THE ART OF FALLING GRACEFULLY
The rain began as soft as velvet; it was calm and refreshing. It was as if the rain was cleansing her soul and washing away all the pain and heartache she had endured over the sum of her twenty-two years. She looked now toward the future; whatever it held in store for her she was ready. She was ready to live she had been dead inside for far too long.
She said a silent prayer of thanks to God for opening her eyes to what had been right in front of her all along and for giving her a second chance at life, love and happiness. Thinking back she had never thought she would be given this hope for a second chance. How crazy was it that only a few weeks ago she had been so sure that true happiness would never be hers and love was only a fantasy for little girls. Of course that t was until she found a friend so true that the very thought of what had transformed her life brought tears to her eye. Was it possible that her search was finally over? Did she dare believe? She wanted to oh she really wanted to believe in happily ever after but she didn’t want to be hurt again; the scars were still too raw and she never wanted to hurt that way again.
Sydney Jordan was a quiet, sheltered young lady. She did not make friends easily, spoke only when spoken to. She always seemed to be looking over her shoulder as if she expected someone to be sneaking up behind her. When she smiled there was always a trace of sadness etched around her mouth and if you looked closely enough you could see the ghosts hiding in her eyes. Sydney Jordan was a very mysterious young lady.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Trent Isaac sat in the corner of the crowded restaurant, slowly drinking his coffee. He could see her over the rim of his cup as she ran in a hundred different directions. He secretly admired this woman; she was responsible for everything that happened in this bustling café from the cooks to the waitresses. If something was broken she would fix it, if someone was sick she would make them feel better or send them home and fill in, if something was misplaced she would find it. He smiled thinking about it, there didn’t seem to be anything that she couldn’t do. He was amazed by her.
He never came in when she wasn’t here of course if her car wasn’t on the parking lot he usually drove on by. He continued to watch as she refilled drinks, boxed to go orders and answered the phone. It never seemed to matter how busy she was she always made time to chat with the regulars and prepare their usual orders. Trent loved to watch her as she worked the floor because when she interacted with the customers was the only time he got to see her smile. She was always beautiful but this was different it was as if an angel had came down to fill the café grace and beauty with just a simple smile. He wondered why she didn’t smile more and he wondered what it would be like to be the one to put a smile on her angelic face.
Trent wasn’t sure what had made her so unhappy, shy and scared. He had known her for ten years or longer, he honestly couldn’t remember when he had first met her. They had attended the same high school but she had been a year older and not his type or at least that had been his excuse for never asking her out. She had been so smart, graduating as Valedictorian of her class with scholarship offers from all over the country and yet here she was working at a minimum wage job. He could still recall how kind and caring she had been and so full of life. She always seemed to have this glow about her that seemed to radiate and light up the whole room whenever she walked in. Wherever she went she brought laughter and happiness with her. He wondered again about her smile she had always smiled easily and it had been contagious soon everyone would be laughing and having a good time too. She had always gone out of her way to make everyone feel included, always giving but never expecting anything in return. She was just a caring and giving person and found himself wondering what had happened to her over the last ten years. What had changed her so drastically? The thought of it all bothered him more than he cared to admit. He had found himself thinking a lot about Sydney. In fact since that day six months ago when he had seen her through the Café window he had been able to think of little else.
“Daddy what are you staring at?”
“Kelsey I am not staring.”
Trent had almost forgotten that his six year old daughter was with him today. His mother had had a doctor’s appointment so he had had to ditch work early.
“What is you thinking about daddy?”
“The correct question is what are you thinking about daddy and the answer is what are we going to do this afternoon, any suggestions?”
Kelsey Isaac was the picture of innocence in its basic form. She was petite with blonde hair and blue eyes topped off with dimples designed to make any attempt at telling her no almost impossible. She had the cutest little turned up nose with just the right amount of freckles. She was the mirror image of her mother. Her mother had been the center of Kelsey’s life; Trent had never imagined that she would ever have to live without her mother. He had never entertained the idea of being left alone to raise their little girl alone. He knew he was ill equipped for such an important job.
“Daddy can we go to the park and feed the duckies?”
“The ducks not the duckies.”
“Can we go to the park and feed the ducks, please daddy.”
Trent grinned at his daughter and gave in without much of a fight, “I think that sounds like a terrific idea.”
Trent could see Kelsey fidgeting and glancing at the front counter. He wondered if she was as infatuated as he was with Sydney. She stood on her tiptoes and watched as Sydney handed an ice cream cone to a little boy about her age.
“Kelsey what’s the matter honey?”
She looked back toward Sydney and then smiled at her Trent, “Daddy may I ask Ms. Sydney to go with us to the park?”
“Honey I don’t think Ms. Sydney can just leave work to go to the park with us.”
Trent watched Kelsey as her face fell and she looked down at her feet. He hated telling her no but he and Sydney had never been friends, they never spoke more than the casual hello or hi all through school. He could see the disappointment settling in Kelsey face and her slumped shoulders broke his heart. He sighed he knew she would say no but what the hell, maybe Kelsey wouldn’t take it so hard if she at least got the chance to ask her herself.
“Daddy please I just want ask her. She is my friend and she is super nice to me. Please Daddy?”
Trent thought about it a moment longer, what would it hurt? After all Sydney was always nice to Kelsey, giving her treats and candy when she came in. Who knew she just might say yes.
“Well? Can I please just ask her?”
Trent could never say no to Kelsey, “Okay fine go ahead.”
He watched as Kelsey ran to the counter and began to talk to Sydney. He could see a smile on Sydney’s face as she leaned across the counter and patiently listened to Kelsey. He watched as she began nodding her head and saying something in return. In a few short minutes Kelsey was back at the table with a balloon and ice-cream in hand.
“Look what Ms. Sydney gave me.”
Trent watched her cheeky grin as she took a bite of the cold vanilla cone. He watched as the ice-cream covered her nose.
“That’s great honey, now are we ready to go?”
“Daddy we can’t leave yet, we have to wait for Ms. Sydney.”
Trent was frustrated how was he supposed explain why Sydney wasn’t going with them? He wished he had taken her to Burger king to eat.
“Kelsey sweetheart, Ms. Sydney is very busy and I am sure she has more important things to do other than spend a lazy day feeding the ducks with us.”
Trent could see the disappointment and hurt filling her sweet face and it almost brought him to his knees. She had been through so much and he hated seeing her upset.
“Honey we need to go.”
“What you’re going to leave without me?”
Trent looked up to see Sydney standing behind him with an impish grin on her face. He was utterly shocked to say the least, honestly he wasn’t sure what to do or say. He realized he must look like fool with his mouth gaping open. He tried to regain his composure.
“Sydney you’re really going with us today?”
“Well I couldn’t disappoint this beautiful little girl here, now could I? That is if you don’t object.”
Trent knew he was smiling like a fool but he was pleasantly surprised that Sydney was even talking to him.
“Object, of course not. I’d be honored to have you join us. I’m just surprised that you can leave like that? We aren’t going to get you in trouble or anything?”
Sydney tried to hide a smile as she rubbed her hand on Kelsey’s back. She looked at Trent and wondered what he was doing back in Cole County. He had been one of those who talked about getting out and never coming back; but she had been one of those too and here she was right back where she started.
“No worries I have connections with the boss. I was just filling in for a couple of hours this morning. One of the girls called in and you know me I rushed right over to help out. I guess that’s what happens when you own the place.”
“Yeah I guess that’s what happens when…..You own this place?”
Once again Trent looked over to see that impish grin playing on her lips. He caught his breath as he watched the light filtering through the window making it look as if she had a halo framing her head.
“Well mostly seventy five percent belongs to me and the other twenty five percent is held by my brother I run the day to day running of the place Brett just sees the bottom line.”
“So that’s why you’re here all the time.”
“That would explain it.”
Trent was even more intrigued by this woman standing beside him. He couldn’t help but think that there was a lot more he would like to know about her.
“So how long have you owned this place?”
Sydney leaned on the table top as if she were thinking back to another time and place. She straightened back up and looked a little embarrassed.
“Sorry I was wool gathering. Brett and I bought this place about six years ago, right around the time I got married.”
