Ted entered the bedroom to find Lucia making up her face.
“Hey; aren’t you done yet? Everyone is here.”
“Yeah, our parents are both here.”
“Not everyone is here yet.”
“What do you mean, who else did you invite?”
“My new best friend and her boyfriend.”
“Is that your cynical way of referring to Anita? Why would you invite her here in the first place and who is she seeing?” Her phone beeped. She took it and read the message.
“Why don’t we go downstairs and find out?”
“I can sense that you’ve something up your sleeves and I’m not sure I’m going to like it.”
“Oh honey; after being together all this time, you still don’t seem to know me,” Lucia said sweetly, wrapping her arms around his neck.
“Oh I do know you very well and that’s why I’m uneasy about this.”
“Don’t worry; you won’t get your blood pressure raised.” She kissed him. He moaned.
“You smell so good,” he whispered, walking her backwards to the bed.
“We have a dinner to host downstairs,” Lucia said, gazing at him suspiciously.
“Well you said not everyone is in so we can wait for them from here.” His words ended with Lucia’s back on the bed with him hovering over her.
“You can’t be serious, Ted Bourbon.”
“I’ll just show you how serious I am,” he said and kissed her neck. Lucia pushed him away and got up.
“I’m not going to let you mess up my hair. I have spent too much time on it only to let you mess it up in one minute. Come on, let’s go downstairs.” She offered him her hand. Ted blinked.
“Yeah seriously. Our parents are downstairs for crying out loud!”
“This is our matrimonial home, not theirs.”
“I promise to sort you out later; can we please go downstairs?”
He took her hand and got up.
“You’ve got me all wrapped up around your finger, haven’t you?” Ted asked, kissing her hair. She shrugged.
“Your words, not mine.” They came downstairs.
“Here comes my beautiful daughter-in-law,” Mrs. Bourbon said, hugging Lucia.
“Thank you for honoring our invitation, mum.”
“Anytime.” The doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it.” Lucia walked to the door and opened it.
“You made it! For a second I thought you stood me up,” Lucia said with relief. She hugged Anita.
“Not on this one.” Mitch entered.
“Thanks for coming too,” Lucia said and hugged him. Ted steeled himself when his gaze fell on Mitch. He suddenly felt the rage surging inside him make his hands fist strongly. It only took a smile from his wife to make the rage slip away. Both mothers turned and their shock was so evident on their faces.
“Yeah I know this must come as a surprise to you all. There has been a lot of history between us but we have put all that behind us. You can see this handsome guy beside her; she has moved on.”
“Mitch Tudor, is that you?” Mrs. Bourbon asked, still in shock.
“Yes ma’am; I know it has been a while.” Mitch walked towards her and shook her hand.
“My wandering son has finally come back home.” Mitch laughed. Ted whose gaze was fixed on Mitch turned to face his wife when he felt her hands on his waist.
“I invited him over so you two can work out your differences. It was my misconception which broke you two apart this time around so I want to make things right. Please promise me you’ll make up with him.” He sighed, looking into her eyes. She blinked pleadingly. He replied her with a kiss.
“Thank you.” He smiled and patted her cheek.
“Okay, can we all please move to the table?” Lucia asked. After they had all settled, Ted said grace and they started eating. Mrs. Baker watched closely as Lucia and Anita chatted from time to time.
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Mrs. Bourbon said to Mrs. Baker. She nodded, still watching the young ladies.
“Don’t worry; she’s not that stupid,” she said, tapping her hand.
“I can feel your mother’s gaze burning at me,” Anita muttered to Lucia.
“Ignore it; they will get over it.”
When they were done, Lucia signaled Ted with a look who okayed it with a nod. She cleared her throat.
“May I have your attention please?” When the table had gone quiet, she said, “Thank you all once again for honoring our invitation. Apart from using this dinner as an occasion to meet up with everyone and spend some time together, I…I mean we thought it wise to make this happen so we can both apologize to all of you for the pretty disturbing news you might have heard about us. We went through a difficult time and we both handled it the wrong way which could have ended nastily but we thank God it didn’t end that way. So if you find yourself here, we just want to reassure you that you can still believe in us and our union and we promise to do our best to make this marriage last.”
“Okay…and your husband’s ex is also seated at this table for what reason?” Mrs. Baker asked her daughter in a cold tone.
“Well, the thing is Anita will always be a part of Ted’s life which means my life as well. It is true we have had our differences in the past which always had a dramatic undertone but the truth is, she does care for my husband’s welfare. All the times that I’ve been away, she has been around taking care of him and I owe her for that. I know it sounds absurd; I couldn’t accept it at first but I’m seeing things from a different perspective now. As fate would have it, she is dating Mitch now which proves that she has moved on.”
“Mitch is similar to my son in so many ways. Who are you not to think that she’s just dating him to substitute for Ted in her heart?” Mrs. Bourbon asked.
“Well…” Anita chuckled at the comment.
“I doubt that’s the case and even if it is, that is not my problem. As long as her eyes are no longer fixated on my husband, I could care less. But I have had the opportunity to get to know Mitch and I can say he is a great guy. They will be happy together,” Lucia said confidently.
“If you say so.”
“And I invited Mitch over too because I caused a rift between him and my husband and I want that to be rectified. I watched him bond with my husband for the short period he was here and I was impressed. I was content to see my husband that happy. There’s a spot in his heart that my love might not be enough to fill. He needs his best friend and Mitch is the best friend so I hope that by the time you leave here, things will be better between you two.”
Mitch nodded his consent. Lucia raised her glass.
“I propose a toast. I toast to a fresh start in our relationship as a family and as friends. Cheers.”
Anita helped Lucia clear the table. When Lucia placed the last set of plates in the sink, Anita said, “I was really touched about what you said back in there. I know our friendship is on probationary basis but the truth is, apart from Ted and maybe Allen, I don’t really have any friends. And the thing is, Mitch proposed.”
Lucia gasped and covered her mouth with her hands in astonishment.
“I know; I couldn’t believe it myself. So, for the second and hopefully last time, I’m asking you to be my lady of honor.”
“Are you kidding me? I’d be honored.” They hugged.
“I am happy for you, Anita. Mitch seems like a great guy. You’re a lucky girl.”
“I guess I am.”
Mitch approached Ted and offered his hand. Ted took it and they had a firm handshake.
“Sure thing; as long as you don’t set your eyes on my wife.”
Mitch lifted his hands in surrender. “I have Anita now.”
“Aha…come to think of that? How did that happen?” Mitch laughed.
“I wonder myself…”