and Bonnie were sitting in the pew waiting for the "Wedding of the
Century" to start. Trixie picked up the nine-page program and began
flipping through it. All of a sudden, Bonnie was startled by her companion's
sharp, high-pitched hoot. She turned her head and looked at the petite blonde
sitting next to her. "What was that all about?" Bonnie whispered.
"Look!" Trixie said, pointing to the program. She
was trying to control her laughter, but she was fighting a losing battle,
even though she was holding her hand over her mouth. Another snort escaped
and Bonnie starting laughing at Trixie's antics.
"Let me see. What's so funny?" She took the
program and looked at the page containing the names of the wedding party. She
read down the list of bride, groom, mother and father of the bride, mother
and father of the groom, maid of honor, matron of honor, best man, the ten
remaining bridesmaids, and eleven groomsmen. "I don't get it."
said pointing as she continued to giggle.
There under the list of human participants, was the 'flower
dog'. "Miss Shi-ty, the bride's cockapoo."
"The dog's name is Shitty! Sally always called the dog
'She-she' when she talked about her, but I guess she must have called her
'She-tie' during the rehearsal last night. But, I mean, don't you think
someone would have looked at that?" Trixie had regained some of her
composure but lost it again when Bonnie burst out laughing.
"Excuse me, ladies. I deduce you've just observed the
notation for the 'shitty' flower girl?" Mart came up to the pew and
handed them each a tissue as a cover. "Pull it together, ladies. I drew
the short straw. Trust me, you do not want Dan or
Jim to have to come over. Sally is on a tear about the 'mistake' with the
groomsmen's outfits and she has decided that there has to be a choreographed
dance routine at the reception. Honey is trying to convince her there isn't
time to put something of quality together."
"But I would pay to see a dance routine though!"
Bonnie said with a giggle. "Mart, I'll give you a free pass on a
speeding ticket if you can convince them to do it!"
"No amount of get-out-of-jail-free cards would be
worth the wrath of the male Bob-Whites; no way, no how! Now, behave,
ladies," Mart admonished.
"Eggscuse me, Espiky. De groomsmen, dey need
"OK, thanks, Raoul. Now girls, conduct yourselves with some decorum, please. This is the social event of the season,"
Mart warned before he walked back down the aisle.
Trixie looked sideways at Bonnie as a tall, dark-skinned
man with closely cropped dark, well styled, wavy hair sat down in the pew in
front of them and turned around to face them. He hooked his arm over the seat
back and said, "Chew two must be wit de Boob-Whites."
"Bob-Whites," Trixie automatically corrected.
I said, Boob-Whites. I yam Raoul, de tailor. Eet is
berry nice to meet chew." Raoul stuck an elegant long-fingered hand out
"It's wonderful to meet you. Jim has told me so much
about you. I'm Trixie Belden and this is Bonnie Martin." Trixie's hand
was held fast by Raoul's, but she didn't pull away. She wanted to talk to the
'Tape Measure Menace'.
Raoul broke into a stunning smile; his straight,
bright-white teeth were almost blinding. "Chew hab
to be Espiky's seester.
Chew look jes like him, escept
chew are muy bonito." He took Trixie's hand,
which he was still holding, and brought it to his lips for a kiss.
Trixie giggled softly and her blue eyes sparkled with
merriment. "Gracias, señor."
"Cheur accent is muy bueno," Raoul said,
releasing Trixie's hand. He leaned closer to her. "And I lub cheur dress. Dat color ees berry good on
"Thank you. Blue is my favorite color, but I fear
Bonnie and I clash with the bride's color scheme," Trixie said,
gesturing towards the front of the church that was swathed in bright yellow
and lime-green tulle. The front pews were enveloped with yards and yards of
the vivid netting, accented by contrasting bows dripping with crystals. The
effect resembled low lying pollution, the overlapping green and yellow
netting producing a bilious effect and the crystals looking like raindrops.
"I seespect de bride tinks eet ees
lubly. I also seespect de
flower dog has beetter taste."
Bonnie chimed in, "I've seen the same color
combinations at Dan's. Of course it was inside the moldy food containers in
"Oh, I knew I liked chew two. We must seet together at de receeption.
I hab to go check on de groomsmen." Raoul
stood up and leaned over and kissed each woman on both cheeks in the typical fashionista style.
"So, did Dan tell you about their tuxedo
fittings?" Trixie asked.
Bonnie was still a bit shell-shocked by their visitor.
"Not much. All he said was that it was thorough and then he laughed and
grabbed a beer."
"Well, our new friend Raoul nicknamed Mart - Spiky,
Jim - El Fuego, and Dan he called El Guapo."
