Taking a taxi home from the airport. Ian smiled over at Celia. Taking her hand he kissed her finger tips. “I love you,” he said softly.
Leaning into him she snuggled contentedly into his arms “I love you too.” She gazed up at him “I’m going to miss being able to cuddle with you without being interrupted.”
“So am I,” Ian told her bring his mouth down to hers “we’ll have to make the most of the moments we have together.”He looked down at her and smiled “I am looking forward to seeing my beautiful girls though.”
“If your not careful our girls are going to grow up conceited,” she complained.
Shaking his head “not conceited. They’ll have a nice healthy self-image.”
“You’re their dad,” she protested “you’re supposed to say things like that.”
“I am and I’ll continue to tell them. It’s a father’s job to teach them what to expect from a man they’re interested in marrying….”
“Whoa slow down. We have a long way to go before that happens,” she protested “they’re just babies…”
“Time will go by quicker then we want it to. Before we know it they will be teenagers thinking their parents know nothing. So now is the time to demonstrate what they need to know while they still think we know everything.”
“No silly,” she laughed “but I love you anyway.”
Getting their bags from the taxi Ian looked up at the house. “Are you ready to be bombarded by little people?” he asked.
“More than ready,” she smiled at him “you remember where we put their gifts?”
“Yep they’re in one of these bags I’m carrying.” He told her then added as she frowned at him “I know which one. I was only teasing.”
Taking his arm “I know but you deserved that frown. The last thing I want is a million little hands digging through our bags.”
“Worried they might find something?” Ian asked with a wicked gleam in his eyes. “Like maybe those pictures from the photo booth.”
“You kept those?” she cried “I told you to get rid of them. What if we had gotten searched at the airport?” she glared at him.
“Relax,” Ian laughed at her “nobody saw them but me.”
“But but that’s not the point,” she said giving up.
“If it means that much to you I’ll shred them.”
“I heard that before,” she complained “How will I know if you really do this time?”
“You’ll have to take my word for it” he winked at her.
“I’d be better off if I did it myself,” she huffed.
“Aw honey if it really bothers you that much I promise I’ll get rid of them.” Ian told her becoming serious “but wouldn’t you rather I look at you instead of some other girl in a magazine?”
“Yes,” she blurted out without thinking “but that doesn’t mean I like it.”
Struggling with the bags Ian laughed “ok ok point taken. I promise I’ll destroy them. The real reason I didn’t earlier was the lack of a shredder. I didn’t want some eager paparazzi taking the remnants and reconstructing the pictures. I didn’t think you would want those pictures showing up in some magazine for everyone to see.”
“I didn’t think of that,” she looked at the ever present paparazzi “I’ve gotten so used to them that I forget how most of them are.”
“I do that too” Ian said following her up onto the porch “but most of them are low life scum that would sell their mothers if the price was right.”
“Remind me of this the next time we’re alone in a photo booth,” she said to him with a twinkle in her eye.
“Why?” he asked trying not to smile “to kill the mood?”
“Yes if it brings us back to our senses then yes.” She opened the door and was greeted by the excited voices of five toddlers.
“Mommy your home.”
“Daddy we missed you.”
“Did you bring us anything?” the triplets chorused together.
Setting the bags down Ian picked up one and opened it “would we go away and not bring you something?” he asked the crowd of eager little faces looking up at him.
“Mama you alright?” Katrina asked watching her mom anxiously.
“I’m fine sweetie,” Celia told her despite the continued nausea and lightheaded feeling. She forced a smile as she watched the frown fade from her four year old’s face.
“Mama I love you,” Katrina said giving her mom a hug before running off to join her sister.
A few minutes later Celia heard the unmistakable screams of unhappy toddlers and one that was getting the worst end of the conflict. Rushing from the bathroom Celia demanded “girls what’s going on?”
Kara looked up at her and pointed at Katrina “she started it.”
Katrina holding her hands over her eye crying “didn’t.”
“Did to,” Kara insisted holding the xylophone stick in her fist waving it in the air.
“I wanted to play,” Katrina cried “she wouldn’t share.”
“Kara how many times have I told you to take turns with your sister?” Celia asked looking sternly at the three year old.
Shrugging she stated “don’t want to.” As if to emphasize her words she banged on the xylophone for all she was worth laughing as she banged away on it.
“That’s it young lady if you can’t play nice you don’t play at all.” Celia stooped to take the toy away receiving a couple of wacks from the flailing stick before she was able to wrestle it from her daughters hands.
All the while Kara was screaming “it’s mine…mine….mine…mine.”
Celia put the toy up where neither girl could reach it wondering how she could teach them the importance of sharing. It was a concept that many adults never learned. A tug on her pants leg had her looking down. “What’s the matter Katrina?”
