Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now!
“Hey,” JR called out when she heard Jacq walk through the door.
“Hi,” Jacq replied. “Mmm, something smells good,” she observed. JR had started dinner which was happily bubbling away in the oven. “One of your creations?”
“Nope, I cannot tell a lie; this is one of Grandma Debbie’s.”
“Do I have time for a shower?” Jacq had been tinkering with a new bike design and felt a little grungy.
“You sure do,” JR replied with a smile as Jacq made a quick about face then headed to their bedroom.
Twenty minutes later Jacq was helping JR set the table. “Red or white?” she asked.
“I’m in the mood for white,” said JR.
“White it is,” Jacq quipped as she poured a couple of glasses.
“Do you mind if we talk wedding plans?” JR ventured.
“Not at all; I was hoping we would.”
“Do you have any ideas?”
“Yes, I do,” replied Jacqueline.
“Thank the gods, ‘cause I don’t seem to have a clue!”
“First, tell me about your dream wedding,” Jacq asked. “And be honest, it doesn’t matter if you thought you’d be met at the altar by a man. I just want to get some background information.”
“Background information! That sounds so calculating.”
“You’re right, it does and that’s just how I meant it. We need to start somewhere and since I’ve never been to a wedding or had any dreams…”
“Wait, what? What do you mean you’ve never been to a wedding? Like never? Did you turn down invitations?”
“No, I’ve never been invited to one. JR, I grew up on the streets. I left home as soon as I was able. My family, what little I had, didn’t do weddings. I’m not sure if my parents were married or not. No one wore a ring and I don’t remember them ever celebrating an anniversary. One minute I had a father then the next thing, me and my mom moved out. So when I say, let’s start with some background information, I mean just that.”
“Okay,” JR murmured as she poured more wine, contemplating what her soon to be wife had revealed. “I guess I always thought I’d have a typical wedding with a long flowing white gown, a lacy veil, and a big bouquet.”
“And was there a man or a woman waiting at the altar?” JR blushed. “It’s okay, I’m not judging. I knew I was gay at eight.”
“I didn’t really know until I met you,” JR mumbled.
“And that’s all right. So, who’s standing at the altar?”
“Uncle Brian,” JR whispered.
“You wanted to marry your uncle?”
“Not him but someone who looked like him. He’s tall, smart, real good looking, and he always smells nice.”
“Even when he was grilling a ton of chicken?” Jacq smirked.
“Especially when he’s grilling tons of chicken,” JR laughed. “I don’t know what it is about him besides the obvious. He’s always been the rock of the family. Yeah, I know he can be a bitch sometimes but when something goes wrong or whenever I’m scared, or I need to know the truth about something, he’s the one I go to; the one we all go to.”
“That’s some responsibility being everyone’s go to guy.”
“Yeah, I know, that’s why I try not to be a pest, but sometimes there’s no one else I can turn to.”
“Not your dad?”
“Sometimes, but when I need logical, no bullshit advice it’s Uncle Brian or Uncle John. They kinda think alike.”
“I understand,” Jacq said. Then after a while, “So, you’re not disappointed that I’m not Brian?”
“Never. I love you. Besides, you’re tall, smart, real good looking, and always smell nice,” JR said with a big grin. “Except, of course, after you tinker with your bikes!” JR laughed as Jacq tossed a decorative pillow at her head. JR sprinted to their bedroom with Jacq in pursuit.
“So, background information,” JR announced as she dished up dinner which fortunately wasn’t ruined by their extracurricular activities.
“I’m not exactly sure what you mean so why don’t you ask questions and I’ll try to answer,” JR suggested.
“Okay,” Jacq agreed as she abruptly stood then went to grab a notebook. Jacq had a supply of blank notebooks hidden in most drawers and cabinets around their home. She never knew when a new bike design would come to mind; Jacq liked being prepared. JR gave her a look. “I know there’s probably a fancy wedding planner out there but I’m comfortable with a good old notebook,” Jacq stated.
“Let’s start with an easy one, at least I hope it’s an easy question. Date.”
JR nodded. She agreed, setting the date was not as easy as she thought it would be. “My first thought was to do it as soon as possible but we just spent a lot of money on a new house and I really don’t want to rush this. I want to be able to enjoy our wedding and the process leading up to it.”
“Are you thinking next year?” Jacq asked.
“Yes. Do you think it’ll be weird if we did it next Memorial Day weekend?”
“Not to me, I kinda like the idea,” said Jacq. “We’ll plan for that Saturday then this way our guests have two days to recover.”
“I like that! Next question.”
“Venue. I know you were thinking about the lane but…”
“It was recently pointed out that we have a brand new home with a very large yard and a wrap around porch. And since we’ve already proven that we can fit half of Pittsburgh in our yard, it seems stupid not to use it. Plus, by that time, all the plants and flowers Uncle Brian had the landscaper put in should be blooming,” JR said with a big smile.
