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    Parker Owens
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

A to Z - 64. Chapter 64 What I Remember

What I Remember

No special warnings for this chapter.

Questions and issues raised in this chapter or any other chapter can be discussed at the A to Z story thread here: http://www.gayauthors.org/forums/topic/40860-a-to-z/

Entry for Saturday, April 1, continued…

Who was this woman? Who did she say she was? My face must have matched how confused I felt.

She spoke again, explaining: "Your mother was my daughter."

Then what she was saying hit me. My eyes suddenly turned blurry, and my throat tightened. There was another hug, but I don't know who started it. Something deep inside felt good and achy at the same time.

"I'm sorry," I said as I held my grandmother – my own 'nonna,' – "I'm sorry I was so rude when I came in."

I heard my grandmother laugh and she let me go again, though she gripped both my hands in hers. "Nothing to be sorry about…Andy? Is that what I call you now?...Don't be sorry. I'm just this strange old woman crashing your party; but I had to see you the moment I got here."

And so we sat down for a moment – she in the comfy chair, me in one of the stiff, straight chairs – while Kaz stood guard at the door, wondering what had happened.

Meanwhile, I learned that as soon as he could, Uncle Allan had tried frantically to get in touch with my grandmother. Nothing had gotten through. She had been on some kind of environmental cruise, counting whales. Worse still, she had accidentally dropped her phone overboard. It wasn't until she got back to her home on Thursday evening that she found the multiple messages that I’d been located, alive, and healthy. And was about to get married.

She'd booked a flight, a car and a hotel room within minutes. And here she was. Not surprisingly, she wanted to hear my whole story. More surprisingly, she held up her hand and said, "But that can wait until we have more time together. Maybe when you come visit me with your new husband."

She said that so easily, without a hitch of hesitation, that I had to glance at her quizzically.

"Oh, for heaven's sake, Andy, when I got the message, I called Allan. It took me ages to get through, but when I did, Allan told me about you and your Zander. And no, I don’t care about your being gay. What did you think? You were dead, and now you're alive." Her eyes danced. "We have you back again. Don't you think that's more important to me than anything else?"

Kaz looked into the room. "Andy? It's getting close to time." He looked very businesslike, but he nodded politely at my new relation – my grandmother! Kaz withdrew again and walked down the hall.

Delia Walker looked at her watch. She rose.

"My goodness, I'd better go get a seat in the church so I can see the whole thing."

"Can't happen without me," I quipped.

Before she left, I got another hug. "Allan was right," I heard her say, "you look just like your mother."

I couldn't let her go at that moment. I had to know something.

"Um, Grandmother?" Hell, what was I supposed to call her?

"What is it?"

"You say I look like my mother. Is there anything – anything at all - about me that reminds you of my father?" I couldn't keep my voice from shaking.

She studied my face. "You want to know if you're like Gunnar Ericsson?"

I nodded, scared of what she would say.

"No. You’re nothing like that son of a bitch." Her voice was flat and bitter.

My grandmother must have seen my shocked expression – I hadn't expected her vehemence.

"I mean it," she reinforced, "you have absolutely nothing in common with that bastard you called your father."

I regained my voice. "But, how can you tell?"

The silver haired woman considered a moment, looking up into my eyes. "Because you're not his son," she stated simply.

I didn't understand her. What was that supposed to mean?

"Katherine – your mother, my daughter – she wanted children, and Gunnar didn't. Katherine was always a very stubborn child. Sweet natured, but stubborn," Delia Walker smiled. "Gunnar and your mother argued about this often, but Gunnar was adamant. No children."

I was still puzzled.

She continued. "About oh, eighteen years ago, in the summer, your mother came down to our house on the Chesapeake for a long visit. Katherine stayed maybe a month. She had an affair. Of course, I didn't know about it at the time, and I have no idea who she was with. I didn't really pay attention to what she was doing every day. But you were born in April the following year."

God, I'm stupid. It dawned on me what this lovely old woman was saying.

But she was still speaking. "I never knew. None of us did. Katherine told me about it the year before she was killed. She and Gunnar had been having some troubles – he'd hit her."

I shivered at the thought of that. I remembered how Mom and Dad fought.

"Kathrine brought you down to visit for a week. We stayed up late one night, and she confessed to me that you weren't Gunnar's child. She wanted to divorce Gunnar and start over, and I…I didn't really react well."

