A Chesapeake Romance - Part 4

Blessed Hearts Series

A Chesapeake Romance

Finale: Here Come The Brides...

by Andrea Lena DiMaggio
And who can say
if your love grows
as your heart chose
only time

Amaryllis Jewelers, Baltimore Maryland...

“See anything that suits her?” Judy smiled and pointed to the case. “No hurry. Alice and I are having lunch delivered…can I get you anything?” She teased.

“That one!” He pointed to the ring in the far corner of the display case; it was almost like a wallflower at the senior prom, so separated it was from the others. But it was also set apart because it was special; earmarked just for him to discover. Judy opened the case from the back and grabbed the small box and handed it to Keith.

“This one is so perfect, I bet, because she’s such a special girl to you. I’d guess it took a while to decide to ask her…you don’t feel you’re good enough, right? I’ve seen that look plenty of times. You know…” She paused.

“What’s your name?” She smiled at him and he practically whispered,


“You know, Keith…wanting to be perfect is a nice thought, but no one ever reaches that…at least in this lifetime. But that you feel unworthy? She’s a lucky girl to have you. I can see that. I’m sure she’ll love this…it took a lot of thought and a lot of care.” She smiled again as he reached for his wallet and pulled out the credit card.

“Oooh…I just remembered…today is ‘I can’t decide because she’s just such a wonderful girl discount day!’ 20% off! And it also comes with a free complete dinner voucher for two at Pazo’s over on Alicannas” She smiled.

“Really, wow…I really lucked out.” He laughed softly but his expression turned puzzled when she started to laugh.

“Not really, Keith. Debbie and I went to high school together. She was my brother’s best friend growing up until she hit high school and realized she wasn’t cut out for shirts and ties. Oh, and Pazo’s is my cousin’s restaurant. Tell Tony that Judy says she’ll get him wholesale on anything he likes if he introduces me to Joey Flacco, okay?”

“He knows Joey Flacco? Oh gosh… you and Debbie are friends?”

“BFF! And the ring… It’s my gift to you and Debbie, okay…” She sighed and looked at her bare ring finger.
“I would think working at WMAR that you’d know Joey Flacco…Hall of Fame…Super Bowl and all. Anyway, c’mere and give me a hug. I’m so happy for you two.”

Keith walked over to the end of the counter and Judy hugged him.

“God bless you two, okay?”

….Somewhere on the western shore of the Chesapeake River in Maryland…

“Oh, God, Keith…it’s beautiful.” Debbie said as her soft alto voice hit the rare soprano range with “beautiful. She stared at the ring in the jeweler’s box and began to cry.

“I realized two things yesterday when I talked to your friend. One I was already aware of, and one was brand new. He smiled as he gently lifted her left hand, pushing the ring onto Debbie’s finger.

“I know that I’m not at all able to be the perfect husband…because I’m far from perfect.” He sighed as tears came to his own eyes.

“But I also learned that I don’t have to be perfect; I just have to be willing to do whatever it takes to be the best husband I can be.”

Debbie started to cry harder. Her mother would have at one time almost demanded that it would be ‘her’ that would be the perfect husband, but her transition train picked up three passengers only a few years ago as her mother and father and brother finally realized just what a wonderful woman their son and brother actually was.

“Do you know what I love about you?” Keith asked as he kissed her hand; his tears hit the gem in the middle of the ring and the prism of the facets caused them to appear almost like a rainbow.

“What?” Debbie remained understandably insecure, and knowing what he loved would help her duplicate it. He smiled at her and said,

“Nothing…..and everything. Honey…you don’t have to earn my love. You don’t have to perform…You just have to be. I love you so much.” He choked back a sob with the last words before drawing her closer for a kiss; their tears mingled together as they celebrated their first engagement kiss.

And also previously…

“Honey? Are you okay?” Kyra walked into the kitchen and noticed Candace had laid her head on the table.

“Yeah,” she said as she looked up, but there were tears in her eyes. Kyra saw that Candace wasn’t quite at home, in her psychic time machine, which too often swept her back to a day where hurt and pain were her routine. Candace had told her about the abuse she had suffered at the hands of her mother and stepfather before she came to the Home that Love Built and her adoption by Janet McGuire.

“Nightmares? Oh damn, Sweetie, you’ve been dealing with that for so long…I wish there was something I could do?” She leaned closer from behind and embraced her girlfriend and kissed her softly on the ear.

