"Are you sure you don't need us to come early and help you set up?" Sara asked.
She was in wedding chaos. Rehearsal was the next day and she was beginning to doubt that everything would be ready in time. As much as her mother might provide some help, Brianna didn't need her disapproving father standing around criticizing everything - out loud or silently. "Um..oh! No! Guys, turn the chairs the other way please...facing the river. Thanks. Sorry Mom. Why don't you come with Lisa and Rachel tomorrow morning. The boys can bring Father in the afternoon."
"You don't need them earlier?"
"No. The tent company is here setting up. The caterers are bringing their own help. Jon's brothers and his bandmates will all be here. They can provide any grunt labour we need."
"Yes, Mistress. Igor happy to help." Richie walked by her on his way to the house, one shoulder hunched, one leg dragging, face contorted, looking like something out of a bad horror movie.
Brianna reached out to swat him.
"Who's Igor?" Sara had overheard him.
"Oh, that's just Richie being a goof. Igor! Can you make sure Jon has the bar in the Inn stocked for the rehearsal party please?"
"I wish you'd let us help with the rehearsal party at least. Surely we could bring some food or something." Sara insisted.
"Oh no." Brianna shook her head. "Jon's father's in charge of the food and I've learned that when he's creating in the kitchen it's best to stay out of his way and wait for instructions. Seriously Mom, everything's under control. Just relax tonight, play with the kids, and I'll see you in the morning."
"Okay. We'll be there as early as we can."
Great. Brianna sighed as she hung up. Only two more days. I hope Jon picked a relaxing spot for the honeymoon. She ran a critical over the workmen setting up around the backyard, looked down at her list attached to the clipboard in her hand, then up at the sky. The weather had once again turned warm and sunny. She prayed it stayed that way.
Jon stepped out of the house and looked around at the - he hoped - organized chaos that used to be his backyard. As usual when she was near, his gaze was drawn to Brianna. The tension visible in her face made him frown, but he knew it wasn't going to go away until the wedding was over. If he was being honest, he was a little tense himself. He wanted everything to be perfect - for her even more than for himself. She'd worked so hard. Stepping up behind her, he slid his arms around her waist and hugged her close. "You holding up okay? Need a drink?"
Brianna leaned back against him and groaned. "Why didn't we hire a wedding planner again?"
"Uhhhhh because you wanted to experience the joy of organizing it all yourself?" He smiled at her snort. "And because you're as much of a perfectionist as I am when it comes to the important things." When she turned her head to glare at him, he shrugged and dropped a kiss on her nose. "That's one of the reasons I hired you."
"Hmpf!" She grunted. "Is the Inn stocked for tomorrow?"
"Yes dear. And Mom called. Dad had her at the grocery store for two hours getting supplies. He's so excited he couldn't decide what he wanted to make, so he dug out the family recipe book. It's going to be an Italian smorgasbord."
"Mmm." Brianna groaned. "Sound delicious. What's for dessert? Cannoli? Tiramisu?"
"Have I told you how much I love your father?"
Jon chuckled and gave her a squeeze. "He loves you too."
"BINA! I hungy!"
"Coming little man." She straightened. "I swear that boy has a hollow leg."
"Maybe." His stomach growled. "But I think he's got the right idea."
"Bianna? Is it lunch time yet?" Jake left his chair where he had been watching the workmen and approached the house.
"Brianna? When's lunch?" Jesse appeared around the corner of the house.
"Okay, okay, I get the message. Yeesh! You guys act like I'm starving you." She turned and started for the house.
"I've been meaning to talk to you about that." The glint in Jon's eyes told her he wasn't talking about food.
"Aw, poor baby. You're so deprived."
He opened the door for her, followed her in and sighed. "I know. I've got the blue balls to prove it."
Brianna snorted and poked him in the stomach with her elbow.
In the kitchen, they found Richie and Stephanie surveying cupboard and fridge contents.
"Oooh, lasagna!" Stephanie exclaimed.
"Touch that and Grandpa will strangle you." Her father warned. "That's for tomorrow."
"Grilled cheese?" Jake suggested as he joined them.
"That we can do." Jon agreed and opened a drawer to pull out the frying pan.
The dining room table was quiet as everyone focussed on their food.
Romeo set down his sandwich and looked around the room. "Daddy says he gots blue balls, but I no know where he put dem."
Jon stared at his youngest, speechless.
Brianna stared at her plate.
Richie choked as he fought not to laugh.
Jake looked confused.
Stephanie was disgusted. "Ew! Really Dad? Really?"
Jon's gaze snapped to his daughter and narrowed. "How do you even know what that means?"
Stephanie rolled her eyes. "I'm not a child, Dad."
He turned to Brianna. "How does she know what that means?"
"Same way you learned stuff your parents would rather you didn't at that age."
"Neighbourhood housewives that need their 'lawns mowed'?" Jessie blinked innocently.
This time Richie couldn't hold it in. His laughter echoed throughout the room.
So did Brianna's.
Jon wasn't amused. "Is no part of my life private?"
"You should know by now that anything you say in an interview - whether it was two weeks or twenty years ago - is fair game and libel to come back and bite you in the ass." Brianna pointed out.
Jon just grumbled into his glass.
It was dinner time before the workers finished and left for the day. They would return the morning of the wedding for any touch ups that were needed. Tomorrow the florists would descend to begin their preparations.
"Everyone needs to get a good night's sleep." Brianna reminded them. "Tomorrow's going to be a long and busy day."
The kids had no problem relaxing and making an early night of it, but Brianna couldn't settle. While trying to watch T.V. after dinner, her lists kept running through her head, and she couldn't sit still. Finally, she decided a short workout might be helpful and she headed to the gym.
Jon entered the living room with snacks. Setting them on the table, he looked around. "Where's Bri?"
Jesse looked around too. "Isn't she here?"
Stephanie rolled her eyes at her brother. "You're totally oblivious aren't you."
"Oooh, did you learn a new word?" He shot back.
"Guys, cut it out. Do you know where Bri is?" Their father stepped in.
"I think she went to the gym." Stephanie answered.
Brianna looked up when Jon appeared beside the treadmill. "Hey."
"What are you doing? What happened to resting up before tomorrow?"
She grimaced. "Can't...relax." She panted. "Trying to....work off.....excess energy."
"Hmmm. I know another way to work off energy and relax you." He waggled his eyebrows.
She considered him for a moment, then shook her head. "Nope. Not until after the wedding, remember."
He closed his eyes and groaned. "I still don't remember agreeing to that." Opening his eyes again he scowled at her. "I think you took advantage of me in a weak moment."
"In a post coital fog you mean." She grinned.
"Brat." He frowned down at his crotch. "I'm going to discover a whole new shade of blue."
"It'll go with your eyes." The scowl was back again and she laughed, stumbled and turned off the treadmill. "It's only two more nights. You'll survive."
"But you may not survive the honeymoon." He warned her as he handed her a towel.
"Speaking of the honeymoon, are you going to tell me where we're going?"
"You've got to give me some idea, I need to know what clothes to pack."
"Clothes? It's a honeymoon. No clothes required."
She flicked the towel at him. "You wish!"
"I do." He nodded. "Desperately." He leaned in to kiss her. "Calmed down now?"
"Go have a hot shower and I'll open some wine." He nudged her towards the door.
"Not joining me?"
"I'm in enough agony thanks."
He followed her laughter out the door.