Chapter Thirty-Seven (Part Three)

Dedicated to GLMANNY.  When she reads what I wrote she’ll see why 🙂

Marah was still crying happy tears when she finally got a chance to properly thank those responsible for this glorious night.  After thanking her mother she pulled Michelle into a tight embrace that was returned with equal fervency, “Thank you Michelle!  It was…perfect.  Yeah I’ll go with perfect,” She raised her head so that she could look into Michelle’s eyes and smiled, “And I must say you managed to keep the entire town from spilling your secret.  You must be some kind of evil genius.”

Michelle laughed, “Everyone seems so surprised.  I have been devious in the past you know.”

When Marah and Michelle finally released each other Marah was caught up in another hug, this one from Danny, “Welcome to the family!  Although I think we got the better end of the deal adding you to ours.”

Tony let out some good-natured grumbling, “Thanks a lot Danny.  Love you too.”  He tried to look stern but his eyes were sparkling bigger and brighter than Marah had ever seen them, “You aren’t the only one full of surprises you know.”

The couple watched while Tony and Marah walked over to the stage where the band was preparing to get started.  After chatting a few moments with the band leader the other man nodded and handed over the microphone.

“Ladies and gentlemen.  Thank you all for coming.  Tonight I thought I was simple attending the grand re-opening of Infierno which was exciting enough.  But tonight quickly became the greatest night of my life.  I got to marry the love of my life and having each and every one of you here to celebrate with us made it that much more special.  So I’d like to offer a heartfelt thanks to the people possible for this event; Danny and Michelle Santos and Reva and Josh Lewis.”  The applause was deafening and Tony waited before continuing, “But they aren’t the only ones with a surprise.  Marah and I were a bit devious ourselves trying to make this night special and the way I’m feeling now you can never have too much special.  So without further ado, our surprise…”

The lights dimmed as the music began and Tony returned to his bride’s side, “Want to dance mi corazón?  Remember no stepping on my feet like you did on your prom night.”

Marah laughed but eagerly accepted his hand, “Least you forget husband of mine, it was you who stepped on my feet.”

***

Beside him Michelle gasped.  Every antenna Danny possessed rose in alarm, “What’s wrong?”

But Michelle was speechless.  Silent tears were making their way down her cheeks it was all she could do just point towards the stage and manage a brief, “Look Danny.”

Danny looked where Michelle indicated and saw why his wife was so shocked.

They hadn’t seen him in years.  They had attempted to keep in touch by mail but their last letter, the one informing him of their move to California, had been returned unopened.  Seeing him now made their hearts fill with joy.  Sure the man before them bore little resemblance to the teenager they had taken into their home, but after hearing his beautiful voice there was no doubt to his identity.  Danny placed a comforting arm around his wife, “Looks like our Nico Castaño grew into quite a man.”

Michelle was still too choked up to answer verbally so she just nodded and watched the young man she had loved like one of her own children sang to the newlyweds.

***

“You know, one day I was sitting at Infierno drowning my sorrows over missing you and some singer who I can’t for the life of me name was performing this song.   After that night I always thought of this as our song.”

Marah grinned up at her husband, “Our song huh?”  She listened as Nico sang of love sometimes being complicated but the mystery of love bringing two people together.  She had to admit it was a beautiful song, and considering their history it was perfect for them, “Who knew you had such a poetic soul Tony Santos?”

Tony smiled and dipped her in extravagant fashion, “You did Marah Santos.”

***

The reunion was full of hugs, male back-slapping, and on Michelle’s part more tears.  On top of that were the endless barrage of questions directed at the younger man.

“Where have you been?  Why didn’t you write back?”

Nico pulled Michelle into another hug, “Good to see some things never change!  And to answer your questions I have been all over the place.  And I did write but I was moving around a lot playing in clubs across the country.  It was hard keeping up with forwarding my address with me moving all the time.  So what have you two been up to?”

Danny opened his mouth to answer but Michelle beat him to the punch, “We have three kids now.  Robbie is getting so big and you haven’t met Hope and baby Danielle yet.”

Nico grinned at Danny before smiling back at Michelle, “Seems you two have been busy.  I can’t wait to meet them.”  He turned towards Tony, “Seems I was right about you loving Martha.”

Tony laughed while Rafael looked confused, “Martha?  Son I don’t think I follow.”

“Small inside joke.” Kind of.  But he still laughed at the brief mention of his past stupidity, “And yes you always said I loved Marah.”

Rafael wasn’t the only one confused.  Marah herself was wondering what was going on.  She knew there was more to what was being said but in the end she couldn’t muster up the energy to care.  Tonight had been too wonderful to stop and wonder why Nico called her Martha.

***

It was approaching midnight when Danny finally escorted the last guest out the door.  It had been a long day, no doubt longer for Michelle.  She had been on pins and needles all day ensuring that everything went as planned.  After saying their goodbyes to the happy couple Danny and Michelle began walking towards the car, “I will never doubt you again, tonight was definitely a success.”

Michelle was smiling happily, “Yes it was and you should know by now not to doubt me.  But planning a wedding is exhausting!”

“Look on the bright side, the kids are at your brother’s and Nico is coming over for dinner tomorrow.  You’ll probably fall asleep before your head hits the pillow.”

Michelle pulled Danny to a stop outside the door, “Oh I don’t think so Danny Santos.”

Danny paused to raise an eyebrow at his wife’s teasing voice, “Oh yeah?”

Michelle leaned in to her husband, “How fast do you think you can get us home so I can show you what I have in mind?”

Danny rushed them towards their car, “I know I’ve said this multiple times but damn I love the way you think.”

***

Marah should be exhausted but tonight was so special she didn’t want it to end.  She leaned into her new husband and sighed dreamily, “Did you see Jonathan’s face when Sarah caught the bouquet?”

Tony laughed, “I think it was a toss-up between Jonathan, Lizzie, or Bill who looked more panicked.  But Jonathan’s face was priceless.  It was almost the same look your father had when you caught Michelle’s.”

“He seemed to be in good spirits tonight.”

With a surprisingly straight face Tony deadpanned, “It was the bourbon.”  When Marah playfully hit his arm he laughed, “I think your father and I have reached an understanding.  We might make it to friends one day.” Yeah that was a longshot but at least there was no more animosity or doubt in Josh’s eyes.

Marah was done talking about others when there were more fun activities awaiting them.  She ran a finger up her husband’s lapel seductively, “You ready to go home and start our wedding night off right?”

Tony felt a small shiver go up his spine, “Baby you don’t even have to ask.”

And together they ran hand in hand ready to begin the next chapter in their lives….

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