It was the morning of Sep. 25th, Andy’s and Carrie’s wedding day. Kieran had agreed to be Andy’s best man, having made his friend very happy with the decision. The rehearsal had been a few days earlier and everything had gone as planned.
Now Kieran sat in the Quickie in his room. Fiona had assisted him in the purchase of a tuxedo and after the seamstress of the store had made some adjustments it finally was comfortable when Kieran was sitting in his wheelchair with the tuxedo on. It was matching with Andy’s wedding tuxedo.
Kieran was trying to straighten the legs of the grey dress pants so they wouldn’t be too wrinkly. His feet were in black dress shoes sitting side by side on the footrest of his Quickie. He wore a white button up shirt, and a dark green matching tie and vest complementing his eyes. The tuxedo jacket was draped over the chair in his room. He felt odd in these clothes and he wheeled into his bathroom once more, looking at himself in the mirror. The day before he had gotten a fresh hair cut for the occasion, his hair was nicely styled with some hair gel keeping it all in place, a few strings of his bangs trying to escape into his forehead. He adjusted his tie, pulled his vest down again, and made sure his shirt sleeves with the cufflinks looked right. He shifted in his wheelchair to get a good position and pulled his shoulders back some, trying not to be too hunched over and not crumbling his shirt and vest. He stared at himself for a moment and took a deep breath.
It knocked and he heard Fiona outside his door, “Kieran, do you need help?”
He wheeled out of his bathroom and replied, “I think I’m good, you can come in.”
Fiona came into is room and he sat there somewhat embarrassed while his sister just stared at him for a moment.
She then said with a trembling voice, “The last time I saw you in a suit was on a Military picture when you got promoted and you were wearing your Class A’s.”
He looked down and nodded with a smile, “Yeah, that sounds about right. Seems like many lightyears ago.”
Fiona remarked lowly, “You look great, little brother. Erin is going to be so proud.”
He looked up and smiled, “Thanks. I hope it looks all right.”
“It’s a lot better than just all right.”
She walked over to her brother and squatted down in front of him, holding on to his one knee, and looking at him warmly, “Are you okay doing this, going to the wedding and all?”
He sounded confident, “Yes, I’m okay. I’m very happy for Andy.”
Fiona had shiny eyes, “Kieran, I’m so happy to see you like this. You look good. I want nothing else than for you to be happy and to enjoy life.”
Kieran knew it was an emotional moment for his sister, they had been through so much together and he knew life with him had been all but easy for Fiona.
He softly touched his sister’s hand on his knee and she added lowly, “Mom and dad would be so happy too.”
Kieran looked down again and nodded but then said somewhat jokingly, “You act like I’m getting married or something.”
Fiona smiled and said, “I’m just very happy for you.”
She stood up and leaned down to hug him, “I love you.”
Kieran hugged her back and replied, “I love you. Thanks for everything.”
She nodded and stood all the way up.
Kieran sighed and said, “I guess I should go to get Erin.”
Kieran grabbed his wallet, and his cell phone. Just at that moment his cell phone buzzed for a message and when he opened the messages he saw it was from his friend Brandon.
It was the picture of a brand new baby girl named Anna Grace, weighing seven and a half pounds, born on Sep. 25 at 4:42 in the morning.
Kieran smiled at the picture and read the message:
Hey Kieran, she is here and I’m the happiest man on earth. She’s the most amazing thing and I can’t even describe how she makes me feel. All the sudden everything else doesn’t matter anymore, she is the most important thing in my life. I’m going to be all right with her in my life and I’ll do everything in my power to be the greatest dad to her. I hope I can show her off to you soon. We’ll be here for another day or so. Mom is doing great and so hopefully we get to go home soon. I’ll text or call you once we are home. Hope things are going well for you with Erin. Take care bro, Brandon.
Kieran looked at the baby girl again and smiled. She looked fresh and wrinkled, dark blue eyes with some dark hair fluff, wearing a jump suit and a head band with a flower on it. He could only imagine how happy Brandon probably was and he hoped that this baby would lighten up Brandon’s life again and bring him out of the dark moments that overcame him on a regular basis.
