Chapter 3.50

There’s no rest for the wicked these days.

I found myself on the road at 3am the morning of my wedding.  I was on my way over to Adam’s house because Hannah was in labor.

Of course, after two kids she was really darn good at this baby thing and she popped the kid out before they even had time to head for the hospital.  Basil Devon Hanks was happy and healthy.

Granted, he was born a little blue but then again so was I.  He just takes after his genie father.  After using my medical training to give the kid a once over I got in some snuggles with my new nephew.

“Now I know you are supposed to be my maid-of-honor tomorrow but you just keep your ass at home, lady.  I’ll find someone to fill in.  You rest, Mama!”

“We’ll see how it goes, Penny.  I’m at least showing up for the reception!  Mama needs a break too!  And some cake!”

True dat.  Every new mom needs cake.

After a couple more snuggles with Basil I headed home to prepare for the wedding.

I tried for a couple more hours of sleep but it was no use.  I was much more excited about this wedding than I was about my first.  Maybe that means I’m marrying the right guy this time?

Peter was also exhausted.  He didn’t get much sleep because he was stressing about meeting my dad.  My mom had a brief run in with him during the reincarnation debacle.  Peter felt like he really should have asked my dad’s permission before proposing.  What a cutie!

Peter wandered off to write while I got down to the business of baking the wedding cake.  Before we knew it we had to head to the wedding venue.


 

My father had aged quite a bit since the last time I’d seen him.  I wasn’t entirely prepared for that but I pushed aside my worries and got to business.

“Daddy…there’s someone I want you to meet.”

“I sure as hell hope it’s the guy you’re marrying today, honey.  We’ve got things to talk about!”

“Daddy, this is Peter Pagano.  He’s a good man and a great father to Harper and Kylie.”

“It’s an honor to finally meet you Mr. Hanks.  Penny is a wonderful woman!”

“I’ll leave you two to talk.  Don’t scare him away, Daddy!”

I went to mingle with the rest of the family while Peter and my dad got to know each other.

“Sir, I’m really, really, really, really, really, sorry I didn’t call you to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.  Things got carried away and I suddenly I was proposing and then I bought us a house and here we are.”

“But I really love her, Mr. Hanks.  She’s an amazing woman and she loves my daughter and treats her like her own.  Kylie’s had a rough life and Penny is just what we’ve needed.  Please, sir, I’d love to have your blessing.  I truly love your daughter and I want you to know that.”

“Boy, are you the Christmas date from…eight years ago?”

“I am, sir.”

“I loved her then and I love her even more now.”

“You interrupted our first Christmas together so you could take my daughter on a date…”

“Oh my God, I’m so sorry.  Forgive me, Mr. Hanks!”

“I’m just messing with you, Son.  I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen my daughter this happy.  It’s been quite a long time…too long in fact.  You did that.  Of course you have my blessing.”

“OH MY GOD REALLY!  Thank you, sir!  Thank you so much!”

“Son, if you call me sir or Mr. Hanks one more time I’m going to clock you.  Call me Garrett or Dad.  Now go find my daughter.  I need to hug the bride-to-be.”

“Right away, sir — I mean Dad.”

“How’d it go, Daddy?”

“Well, honey…”

“You hate him.”

“Penelope, you found a good one.  That man would go to the moon and back for you.  Don’t let him get away.”

“Remember though, honey.  I might be old but I’ll still kick his ass if you ever need me to.”

“I love you too, Daddy.”

It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many new family members this time around.  Katie came without her girls because they were getting to know their new step-brothers and step-father.  Even Katie had taken the wedding plunge.

Poor Adam was stag since Hannah took my advice.  Of course, the family swallowed him up so he was never lonely.

Some people were shocked to see Olivia.  Well, the non-family members at least.  I mean, we do have fairies, witches, genies, and one ghost in the family tree.  Why wouldn’t we have a couple of reincarnated members?

What was shocking was the fact that Liv is already pregnant.  With triplets no less!  Turns out that reincarnation can mess with your reproductive tract.  Ah well, the more the merrier!

Finally the moment came to head to the wedding arch.  Since this was the second wedding for both of us, we decided to do it our own way.  No frills or fancy rituals.  We just walked up and got hitched.

I still looked like a giddy idiot.  Peter looked hot as always.

It was pretty perfect though.

After I made a wonderful cake speech I passed the buck to Peter.

“Um…I love Penny more than I love cake.  But I do also love cake so let’s eat!”

I’m so glad he has a good editor at the publishing house…

And so we ate cake.  I kinda feel like people were more excited about my cake than the wedding.  I mean, look at their faces.

