“Aimee what’s wrong?” Gene asked coming out of Ian’s room.
“I just can’t find what I want,” Aimee waved a hand towards the computer. “I’ve searched hundreds of sites and my dress just doesn’t exist.”
“Maybe you should I don’t know go to an actual store,” Gene suggested
Frowning she pushed her chair away from the desk. Crossing her arms “I’m sure I’ll find it. I just haven’t found the right web site yet.”
Crossing the room to peer down at her Gene asked “what’s wrong with going into a store and trying on an actual dress? Your mom would love to go dress shopping with you.”
“But what? The wedding is only a couple of months away and you don’t have a dress yet.” Smiling Gene couldn’t resist teasing her “unless your going for an all natural Adam and Eve look. Now I wouldn’t mind. I kind of like that look on you but our guests might not appreciate it as much as I would. Plus I’d be a bit over dressed since you insisted I wear a tux.”
Slapping his arm she laughed “that’s not what I want the paparazzi taking pictures of.” She lost her smile “I just want everything to be perfect. There will be so many people discussing our wedding … tearing it apart…criticizing it.”
“Babe” Gene broke into her thoughts “who are you marrying? The public or me?”
“You,” she mumbled.
“That’s right,” Gene caressed her face “since your marrying me I want you to wear the dress that makes you happy. I don’t care what’s in style or what celebrity wore what. None of that matters as long as your happy.” He brought his lips to hers “promise me you’ll consider what you want and forget about the expectations of everyone else.”
Leaning into him Aimee sighed “I’ll try. It’s just that everyone is expecting something elegant or over the top because of us having been on Sim Star Idol.” Biting her lip she looked away “I’ve seen the gossip columns. I know what they’re saying about me. I’m not exactly celebrity girlfriend material.” Shrugging “I’m just me.”
“I wouldn’t have you any other way,” Gene grinned grabbing her and bending her over to kiss her. “I don’t care if you’re a celebrity in anyone’s eyes but mine. To the world you may just be Aimee but to me your my everything.”
Whispering in his ear “I love you” she moved to unbutton his shirt when a cry from Ian’s room shattered the moment.
Smiling Gene released her “I’ll see what our little man wants.” Moving towards the door he stopped as Aimee called after him “I’ll call mom and arrange to go dress shopping.”
“Mother I can’t do this,” Aimee protested “this is the fifth store we’ve been to and I still haven’t found right dress.” Shaking her head “I don’t think it exists.”
“Aimee don’t give up,” Amelia smiled holding her daughter’s hand “if we don’t find it here we’ll go to Bridgeport.” Smiling mischievously she continued “or maybe we’ll get you a spot on Say Yes to the Dress.”
Gasping in horror Aimee shook her head “absolutely not. I’m never doing another TV show.”
Laughing Amelia shook her head at her daughter “I know dear. Gene has declined multiple offers for reality shows that would follow your everyday lives.”
“What?” Aimee asked astonished “he’s never mentioned it to me.”
“No he wouldn’t, would he?” Amelia smiled “I happened to be at one of his shows when the offer was made. He turned it down point-blank. I asked him why. He just smiled and said it was bad enough with the paparazzi right outside his door he didn’t need camera’s inside his home following every moment of his private life. He didn’t really consider it and probably forgot all about it once a horde of fans surrounded him demanding pictures and autographs.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to him being a celebrity. He just takes it in stride while I’m afraid of doing something awful in front of the cameras. I hate all the attention and how we can’t do anything without the paparazzi following us.”
Patting her hand “I know dear but the sooner you come to terms with it the better. Surely you considered the possibility of this happening before you went on that show.”
Shrugging “I honestly didn’t think I had a chance of getting on the show. Then when I did I didn’t think I’d win, which I’m glad I didn’t….”
“Then you met Gene and fell in love. That young man has star written all over him even if he didn’t win. William worries about how all this fame will affect him.” Hugging Aimee close “but he has you to keep him grounded. Gene has blossomed under the pressure instead of giving into it. A lot of that is due to the support he has from his family and from the love of someone special, you.”