At the same time Kieran felt a faint sting in his own heart at the outlook of possibly never having kids of his own. He pushed the thoughts away quickly, not wanting to feel sad on this happy day.
Soon thereafter he was on his way to Erin’s house. Fiona had hung the grey jacket on a hanger in the back of the Mustang and she waved as Kieran pulled out of the garage and took off.
Erin was getting the last bit ready. She wore a dark green long dress hugging her curves. Her matching heels were still on the floor next to her. She put on silver ear rings and a silver necklace. Her hair was flowing in long dark curls over her shoulders and some strands held together behind her head with a bedazzled clip.
Now her cell phone buzzed and she saw the text from Kieran: I’m outside.
She slipped into her shoes, looked into the mirror one last time and on her way out grabbed her clutch purse and a light coat for over her dress.
Kieran saw her come out of the house and as she came along the garden path he was awestruck at her beauty. He had not seen the dress she would wear either and it was a surprise for him. She would be the same way with his tuxedo. He had told her he would buy one but he had gone with Fiona and she had helped him with the purchase. Now seeing Erin come along the path gracefully and beautiful he felt bad once again that he had not gotten out of his car to open the door for her. They had agreed on this together. It was too much of a hassle for Kieran to get his wheelchair out and assembled just to open the door for Erin every time. She had assured him that she was perfectly fine with opening her own door.
Erin reached the car and opened the door and with a smile she greeted him, “Hey baby.”
She lifted her dress up and he caught a glimpse of her naked leg and her heels as she carefully sat down in the car, making sure her dress was draped nicely and not hanging out the door. She was laughing lowly at the hassle and Kieran just watched her. When she finally had the door closed she looked over at him and her jaw dropped at seeing her boyfriend that way.
She didn’t know he was going to cut his hair and now looking at him he looked just so handsome and smart.
Kieran smiled at her and took her hand, “You look very beautiful Erin.”
Erin shifted some to get a better look at him and let her hand travel over his vest, “You look….”
She paused for a moment and then finished, “You look super-hot right now. I mean, like sizzling hot.”
He laughed and she smiled at him in admiration.
He pulled her over some and they kissed lightly and Kieran said, “I’m so happy to see you and have you with me tonight.”
Erin still scanned over him, his outfit and his hair and face, “Kieran, you’re like the most handsome guy right now. You look like a different person.”
He lowered his eyes and shyly smiled at her again, “Don’t get used to it. This is a rare thing for me.”
Erin laughed, “Until you get married yourself.”
With that they locked eyes for a moment but didn’t say anything.
Eventually Kieran squeezed her hand, “Let’s get to that wedding.”
Erin nodded and Kieran took his hand from hers, started his car again and they were off. Erin kept her hand on his thigh and over and over she glanced at Kieran and was just blown away by his looks. He met her eyes a few times and just smiled.
They arrived at the church earlier than the other guests because they had to be positioned in their assigned spots for the ceremony along with the best woman, the brides maids and grooms men. Andy came up excitedly when Kieran and Erin came into the church.
With quick steps Andy came over, “Erin, Kieran, it’s so awesome to see you.”
He kissed Erin on the cheek lightly, “You look amazing Erin. I’m happy to have you here with us.”
Then he leaned in for a hug with Kieran, “Hey K-Man, thanks for being here. It means the world to me.”
Kieran smiled and after Andy quickly explained what was going on they walked up to the front. They had been to the rehearsal a few days earlier so mostly everyone knew where they were supposed to be.
Erin was going to just sit in a pew toward the front of the church with the other close guests and wait, while Kieran had to be up there with Andy. Andy had made sure that Kieran had no problems being next to him up in front of the altar. There was a ramp on the side and Kieran was able to wheel up there easily with his Quickie. A wedding planner was busily setting everyone up and giving people the last orders and explaining the process of the ceremony one more time. Erin watched from her seat and Kieran met her eyes on a few occasions and she gave him thumbs up. She knew he was nervous.