It was great having so many family members come together to celebrate with us.

Peter was a little shocked by the wide variety of supernaturals on the family tree even though I have briefed him before the wedding.  He wasn’t quite ready to eat cake with my grandfather.

The girls had a surprise for Peter and I.  They got the karaoke machine to play the song we had chosen for our first dance and they serenaded us.  It was the most beautiful gift they could have given us.

Harper found out she has a talent for singing and roped me into a song on the karaoke machine too.  She is far better than I am but we had a great time anyway.

My mom showed Peter how to break it down on the dance floor.  Woman got moves for being an old lady!

Hannah showed up just in time for the cake and the show.  I kept trying to convince her to sing with me on the karaoke machine but all I got was this look.

Finally the party was over and my parents took Harper and Kylie home so Peter and I could have a honeymoon night at a new Venetian style bed and breakfast.

My parents paid for the suite and they really outdid themselves.

I immediately hopped in the gondola that would take us to our room.  I’d never seen such a beautiful place before and Peter had to remind me to put my eyes back in my head.

After all these years I felt like I had finally won the game of life.  I had the husband, the children, and the house.  We weren’t struggling to pay the bills.  The kids were succeeding in school and they weren’t getting into trouble.  We were happily married and in love.  My twin was back!  Life was good.

As I looked out the view of our room that night I wondered where life would take me next.  Surely the adventure was just beginning…

Chapter 3.49

Exactly one week before the wedding my grandmother, mother, Hannah, Linzy, and Katie all showed up at my house.  At 7 o’clock in the morning.

Grandma Liddy was even wearing her work clothes which is never a good sign.  In fact, that’s the worst, most mischievous sign ever.

“Hey, Aunt Penny!  Can we borrow your basement for like…eight hours today?”

“You wanna tell me why?”

“Not really.”

“OH!  Of course, Katie.  I’ll just let you all in my basement unsupervised for 8 hours.  Especially since you won’t tell me why.”

“SUPER!  I’ll let everyone know.”

“NO!  Of course you cannot use my basement!  Good Lord!  Do you think I’m crazy!?”

“UNCLE PETER!  Tell your wife to let us use your basement!”

“KATIE!  You can’t make Peter force me to let you use my basement!”

“Oh how much damage can they do, Penn.  It’s just your family.”

“That’s what I’m worried about, Peter!”

“Come on.  Katie is plenty responsible.  Let’s go to the Spring Festival for a few hours.  Just you and me.”

“Well…ok.  KATIE!  YOU BETTER NOT DESTROY MY HOUSE!  I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE”

I had to admit that I was excited about a date with just Peter and I.  We really hadn’t gotten any alone time since the move.

We acted like little kids at the festival.  We had a competition to see who could find the most eggs.  I found fewer eggs but I named myself winner when I found the special festival egg.  Peter wanted to dispute that but then I reminded him who controlled the boobs in the relationship and he conceded defeat.

We ran over to the Love Tester and got proof positive that we should be together.  It labeled us Hot Soulmates!  As if there was ever any doubt.  With Xander I was scared to death to walk down that aisle but with Peter that day can’t come soon enough.

We finished our date off with a trip around the skating rink and then some snow cones.  Reluctantly we headed home around 7pm.  The house was empty.



Peter and I were watching a movie before bed when I lost it.

“Penny, baby!  What’s wrong?”

“I’m going insane, Peter!  I keep hearing this awful piano music!  It’s not awful.  It’s perfect.  Liv used to play it when we were younger.”

I plopped down on the couch next to Peter.  “I miss her so freaking much.  Her children turned out to be so amazing.  She’s missing that.  She’s missing the lives of our children and her grandchildren.  I’m getting married and she’s going to miss that.  In just 3 years I’m going to be 40 and she’s not going to be there to have a midlife crisis with me!”

I sobbed uncontrollably while Peter murmured soothing words.  Finally, he got up to leave.

“Where are you going?  I need you right now!”

“I gotta get something.  One sec, darlin’.”

After 15 minutes he returned.

“Hey, Penny.”  The sugary-sweet voice of my twin floated through my fog and tears.

“JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!  YOU’RE NOT DEAD!”  Not exactly what I imagined telling my sister if I ever saw her again but that’s what came out.

“Aw, I love you too, Penny!”

“Shut up.  Of course I love you!”

“How are you here!”  I jumped up and ran over to my long-dead twin.

