Keeping Faith by Cindy Bradford (serial 52)
Chapter 19 Part II
“Thank you both so much,” Carol said as she stood up to hug both Carmella and Stefano. “And speaking of grandbabies, do you have photos?”
“I thought you would never ask,” Carmella murmured.
Stefano cut in, “But first I must make a toast because we will have finished this case of wine before Carmella finishes talking about the grandchildren. To Patrico and Carol, may they have a wonderful life together.”
They clinked their glasses as they sipped the wine.
“This is wonderful, Stefano.”
“Thank you. Now you can bring out the pictures,” he said, beaming with pride about both the wine and the grandchildren.
After two glasses of wine and several rounds of photographs, Stefano said, “We had better go to the hotel and unpack.”
“I’ll take you and then tonight we’ll pick you up for dinner and leave my car for you to use tomorrow,” Patrick offered.
Carol cut in, “We’ll see you at dinner, and thank you again for the glasses.”
“Our pleasure, Carmella replied.
Patrick had no sooner left for the hotel when Nancy, David and Hannah drove up.
Everyone embraced as Hannah began tugging at Carol’s leg. “When are you getting mayweed, Arol?”
“In two days, my special little one. How was your trip?”
“Otay.” At that minute Hannah spotted Peri and was off to play.
“I expected you sooner.”
“I know, we had planned to leave earlier, but you know how that goes.”
“Yes, please. That sounds delicious, but then we must go to the hotel to refresh.”
Fredrico, Marc and Carol had another glass while David and Nancy drank their first taste of Stefano’s wine.
“This is nice,” David said.
“You’ll meet Carmella and Stefano tonight. He brought the wine from Italy. The grapes are from his vineyard, and he makes the wine himself.”
“It’s very good,” Nancy added.
“Hannah, do you want some lemonade?”
“We really must go to the hotel,” David said, finishing his glass.
“Do you know how to get there?”
“I think so. I was there some years ago.”
“Then we’ll meet you at Harbor Docks for dinner at 7:00 p.m. Is that time all right?”
“Bye, Peri. Bye, Arol.”
After a lengthy dinner and more wine, everyone began complaining of being tired and sleepy.
“Tomorrow is a long day. Patrick, you still have time to get out of this,” David teased.
“I’ll let you know tomorrow if I need a getaway car,” Patrick said, winking.
Walking to their car, hand in hand, Patrick squeezed Carol’s hand and said, “Only two more days to be Ms. Neilson.”
“I’m ready, so ready to be Carol O’Brien. I think everyone got along famously, don’t you Patrick?”
“Yes, but I knew they would.”
“I see why you love Carmella and Stefano.”
“Yes, they’re a great couple, but I really liked your friends, too. That Hannah is so sweet!”
“She is a handful,” Carol said, laughing at memories of some of her antics.
“Are you staying tonight, Patrick?”
“No. I think I will let you rest tonight and tomorrow night because after that, you’ll never be rid of me.”
When Carol went into the house, Fredrico and Marc had already gone to bed. We must have exhausted everyone, she thought as she readied herself for bed.
The next day was busy with the remainder of the guests arriving. Patrick had been concerned about his dad being alone, a little nervous about meeting his new father-in-law and generally worried about everyone getting along. He need not have given it much thought because Nancy’s parents came with Carol’s as a surprise to both daughters and with his two brothers and the other guests in the mixture, there was never a lull in the conversation. He was relieved that the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner went smoothly and that everyone was back at the hotel or at Carol’s for the night.
As he walked around the apartment the last time as a single man, he thought about the last two years and the direction his life had taken. He felt happy and content, but as always there was something deep, deep inside that never allowed him to find complete peace.
He lay on his bed, remembering the cast of characters at dinner and became amused. He decided that if he woke in the morning and this were all a big fairy tale, how different it would be. He figured Carol’s father would have chosen David for her; Nancy’s father would have gladly switched him for David; and Carmella would have opted for Nancy over Carol as Patrick’s wife. Fredrico and Marc would kidnap John and give him to Nancy and Carol’s hairdresser friend, Sergio. Stefano and Carmella would claim Hannah as another granddaughter and his poor dad would be out looking for some, very homely Catholic girl to marry Patrick. He was still smiling as he drifted off to sleep.