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When Nala and Silvester got home from their little trip at the nectary they found Summer in the working area with her laptop. This was not an uncommon sight. Nala never seemed to understand why a job at the spa requires such an amount of typing and scrolling but if she was to say that to her daughter she was sure she wasn’t going to get an answer, only an evil eye.To Summer her job came before almost everything else and besides the two of the just had a big fight this morning and Nala was not ready for round two, not yet at least.
Upon hearing the door close Summer clicked on a few more keys and then turned to face her mother. Her expression was as hard as stone and Nala couldn’t deduce if she was still angry or not. Summer got up and pushed the chair away, the rolling of the chairs wheels on Nala’s wooden floor resonated across the room. Nobody said anything as Summer walked up to them and took Silvester’s hand. The boy followed her upstairs leaving Nala alone in cold silence.
Nala sighed, she didn’t enjoy this fights with her younger daughter, and she hated that Silvester had to be dragged in the middle of them but she had no way of fixing it, not now at least so she headed to the kitchen to cook. Her plan was to make some cookies, so when Silvester comes back home he would have something to cheer him up because Nala supposed he would hate that stupid party Summer was about to drag him to. Cookies were another of the boy’s favorites but this one Nala had a little more trouble mastering, more than with the pancakes at least.
The first few batches she ever made were a burnt out disaster. No one but Bradley, Summer’s fiancee at the time could eat them and that was no compliment since those days he would eat almost anything, even at the risk of braking his teeth, or choking to death in the
Nala liked Bradley, not for the fact he was brave enough to eat her cooking, or the fact she used to be friends with his father. Those thing mattered of course but she liked Bradley for the way he stepped up. Not long after Summer had come to live with Nala Bradley showed up on her doorstep too.
He knew what he was up against, sleepless nights with a crying baby, dirty diapers, and living with two women who didn’t always get along. Still he didn’t flinch. He dropped right in to the midst of it and had stayed there trough thick and thin.
And every day Bradley continued to try his best to be a good boyfriend, a good husband a good father which in Nala’s book made him a good son-in-law. And in turn Nala accepted to keep his secrets. They never talked about them actually, but she was sure they both knew about Bradley’s secret life and they both kept quiet, to each other and everyone else.
When Bradley first came to live with Nala and Summer he had just taken a job at a security company from out of town. It wasn’t exactly a job one would expect from their town’s high school valedictorian but it was the best he could get at the moment. On the surface his story checked out. He worked a lot, mostly nights coming home in the mornings exhausted and collapsing on any soft surface available.
He started working out, running mostly and joking about it: “If things don’t work out I got to be ready to get away from your daughter fast Nala because that one is a dangerous one.”
It all made sense, it all fitted nicely but there was something bugging Nala about the whole thing, maybe it was the strange phone calls from work he always took in private, maybe it was the sad look in his eyes when he would talk about his job… Or the constant talks and preparations for Summer and Silvester in case anything happened to him. He was very young, there was no need for going there but still he did… He had taken out a big life insurance, he set up Silvester’s college fund. It was as if he was in some constant danger….
And sure security jobs could be, and probably are dangerous but why had he never shared the name of the company with any of them? Most people, Nala’s daughter included, never insisted on it, or payed it any mind but that tickled Nala’s brain crazy…
And then earlier this summer Sara, Nala’s older daughter came to dinner. Over the phone she said she had some big news to share and Nala thought she and her fiance Jerod had finally set a date for their wedding, unlike her ex wife Nala didn’t put pressure on their daughters to get married but both of her daughters had been in pretty long engagements already.
Sara’s news however were a bit different. “I’m starting the police academy this fall!” Sara exclaimed loudly as soon she was done eating. She flashed everyone a big smile pulling out a shiny golden trainee badge she had gotten and went in a long tirade about how excited she was about getting a new, real, one. Nala was at first surprised with these news, but then again this was Sara, she was always jumping from one big adventure to the next. However later that night as Nala thought about this event, with a mix of pride, fear and excitement for her daughter she remembered glancing over at Bradley at the moment of Sara’s announcement and she remembered distinctly the dark shadow that had passed over his face. Afraid to be caught on opposing sides? Nala wondered and wondered how come she never thought of it before but then again her attention was soon averted.