“My daughter — whom is amazing by the way.  Great job with that one!  Katie wanted to repay you everything you did.  Well, she wasn’t entirely selfless.  She also wanted me to meet my granddaughters.  Kudos for getting her through that, Penn.  Pretty sure I would have killed her.  They’re great girls although I wasn’t expecting to be a grandmother at my age.  Actually, I wasn’t expecting anything.  I was dead!”

“So that’s why everyone needed my basement.”

“Apparently, it takes two witches and a fairy to raise someone from the dead.  Who knew!?”

“What about Mike?  Will you be my maid-of-honor next week?  What’s it like to be dead?  Have you seen Dylan?  Does Dad know?  Oh I have so much to tell you!”

“Mike is alive, too.  Yes, I will be your maid-of-honor.  I promise I will stick around long enough for you to fill me in on everything!  I have quite a lot to tell you, too.  Right now though I have to run.  Adam doesn’t know yet either so Hannah has invited me to dinner to surprise him.  I like her.  She has spunk.  Also, did you know Adam has TWO kids!  Jesus!”

“Yeah, I might have been aware.  Go scare the crap out of him!”

“GO TEAM HANKS!  TWIN POWER!”

I sat in stunned silence for an hour or so before I passed out from exhaustion.  I never expected to see my sister again and yet here she was.  After years of taking care of everyone the tables were suddenly turned and I had no idea what to do with it.

Chapter 3.37

The day of the party finally arrived.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole thing but I had too much to do to care.

I spent the morning baking.  Cookies, pies, cakes, everything.

I had a helper in the kitchen for once.

“Is that whole pie for you?”

“Why wouldn’t it be, Penny?”

“Go upstairs and change into your Christmas sweater.”

“I’d rather eat the pie…”

I ran upstairs to change and get Harper ready.  Then it was time to rearrange the furniture.  Again.

I ran upstairs to grab Harper and when I came back my living room was full.

Adam and Hannah stopped by briefly but of course his daughters were both sick and they had to leave after saying their hellos.

Everyone came.  Everyone.

Dylan was not pleased about his sweater and he pouted in the corner until it was time to open gifts.

Luckily everyone got what they wanted.  I still can’t figure out who is giving me the chess tables but I’ve gotten at least three a year since I was a child.

After dinner I sat at the table and watched my family.  I had missed them more than I thought.  It’s true I ran away from them when they were hurting too but they didn’t reach out to me either.  Perhaps it was time to let bygones be bygones.

“Harper is a doll, Penn.  Why didn’t you tell us about her?”

“I couldn’t, Mom.   Hell, even Xander doesn’t know about her.”

“Don’t you think you should tell him?”

“Of course not!  That ass is a liar and doesn’t need to be involved in Harper’s life.”

“Don’t rule it out so soon, dear.”

“Aw, come on!  You’re gonna kick your old man’s ass like that?”

“Hell yeah I am!”

I had to interrupt my dad’s ass whooping to grab the phone.

“Hello?  Oh.  Well, my family is here but I can always just pawn them off on my brother.  Ok.  Where?  I’ll be there in about an hour.”

I dropped my parents at Adam’s and left Linzy with the mess while I went out with Peter for a Christmas date.

Chapter 3.23

Note from SweetPoyzin: Sorry it’s so short.  I didn’t want to do it but it had to be done for reasons that will be explained later.

Car accident.  It was worse than I could have imagined.  We lost Mike, too.

Mom was a mess.  Someone had to plan a funeral.  So I got on the phone and made the arrangements.

“Yes, yes I’m sure I want it on the beach.  Yes, only black table clothes and chairs.  No, make sure everything else is colorful.  Yes, I’m sure she would have wanted lots and lots of color.”

After I made the plans Xander grabbed me.

“Let’s take the kids.  You know Mike and Liv would have wanted them to be raised by family.  Who better than you?”

Bug and Pickle.  Shit.  I hadn’t even thought about the kids.  I may have lost my twin but they lost everything.

“The social worker stopped by when you were on the phone.  There’s a hearing tomorrow.  If you want them she said all you have to do is show up.  We should do this, Penny.  Liv would kick your ass if you let them go into foster care.”

He was right.  I have no idea where I am going to put them but they have to come here.  Tomorrow.

The next day before the funeral I headed to the courthouse.  I wished that convincing a judge I’d be a good parent was the most difficult part of my day but it would only get worse from here.

The venue was perfect.  It was just what Liv would have wanted.

I wished that Mom’s photos were being used for a better purpose but I wanted a celebration just like we used to have for our birthdays.  We were going to celebrate her life not mourn her death.

