Quench Me by Amy – Chapter 40

Republisher’s Note: We spend a lovely day at the Bauer BBQ.

Quench Me by Amy – Chapter 40

“Looks like we’re the first ones here,” Danny says, as he turns my Mitsubishi into the driveway of the “Bauer House”.

“Good,” I say, feeling surprisingly calm. “We’ll get a chance to talk to him before anyone else gets here.”

“Nervous?” he asks, as he turns off the ignition.

“Not really,” I answer. “Just curious.”

As we walk toward the house, Danny takes my right hand, hiding the wedding band on his left hand, as we lace our fingers together. I bury my left hand in the pocket of my overall shorts, concealing my rings from view. As we got dressed this morning, I searched through the boxes of my clothes for something with deep pockets, and I chose these overalls specifically for the purpose of hiding my rings, until I was ready for them to
be seen. Danny chuckled at me, as I stuck my hands into the pockets of at least a dozen pairs of shorts and pants, before finally settling on the overalls. He said whatever the reason, he was glad I decided on the overalls, because he thought I looked sexy in them. He’s such a darling, and I silently promise myself that when we get home, I’ll model them for him, without a shirt on underneath. I can’t help but notice that the patio is already decorated, as we make our way around the side of the house. Rick has really outdone himself, and it brings a warm smile to my face, as I think of how far he’s come since Abby left. I wondered how he would handle this special occasion without her, and I’m happy to see that he’s starting to make new memories for himself. Just then, Rick emerges from the house, already clad in his red and white striped apron, wielding various grilling utensils. Dallas must’ve really agreed with him, because he cut his hair shorter, and there’s a twinkle in his eye that I’ve not seen in a long time.

“Hi guys!” he shouts from across the patio. He drops the utensils on the table beside the grill and quickly makes his way to where Danny and I are standing. Danny lets go of my hand and quickly shoves his left hand into his jeans pocket, as Rick leans down to hug me. I hug back, but only with my right arm… my left hand is still hidden in my pocket.
“How was Dallas?” I ask, as we make our way across the patio.

“Dallas was great,” he answers. “But first, tell me about your weekend.”

“Well, that’s why we got here a little early,” I say. “We wanted to tell you what we did this weekend.”

Rick opens the door to the house, and motions for us to go inside. “You don’t have to give me all the details, Michelle,” he says sarcastically, as he takes a seat at the kitchen table. Danny and I take seats directly across from him, strategically placing our hands so as not to give anything away just yet. I say a silent prayer that this will go well, before taking a deep breath and beginning.

“You already know that Danny and I had some special plans,” I say.

“Yes,” Rick replies. “You told me that in your message.”

“Well, they were really, really special plans, Rick,” I say, beginning to stammer over my words. “I’m just going to come right out and say it,” I finally manage. “We got married Friday.”

Immediately, a tense hush falls over the room, and I feel my heart begin to race. To have been so calm before, I’m certainly significantly agitated now, as I wait for my brother’s response. Danny’s breathing is now completely audible, and I can hear him shifting nervously in his seat next to me. Rick’s hands are clasped together, resting on the table. He stares at them as if they’re somehow magical, the muscles in his forehead now crinkled with deep thought. Finally, he begins to move. I brace myself, as Rick slowly looks from me, then to Danny, and then back to me. I can’t interpret the look on his face, and beneath the table, Danny places a strong hand on my knee as a sign of support. The long, silent moment is made even longer, as Rick inhales and exhales loudly.

“You got married?” he whispers.

I nod my head, not knowing what else to say. Finally finding his voice, Danny comes to my rescue. “Rick, please don’t think that Michelle and I did this on a whim. We didn’t. This is something that we’d both been thinking about for some time, and suddenly, Friday night, we just realized that the time was right.”

“Married?” Rick whispers again, and I can tell that he’s waiting for me to say something. Confused, he asks, “Did you go to Las Vegas?”

“No,” I answer tentatively. “We got married at St. Michael’s.”

“Ray married us,” Danny interjects.

“Ray married you?” Rick repeats, as the kitchen door opens.

Turning to see who it is, I’m both happy and relieved to see Ray walking in. “Yes, I did,” Ray says. “And I wouldn’t have done it if I thought for a moment that they weren’t sure.”