"Wonderful, just what mister modest needed, a nickname
calling him handsome," Bonnie snickered.
Trixie grinned, shrugging her bare shoulders. "But he
is handsome. Don't you think?"
"Who's handsome? Wonder-woodsman? Or yours
truly?" Bobby teased as he slid into the pew behind Bonnie and his
"What are you doing here? Where are Moms and
Dad?" Trixie asked. She was so surprised to see her youngest brother she
ignored the nickname.
Bobby quirked his eyebrow and grinned at his sister.
"Di called; she left her purse at home so Tess called and asked me if I
could bring it over. Seems she needed it now. So I got spiffed up early and thought I could scout out the
"Scout out the talent?" Bonnie inquired, her brow raised.
"Gosh, umm, sorry, Officer Martin. I thought I could
drive Tess over here and, umm, wait for my parents." Bobby backpedaled
Bonnie laughed. "Sure, that's all. Scout the talent sounds like classic El Guapo to me. What do you think, Trix?"
"Not saying a word."
"So the guys told you about their nicknames. Cracks me
up, Spiky, El Fuego, El Guapo, and El Grande. I bet
they want to get tee shirts made," the young man pondered out loud.
"Excuse me…El Grande? No one mentioned El Grande.
Who's El Grande?" Trixie said. Then she realized who it had to be.
"Ewwww, ick! More than I ever wanted to know about Brian."
Bonnie and Bobby were laughing as Brian walked up the
aisle, escorting Tess to her seat. As soon as they saw him, they couldn't
control themselves and once again there was raucous laughter heard throughout
the church. Brian gave the two women a look designed to shush them, and he
turned and walked back to escort the next wedding guest.
After everyone had calmed down, Tess asked, "Do I want
to know what that was about?"
"No. Your sister would kill me. You look very pretty,
Tess. I really like your dress," Trixie said, complementing the teenager
on her short formal. It was a pretty, simple dress with a V-neckline and cap
sleeves accented with sparkling beadwork. It had a ruched
empire waist and a layered chiffon A-line skirt that gave the red dress a
comfortable fit that was chic and appropriate for the fifteen-year-old. It
was sweet, sophisticated and flattering. "Red really is your color. Don't
you think, Bobby?"
"Yeah, you look nice, Tess." Bobby said, looking
at the dark-haired young lady sitting next to him. "I don't think I've
seen you in a dress since, what…Stinky's twelfth
birthday party?" Bobby started to chuckle. "Remember, you pushed
Tommy Mundy into the cake? Why'd you do that anyway?"
"I don't really remember," Tess denied between
clenched teeth. She remembered it perfectly. She was so happy to go to
Theodore's party. Until Tommy started teasing her about being dressed like a
girl. Her temper had gotten the better of her and one thing led to another
and Tommy was wearing cake. Tess was the exact opposite of her flouncy,
frilly, poufy twin, Bess. Tess liked sports. She enjoyed running. She took
pleasure in her classes. And she had a secret crush on Bobby Belden, who
didn't seem to know she was a girl.
"I remember he said you looked like a girl!! That was
so funny. Well, I promise not to remind you that you're a girl. I wouldn't
want you to push me into Sally's cake. She'd kill both of us," Bobby
"Funny, Belden, very funny. We must be getting close
to this thing starting. Mummy and Daddy are here with Bess." As they had
been talking, the church had been filling up. Both sides were now full of
well-dressed guests. Many of them were waving the program back and forth to
try and cool down.
Mr. and Mrs. Lynch were escorted down the aisle. They waved
at their daughter and the others she was sitting with. Bess was staring
goo-goo-eyed at Zac's surfer-dude handsomeness as
he escorted her down the aisle. Minutes later, the Beldens
and Wheelers were seated close to the Lynch family.
"Looks like the Wedding of
the Century is about to launch," Bonnie said,
looking once again at the program. Still finding the 'Shitty' flower dog extremely
funny, she shook her head and giggled.
Mart had hurried back to the vestibule
where Ben and his groomsmen, except for Sally's brothers Bill and Bob, were
waiting. As he entered the area and shut the door behind him, the groom
gathered everyone around him.
"Listen, guys. I need to say this before Bob and Bill
come back from seeing Sally. I know that she's has been a crazy, raving bridezilla bitch since this whole thing started. Claudia,
too. The big difference is Claudia is a bitch all the time," he laughed.
"I'll admit that Sally has questionable taste in wedding attire, but she
has good taste in everything else. She has to, she's marrying me." Ben
grinned and slapped Jim on the back.
