Chapter 28: Rosie’s Wedding & Susana’s Gift

Scene: Rosie’s Wedding

 Two days before Rosie’s wedding, Chris stood between the living room and dining room of his home, watching the bustle. Around the coffee table in the living room, Susana and the other bridesmaids were making centerpieces for the tables at the reception. Several of Chris’s nephews were on the floor making favors. In the dining room to his left, his sisters-in-law were folding programs and organizing gifts. He could also hear Rosie on the phone in the kitchen, coordinating the arrival of the caterer, baker, and others.

 As Chris took it all in, he felt overwhelmed. He’d never realized there was so much to do to get married!

Josh slipped up behind him and whispered, “Don’t worry, the bride’s family generally takes care of the wedding preparations in the U.S.”

Chris chuckled. “Thanks.” Josh’s uncanny abilities no longer unsettled him.

Josh started to walk away, but stepped back, rubbing his chin. “But, come to think of it, the groom’s family is primarily responsible for the wedding in Mexican culture.”

Chris lost his smile.

Josh slapped Chris on the back, his mouth twitching. “Well, I’m sure you two can work out a little thing like that.”

* * *




Chris was standing in the foyer with Rosie, awaiting the signal for her entry, when she suddenly turned to him. “I’m nervous.”

“Don’t be. Ivan’s a great guy and you’re perfect for each other. And you look fantastic. There’s no reason to be nervous. Just enjoy the moment.”

“Thank you,” she said with a smile. “You always know what to say. And when not to say anything.”

“That’s your fault. You’re the one who taught me to—how did you put it?—‘Just shut up, stand still, and hold me when I cry’?”

Rosie laughed. “You’ll make a good husband some day. You’re well trained.” She paused before adding matter-of-factly, “You should marry Susana, you know. Soon.”

“Should I?” Chris tried to be nonchalant, but he knew his eyes were twinkling.

Rosie gasped. “You are, aren’t you? You’re going to ask her!”

Chris bowed his head, struggling to keep the silly grin off his face, and she tugged on his arm, much as she had done when they were young. “Tell, tell!”

Rosie had always kept his secrets, and he hers. He leaned close to her ear. “Tonight.”

She squealed and threw her arms around his neck. That’s how the audience caught them when the door opened for her entry. As they started up the aisle, Rosie murmured, “You have to call me and tell me her answer.”

“I’m not calling you on your wedding night,” Chris whispered back.

“Oh, that’s right. Well, email me then. Promise.”

“Okay, I promise. Now maybe you should pay attention to your grinning groom up there. If I were him, I’d be getting jealous.”

* * *

Scene: Susana’s Gift

When they returned to Cheyenne, the coaches took the newly engaged couple out for a congratulatory dinner. As the meal was winding down, Susana pulled a gift-wrapped package out of a bag and handed it to Chris. “I’m sorry your birthday present is a little late, but I finally finished it.”

He unwrapped the gift and lifted the lid of the box inside to find a scrapbook. When he opened it to the first page, he caught his breath. “DAD,” read big letters above a picture of Dad with Chris, still in his cap and gown at his high school graduation.

Chris looked through the labored-over pages slowly, each one recalling treasured memories. Rosie also enjoyed scrapbooking, so Chris had some idea of how much work went into a project like this. Even if he hadn’t, though, he would have cherished this scrapbook. Besides old pictures, there were mementos from Chris that Dad had kept all these years, like the Father’s Day card Chris had made in second grade. There were also souvenirs from special times they’d shared, like the ticket stubs from the Dodgers game Dad had taken Chris to—only Chris—on his tenth birthday. It amazed him—touched him—that Dad had kept these things.

“This is so amazing,” Chris breathed. “Where did you get all this?”

“Rosie’s been sending me stuff as she found it. She just gave me the last of it when we were there for the wedding.”

“It’s so incredible. Thank you.” He studied another page or two and suddenly realized, “Something like this requires a lot of cutting. That’s how you keep reinjuring your hand, isn’t it?”

“It’s no big deal. My hand heals.”

Putting an arm around her, he drew her close. “Thank you, tesoro. This means so much to me.”

She was glowing. “I’m glad you like it.”

After dinner, as they walked back to the car, the two women migrated ahead of the men, who weren’t particularly interested in whether the bridesmaids’ dresses should be blue or lavender. Besides, Chris had other concerns on his mind.

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