Trent had taken a drink of his lukewarm coffee and almost chocked. He thought he must have heard wrong, “Did you say married?”
By the look on her face she had most definitely said married. “Yeah I got married a couple years after high school. I tried to stay in college but it was too hard. We were trying to start a family, trying to get this place up and running and college something had to go. Not to mention Rick was a few years older and he had graduated that spring before we got married in June. So anyways I dropped out. I only had two years left and I just walked away.”
Trent knew the look on her face well one of regret. He could see it her eyes and ached to tell her it was okay. “Sydney you could still go back and finish what you started.”
“Well I am taking night classes right now and hopefully by Christmas I’ll be finished.”
“That’s really great Sydney.”
“Thanks so subject change, your turn on the hot seat. So Mr. Isaac inquiring minds want to know what you have been up to.” Sydney could see Trent’s face filling with embarrassment as she teased him. She wasn’t sure what had gotten into her but it was as if she could just be herself with him. “Seriously, I haven’t seen you in ages where have you been hiding?”
“I haven’t been hiding. I just moved back about seven months ago. I bought the old McGee place, you know on the outskirts of town. I’m still working on the renovations but I think it’s coming along really good.”
Sydney nodded her head as she listened to the timber of his smooth soft voice. She found herself staring at his lips as he spoke and she began to wonder how they might feel against her skin. She shook herself out of her random daydream and tried to follow the flow of the conversation.
“I wondered who had moved in over there. It’s funny I usually hear all the gossip but no one as even mentioned you yet. Do you mind me asking what made you decide to move back here? I can remember back in high school all your talk about getting out of town and never coming back.”
Trent shifted uncomfortably in his seat and glanced at Kelsey, who was totally absorbed in her ice-cream. He lowered his voice, “Well after Meg died I needed some help with Kelsey. My mom came to live with us for a while but then dad got sick and she had to come home. I tried daycare and sitters but nothing fit then mom called and volunteered to help if I agreed to come home and run the family business.” Trent paused for a moment to let Sydney take his words in. He was actually surprised that she remembered him at all. “I didn’t want Kelsey growing up in the city. I wanted her to grow up in the same small town that Meg and I did. A place where she could play outside without having to worry about drive by shootings or drugs on the playground. I guess I decided Cole County wasn’t so bad after all. Besides all that Dad was forced into retirement after his heart attack so I took over Isaac Construction.”
Sydney had heard about Megan St. John’s death and she had wondered how Trent had handled it. She could see the demons nipping at his heals and she knew she couldn’t go down that road yet. She decided to try to change the subject.
“Wow I didn’t know your dad retired. So you are now the owner/operator of Isaac Construction Company; no wonder your house looks so good.”
Trent was brought out of his melancholy by the sound of her gentle voice and he smiled at her compliment. “Thanks I am trying to do it on my own mostly on the weekends. Of course Ryan is helping me out, when he’s not out wooing the women of Cole County.”
Sydney laughed as she remembered the tall athletic guy with the green eyes and blonde hair, “I suppose that would be Ryan Harper your infamous partner in crime.”
“Hey I was home asleep when Mr. Varner’s house got toilet papered, that was all Ryan and Conner.”
Sydney felt the laughter bubbling up her throat as she envisioned Ryan and Conner with a dozen rolls of toilet paper, “I guess you’ve forgotten that you were pretty good at wooing the ladies of Cole County too.”
Trent could feel his face flushing at the barb, “Nah not me, you must have me confused with someone else.”
“Maybe but I don’t think so.”
“Okay enough about me, let’s get back to you. How long have you and your husband been together?”
Sydney nervously looked down as if she were studying the floor beneath her feet. She finally looked up and smiled weakly in Trent’s general direction, never making eye contact.
“We would’ve celebrated our sixth anniversary last week, if we had stayed together.”
Trent felt like an idiot as his eyes looked at her ring finger and saw the white circle where her wedding band had once been.
“I’m sorry I didn’t realize you were separated.”
Sydney avoided making eye contact by wiping a spot of ice-cream from Kelsey’s cheek.
“We’re not we’re divorced.”
She turned and threw the napkin away taking a moment to gather her runaway emotions. She still found it hard to believe that she was a divorced woman.
“I’m still sorry for bringing up what must be painful memories.”
Sydney shrugged her shoulders, “Don’t be it happens, divorce I mean. Trust me I am fine with it.”
Trent wished he could believe her but he could see a single tear on the bottom of her eye, threatening to start a tidal wave at any moment. He could almost see the ghosts trying to come out. The awkward silence stretched on for an immeasurable time until Kelsey’s voice sliced through tension filled room.
“Ms. Sydney can we go feed the ducks now?”
Sydney looked down at Kelsey; she was such an adorable child. She wanted to reach down and pull the little girl into her arms. Sydney took the little girl’s hand and headed to the door. She turned toward Trent with that grin on her face again, “Hurry up Mr. Isaac we have a date with some very important ducks.”
Kelsey chimed in a sing song voice, “Yeah, come on daddy.”
Sydney and Kelsey were already outside before he could even think to move. What was wrong with him today? What kind of affect was Sydney having on him? He had learned a little more about her in the brief conversation at the café but oh how he wanted to know more about this lovely lady. He wanted to know everything about Sydney Jordan.
Once outside Sydney realized what a beautiful day it was. The last couple of weeks had been unbearably hot even for July. The temperature had dropped off and it was actually a nice day with a breeze. It reminded her of a late September day, why hadn’t she noticed how pretty it was before?
“Sydney do you want to leave your car here?”
Sydney shook her head, “I would really like to go home and change if that’s okay with you guys.”
Trent nodded, “Sure that’s fine.”
“Great if you want to go on to the park I’ll meet you there.”
Trent thought about that for a moment, now that she had said yes he didn’t want to let her out of his sight. He was very afraid that she might change her mind.
“Why don’t we just follow you home and wait for you? Then we can all go together?”
Sydney hesitated for half a second, “Okay as long as you don’t mind waiting a few minutes.”
Trent felt the air he hadn’t realized he was holding rush out mixed with the words, “I could wait forever.” He could feel his face turning bright red, he hadn’t meant to say that out loud, “What I meant to say was Kelsey and I are in no hurry so take as long as you need.”
Sydney watched as he buckled Kelsey in her booster seat. She quickly opened her door and slid behind the wheel. She hoped that Trent hadn’t noticed her staring at him. She couldn’t believe that she was going to be spending the whole day with Trent Isaac and his daughter.
She tried to convince herself that she had only accepted because it had been Kelsey who had asked her to go. She was such a sweet kid and she had been through so much losing her mom at such a young age. Sydney ached for the void that must have filled the place her heart had once been, poor Kelsey. Sydney would do anything for her, but she also knew in her heart the real reason was Trent.
Trent seemed to be such a funny and down to earth guy had he always been like that? Had she failed to notice how great he was until now? She had thought she had known him in high school, but he had never even known she was alive.
He was tall, athletic and very good looking. He had short black hair and amazing green eyes. The first thing she had noticed about him all those years ago had been his eyes. She had found herself lost in a sea of green and she had wondered what was hiding behind those guarded orbs. Of course he hung out with the basketball players and cheerleaders which had never been Sydney’s crowd; it wasn’t that she had anything against them but she didn’t drink or swear. Sydney was comfortable in her own skin and she didn’t feel the need to make others feel small in order to make herself feel big.
Sydney had been involved in almost every club and after school activity but somehow she never crossed paths with Trent, maybe because she headed the opposite direction anytime he was near. She had played softball from the age of five and she loved it. She had been really good at it o, she had loved being on the field with the smell of the fresh cut grass and the feel of the dirt under her feet. The feeling of standing on the pitcher’s mound and making eye contact with the batter and then hearing the simple words “Strike three, you’re out!”, what a rush that had given her as if she were invincible and nothing could touch her. She sometimes wished she could still play but that had been a lifetime ago.