"You better hope your fiancée does better with your
wedding, Belden," the groomsman Zac ribbed
with a punch to Mart's shoulder.
Mart quirked an eyebrow as a large grin spread across his
face. "My lovely Diana has our wedding fully under control," he
said smugly. "Plain black tuxedos for the men. Two maids of honor and
two bridesmaids wearing lovely lavender gowns of a similar design but
complimentary to each of them. She has exquisite, elegant taste."
"Hard to believe since she's marrying Mart," Dan
snickered loud enough to be heard. "Yo, Zac. You'd better redo your tie before Claudia sees how
crooked it is."
The door opened to spilling voices and laughter from the
chapel into the room. Bob and Bill Wellington entered the room followed by a
pair of waiters carrying trays of frosted beer mugs.
"Sally sent us a little present. She knows everyone is
tired of standing around in the monkey suits so she figured a little liquid
refreshment would be welcome about now," Bob announced with a grin, as
the waiters were swarmed by thirsty men.
Queen Claudia says eet ees
time. Let us see dat chew all look wonderbul. Feenish cheur cerveza, chew must geet ready to eescort dee bridesmaids down de aisle," Raoul instructed,
but the groomsmen paid him little attention. He clapped his hands rapidly,
placing them on his hips and said fiercely, "Feenish!"
The groomsmen quickly finished their beer and lined up in
the designated order. Because the 'mix-up' with the computer that Raoul
arranged had angered Sally, she sent instructions with Claudia that the
groomsmen would alternate between correct and wrong attire. The last ones
down the aisle would be the Best Man, Jason, and the Maid of Honor, Bitsy.
Just before Dan was about to head down the aisle with his
bridesmaid, Candy, Diana came rushing up. "Oh goodness, I finally got
out of the bride's suite. I needed to drop off the guest book. Can I sneak
down the aisle please?"
"Diana, my beloved I cannot allow you to just meander
down the aisle unaccompanied. It would be indecorous. Please permit me to
accompany you to your seat," Mart said, bowing low to the floor, with a
wave of his hand.
"Hurry up, dude. Claudia is on the warpath," Dan
"I'll stall Mother. You escort your Diana down the
aisle, Mart. I'll buy us at least five minutes," Billy said and turned
to find his mother adjusting already straight bow ties. Thinking on his feet,
Billy loosened his impeccably tied dark green accessory. "Mother, I need
some assistance, please."
Diana gasped when she crossed the
threshold. "Oh, my," she croaked. "It looks like a sinus
infection exploded in here," she whispered, as they moved quickly down
the aisle to the pew where Trixie and Bonnie waited.
Mart snorted. "Don't look at it directly for any
length of time," he whispered back. "It will do irreparable damage
to your lovely violet eyes." He kissed her gently and then urged her
into the pew. "Ladies, take care of my beloved. She is rather
flabbergasted right now."
Trixie giggled then answered, "Of course she is. She's
having an allergic reaction to poor taste."
She giggled again as Mart again shook his finger at her
before he hurried back up the aisle.
Minutes later, Mart had returned to the
vestibule, Billy's tie was once again perfect and he and Bob were ready to
escort the mother of the groom and mother of the bride to their seats. The
chamber group played a flourish and began Pachelbel's Canon. Within a moment the
mothers were on their way down the aisle.
Honey wasn't sure how she lucked out, but she was standing
next to Brian, waiting for their turn to walk, "slowly and
reverently" down the aisle. She leaned toward Brian and whispered,
"I think someone outside the wedding party picked the music. This is
overused but tasteful. I was expecting music along the lines of Oh Promise Me. Remember, we must walk
deliberately and respectfully, according to Queen Claudia." She snorted
softly. "How, I ask you, am I supposed to walk at all in this mermaid
"Well, Honey, I have to admit, I've never seen you
looked quite so…jaundiced," Brian teased.
"Thanks a lot. Just for that, I'm going to waddle over
and see if Dan will trade me," Honey said, punching him lightly in the
arm. Although she was just taunting him, she turned to walk away, but the
skirt was all tangled around her legs and she pitched forward. If not for
Brian's quick reflexes, Honey would have been nothing more than a yellow and
Grabbing her around the waist, Brian wrapped his arms
around her to keep her from falling to the ground. Honey was trembling in his
arms. Thinking she was upset over her stumble, Brian was about to comfort her
but quickly realized she was laughing. He couldn't help but laugh himself.
Standing Honey upright, he gently turned her around so they were face to
face. Once again, he was left speechless by her beauty. Brian tucked a stray
hair behind her ear. "Can't have you looking less than your best,"
he said softly, staring into her surprised hazel eyes.
Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring started playing,
cutting short Honey's reply. Was Brian Belden making
a pass at me? Oh my gosh, I think he was! I didn't think he felt that way
about me. Where is Di when I need to chat? UGH!
Honey had to fight her desire to caress the tiny lines at the corner of his
eye. Slowly she took a small step back and stumbled again.
"Careful," Brian said, steadying her another time
before carefully letting go. "Looks like they're starting down the
Honey tore her gaze away from Brian's dark eyes to see that
Dan was walking slowly down the aisle with his bridesmaid, Candy, Sally's
cousin. She was an extremely voluptuous blonde. Looking closely at the
couple, it was easy to see that Dan was a step and a half ahead of the woman,
who was walking exceedingly slowly down the walkway. Candy had a death grip
on Dan's arm and was not so subtlety attempting to pull him backwards.
"I guess Dan's in a hurry to get this over with."
"Honey, my dear, we're all in a hurry to get this over
with. How fast do you think we can get down the aisle? Under a minute? I dare
you!" Brian teased.
Honey smiled at the ludicrous thought of the two of them
sprinting down the runner. "As if I can move faster than a shuffle,
Brian, but it would be pretty funny to see what Queen Claudia would do!"
They moved up the queue as Zac
and Miffy started down toward the front of the
church. This pair was walking exactly as Claudia had instructed. They were
pausing for a count of three in between steps. The couple was moving so
slowly, they seemed to be standing still.
Halfway back on the groom's side, Trixie leaned over to Di
and whispered, "Oh no, one look at Claudia and they've been turned to
stone." Diana, who had taken a seat next to Raoul, tried to control her
giggle, but a slight noise escaped her. However, she carried it off as a
sneeze. "Bless chew!" Raoul said softly, handing his silk
handkerchief to her and winking. "Dunt look deerectly into cher eeys. Eet ees
rumored che ees a berry
Zac and Miffy finally made it to the front of the church and Jim
started escorting Sally's other cousin, Kelli, down the aisle. Having watched
the past two groups head down the runner, Jim had a plan. He gently, but
firmly had Kelli's arm. When she started to walk extremely slowly, Jim softly
squeezed Kelli's hand and encouraged her with a brilliant smile. Although
they did not walk as slowly as they had been instructed, Jim didn't seem to
be dragging his bridesmaid down the aisle.
One by one the pairs of groomsmen and bridesmaids made
their way toward the waiting groom. The groups seemed to fall into two
categories, snail pace and turtle pace. "I have made an
observation," Di said, not as softly as she intended, but those in
attendance were losing their patience and murmurs were heard throughout the
church. "The guys in yellow are oozing a slow slimy trail behind them
and the others are able to move a little faster because of the ooze."
"I suspect the others are all our others and they're
ready for this fiasco to be done," Trixie said, smiling broadly as she
watched Brian and Honey struggling down the aisle. "Does anyone else
think they look like they're doing a modified version of the bunny hop?"
It was over twenty minutes later when
the final bridesmaid and groomsman stood at the altar watching the maid of
honor and best man make their way slowly down the aisle.
The members of the wedding party shuffled their feet or
shifted their weight from foot to foot as they waited for the bride to make
her appearance. Even Ben and the minister were fidgeting as the final
attendants walked to their places.
The climate in the sanctuary had progressively grown warmer
as the audience waited for the processional to end and the bride to appear.
The heat and boredom encouraged the pews of people to talk instead of whisper
as they fanned themselves with the programs.
Finally, a high-pitched yip was heard through the church.
Heads swiveled to the entrance of the sanctuary. Standing in the tulle-draped
doorway was the wedding planner holding a yipping, squirming, and twisting cockapoo at arm's length, like a bomb about to explode.
"The poor dog looks like it's trying to make a break
for it," Bobby said in a low voice to Tess.
"You'd try and escape, too, if you were wearing that
awful flower ring around your neck and a horrible green bow on the top of
your head," Tess said quietly, enjoying the fact that she had to lean in
toward Bobby to speak softly. She quickly discovered that if she spoke even
more softly, he bent closer to her. "I'm just guessing here, but the
fact that the unfortunate dog has been dyed bright yellow-green to match the
bridesmaids' dresses doesn't help the unlucky pooch's psyche."
Bobby whispered, "That is a rather regrettable canine
color. I imagine the dog has been warped, since being weighed down with the
name 'Shitty'. Of course, if that woman isn't careful, the dog is going to
twirl right out of her hands and then it'll be splat! So long 'Shitty'."