The little girl whimpered holding a hand to her face “my eye hurts.”
Kneeling down Celia “let mama see.” Gasping as she looked at her daughters blood shot eye turning purple and swelling. “Katy what happened?”
Pointing towards Kara “she poked me with the stick.”
Celia spared a moment to glare at her youngest daughter and fleetingly wondered if there was something in her DNA that caused her to be so mean. “Stand still while mama looks” she told Katrina as the little girl tried to squirm from her grasp. She explored the damage with her finger tips as Katrina tried to get away. “I think you’ll be alright but it’s going to hurt awhile.”
Katrina nodded “mama hold me?”
Picking her up Celia walked over to the couch and cuddled with her until she fell asleep.
Coming up the stairs Ian found all three of his girls asleep. Kara sprawled out on the floor close to the couch where Celia was holding Katrina. Gently he picked up Kara and carried her into the bedroom. Coming back into the living room he found Katrina staring up at him with her one good eye. “What happened to you?” he asked her.
“Kara poked me,” she whined.
Celia blinked hearing them talking “Ian your home,” she sounded relieved.
“Come here,” Ian said picking up the girl to inspect her eye “what happened?”he repeated.
Celia could hear the repressed anger in his voice as she answered “Kara poked her in the eye with the xylophone stick. You know typical toddler tantrum and refusal to share.”
Nodding Ian mumbled “I’m taking Katrina in to see the doctor. I don’t like how her eye looks.” He stood up to leave.
“It’s just a black eye,” Celia said astounded.
“Her eye is swollen,” Ian told her.
“Of course it is,” she stood up thinking Ian was overreacting “she was poked in the eye.”
“I don’t mean the exterior swelling but the eye itself is swollen. You know the colored area around the pupil.” He headed towards the stairs.
“Wait,” she shouted after him “I’m coming with you.”
Stopping by the stairs “better get Kara. Mom and Dad aren’t here to watch her.”
“Oh that’s right they’re visiting Amelia this weekend.” Celia ran towards the girl’s room and emerged a moment later with a cranky three year old in her arms.
Walking into urgent care they were shown into the waiting room where they waited to see the doctor. After about an hour they were called back to an examination room.
Sitting Katrina on the examination table Ian watched the doctor anxiously as the doctor hummed and hawed looking into Katrina’s beautiful brown eyes. Nodding the doctor looked up saying “her iritis is inflamed. I’m going to prescribe some eye drops to stop the eye spasms. The inflammation should go down as well. Once the inflammation is gone you’ll need to see an ophthalmologist to see if there is any change in her eyesight.” The doctor turned and filled out a prescription. Handing it to Ian he said “I want to see her in a week. If the swelling hasn’t gone down by then we may need to try steroids.”
Nodding Ian picked Katrina up who was complaining the lights were too bright. The doctor smiled at her giving her a sucker. “You might want to get her some dark glasses to wear. They’ll help with the glare from the lights.”
“Alright,” Ian said leaving the doctor’s office. Coming into the waiting room Celia looked up anxiety clear in her demeanor.
“Is she alright?” she asked getting up “it’s just a black eye right?”
“No it’s not” Ian snapped at her “I need to get a prescription filled.” He handed Katrina to her before he walked off. He wasn’t in the mood to pretend he wasn’t upset. His little girl had been in pain for hours before he came home. The best thing for him to do was walk away before he said something he’d regret later.
Later that night when Ian came into the bedroom Celia looked up from the book she was reading. “Is she alright?”
“She’ll be ok,” Ian said sitting on the edge of the bed taking Celia’s hand “I’m sorry about earlier. I was being unreasonable. All I could see was my little girl in pain.”
Biting her lip Celia hesitated a moment before saying what had been running through her mind. “I think Kara has a problem. She’s too aggressive. Katrina was never like that at her age…”
“Honey you can’t compare the two of them. They’re different kids. Kara is only three years old. She doesn’t understand what she’s doing.” Ian kissed her hand “I don’t think she intentionally tried to hurt Katrina. It was an accident.”
Looking at him doubt written all over her face “are you sure?” she asked “don’t forget who her father is. She could have inherited a bad gene from him.”
“I haven’t forgotten but I don’t think she’s going to be a psycho just because she’s related to one. Don’t forget who her mother is.” He crawled into bed beside her.
Rolling her eyes Celia said turning to him “that’s not an improvement.”
Putting his arms around her “I don’t think our little girl is a bad seed. She’s a temperamental three year old. She will out grow it and learn to share. This won’t be the last time one or the other lashes out and hurts the other.”
“I bet you and Matt didn’t act like this,” Celia said laying her head on his shoulder.
“Oh we had our moments. Everyone does when your sharing the same space. We out grew it and became good friends.” Kissing her cheek “don’t worry about the girls. They’ll learn to get along.”