All the guests arrived in the church, the bride was nowhere to be seen. It was beautifully decorated with mostly white lilies everywhere. Everyone found their assigned spots in the pews and Erin met Carrie’s mother and Andy’s parents and some siblings with their families. They introduced each other and she was allowed to sit with the family members since Kieran was the best man.
It was exactly at 2 o’clock when the music started with the traditional wedding march. Everyone turned their heads to look towards the door and waited for the bride to enter. Andy stood up by the altar, Kieran parked somewhat aside him and he kept looking at Erin. Erin kept nodding or smiling at him. Carrie entered with her father leading her into the church. Everyone turned toward her as she entered in a beautiful dress, a short train following on the carpet, holding a beautiful bouquet of lilies, and a veil covering her face but everyone able to see her smile underneath.
Erin remembered her own wedding to the girls’ dad. It had been a good day but sometimes things just don’t work out. Now she was happy to be at this wedding with Kieran and for confirmation she looked up to him and again his eyes met hers and he smiled.
The ceremony was beautiful, lots of emotional tears from everyone, moving words and wonderful music. Kieran kept a straight face the whole time, Erin watched him in awe, feeling so happy to be with him. He did his part as the best man and everything worked out great and as planned. Nothing went wrong and in the end the newlywed couple fell into a loving kiss up in front, and everyone clapped and cheered.
It was done, they were married and hopefully would be together forever in the good and in the bad days. Erin had shed a few tears, tears of joy mostly when looking at her boyfriend who was just the best thing that had happened in her life. He was so handsome and when he looked down to her after the ceremony and Andy and Carrie were kissing he smiled at her with a loving and amazingly sexy smile. She blew him a kiss and gave him a thumbs up again.
The reception was just as perfect, music by a fun live band, great food, wonderfully decorated venue in a glamorous setting. Everyone was happy and it was an amazing wedding of two people who seemed very much in love.
Kieran and Erin got to sit next to Andy’s and his family at the main table and had a good view of everyone. Andy was very happy to have Kieran there with him and let him know more than once.
Erin and Kieran held hands in between meals and here and there they kissed and were just very happy with each other. Erin made sure through the afternoon that Kieran was okay and he assured her that everything was fine. He held her hand almost all afternoon.
The time came for the speeches and since Kieran was Andy’s best man he had prepared a speech for his friend and wife and had practiced at home for the last few days. He was still nervous though. Talking in front of all those people wasn’t easy. As it was announced that now the best man would give a speech everyone’s eyes turned to Kieran. The best woman was done with her speech and walked back to her seat.
Andy looked over to Kieran and the two men nodded at each other. Erin leaned over to kiss Kieran quickly before he wheeled up to the front of the table.
“Good luck baby. You can do this.”
Kieran nodded, “Thanks.”
Erin watched him as he put his hands to his rims and pushed back from the table and wheeled around to the front of the table so everyone could see him. He felt very vulnerable but he kept telling himself he could do this. Erin pressed her hands together nervously, feeling with and for her boyfriend and sending him thoughts of strength and confidence. She knew it wasn’t easy for him to be so exposed to a bunch of strangers.
He positioned his chair and folded his hands in his lap, taking a deep breath and looked out to all the guests sitting below him, at least 100 people.
He took another deep breath and someone brought the microphone to him. He took it and started with a trembling voice:
“Hi everyone, my name is Kieran O’Meara. I have the honor of being Andy’s best man today on this special day for him and his amazing wife Carrie. There was a time when Andy and I haven’t really been in contact anymore but we recently connected again and quickly realized that our friendship needed to be picked up again and I’m very happy about that. The reason for the time apart was a fateful night on our last deployment together. So about two years ago, bad circumstances on a dark night in the Afghani desert brought on some tough times for us. I won’t get into the details of what happened, because this is not the right time for sad things and some of you may know anyways. I just wanted to let you know that if it wasn’t for Andy I wouldn’t be here right now.”He paused and Erin felt the tears in her eyes hoping Kieran would be able to get through his speech. His voice trembled and he sounded very nervous.