Sydney still remembered the first time she had met Trent; it had been the summer before her sophomore year. She had practically lived at the ball park playing on an all-state team and coaching a younger team. One of Sydney’s best friends, Marley Timmons had been helping with the team. She had been going on and on about some new guy, who had just moved to town apparently to play basketball. He would be starting school in the fall. When Sydney heard he had transferred to play ball that was all she needed to hear to know he would be out of her reach. She just didn’t mesh well with jocks and girls who wore clothes two sizes too small. Sydney listened as Marley rattled on and on endlessly about Trent Isaac. It really didn’t matter if Sydney liked him or not because it was beyond obvious that Marley had a thing for him. Sydney knew her friend well enough to know that what Marley wanted Marley got. She loved her friend but everything seemed to come so easily to Marley and it wasn’t that she was jealous; she just wished that guys noticed her like they did Marley.
In the Jordan family Sydney had been the only girl with three brothers and seventeen cousins all of whom were boys. She had grown up following the guys she had been a tomboy and they just treated her like one of the guys. She had always insisted on doing whatever they were doing , baseball, basketball, football, go-carts, camping, hiking, fishing , hunting you name it she could do it. Growing up as one of the guys had been so much fun and she had loved every minute of it. She had taken pride in the fact that when teams were picked for sports everyone wanted her on their team. She was better than all of the guys put together and they all knew it. It had driven her mother crazy, she had wanted Sydney to be lady like and pristine but she would no part of it. She had refused to wear dresses except for church and chose to wear jeans and hand-me down t-shirts the rest of the time. She had never stopped to think that one day her mother would be proven right. Then one day it happened the guys started taking an interest in girls. They had started dating and Sydney couldn’t very well tag along on dates to the movies and dances. So the guys had grown up and left her behind.
When Marley had brought Trent to the ball park to watch her play Sydney had been swept away. She had never seen anyone who made her melt—until she laid eyes on Trent Isaac. She however seemed to have no affect on him at all. He had smiled and been polite but all of his attention had been on Marley. Being the new guy in town had given him an advantage no other guy had, mystery. Everyone wanted to know about Trent Isaac and everyone wanted to be his best friend. The romance was short lived and by the time school started every girl in Cole County wanted to date Trent Isaac. Sydney had comforted Marley after the break up but seeing Marley so upset made Sydney think little of Trent Isaac. That had been the end of her dreaming about Trent Isaac.
Sydney came crashing back to reality as she turned on to the road leading to her apartment. She had to stop this insane daydreaming, enough of memory lane for today. Trent might be older and more mature but he was no more interested in her now than he had been in high school. Trent Isaac was, is and would always out of her reach. After all until today he had never said more than two words to her, hello or goodbye. He hadn’t even known she had existed. He was only letting her tag along today because of Kelsey. Well she was with them for today and she would enjoy it while it lasted and only God knew how ling that might be.
Sydney pulled her mustang in slowly and killed the engine. She almost ran to unlock the front door. Trent and Kelsey pulled into the parking space next to her.
“Ms. Sydney can we take your car to the park?”
“Sure if it’s okay with your daddy.”
Kelsey looked hopefully at Trent, “Well can we daddy?”
“What’s wrong with my truck? Do you two lovelies think your too good to ride in my old work truck?’
Sydney could see the mischief twinkling in his eyes. He stood with his hands on his hips, staring down at Kelsey and glancing in Sydney’s direction. Sydney couldn’t help smiling at the pair.
“Nothing daddy, but I like Ms. Sydney’s car. We can ride with the wind in our hair like the people on TV.”
“Okay I have to admit that I have been dying to ride in Sydney’s new car ever since she got it. Who knows she might even let me drive.”
Trent flashed her that perfect smile that made her want to melt into a puddle at his feet. She realized that right about now there wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for him.
“Maybe who knows? Stanger things have been known to happen in Cole County.”
Sydney tossed her keys on the table and ushered her guests in. She talked over her shoulder as she left the room, “Make yourselves at home. There are sodas in the fridge and the remote is on the coffee table.”
“Syd we’ll be fine, just go and get ready.”
Hearing Trent call her Syd almost made her stop in her tracks. She felt tears fill her eyes, how long had it been since a man had been in her house? How long since a man under the age of fifty had called her Syd? She was being silly and far too emotional. She told herself to get a grip as she scolded herself, “Gees you would think I was back in high school and the captain of the basketball team was sitting in my living room. Come Syd Trent is no longer the captain of anything; he is a friend waiting for you with his six year old daughter.”
Sydney hurried in and out of the shower to her walk in closet. She searched for her Capri pants, red tank top and old comfortable sandals. She began to hurry she hated the thought of Trent getting impatient or simply changing his mind and leaving without even saying goodbye. She brushed her hair and applied a touch of makeup. What was that commercial if it took longer than five minutes you’ve got too much on? Sydney studied her reflection in the mirror and knew it would have to do. She slipped her feet into the worn but comfy sandals and headed for the stairs. Would he still be waiting or had she taken too long? She held her breath as she turned the corner and looked over the railing. She descended the steps two at a time. She stepped off the landing and entered the living room. She could feel her lips forming a smile as her eyes took in the sight of Trent and Kelsey lying in the floor watching her favorite Disney movie Beauty and The Beast.
“It looks like you two are doing alright and I was afraid you’d be bored.”
“Hey I didn’t even hear you come down...” Trent wasn’t able to finish his sentence when his gaze fell on Sydney. He found himself speechless; she was breathtaking in a clean pure sort of way. She had very little need for makeup for she had a natural beauty that radiated filling the room with a glow, “Wow you look great and it only took you ten minutes I’m impressed. I’m also amazed it always took Meg at least an hour to get ready to go to the grocery store….” Trent caught himself and an awkward silence filled the room.
Sydney saw the look of sadness flicker in his eyes as he spoke of his deceased wife. She wanted to reach over to hold his hand and take some of his pain and grief she saw reflecting in his eyes on to herself. She wished she could be the friend that he seemed to need; she just wasn’t sure how to go about being that friend without crossing the unseen line around his broken heart. She had never been very good at relationships even platonic ones she always seemed to inevitably screw them up. Impossible relationships seemed to be her forte.
She cleared her throat, “Thanks it usually takes me longer but I hated to keep you guys waiting so here I am.”
Trent pushed his feelings of guilt away and smiled at Sydney. She was always thinking of others and never seemed to think of herself or what she needed. He didn’t think she ever considered what she wanted or needed. Like today for instance he was sure she could’ve found a hundred other things to do today but here she was agreeing to spend the day with them. Well with Kelsey, he was sure that if it wasn’t for Kelsey Sydney would never have agreed to spend the day with him alone.
Trent couldn’t imagine what a loser her ex-husband had been or what could have possible made him leave such a wonderful woman. He had to be crazy or blind if he hadn’t realized that he had had the prettiest, sweetest and smartest wife in Cole County. Trent found himself wondering what had gone wrong for Sydney just didn’t seem the leaving type. Trent looked at the pillow in his hand to see he was clutching it so tight his knuckles were white. The thought of anyone hurting Sydney made him so angry he couldn’t even think straight. He would gladly make anyone who hurt her pay dearly for their transgressions.
Sydney’s voice pulled him out of his troubled thoughts, “Well are we ready?”
She and Kelsey were standing at the door waiting for him. Sydney looked so nervous that she might run up the stairs and hide under the covers if he didn’t say something. Kelsey’s excited voices chimed in breaking the uncomfortable silence, “Come on daddy let’s go!!”
Sydney grabbed her key ring off the table by the door and waited for Trent to follow them outside. She caught his eye and playfully tossed him the keys, “Heads up Mr. Isaac.”
Trent looked from the keys now in his hand and back at Sydney with confusion clouding his handsome face. He continued to look from the keys back to her as if he truly had no idea what to do with them.
“Syd I was only kidding about driving. I honestly didn’t expect you to let me drive your new car.”
“I know that but I feel like being pampered today so you get to be our chauffer today Mr. Isaac.”
Sydney climbed in the backseat and buckled Kelsey in beside her. She rummaged around in her bulky straw bag and pulled out two pair of sunglasses. She put one pair on Kelsey and then slid the other pair on preventing Trent from seeing her eyes.
“Are you sure about this Sydney?”