I still lost my shit when I saw her urn though.  How was I ever going to raise her children the same way she would have.  She was so much better than me at everything.  How was I going to get through this without the person who had been through everything with me?

Katie handled it all so well.  She stood there and let others mourn for her mother but never cried.  I knew we would be dealing with that later but for now I was glad she kept herself together.

Mom and I did the eulogy.  We did our best at least.

We both looked a little crazy but I don’t think anyone was going to hold it against us.

Later Adam, Bug, Pickle, and I went to the cemetery together.

We all just cried and held each other.  It was the best we could do.

We had all lost the glue that held us together.  It was up to us to hold each other together now.

Please, please, please.  Olivia, if you can hear me…please help me raise these babies.

Chapter 3.20

Suddenly winter turned to spring and summer was nearly upon us.  I started working in the garden again and Adam prepared for graduation.

Xander rocked the upgrades and gave the entire house a boost.

Adam was also making a bit of a name for himself as a writer.  He had moved past comic books and into novels.  He was bringing in nearly as much money as I was…only it took me an entire week and he got it done in one day.  He’s doing it right.

I prepped for Adam’s birthday and went on a gift spending spree.  I snagged him a guitar and a laptop.

Xander remembered how often his own laptop died in college and so he upgraded Adam’s to be unbreakable.

Oh…I may have gotten him the car he wanted, too.

Then it was time for the party.  I used my new oven to make the cake.  I am really becoming a little…obsessed.

We set up the table with all of Adam’s awards.  He won something in every club and prom king.  He’s going places.  At least, he better be after all this time I put into him!

Everybody showed up.  Well, everyone but mom and dad.  The baby was sick so they had to miss out.

Adam was more or less amused by the party antics.  He just wanted to be done with the mess.

Before too long…

…he was done.  My baby brother was an adult.

Adam took his college entrance exams and all his planning paid off.  He ended up getting scholarships in whatever degree he wanted.  Now all he had to do was choose one.

“Fine arts.”  He announced on graduation day.  “Or communications.  One of those.  Yep.”

“Good choice, kiddo.  One of those…yep.”  I wasn’t too worried.  Adam has always had a good head on his shoulders so I had no doubt he would settle on something eventually.

Xander and I got to the ceremony early.  We were loitering when we saw  him.

“I have arrived.  Yes, yes, thank you.  I know I am amazing.”

“Oh, Christ.  Get in there and graduate you dumbass,”  I said as I rolled my eyes.

Adam was named Valedictorian and Most likely to have five kids.  Good luck to him if that is true!

“Bow down to my awesomeness, Penelope.  I am BOOMSAUCE!”

Despite having no idea how long his god-like mindset was going to last I was mostly just glad that I had raised a successful, college bound graduate regardless of my own faults.

My prayers of gratitude were interrupted.

“So…we’re down a kid and that one wasn’t even ours.”

“HA!  I have to change.”  I had a vague idea of what Xander was getting at but I just didn’t want to go there today.

“Penny?  Let’s have a baby.”

There it was.  We had been dancing around it for months.  Here we were, nearly one year married and child-free.  I liked it.  It was good.  Why mess that up with a kid?

“Erm…what?”  Smooth, Penny, I thought to myself.

“Yeah, baby.  You’ll be a wonderful mother.  Look how well you did with Adam!  If we had one of our own you would be just as awesome if not more!”

“Oh, yeah.  Well, I guess.”  He wanted this so badly.  I’m sure he was right that I’d be a great mother.

“So…let’s throw caution to the wind?  Toss the pills and stuff, yeah?”

“Yeah, yeah ok,” I said with less reluctance that I expected.

What had I gotten myself into now?

Chapter 3.19

Christmas came to Starlight Shores before I had time to blink.

Of course, this meant that I got to buy new furniture and rearrange the house again which is my favorite part of the holidays!

Adam’s favorite part is the break, of course.  He took time to sleep in and be a bum.

I was hosting the big Snowflake Day party (ugh) but that morning I had other plans with my favorite folks.  Liv, Bug, Pickle, and I were off to the Winter Festival.

Having never seen so much snow before, Bug and I took to the fields to make the biggest snowman ever.

“Hey wait here, Aunt Penny…I’m going to go get us some stuff to make his face!”

10 minutes later Bug was still missing and I had to go on a Bug hunt.

“AUNTIE PEEEEEPEEEEE!”

“NANNY NANNY FOO FOO!  YOU CAN’T HIT ME!”  Bug had wandered over to the snowball fight arena and was attempting (poorly) to challenge me.

“Oh yeah?!  I dare you to hit ME!” I taunted back.  “Come join us, sis!” I yelled toward Liv.