A sweet little giggle escaped from Tess. "That would
be a terrible tragedy. It might delay this wedding even longer. Oh, she
escaped!" They watched as the terrified dog raced down the aisle.
Unfortunately, the dog was extremely frightened and she did
not walk sedately down the aisle as Sally had envisioned when she spoke of
her "precious wittle luv". The scared dog
darted down the aisle, ducking into random pews until she encountered feet.
She tore under the side pews, ripping the tulle off the ends, creating a wave
of fluffy green and yellow destruction in her wake.
Bitsy, as the maid of honor, had doggie treats to entice
the dog to sit patiently throughout the ceremony. At least that was the
original plan. Now all she wanted to do was get the dog's attention and stop
the destruction. Moving demurely down from the steps, she tried to bend over
to get closer to the dog's level, but the mermaid style dress refused to
allow such strenuous movements. Fearing she would hear a ripping sound, Bitsy
was about to give up trying to bend over, when the dog finally came to a stop
near the Wellingtons.
The fear finally caught up with the little dog and she
squatted in preparation to relieve herself. Claudia shouted, "No!"
and made a move to rapidly scoop up the pooch. Unfortunately, Bitsy was
trying to capture the dog at the same time and the two women collided. Coming
from a standing position, Bitsy had gravity working with her, to Claudia's
loss. Elbows flew, the dog yipped, and the sound of rending fabric rang out
through the church.
In the end, the people in the pews were no longer talking
and fanning themselves. They were sitting speechless, watching Bob Wellington
pick his mother off of the bilious carpeting. Claudia's green dress now had a
split along the side, from the hem almost to her hip. Bitsy was victorious
and had a firm hold on the cockapoo, who was
camouflaged against the mermaid dress, still cowering slightly after her
scare. Claudia looked around dazed, as Bob eased her onto the pew then
quickly resumed his place near Ben.
At that moment, Sally appeared in the doorway on the arm
of her father. A collective gasp was heard from the sanctuary as they saw her
gown. The top of the dress was made of fitted transparent tulle, only
decorative lace and beadwork covered strategic areas which were emphasized by
the corseted bodice. As they moved slowly down the aisle, the ball gown
skirt, made of yards and yards of tulle, moved gently to and fro, emitting a
gentle swishing sound.
As they neared the altar, 'She-She' wiggled in Bitsy's grip trying to get free. Finally, she put her sharp
teeth into the hand holding her and got dropped to her freedom. One yip and
she moved to safety underneath the hem of Sally's dress.
The minister closed his eyes briefly and counted to ten.
"Who presents this woman to be married in holy matrimony?" he
asked, fearing the possible answer or next calamity.
"Her mother and I do," Sally's father stated
proudly. Gently, he placed Sally's hand into Ben's, kissed her cheek and
moved to sit by Claudia in the first pew.
The minister took a deep breath, relaxed slightly then
began, "Dear family and friends. We are gathered here today to witness
the declaration of love and marriage of Sally Wellington and Benjamin
The minister looked over the pews at the people in
attendance. His brow wrinkled and he licked his lips nervously. With
everything that had happened already, he dreaded having to ask the next
question. A deep breath expanded his lungs and then he stated, "If
anyone has just cause why these two should not be married, speak now or forever
hold your peace."
The sanctuary was quiet as the people inside hoped to get
past the question and complete the ceremony.
The minister's chin dropped to his chest and he slowly
shook his head back and forth as he sighed in consternation. The bride and
groom both whipped toward the best man. While Ben had a look of dismay, Sally
glared at the source of the belch. "Jason!" Sally hissed furiously.
The object of her ire covered his mouth and turned dark
red. "I'm sorry, Sally, Ben. I was nervous about what I needed to do so
I drank that beer you sent to us. I didn't think it would affect me like
this," he said contritely, followed by another small burp.
"Hu-hum," the minister cleared his throat to
reclaim the bride's and groom's attention. "Let us continue."
He paused for a moment to smile at the couple and glance
across the congregation. "Benjamin, will you have this woman as your
lawful wedded wife, to live together in the estate of matrimony? Will you
love her, honor her, comfort her, and keep her in sickness and in health,
forsaking all others, be true to her as long as you both shall live?"
"I will," Ben said strongly as he gazed at
Sally's tear-filled eyes.
"Sally, will you have this man as your lawful wedded husband,
to live together in the estate of matrimony? Will you love him, honor him,
comfort him, and keep him in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, be
true to him as long as you both shall live?"
"I will," Sally answered softly as Ben gently wiped
a tear from her face.
"Sally and Benjamin have written personal vows for
today as an expression of their love," the minister informed the
witnesses. "Benjamin, whenever you are ready."