“Ok,” she said closing her eyes hoping he was right.
“I can’t believe Matt’s engaged” Ian shook his head.
“It’s about time,” Celia turned and smiled at Ian “they have been dating for two years. Remember they finally made the jump from friends to dating the night of our wedding.”
“Yeah I know,” Ian smiled broadly “he’s just so happy and he’s getting married in Isla Paradiso. We can go on a second honeymoon.”
Ducking his attempt to kiss her Celia said “second honeymoon with two kids. I don’t think so.”
“We have two years to figure it out. We can always get a sitter,” Ian said not to be dissuaded.
Shaking her head “can’t since the girls are part of the wedding. They’re flower girls, so they have to be there.”
“Oh,” he grinned sheepishly “I guess that won’t work then.”
“No it won’t,” Celia squealed as he grabbed her and planted his lips on hers.
“Well we’ll just have to play it by ear then,” releasing her from the kiss “we just might have to find ourselves another photo booth.”
“No we’re not doing that again. We’re not teenagers,” she protested.
“We weren’t the first time we did it,” Ian pointed out “so it shouldn’t matter now.”
“It does because we have kids this time,” Celia pointed out.
“Right the kids that never leave us alone” Ian said with a smile as the bedroom door flew open and two little girls came in.
Sighing Celia gave up trying to have a serious conversation with him “maybe your parents will be willing to watch them for a while so we can have a moment or two to ourselves while we’re there,” she suggested.
“I knew there was a reason why I married you,” he grinned as he picked up one the girls while the other hung on him like a limpet.
“Daddy is Uncle Matt really getting married,” Katrina asked as they sat on the plane waiting for take off.
“He sure is,” Ian told her trying to convince himself that flying was ok and there was no reason why the plane should fall from the sky. He looked across the aisle where Celia sat with Kara. She smiled confidently at him setting his fears to rest.
“Daddy what’s it like to be married?” Katrina asked.
“Something like mommy and me,” Ian began only to be cut off by mock gagging by his daughter.
“Kissing and hugging and all that mushy stuff?” Katrina said laughing
“That’s right,” he smiled down at her. When had she gotten so big? She’d be starting first grade this fall and Kara would be in kindergarten.
“Will Uncle Matt and Payson be like that too?” she asked looking out the window.
“If they’re lucky they will be” Ian told her “why all the questions?”
Shrugging she looked up at him “it’s just that Becky said that kissing and all that mushy stuff is only in movies. She said that married people are supposed to yell and scream at each other.” Looking out the window then back up at him “I told her that you and mommy aren’t like that. Neither were Grandpa and Grandma. I told her you all kiss all the time.” She wiped a tear away as she turned to look out the window again.
“What did she tell you?” Ian asked already disliking the girl and the parent’s who filled her head with such nonsense.
“She said you weren’t really married and that me and Kara were il…iligit… I can’t say the word but it’s bad” she sniffed.
“Becky doesn’t know what she’s talking about…”
“Yes she does,” Katrina asserted “she’s older than me and she knows lots of stuff.”
Ian’s lips quirked a little at his daughters logic “is she as old as me or mommy? What about Grandpa and Grandma?”
Her eyes grew larger “she’s not that old.”
“So she doesn’t know everything does she?”
“I guess not but I’ve seen her parents. They yell at each other all the time. I’ve heard them,” she whispered afraid someone would over hear her.
“Well you know what sweetheart a good marriage has lots of mushy stuff and not much yelling. Do you know why?” he asked her.
Thinking for a moment she smiled “because mommy’s and daddy’s are supposed to love each other.”
“That’s right,” Ian squeezed her tight “so am mommy and I married?”
“Yeah,” she giggled “Becky’s a dodo bird.”
“She’s something alright,” Ian agreed letting the subject slide.
“Matt congratulations,” Ian said giving his brother a hug.
“Thanks,” Matt said ducky as his face turned bright red. “I’m glad you were able to make it.”
“Wouldn’t miss my little brothers wedding” Ian enthused “so when are you going to make me an uncle?”
“Not now,” Matt said turning a darker shade of red “Payson and I aren’t ready for kids yet. We’re only twenty-three. We have plenty of time for kids.”
“I had two kids by the time was twenty-three,” Ian pointed out.
“That’s not my fault,” Matt told him “you and Celia still can’t keep your hands off each other.”
“Like you can with Payson?” Ian mumbled.
“Yeah well,” Matt shrugged “at least we haven’t had a birth control malfunction.”
Laughing Ian pulled Matt into a hug “I’ve missed you,” he said “when are you going to move home?”
“I’m not,” Matt told him “my life is in Monte Vista. I like it there.”
Nodding Ian said “as long as your happy.”
“I am more than I ever thought possible.”
The Wedding Album