“No…I think I’m good over here with Dylan….you know, where you can’t kill me.”

I might have been a bit rough on Bug…

I won, of course.  I’m not about to let a kid beat me even if she is my favorite kid!

I got her some goodies with the tickets I won so it all evened out in the end.

Mike came and grabbed the kids so Liv and I could have some “grown up” fun in the snow.  Unfortunately it all ended way too soon and I had to get to the party planning.

Luck for me,  Adam was way ahead of the game because I completely forgot to make the roast.

Luckily for everyone else his cooking has really improved!

Xander, was the problem chef tonight.  He started cooking steaks but then got called into work and left.  This did not end well.

I got home just in time to deal with the mess.

“Remind me to kill him later, Adam”

“Only after I kill him first, Penn.”

Sounded like a plan to me.

Adam also ended up putting the lights on the house and a snowman in the yard.  He’s going to make some woman seriously happy one day.  One day soon in fact…the boy is nearly a man.  Sheesh!

I put the prizes from the fair until the tree for Bug and Pickle.  I wasn’t leaving that little booger out of the fun!

Everyone brought gifts to the party as is tradition.

I wanted to wear an awesome Christmas sweater set I bought (I got one for Xander too) but after the fire I forgot to change.  Next year there will be payback.

Everyone loved their gifts.

I tried to make the roast quickly before dinner but roasts are not a quick thing.

Mom saved the day with lobsters.  No complaints here!

Aunt Lanya and Mom cleaned up which was the best Christmas gift EVER

Chapter 3.18

Being down one child has its perks!  With Katie in school and Dylan in half day preschool Liv was able to spend more time over at our place these days.

Adam would join us in the garden to paint on his days off.

He is really stepping up his game with college looming.  I suspect it has something to do with the car he wants for his graduation.  He’s been going around town snagging gems for my collection.

It was the weirdest thing that gem collection.  One day it just vanished while I was at work.  Xander had no idea what happened even though his butt is home all day.  Men are so unobservant.  Nonetheless Adam is helping me build it up again.

He’s also helping out around the house a ridiculous amount.  I mean, he was helpful before but now it’s just silly.

He even fixed the washing machine and the kid has no handiness skill.

It’d be nice if he’d clean a toilet or two but I suppose that it just too helpful.

The day of the annual Feast Party arrived and I set my team to work.  Xander was on yard duty.

I cooked my butt off in the kitchen.

And did some meager decorating.  My mother is the party lady at our house.  I just look silly.

We were way behind on our party planning this year which meant that I forgot the most important part…pumpkins.  Adam had the fun job of heading to the festival grounds for those.

We did our family duty of carving Jack-o-laterns together in the backyard.

Adam and Xander’s pumpkins got a place of honor on the front walk.

We hid mine in a corner of the dining room and hoped nobody would notice.

Just before the guests were due to arrive the doorbell rang and this little monster was waiting.

“Are you coming back for the party later, Bug?” I asked.

She rolled her eyes at me, “Not as long as there are houses with candy, Aunt Penny.  Bye!”

Granny and Gramps ganged up on Xander during the party.  Apparently there was some rumor about Xander being a crime boss in Starlight Shores and they wanted to get to the bottom of it.  He reminded them that his dad was a top DNA profiler for the CIA so if anyone was a crime boss it was not going to be himself.

Mom and Adam caught up a bit.  Mom was still a bit crabby about Adam running off to live with me when she had two babies she needed help caring for at home.  I sided with Adam that it’s not really his job to care for her kids.  That did not go over so well…

Dad regaled us all with his new guitar songs.  Liv chimed in on piano and Granny played the drums.  We’re a hot mess.

Adam’s girlfriend Rory sat on the computer all night.  She’s an odd duck.

The worst part about these damn parties is the clean up.  I don’t know why nobody stays to help.

The best part is drinking the left over wine.  No complaints about that one.

It was 5am before we got bed.  Never again.

Chapter 3.16

Note from SweetPoyzin: This post is mega picture heavy.  Penny is by far my favorite member of this legacy.  I put a great deal of time into these photos and into the text.  Sorry for the delay.  I wanted to savor this memory privately for longer than is possibly sane.

I decided to treat my wedding day like any other day.  I was not going to Bridezilla over this thing.  I’d leave that to Liv.

I woke up and did some gardening.  The end of the season was right around the corner and I wanted to stock up on as much as I could.

I wasn’t the only one taking the wedding day chill pill approach.

Xander spent most of the morning sleeping.  I was concerned he might not wake up for the wedding.

