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When Evangeline called over to the house saying she had some exciting news to share, Lisa was totally up for hearing what it was all about knowing her daughter well enough; well at least she thought so.
The manner in which Evangeline and Victor entered the living room gave her a slight pause. She wasn't quite sure why but something starting nagging at her brain about the two. They happily strolled towards her hand in hand talking and giggling. Immediately Trey rushed over to greet the pair hugging and kissing his mom then afterwards settling in Victor's arms. The way Victor and her grandson interacted displayed just how much the bond was growing between the two. No wonder Paddington bear was rarely visible these days, Lisa thought.
"Hey baby, Victor."
"Hi Mrs. Williamson."
"So what news are you so eager to tell me?"
"Well..." Evangeline lifted up her left hand to reveal the gorgeous engagement ring. Lisa's head instantly started to ache. Sometimes her daughters had a unique way of catching her off guard. "Victor and I are getting married." The joy on her face and the exhilaration in her voice said much.
Lisa's reaction was as expected. "What did I miss? How do you guys go from being best friends to wanting to get married?" a stunned Lisa enquired. Her eyes shifted between the pair.
Evangeline sensing her mother's mood change said, "I know this has come as a bit of a shock..."
"You think. I certainly understand that it's not my place to question your decision; but it does seem to me that the two of you are rushing into this."
"Far from it Mrs. Williamson. I've delayed something that should have occurred a while ago."
The explanation perplexed Lisa. "Excuse us," Lisa said pulling Evangeline into the kitchen. "What is he talking about?"
"His feelings for me go a while back and yes I chose to ignore them."
"Robert knew didn't he?"
"I believed he did but he never commented. I respected my husband and never threw my friendship with Victor in his face."
"He must have told his family though and that's why your relationship with his sister is so turbulent."
Evangeline understood that this conversation was going to be difficult at times but she hoped her mother wouldn't have taken it there.
"Mom please don't bring her into this discussion. Her opinion about me is irrelevant."
"Ok fine. I shouldn't have said that."
"I get that you're skeptical mom. You want the best for me and Trey."
"For you to make this decision so quickly says a lot Evangeline. I just hope that Victor isn't using you to replace the family he once enjoyed as Todd Manning."
"Definitely not," she stated emphatically. "Mom now you've got to trust me when I say that Victor loves me and he loves Trey. Yes, I knew how he felt but I chose to live a drama free life. Robert gave me that life and when he died, it was difficult for a while there but Trey and I survived. Both of us deserve happiness..."
"You love him..."
"More than you know," she replied with a tinge of emotion. "I choose to willingly open up my heart and share my life with him. We've been through so much over the years. He knows me too well as I do him. It's not a great leap for us."
"Why Victor I didn't expect to see you here?" Victor gazed up to see a glowing Layla. He and Trey were playing with legos on the carpeted floor. The thought of Evangeline one day carrying their child brought a smile to his face.
"Well Evangeline and I have some unexpected but wonderful news to share. First I need to thank you for being the catalyst."
"Me? What did I do?"
"Victor, Auntie, look." Trey happily showed off the completed lego house.
"Wow that's impressive; an architect in the making," she replied massaging her belly
"Knew you were a smart kid," Victor said ruffling his hair.
There were more legos to put together and Trey went back to fashioning the other figurines.
"I really need to hear this wonderful news and the special part I played," she smiled.
"What about Trey? He is not Starr or Jack...That little boy has been through so much without even knowing it."
"Mom stop," Evangeline cautioned massaging her temples. "We are not a substitute for Blair and her kids. Victor adores Trey and I can say that Trey adores him too; he can and will be an amazing father to Trey and I need that. Hugh is part time while Victor will become a full time parent. As he grows there will be so many things Trey will want to learn, understand and it's great to have Victor assisting along the way."
"So is this about finding companionship or having a father figure for Trey."
"Why can't it be both? I don't get what you're trying to insinuate mom. The man I choose to be in my life must love both Trey and I. Victor meets all those requirements and then some."
Suddenly they heard an excited Layla coming towards the kitchen.
"Let me see! Let me see! Let me see!" Layla exclaimed grabbing Evangeline's left hand. "Wow...now that's one gorgeous ring. Never knew you had it in you sis. Congrats." She embraced her as much as she could. "I also heard that you two are getting married tonight..."
Lisa lifted her hands in the air. "I give up," she said and quickly exited the kitchen.
"Oops. Sorry Vange."
"What's done is done. It's ok. Mom always has a way of wanting her daughter's lives to be "perfect."
"I'm really happy to see that smile return to your face. You've sacrificed so much for others, glad to see you accepting happiness for yourself."
"It hasn't fully set in that in a matter of hours I'm going to be Mrs. Victor Lord...humph."
"Then there's the house to prepare. Things are coming along quickly but my big sis is prepared. Hey what about the dress, venue..."