“Absolutely now come on Sir time is wasting let’s go.”
Trent shook his head as he grabbed Kelsey’s backpack out his truck and tossed it in the vacant seat beside him. He laughed at the sight of Sydney and Kelsey sitting in the back with their sunglasses on and singing some kid’s song at the top of their lungs. He slid in the seat and turned the key in the ignition and sighed at the purr of the engine. One thing was for sure Sydney had excellent taste in cars.
“Okay everyone buckled in and ready for takeoff?”
Sydney checked Kelsey’s car seat and then fastened her own, “Ok captain ready for takeoff.”
Trent slowly backed out of the parking space and pulled on to the road. He was a little nervous driving her new car, “Syd are you sure this is okay, what if I have a wreck? You would probably hate me and never speak to me again.”
“First of all my insurance covers anyone driving as long as I am in the car. Secondly that is just the silliest thing I have ever heard. You will not have a wreck and if you did I would still have to talk to you.”
Trent watched her in the rearview mirror but the dam sunglasses made it impossible to see her eyes. He could hear the teasing in her voice, “Really and why is that?”
“I always talk to the regulars at the Café so you see problem solved.”
Trent laughed at her ridiculous reasoning and shook his head, “Okay then we have a date with some ducks!!”
Kelsey cheered and raised her hands in the air as he pulled on to the main highway. She looked at Sydney and tried to talk so that she could hear her soft voice over the wind whipping around them.
“Ms. Sydney will you slid down the slide with me?”
“Sure I will sweetie.”
Kelsey clapped her hands excitedly, “Great daddy won’t he says he’s too big.”
“Maybe he’s just scared. We’ll work on him.”
Trent could see the smile on her face and knew she was teasing him unmercifully. He felt his heart skip a beat she was beautiful and he knew he was falling for her. The question now was what was he going to do about it? He would not let her slip away from him again. He knew he would have to take a risk but he had to find a way into her heart because his was lost to her the day he walked into the café six months ago. He listened as his two favorite girls sang off key and he wondered exactly how someone falling in love manages to fall gracefully.
Sydney was still feeling a little loopy and out of sync with the rest of the world but overall she felt good. She was so ready to get out of the hospital and start planning her new life. She still found it hard to believe that she was really going to be Mrs. Trent Isaac and that she no longer had that bone chilling fear that had kept her frozen in place for so long. She had so much to be thankful for and she knew that somehow God had always had a plan for even when she hadn’t seen it. She breathed a silent prayer and slowly sat on the edge of the bed.
Sydney had really wanted to get married on December 10 but that was less than two weeks away. She wasn’t sure that even her mother could pull off a wedding on that short of notice. She really didn’t want a big outlandish wedding but if she left it up to her mother it would be anything but small. She also had a nagging suspicion that Ryan might not be ready for such a strenuous event and Trent would want him to stand up with him. Ryan had been his best friend since the day he moved to Cole County so that was just a given.
Sydney slowly pushed her feet into her slippers and on wobbly legs got to her feet. She held on to the arm of the chair that sat by the bed and began to make her way to the door. She felt very much like a fish out of water as if she took one cautious step after another. She made it to the door and carefully peaked out into the hall before slowly inching along the wall to Ryan’s room. She softly knocked on the door and waited for his usually cheerful voice to answer. She heard a testy come in that sounded nothing like the Ryan she knew.
Sydney entered the dark room where she saw Ryan buried under covers and a sullen look on his handsome face. She knew he must be in a lot of pain and no doubt dealing with a lot of emotional baggage. She ached for her friend and felt as if she were somehow responsible for his pain. She walked to the edge of the bed and softly called out to him.
“Hey you, why so surly?”
Ryan turned his face toward her and shook his disheveled hair. “Hey Syd it’s good to see you up and around.”
Sydney could hear the fake cheerfulness in his voice. “Yeah I’ve been worried about you, so I thought I’d come check on you myself.”
Ryan offered her a half smile, “Well here I am alive and kicking.”
Sydney made her way to the chair by the bed and sat down. “Come on Ryan what’s really going on? You don’t even sound like yourself and the eyes that used to glitter with laughter are dull.”
Ryan stared at the clock on the wall behind Sydney and shook his head in denial. “I’m fine just a little beat up but I’ll survive, right?”
Sydney reached for his hand, “Ah Ryan you’ve been through so much and I am so sorry that Rick did this to you but you will get through this. We’re all here for you and we’ll do whatever it takes to help you.”
Ryan turned his eyes toward Sydney. “That’s just it I don’t want anybody’s help or people feeling sorry for me. I know that the chances of me walking again are slim to none so what’s the point? I’m never going to be the person I used to be, never walk, never run, never sail or swim. I will never be able to work a real job or be of any use to anybody. “
Sydney could hear the frustration in his voice and see the defeat in his eyes. She wasn’t sure what to say to make him feel better.
“Ryan I know this is going to be a long road to recovery but you will walk again. I believe that with all my heart because I know that God can do some pretty amazing things. You are not a burden and I know that Marley cares for you a lot and will not leave you to your own devices.”
Ryan looked at Sydney and spoke in a firm voice, “I’m no good for Marley she deserves someone who will be her equal and that’s not me. I will not tie her down and keep her from doing all the things she had planned.”
“Ryan you’re not dead so stop acting like it. I’m sure there isn’t anything that Marley wants more than to help you recover and start living your life again.”
Ryan refused to look at Sydney’s face as he spoke, “Did you know that she wants to go snowboarding in Colorado? Not to mention hang gliding while she’s near Denver. Marley is a vibrant person with so much to offer the world and I will not be the one to hold her back.”
Sydney could hear the longing in the low timber of his voice. “Ryan shouldn’t it be her choice?”
He shook his head as the intensity of his stare felt like a thousand suns burning her face. “Syd, I care for Marley a lot and I won’t lie to you I had thought maybe we could have a life together but not anymore. She deserves so much more than I will ever be able to give her. I love her so much that I have to let her go; so please don’t push this any further.”
Sydney knew that Ryan had made up his mind and the he wasn’t ready to listen to reason. She shuffled her feet as she stood and leaned over the bedrail to drop a chaste kiss to his weathered cheek. “Ryan I will respect your wishes and I promise not to interfere but that doesn’t mean that Marley won’t.”
Ryan rested his head on the rumbled pillow and nodded. “I’ll deal with Marley. Will you promise me one thing?”
Sydney nodded, “Of course anything.”
“This will end badly and I need to know that when Marley comes to you that you’ll be there to help her pick up the pieces.”
Sydney nodded as a single tear escaped down her cheek. “I’ll always be here for Marley but Ryan you really should reconsider what you’re doing before you go breaking her heart.”
He stared absently at the ceiling as he spoke, “Believe me, I’ve done nothing but think about. So trust me this is what’s best for Marley.”
Sydney knew that Ryan was beyond listening so she changed the subject. “Fine I’ll drop it for now but don’t think I won’t bring it back up at a later date.” Sydney turned around leaning against the door frame to look at Ryan. “By the way a while back Trent said he’d been watching out of me for a long time and when I asked what he meant, he told me to ask you.”
Ryan gave her a sad smile. “Well back in high school he was always making sure that none of the guys bothered you or even pretended to ask you out so we all just started calling him your guardian angel. I swear Syd; he did nothing to help your social life because all the guys were scared to ask you out. I guess now I know why he acted so crazy whenever somebody dared to entertain the idea of asking you out.”
Sydney stood with her mouth gaping in surprise. “But you asked me out.”
Ryan gave a knowing smile, “Yeah I just knew you’d say yes and then Trent would be forced to finally admit his true feelings for you; unfortunately you turned me down.”
Sydney was still reeling from all this new information. “So you never really wanted to go out with me?”
“Oh I wouldn’t have minded asking you out but I kind of had my eye on someone else back then.”
Sydney crossed her arms, “Wow I didn’t even think Trent knew I existed back then and I think you still have your eye on that girl even now.”
Ryan shrugged, “It really doesn’t matter anymore.”
Sydney had one more thing to say before she returned to her own room. “Ryan the funny thing about Angels is you never know who or where they might be and I think you might have an Angel watching out for you whether you want her to or not.”