Adam is becoming quite the prolific writer.  His comic books are bringing in huge royalties.  He spent the morning working on his newest comic.

Right before the wedding Adam volunteered to grab the wedding cake so I could take a bubble bath and get ready.  He’s a pretty awesome kid.  I’m going to miss him when he heads off to college in a year.

So I did the whole bubble bath thing and woke up Snorlax so we could head to the venue.

We all piled into the car so I could go get married.  It sounded super weird even to me.  I was already getting cold feet.

Liv was right.  She does know me better than anyone.  When she decided to be serious in Bridgeport she found the most sunning dress for me.

Despite my excitement about marrying Xander I really needed a break from the whole deal.  The wedding wasn’t going to be for several hours anyway so I headed down to the beach for some alone time.

“I can’t believe my baby girl, my first-born, is all grown up.  You’re even more beautiful today that you were the day you were born.”

I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn’t even notice Dad had been watching me.

“It can’t be that hard, Daddy.  I was a small wrinkly prune baby who screamed day and night.” I smiled sheepishly.

“Daddy?”  I didn’t know how to say what I wanted to say, “Am I marrying the right man?  Is everyone always this nervous or am I really making a bad decision?”

“I think Xander has his faults but I think he’ll be a damn fine husband.” Dad said with conviction.

“If he does turn out to be a bad guy he will have to answer to me.  I’m sure Adam, Mike, Oliver, and Vic will also come a-callin’ if he steps out of line.”  I didn’t doubt him for a second that there would be an ass whooping if need be.

“Thanks, Daddy.  You always know what to say.”  I sniffled into his shoulder as I hugged him.

“You will be fine, kiddo.  No matter what happens you will always be ok.”  He gave me one more good squeeze and went off to find Mom.  No doubt to shed a few tears of his own.  I wasn’t alone for long though…

“Well, if you aren’t the most beautiful bride!  How are you holding up, my dear?”

It was that long ago that I was standing in my parents’ bathroom asking Liv the same thing on her wedding day.  How time flies.  Back then I was still in med school and Liv was pregnant with Bug and neither of us quite knew what to say.

She’s always been the maternal one.  I’m glad I have her to take care of me when I need it.

I still didn’t know what to say.  It’s nice having a twin because sometimes I don’t have to say anything and she knows exactly what I am thinking.

Live pulled me into a hug.  “You know he’s not perfect…but he’s perfect for you, right?”

“How can you be sure, Liv?  How do I know this is what I’m supposed to do?”

“Penelope.  You know what?  I’m not the one you should ask.  Why don’t you ask Xander yourself?”

She wandered off to grab her camera and before I could protest Liv had reappeared with Xander.

“You’re breathtaking, Penny,” Xander mumbled as he embraced me.

The way he held me in that moment sealed the deal.  He was head over heels for me.  I was just being silly.  Probably lamenting my loss of freedom or something.

No, I was getting married today.

“Look, if you are having second thoughts…” Xander shrugged as if to say I could make this all disappear with one word.

I cocked my eyebrow at him in mock thought.

“No, we should get married.  I mean, we paid a fortune for this whole get-up.  And I love you and all that jazz.  Come on, it’s 4:30pm already.  It’s nearly showtime!”

And with that we headed up to the venue where everyone was already waiting for us.

Mom and Dad sat in the front row looking beautifully young and trying to keep it together.  You’d think after Liv’s wedding they’d have this down but I guess this is just proof I am the favorite.

Uncle Oliver and Lucy sat together.  Lanya didn’t get to come because the twins were sick.  She also said she had the flu but I’d bet dollars to donuts there is another little Lox on the way.

We had a sit wherever policy.  We’re all family now so Mike sat with Xander’s dad Isaac.  Adam was the best man and Liv was maid-of-honor/photographer so they got to sit up near the wedding arch.

Despite being divorced you can tell that Isaac and Staci still cared for each other.  They didn’t sit next to each other but they didn’t bring their significant others to the wedding either.  Seraphina was also able to make it to the wedding but Isabella was studying at boarding school still.

I stood under the wedding arch and stretched, “Are you ready?  Cuz I got my game face on…”

“Yes, my precious.  I wants the precious in holy matrimony.”  Oh we were a match made in heaven.  Either that or we were just too weird to marry other people.

Next thing we knew, it was sunset and it was showtime.

“Penelope, the moment I laid eyes on you in the university commons I knew I wanted to marry you.  I’ve always known it was you.  And even though you haven’t always been sure I was the one who would be your husband, I’m so glad you finally came around and decided to jump in with both feet.  I love you more than life itself and I will give everything I can to make you happy.”

