#TUS 12: And Beauty was the only one…

I would like to take a moment to thank anyone who’s reading this story. Especially curryNcode who has liked every single one of the TUS chapters I’ve posted here. Thank you so much!

Song for the chapter is Wherever you will go by Charlene Soraia.

Nathan dropped Natasha off at her home after baseball practice and took his badge then left for the Wilson’s. She walked to Kelsey’s house hoping the walk would clear her head. She was met by Kelsey’s mother, Mrs Harris at the door.

“Hie Natasha! It’s so good to see you,” she exclaimed hugging her.

“You too Mrs Harris,” Natasha smiled at her.

“You haven’t been around in so long. Is everything okay?” Mrs Harris asked clasping her cheeks tenderly. Before Natasha could lie and say nothing was wrong, an excited squeal interrupted them.

“Tasha!” Keisha shouted excitedly as she ran up to them. Mrs Harris stepped aside smiling, opening the way for Natasha to pick the little bundle of joy up and hug her.

“Hie princess. I missed you,” Natasha said smiling at her.

“Is Kelsey home?” She asked Mrs Harris as she put Keisha down.

“Yeah, she’s upstairs,” Mrs Harris replied.

“Can we do Banana Tasha!” Keisha begged, tugging Natasha’s hand.

“What’s she talking about?” Mrs Harris asked.

“It’s a little stretching exercise I taught her sometime ago at my house. She makes me do it every time she sees me,” Natasha explained.

“Banana! Banana! Banana!” Keisha sang jumping around and pulling Natasha away from the door. Mrs Harris stood to the side and watched curiously.

“Okay, ready?”

Keisha nodded enthusiastically.

“Form Banana. Form a Banana,” Natasha chanted, raising one hand up high first then bringing the other one up too and clasping them together. Keisha repeated her line and imitated her action.

“Peel Banana. Peel a Banana!” This time both girls brought their arms down, one at a time and Keisha jumped around in anticipation of the next step.

“Go bananas! Go, go bananas!” They jumped around, waving their arms wildly and by the end of it, Keisha was lying on the floor, laughing.

“I knew the minute I heard the word ‘banana’ that you were here,” Kelsey said from the staircase.

Natasha gave Keisha one last kiss before going up to Kelsey’s room.

“Sooooo,” she dragged out the word and wiggled her eyebrows as she settled back on her bed. “You from your date with Detective McHotPants?”

“It wasn’t a date.” Natasha argued, taking the window seat.

“Defensive much,” Kelsey waved her off. “Fine. Tell me what you talked about on your non-date.”

Natasha rolled her eyes but filled Kelsey in, nonetheless.

“What do you think I should do?” she asked when she’d told her everything.

“I hate to say it but he has a point about that gun,” Kelsey paused. “What are you going to do about your mum?”

“I really don’t want to tell her because I know she’ll freak, but the minute I come clean about that gun she’s going to know anyway.”

“Then just tell her. Maybe if you’re honest with her she’ll tell you the truth about her shady late night calls and her connection to Henry.”

Natasha eyed her skeptically. “Are we talking about the same Lilian Evans?”

“Just give it a shot. You have to tell her anyway and the sooner the better. Before that smoking gun lands in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

On that note, Natasha returned home and waited for her mother, all the while psyching herself up for her confession. Her mother arrived a little earlier than usual and was in a good mood which made Natasha dread talking to her less.

She waited till after super when her mother announced that she was retiring to bed.

“I need to tell you something.” Her heart was hammering behind her chest, so much that she feared it would jump out if she didn’t say what needed to be said right then.

Lily, sensing the severity of whatever her daughter wanted to tell her from the nervous look on her face, sat attentively.

Natasha deciding to just blurt everything out started with why she broke up with Max, including Henry’s threat and his brief mention of Lily and ended with the story of the gun. Lily was silent until she was done.

When she still didn’t say anything, Natasha spoke again. “Nath…uhmm Detective Henderson said it’s probably best if I confess about the gun now and report it missing before someone commits a crime with it.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about Max?”

“I was scared and his dad…” Natasha trailed off.