Ryan closed his eyes and drew a ragged breath. “Well it would take a lot of praying for me to change my mind.”
Sydney nodded. “Well I’m pretty sure that there are a lot of prayers going out for you so you better watch out for those angels unaware.”
Sydney slipped out of the room before Ryan could say anything. She had almost made it to her room when Trent came out the door and helped her to bed.
“Sydney what in God’s name are you doing wandering the halls?”
She gave him her most innocent smile, “I was just checking on Ryan.”
Trent pulled the covers over her and clucked his tongue. “I think Ryan is a big boy and capable of taking care of himself.”
Sydney frowned as she spoke, “I’m not so sure about that, have you actually talked to him since I woke up?”
Trent squirmed uncomfortably in his chair. “Well I’ve been a little preoccupied but he seemed fine the other day.”
“Well he wasn’t fine just now. Trent I really think he needs our help, even if he doesn’t think so.”
Trent nodded, “Ok tell me what’s going on.”
Sydney began to explain her conversation with Ryan while Trent listened. He took her words in and tried to wrap his head around what could’ve happened since yesterday. He knew that Ryan was having tests run today but he had honestly forgotten to check in with him.
“Sydney did he say why he thought Marley was better off without him?”
Sydney shook her head from side to side, “No but he kept saying he didn’t want to hold her back or keep her from doing all the things she wanted to do. Trent it was like he had given up on getting better, what do you think that means?”
Trent had known Ryan for a long time and he knew this wasn’t like him at all. He had to find out what had happened to make him so sullen and hell bent on screwing up his life.
“I don’t know but I’ll find out.”
Sydney nodded, “Ok so about the wedding we’ll have to change the date or you’ll have to find a new best man.”
Trent grimaced, “I’ll talk to Ryan but I am not going to wait a minute longer than I have to make you my wife. I’ll get my brother take Ryan’s place if he can’t make the wedding.”
Sydney smiled. “Good because I really didn’t want to wait.”
Trent leaned down and dropped a kiss on her lips. “Good, glad we agree.”
Sydney wound her hands around his neck and drew him close for another kiss. She could feel her skin tingling as he ran his hands up her arms then through her hair. She loved him so much more than words could ever convey.
Trent marveled at the feel of her hair like silk sifting through his fingers and the fragrant smell of her freshly washed skin. He had never dreamed that such beauty and love would ever be his but he knew that all he would ever need was here in his arms. He slowly ended the kiss and eased her back against the pillows. His body missed her nearness at once but he knew she needed her rest.
“Sydney I need to talk to Ryan but Alana and Kelsey are waiting to see you.”
Sydney perked up at once, “Really please send them up.”
Trent stood to his feet before kissing her cheek. “I’ll go get them and then go talk to Ryan.”
Sydney watched him walk out the door with a determined stride; he was a man on a mission. She relaxed into her pillows as a knock sounded on her door.
“Come on in Alana.”
She watched as the door opened but instead of Alana it was Sam. “Hey Syd I thought I would come check on you before I head to the office. So how are you feeling?”
Sydney grimaced at the brace on her wrist. “I’m good but my wrist is still a little tender.”
Sam smiled, “That’s to be expected you took quite a fall. You’ll need to stay off your feet for a few days and take it easy.”
Sydney readily agreed. “Of course I will.”
Sam gave her a knowing look. “Of course I know you won’t, not without a fight but lucky for you I know Trent will be watching you like a hawk.”
Sydney laughed. “You hit the nail on the head. He will be stuck to me like glue, so no worries.”
“I’ll head up to the nurses’ station and start the paperwork. I’ll see you in my office next Tuesday.”
Sydney saluted, “Aye, aye Captain.”
Sam was still laughing as Alana and Kelsey came in the room. “Hey guys what’s so funny?”
Sydney grinned. “I get to fly this coop as soon as Dr. Davis fills out my release papers.”
Sam held out his hands to ward off an attack, “I’m on my way ma’am.”
Alana and Kelsey took his place by Sydney’s bed as he left the room. “So you get to come home today, that’s great.”
Sydney smiled as Alana took her hand and admired her ring. “Oh my Syd this ring is gorgeous.”
Sydney’s smile grew wider, “Thank you and it’s absolutely perfect.”
“It really is, congratulations.”
Sydney patted the bed and looked at Kelsey, “Come here Kelsey and tell me what you and Alana have been up to.”
Kelsey clamored up on the bed and began to talk. “Well we played go fish and Alana was terrible.” Sydney could see Alana hiding a smile as Kelsey continued to talk. “We watched The Little Mermaid and Beauty and The Beast, ate pizza and made cookies. Oh and I beat her like a dozen times at Pac-Man.”
Sydney smiled at Kelsey’s animated face as she continued to talk. “Alana even let me have cupcakes for breakfast but don’t tell daddy he would never let me have cupcakes for breakfast.”
Sydney raised an eyebrow Alana while talking to Kelsey. “Well breakfast is the most important meal of the day so you should eat something a little healthier than sugar.”
Kelsey looked thoughtfully at Sydney. “That’s exactly what my daddy would say.” Kelsey watched Sydney closely scrutinizing her facial expression and the way she patted her arm. “Ms. Sydney is you going to marry my daddy.”
Sydney was too surprised to speak for a minute. “Kelsey what gave you that idea?”
Kelsey giggled, “Daddy told me he wanted to marry you a long time ago, so are you, going to marry him and be my step mommy?”
Sydney took Kelsey’s hand in her own. “Kelsey, sweetheart, I very much want to marry your daddy and to be part of your family but what do you think about it?”
Kelsey threw her arms around Sydney’s neck. “I think it’s perfect.”
Sydney hugged Kelsey close and breathed in the scent of cotton and baby lotion of innocence in its basic form. After a minute Kelsey pulled back and grinned up at Sydney.
“So do I get to be in the wedding?”
Sydney laughed, “Well of course my sweet girl.”
Alana joined the conversation. “So what kind of wedding are we having?”
Sydney began to play with Kelsey hair as she spoke in a dreamy voice. “Well it’s going to be in a couple of weeks so there’s not a lot of time but with my mother anything is possible.”
Alana laughed, “Your mother is brilliant with flowers and all the little details that make her parties the talk of the town.”
Sydney agreed wholeheartedly, “Yes she’s great and I have some ideas floating around in my head. Ms Kelsey how would you like to be a princess?”
Kelsey squealed, “Like Belle and Aerial?”
Sydney leaned down and whispered in her ear, “Just like Belle and Aerial only better you’ll be princess Kelsey the most beautiful princess in the world.”
Kelsey giggled with excitement. “I can’t wait.”
Alana raised her hand toward Kelsey who slapped it with a grin.
“So I was thinking of a Jack Frost/fairytale theme that would be perfect. It’s cold and snowy outside and mom and dad’s house is the perfect setting with their view of the garden covered in ice and snow from the great room. I can picture it with the sparkle and whimsy of winter, cool blues, pale purple, silver and I’ve got the white covered and lots of sparkle!”
Alana and Kelsey clapped their hands. “It sounds amazing.”
Sydney knew it would take a lot of work but she also knew it her mother could do it. She listened as Kelsey and Alana talked about dresses and music. She was so happy that she felt as if she might float right off the bed into a fairy tale of her own.
The only thing giving her pause was how things were going a few doors down. She hoped that Trent had been able to talk some sense into Ryan and that he would soon be back to his usual cheerful self. Sydney knew that without Ryan there it would feel as if something were missing for Trent. She shook off her melancholy and focused on the conversation of flowers and invitations.
As Sydney stepped inside her apartment she thought she would feel some sense of peace but instead she was consumed with an overwhelming feeling of loss. She knew that she should feel safe now that Rick was gone forever but she wondered what other monsters might be lurking in the dark. She wondered how she had been so wrong about the man she had given so much of herself too and that made her sad.
She heard the door close softly behind her and then Trent’s arms encircled her. She leaned into him and took comfort in the warmth she found in his simple touch. Sydney knew that it would be a long time before she wasn’t looking over her shoulder but at least now she knew who’d be behind her, loving her and keeping her safe. She turned around and laid her head on his chest listening to the steady beat of his heart.
