Tomorrow’s Promise (Chapter 14)

30 03 2009

Bren snapped out of her daydream…. She did that often these days… daydream. Her dressing room was abuzz — everyone was fussing over her… she felt a mix of emotion — most prominent were love and nerves. She gave herself the once-over in the mirror before she stepped out of the room to begin the path to meet her husband….

Make-up – check

Hair – check

Dress – check


Behind– sufficiently camouflaged

She smoothed her dress and admired her stature — stilettos, though you couldn’t see them — they added just the right… oomph to set off innocent sex appeal…. Grey had not seen Bren since their rehearsal dinner — he’d made her promise, long ago, to not wear anything with her breast revealed (in the slightest) nor anything that hugged her butt… he wanted to be able to focus and he couldn’t do it with those kinds of distractions.

She hadn’t lied… she was subdued for the wedding but little did he know the corset-inspired bodice and train would detach at weddings end to reveal a short tight chocolate delight.

The girls left to give her a moment to be alone with her thoughts and her Lord. The light rap on the door said everyone was in place and time for Bren to make her entrance. In less than an hour she would be a married woman and looking forward to the new journey ahead for them. The train of her gown was easy to maneuver and so she made her way to the door as Trish stuck her head in.

“I think Grey is about to send his best man in to make sure you didn’t decide to be a runaway bride,” teased Trish.

“Not on your life. He made me a promise and I intend to see he keeps it,” Bren answered.

“So I cleaned up pretty nicely huh?”

“You’ve come a long way my friend. Thank you for including me in your special day,” Trish said coming forward to fix a wayward strand of hair.

“I will confess that my motives were not totally pure,” confessed Bren. “I have high hopes you will leave here with my bouquet and an engagement ring.”

“And rain on your parade…. no way. This day is all about you. Come on, we got to get moving,” her maid of honor said, handing her the bridal bouquet.

Hunter’s eyes hadn’t strayed from where he knew the bridesmaids and maid of honor would be entering. He knew Grey and everyone else in the building only had eyes for the bride, but his were reserved for the lady who would make her entrance before the bride walked in. Trish.

The thought of her still made him smile. It had been an experience to see Trish navigate her new world. The shelter had been her lifeline with someone always needing her. Now her home was deathly silent but when she needed to get away, instead of calling him, she often suffered alone thinking she was becoming a bother. How could having the most amazing and loving woman needing him be a bother? Thank God for an obedient heart because following his own need to see her and be in her company proved to be the same times when she needed him as well. He was not going to rush her. Trish would have the time to learn she could trust him with her heart, her body and her life.


The church was lively with laughter and both sides of the pews were filling up with awe-struck family and friends for the unlikely couple. Entrances to the pews and the church were decorated with off-white calla lilies and roses, draped with satin white ribbons trimmed in the groom and bride’s favorite colors.

Jai spared no expense for her sister, because she had never known Bren to express such joy, love and commitment to anyone except family. This was not just a day for Bren, this was a day that God had promised and she wanted everything to be memorable for the bride, groom and all who attended. Jai felt this wedding was a testament that even when you are not looking, you can find love and happiness in the most unlikely of circumstances.


There was a last minute flurry of activity, and then the wedding party assembled. Hunter was anxious to see Trish. He turned to see the women come from the attendant’s room, and caught the gaze of the most beautiful smile he had ever seen on Trish’s face.

“Man, she was mesmerizing,” he almost said out loud.

For a second, he envisioned this being his wedding and her, his bride. They continued looking at each other for another moment, and he wondered what she was thinking.

“Were they thinking the same thing”? Only time will tell,” he thought to himself.

Hunter was so honored when Bren asked him if he would give her away. This meant that he trusted the man he was giving her to, and she trusted his opinion. He had witnessed quite a transformation in this butterfly and knew what she and Grey brought to each other.

“They are good to each other, and they will be good for each other,” he thought.