“You’re doing exactly what you can, Ky… hold me tight, okay? Hug me as tight as you can?” Candace turned to face her and smiled. Kyra pulled close and kissed her, making sure she paid care to the girl’s eyelids; Candace loved that part of Kyra’s playful attention.

“Mmmmm…that’s nice.” She was still crying, but the tears were abating as she gave herself to the moment. She pulled Kyra around and pulled her down on her lap, continuing to kiss back until the two broke off at the sound of a loud clink. The screw holding the back left leg popped and caromed off the oven door with a ping as they plummeted to the floor with a very loud thud.

“Ow…” Candace rolled off the broken chair and looked over at her girlfriend, who sat on the floor leaning against the oven; her face was covered with tears, but she was laughing and sported a silly grin.

“What?” Candace slapped Kyra’s knee.

“I… I guess I’ve really fallen for you.” She rolled over onto the floor and laughed hysterically, her eyes closed. A moment later she felt the soft weight of her lover slip atop her body, hands caressing and patting and pinching and
stroking gently.

“I love you.” Candace said before she resumed kissing her lover and soon to be fiancee’ if she could just get the courage to speak. Kyra cooed softly as she enjoyed Candace’ attention.

“M…Mmmmm.” Kyra moaned, and Candace responded with a cooing sing-song voice.

“Mmmm….to you, too.” Candace thought she echoed until Kyra tried to speak.

“MMMM!” She wasn’t able to manage more than that with Candace’ lips placed firmly against hers. She reached up and grabbed the girl’s face with both hands, firmly but gently pushing it away long enough to blurt out,

“Marry me!”

Who can say
where the road goes
where the day flows
only time

The girl’s apartment…several weeks later…

Kyra’s voice came softly from the bedroom as she sang while she folded clothes. Candace came up from behind and whispered,

“I don’t know…” Kyra turned quickly with a start.

“What…what don’t you know?”

“The song…you were singing…I really don’t know who can say….I just know that at the end of the day….you’re here…for me.” She leaned into Kyra’s shoulder and kissed her neck gently.

“And who can say if your love grows?” Kyra sang; tilting her head backs as Candace began to move up her neck toward her ear. She shuddered as her lover’s eyelashes brushed her lobe.

“Mine has…” Candace whispered again.

“I know…” Kyra shuddered again. She smiled, but she pulled away, leaving Candace as she shook her head and returned to the laundry.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing…it’s just that we have to get the place ready for Janet and Cal and my Mom, too.” She shrugged her shoulders, but her expression seemed almost sad.

“I know…but that’s not what’s going on here.” Candace shook her head slightly and finished, “Is it?”

“No…yes? Oh, I don’t know. I’m just…”

“Is it because of tomorrow?” Candace looked over at the picture on the faux fireplace mantel. A picture of a woman…in
a bed with Candace and her mom Janet on either side. The woman appeared weak, but her smile was warm and inviting.

“It’s been eleven years, you know? I see that picture and it makes me… “

“She came to us when she was so near the end…it was a miracle you guys even got there…”

“Don’t try to explain it, okay?” Kyra snapped and turned her back and began to toss the folded tees and underwear back in the basket.

“I’m sorry…I just….” Candace wanted things to be different, but Kyra and Keith both only had a day with their…what to even call her…Carla? Ms. Schroeder? Their other mother?

“He…You had all that time to get to know her, and I only met her once…the day she died, damn it. I only remember her as my father. I was eleven years old, Cee, you know…” She said over her shoulder before returning the clothes.

“Look…I understand.”

“Do you? I suppose you do have a right to talk, with the way your step-father and mother treated you…but that’s just it. You never had what I had. He was my fucking father, and he left us…I cried every week for a whole year before you guys came and got us…And I cried every night for a year after he died…I don’t know how to put it, Cee. Sure…she was a woman, I guess, but…”

“You guess? What does that make me?”

“What?” Kyra turned around and blinked out the tears that blurred her view of Candace, who was red-faced and shaking.

“If you don’t know if she was a woman? What does that make me? I had…I thought you understood…I guess you don’t.” Candace shook her head once before running down the hall and slamming the door.

And who can say
if your love grows
as your heart chose
only time

“Cee…Candace? Come on…open the door.”

“Go away…just go away.”

“I didn’t mean it that way…we just have to talk more?”

“Really…oh yeah…that’s great. Look how well we’ve done already.” Candace said before sobbing.