Ben turned to Sally and gently took her hands in his. A devilish
grin broke across his face as he looked at her and said, "I promise to
love you, Sally, even though you listen to Justin Bieber
and Lady Gaga. I will learn to tolerate them as proof of my love. I will
promise not to criticize your choice in music or your cooking skills."
He squeezed her hands and winked before adding. "Till death? Jeez,
that's an awfully long time, isn't it? Wait a second! My death... or
hers?" He chuckled softly. "All I know is that our love and
laughter will be forever. I love you."
Sally laughed softly. "I promise to love you,
Benjamin, for as long as we don't kill one another. I'll try to learn how to
cook your favorite meals of beanie-weanies and
mac-and-cheese. I'll give you the TV remote except when McDreamy
and McSteamy are on. Our love and laughter will be
forever and I love you."
They turned back to the minister.
"Um, yes," he stammered, surprised by their vows.
"Repeat after me," he requested. As they pledged themselves to each
other, he completed the ceremony and then introduced them for the first time
as man and wife.
The smiling newlyweds stepped away for the altar to lead
the wedding party out of the sanctuary.
The movements made the cockapoo
leave the cover of Sally's dress to yip and nip at Ben's feet. The teacup
terror wove in and out of his feet until the laces on his shoes attracted her
attention. Yipping and snapping, she nabbed a lace. Ben walked purposefully
down the aisle to exit the sanctuary, smiling happily at his bride, their
families and friends as the dog hung onto the shoelace for dear life.
After everything that had happened, the
Bob-White men and Honey felt so badly about all that went wrong during the
ceremony, they stayed in their wedding attire and joined in for the
photographs being taken outside the church. They stood patiently for several
group pictures where they could hide within the masses.
Once the group shots were completed, the photographer
called for the parents of the bride and groom. A murmur broke out in the
wedding party when Claudia stepped forward and took the ice-pack from her
face. An ugly bruise and a knot the size of an egg resided near her eye.
"Oh, my," Honey said softly. "It's going to
take some serious air-brushing to remove that thing from the photos."
Chuckling, the boys moved to return to the room where their
clothes were waiting. They had taken six steps when they heard, "Wait
for me." They turned as a group to see Honey waddling as fast as her
dress would let her. She finally gave up trying to walk and hopped the last
foot she moved.
"Gee, sis, you don't move very fast in that
thing," Jim grinned.
"Fine brother you are. Walking off and leaving
me," Honey grumbled. "And the rest of you would have left me,
too." She glared at the others.
Jim and Brian laughed as they stepped to either side of
her. "Aw, you know we wouldn't leave a Bob-White behind with the fashion
enemy in the area," Brian said, brown eyes twinkling.
"That's for sure. Claudia is still on a tear and we
wouldn't want you to get caught," Dan agreed with a chuckle as he and
Mart moved nearer.
"Here's the deal," Jim explained. "None of
us can lean over far enough to pick you up in that dress unless we want to
rip the butt out of our pants and who knows what else."
Brian snickered, then added, "I don't think the dress
would allow her to bend to be carried anyway. So there's only one way for us
to help you move along faster. You just bend your arms at the elbows and hold
them stiff to your sides."
Honey blinked confused eyes at Jim and Brian. "I don't
understand what you…eeeee," she squeaked as
they lifted her from the ground. Her bright green shoes waved up and down
like the fins of an actual mermaid. Jim and Brian each grasped Honey's elbow,
lifted her straight up and carried her back into the church.
Mart and Dan laughed uproariously as they stepped aside for
the smiling trio to pass then fell in behind them.
"Mart, I don't think we'll have this much fun at your
wedding," Dan said with a snort. "You need to talk to Di about
loosening up on the plans."
Honey's head snapped to the side so she could glance at
Dan. "Danny, haven't you seen the tuxedos Di picked?" she asked
with a wicked glint in her eyes. "Since you and Brian are the best men
with Bobby and Jim as the groomsmen, Di got you these handsome deep purple
tuxes with lavender shirts. She had to special order them from your friend
Raoul's store. She thought it would make Mart stand out more as the
"Oh, hell, no. Hell, no," Dan groaned, punching
Mart. "I will abdicate my best manliness."
"Best manliness?" Jim queried, as he and Brian
set Honey down outside the bridesmaids' changing room. He quaked with
laughter along with the Beldens, as Honey giggled.
Dan blushed because he knew he'd been had. A small grimace
crossed his face as he thought of how lame that sounded, before he joined his
friends in laughter.
Twenty minutes later, the Bob-White men
again stood outside the door to the bridesmaids' room.