“Thank you for bringing me home.”
Trent began to rub soothing circles on her back. “Did you really think I would let you do this alone? I know you’ve got a lot of things to work out but I want you to know that I’m here for you always.”
Sydney nodded as she stepped back and took his hand leading him to the couch. “I know that and I honestly don’t think I could do any of this without you.”
Trent settled at the end of the couch as Sydney flopped down with her head in his lap. “I think that you would have managed without me but I’m glad you didn’t have to. So how was your visit with Alana?”
“Yes we talked about you, the wedding and Ryan. So what did you find out when you talked to him today?”
Trent looked distracted, “Nothing he wouldn’t talk about it, in fact he barely said two words to me. I was hoping that Marley could shed some light on the subject.”
Sydney glanced at the clock, “Well it’s almost four so she’ll be home soon, today was her half day. Alana and Kelsey should be back from the mall at five as well.”
As if on cue the front door opened and Marley came in the door. Sydney could tell by her expression and slumped shoulders that whatever was on her mind was not good. She tossed her keys on the foyer table and hung her coat in the hall closet. She slowly made her way to the living room with dejected look on her face.
Sydney straightened up on the couch and patted the space next to her. “Marley what’s the matter, is it Ryan?”
Marley looked up with tears spilling over her bottom eyelashes as she nodded her head. “He’s decided that he doesn’t need or want me in his life.”
Sydney put her arm around Marley’s trembling shoulder. “Oh Marley why would he do that?”
Marley tried to speak in between the hiccups. “The specialist came in to talk to him this morning and it wasn’t what he expected to hear.”
Trent looked anxiously at Marley, “How bad was it? Is the recovery time longer than he expected?”
Marley shook her head, “That’s just it Dr. Meadows told him that the chances of him every walking without the aid of a walker or cane are slim to none and that’s if he ever makes out of the wheelchair. When Ryan heard that he just kind of shut down and I’m not sure if he even knows what he’s doing right now.”
Sydney looked at Trent as their worst fears were confirmed. Ryan the all American athlete, volunteer fire fighter, all around good guy might never walk again and he had all but given up on trying.
Oh I am so happy that you updated and it was long and full of good stuff and sad stuff! I am so happy that Syd is out of the hospital and that she has Trent adn that Kelsey is happy about the wedding and that Alana seems to be doing ok. I am so sad that Ryan had bad news and I dont like the doctor that gave him the bad news. He needs a second and third opinion. lol I really feel for Marley too! Its so sad that she has to deal with Ryan pushing her away. I hope she sticks with him no matter what! I loved it all and I cant wait for more! Im interested in the wedding of course! Great work!!!
Hi Alice so sorry for the wait but here's update number 2 of your birthday present. I hope you like it I wanted it to be perfect but not sure I got it right. Fingers crossed.
hi sarah! needless to say, amazing work as usual!! but pllllllzzzzzzz update lgl!!!!! its been ages!! and im longing to read it!!!! -smru =)
I am so glad to hear from you!! I have missed you. So I have been having a bit of writer's block on LGL so I had to take a step back but I am going to try really hard to get the new chapter up this week. Thanks for reading and liking my stories.
Sydney woke up the day before her wedding to find that the world had been transformed into a winter wonderland by snow. As she peered out her bedroom window she smiled at the beauty of the pristine white snow. She had been hoping and praying for snow for the last week and had been scared that her Jack Frost themed wedding would be held without the snow. She pulled her robe closer around her chest as she let the curtain fall back into place.
She knew that tomorrow was going to be the best day of her life and the snow was just the icing on the cake. She pinched herself to make sure she wasn’t dreaming; that Trent was actually going to be waiting at the end of the aisle tomorrow. She twirled around the room and stopped in front of her mirror and gazed at her expression. She had never thought she would be this happy ever again. How was this even possible that the face staring back at her, the dewy cheeks, the shining eyes, the blinding smile and the glowing skin were all hers?
Sydney made her way to the closet and opened the door and removed the long white garment bag. She crossed the room and lay it on the bed before pulling the zipper down. She ran her finger over the tulle, lace and intricate beading. She had seen this dress in a shop window and it had seemed to call her name. She had tried it on and even though she was a little over three months pregnant it fit perfectly.
Sydney heard a soft knock on her door. She pulled the zipper up and crossed the room to see who was at her door. She saw her mother and Gram standing in her hallway. Sydney pulled the door open wider and hugged her Gram first and then her mother.
“Gram, how are you feeling? Are you sure you’re up to being out in all this cold?”
Gram patted Sydney’s arm, “Sweet girl, I’m fit as a fiddle it would take more than a little arthritis or snow to keep me away from my only granddaughter’s wedding.”
Sydney laughed and helped guide her Gram to the rocking chair by the bed. Her mother followed them into the room and picked up the garment bag from the bed.
“I see you’ve been admiring your dress again.”
Sydney could see the laugher in her mother’s eyes. “Just a little bit; I just can’t seem to believe that I’m getting married to the greatest, most wonderful and amazing man I’ve ever met tomorrow. This is real right? I’m not getting set up for some reality show like Punk’d am I?”
Grace hung the garment bag on the back of the closet door and put an arm around Sydney. “No honey this is your happily ever after and you deserve it so enjoy it.”
Sydney swiped at the tear that was teetering on the bottom of her eyelid. “This is more than I could have ever hoped for.”
Grace hugged Sydney and led her to the bed. As Sydney sat down she felt a flutter in her stomach. She placed her hands on her stomach and gasped. Her mother and grandmother looked at her expediently. She reached for their hand and placed them on her belly. As they waited suddenly their eyes widened as her stomach moved with sound of their voices.
Grace clasped Sydney’s hand in her as they marveled at the tiny wonder that moved beneath their other hands.
“Sydney this little miracle will be your greatest adventure. I am so happy for you and for Trent.”
Sydney laid her head on her mother’s shoulder. She found it hard to speak over the lump that had formed in her throat. She had all of her dreams within reach and she knew that in a little over 24 hours she would be Mrs. Trent Isaac and the mother of their son. She could see the love in her mother’s eyes as well as Gram’s.
“Gram I guess you were right about miracles happening.”
Gram placed a feeble hand on Sydney’s knee. “All things are possible when you believe.”
Sydney knew Gram was right but she was afraid that Gram might be disappointed in her. She had never really told her that she was pregnant but somehow she knew. Her Gram was old school love, marriage and then the baby. Sydney cleared her throat and tried to think of the words to explain how she had gotten it backwards.
“Gram you know I am so happy right now and I wouldn’t change anything that got me to this point in my life. I just hope that you aren’t disappointed in me.”
Sydney raised her downturned eyes to see her Gram’s eyes sparkling with love and understanding. “Sydney Erin Jordan I have never been disappointed in you and we all make mistakes.”
Sydney nodded. “Yes but I feel like I have let God down by what happened.”
Gram patted her knee, “Sydney do you remember in the Bible when David coveted Bathsheba? She was married to another man but he not only coveted her, he had her husband killed. David was as close to God as any human could be and yet he sinned but God forgave him and so he shall you. This baby is a gift and blessing from God.”
Sydney smiled through her tears. “As always you’re right Gram, thank you.”
Grace stood to her feet. “Sydney Marley and Alana are waiting to start loading these boxes and take them to Trent’s house. Have you packed your overnight bag? I have your room all ready at home and the girls will be there at six for your last night of freedom.”
Sydney laughed. “You make it sound like I’m going to prison instead of getting married.”
Grace‘s laughter joined her daughter’s. “Well in a few years you may feel that way too.”
Sydney shook her head. “I highly doubt that but yes my bag is ready.”
Grace stood to her feet and walked to the door. She pulled the door open and called for the girls waiting in the hall. “Ladies I think she’s ready to go.”
Alana, Marley, Suzanne and Mackenzie walked into the room. “We had a couple more join the party.”
Sydney crossed the room and hugged her friends. “Thank you guys for coming to help. I swear they act like I’m made of glass these days.”