“Cee…come on…you know what I meant….Okay…you didn’t, but I didn’t mean it that way. Would I even be here if I didn’t care about you?” Kyra leaned against the door with her cheek against the top panel and her palm resting on the door frame.

“I didn’t say you didn’t love me, Ky…I know you love me…but do you understand me? Who I am…what I am…” Candace choked back a sob.

“I’m just like your dad… and you’ve know me longer than you knew him…longer than you knew her…don’t you get it? When you say stuff like that it hurts…like I’m some sort of substitute like Sweet n’ Low.”

“That’s just it, Cee… I do get it…Because I got the chance to know you…to know who you are. I already know what you are…you’re a woman, just like me. Think back…Keith has his own apartment…I wasn’t in the way there, but I chose to move here when you had the opening. Why would I do that…Why, Candace?” Kyra raised her voice but still managed to avoid yelling.

“I don’t know…you tell me!” Candace shot back, and her tone was mixed with anger and sadness.

“I wanted to be near you. I’ve done nothing but think about you for the past ten years. Oh sure, I had girlfriends and such…and even dated a guy for a while, but none of them approached you. The kindness you and your mom showed my family in the midst of your own grief. You knew my dad as a woman I only got to meet briefly…you touched her heart in a way I can only imagine. And she was better for it, even if it only lasted for a short time.

“You mean that…” Candace sobbed.

“I love you more than anything else in the whole world, Cee…We never grew up together and I never kissed you until now, but in a big way, you’ve always been my childhood sweetheart. A Damsel in Shining Armor, I suppose.”

“You…you mean that?” Candace said haltingly as her sobs grew softer.

“You open this door and I’ll show you, okay?” Kyra laughed out of frustration, but she so longed to show Candace how much she cared. Candace still had walls around her from her childhood that only Janet had been able to break through, and only to a point.

“Let me in, Cee, please.” Kyra banged on the doorframe with her palm, twisting her wrist.

“Ow…” She cried out and then began to cry. She slumped down to the floor, her head still resting against the door. She kept crying until she heard a click as the lock turned and the door opened. Candace dropped to the floor and threw her arms around Kyra, kissing her repeatedly.

“I’m so sorry…” Over and over, she kept saying it; all the while continuing to kiss Kyra.

“I’m sorry, too, Cee…” Kyra said quietly between hugs before kissing back.

Who can say
why your heart sighs
as your love flies
only time
And who can say
why your heart cries
when your love lies
only time

A few weeks later...

“Who gives this woman in marriage?” The grandfatherly looking man on the platform asked with a big smile. Janet and Cal stepped forward, placing their hands on Candace’s shoulder.

“We do.”

The minister nodded with a grin before turning his attention to the other side of the aisle.

“And who gives this woman in marriage?” He smiled as Kyra’s mother and step-father drew close and said,

“We do,” Margo said. She squeezed her husband’s hand with a nod as her right hand swept back to point at the empty seat in the front row where a picture of a woman leaned against the back rest of the chair. Kyra stared at the photo of her other parent, the father she loved forever who was Carla Schroeder, the woman who she was coming to know through the memories of others. She sobbed once before composing herself as Candace reached over and grabbed her hand.

“May we have the rings please?” The reverend grandpa said softly. Keith stepped forward and handed a ring to Kyra while Debbie, the most recently married Mrs. Debbie Schroeder, handed her the ring. The minister nodded again and Kyra and Candace sang the first part of their vows, a duet that posed a rhetorical question…

WWho can say
if your love grows
as your heart chose
only time
And who can say
where the road goes
where the day flows
only time

“I, Candace, give you, Kyra, all my love and support…as much as I can whenever I can. I love you, and I vow to treasure you and keep you in my heart.

I, Kyra, give you, Candace, the same love back as we reflect our care and support. I love you more than life it self, and I pray that I can be for you what you have already become for me; my dear love.

“Insofar as these two have expressed their commitment to each other, and as witnessed by these wonderful families and you lovely people, I, by the power vested in me by God and the state of acceptance and love, pronounce these two married, despite whatever ordinances and customs might say to the contrary. You two may go ahead…I suppose it still is in form and makes sense to say,

“You each may kiss the Bride,“ he laughed softly as Kyra and Candace kissed…as only two women in love can.

Who can say
when the roads meet
that love might be
in your heart
And who can say
when the day sleeps
if the night keeps
all your heart
Night keeps all your heart

Who knows - only time
Who knows - only time

Only Time
Words and Music by
Roma Ryan and Enya
As performed by Enya

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