The limo drove up to the last store. Upon getting out Amelia gave Aimee a hug as camera’s flashed catching the moment. “I see the paparazzi figured out what we’ve been up to today.” Amelia said as she turned to the cameras and smiled.
“Mother how can you be so nonchalant with so many people staring at you,” Aimee asked trying to avoid any and all eye contact with the cameras.
“You need to be more confidant in yourself,” Amelia advised her as they waited for their sales assistant to show them a few dresses. “Even if you don’t feel it pretend. It won’t feel so bad.”
They were there for almost two hours when Aimee gasped pointing “that’s it. That’s my dress.” Following the direction of her pointing finger the sales assistant shook her head “no absolutely not.”
“Please let me try it on,” Aimee begged “I’ve looked everywhere for it and I just know it’s the one.”
“You don’t understand that dress has been recalled by its designer. It’s to be destroyed,” the woman explained.
“But you can’t … it’s beautiful,” Aimee protested. “Please just call the designer.”
“I’m sorry we can’t disturb Ms Dela Rosa. She’s a wonderful designer perhaps we can interest you in another Dela Rosa gown.”
Shaking her head Aimee looked longingly at the dress she wanted “why? Why does it need to be destroyed?”
“The dress was designed for a celebrity wedding that did not happen. The couple broke up a few months before the date. Ms Dela Rosa feels the dress is tainted with bad luck.” The assistant pulled on her arm to direct her attention to a different dress.
“Please won’t you try,” Aimee asked again “call Ms Dela Rosa and explain that someone else would very much like that dress.”
The woman openly looked her up and down clearly not believing she had the celebrity status to be demanding any such favors. “No I’m sorry.”
Eyes flashing Aimee grabbed the gown from it’s would be exterminator “this dress is the one I want. I demand you call the designer or I’ll go outside and tell all those waiting paparazzi how you refused to sell me the dress of my dreams.”
Aimee was a little shocked with herself but also enjoying the power of being able to do something like this just for being who she was. Little Aimee the geeky gamer girl turned celebrity. She noticed the woman motion towards someone by the door.
Whoever it was replied “the sidewalk is swimming in paparazzi.”
The woman turned to Aimee “who exactly are you?”
Before Aimee could reply Amelia spoke up with a smile “this is my daughter Aimee Vera. Surely you’ve read the papers that she’s the one engaged to Gene Bennett. That dress is the one she wants to get married in.”
The woman stared at them in disbelief “someone get me Ms Dela Rosa’s number,” she shouted.
Aimee didn’t know what the woman told Ms Dela Rosa but three hours later she was being measured, taped and pinned by the famous designer. Aimee couldn’t contain her happiness as she hugged both Ms Dela Rosa and the sales woman. Her mother paid the astronomical price for the one of a kind Dela Rosa gown. Aimee was so happy she didn’t notice the flashing lights of cameras as she exited the store. The gossip columns ran headlines speculating on the dress that had Ms Dela Rosa flying in to make last-minute alterations. Aimee laughed upon reading them but she realized that this marked her step into celebrity status and her very own bridezilla moment.
Day of the wedding finally arrived. Gene smiled as his brothers jostled each other as they got dressed in their tuxes. He smiled broadened as his father approached “are you ready to become an old married man?”
Nodding Gene hugged his father close noting the beginnings of grey in his normally red and gold hair. “I’ve been married in my heart since I met Aimee all those years ago on Sim Star Idol. This just makes it legal.”
“I’m so very proud of you Gene,” William grabbed his shoulder “you’ve become the man I always knew you could be.”
“Thank you dad,” Gene felt his face flush “you don’t know how much that means to me.”
“Have you met Grace yet?” William asked changing the subject.
William looked at him barely containing his curiosity “well are you going to tell me?”
Grinning “Rob has asked Grace to marry him.” Gene told him.
“That’s wonderful news,” William said blinking back tears.
“Dad is something wrong?” Gene asked him in concern.
“Everything is fine,” William assured him “I just wish all my children were this happy.”