"All taken care of. Victor is looking after the venue and everything else in between and that suits me fine."
"My sister giving control to someone else. Victor is definitely husband material in my book."
"Whatever Layla," Evangeline chuckled. "He has a great eye for detail and of course, money is no object. ...I have this great boutique in mind and hopefully you can join me."
"Of course and mom will too." Evangeline eyes sent the message that she wasn't too sure about her mom. "Don't worry about mom; she will come along even if I have to drag her." The thought made the sisters share a laugh.
"So is this the prelude to something bigger?"
"Maybe, maybe not but anything is possible."
"Oh Victor is going to make sure of that. Thanksgiving is going to be pretty special this year and I can't wait."
Soon Trey and Victor made their entrance. "Trey is asking for a snack." Evangeline nodded. She went to the cupboard to retrieve a glass and a package of fruit gummies and opened the drawer for a small spoon. Thereafter she opened the fridge to get some yogurt. Layla excused herself for a much needed bathroom visit.
Victor and Evangeline sat alongside the kitchen island with Trey seated on Victor's lap. This seemed to be the perfect time.
"Trey you like Victor right?"
"Hmm...humph," he said shaking his head.
"And I love you too buddy."
"Very soon you and I are going to be living with Victor. We are going to be a family like Uncle Hugh and Auntie Layla. How does that sound?"
Trey nodded his head. "Good." He appeared more interested in his yogurt than the gist of the conversation and they left him alone. Evangeline hoped that his relationship with Victor continued along a strong path.
"So how was the conversation with your mom?" Victor questioned touching her cheek. Evangeline's mind seemed elsewhere.
"As expected I guess but that's my mother. I believe I'm making the right choice and that's what matters."
"We've been down this road before and our friendship lasted through all the distractions and naysayers and I expect the same for our marriage. Sweetheart never doubt my love for you."
"I'm not and I never will."
"All done." Trey proudly announced.
"If it's alright with you, I would like to take Trey with me."
"Already earning some brownie points I see." She leaned in and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
"Hey..." Clearly, he was expecting a full-blown kiss.
"Later is greater," she whispered in a sultry tone.
"Be prepared," he winked back at her.
She regarded Victor and Trey as they exited. For over two years taking care of her son became her primary focus and now she would be seceded some of that responsibility. Of course, she wholeheartedly welcome the change but it was still a process of letting go.
From the moment she entered the room, a wondrous medley of décor greeted her. Victor really pulled it together after such short notice. The decorating was perfect - tall bouquet centerpieces placed in strategic areas, lighted candles illuminated the small space, rose petals scattered along her pathway and who could forget the huge crystal chandelier in the center of the ornate ceiling. There was even a violin trio playing adjacent to the small gathering. Guests included her mom with a little Trey, Layla, Hugh, Vicki and Jessica who was recording the ceremony.
All eyes shifted towards her and their reactions expressed much. The violin trio started playing and she made her way down the aisle to a handsome Victor who anxiously waited for her to join him and the minister on the miniature stage.
"Mommy you pretty."
"Thanks baby and you look very handsome." Evangeline went over to give Trey a hug and a kiss before joining Victor.
"You are more beautiful than anything else in this room tonight."
"No you are."
"I do believe it's time to get our forever started."
"I wholeheartedly agree."
One look at you and anyone would be captivated by your beauty and grace but I see much more. What man wouldn't want to stand and remain in your presence; to be surrounded by your love? You bring calmness to my spirit; a joy to my heart. Whatever you say is true to my ears. Few have stood so steadfastly in support of me through some trying times and it made me realize how special you are to me. You have a unique hold on my heart and I would die if you ever chose to let it go. I love you beyond reason Evangeline and always will.
My love I've always seen the man beneath all that swagger; you are loving, caring and would move mountains to defend the person you love even if it means sacrificing yourself. Your constant love and support carried me through my own dark moments. When I'm with you there is no other place I want to be. Your eyes linger and I sense them staring into my soul. Your hands touch and they provide all the comfort I need. Being with you makes me be more of myself. I adore every part of you and I want to spend my remaining years being in love with you. You, Trey and I are one now and the joy in my heart has finally returned.
Victor's vow to Trey
Trey, I love you and your mother most in this world. I know that you have tragically lost your father and will never get to know the great man he was. I can never replace him but I hope and pray that as we grow together as a family, you will see me as that significant part of your life. No matter what, I promise to be there for you with love and support. I love you as if you were my own son...forever, always.
"With this ring, I thee wed and its symbol is a sign of my never-ending love and commitment to you and our family.
The violins played as Victor and Evangeline lit their unity candle. There were a few tears shed between themselves and those present. No one doubted the love they shared for one another.
By the power vested in me by God, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss!
"Finally!" Victor exclaimed as his lips captured hers.