Suzanne laid a hand on Sydney’s belly, “Well you are even if you don’t look like it yet.”
Sydney laughed. “I still don’t know why you won’t let me at least ride with you guys to what will be my new home tomorrow.”
Mackenzie laughed at Sydney’s frown. “Well first it’s by strict orders of Trent so you’ll have to ask him.”
As if on cue a deep masculine voice filled the room. “Did I hear my name?”
Sydney looked up to see Trent’s tall frame filling her doorway. She sighed as she remembered how only a few months ago he had stood in that exact spot looking so out of reach. She would have never dreamed that on that day in July that her whole life was about to change. Yes Gram was right sometimes dreams did come in expected ways.
Sydney all but floated to the door and stood on her tiptoes. “Yes I believe you did.” She placed a kiss on his handsome face. “Good morning Mr. Isaac.”
He placed his arms around her and looked into her eyes. “Yes it is a good morning now.” Trent then kissed her soundly on the lips in front of her family and friends. Sydney giggled as he slowly ended the kiss and said good morning to her mother and Gram.
“Good morning ladies. So what’s on the agenda today?”
Grace smiled as she began to take charge. “I am taking Sydney’s dress and accessories down to my car, that overnight bag will go with us as well. All of the boxes go to your house and everything in the nursery is ready to go as well. Alana you drive Sydney’s car to Trent’s so she won’t have to worry about it tomorrow. Trent you need to be at the house at 11 for lunch with the family and rehearsal at 7 this evening.”
Trent saluted before grabbing the largest box and a suitcase from the bed. The girls began to collect the remaining boxes before following Trent downstairs. Sydney looked around her empty room with only the bed and dresser remaining. She had taken refuge and comfort here after her divorce but now it was time to begin a new chapter of her life.
Sydney stood in the middle of what had been her childhood bedroom. She drew a deep breath as she thought of where she would be sleeping tonight. She smiled as she hugged herself close for she would be starting a whole new life.
Sydney turned to look in the oval framed mirror. She twisted from side to side and smiled as the layers of tulle flowed to the floor in a puffy floor length ball gown. She felt very much like a princess as the delicate appliqués and beading on the bodice and hater straps glistened in the overhead light. She almost didn’t recognize herself with the upswept hair and expertly applied makeup but it was her deep chestnut eyes that stared back at her.
She twirled around as the door opened behind her and Alana and Marley walked in with a very excited Kelsey. She looked like a miniature version of Sydney in her princess dress. She held her basket of pale lavender rose petals carefully in her tiny hands.
Sydney knelt down in front of her and placed her hands on her upper arms. “Honey you look like you stepped right out of a fairytale.”
Kelsey giggled as she danced around the room. “I feel like Cinderella, Belle, Ariel and Snow White all rolled in to one.”
Sydney kissed her rosy cheek before standing up. She looked at her two best friends and marveled at how different things were this time around. When she had married Rick it had been a disaster with Alana leaving before the ceremony even began. She could see the love and support in their eyes and knew that this was the real thing.
“You guys look amazing and I can’t thank you guys enough for being here.”
Alana and Marley each draped an arm around Sydney’s shoulder. “Syd we wouldn’t miss this for anything in the world. Trent loves you so much and he’ll make you happy or die trying.”
Sydney shivered at the thought. “He’s already made me the happiest woman in the world and I don’t see how it could get any better than this.”
Marley smiled at her friend but her smile never quite reached her eyes. “Marley I know how hard this is for you and I am so sorry that Ryan isn’t here.”
Marley shrugged, “Well I tried to talk to him again but he won’t even return my phone calls and he’s always sleeping when I try to visit. Listen Syd this is your day so let’s forget about Ryan for today.”
Sydney nodded and turned back to look in the mirror and wondered if she looked half as good as she felt. “Well I guess this is as good as it gets.”
With her friends flanked on each side she smiled at the picture they made. “No matter what happens we’ll always be best friends, promise.”
Alana and Marley nodded as Kelsey joined them in front of the mirror. Sydney wished she had a camera because this was one of those priceless moments that needed to be remembered. She was brought out of her thoughts by a knocking on the door. She looked up as her sister-in-law Taryn came in with her camera in tow. She stood behind them and clicked the picture.
“Sydney your mother is about to wear a hole in the carpet out there.”
Sydney laughed, “Why doesn’t she just come in?”
“She’s afraid if she if she leaves that Trent will sneak in and you know how superstitious your mother is.”
Sydney laughed. “Well it’s about time to start so I think we’re safe, will you send her in.”
Marley was starting to feel a little uncomfortable being around so many people in love, “I’ll go take her place, and you stay Taryn.”
Marley slipped out the door and walked to the top of the stairs. “Grace, Sydney wants you to come in before the wedding begins. I’ll keep Trent away.”
Grace smiled and patted Marley’s shoulder. “Things will get better dear, you just have to believe.”
Marley felt as if she were in a remake of Miracle on 34th St. as if all she had to do was believe in miracles? Believer in Santa and she’d get the house, the guy and a cute little button nosed daughter? She highly doubted that but she smiled just the same as Grace turned to leave.
Marley began to wonder if anything in her life would ever make sense again. She knew in her heart that she loved Ryan but she couldn’t make him love her back so what was the point in pining away for him? What was the point in trying to push him, to try and make him want to walk again, to love again? She knew she was being selfish, feeling sorry for herself when this day was all about Sydney. She straightened to her full height and pushed all the ugliness away for another time and place. She would be here for Sydney, to celebrate the start of the new life she and Trent were about to embark on and she would keep her own broken heart tucked away.
Marley heard the door open as Taryn, Alana, Kelsey and Sydney made their way to the end of the hall. Sydney stayed safely out of sight, waiting her turn to descend the stairs. Her father was right there waiting as if he had miraculously appeared in the nick of time. As the familiar notes of Debussy’s Claire de Lune began Grace walked to the base of the stairs and was ushered into the room by Sydney’s youngest brother Josh. She walked gracefully down the aisle that was sheathed by a silk ice blue runner. The room looked as if it were indeed a winter wonderland as the picture window behind the reverend looked out into the garden that had been covered with more snow earlier that day. The gazebo was covered in tiny white lights, and an ice sculpture of Jack Frost blowing a gust of wind stood in the center of the garden, along with several fairy princesses.
The room it’s self was covered with white and silver silk and sparkling ribbons and bows. The lavender, pale pink and soft blue flowers added the feeling of every little girls dream come true. Alana entered the room next with Logan who had graciously filled in for Ryan. Marley followed behind being escorted by Trent’s older brother Travis with Kelsey and Andy following close behind.
As the notes of Bella’s lullaby began everyone stood and turned facing the aisle, waiting to see the bride. Sydney held her father’s arm and seemed to float down the stairs and up the aisle as if her feet never touched the floor. She was focused on one thing, Trent as he stood watching her with so much love in his eyes as if he were the lucky one. She could feel her heart begin to beat so erratically in her chest that she thought it might explode and ruin her dress but she slowly breathed in and out. She heard the question who gives this woman to this man and her father’s strong clear voice, “Her mother and I.” He leaned down and kissed Sydney on the cheek and then in a gesture older than time he placed her hand in Trent’s before taking his place by Grace.
The rest of the ceremony seemed to go by in a blur as music played, songs were sung and vows spoken. She couldn’t seem to take her eyes off of Trent when he said “I do now and forever.” Sydney could barely force the simple I do past her dry lips but somehow she managed. She had waited so long for this one moment to hear the words that were being said, “I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss your bride.”
She felt the vale being lifted and Trent’s strong, sure fingers cupping her face as he gently kissed his wife. Sydney deepened the kiss wanting to show the whole world that this was her husband. As the kiss ended the reverend said, “I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Trent Nathaniel Isaac. Sydney felt herself being propelled down the aisle and into the hallway along with the wedding party to form the receiving line.
Sydney’s mother got to them first and kissed them both before moving on. The family filed through and then Mackenzie, Leah and Jay made their way through the line. Sydney lost track of who she had hugged, for a small wedding there were a lot of people. She knew her mother had no concept of small so pretty much the whole town had been invited. Sydney could care less she only had eyes for one person and that was her husband. She looked up at Trent and felt her breath catch as he gazed lovingly down at her, as if she were the only person in the room.