I waited. There was clearly more. My grandmother pulled out a tissue from her handbag and dabbed at her eye.

"I convinced her to go back, to try getting into marriage counseling, to try and salvage her relationship for your sake. You were just a little boy, you wouldn’t have understood. What an idiot I was."

Tears ran down her cheek now.

"Less than a year later, Katherine was dead. I never saw her alive again. I never got to see you grow up. Gunnar cut us off; fought us in court over visitation rights. Gunnar lied through his teeth in court, but the courts believed him. He sent back every letter, every package we sent to you. Allan tried to go see you in person, tried following you to school, but Gunnar drove you to and from school. Allan never even got close enough for a picture."

"It's all my fault," I said, suddenly realizing everything that had happened. "Dad was right. If I'd never been born, my Mom would still be alive…"

"Stop that right now,” Delia Walker hissed fiercely. "You mustn't believe that. I didn't tell you all this so you would believe anything that bastard Gunnar told you. You were the light of your mother's eyes and the center of her world for eight wonderful years. She loved you more than life itself, Andy. She had you because she wanted you, and she loved you with all her heart."

Her eyes bore steadily into mine, willing me to understand as she did.

"Katherine didn't die because of you. Katherine's death was Gunnar's choice. He made that decision. Gunnar murdered her, not you. The police couldn't prove it, but I'm certain of it. You had absolutely nothing – nothing – to do with it."

In the silence that followed that moment, I comprehended the truth of her words. I was not related to Gunnar or Ray Ericsson. They were not my kin, and they couldn’t hurt me anymore. My Mom had loved me. She had made choices, and so had Dad, none of which were my fault. Mom died, but I lived. I have a life that's mine, and I can choose what to make of it.

And the first thing I wanted to do was make that life with Zander.

My heart felt about ten thousand pounds lighter. I felt like smiling, like weeping, like laughing, like dancing. I felt like getting married.

"I'm so glad you came," I told her, drawing her into another hug.

"I am, too. You have no idea," she answered me. "But now, I'd really better go. If I keep you much longer, your fiancé will be sending out search parties."

Kaz chose that moment to reappear. "Andy. It's time."

Time to set aside my worries. Time to trust and have faith.

My grandmother stopped a moment and leaned up to kiss me on the cheek. "I'll see you again when it's all done, Andy. Just know I love you, all right?" And she hurried out and down the hall towards the church.

God bless Kaz. He guided me to the side entrance of the church. I was in a bit of a fog. He remembered an extra copy of the wedding booklet - he knew I’d forget mine. Kaz fussed with my lapel: I'd forgotten to get a flower to pin onto it, but he remembered.

I knew that when the organ played, Zander and I were supposed to enter from opposite sides of the sanctuary. I hardly had time to be anxious. The sound of the simple, stately tune began, and then I saw him in the doorway across from me. He looked stunning in his suit.

Zander smiled, and I couldn’t help grinning back: a wide, happy delighted grin. This wonderful, beautiful, devoted boy was there for me, and I was there for him. So that we could become us.

I wish I could remember everything about the wedding in crisp, clear detail. I wish I could recall every moment, because this was what I wanted more than anything else, ever. But I was too nervous, too excited at everything to take it all in.

There were flowers in all the windows and in front of the altar. And the people – there were way more people in church than I expected. I thought there would be only about a dozen, but there was no way for me to count them all. I spotted Eustace and Ambrose with his family on the right. I hadn't known they were coming. My grandmother sat with Nonna Costanza. The building was probably half full or more, but people sang the hymns as loud as on Christmas Eve when the place was packed.

I remember stumbling over the first few words of my reading. But then I focused my eyes on Zander's, and it all came out smoothly and clearly. Some parts I remember in sharp detail. When Zander read to me – I saw only love in his eyes:

"The voice of my beloved! Look, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills."

He read to me, and I knew he loved me.

"My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice. My beloved speaks and says to me: 'Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely… My beloved is mine and I am his; he pastures his flock among the lilies. Until the day breathes and the shadows flee, turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle or a young stag on the cleft mountains."