“Rick, you can’t be surprised,” I say. “I know this wasn’t how you expected us to tie the knot, but you knew how serious this was. We love each other, Rick,” I go on, as I reach across the table and take my brother’s hands in mine. “He’s the one. I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.”

He turns my hands over in his, and studies the rings on my left hand. He looks to Danny and softly asks, “You love my sister?”

“More than anything,” Danny answers. “She means everything to me, Rick, and I promise you that I’ll take care of her, and make her happy.”
Rick turns his attention back to me. “You’re happy, Michelle?” he quietly asks.

Smiling, I answer, “Happier than I ever thought I could be. Please be happy for us Rick.”

He reaches across the table and softly touches my cheek. “How could I not be happy when I see the look on your face?”

A tear trickles down my face as I stand up and walk to the other side of the table. Embracing my brother, the only person in my family who has truly been a part of my life since my mother died, I say genuinely, “Thank you, Rick. You’re blessing means so much to me… to us.”

Danny is now standing up, and Rick reaches over and shakes his hand. “I don’t know how you did it, but you managed to snag the best girl in the entire world,” Rick says.

“I know,” Danny says, grabbing my hand and pulling me to his side. “I know.”

“You know, Michelle, you deprived me of something,” Rick says. “I didn’t get to walk you down the aisle.”

“I would’ve been honored to have you give me away,” I say honestly. “And if you hadn’t already left for Dallas, we would’ve called you.”

“I always thought you’d have a big, elaborate wedding,” my brother jokes. “You always did things in a ‘flashy’ way.”

“Well, considering the situation with both of our families, it just didn’t seem like the thing to do. The idea of a big wedding just didn’t appeal to us,” I reply.

Understanding what I mean, Rick looks over my shoulder toward the mantle, where a picture of my mother sits. “I understand,” he answers. “Have you called Dad?”

“No,” I say. “I don’t even know how to get a hold of him. I haven’t forgotten all those times we tried to call him, only to come up empty, or hear him say that he doesn’t have time to talk to us. I’m just not ready to deal with that kind of disappointment.”

Rick nods in understanding. “Have you told your family, Danny?”

“I called my sister yesterday,” Danny answers. “My mother wasn’t there, but I’m sure that Pilar told her. She was happy for us, but they seem to have their own life in Europe now, so I wasn’t expecting a lot of fanfare from either one of them.”

“I have an idea,” Rick suddenly exclaims. “Let me throw you a reception!”

“A reception?” I ask. “What are you talking about?”
“Since you didn’t have a big wedding, at least let me do this for you,” he pleads. “We’ll rent a room at the Country Club, and have food and cake and champagne! We can invite anyone and everyone you want to, and we can all celebrate your happiness.”

I look up at Danny, and he’s grinning from ear to ear. I know that he worried all weekend about how Rick would take the news of our marriage, and seeing how excited Rick is, makes him very happy. Danny answers Rick before I even have a chance to. “Michelle and I would be honored, Rick. Thank you.”

“Terrific! It’ll be a fantastic party!” Rick exclaims. “We can even have dancing!”

The kitchen door flies open, and the four of us turn quickly to see Phillip and Harley bouncing into the kitchen.

“What’s going on in here?” Phillip asks with a smirk. “There’s going to be dancing at the Bauer Barbecue?”

“Nope,” Rick says. “At Danny and Michelle’s reception.”

“We got married this weekend,” Danny says to his boss, through a wide, beaming smile.

“Michelle!” Harley shrieks. “You eloped?”

“Well, sort of,” Danny and I answer in unison.

“Phillip and I eloped, you know,” Harley replies. “It’s really the only way to go!”

“OK everybody!” Rick shouts above all the excitement. “I’ve got Bauer Burgers to grill, so let’s all head outside. My sister’s big announcement WILL NOT take precedence over my culinary skills today!”

Laughing and light-hearted, we all make our way to the patio. Several times throughout the afternoon, I managed to steal a glance at my husband, when he didn’t know I was looking. The look of ease and happiness on his face overwhelmed me, as I realized that we are celebrating our very first holiday as a family, and I promise myself, that this new, improved family that we’ve created together, will be better than anything either one of us had when we were growing up.

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