Kieran looked back to Andy for a moment and Andy nodded toward him in assurance.
He continued, “Anyways, without Andy’s courage and his fearlessness I wouldn’t have survived that night in Afghanistan. He didn’t leave my side, he stayed with me and he kept me alive by talking to me and helping me as good as he could. The bad thing is after that night we were separated and didn’t see each other for almost two years. It’s mostly my fault because I couldn’t face him the way I am now and just a tiny little bit I blamed him for my situation. I know that was wrong and at the same time I very much missed our friendship and the bond we had shared. So I’m very happy we were able to reconnect again and I don’t want to be without Andy’s friendship anymore and I’m just so honored to be here with him and his wife now. Sometimes bad things happen to good people and I know now that there is no one to blame. Andy is the one person I know I can rely on in any situation and I need him in my life again. He’s a great guy, a fearless soldier, a loving husband and I know if it happens he will be the most awesome dad and I want to be a part of all of that if he lets me.”
Kieran turned around to Andy again and saw Andy’s eyes shiny and holding his wife’s hand tightly. Kieran had a hard time talking himself but he wanted to finish, “I love Andy and I love his wife, she’s an amazing woman and Andy and her will make a wonderful couple and I wish them all the best for their future together and for whatever the future holds for them. I hope I can witness some of the awesome things that will happen for them. I’m very happy to be here today and celebrate this special day with my friend and his wife.”
People clapped a little bit now but Kieran wasn’t all the way finished and continued, “I also want to take this opportunity to introduce to you the most important person in my life right now.”
He turned to Erin and she was caught by surprise at his words and didn’t know what to do. Kieran pointed his hand to her and gestured her to come to him. Erin was very nervous as she stood up on shaky legs and lifting her dress somewhat not to stumble over it she came around to Kieran and looked at him insecurely as she walked over to him.
Kieran held his hand out to her and she took it and he pulled her next to him, “This is my girlfriend Erin and she also just came into my life not too long ago, about the same time Andy came into my life again. Erin is the most amazing and beautiful woman I know and I’m so happy and honored to be the man by her side and I’m the proudest guy to call her mine. I love her so much and I’m the happiest man to have her here with me on this special day for my best friend. Two super important people in my life can only be a good sign for great times ahead.”
Kieran turned to Andy and Carrie again, “Carrie and Andy, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me and Erin be part of your special day. It means so much. I love you guys.”
With that he pulled Erin down to him and kissed her, telling her lowly, “And I love you more than anything.”
Erin replied the same to him and everyone in the room applauded and cheered, Andy and Carrie stood up and applauded and Andy called out to Kieran, “I love you man.”
Kieran was relieved he had managed his speech without breaking down or his voice giving out on him. Erin held his hand and looked down at him, her heart was racing and she had tears in her eyes.
The night turned into a party, everyone was dancing, the band started playing dance tracks and there were games, food and drinks. Erin and Kieran were glued together the whole night. They talked with people and Kieran was glad no one really asked him anything about the night he had referenced in his speech. Most likely people knew Andy’s and his story and if they didn’t, he was sure they could imagine what had happened.
During the course of the evening, Kieran kept pulling Erin down to him a couple of times and kissed her and she held on to him and they were so happy together. She even got him to go out to the dance floor with her and he spun around her and they laughed and it was the alcohol that made him feel less tense about everything. He would have never went out on a dance floor if he was sober.
Sometime during the night the wedding planner announced the tossing of the bouquet and asked all the eligible women to come outside. Lots of young women met up outside on the lawn and other guests watched from atop the patio.
Carrie appeared with her bouquet on the patio and she called out loudly to all the women down on the grass, “All you wonderful ladies, I want to thank all of you for sharing this special day with me, marrying Andy, the love of my life and I wish all of you luck that you may find that special someone in your life as well, if you don’t already have them in your life.”