“You’re concerned about Beverly aren’t you? She still hasn’t heard from Adam?” Gene asked.
“No she hasn’t and it’s breaking her heart.” William shook his head “we can talk about this later. Right now we have to get you married.”
“Dad,” Gene insisted
Putting a hand on his shoulder “it’s a long difficult story. I’m sorry I’m not going to mar my son’s wedding with it. Afterwards if you still want to know I’ll tell you.”
Considering his dad’s words Gene nodded “ok.” Dropping the subject “So tell me how are things between you and Amelia.” Blushing William shrugged “come on dad you can tell me.”
“What’s the matter son? Concerned you’ll wake up one day married to your sister?”
“That’s so not funny,” Gene groaned “put like that it’s just gross.”
“William,” Amelia came over to them smiling “have you told him yet?”
“Told me what?” Gene asked suspicious “you’re not are you?”
Nodding his head “yes I’m afraid so son. Meet your future step mom.”
Gene stared at them moment groaning “please don’t do this to your children.”
“Too late,” Amelia waved her hand in front of Gene’s face showing off her ring.
Staring at his dad Gene smiled hugging both of them “all joking aside I’m happy for you. Congratulations.”
“It’s almost time to take our places,” Gene turned to Amelia “I suppose Aimee’s good for nothing father hasn’t shown up.”
Shaking her head Amelia said “no he didn’t but don’t worry we have the perfect replacement. Her future step father has graciously agreed to do the honor of giving the bride away. Come along dear I need to get you to the bride.”
Shaking his head as they left the room he felt someone grasp his shoulder. Turning he looked in his brother’s concerned brown eyes. “Did they tell you?” Robert asked.
“They did,” Gene smiled “he deserve to be happy. They both do. I just wish they had looked outside the family.”
“I’m happy for them too,” Robert agreed “the kids will benefit with having a stable mother figure around especially after their experience with mom and Erik.”
“I’m glad that guy is gone,” Gene commented regretting his part in bringing Erik into his father’s life. Changing the subject he asked “are you ready to do this again?”
“This? The whole wedding blow out?” Robert shook his head “no Grace and I have decided on a small gathering at the house. Nothing fancy. We’ve both done this before.”
“That’s what you say now but just wait,” Gene smiled “that’s what Aimee said she wanted.” Gesturing around him “now look at this circus. She’s even wearing a one of a kind Dela Rosa gown.” Shaking his head “you just never know sometimes.”
Gene stood beside Robert waiting for his bride, the love of his life to come into view. As the music began and all heads turned he looked down the aisle and felt his breath escape his lungs. She was beautiful. Their eyes locked onto each other. He felt Robert shake his shoulder and whisper in his ear to relax. By the time Aimee made her way to his side he felt weak to his knees. She smiled up at him and it felt like sunshine.
As she took Williams’ arm her stomach was doing flip-flops as she surveyed the crowd of people all waiting for her to appear. William smiled down at her patting her hand. She looked out into the sea of people and her eyes locked onto Gene’s. He was her strength. The reason she was free to be herself. Knowing that each step she took brought her closer to being with the one she loved and the life they hoped to share.
Reaching for his hand they smiled at each other both saying “I love you,” before looking to the minister as he began the ceremony. The bride and groom have each prepared their own vows to say to each other.
I, Aimee Colleen Vera am marrying my best friend, confidant, soul-mate and greatest challenge. Most importantly Gene you are the love of my life. You make me happier than I could ever imagine. More loved than I ever thought possible. You have made me a better person. I am blessed to have you in my life now and forever.
I, Gene Daryl Bennett promise to encourage your compassion because that is what makes you unique and wonderful. I promise to nurture your dreams because through them your soul shines. I promise to help shoulder our challenges for there is nothing we cannot face together. I promise to be your partner in all things. I promise you love and trust for our lifetime together.
Minister: You may now kiss the bride.
I know pronounce you husband and wife.
The wedding song is Because you Loved Me by Celine Dion. You can listen while you enjoy the following wedding pictures the happy couple shared with the media.