“Xander, I knew you were the one I was going to marry the night we went cosmic bowling in college.  You fell face first in the bowling lane and instead of being absolutely humiliated, you giggled like a squirrel on crack.  I knew then that I wanted to spend my life with you.  I want someone by my side who can make me laugh no matter what even during life’s darkest moments.  I may have made you work to get to this wedding arch but I wouldn’t want to be here with anyone else.”

From somewhere in my mind I heard justice of the peace say “I now pronounce you husband and wife” but I was so lost in the moment it didn’t register.  I was standing at the altar with my best friend while our families joined us in celebrating our union as one.

We stood under the wedding arch a while longer while our family and friends cheered us on.

At sunset the justice of the peace finally said the words everyone was waiting for:

“I now present to you Xander and Penelope Sutton!”

Xander snagged one more surprise kiss under the arch.  It was perfect, the cheers from our family, the sunset, everything was perfect.

We went inside to cut the cake.  Our family had signed their wishes onto a photo matte with a print of Xander and I holding hands in one of our engagement photos.  It was a total surprise and all I could manage to do was smile dumbly at Xander.

Finally I came to my senses and cut the cake.

Liv and I stayed upstairs eating cake long after everyone had wandered downstairs to dance.  We deserved that damn cake.  We had both dieted and exercised for months.  We were going to enjoy us some cake.

Finally we headed downstairs to dance.  Liv followed everyone around like a creeper taking photos non-stop all night.

I had to admit, despite my reservations I was thrilled.  It was a wedding for the books, really.  Everyone had a blast.

Xander and I danced long after everyone went home.  That night it was just us.  We’d deal with the world in the morning.

Chapter 3.15

Note from SweetPoyzin: This is seriously picture heavy.  How could it not be when my three favorite ladies hit the big city in search of wedding dresses and fun?

Xander and I decided to head to the spa on Wednesday.  It’s the only day we both have off together.

“So I still need a wedding dress, you know”

“What about it?  I’m sure you’ll find one.  I mean…the wedding is two months away.”

“Yeah, but I was thinking I need to travel to find one.  Liv mentioned something about a great bridal shop in Bridgeport.  I think we might go there.”

“Bridgeport?  That’s like…8 hours from here.  Do you really need to go there to find a dress, sweetie?”

“Men…You just don’t understand.  ”  I sighed.

“Yes, I do need to go.  Liv, Mom, and I are leaving tonight.”

And by tonight I meant as soon as Xander and I got home.  Liv and Mom were already waiting for me when we got back.  We loaded up the car and headed off to Bridgeport!

We arrived at our condo late that night.  It wasn’t much to look at but it was cheap as hell so it would do.

We all slept in the next morning.  We didn’t have to be at the bridal shop until 1pm so we were taking advantage of the quiet.  I didn’t have the kids that Mom and Liv have to deal with but my pager can be just as annoying!

Mom made grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast…which was actually lunch.

Liv and I dragged our butts out of bed with barely enough time to eat and change.

Despite being grown women, we were still nearly late for our appointment at the dress shop.

As soon as we pulled up I knew I was in over my head.  I wear scrubs and jeans all day every day.  This place was a wee bit too fancy for my tastes.

“Ok…so how does this work?  I just go find some dresses and try them on, right?  I don’t want anything too fancy.  It’s just not me.”

Mom already looked worn out as Liv studied me.

“Nope, that’s not how this is going to work.  I’m going to find the dresses and you will wear them.  Who knows you better than your twin, eh?”

“You’re going to make me look stupid just so you can take pictures and post them online for everyone to make fun of.”

“GIRLS!  Can we just get this show on the road?  I’d like to get my drink on while we are here.”

“Yes, mom’s right.  You go into the dressing room and I’ll find some dresses.  Go on now.  Git!”

Mom seemed frightened by the first dress Liv found.  I had a feeling she didn’t even try to find a good dress at all.

“Liv this is perfect!  I’ve always wanted to be confused for a wedding cake.”

“I know.  I’m sorry, Penny.  I tried to find one with a big bow on the butt.  Alas, no luck.  Maybe next time.”

“Ok girls…who wants to hit the bar?”

We looked at a couple more wedding dresses before we all had had enough of Liv’s silliness.  We went to a local dive bar for happy hour.

I was denied access to the VIP room!  So Liv and I devised a plan.

“While I distracted the bouncer, Liv snuck right in.  After breaching the hull, she flirted with the bartender and bit until both mom and I could get inside, too.