And I remember the words I said to Zander:

"In the name of God, I, Andrew, give myself to you, Alexander. I will support and care for you: enduring all things, bearing all things. I will hold and cherish you in times of plenty, in times of want. I will honor and love you: forsaking all others, as long as we both shall live. This is my solemn vow."

There were more prayers. We exchanged the exquisite rings Nonna Costanza had given us.

And when Father Brewer smiled and said, "I now pronounce that Alexander and Andrew are bound to one another in a holy covenant as long as they both shall live," I thought my heart would burst.

When we kissed, the church exploded with cheers and applause.

Of course, there was more to come. We got fully blessed and prayed over, but the moment when Zander and I walked down the center aisle hand in hand as a married couple came more quickly than I thought it would.

And it was absolutely real.

When we arrived at the back of the church, I spied Frank Stevenson hauling away at a heavy rope, ringing the church bell. We heard it clanging away through the open church doors. And I thought I detected other bells ringing, too. Mrs. Marjorie told us later in the evening that the Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist churches rang their bells with us. Apparently there had been a number of phone calls made around town to different churches – I wondered who had done that. Anyway, the other churches were willing to join St. James' in the celebration when a call was made at the end of the service. Oh, what smart phones can do.

What happened after the ceremony was kind of funny, really. Someone from St. James' ushered us – Zander and me and Kaz and Terry - from the back of the church down a little staircase, through a large space which must have been under the church, and up another flight of steps to a large open room, decorated for a party. Cloth covered tables were set out with piles of nibbles and fruit and sweet things; glasses and bottles gleamed from a trestle table across the room.

"Who's the party for?" I asked my brand new husband.

This earned me one of Zander's best 'are you kidding me?' looks. "It for us, Andy. It's our reception. Our wedding reception."

Oh. Of course. But I only had a few moments in which to feel silly.

In seconds, we were shaking hands with all the people who had come to the wedding, streaming up out of the church into the church's reception room. I think I got a hug from just about everyone, including Mrs. Marjorie, both of Ambrose's boys, Alyssa, each every one of the Kasimierksis, and of all the unexpected people to come through the door, Toby Harris.

My recollection of the reception is a little bit fractured. So many people were there, and everyone wanted to shake our hands and talk with us. And, of course, we both wanted to spend time with them, too. And there was tons of food. Funny how I don't seem to remember much about eating or what I ate. But this I remember: someone passed by with a tray full of chocolate dipped strawberries – and Zander plucked one off and fed it to me. I was so surprised, and it was so delicious, I forgot to give one to Zander. I had to wait a long time before the tray came back and I could grab one from the tray to do the same for him.

Some events I won't forget: introducing my newly-discovered grandmother to Zander, and again to Monica and Garrett; having our pictures taken about a million times with so many of our friends; a wedding cake – tall, and multilayered, and more chocolate than I could have imagined.

Someone handed Zander and me glasses of bubbly stuff; I sniffed it suspiciously. Wine? Soda? I couldn't tell. I didn't have time to try a taste test before a musical tapping of glasses sounded, and the floor cleared so Garrett Stevenson could speak.

"I thought I was too old to have another son," he joked, and the crowd laughed in response. "But I have to tell you how happy I am to know I was wrong. This past year has been full of surprises." And here he looked at us with a smile. "But the best surprise was the experience of being adopted by Andy. Tonight, I ask you to raise your glasses and toast my sons, Zander and Andy."

Wow. Newest son. I saw Zander lift his glass to me, smiling.

In all the good natured cheering and applause, I almost forgot to sip my drink. Immediately, I got bubbles in my nose. The taste was sharp, not too sweet – I think it must have been champagne, but what do I know?

There was a toast from Terry, too. I was surprised Kaz didn’t speak, but I figured Terry would have enough to say for both of them. "Some people say that I love to be a matchmaker. I'll admit that," she said and was interrupted by laughter from everyone who knows her. "But when I first saw Andy and Zander together one day last fall, I knew they were going to be friends. And when I saw how close they became so quickly, I got that funny feeling…" There was more laughter. "I never thought I would see Zander married before me," she said when things got quiet again, "but I don't think anyone did. I'm just happy that Zander chose the perfect match on his first try." And again the glasses were raised.

There were more toasts – even a few very touching words from Eustace Whitley: "We won't have to go searching for young Andrew anymore. We'll just look for Alexander. They’ll be together. And, young sirs, remember you'll always have a place to stay at the farm."

