"So have you decided on a date?" Sara asked her daughter as she had every few days since she'd heard about the engagement.
"Yes. September twentieth."
"Okay. That gives us over a year to get organized. The first thing we need to do..."
"No Mom," Brianna interrupted, "September of this year."
"What? But...but....that's only four months away! That doesn't give us enough time!" Sara stuttered. "We need to find a location and book the church and..."
"No we don't." Brianna interrupted again. "We're going to have it here, on the lawn."
Sara considered that for a moment. "That could work, it's a good size space. I just hope it's big enough."
"There's lots of room." Brianna assured her. "We're keeping it small. Just family and friends. No business contacts."
"Your father's not going to like that."
"Since he doesn't approve of me marrying Jon, I would think he'd be relieved not have his business associates witness the horrific event."
"Snideness doesn't become you Brianna." Sara scolded.
Brianna snorted. "But am I lying?"
"That's beside the point." Sara cleared her throat. "Now. Your dress and flowers. What are you thinking?"
"I'm not sure really, fall colours for the flowers, but I haven't decided varieties yet. As for my dress, I want to look through some designer lines before I decide."
"And the colour?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you're not going to wear white are you? That would be a little.....gauche...don't you think?"
"Is that you talking or Father?" Brianna waved her hand. "It doesn't matter. It's the twenty-first century Mom, I can wear white if I want to." She took a calming breath. "I'm looking for cream, not white."
"Hmpf! Well, I've been making some preliminary plans, which can be easily adjusted for fall colours. Lilies and mums I think, with yellow and rust table cloths. And a string quartet for the ceremony, and..."
"Mom, stop. You got to plan my last wedding to suit you. This one's going to be the way I want it. Simple, yet elegant."
"I wasn't aware I did such a bad job or that you were so unhappy with it."
Brianna grit her teeth, but was determined to ignore the guilt trip and have her way this time. "I never said you did a bad job. It was beautiful. But you did almost all the work and planning. This time I want to do it myself."
"So you just want us to give you a check and stay out of it." Sara sniffed.
"No!" Brianna squeezed the bridge of her nose with two fingers and struggled to keep her temper. "We don't want your check. You and Father paid for my first wedding. Jon and I are paying for this one. I will keep you updated on my plans and if I need some help I'll let you know."
"Fine. I'll wait to hear from you then."
By the time Brianna got off the phone her head was throbbing. When it rang again she almost didn't answer it. "Hello?"
"Hi Brianna, it's Carol."
"Hi Carol, how are you?"
"I'm good. I'm just calling about the wedding."
The throbbing kicked up a notch. "Oh?"
"I was wondering how many people I can invite?
"Well, we want to keep it small, so we'd prefer it if you just invite family and close friends." She felt she had to be a little more flexible with Jon's parents since they didn't get to be involved with his first wedding.
"Okay. Now, about the food. We've got some friends who have relatives that are excellent caterers. And I still have a lot of contacts in the florist community and....."
Brianna closed her eyes and let Carol's voice wash over her. She knew her future mother-in-law was only trying to be helpful, but she had a feeling that between their mothers, her negotiation and diplomacy skills were going to be put to the test over the next few months.
Jon looked up from the TV when Brianna walked into the living room. The expression on her face had him frowning, but before he could say anything, she grabbed a pillow, dropped it on his lap and laid down beside him, burying her head in the pillow. "What's wrong?"
"I'm beginning to think maybe you and Dorothea were smart to just go to Vegas."
"You've been talking to your mother about wedding plans." He guessed.
He rubbed her back soothingly. "Do what you want. I'll back you up and help you deal with my mother."
"What about mine?"
He shuddered, but put up a brave front. "I'll do what I can."
Brianna sighed and closed her eyes.
Romeo got up from where he was playing with his blocks on the floor and walked over to the couch. "Bina seepin?"
Jon smiled at the loud whisper and nodded. "Yes. She needed a nap."
"Me too." Romeo climbed up onto the couch on his father's other side and laid down with his head on the other edge of the pillow.
Looking down at the two heads on his lap, Jon chuckled and turned his attention back to ESPN. A few minutes later, Copper appeared at his feet, looking longingly at the couch. "Oh no. Sorry old man, there's no more room up here."
Copper sighed and laid down on the floor.
With wedding preparations finally underway, Jon knew he had to get moving on hiring another assistant. Just when he'd gotten his sex life revving along nicely, it stalled again. But this time it wasn't due to inhibitions, or concerns about the kids. Brianna was simply exhausted by the end of the day.
His first thought was to do the interviews himself, but the part of his brain that warned him when he was about to do something stupid kicked in and he asked her to sit in.
Brianna wasn't sure how she was going to fit interviews in to her already packed days, but on the other hand, the sooner they hired someone, the sooner some of her responsibilities could be handed off. And if that idea made her wary of future of her job, she was just going to have to suck it up and hope for the best.
Sitting around the big desk listening to Jon ask questions reminded Brianna of her own interview a few years earlier and she watched the applicants reactions to meeting him face to face. She could tell immediately who the fans were and watched them struggle to maintain a professional demeanour. She remembered that feeling well. There were still odd moments when she couldn't quite believe she was such an intimate part of his life.
Jon's memories were centred on more recent events. When Brianna pulled a chair around his desk to sit beside him he couldn't resist making a show of looking under it, then crooking a brow at her.
Interpreting his expression correctly, Brianna rolled her eyes and swatted his arm, her face burning. "Ass!"
"Well, yes, you have a fine one, but we need to focus on work today. You'll have to wait until we get home." His smirk widened into a grin as her eyes narrowed at him. He was saved from her retaliation by Evelyn's knock announcing the first applicant.
It was a long day, but a productive one. Some of Brianna's fears were eased as Jon had described what the new assistant's duties would be: mainly correspondence and some scheduling. The bulk of the scheduling would stay with Brianna along with his charity work.
But as they discussed the applicants on the way home, and Jon asked her opinion on which of those they'd interviewed would be capable of taking on a heavier workload in the future, her anxiety increased again. "What are you thinking?
He shrugged. "Just considering our options and what might be helpful in the future."
That didn't make her feel any better.