Erin had joined the women but stood far in the back with some other women her age. Kieran was on the patio next to Andy and they tapped their glasses watching Carrie get ready to toss her bouquet behind her. She turned her back toward the women who were clapping and cheering and then counted down from 3. At one she tossed the bouquet of lilies high up in the air and far back and Erin followed it with her eyes and seeing the bouquet come right at her she stretched her arms out for it and actually caught it perfectly in her hands. She squealed loudly with joy and also shrugged her shoulders in surprise. She had not expected nor really thought about catching the bouquet.
As soon as Carrie had tossed the bouquet she turned around to see who caught it.
When she saw Erin with it she applauded and yelled, “Yeah for Erin…you go girl.”
Kieran had witnessed the whole thing and now Andy high fived him and laughed and cheered and Kieran just looked at Erin feeling a lot of love for her. She met his eyes across the crowd and all the people and all the noise seemed to fade into the distance and she looked at him and he looked at her and she held the flowers up and they smiled at each other. He formed “I love you” with his lips and she did the same to him. The noise and chatter of the women around her broke the moment and she was engulfed in the crowd again holding the flowers and getting hugs and pats on her back and arms from everyone.
The crowd dispersed again and continued with the party. She was left standing there and while Andy walked over to his wife and pulled her to him in a quiet corner, Kieran was left there on the patio. He watched Erin as she came toward the patio. He sat there still in his Quickie, looking so handsome and sexy when she walked up the few steps, holding up her dress with one hand and the bouquet in the other hand. Kieran had a glass of Whisky in his hand and he had slowly been feeling a buzz come on and he knew he wouldn’t be driving anymore. He watched his girlfriend come closer and he was the happiest man. She smiled shyly and shrugged her shoulders again holding the flowers and looking at them.
She stopped in front of him and they looked at each other.
Kieran looked down and then back up her shyly. She didn’t know what to say to him either but just smiled at him and felt her heart beat in her neck at seeing her handsome boyfriend in his wheelchair right there just looking at her.
She laughed lowly, “I didn’t plan that. That’s why I stood way in the back.”
Kieran smiled, “Well, if you would have known that Carrie plays fast pitch you wouldn’t have stood way in the back. I mean it was a backward throw but still…”
Erin smelled the lilies again, then got down in front of Kieran, leaning on his knees and feeling a little light headed. She had been drinking too. She set the bouquet down on the ground next to her and held on to his knees to keep her balance. Kieran looked somewhat down on her now and placed his hands on her hands.
They looked at each other for a moment and then he said lowly, “I was holding my fingers crossed that you would catch it but I didn’t think I had telepathic powers and actually made it land right in your hands.”
He laughed and Erin laughed and lowly she asked, “So you’re happy that I caught it?”
He nodded, “Very happy, I just wasn’t prepared to propose tonight…”
Erin smiled, “That’s okay. We have plenty of time…”
He pulled her up to him, “Come here and sit on my lap!”
He put on his breaks and she scrambled up on his lap, it proved a bit awkward with the dress but she managed and eventually had her arms around his neck and they looked into each other’s eyes and Kieran said lowly, “I love you so much Erin. Thanks for everything you’ve done for me in these past couple of weeks. I know everything started rough but it’ll only get better from here on out. I can’t wait to spend all my time with you and have you by my side. If it wouldn’t have been for your love of me not walking, who knows how all of this would have played out? You’re the best thing that has ever happened to me. I’ll do anything for you and I want you to be happy that you’re with me.”
Erin felt emotional, “Kieran, besides Carrie, I think I’m the happiest woman in this place tonight. You’re everything to me and everything I want in a man. I love everything you are. For my love of you not walking and everything else about you, we were meant to be together. I will make sure that you’ll always know that you made the right decision. I love you so much Kieran.”
With that they kissed for a long time and when Kieran opened his eyes for a moment he saw Andy on the other side of the patio. He stood in a close and loving embrace with his beautiful bride Carrie and the two men’s eyes met and with smiles and hearts beating wildly for the women in their arms they gave each other thumbs up.