(Previous post: Blair’s Funeral)
It turned out to be one of the hottest summers yet. Lysa didn’t do well with the heat and this year it was practically unbearable. So she decided to spend more time at Jill’s house. Her mother did have a nice new pool, and both her brother Zeke and sister Vanessa were there as well.
Time passed fast, Lysa would go to work, then back home and straight to the pool. Her mother had retired from her job at the bistro and would join her there, if she didn’t she would be either reading a book in the shade or working in her garden that need constant care in this awful weather. Lysa helped her out whenever she could, and so would Zeke and Vanessa.
Zeke worked really hard this summer and when he would come out to join Lysa by the pool he would mostly just doze off, still fully dressed, in the smoldering heat. Lysa knew Zeke didn’t really like his job at the City Hall, he applied only because his sister Laquita applied and made him do it too. But he was saving money so he and Marty would buy a house after they get married so he couldn’t just quit. And Lysa knew although he was working hard, he wasn’t really getting far, the best he could hope for right now was the promised spot as a ballot counter on the fall elections. Zeke however wasn’t backing down.
He was also pretty adamant about learning to cook this summer so he was the one preparing their meals, Lysa didn’t complain, although she loved their mother’s cooking it turned out Zeke was a natural, it didn’t take him that much to gather up some useful tricks of his own. Some days Lysa felt a little guilty she wasn’t the one learning since she could hardly boil an egg.
But it was just too damn hot to spend any minute next to a radiating stove and besides it didn’t seem Lysa would be leaving her mother’s house any time soon… She and Dougie didn’t talk about it but it was natural for Lysa that their wedding would be off, so she canceled her perfect venue, her expensive photographer, she canceled everything.
She did talk to Dougie, they would speak almost every day, Dougie would call, to share an anecdote about his mother, to talk about the pain her death left him in, and sometimes just to talk, about things, everyday things, mundane things. She rarely visited his house though, it was a real pain for her to see him hurt and not to be able to do anything, she tried coming over a few times after the funeral, but it didn’t do either of them any good so she just stopped.
In fact it was her sister Vanessa who spent more time there than her. Ever since the funeral she had gone to the Hoves house at least once a week. She made friends with Dougie’s nice Frederica, and was helping out with her little sister Haley. Lysa didn’t know what game Vanessa was playing, or why she suddenly befriended Freddie but she didn’t talk to her about it. Her sister had finished her last year’s exams with Bs which wasn’t really up to her usual standards. Their mother supposed this had to do with her skipping school with her newest friend Chiquita so she informed Vanessa she had signed her up to her school’s music club. She figured practicing would keep her occupied for the summer but Vanessa payed her no mind. It was very unlike her but Lysa didn’t really dwell on the behavior of her least favorite sibling that much.
For the best part of the summer she sulked about at home. Sometimes she did go to parties and get-togethers in town. But after one of such parties she stopped with that too. It was the party at Tori and Carissa Jackson’s where she ran into Bradley Frail, their class valedictorian. She had know him pretty well, he and Laquita had something going on before Lucky started seeing Ahmed. Lysa heard Bradley had also gotten married recently, she knew he had a pretty big kid too, but she had no idea he had lost so much weight.
“Congratulations! You look great by the way.” She said upon seeing him and he smiled. “Thank you Lysa. How have you been? How is Lucky? When are you getting married?” He asked still smiling and Lysa felt her anger coming up. Instead of lashing out she twisted her engagement ring on her hand slowly keeping her head down. It was a well intended, completely honest question, but she wished people would stop bringing it up already. “Well you know how it is, with Dougie’s mum dying and…” “Of course, of course.” Bradley replied quickly blushing slightly. “I didn’t mean…I…” “It’s okay Bradley.” Lysa replied stiffly smiling back at him.
This event only made her feel worse, it made her doubt herself, maybe she should have put more pressure on Dougie? Everyone expected the wedding to go on regardless… Was it time? Was that something that would help?
But she didn’t have those answers, and she had too much time to think about it. She wasn’t going to work, she had to use up some of her vacation that was hoping to use on a honeymoon that never came. So she spent most of the warm August days walking around the house in her pj’s, raiding the fridge for leftovers.
Mum apparently broke up with her boyfriend whom none of them ever met and was even more devoted to garden work. Vanessa was debating on trying guitar instead of piano next year and Zeke was working hard… Nothing was changing…
Until one Wednesday when Dougie called. It wouldn’t have been anything weird if he hasn’t suggested that they go out. They haven’t really been on a date in months and Lysa couldn’t help feeling excited. She moved from raiding the fridge to raiding her closet in search of something nice, but she decided not to go overboard, they weren’t going to a fancy restaurant or dance club, it was just a trip to the local nectary. It is supposed to be a romantic place though, you could drink delicious homemade nectars and watch the sun set in the ocean…
Her excitement however was short lived… Dougie arrived to the set location in his martial arts kimono, carrying his little niece Haley. “There was no one else to babysit…” He said immediately as he came up to Lysa… “Since you know… Mum died… ” “I understand.” Lysa replied shortly. She didn’t want him to start crying, it was the only thing that could make this “date” any worse… “Hey Haley!” She said smiling at the little girl. She was a cute little thing, and seeing Dougie so tender with her softened her a bit. Her anger was gone completely when Dougie set Haley down and pulled Lysa close in a strong embrace. It had been so long since those big hands held her so, without Dougie sobbing into her shoulder. She hugged him back and looked at his face. He was smiling, another thing she hadn’t seen for so long. “I missed you Lysa.” He said softly. “I missed you too…” She replied in a shaky voice she barely recognized as her own. She was usually more composed… It was the damn heat she figured.
