Thank you for joining us. If you are up to date on the story just read on. To see previous blogs click on the dates below.
The quiet reflection Jacy had just asked her friends and family time for was shattered as Carrie, Summer and Austin’s daughter skipped into the room crying, “I do, I do,” Purple, white and yellow petals fell from the basket of flowers in her hand, her booted feet making clomping sounds on the wood floor.
She stopped in front of Jacy, looked up, pursed her lips, and made kissy noises.
“We’re getting married.”
Jacy stifled the laugh threatening to spill from her lips. The seven-year-old had such a serious look on her face. “We?” she asked.
“Yep, me, Trace, and you.” The child emphasized her uncle’s name and her face scrunched up a little when she said Jacy".
Startled, Jacy looked to Summer for clarification.
“She’s always said she would marry Trace one day.”
“Oh.” Jacy drew out the word.
“So, are you all right with Trace marrying me.”
“Sure. Mama explained it." She stood on her tiptoes and waited for Jacy to stoop down. She whispered her next words. “I’m too young. So, you can have him until I’m grown up.”
Jacy nodded her head. “That’s very kind of you.” She cleared her throat to keep from laughing at the child.
“I’ll let you know when I’m ready to take over,” she said matter of factly.
Jacy’s hand flew to her mouth; she stood, stifling, but failing to stop laughing. Muffled giggles penetrated the quiet room. The music outside swelled releasing her from having to reply.
“It’s time,” Carrie chanted, dancing around her mother’s legs.
“You ready?” Tam stuck her head through the doorway and asked.
Carrie’s lighthearted belief that the three of them were getting married today had been a welcome relief. Now, those butterflies that had been fluttering in her stomach suddenly grew three sizes and multiplied by a thousand.
She barely registered Summer instructing Carrie to pick up her petals and them leaving the room.
Overcome with emotions, Jacy looked around the room. This was it. Inhaling she turned to her friend and nodded. She dropped the veil on the bed, having suddenly decided that it wasn’t needed after all.
Rehearsal didn’t prepare one for the real deal.
Oh, she knew the route. Down the hall stop at the top of the steps until the third song ended and then descend. She’d take a few short steps toward the living room. Jacy paused. She was standing under the long-horn chandelier, not remembering her trek down the stairs, but relived the moment she and Trace stood here for the first time.
Sparks flew, and a few times since, but unlike that day. Betrayal and shame had washed over her believing she had slept with a married man. She could smile about it now, but then… Jacy turned her thoughts to happier moments. Eating dinner at the large table with his family. Planning the wedding. Meeting the twins, Trace’s youngest brothers, Pierce and Parker for the first time.
The oversized room, she let out a nervous laugh, recalling looking around with awe that first day. Her living room and kitchen and the bathroom would fit into this one space alone. Yet, it had just been her and nana. This house was full.
Trace had moved back three years ago after college and working with several breeding farms to gain knowledge he wanted to implement at the Tumbling B. His oldest brother, Bohdon, bought stock for the professional rodeo circuit in Texas, Arizona, and Oklahoma. He was gone most of the time but came home during the off-season.
Austin and summer and their three children lived at Tumbling B, taking up the two upper floors on the east side of the house. Austin being a Veterinarian and Summer his assistant, meant they were out at odd hours. It seemed the best to live where the children would be taken care of while they were gone.
Pierce and Parker came home on holidays and a few weeks during the summer when classes were out. Yep, they needed a large home with so many people in the family.
Jacy let out a contented sigh. One day she hoped to add three or four children of her own to this family.
The door across the room opened breaking into her thoughts.
“Girl, you ready?”
She couldn’t help but smile at the big man. Like all the other men in the wedding party, he was dressed in jeans, white shirt, and vest. A cream-colored Stetson covered a head full of salt and pepper hair.
“Yes, Mr. Blackwell,” Jacy side walking toward him.
“Dad. Girl,” he took her arm, “I’ve told you to call me dad.”
“It will be official in a few short minutes, so, I guess it’s all right.”
“Damn straight. Was all right the minute I saw you giving my son what for. Knew you were just the woman for him.”
Jacy couldn’t stop the blush creeping over her face.
“None of that. My third son needed to be knocked down a peg or two. That think with Bradley hit him hard, but you had him chasing his tail, and building his confidence back at the same time. You’re good for him… and us. Welcome to the family, daughter.”