Hunter had never been a part of a wedding party and felt more responsible than he ever felt before; he knew how important it was, for him to get it right. While getting poised to escort Bren down the aisle, he took another long look at Trish. Bren whispered to Hunter “I know, and yes she is thinking the same thing.”


Trish focused on the arch under which the minister was standing. She was glad today wasn’t her wedding day because she would have been a nervous wreck. It was bad enough being the maid of honor but she would keep it together for Bren’s sake. One foot in front of the other Trish, try not to trip. Hunter is not holding your hand today. Think you can manage to do that? She was talking to herself but she didn’t care.

A sliver of jealousy had streaked in when she saw Hunter claim Bren’s hand. She knew the two had a great connection and considered each other brother and sister, but for the first time she realized that her man could be with other women if he wanted to. Why were her thoughts going down this dark road? One step, then two. Move, Trish.

Hunter could be with other women. Why wasn’t he? She had this ugly scar that made her face a living train wreck. Her body was not in the best of shape and the four weeks of gym class seemed to be a waste of time. She could never wear that cut Bren had chosen. Trish would need one of those empire waist numbers that accented her breasts and hid her not so thin waistline.

Trish arrived at the front and returned an automatic smile to the minister’s nod of approval. As she took her place the music changed and everyone stood to watch the entrance of the bride. Grey had not taken his eyes off the door since he and his best man took their positions. Bren was coming through that door any minute and he didn’t want to miss a second of it. He stood more erect as the wedding march began and his heart stopped as Bren and Hunter filled the doorway. His friend, his girlfriend, his fiancée, his bride, his wife in about twenty-five minutes was walking confidently towards him.

Bren squeezed Hunter’s arm tightly. “Lord please don’t let me screw this up. I should be able to walk a straight line to this man although you know I haven’t walked too many of them in my lifetime,” muttered Bren under her breath.

Hunter stifled a laugh, which earned a raised eyebrow from the minister. He just covered Bren’s shaking hand with his own to reassure her, that she was doing fine. Hunter’s stomach was doing its own set of cartwheels so he completely understood how Bren was feeling. Today was both a beginning and an end for Bren and Grey but also for himself and Trish. 

As Bren made her way to her man, childhood dreams of marrying her favorite two doll babies flashed before her. Back to a time when her life was carefree with no worries when, no worldly flashy materials, no weaknesses stained her heart… no fighting or worrying disturbed her rest…

Bren recognized the feeling she had then — happily wedding two inanimate objects that would never know or feel, or care just what they symbolized — as the feelings she had right now. She, the bride, walking towards her prince charming — this was better than a dream because it wouldn’t disappear with the dawn. Dawn of a new day… this evening was the dawn of a new day.

Bren was a million miles away — her mind was as light as the breeze across the ocean and she was blissfully lounging seaside enjoying the light tickles of God’s favor through mothers nature… that could, easily be her (most) favorite thing to do! She was coaxed away from those thoughts by Hunters hand rubbing her back.

The minister’s booming voice asked “Who blesses this union and presents this woman to this man to be married to each other?”

Hunter and Trish had locked eyes and, in unison said, “We do.”

Bren couldn’t take it and put her waterproof mascara to test earlier than she’d anticipated. But more surprises awaited her.

Trish knew her Father was enacting a mild chastising upon whatever part of her conscious was responsible for guilt… and in a manner that only He could and would — she was sure of it. She knew why too, she’d allowed doubt to creep where love, faith and blessed companionship had resided only one-hour prior. She was human and worldly and she had work to do… but that was no excuse. God was so good!

She didn’t know how she… just knew, that Hunter wanted them both to bless this union before them… no, she corrected that thought — her most heavenly Father knew her like no one else. And the symbolism of Hunter’s initiative wasn’t lost on her either… or Bren.


Bren wasn’t the only one lost in emotion. Grey did a slow fade to black and back to light himself… he was brought forward by the word “vows”. He immediately became nervous willing himself not to forget the words. During the course of their courtship, Grey had taken on the role of the sentimental fool so he and Bren agreed to speak traditional vows on the minister’s cue.