Somehow, despite myself, I found my glass got drained. Twice.

And I remember dancing. Someone put music through a sound system, and people looked at Zander and me expectantly.

Terry walked up and calmly told us "You two need to dance. It’s required."

Me? Dance? I looked over at Zander, who didn’t look much happier than I did.

I started to shake my head, but Terry laughed. "Oh, go on, guys, dance together. Nobody cares. If you start, everyone else will follow."

So, as the slow music played, Zander carefully stepped up to me. We embraced in front of all our friends and family and rocked slowly back and forth in time to the beat. That was the best I think we could do. My useless dancing didn't matter, because when I glanced around, I saw Kaz and Terry, Ambrose and Cheryl, Garrett and Monica, even Eustace and Mrs. Marjorie doing something similar.

But nobody mentioned that I would have to dance with other people, too. In the end, I wound up doing my worst on the dance floor with Monica, and then with Nonna Costanza, who smiled and giggled nearly the whole time. And I saw Zander had to dance with Terry, and then with Delia Walker. Well, at least he didn’t have to dance with Kaz.

Finally, I got a chance to stand off to the side and collect my wits. It was a wonderful party, and it was such a wonderful gift. I reflected that a year ago, I'd had no friends except for my journal. Now, I had literally dozens of friends and family who had shown up for my wedding. I felt a small tear form at the corner of my eye. Father Brewer must have been onto something when he talked about miracles.

"You okay, A?" Zander appeared at my side and snaked an arm around my waist.

"Yeah. Seriously okay," I smiled, wiping my eye.

Zander's brother Frank sidled up to us. He looked at us each in turn. "All right, newlyweds, it's time for you to make your grand exit."

We both stared back at him, perplexed.

"Time for you two to go get changed so you can leave on your honeymoon," Frank clarified. There was a definite smirk on his face.

Something was up. Some prank. Zander had told me Frank loved to play jokes on people; Zander had been the target of some beauties as a little boy. But Frank wasn't to be put off. Artfully, he led us down a corridor to the room where I had changed before the wedding. Frank opened the door and stood aside, ushering us in. "You can change in here. Just put your suits on the hangers. I'll take care of them. You'd better hurry. Your limo is waiting."

Again, Zander and I exchanged confused glances.

But we really didn't have much choice. Everything had been organized for us – we just had to float along. Boy, that felt way too familiar.

"What the hell's going on?" I hissed to Zander as soon as the door shut.

"No idea," he whispered back, just as mystified as I was. "But whatever's happening, it can wait a minute," and he pulled me into him for a long, happy kiss.

I didn't want to stop. In fact, I was thinking about undressing Zander right then and there, but the thought of Frank barging in on us stopped that. Eventually, we broke apart, smiling at one another. "Guess we'd better change," Zander said. "The sooner we do, the sooner we get through whatever Frank is planning."

Where my school clothes had been, I found a pile of clean replacements – tee, flannel button-down, jeans, and a brand-new red hoodie. Someone knew what size I wore. Zander found a like pile on an adjacent chair, right down to a matching red hoodie. It wasn't until I was tying up my boots – my trusty Whitley Farm boots – that I heard Zander snicker.

When I glanced up at him, I saw he was already fully dressed. Zander's hoodie bore a big, bold message in white block capitals: MARRIED.

I smiled widely. I liked the look of that. Married. To me. "Nice sweatshirt," I told him.

"You've got one, too," Zander said. "Put it on."

But when I got mine over my head, I found it had different message: JUST. Oh. Realization dawned. We'd have to be together – side by side, me on the left, Zander on the right – for someone to get it. JUST MARRIED. Nice joke, Frank.

"I guess we're going to match," Zander smiled. "We make a good pair, don't we?"

"Yeah," I said, stepping closer to wrap my arms around him, "a great pair." We were supposed to be hurrying, but there was going to have to be time for another kiss. A nice, long one.

A knock on the door interrupted the moment. "Boys, all that can wait," Frank's voice sounded through the door, "and besides, you're still in church. Your limo is here." Ugh. What was the big deal? We were just going back to the Stevenson home. Our home. Our room. Our bed. Never to be separated again. Okay, so maybe that was kind of a big deal.

We emerged from the changing room together, holding hands. Frank's smirk turned into a huge grin. "Nice, guys. Perfect."