“Thank you, Mr… dad.” Jacy was honored to be included. His action mimicked her thoughts because he pulled her into a warm embrace. “I love my sons, but I always wanted a few girls. With you joining the family now I have two daughters.”
“Stop,” Jacy said in a low, choked voice. “You’ll make me cry.”
“Ah, you were goin’ to anyway.” He tucked a finger under her chin, tilting her head up. With the other hand, he pulled out a handkerchief. “I learned early on to always put a clean hanky in my pocket for Marni. That woman is stronger than toughest man out there, but the woman cries at the drop of a hat.” He spoke as he dabbed at her eyes with the cloth.
“Speaking of, and don’t you dare look, I’m sure she’s giving us the stink eye. Now, take my arm and let’s get into place.
Jacy was astonished, though she shouldn’t have been, the Mr. Blackwell accomplished three things at one time. He stuffed his handkerchief in his pocket while signaling for the music to begin the wedding march, and wrapped Jacy’s arm in his as they moved off the deck toward the ceremony section.
Up close, Jacy took in the beauty of it all. A center aisle separated white folding chairs. Along the inside edge stood galvanized buckets alternately filled with purple and white baby’s breath.
Hay bales stacked together to make sofas sat along the outer edges, covered with lavender sheets. Upon seeing several women fanning themselves with ‘fan programs’, which Maddie came up with the idea, had Jacy suddenly feeling the heat.
However, she suspected it actually had something to do with seeing Trace. He was flanked by his brothers as groomsmen. Carrie swung her now empty basket, and her bridesmaid’s lined the left side of the flower covered arbor all waiting for her to arrive.
Jacy was so nervous she barely felt the reassuring squeeze Mr. B gave her or heard the music; she was so sensitized to the man she couldn’t take her eyes off of, who finally, would become her husband.
Lordy, he looks scrumptious. His pants, vest, and Stetson were in cream fabric, his shirt white, and boutonniere, a purple rose, adding just the right splash of color. Those were just dressing. He had a short scruff covering his jaw, his broad shoulders and long, lean legs pushed against the fabric of his clothes as if they knew it was useless to contain such masculinity.
His blue eyes, clear and bright, shone with such emotion, Jacy wasn’t sure if she had transmitted them to him or him to her. It mattered not. She would soon be Mrs. Trace Blackwell. And that suited her fine.
Suddenly her feet were moving, the soft grass and flower petals tickling her bare feet. Her heart beat a steady gallop, blood roaring in her ears.
She had no idea she could feel this light like she floated in the blue sky with the clouds while at the same time felt like she was drowning in the deepest sea unable to catch her breath.
So caught up in Trace’s powerful presence, the minister’s words didn’t register until he asked, “Who gives Jacy in marriage to Trace?” Sadness intruded, realizing she had no family to support her.
“Minister,” Mr. Blackwell’s deep, strong voice commanded attention. “Jacy lost her parents at a young age. A few short years ago, she lost her grandmother, nana, the woman who raised her. So, it is with great honor that I, Marni, and…” at that the entire assemblage of adults added, “the citizens of Landmark give this woman to this man in marriage.”
So overwhelmed Jacy’s heart burst with love and pride, and tears ran in fast rivulets down her cheeks.
“Now, now, none of that.” For the second time, Mr. B’s hanky came out and this time, he handed it to Trace to do the honors. Placing her hand in his son’s he made the three steps to sit by his wife.
What seemed to be hours later, and had been at least five to ten minutes of good crying, Jacy finally pulled herself together.
“Ready?” the minister asked.
“One more minute.” She faced Trace, gazing lovingly up at him, then turned to the crowd. “Thank you.” She paused to gather her thoughts. “Thank you for making me see that a wedding is so much more than a pledge between the couple. It is bringing together families. And…” tears slid down her face. She swallowed the lump forming in her throat, smiling and nodding until she could form the words. “All of you have become my family, some because of Trace, others because of my friendship with the people that live her, but all… all because you are loving caring people. Thank you so much.
Jacy inhaled, turned to Trace and said, “I’m ready.”
Repeating traditional vows, they spoke from their heart of love and commitment to one another. The words “you may now kiss the bride” barely left the minister’s lips when Trace pulled her to him, his mouth seizing hers in a slow, thorough kiss that had her body buzzing with want and need.