“I Greyson Michael Lawson take thee, Ashley Brenetta Saunders to be my lawfully wedded wife my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward.

“In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow.

I promise to love you unconditionally and to support you in your goals. I promise to honor and respect you, to laugh with you to cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”

Bren felt such a rush of emotion… on the minister’s cue, she began:

“I, Ashley Brenetta Saunders, take thee, Greyson Michael Lawson.”

She was nervous — her hands trembled inside of Grey’s and he squeezed them lightly. She would have to be slow and deliberate or she would just wail. She was sure of it. She tried it again.

“I, Ashley Brenetta Saunders, take thee, Greyson Michael Lawson, Bren was embarrassed by her emotion — there was so much she wanted to say — her heart was so full… she sighed,

“I, Ashley Brenetta Saunders, take thee, Greyson Michael Lawson,” … she paused.

She was going to say what was on her mind and hoped Grey could appreciate…

“Greyson. As our hearts are joining, before God I promise to be your BFF/best friend forever.

Bren and Grey smiled at each other. There was a long thoughtful pause between each phrase.

“You have stood by me and rescued me from so much … on a river rising – you are my lifejacket… In good times and bad In health and sickness I will stand by you as your faithful partner and share your joys and your sorrows I accept you the way you are, loving what I know of you, and trusting what I don’t yet know That is my promise to love you unconditionally.

I promise to give you the best of myself and to ask of you no more than you can give.  I will support your goals I will honor you. I will respect you. I will laugh when you cry… errr — I will laugh with you and cry with you. I will continue to cherish all that you are and represent”

“Greyson, You are a man of extraordinary courage, strength, faith, forgiveness, support and  love.

 Bren paused – longer

“You are poetic… the longest, sweetest note the strongest crescendo.

(Grey whispered through clinched teeth: “I got your crescendo.”)

Bren snickered and repeated– deliberately:

“You are poetic… the longest, sweetest note, the strongest crescendo … all in one man. In you, Grey, I have my own personal treble cleft … You keep me ordered in step and on point. You are indeed, the dawn of a new day and I promise to be your perfect sunset for as long as I shall live…and beyond.”

“And beyond!” Grey was NOT going to cry in front of all these people so he did what he and Bren… just do — they laughed. 

“Yes, silly… and beyond!”

Grey’s response was not to Bren but to the minister—

“Can I kiss my bride?”

Grey drew his new wife closer as the minister pronounced them husband and wife. By the time the official instruction to kiss the bride was given, he had already claimed the lips of his new wife. The crowd cheered and yelled their approval. Trish, Jai and Carlotta beamed and tried to hold back the tears. Hunter and the other groomsmen held it together as best as they could but Trish was sure she had seen a hand or two brushes across wet eyelids.


By the time Grey and his new bride were holding court at the reception, the ladies of Hope House and Monica comfortably settled with her kids in North Carolina were viewing images of the ceremony courtesy of Carlotta, the resident tech nerd. She knew how much it would mean to Bren and Trish to have these women who had suffered so much, see what could happen when one chose to change their life and believe for only the best. She had arranged with the photographer and videographer to send the images via their cell phones. There was not a dry eye in the shelter by the time the women heard Grey’s vows and all eyes stayed wet until the bridal party left the church. Certainly, there was going to be a new beginning for all of them and it had already begun.


Hunter was glad his role as father giver was now over. It meant he could concentrate on the woman he was now holding in his arms with their favorite Luther tune being played by the live band. He remembered the night he sang it to her. His feelings and determination to be the man Trish needed most were stronger than ever.

“I’ve decided to return to school,” she whispered in his ear. “I want to finish my masters in gender issues.”

“You already know that you have my full support Trish. I love you,” Hunter declared bringing her lips closer for a kiss but she pulled back.