Jim knocked on the door and called out, "Honey! Hurry
up. There is a hot blonde and a cold beer waiting for me at the
"Oh, dude," Mart and Brian said in unison.
"That's my sister." They each punched Jim in the arm.
Jim laughed and smiled at the look of disgust on his
friends' faces. "A very hot blonde, if I do say so myself."
"You must be talking about me," a purring voice
said from behind Jim.
Jim and his friends turned to see Tiffi
and the other bridesmaids standing in the hallway behind him. "No,
actually I was talking about my girlfriend, Trixie."
sent a smug look toward the other women, then sidled up to place her hands
around Jim's arm. "Well, handsome, since she isn't here, I'll be your
Jim's face darkened with anger. "You are a persistent
piece of work, aren't you? For the very last time, I am not now nor will I
ever be interested in you or your predatory friends," Jim said harshly.
"Now, take your hands off me this instant or I will have you arrested
for assault, stalking and anything else I can get my lawyer to throw at
flinched at Jim's tone. She glanced at the other women to see their surprised
reaction before turning back to Jim. Softly, she said, "You can keep
putting on an act for your friends. I can meet you in the small conference
room off the reception hall in an hour and we can talk privately." Tiffi rubbed a hand along his chest.
Jim extracted himself from Tiffi's
talon-like fingernails. "Damn it," Jim roared. "Take your
hands off me this instant."
recoiled from the fury in Jim's voice. She looked at the other women to see
embarrassment and pity in their eyes.
Tiff, can't you take a hint?" Bitsy said scornfully, as she frowned at
the other woman. "He told you no at the church, the rehearsal and here. He's
not interested and won't ever be. You're acting like a sleaze all the time.
It's no wonder there isn't a man who will look twice at you."
Bitsy took a deep breath then looked at Jim and the others.
"Jim, we want you and your friends to all know that the rest of us
aren't like Tiffi," Bitsy said with moist
eyes. "We were friends in college but we just can't stand to watch her
act like this anymore. We've tried to stand by her as a friend but we can't
handle her acting so immaturely." Glancing at the other women in the
hallway, Bitsy then added, "We're very sorry for standing by and letting
her hurt you and Trixie. We'll apologize to her when we see her at the
"You bitches," Tiffi
screamed as she lunged at Bitsy.
"What is going on here?" a man's angry voice
bellowed. "Tiffany Ann Vanderbilt! Let go of Bitsy this instant!"
immediately let go of Bitsy's hair.
"Daddy!" she cried, as she threw herself on the chest of a man of
about sixty. "Bitsy said hateful things to me and so did he. He, he led
me on." She pointed accusingly at Jim.
"Who are you?" barked the man, as he set a crying
Tiffi away from him.
"Jim Frayne? Who are you?"
"Alexander Vanderbilt. I'm Tiffi's
father. Now tell me what's going on here," he demanded.
Dan stepped forward and showed Vanderbilt his badge, then
led him a few feet away. "Let me explain, Mr. Vanderbilt."
Jim, Brian and Mart stood quietly together in the hallway. Tiffi stood off to one side trying to hear what Dan and
her father were saying. The other bridesmaids stood to one side watching the
drama play out.
As the men watched Dan and Vanderbilt talk, the older man
turned red and responded with anger. Dan's face was solemn and he talked
calmly to Vanderbilt. Tiffi's father glanced her
way with a frown before his shoulders slumped and he nodded his head. Dan
touched Vanderbilt on his shoulder then took his place with his friends on
Vanderbilt's voice was steel when he said, "Calli. Get Tiffany's things from the room and bring them
to me, please."
As an alarmed Calli rushed into
the second room to get Tiffi's things, her friend's
father stood with his hands on his hips. It was obvious he was counting under
Vanderbilt glanced at Jim. "You're Matthew Wheeler's
son, aren't you?" he asked quietly.
Jim stood straight and said proudly, "Yes, Mr.
Vanderbilt, I am. Do you know my father and mother?"
"Yes, we've met." He looked at Tiffi then everyone else in the hallway before returning
his gaze to his daughter. "Tiffany."
looked up with wet eyes, "Yes, Daddy?"
"This is the last time. Do you hear me? The last time. I will no longer allow you to
be an embarrassment to your mother and me. You have made a fool of yourself.
You've acted tawdry. This is not going to be tolerated anymore. Do I make
"Yes, Daddy," Tiffi
"Cut the waterworks, Tiffany. I'm not buying it this
time," her father ordered. "Now, you have been a nuisance to Mr.
Frayne, his girlfriend and his friends. I want you to apologize for your
flicked the tears away from her cheeks. "No. I won't do it. He turned me
away and wouldn't have anything to do with me."