“Yeah, about that. What are all these flowers?” Jacq pointed to the colorful Spring flowers that were in bloom in their yard.
“Uncle Brian said they’re annuals and the real flowers will come in next year. He said these are temporary and not to worry because the landscaper will come back to weed and trim.” JR shrugged her shoulders. “That’s about all I know about our garden; Mama and Mom never had much of garden.”
“How does an advertising genius know about plants?”
“Beats the hell out of me but you’ve seen his gardens. They’re beautiful,” JR gushed.
“Maybe it’s just one of those things we just have to accept. You know, grass is green, sky is blue…”
“And Uncle Brian knows about flowers,” JR added. Jacq nodded in agreement with a chuckle.
“All right, date and venue done!” Jacq announced with a grin as she held up her notebook. “What about guest list?”
“I saved the list from the barbecue; I’m thinking it won’t be too different,” JR said. She pointed to the list that was still stuck to their refrigerator door. Jacq got the list then taped it into the book.
“Would you mind if I invited some of the women that have been with me since I started my company,” Jacq softly asked.
“Not at all. I think that’s a great idea,” JR agreed as she gave Jacq a hug. “I was thinking that I might invite some of the store’s business contacts. I was just a kid when I started working there. My dad was sick and had to take time off. I had a lot of help but I remember that the printer who does Rage was really understanding.”
Jacq gave JR a serene smile and made additional notes in their book.
“I think we’ve made a good start,” Jacq commented. “We should call Emmett and book the date with him,” she suggested.
“You’re right. We don’t want to assume he has that weekend free.” JR looked at her watch. “It’s not too late to call now.” JR said as she picked up her phone.
“No time like the present,” JR stated as she scrolled through her contacts. “Hi Auntie Emm, it’s JR! I have a catering question and you’re on speaker.”
“Hiya honey, what can I do for you? And hi Ms. Jacqueline!”
“Hello Emmett,” Jacq stated formally.
“Um, Jacq and I have been discussing wedding plans,” JR began.
“Oh. How can little ole me help?” Emmett coyly asked. JR smiled as Jacq rolled her eyes.
“We were wondering if you’d be our wedding planner.”
“It would be my honor. Have you set a date?”
“Yes, we just did, next May 27th. Are you booked up,” JR asked.
“Honey, even if I was, I’d rearrange my life for you and Ms. Jacqueline. I’m entering the day into my calendar right now. And let’s book an appointment for sometime this week to begin planning; let’s say this Thursday evening? It’s never too early to start planning for your big day,” Emmett gushed. “I know you all like your privacy, so if you wish I can come to you,” Emmett suggested with Jacq in mind.
“Thank you, Emmett, we’d appreciate it,” Jacq said out loud.
“Thank you, Auntie Emm!”
“Oh sweetie, you’re very welcome! I’ll see you soon. Tootles!”
“Well, that was easy enough,” Jacq commented as she made notations in her book. JR made a face. “What?”
“I had a talk with Molly at the barbecue. She’s Justin’s sister,” JR stated for Jacq’s benefit; she was still learning the who’s who of JR’s family. “Molly was the most recent of the family to get married. I was eleven when she got married. I thought it was the most wonderful thing I ever saw. Molly told me some of what she went through and how Brian and Bree made it all possible.”
“Bree? But she would have been a baby!”
“Old enough to be flower girl. Anyway, Justin’s father practically disowned him because of Uncle Brian. It’s a long story, but bottom line, Molly had several meltdowns before she walked down that aisle,” JR said pensively. “A lot of people were trying to take over her wedding plans but basically Uncle Brian told her that it was her wedding and the family could go fuck themselves!” JR and Jacq laughed.
“That man is growing on me,” Jacq admitted. “I think we have an advantage that Molly didn’t have.”
“I have no family that’ll interfere and I think the only one in your family that may want to pressure you is your…”
“Dad. Yeah, I get that but Ben can keep daddy in line.”
“Yeah. But the more we have things planned out, the less chance he or anyone can screw with.”
“Right. The main thing is I want you to be happy. I want us to have your dream wedding in spite of me not being Brian Kinney,” Jacq said with a straight face. JR giggled.
“I love you,” JR said.
“I love you too,” Jacq said with a smile.
The girls cleaned up the kitchen, poured a little more wine then took their glasses outside to enjoy their porch.
“It’s so beautiful out here,” JR commented. “We’re in the heart of the city but it feels like we’re in the middle of nowhere. The hedges are so thick that it’s like a fence.”
“Have you met our neighbors?”
“Leda and Jamie? Yeah, I know them. I’ve seen Jamie at the gallery and Leda is an old friend of Mama’s. She’s into bikes too.”
“The gas guzzling kind,” Jacq snarked. “It was a shame they were out of town for the barbeque.”