Still, I paid off the bouncer to make her feel special.  Or maybe it was because I suck at sneaking and she caught me.

After getting a few drinks in, we all decided it would be a good idea to strike up a band on the main stage.

Spoiler alert: it is never a good idea to play on the main stage after a few drinks.  We got kicked out of the bar.  It didn’t matter though.  We needed to get some sleep before our second fitting at the bridal shop.

“Ok, you go find a room.  I saw THE PERFECT dress yesterday and you must try it on immediately.  Go, go, go!  Shoo, shoo!”

Oh the mirth that spread across Liv’s face when I tried this one on.  It was only matched by the sheer terror plastered on my mother’s.

“What are you smoking, Olivia!?  This dress isn’t even funny for a joke!  God in heaven this thing is awful!”

Liv couldn’t even speak.  She was consumed by silent giggles.

Mom looked concerned for our sanity.

Just then we heard a woman scream in the reception area.

I’m a doctor.  I help people.  I suppose sometimes you just have to put on a smile and help people while wearing a stupid dress.

Thank goodness the guys at the hospital didn’t see this.  I’ve never live it down.  Her husband was not helping.  I couldn’t tell if he was more upset by his wife’s sudden illness or the fact that she was being aided by a woman in my attire.  I wouldn’t blame him on the latter.

I put on my best smile given the circumstances and handed the woman a pill.

After that extravaganza I changed and we hit the bars again.

We totally got bounced at the first bar went went to.  So mom and I headed home to change while Liv went down the street to butter up security.

For a nearly 30-year-old mother of two, the woman knows how to work it.  Mom and I returned and we got in no problem.  Liv was having a grand ol’ time flirting with the bartender again.

Mom and I played it low key.  We just had a few drinks and danced.

This place was obviously too fancy for us.  They had a fish tank built into the wall.  We are not those kinds of people.

Before I could stop her Liv was headed to to rooftop bar.  Again, flirting her way past security.

“Where is your sense of adventure, Penny?”  Mom asked as she, too, headed up to the roof.

I had to admit, I was not disappointed once I got up there.

We chilled in the hot tub until we turned into prunes.  I went to grab more bar snacks and drinks for us but when I got back Mom and Liv were missing.

It was not difficult to find them though.

You’d never know they had children at home.  Or that they were respectable members of society.  Jeez.

We stayed out all night.  I’m too old for that crap.

We had one more fitting at the dress shop and Liv came through for me after all.  She found the perfect dress.

We did not go out to the bar that night because we were all still hungover from the night before.  Needless to say we called it early that night and passed out.  Our insanity filled trip had come to and end and it was time to actually plan a wedding.

The Last Nights of Freedom

I don’t have a ton of images from the Bachelor/Bachelorette parties.  I was too busy enjoying the insanity that ensued I forgot to take screenies.  Especially with Penny’s party.  You’ll see why shortly…

The guys had their party at a local pool.  Mostly so they could be my playtesters.  They ate burnt hotdogs, drank at the in-pool bar, and Xander tried to get too friendly with the party dancer so Garrett banished her.

All in all it was an awesome party.

The party begins.  I have no idea what Mike is doing in the background.  The seemingly random guy is Xander’s brother-in-law Roux who married Athena (she has two kids and a step-daughter now…weird).  You probably recognize the rest of the family.  Probably one of my favorite images of the generations.

Issac attacking Xander with fizzy nectar.  Warm fuzzies.

And now Garrett gets in on the action.  Xander was very sticky that night.

The party dancer shows up and there was more fizzy nectar sprayed all over Xander.  Also the look on Issac and Garrett’s faces.  So awesome.

Ok…this.  Garrett what the eff is that?!  I love this so much.

The ladies did not have such a great time.  All the biggies attended: Lanya, Liddy, Mollie, Liv, Athena, Seraphina, and Isabella, Staci.  For some reason there was animosity between Mollie and Staci and they got into a slapping fight (wtf?) which then made Xander’s people hate Penny’s people.  Lanya did the crosseyed-pregnancy glare, popped, and went home.  Nobody ate the food and Liddy passed out on the floor.

The party was still a hit though so win?

So Mollie showed up to Penny’s party in this getup.  She’s looking good for a middle aged mom of five!  Although…seriously?  Why that outfit?

Is Penny pleased with this party dancer?

Oh yes.  She likes him very much.

You don’t mind if I stare down your shirt?  I like me some cougar!

Sorry, I needed to see this again.

Next time Penny, Liv, and Mollie hit the big city to shop for wedding dresses and one last crazy night out!