“Well there’s no way I’m letting him get away with this. Especially after he hurt you again just recently,” Lily said angrily as she stood up and headed for her study.

“What?” Natasha asked wide-eyed to her mother’s retreating back.

“We’re going to court and I’ll make sure that little bastard rots in prison.”

***

The next morning Natasha didn’t hear her mother leave. Lily sent her a message later in the afternoon asking her to pick up her dress for the Wilson’s party from the dry cleaners. Natasha drove to the dry cleaners and straight back home to get ready. Her mother arrived at 6.30 p.m, thirty minutes before the event was to begin. Natasha waited for her mother downstairs, dressed in a floor length, figure hugging, strapless maroon dress. The strappy golden heels she wore matched the golden hue of her hair which was swept to one side of her neck, showing off the pearl drop earrings and matching necklace she wore.

She watched in awe as her mother descended the stairs in a golden dress with a small swish train that flowed elegantly behind her. The lacey long sleeves that covered her arms glittered and sparkled making her appear almost ethereal with her shoulder length blonde hair flowing around her like a halo. She carried a sequined golden clutch, just like Natasha’s, that matched her heels.

“You look beautiful mum,” Natasha commented when her mother reached her.

“You look more beautiful,” Lily smiled at her, picking up the keys to her car from the vase in the lounge.

“Mum about…” Natasha began but Lily cut her off, shaking her head.

“Not tonight. I’m taking care of it. Don’t worry about it,” Lily said firmly as she led the way out the door.

They arrived just as the guests were settling down for the ceremony to begin. The Wilson’s were renewing their vows first before the celebrations began and so everyone was seated on garden chairs set up in the front yard, facing an archway. The archway was simple but breathtakingly beautiful. White silk cloth covered each pillar of the arch, leaving a clear space in between where the bride and groom would stand. Fairy lights were wound around the cloth, making the archway glow in the dark and white rose petals covered the makeshift platform set up right beneath it. Mr Wilson awaited his bride alongside his eldest son Timothy and the Minister.

The bride’s arrival was announced and as everyone stood and turned to the back, instead of the traditional wedding march, Christina Perri’s song ‘A thousand years’ began to play. Natasha’s heart warmed as she watched the groom gaze starstruck at his bride walking up to him accompanied by Stacey. They were much older than the couples she normally saw getting married and the matching love-struck expressions on their faces bore witness to their timeless love.

There wasn’t a single dry eye as the two exchanged vows and pledged their love for each other. They walked back down the aisle, arm in arm, accepting congratulations from their guests as they made their way to the seats set up for them by the patio. The couple were thrilled to see Natasha and her mother and Mrs Wilson hugged them and gushed about the wedding cake Natasha had prepared. When everyone had settled down again, the cake was cut and shared as all four of the Wilson’s children made a speech about the wonderful love that their parents shared. Natasha’s heart stopped when she saw Nathan walk up to the microphone dressed in a white jacket with black lapels and black lining on the pockets and a matching white shirt and bow tie and black pants. He smiled at the couple before turning to speak to the crowd.

“I’ve known George and Martha since they were our neighbors when we lived in Crenshaw. They were basically like family to me even after they moved here to Pinehive, especially when my family went through a very difficult time. They welcomed us to this town and helped us find our footing in a brand new place filled with strangers. I love them as if they were my own parents and I am in awe of how their love has remained steadfast and strong through 50 years of marriage. They married at the very young age of 19 but George still looks at Martha as if he only just fell in love with her. To George and Martha, may your eternal love continue to inspire us all to find true love.” Everyone cheered and Mr and Mrs Wilson hugged him for a long time before he finally made it off the patio. Natasha watched him as he returned to his seat, looking a little upset. An older woman who sat next to him, hugged him and said something to him which made him smile and look a little less forlorn.

She was so focused on Nathan that she almost didn’t notice her mother standing.

“Something’s come up and I have to go,” Lily said as Stacey announced the program for the evening.

“What’s come up?” Natasha asked.

“Work stuff,” Lily said picking up her bag from where they had put both of them on the ground, between their seats. Her phone and car keys were already in her hands and she was typing something.

“I’ll come with you and you can drop me off at home,” Natasha said standing up.

