll hold off a little while."

"Stop! I can't take anymore," Honey said, laughing so hard tears were now streaming down her cheeks. "Oh goodness, this has been just what I needed. I've missed you guys."

"Well, leave it to us to have a dress crisis, a sex crisis, and a tissue crisis all in the span of two hours! This may very well be a record for us," Diana said, digging in her purse for a package of tissues. Finding them, she handed one to Honey to dry her face. Seeing Trixie's look of confusion, she continued, "I know there wasn't anything actually wrong with Honey's dress…but lordy, that dress is a crisis all on its own."

Another round of laughter rang out as the friends thought about the 'chartreuse monstrosity'. After a few minutes, Honey changed the subject. "Seven weeks, just seven weeks and I'll be done! I can't wait to be done with Ithaca and everything else. Just to be able to breathe and not feel like I'm under a microscope all the time."

"Is everything OK, Honey?" Trixie asked, her smile changing quickly to concern.

"Of course. I'm just under so much stress. Between this stupid wedding, the article I'm doing for Law Review, studying for the bar exam, and trying to keep my life straight…it's a wonder I don't lose my head along with the other stuff." Honey was trying to make light of the situation, but lately she had been feeling more stress than she had when she was in boarding school.

"What other stuff?" Trixie's instincts went on alert.

"It's nothing. I've just misplaced a couple of things due to my crazy schedule."

"Like what?" Di asked.

"Little stuff, like my charm bracelet," Honey admitted.

"The one your mother gave you when you turned sixteen, that her mother gave her when she turned sixteen?" Trixie asked, emphasizing the pronouns. "What else?"

"A book of poetry I carried around to read when I got stressed. But I'm sure I just left it somewhere in my scatteredness."

"It makes sense. You have been busy. I know I'm always placing things in one spot, just for a minute, and forgetting I put them there. I'm sure you'll find your bracelet and book of poems as soon as you stop looking for them," Diana said optimistically.

"I'm sure you're right, Di. Hey, what are you guys wearing to Sally's bachelorette party?" Honey inquired, wanting desperately to change the subject.

Trixie recognized Honey's desire to change the subject and deciding to forgo her natural curiosity for once, she took the bait and whined, "Do we have to go to that? Can't we go help Grandmother Hart with something or have emergency root canals?" She was only half joking. The fact was she would rather have had the root canal.

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AUTHOR'S NOTES

Thanks go to our fantastic editors. Missy (Mylee), Clo (Grandma Cindy), Joyce (bundysbaby) and Kelly (Kellykath) are awesome. If you notice a boo-boo, it belongs to Jo and Jenny.

BonnieH is an angel for spot-checking our stories and for when she was hosting them. We were so not worthy of her support. {{HUG}}

Also…….

For all the 'real' ones. We have a great deal of respect for your company and products.

        Cornell is still an institution of higher learning

        Law Review is a scholarly journal focusing on legal issues, normally published by an organization of students at a law

        school or through a bar association.

        Kama Sutra for Dummies
application doesn't exist. Jenny looked. OK, show of hands…….Who looked for it on the

        internet??

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