“Bradley and I are going to get married this summer!” Her younger daughter yelled as soon as Sara was finished with her speech. Everyone present turned to look at her in shock but Summer was smiling, her green eyes sparkling as she looked over at Bradley. “I know it comes as a shock now but it’s time. We HAVE been engaged for five years and have an amazing kid together. What is the point of waiting?”
Sara was first to loose the shocked expression and to congratulate her sister. Then it was Nala’s turn. She raised a glass of wine to both of them smiling as well and then turning to little Silvester encouragingly. “Your mummy and daddy are finally going to get married! Isn’t that good news? Go congratulate them!” And the boy got up hastily from his chair and ran to kiss both of his parents on the cheek. And Summer all bubbling with excitement picked him up to sit in her lap, something she never did. It was a night of surprises indeed.
The very next day Nala and Summer have started the preparations for the wedding. Back when she and Dina were married her and Nala were throwing one party or another every other week, or so it seemed. They were pretty famous for their parties, charity events, fundraisers, concerts etc which is why Nala guessed her daughter turned to her for help. She surprised Nala again informing her she didn’t want a big wedding, just a simple ceremony at their house with a party to follow with their closest friends and family.
She didn’t even want a classic white wedding dress: “I’m marrying the father of my child, I see no point in wearing white on my wedding day. Do you?” And Nala didn’t. The two of them fought much less about this than anything else, Summer pretty much let Nala organize the whole thing with only the slightest suggestions. This left Nala really little time to investigate her suspicions about Bradley and in the end she just gave it up.
Bradley loved her daughter and grandson and that was all that mattered. Once Nala had a love like that and she knew how powerful it was. It was the kind of love that comes only once in a lifetime and one should do whatever it took to hold on it. And if Nala had any regrets , it was that she had not fought hard enough for it. She let it just slip trough her fingers…
In the end it was that love that made her strong enough to follow her dreams, to build her life as it was now. And back in the day she too had looked the other way more then once, her ex-wife Dina was a raising politician, she rose from being their small town’s mayor to the leader of the free world. Did she get there by following all the rules and all the laws? Nala doubted it. But if she had looked the other way just one more time maybe, just maybe the two of them could still be together… But past is the past, there is no turning back the clock, what was done was done. But the future, Bradley’s and Summer’s was still open, Bradley was doing his best and what more can any of us do?
And so Nala dug into the wedding planning. In the end she thought she had done a pretty good job. She nearly burst into tears watching Summer walk down the stairs as her sister’s grandson Oliver threw flower petals on her way. It was an emotional thing, watching your daughter get married. She thought of all the conversations she had with Dina, pleading with her to adopt another child and then of the moment she first saw Summer… She had to stop there because it wouldn’t be very nice if she broke into tears right then and there since she was in charge of the music. She played an acoustic guitar version of “Here comes the bride” as Summer descended towards her husband to be.It was later that the tears came, the moment she laid her eyes on her little grandson in the cute little suit she picked for him watching the ceremony with his tiny hands folded and the sweetest look on that lovely face.
And Silvester and Nala weren’t the only ones moved by the simple, yet sweet ceremony held right there in Nala’s living room. She even saw
Dina crying, something she thought as nearly impossible, even though they had spent decades together. She was glad that Dina came, she knew she wouldn’t want to miss her daughter’s wedding even though she wasn’t the most supportive over Summer’s extramarital pregnancy, and the wedding was here at Nala’s house but Dina came lovely as ever, wearing a simple yet elegant dress and long white gloves. Years didn’t seem to touch her much it seemed, but then again, nothing ever touched Dina, without her permission at least.
But the most important thing off all was how both Summer and Bradley were so adorably happy as they promised each other a love to last a lifetime. And in that moment Nala really hoped it will, she knew that thing wouldn’t always be bright and filled with rainbows and sunshine but if they faced it all together she knew they could handle everything that came their way, from this day until the end of days…