Julian read on the Internet that there was often a dinner the night before the wedding consisting of the wedding party after the wedding rehearsal. It was called a rehearsal dinner. He had no idea what a rehearsal was, but thought it was a good idea anyway. He thought it could be a celebration of the two families coming together seeing as how the Pruetts barely knew the Devines. He made reservations at a restaurant in Newcrest and hoped everything went well.
When they arrived, the adults headed toward the bar, and the children went for the television. The two moms saw an opportunity to connect without their children around.
“I really appreciate how you all have adopted Jeannette into your family,” Ciera said.
“Oh! Of course we would! Jeannette is such a wonderful young lady. We love having her with us,” Viviana said.
“I’ve got to know, Mrs. Pruett–”
“Viv. Please, call me Viv.”
“Ok, Viv…how could you let her move in before you knew he was serious about her?”
Viviana was surprised by the question, but she could understand why Ciera would ask it. “Well…I think asking her to move in proved he was serious…don’t you think?”
“I can see your logic, truly, but seriously…you weren’t the least bit concerned,” Ciera asked.
“No. My son is not a heart breaker. I completely understand your concerns about his motives because of what happened and the amount of time it took them to get to this point. But, I know my son. I know how we raised him. So, if he brings a girl to us and asks if she can move in, I know what that means.”
“So, if the shoe were on the other foot, and your daughter went to live with a man she wasn’t engaged to, you wouldn’t be concerned?”
Viviana began to get a bit defensive, but she kept on smiling like she always did.
“Ciera…may I call you that? I know my children, and I trust their judgement. And if they make a mistake, they’ll learn from it and will live with the consequences. I don’t stand in their way and try to prevent them from making mistakes. How will they learn? Besides, it’s not like we didn’t know Jeannette. We’ve known her since they were high school! Now, if he would have done the same thing with that other girl he was dating, then I would have been concerned. But, I mean…look at them…
“Aren’t they just the cutest couple you’ve ever seen?”
“Yes. They are quite adorable. I can’t wait for the babies!”
“Oh me too!”
That certainly lightened the mood between these two defensive mothers as they spoke about their future grandkids. Eventually, it was time to eat, so everyone made their way back to the dining area. Unfortunately, the restaurant manager got the reservations mixed up and had Julian’s rehearsal dinner marked as a birthday party for an eight-year-old. So, the only food that was available was hot dogs.
When Julian and Jeannette sat down with their plates, she decided to ask him about something she always wanted to know.
“Yes, my love?”
“I need to know something…you always avoided talking about the hot tub incident. Why? I know you felt something.”
“I did,” he admitted.
He continued. “When I admitted that I started working out because you said I was skinny, that was the first time I ever admitted that you affected me. My friendship with you was so sacred to me, I was afraid that if I did anything, things would change and we wouldn’t be friends anymore. I didn’t understand that we could be best friends and lovers, so I stuffed my feelings down whenever I felt them cropping up. I avoided talking about it so I wouldn’t have to deal with my feelings. I…I actually thought it was wrong. I just didn’t understand.”
“Wow,” Jeannette said. “You really thought it was wrong to like me?”
“Yeah! I knew you liked me, and I was ok with it. I thought that as long as I kept myself in line, everything would be fine. I kept hearing my dad’s voice in my head telling me not to be a heart breaker. That’s why I couldn’t kiss you.”
“I knew it! I knew you wanted to kiss me!”
“Why didn’t you kiss me,” Julian asked. “I totally wanted you to.”
“I was chicken.”
“OK,” Callie interrupted. “This get together could use some structure, I think. How about we all say some words to the betrothed. I’ll start. Jeannette, you’re a good friend, and I’m glad you’re finally joining our family!
“Thank you, Callie,” Jeannette said. “You know, I’ve never had a sister before, so I’m certainly glad to be friends with my sisters-in-law!”
“That’s so nice for you to say, Callie,” Julian said in pride.
“I’ll speak next,” Brady announced. “Julian…you are my first child and my first son. When you were born, I was overjoyed because I had been wanting to have children for a long time. I was also proud because I had produced an heir. I thought that was the proudest I would ever be in my life. Then you became a man, and I was even more proud because I passed the proverbial torch to you. Then, you proposed to this beautiful young lady, and I felt that was the proudest I’ll ever be. But tomorrow, I’ll be more proud than I am today, and if I live to see my grandchildren, I’m sure I’ll be prouder than ever!”
“I love you, son. No matter how dumb you were before,”–everyone laughed–“you’ve always made me proud. You’re a good son. And I know your son will be worthy of your pride too.”
“Thanks, dad. That really means a lot.”
Brady continued, “Children are a never-ending source of pride. I wish for you a full and rich life with wonderful children who make you proud all the time. Jeannette, I knew you were special the first time I met you. That night you came to the house for the first time, you made such an impression on me. Mrs. Devine…your daughter was so polite and her manners were impeccable! I knew she was special even then. You did good, son. You did real good!”
“Well, what can I say,” Julian joked. “I have impeccable taste!”
Everyone groaned, and Jeannette said, “Ummm…the jury is still out on that one.”
“What? Freezer bunnies, people! I make one wrong choice, and now I’m labeled for life?”
“Two wrong choices. Two,” Jeannette said.
“Ahhh, whatever. High school doesn’t count,” Julian replied.
“Oh, it totally counts,” she said.
As they were going back and forth, Viviana turned her attention to Callie. “I hope you’ve been paying attention to what’s happened this week. I expect you to be doing the same soon…”
“Motheeeer, I don’t think this is the proper time to be talking about this,” Callie sang.