Hunter’s eyes shifted to hers wondering why she was rebuffing his kiss.

“What is it Trish?”

Their movements on the floor had stopped but neither wanted to break contact or continue.

“I don’t know if I can do this,” she replied.

“Do what honey?”

“This, you, school and life. It’s too much. I don’t want you to feel second best to school and my desire to get another degree,” she said now afraid to look into his eyes.

Hunter was having none of that. He took her hand and walked towards the balcony.

“Trish, my friend, my confidante, the love of my life, my shero. I am in love with you. I love your smile, your wit, and your eyes that sparkle when you see a butterfly or smell a flower. I love your energy and the way you can set someone’s mind at ease with a touch, a word, a look,” Hunter halted her attempts to speak by slightly touching his lips to hers.

“I am not intimidated by your desire to finish that degree. You let your father and your now deceased husband make you walk away from the things that were important to you. I am not going anywhere. I plan to be there, when you need someone to prop your eyelids open so you can finish reading your textbooks. I plan to be there when you need subjects for your dissertation. I plan to help you spell check and print your papers. I plan to be there when you walk up on that stage and make your speech as top of the class.

“In case you still don’t get what I am trying to say. There is no “I don’t think I can do this. Because it is not I or you, it is we, us, our. Your dreams are now mine; in the same way you made my dreams all yours. I am a business owner with employees today because you saw what I couldn’t even see in myself. Now, I ask that you give me the chance to do the same for you.”

Trish was now in tears and her man kissed every one of them away with no regard to the people milling around. She didn’t care either. She believed him. He was hers and he was planning to stay.


A half hour later, when the newlyweds found Hunter and Trish snuggled in the gazebo it took a few loud “ahems” before they even noticed they had company. Bren’s grin was broad and she deftly maneuvered a space in between her friends. Grey just shook his head, knowing there was nothing he could do but take a seat on the other bench alone.

“So,” Bren started. “The minister is still here and I am sure we can swing a license in no time.”

“That won’t be necessary Bren. We’ve got a bit of time yet before we follow you to down the aisle,” Hunter answered for them.

“Ah, well maybe next time,” she replied.

“Next time what?” Grey jumped in. “There will be no next time for you. This is it. Didn’t I hear you promise to be my perfect sunset in this life and beyond? What next ti…”

He never got to finish as Bren was on him in a flash, smothering his words with her kisses. Hunter and Trish just shook their heads and left the couple alone. If that boy only knew what he was in for tonight, Trish thought to herself. But he would find out soon enough. For now she was happy that she had the man of her dreams and the answer to her prayers ready to experience their own perfect sunsets together.

Grey was enjoying what his wife was doing. Not that she could ever be called an ice maiden but she usually let him initiate their kisses and intimate moments. Now Mrs. Ashley Brenetta Lawson was giving him a taste of what he was in for, for the rest of his life at that. Her lips were making slow determined movements from his forehead to his chin but her hands were busy doing something he couldn’t quite figure out. And she had commanded him not to move or touch her. What was his lady up to? Lord, help him.

Sometime between the time Grey started his little rant, about no more next time for her down the aisle, except as a member of the wedding party, Bren decided it was the right time to tell her man why he reminded her of chocolate, and why chocolate reminded her of him. As she teased him with her kisses and whispers of her love and promise of a night of passion, she unclipped the bottom half of her gown, which immediately turned it into a cocktail dress that revealed quite a bit of leg.

Grey froze as he felt the fabric fall away. She answered the question in the dark silence by placing his hands on her thigh. He was right; her beautiful wedding gown was no more. He wasn’t about to argue. He ran a hand slowly up and down her exposed thigh and answered her kisses with some of his own. Yes, he was happy they had waited. Now to get to the event after the garter throw and the bouquet toss…Grey was sure he could wait twenty more minutes to get his honeymoon started right, or could he?




One response

31 03 2009

No, no… THIS is my favorite chapter! *snicker*

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