She turned to Dougie who was looking down on Haley. The toddler had picked a flower and was twirling it around in her tiny, baby hands. He then he turned back to Lysa, smiling softly while he gazed directly into her eyes. It had felt so nice, seeing him smile again, seeing him look at her like that again.”I love you Lysa… ” He then added, as if he need to, she saw it in those soft brown eyes. “I might not have shown that as much for these past months but you mean the world to me… And I appreciate all you did for me, and all your endless patience…” “Oh Dougie, it was nothing, I would have done it a thousand times for you.” Lysa spoke, her insides gone completely soft. What is happening to me? She wondered. “I know you would.” He said in a steady voice. “That is why I have decided… I talked to Luther about it… And my brother…And…” He is braking up with me. She felt her smile disappearing and her face turning into stone, even the sweat on her body had gone cold. I deserve this for being so stupid… Lysa told herself growing angry. “What is wrong?” Dougie asked panicked.
“It’s fine.” She said in her normal, voice. “You have been trough a lot… And I understand wanting a change.” Dougie however seemed utterly confused. “Understand what? What change? I want thing to be what they were, what they were supposed to be…” “You wanted to brake up with me before?” Lysa asked angrily. All those endless hours in front of her computer planning the wedding, looking at venues, dresses, making guest lists… It all went trough her mind and she felt sick. It was all for nothing, he never meant to marry me.. “Hold on!” Dougie said loudly and even Haley looked up at the two of them in surprise. “Who mentioned a break up? What are you talking about?” “What are you talking about?” Lysa spat back at him. Her anger was strong, and she was turn up between hitting him and storming away. “I was talking about our wedding…” Dougie spoke annoyed. “I want to marry you, Lys.” She froze looking at him. She didn’t know weather to cry or laugh. “I’m so sorry Dougie… I thought… I don’t know what I’m thinking…It’s this damn heat, I’ll get us some refreshments, then we can talk.” He nodded looking relieved and she walked up to the old building feeling enormous relief washing over her.
When they were all seated inside the cold stone building, sipping their juice, Haley safely placed on Dougie’s lap they resumed the conversation. “I was thinking about just getting to City Hall this weekend and getting it over with, I don’t know what are the procedures and the waiting period… But I figured Lucky or Zeke could push as in sooner.. But Luther said you always wanted, and deserved, something nicer.” He smiled as he placed his big, warm hand, over hers. “But Lys, I don’t want to wait too long, I want to be your husband, as soon as you’ll have me…”
And that is how Lysa was back online, back to planning her big day. Of course getting her dream venue this time of year was nearly impossible, and so were many of the things that were part of her original plans but Lysa worked with what she could and so one bright Friday afternoon she found herself staring at her reflection in Jill’s downstairs bathroom.
It was all far from perfection she had originally envisioned for this day but in a way it was much better. Ever since she had proposed to Dougie outside the bistro while Riam Gradle played for them, and they shared their magical kiss she couldn’t shake the doubts that maybe Dougie wasn’t ready for this… That maybe this was what she wanted, what she dreamed of but today she knew they did in fact share the same dream. Douglas Hoves did indeed want to marry her, and that was all she needed for her perfect wedding.
It was her maid of honor, Krystal, who came to her. “It’s time to go Lysa. You looked beautiful. how are you feeling? Are you scared?” “A thousand things can still go wrong…” Lysa replied. “Do you think it will rain?” “No.” Krystal replied. “Listen to me Lysa, nothing would go wrong.” It won’t, it’s my perfect day… Lysa assured herself as she walked outside.
There were so many people in the house she noticed. As expected Zeke was chatting away with Lucky, or to be more correct she was the one doing all the chatting and Vanessa was in the hallway with some girl, one of the Alto twins Lysa thought as she passed them, wondering who invited her… She didn’t see her mum or Dougie but she figured they were all ready outside. She took a deep breath and walked ceremoniously to the beautiful wedding arch set up in their garden.
“I’m so nervous… I definitely shouldn’t have sampled all the food your mother made.” Dougie told her as she walked up to him. He was indeed clutching his stomach and Lysa whispered to him. “If you throw up, I’ll push you right in to that pool…” She was only half joking.
Luckily Dougie did not throw up, and nor did anyone else. In front of all their friends and family Lysa and Dougie officially became husband and wife, promising each other eternal love and affection.
/* With this installment we wrap up Round 5. Before we start the next round however there will be two bonus chapters! I didn’t to that before but I want to wrap up some loose ends from this round, and of course there will be a few introduction posts for the new family who’s adventures we would be following in Round 6. Thank you all for reading, liking and commenting! */