"This your idea, Frank?" Zander asked his brother.

"Big secret," Frank shrugged, still grinning. "You'll never know."

"I like them," I said. "I don't really care who knows." That was sort of brave of me, I thought.

"Well, come on," Frank motioned, and we headed down the corridor towards the church.

Again, I wondered what was about to happen, and knowing that there might be a practical joke coming, I felt more than a little apprehension.

When we entered the church, we found the crowd of our guests grouped down by the front entrance of the church. The doors stood wide open. I had a fleeting memory of slipping out those doors last winter, barely dressed, feeling kind of dirty, trying not to be caught or noticed. Now Zander and I were about to walk out that door with everyone watching. I tightened my grip on Zander's hand, and we strode down the aisle.

There was applause, but nobody threw any rice. Thank God.

We were hugged and kissed and congratulated; I spotted a tear on Dr. O'Shea's face; I got a huge hug from Kaz, who gave me permission to miss a day of running on Saturday. He smiled when he said that. Garrett and Monica were both watery eyed. Only the Stevenson Grandparents looked grave and formal, though they shook our hands. Somehow, we were slowly propelled through our crowd of well-wishers toward the front door.

I more than half expected to see a crowd of angry, sign-waving protestors on the steps outside.

Instead, there at the curbside, near the bottom of the church steps, the most unexpected vehicle idled in the quiet darkness under a gently falling rain. Eustace Whitley's pickup truck. Toby Harris emerged from the driver's side door, and grinned, waving us to get in.

We hesitated there in the doorway. A camera flashed. I exchanged a smile with Zander, and we descended the church steps, out into the world as a real couple, having no idea what was about to happen.

I wish to thank Craftingmom for her kind and tireless efforts in helping me to be a better writer. Her editing was immensely valuable.

Please leave a review. Your comments and reflections of any kind are most welcome.

Copyright © 2016 Parker Owens; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments



Have I been reading a different story? No cliffhanger?
Great chapter, lovely and very enjoyable.
During the wedding ceremony and the party I had the feeling that Andy was almost somewhere outside himself.
Zander chose the perfect verses, indeed.
What a relief that he is not Gunnar's son.
Thank you, Parker!

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On 03/09/2016 12:29 AM, mayday said:

Have I been reading a different story? No cliffhanger?

Great chapter, lovely and very enjoyable.

During the wedding ceremony and the party I had the feeling that Andy was almost somewhere outside himself.

Zander chose the perfect verses, indeed.

What a relief that he is not Gunnar's son.

Thank you, Parker!

No. No cliffs. Not even a steep incline. Just some unalloyed joy. Andy was a little abstracted, certainly - a very eventful day, and then to be married! Zander's verses really spoke to a wild, almost untamed Andy, appearing from the hills. And it was indeed a huge relief that Gunnar wasn't Andy's sperm donor at all. Thanks for taking a rear pew at the wedding!

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Thanks for confirming my suspicion that the last chapter was Andy waking up at Eustace's cabin. I don't think I could have taken an abduction. A bittersweet chapter, being the climax. Now a gentle denouement before the ending...

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On 03/09/2016 12:51 AM, xleroc said:

Thanks for confirming my suspicion that the last chapter was Andy waking up at Eustace's cabin. I don't think I could have taken an abduction. A bittersweet chapter, being the climax. Now a gentle denouement before the ending...

No abduction. I couldn't have handled that, either. Hope you enjoyed your invitation to the wedding!

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You did a GREAT job conveying the excitement (and fog!) that accompanies a wedding! Nicely done--and perhaps the best present Andy could have gotten was the insight from grandmother about his parentage, so that Andy faces his new life as his own man.
Hate to see this story end....you've created a fine tale with great characters and believeable plot. You've done well with this!

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On 03/09/2016 01:16 AM, Robert Rex said:

You did a GREAT job conveying the excitement (and fog!) that accompanies a wedding! Nicely done--and perhaps the best present Andy could have gotten was the insight from grandmother about his parentage, so that Andy faces his new life as his own man.

Hate to see this story end....you've created a fine tale with great characters and believeable plot. You've done well with this!

Thanks for your generous words. Weddings can be so exciting that one's experience gets kind of fragmented. And what a relief to know Gunnar Ericsson was no relation to Andy. I hope you enjoyed your back-pew invite to the wedding!