"Tiffany, he won't have anything to do with you
because he has been virtually engaged for ten years to the young lady you
have been harassing. If he hasn't looked at anyone else after ten years, he
isn't going to. You will apologize. Now!"
eyes narrowed as she looked at her father to gauge her options. Seeing hard
anger in his eyes, she knew that if she balked, she would be cut off
immediately. This wasn't the first time her dad had caught her trying to get
her way with a man. Her mind processed everything and came to a decision that
she could live with for now.
"Jim, my dad is right," Tiffi
said contritely as she looked down at the hallway rug. A small smirk crossed
her face, but she cleared it, then looked around at the people in the hallway
before focusing back on Jim. "I'm sorry for throwing myself at you and
the unwanted attention that I have given you. Please tell your girlfriend
that I am sincerely sorry."
returned with a small case and garment bag. Handing it to Tiffi,
she moved back with the rest of the bridesmaids.
Taking hold of his daughter's arm, Vanderbilt said
regretfully, "Tell Sally and Ben that we've had a family situation and
had to leave. It was an, um, interesting wedding." The older man's lips
twitched as he tried to keep a straight face.
Bitsy said, "We'll let Sally know. She won't be
terribly surprised about Tiffi needing to leave
after what happened at the rehearsal dinner."
Vanderbilt tugged on Tiffi's arm.
"Well, then, ah, good evening. We are truly sorry for the
The stunned group watched as father dragged daughter down
the hall, speaking in harsh tones.
A door opened and Honey stood there, checking her carryall
to make sure she had all her belongings. She looked up to see the male
members of the group staring at her. "Are you guys ready?" she
asked, before noticing the shocked look on their faces. She immediately
looked down to make sure she was fully dressed before she asked, "What?
Are you guys all right?"
Dan cleared his head first. "It's a long story, Honey.
We'll tell you on the way. Wow, great dress." He stepped forward, took
her tote and garment bag from her.
Brian took her hand and held her arm out to one side.
"You look beautiful," he said softly.
Honey shyly replied, "Thank you. Any jaundice? I just
had to wear it to counteract the toxic mermaid." She laughed as he
twirled her around and the flirty skirt flared out. The short dress had a
strapless sweetheart neckline that combined with the skirt and golden beaded
material made it very sexy looking and perfect for her figure.
The remaining bridesmaids complemented Honey on her dress before
filing past her into the changing rooms. Confused, she looked around at her
brother and friends. "What'd I miss? Everyone is acting strange."
Mart and Dan gave the rest of the group a gentle nudge
toward the exit. "It's a long story, Honey. We'll tell you on the way to
"I'll catch up in a minute. Bitsy, let me see your
hand," Brian requested as they passed in the hallway. Taking her hand in
his, he examined the area around the bite. "You were lucky. She-she only
scratched you. You could have had some serious puncture wounds. The dog's
teeth are as sharp as needles. Wash it well with soap and water and if it
looks irritated or changes, see your regular doctor."
"Thanks, Brian. I will. I think it would have been a
lot worse if I wouldn't have let the little terror go as fast as I did,"
she replied with a slight smile. "Please make sure Honey knows how sorry
we are," she requested quietly.
"I will, Bitsy. You just make sure you talk to my
sister," he reminded, then hurried toward the parking lot.
As the Bob-Whites settled in the SUV, Jim said,
"Brian, you tell the story. Dan, I'll need you to talk us out of any
tickets I get. I really, really need to get to Trixie."
"And a beer," Mart finished for him. "Don't
forget the beer."
We do not own these characters, except Raoul, who we adore,
Bonnie, Tess and Bess. The rest of the gang belongs solely to Random House
and we borrow them lovingly.
We apologize if we have offended anyone who may have used
the same wedding colors or recognize Sally's dress. We found them to be
humorous and they fit Sally.
Dresses worn at the wedding… Wedding of the
The unseen wedding planner had better, if somewhat
overused, taste and selected the following music for the service:
Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's
Thankfully she did not allow them to use Oh Promise Me.
We wish to thank our wonder, fantastic and tireless
editors: Missy/Mylee, Kelly/KellyKath,
Joyce/Bundysbaby, and Clo/GrandmaCindy. All errors are ours and ours alone.
And once again, all this would have been impossible without
the generous efforts and love of our friend, Bonnie, the future…we hope, Mrs.
Jo and Jenny are available for wedding planning, but
utilize sources like TLC's Big Fat
Gypsy Wedding…so their taste is extremely
Header photo is from Free Pictures Web and green background is from Free Backgrounds