“No, no. Stay. It’s much too early to leave. If we both go, it’ll seem rude. I’ll come back and get you or you can call Kelsey to pick you up,” Lily protested. Natasha wanted to argue but she held her peace and let her mother go. Lily hadn’t gone very far when Natasha changed her mind about keeping quiet and went after her mother.

“Mum wait. Is this about the Max thing?” she asked.

“No it’s not,” Lily said, not giving her any other information.

“Then what is it about?” Natasha prompted.

“Go back and enjoy the party, I’m handling this,” Lily replied.

“But if it’s about Max then I have a right to…”

“Stop asking questions and do as you’re told Natasha,” Lily snapped.

“I ask so many questions because you’re always hiding things from me and lying to me and I am sick of it!” Natasha complained, a little louder than she intended. Their little argument caught the attention of some of the guests who turned back to look at them.

“I’ll see you at home, preferably talking a little more respectfully,” Lily said evenly then turned and went to her car.

Natasha didn’t follow her this time and instead stomped back to her seat with the intention of getting her phone from her bag and calling Kelsey. Unfortunately, her mother had picked up the wrong bag and hence left with Natasha’s phone as well as her own which, lucky for Lily, hadn’t left her hand all through the ceremony. Natasha tossed the bag angrily back on the ground and sat seething, barely paying attention to what was happening. A voice beside her startled her out of her thoughts and she lost her bearings even more when she saw Nathan now seated in her mother’s chair.

“Hi,” he said, smiling slightly at her.

“Hey,” she breathed. He looked even more mesmerizing up close, blue eyes highlighted by the dazzling white of his jacket.

“You look beautiful.”

She blushed a little at his compliment but managed to mumble a reply. “Thanks, so do you.”

“I’m beautiful? Why thank you ma’am,” he took a mock bow and Natasha laughed, all her anger briefly forgotten.

“I saw your mum leave. Is everything okay?” he asked and just like that, all the negative feelings came back.

“She said she has something to attend to but she wouldn’t tell me what and now she took my bag by mistake so I have no phone to call Kelsey to pick me up and my jacket is in her car,” Natasha huffed. Nathan immediately unbuttoned his jacket and placed it on her shoulders.

“Oh I didn’t mean you should…” she stammered but Nathan cut her off by placing a finger to her lips. She shivered at the contact and drew the jacket tighter around her.

“Look at them. It’s hard to believe they’ve been married for 50 years,” Nathan said drawing her attention back to the front where Mr and Mrs Wilson were slow dancing as everyone looked on. She smiled and nodded in agreement, fiddling with her necklace.

The Master of Ceremony announced that it was time for the guests to join in the dance. Nathan extended his hand to Natasha and she eyed it hesitantly.

“May I have this dance?” he asked.

Natasha had half a mind to decline his offer but how could she resist when he was smiling at her in a way that made her heart beat at lightning speed. She placed her hand in his and together they made their way to the front where chairs had been cleared away for the dance floor. The opening notes of Charlene Soraia’s song ‘Wherever you will go’ drifted around them as Nathan placed his arms lightly around Natasha’s waist and Natasha looped hers loosely around his neck. They danced quietly for the first few seconds of the song, avoiding direct eye contact and looking around at the other dancing duos.

Natasha finally broke the silence, though she still avoided eye contact. “I told my mum. About everything.”

Nathan drew in a sharp breath. “I didn’t think you’d do it so soon.” He paused as they continued to sway to the soft rhythm of the music. “How did she take it?”

“We’re going to court. She’s waging war on the Bandieer’s,” Natasha replied quietly.

Nathan didn’t respond immediately, still thinking of an appropriate answer until Natasha beat him to it.

“I’ll have to re-live those horrid memories again in front of a courtroom full of people.”

Nathan’s heart went out to her as he finally looked in her eyes and saw the fear in them. On impulse, he pulled her closer to him and she pressed her face against his chest as he hugged her.

“You won’t be alone this time,” he promised her as he closed his eyes and shut everything out but the Beauty in his arms.

***

What’s your favorite part of a wedding? I love the vows the most, they always make me cry.

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