Yes, another romance reject. This one is based on a true story. Sort of. A friend whose parents didn’t approve of her husband. He did win them over and everyone gets along now. I just thought their story needed better closure.
I Still Do
Megan pulled her hair into a knot, pinned it to the back of her head and surveyed herself in the mirror. Too severe. She tried an upsweep, pulling out wisps until her face was framed with tendrils. Better. She pulled the pins out, letting her chestnut hair bounce on her shoulders. But that was her everyday look and she wanted something special for tonight.
Leaning out her bedroom door, she peeked down the hall and into the living room. Good, Katie was still drawing in her new Cinderella coloring book. The twins, Jason and Jenny napped in their infant seats on the floor near their big sister.
Three kids under the age of four didn’t leave a lot of time for date nights with her husband, Max. But tonight was special. Her mother had agreed to take all three children for the evening; Megan just had to take them to her parent’s home. Then she’d pick up Max at his office and they would begin their fifth wedding anniversary celebration.
As Megan brushed her hair out again, she thought back to that night five years ago. She’d been so scared, but so determined too. Her parents disapproved of Max and it took all her resolve and courage to go against their wishes and marry him. They had gone to the county courthouse and been married by a judge in his chambers. Quick and simple. A part of her still mourned the loss of the wedding she’d been imagining since she’d colored in her own Cinderella book.
She and Max had grown up as next-door neighbors. She had loved him ever since he helped bury the dead squirrel she had found in the yard. He had rebelled in college, dropping out and joining the stage crew of a rock band. Her parents made no secret of their disapproval of his lifestyle. Even after he returned home and finished college, they felt he had ruined his life. And they were afraid he would ruin hers as well.
When she and Max began to date, her parents never lost an opportunity to insult or belittle Max. But he took their disapproval in stride, never letting it affect his love for her. He hadn’t wanted to marry against her parent’s wishes, so Megan had proposed to him. They joked about it now, but Megan’s tears at their wedding had been as much from sorrow over her parent’s absence as joy at marrying her beloved.
As the months passed, her parents began to thaw. Max worked hard to provide for his bride. After a year, they were able to move from their first studio apartment to a small house in the same neighborhood where they had grown up. Her parents had helped them move and had even stripped wallpaper from what was to become the nursery.
By the time Katie was born, Max had won them over. And when the twins came along, they were thrilled. Megan’s happiness was complete. She felt an occasional pang over her lost wedding, but her marriage and children more than made up for it. She loved her life, her husband, and her family.
Max had been planning a surprise for their fifth anniversary for weeks now. He’d made dinner reservations and childcare arrangements.
The phone rang, startling Megan out of her memories. She hurried to answer, hoping it wouldn’t waken the babies.
“Megan, it’s Mom. I’m so sorry, honey. I’m still at work.”
“What happened?” Disappointment struggled with concern. Was this some plot to keep her and Max from celebrating their anniversary? No, her parents had changed their feelings; they wouldn’t ruin this night. They knew how much Megan had been looking forward to it.
“It’s a long story. I can be ready to leave in about half an hour. If you’ll bring the children here, I can take them home. And you’ll only be a few minutes late starting your evening. Is that all right?”
“Yes, of course.” Relief flooded Megan. Their night wouldn’t be cancelled after all. “I’ll be there in thirty minutes.” Her mother worked as a part-time secretary at the church Megan had attended since childhood. It wasn’t out of the way at all. She picked up the phone again and called Max to tell him about the change of plans.
“Sounds good,” he said. Nothing bothered Max, least of all last minute changes. “We’ll still have a wonderful night out, it’ll just start a few minutes later. Don’t worry and don’t rush. Just get here when you can.”
“See you soon.” Megan hurried back to her room and brushed her hair out again, deciding to leave it down.
When she pulled up in front of the church, she was surprised to see her friend Alison waiting at the curb.
“Hi. I was helping your mom in the office and she asked me to look for you. She’s inside. I’ll take the kids, you go on in.”
“But I need to move their car seats into her minivan.”
“I’ll take care of it, you go on. She said it’s important that she see you as soon as you got here.”
Megan was puzzled. “Okay. Where is she?”
“In the chapel.”
“I’ll be right back.” Megan approached the double doors of the small chapel, hearing a piano. Someone was practicing “The Wedding March.” She entered the church then came to a complete stop. At the end of the aisle stood Max. Her mother sat in the first pew. The other seats were full of familiar faces. Family and friends smiled at her. The music grew louder. She felt a nudge from behind. Bewildered, she looked over her shoulder into her father’s tear-filled eyes.
“Happy anniversary, sweetheart.”
“Who? How?” So many questions filled Megan’s mind.
“Max. He wanted you to have a real wedding. And so do Mom and I. We love you both. And we want to be at your wedding to welcome him into the family. For real this time.”
“Oh, Daddy.” Her breath caught in her chest, Megan couldn’t say any more.
“Go on. They’re waiting. I’ve got the kids.” Alison slipped into a rear pew, a twin in each arm. Katie followed, watching her mother with large eyes.
Blinking away her own tears, Megan turned to walk down the aisle.
“Psst. The flowers,” Alison said.
Megan glanced to her right and saw a bouquet of roses on a chair. Picking them up, she slipped her other hand through her father’s arm and began to walk toward her husband.