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Ok I stand corrected, it does appear they're waking up on the farm. Especially since Eustace would love to have them there. There was still a final twist of the knife for Andy and his whole tragic history Gunnar wasn't even his father. I'm just glad that this newfound knowledge was a relief to Andy that he was able to release that fear he'd been holding onto and get married to the he lived with no qualms. It was a silly fear to begin with as he was nothing like Gunnar anyway.

 

I loved this chapter, seeing Andy's actual family the people that love him come to support him. The only thing missing would have been an actual conversation with Toby. However, in saying that, considering the whirlwind of events that the reception was, it's safe to say that there most decidedly was a conversation, but it ran right into all the others he had with his friends and family.

 

One thing that's interesting to note, the "God hates fags" crowd wasn't even a blip on the radar. I wonder who Garret called, will we ever find out? No matter, this chapter was great.

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On 03/09/2016 01:23 AM, spikey582 said:

Ok I stand corrected, it does appear they're waking up on the farm. Especially since Eustace would love to have them there. There was still a final twist of the knife for Andy and his whole tragic history Gunnar wasn't even his father. I'm just glad that this newfound knowledge was a relief to Andy that he was able to release that fear he'd been holding onto and get married to the he lived with no qualms. It was a silly fear to begin with as he was nothing like Gunnar anyway.

 

I loved this chapter, seeing Andy's actual family the people that love him come to support him. The only thing missing would have been an actual conversation with Toby. However, in saying that, considering the whirlwind of events that the reception was, it's safe to say that there most decidedly was a conversation, but it ran right into all the others he had with his friends and family.

 

One thing that's interesting to note, the "God hates fags" crowd wasn't even a blip on the radar. I wonder who Garret called, will we ever find out? No matter, this chapter was great.

I am so glad you liked this chapter. So much happened that there is no doubt Andy had trouble remembering every conversation. Maybe the one with his grandmother Walker was most important, because she could explain why love and not hurt was Andy's real heritage. The protest crowd certainly didn't storm the church, the way Andy feared they would. For once, Andy's joy was pretty complete, and unmixed with anything but love and goodwill. Thanks for coming to the wedding!

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Andy and Zander finally married!

 

This great chapter awaited me as I came in from my run this morning. No, Kaz doesn't force me :)

 

So much good stuff packed in here. Thanks, Parker!
You're pardoned for the gentle cliffie you left us with in 63. We knew you weren't serious. :P
It's hard to single out the most important news Andy got in this chapter: family, genealogy, friends, Champagne, etc. But the most important was he was married.

 

btw, Zander's choice of scripture was perfect.
An altogether well written and enjoyable chapter!

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Yay! I was right twice: Delia Walker is Andy's Grandmother, and it appears that Andy will wake up on Eustace's farm!

 

Andy is always underestimating how many people he has affected (positively) and love him! I'm sure Zander wasn't as surprised as Andy by the turnout at the wedding. So many nice touches in this chapter.

 

And the biggest and happiest surprise of all: that Andy is not a blood relative of that despicable waste of genetic material! Of course Andy being Andy will still worry about something! It'll take a lifetime of reassurances for Andy to completely relax all the time. I think he'll always harbor at least a tiny bit of insecurity, but he's learning coping skills to deal with it and not be overwhelmed.

 

I'll be sad to read the last few chapters, but only because I'll miss Andy, Zander and all their friends and relatives!

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Loved this chapter, but there is so much to comment. Some has been said already: how great a friend Kaz is, the whole conversation with A's grandmother and the relief that the shack from chapter 62 is on the farm.

 

One thing I do want to add. With weddings so elaborate these days, it was nice to see how wonderful a small one can be. It's great that Andy finally knows how loved he is. I look forward to the rest of the story and dread the end. Thank you.

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On 03/09/2016 02:56 AM, skinnydragon said:

Andy and Zander finally married!

 

This great chapter awaited me as I came in from my run this morning. No, Kaz doesn't force me :)

 

So much good stuff packed in here. Thanks, Parker!

You're pardoned for the gentle cliffie you left us with in 63. We knew you weren't serious. :P

It's hard to single out the most important news Andy got in this chapter: family, genealogy, friends, Champagne, etc. But the most important was he was married.