“Maybe we should have a dinner party for just our neighbors.”
“That sounds like a good idea. I don’t know the people in the other new house.”
“I don’t either, but Hunter does. I’ll call him tomorrow.”
“Your family really does know everyone,” Jacq joked.
“It feels that way,” JR agreed.
“Your moms, did they get married?”
“Yes, but it wasn’t legal back then. Mommy told me they had a beautiful ceremony and the whole family helped to put it together. Grandma Debbie even sewed Mommy’s dress! I’ve seen pictures; it was beautiful.”
“Does she still have it?”
“The dress? I don’t know. Why?”
“I’d love to see it.”
“I’ll call her tomorrow.”
“What about Mel, what did she wear?”
“A nice suit.”
“Do you have pictures?”
The girls sat quietly enjoying their wine for a while longer then went indoors. As they got ready for bed, JR rummaged around in her closet.
“Here,” JR said as she handed Jacq a couple of pictures.
“Beautiful,” she exclaimed.
“Hey, Pop! Justin said you wanted to talk to me,” Gus said as he rounded the stairs and walked into Brian’s inner sanctum.
“Have a seat.”
“Am I in trouble?”
“No, of course not but if you don’t mind, I’d like to talk business.”
“It’s been a while since you and Ray were up North.”
“Yeah, we were thinking about going there this summer. What about it?”
“I’d like you to consider taking your sister.”
“No JR, of course Bree. She is responsible for our first Canadian client. And it’s been a while since they’ve seen her. She’s a young lady now.”
“Yeah, and if I’m not careful she’s going to take over the empire by the time she turns sixteen.”
“She is a bit tenacious,” Brian snarked.
“More than a bit and you can’t blame it all on Justin. And I have the pictures to prove it. Did you talk to her yet?”
“No, I wanted to run this by you first. I did speak with Cynthia and Ted, they both like the idea but it’s up to you.”
“Are you going too?”
“I wasn’t planning on it. North has been your baby as well as Mel’s. Shelly’s been doing very well up there.”
“Yes, she has.”
“So, what do you think? Are you ready to handle Ms. Briana Victoria Kinney-Taylor, advertising consultant, all on your own?” Brian smirked.
“Wow, that’s a mouthful. Yeah, I think I can handle it. Besides, she loves Ray. He’ll know what to do if I don’t. Um, what’s Justin think about this? You did talk to him?”
“We discussed it.”
“He doesn’t like the idea?”
“Not particularly, but he does understand that we have very smart and very unique children that insist on growing up and are taking a very serious interest in how both their fathers make a living. I may not be happy that you’re on the verge of taking over the empire, but I’m so proud of you that sometimes I feel like I’m going to explode. As for Bree, I’d like her to get some experience before she makes up her mind. You always knew what you wanted to do. Although Bree has a wonderful outlook on things and great creativity, her interest is sporadic.”
“What do mean?”
“She loves to do the things that you do. It’s almost a competition for her. And while that competitive attitude is helpful, you also must temper that with reason. You have to be able to step back to take in the whole picture. You also have to know when to ask for help.”
“And she jumps right in before knowing if she can swim,” Gus observed.
“I knew once you made up your mind that following in my footsteps was what you truly wanted to do, you’d work hard at it to accomplish your goal. Your dual degrees are a prime example. Now that she’s older, we can find out if she’s in it for the long haul. She may want to pursue a totally different career and that’s fine with me as long as it makes her happy.”
“I get it, Pop.”
“Talk to Ray then talk to Bree. When school is over, we can make definite plans. We go through Cynthia and Ted just like we did with you and when Bree was real young.”
“You got it, Pop! Am I dismissed?” Gus joked.
“Go, my son, be one with the suntan lotion and a lounge chair,” Brian said as he made a royal wave. Gus laughed as he left the royal court to go find Ray.
A few minutes later Justin came up to the office.
“Did you tell Gus your idea?”
“Yes, I did. He seems to like it. He’s talking to Ray now and then later he’ll speak with Bree. What about you? You warming up to the idea that your little girl is a young woman? And may be about to leave on a jet plane?”
“No, but I’ll get there, eventually.”
“I know the feeling. I still have the urge to lock her up until she’s thirty,” said Brian with a pout. “But we can’t, all we can do is embrace the fact that she’s about to take over the world.”
“Okay, who are you and what have you done with the real Brian Kinney?” Justin teased as he slipped into Brian’s lap.
“I think I’ve come to one of those milestone moments in my life, Sunshine,” said Brian, making air quotes when he said the word milestone.
“I think you need coffee. You sound like your caffeine level is at critical,” Justin snarked as he got up off his comfortable perch then held out his hand. Brian stood then took the proffered hand.
The resigned parents went down to the kitchen for coffee and to fortify themselves against the realization that their little girl was indeed growing up.
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