GOOD HOPE CHURCH -
see," Leticia Rutherford said as she carefully paced around the room, a pad
of paper and pen in hand, and carefully checked off her list. "The
organist is ready. Reverend Rutledge is ready. I just checked on
"How is he?" Jillian asked as she
spun around in her seat to look at her mother. "Is he...as nervous as
"He put up a brave front, but Francis
said that he's shaking like a leaf," Leticia laughed. "But I
guess that's to be expected after what happened last time."
can we not bring that up?" Jillian pleaded as she remembered the disaster
that had been her and Reginald's first attempt at a wedding, months
earlier. "I want today to be perfect. I don't want any of
those...bad memories creeping in."
"It will be perfect," Leticia
smiled warmly as she touched her daughter lightly on the cheek. "As
perfect as the love you and Reginald share."
"I've got it!" Janet Stokes called
out as she rushed into the room. "I almost thought I'd forgotten it
and left it at home, but I'd just left it in the car."
"What is it?" Jillian asked,
slightly confused by her sister's urgency. "What was so important
that you had to run out of here like you did?"
we were talking about good luck and I remembered that old tradition about
weddings," Janet explained and then carefully held out the long velvet box
for Jillian to see. "You remember -- 'something old, something new,
something borrowed, something blue.'"
"Yes, I remember, but...."
"Your dress is new," Janet continued and then slowly
lifted the lid of the box, "and this is the other three wrapped up in
As both Jillian and Leticia saw the contents of the box, they
"Janet, isn't that...."
"The sapphire necklace that
gave me on my sixteenth
birthday," Janet nodded. "The one that Grandmother Stokes wore
when she got married. I...want you to wear it today."
"I'd...love to!" Jillian exclaimed as she took the
necklace out of the box. "Oh, Janet, this is so wonderful.
Wearing this today will almost be like...."
"Having our father here with us," Janet smiled and
then took the necklace from Jillian so that she could gently slip it around
Jillian's neck. Neither girl could see the pained expression on their
mother's face that the talk of their late father had brought.
I...I'd better go and make a few last minute checks," Leticia spoke up
awkwardly. "I...I need to make sure that everything...is in
"I'd better go, too," Janet spoke up as she hurried
after her. "I need to find Burt. He feels so out of place at
these types of functions. He's not sure whether he should sit on our side
because of me or with the Callisons." When she reached the door, she
turned back around and smiled at Jillian. "It won't be long now until
you're finally Mrs. Reginald Callison." And with that, Janet quietly
shut the door behind her and Leticia, leaving Jillian awash with nervous
"Mrs. Reginald Callison," Jillian sighed to herself as
she gazed at her reflection in the mirror. Wrapping her arms around
herself, she smiled. To be married to Reginald was something that she'd
wanted for so long.
Their journey to this point had been a long one and they'd
weathered many troubles and storms -- both Dane and
Reginald's suspicion of murder, and their first, interrupted wedding to name a
few. However, that was all in the past. Dane and Stephanie hadn't
succeeded in separating them, both Reginald and his mother had been proven
innocent, and now it was their long-awaited wedding day -- a day for a fresh
start and a new beginning for all of them. Nothing could go wrong.
Just then, a soft knock came at the door.
"J-Jillian, I have to talk to you," Stephanie spoke up
as she quickly stepped into the room.
"Stephanie!" Jillian exclaimed in shock when she saw
how she was -- or, more accurately, wasn't -- dressed. "You're
still in your robe! Why aren't you dressed? It's almost time for the
wedding and your not even ready!"
"That's what I...wanted to talk to you about,"
Stephanie explained awkwardly. "It's...about this wedding. I
"Can't? Can't what?" Jillian sat up
straight in her seat as her muscles tightened. Both Stephanie's appearance
and tone made Jillian leery and ill at ease and she was becoming more and more
nervous by the moment. "Surely, you're not talking about...."
I'm sorry." Stephanie walked over to her and took a deep
breath. "I know that you've gone out of your way to include me in
this and you have no idea how much it means to me. Especially after
everything that I've done."
"You cleared Reginald's mother of murder," Jillian
reminded. "You came through for him and his family -- for all of us,
actually -- when we needed it the most. Paddy loves you. That in and
of itself means something."
"I know, but...." Stephanie's voice trailed off
as she looked away, unable to meet her former rival's worried eyes.
"But...well...I just don't belong here. This isn't right. I
can't do this. I can't be a part of this wedding. Not
After all, what could go wrong?