 

btw, Zander's choice of scripture was perfect.

An altogether well written and enjoyable chapter!

So glad you had something good waiting for you at the end of your run this morning. I wonder if Kaz would come to wake you early if you asked... ;) You're right about the most important thing: more than all the revelations and hugs and toasts and dances is that Zander and Andy are married. They've taken a most unusual step so early in their lives, but there clearly many friends who love and support them. Glad you could come to the wedding! Hope you got some cake :)

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On 03/09/2016 03:23 AM, droughtquake said:

Yay! I was right twice: Delia Walker is Andy's Grandmother, and it appears that Andy will wake up on Eustace's farm!

 

Andy is always underestimating how many people he has affected (positively) and love him! I'm sure Zander wasn't as surprised as Andy by the turnout at the wedding. So many nice touches in this chapter.

 

And the biggest and happiest surprise of all: that Andy is not a blood relative of that despicable waste of genetic material! Of course Andy being Andy will still worry about something! It'll take a lifetime of reassurances for Andy to completely relax all the time. I think he'll always harbor at least a tiny bit of insecurity, but he's learning coping skills to deal with it and not be overwhelmed.

 

I'll be sad to read the last few chapters, but only because I'll miss Andy, Zander and all their friends and relatives!

It's good to be right about Delia Walker. Her revelation snapped the last tangible link Andy had to Carlsberg. You are also correct in that he will spend a lifetime erasing the emotional scars left from that chain. You're also right about Andy underestimating the effect he has on other people. The crowd at the church was full of people who love him and Zander, which blew him away. It's that support and love from Zander and everyone else that will help him ultimately heal. I am so very glad you came to the wedding!

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On 03/09/2016 03:51 AM, avidreadr said:

Loved this chapter, but there is so much to comment. Some has been said already: how great a friend Kaz is, the whole conversation with A's grandmother and the relief that the shack from chapter 62 is on the farm.

 

One thing I do want to add. With weddings so elaborate these days, it was nice to see how wonderful a small one can be. It's great that Andy finally knows how loved he is. I look forward to the rest of the story and dread the end. Thank you.

Monica and Garrett and Nonna Costanza were able to keep things simple. Your observation that a small wedding can still be lovely and supremely happy rings very true here. I am very happy you enjoyed this chapter; it was a great moment to capture. There were so many things to celebrate here, but perhaps SD said it best - they're married. Hope you stayed at the wedding long enough for a slice of cake :)

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Thank you so much Parker.

 

Thanks Andy, thanks for allowing me to attend. It was even more beautiful than I had hoped.

 

Good thing I stocked up on tissues over the weekend.

 

I cried with joy when Andy reunited with his grandmother. I cried again when Zander read. I had to clean my glasses both before and after Andy said his vow.

 

And just as I thought I might finish the chapter with dry eyes and clean glasses:

 


When we arrived at the back of the church, I spied Frank Stevenson hauling away at a heavy rope, ringing the church bell. We heard it clanging away through the open church doors. And I thought I detected other bells ringing, too. Mrs. Marjorie told us later in the evening that the Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist churches rang their bells with us.

My imagination summoned the glorious bells that precede the final bars of the "1812 Overature", bells that aptly emerge over the fading reverberations of cannon fire.

 

I'll save my last toughest for the last chapter :) .

 

And thank God Zander didn't have to dance with Kaz ....

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Another great chapter that I had to read in private so that people don't ask why I'm sniffling.

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On 03/09/2016 05:40 AM, said:

Thank you so much Parker.

 

Thanks Andy, thanks for allowing me to attend. It was even more beautiful than I had hoped.

 

Good thing I stocked up on tissues over the weekend.

 

I cried with joy when Andy reunited with his grandmother. I cried again when Zander read. I had to clean my glasses both before and after Andy said his vow.

 

And just as I thought I might finish the chapter with dry eyes and clean glasses:

 

When we arrived at the back of the church, I spied Frank Stevenson hauling away at a heavy rope, ringing the church bell. We heard it clanging away through the open church doors. And I thought I detected other bells ringing, too. Mrs. Marjorie told us later in the evening that the Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist churches rang their bells with us.

My imagination summoned the glorious bells that precede the final bars of the "1812 Overature", bells that aptly emerge over the fading reverberations of cannon fire.