“So Mrs. Isaac we finally did it, so no turning back now.”
Sydney laughed and stood on the tips of her Jimmy Choo’s. “Lucky for you I’m right where I want to be.”
Trent ran his hands up her arms until he cupped her face, “Sydney Isaac I will spend every day for the rest of my life reminding you why you picked me.” He then slowly melded his lips to hers until neither knew where one ended and the other began.
Sydney and Trent separated as her their mothers came to usher them to the next event on the agenda. They joined everyone in the ballroom to cut the cake and dance. The cake was a three layer masterpiece of white crème icing and real pearls with tiny silver and lavender roses, with a groom’s cake of blue and silver covered in tiny little candied snowflakes and a snowman.
Sydney and Trent cut the first piece of cake and tasted the champagne before family and friends joined them. Sydney lost count of who she had talked to and who she had missed, so she smiled and waved to everyone who passed by. She knew that the dancing would start soon but Trent had disappeared. She peered over the heads bobbing around her trying to find her husband.
Sydney was suddenly standing alone in the center of the room and Trent was on the other side of the room. She saw him standing on the stage with Logan who was seated at the piano ready to sing. Sydney watched as Trent took the microphone and began to speak.
“I would like to thank all of you for coming and celebrating the start of mine and Sydney’s new life together. So I would like to begin by sharing little story with you all.” As Trent’s deep baritone voice filled the room the lights dimmed and a spotlight shone on Sydney.
“So about seven months ago I was walking along minding my own business when I came to The Café on the Corner. I stopped and looked through the picture window and suddenly it was as if my whole world stood still. I saw Sydney standing at the counter and with just her smile everything else faded away. I somehow forced my feet to move and I sat in the back trying to pluck up the courage to walk across the room. Then six months later everything seemed to be falling into place and I had the perfect plan on how to propose to Sydney. I was going to sweep her off her feet but as usual she beat me to the punch. So I am going to have my grand moment now.”
Sydney could feel her eyes filling with tears as Trent stepped off the stage and music began to fill the room. She held her hands to her chest as Trent raised the microphone to his lips and began to sing as he slowly walked toward her.
“Forever can never be long enough for me, to feel like I’ve had long enough with you
Forget the world now, we won’t let them see, but there’s one thing left to do
Now that the wait has lifted, love has surely shifted my way, marry me, today and every day
Marry me if I ever get the nerve to say hello in this café.
Say you will, say you will.
Together can never be close enough for me, to feel like I am close enough to you
You wear white and I’ll wear out the words I love you and you’re beautiful
Now that the wait is over, and love has finally showed her my way,
Marry me, today and every day, marry me if I ever get the nerve to say hello in this café
Say you will, say you will”
Trent now stood by Sydney’s side and took her hand.
“Promise me you’ll always be happy by my side, I promise to sing to you when all the music dies
And marry me today and every day, marry me If I ever get the nerve to say hello in this café
Say you will, say you will, Marry me.”
Sydney felt Trent’s arms encircle her waist as her arms wound around his neck. She looked into his deep smoldering green eyes and felt as if she were drowning in the love she saw there. She stood on her tip toes and meet Trent half way as his lips covered her own. She breathed in the smell of Colgate and Polo cologne drowning the feel of his hands running along her back as her skin pebbled beneath his tender touch.
Sydney felt Trent loosen his hold slightly as he took her hand and led her to their table. She sat down as he pulled the chair out for her. She felt like a real princess as he fussed over her, holding her hand and dropping butterfly kisses on her neck.
The room grew still as the toasts began. She laughed as family and friends relived tales of friendships, loves lost and won. She watched as her father stood up and began to speak.
“I remember Sydney when she was four years old and following me around like I was the greatest thing since peanut butter and jelly. She would wake up early every day to read the paper with me and learn how to run the family business. We would go fishing in the creek behind the house and lay on ground in the backyard watching the sunset and the stars fill the sky. I can still hear her sweet small voice ‘Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.’
I would always ask her what her wish was but she would laugh and say ‘If I tell you it won’t come true.’ She never told me what she wished for but somehow I know that all her wishes have come true tonight. Trent you are a lucky man and I am trusting that you will love, cherish and take care of my only little girl.”
There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as glasses were raised. Sydney stood to her feet as her father crossed the room and took her hand for the father daughter dance. She looked at his watery eyes and patted his broad shoulders.
“Daddy I’ll always be your little girl.”
She listened as Logan began to sing Butterfly Kisses and the words tugged at her heart. She had always been close to her father and she knew that the distance that had grown between them had not tarnished the love they shared. She felt her father drop a kiss to her cheek as the song ended and he walked her back to her seat.
Several more toasts were shared and then it was time for the mother son dance. She watched as Trent and Carolyn danced to Beautiful Boy. They looked graceful and elegant as they floated across the floor. She wondered if she looked half as graceful as they did.
The song drew to an end and Trent joined Sydney at the table. She reached for Trent’s hand and slowly stood to her feet. She had something she wanted to say before they shared their dance. She took the microphone and cleared her throat. She turned to face Trent and everyone else seemed to fade to nothing behind them.
“The first time you kissed me everything went hazy; it was like the only thing that was keeping my feet on the ground was you. I felt a rush of emotions flooding my soul, literally taking my breath away. I was so happy that I had finally found you but terrified that it was only a dream. I just knew that when I opened my eyes you’d be nothing more than a dream that never quite came true. I am so happy that you’re here and that you worked up the courage to say hello across my Café.”
Trent leaned down and kissed Sydney before sharing his own toast. “Through all the broken hearts dreams, struggles and doubts the road led to you and for that reason I would do it all over again. I thank God for all the heartache and pain that led me to you.”
Sydney and Trent began to dance as Logan began to sing “Bless the Broken Road.”
As Trent skillfully and gracefully guided her around the dance floor everything else disappeared. She trembled as he held her so close that she could feel his heart pounding beneath his shirt and his pulse quicken as their lips touched. She closed her eyes and dreamed of what could ever be better than this.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur as the bouquet was thrown to a surly Marley and the garter landed in Josh’s lap. Sydney was pretty sure that Trent had planned that to embarrass her youngest brother.
The night drew to an end as Trent and Sydney walked through the front door to be showered with bird seed. She held her hand over her head and dashed to the waiting limo. Sydney stopped beside her parents and hugged them close. “Thank you both for everything.”
“Sydney honey we are so proud of you. Now have a good time and call us when you get to the cabin.”
Sydney nodded and watched as Trent hugged his mother close. She joined him and they knelt before Kelsey. “Sweetheart you be a good girl for Alana.”
“I will daddy and you and Sydney hurry home.”
Trent chuckled. “We’ll only be gone for a few days, you’ll hardly know we’re gone but if you need anything call.”
Sydney kissed Kelsey’s soft round cheek. “You look beautiful honey.”
Kelsey smiled, “But now as beautiful as you.”
Sydney hugged the little girl close and stood as Trent said his goodbyes.
Trent then held the door as she settled in with her wedding dress surrounding her making her look more like an angel than a princess. He dashed around to the other side of limo and slid in beside his wife. Sydney was blissfully happy and wondered what other surprises Mr. Isaac had in store for her.
Whoa.. You took my breath away Sarah! This chapter was amazing and I hope it doesn't end there! The ceremony just seemed beautiful and I had tears in my eyes during the speeches and the dancing!
sarah!! i'm still asking myself if someone can write a story so complicated so imaginary AND yet SOO beautiful!!! is it possible?!! i'm speachless and i decided that any description of the chapter would do it unjustice SO I'LL go only by saying its inexplicable ..it just took me to another world ..another dream :D
God bless you
Yours forever and always
Wow what a wedding! That was so sweet and it was so perfect. I loved the songs chosen for each specific dance! I am sad thats its come to an end but I am glad that Tey are together and happy and married. I feel so sad for Marley though. I cant wait till you get started on that story! I am absolutely in love with the dress. Its so freaking pretty!!! Great writing!