 

I'll save my last toughest for the last chapter :) .

 

And thank God Zander didn't have to dance with Kaz ....

I am so very happy you made it to the wedding, and could squeeze into a back pew. Andy's grandmother Walker snapped the last cord that tied him to Carlsberg and his horrible childhood. Andy's felt truly free. The churchbells ringing all over town had to be the work of someone who loved Andy and Zander enough to make some phone calls, and who knows just about everyone in town. I leave you to figure who that could be...but it was surely a glorious sound. And no cannonfire was present. And I'm sure Kaz saved his dances for Terry, mostly...so glad you liked this chapter. Nice for Andy to have some unalloyed joy. Thanks for coming to the wedding!

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On 03/09/2016 06:12 AM, Paqman said:

Another great chapter that I had to read in private so that people don't ask why I'm sniffling.

I am so glad you could make it to the wedding. But at least your sniffles were sniffles of happiness, I hope. Thank you for reading and lend us your thoughts.

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Finally the wedding! I can understand Andy only remembering bits of it. So much emotion and things happening. I loved the verse Z read. So full of love for A.
A grandmother! That's even more relatives. Great for A to get to now his other history. Will he meet his father too?
I can't decide how I feel about A being the result of a fling. To me, it seemed such a testament to his character to triumph over his history and become the amazing person he is. I think he would have turned out that way regardless if Gunnar was his father or not. We are not predestined to repeat the sins of our fathers (and mothers, as the case might be) but we are all individuals. The upbringing A has had would to me risk causing the most problems for A as a grown up. Not some hereditory evil. I kind of liked the idea of him beating those odds all on his own, not being 'saved' from any connection to that man.

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What a truly beautiful chapter...a patchwork of joy from all to Andy and Zander,,,,,simple and just simply beautiful,,,,,,,,,,Thank you Parker, I needed this chapter,,,,,,,,,,,Life is good, love is good,,,,,,,,,,,:)Mike

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On 03/09/2016 07:33 AM, Puppilull said:

Finally the wedding! I can understand Andy only remembering bits of it. So much emotion and things happening. I loved the verse Z read. So full of love for A.

A grandmother! That's even more relatives. Great for A to get to now his other history. Will he meet his father too?

I can't decide how I feel about A being the result of a fling. To me, it seemed such a testament to his character to triumph over his history and become the amazing person he is. I think he would have turned out that way regardless if Gunnar was his father or not. We are not predestined to repeat the sins of our fathers (and mothers, as the case might be) but we are all individuals. The upbringing A has had would to me risk causing the most problems for A as a grown up. Not some hereditory evil. I kind of liked the idea of him beating those odds all on his own, not being 'saved' from any connection to that man.

You have a very good point, here. I do not think that we are necessarily preprogrammed genetic products of our parents. On the other hand, Andy's mom didn't exactly have a fling; she was determined to have a child, at least if Delia Walker is to be believed. Regardless of his genetic makeup, Andy has overcome a great deal. He is truly himself. Part of his character has been molded by fear and fears of fear. In some ways, he is now free of Gunnar in a way he hasn't been. He beat the odds on his own, but Andy has one less hurt, one less demon to put to rest.

 

 

Zander's verse spoke so much to Andy's own experience, and to Zander's experience of Andy. It was a lovely, simple wedding, and it was still so full, so joyous, that there is only so much Andy can recall. I am very glad you could come and be there for it!

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On 03/09/2016 07:38 AM, Jade1988 said:

OMG the wedding!!!!!! Another epic chapter! Can't wait for more! :worship::worship::worship:

I am very happy you enjoyed this chapter. Glad you could make it for the wedding, and find a place in the back pew!

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On 03/09/2016 09:25 AM, flamingo136 said:

What a truly beautiful chapter...a patchwork of joy from all to Andy and Zander,,,,,simple and just simply beautiful,,,,,,,,,,Thank you Parker, I needed this chapter,,,,,,,,,,,Life is good, love is good,,,,,,,,,,,:)Mike

I am so happy you enjoyed this part of Andy's journal. It was good that Andy got a day with unalloyed beauty and joy in it. And I'm sure he was blown away by the appearance of so many friends...including yourself! Gland you could come to the wedding, and I hope you got a bit of cake, too. :)

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