John Francis - Chapter 176

Sunday, September 28, 2008 at 7:02 PM

It was close to 5:30 now, the wedding scheduled for 6:00. There were roughly 50 people already there to attend the ceremony, with a few more expected. Amanda moved through the rooms, helping out wherever she saw a need to, taking glasses into the kitchen, again checking on the caterers progress, getting drink refills for a few of the elderly relatives and just generally keeping an eye on the proceedings. She knew this wasn’t her job, but in her home everyone always just pitched in to help, be they friend or relative, and her childhood habits were hard to overcome.

Tico, Alejandra and Richie were talking amongst themselves about what they had witnessed with Jon’s mother and her attitude toward Amanda. They were also keeping an eye on her and saw her quietly and unobtrusively helping out wherever there seemed to be a need. Richie started talking to the other two with him.

“Did you know Dot called her yesterday and asked for her help?”

Both knew he was referring to Amanda, but neither had heard this.

“What did she do?” Tico asked.

“She said she just helped with some organizing, but I’ve been watching her today and I’m betting she did a lot more than that.” Richie answered.

Alejandra spoke up then. “Didn’t Dot have her friends to help her?”

Shaking his head as he actually didn’t know, he shrugged. “I would have thought so, but she called Amanda, who then called us to come get the kids. It was her idea that they sleep over last night too so Dot could have a break.”

“So what’s the problem with Jon’s mother?” Tico asked, real confusion in his voice.

Deciding to share his concerns, Richie repeated what he had just overheard. Alejandra’s mouth actually dropped open which she quickly closed and Tico gave a small gasp that turned into a cough.

“You’re kidding, right?” He asked Richie.

“No, I’m not and Jon’s gone upstairs.” Richie answered softly, meeting his friend’s eyes, his own confusion evident.

“Damn! What the hell is going on?” Tico murmured.


Returning to the living room, Amanda gave a quick glance around for Jon, but saw he wasn’t there. Stephanie was sitting on the couch by Jake and she walked over towards the two.

“Hey guys, mind if I sit here with you for a few minutes?”

She directed her question mainly to Stephanie as Jacob was still engrossed in his game. Stephanie looked up at her and nodded a yes. Sitting quietly beside the young girl, Amanda asked her if she had seen her dad.

“No, I know Granma was talking to him, but I don’t know where he went after that.”

Settling herself a bit more comfortably on the couch, she quietly asked Stephanie. “So, how are you doing, sweetie?”

Turning to look at Amanda, she gave a sigh. “Okay, I guess. I do want to see my mom though, but I guess she won’t come down until it’s time for the wedding.”

“You could always go up and see her, honey, she might be busy but it won’t hurt to ask if she has time.” Amanda offered, understanding as much as she was able to what Stephanie was experiencing.

“Yeah, I might go up in a few minutes…” Stephanie acknowledged, then turned to look more closely at Amanda. “…I’m sorry if I was rude this morning.”

Shaking her head, Amanda gave her a soft smile. “You weren’t. I can imagine today is a little tough for you.”

Giving a half smile, Stephanie nodded. “Yeah, I’m happy for my mom, but…” she trailed off.

Giving Stephanie a half squeeze across her shoulders and leaning in to speak as quietly as she could, Amanda whispered to her.

“It’s okay to want things to stay the way they were, Steph, it’s not wrong to wish things could be different.”

Nodding, Stephanie rose from the couch.

“Thanks Amanda. Guess I’ll see if Granma needs me to do anything and then go see mom.”

“Okay, hon. I’m here if you need anything.” Stephanie again nodded at her and moved off towards her grandmother.

“Granma? Is there anything you need me to do?” She asked, when she had caught Carol’s attention.

“Hi honey! Yes, there is. Would you take Romeo and Jake and have them wash their hands and brush their hair so they’re ready?”

Sighing a little as she was often cast in the role of babysitter for her two youngest siblings, Stephanie nodded and moved off to do her grandmother’s bidding.


Moving over to re-join Richie, Tico and Alejandra, Amanda waited for a break in their conversation and asked if they knew where Jon was. Only the slightest of hesitations occurred before Richie answered her.

“I think he’s talking to Dot for a minute.” He watched Amanda as he supplied this information.

Feeling suddenly a little emotionally shaky inside with that information, but determined to show nothing outwardly, Amanda smiled as she responded.

“Good, I’m glad their relationship is still such a strong one.”

Holding up her empty glass, Amanda indicated she was going for a refill. She left the group, heading for the open bar and ordered a Jack and coke. She somehow felt she was going to need a little liquid courage before this day was over.

Sensing someone joining her at the bar, she turned to find Richie. He also ordered a drink, joining her in her choice of beverages.

Moving off a bit from this central gathering area, Richie spoke to her first. “I saw what Jon’s mother was doing.”

“I just don’t understand, Richie, why does she dislike me so much?” Amanda’s voice reflected a bit of her inner turmoil as she softly asked this question.

Richie had suspicions of his own, especially after overhearing Carol’s latest conversation with Jon, but he didn’t think Amanda needed to know about that.

“Babe, I really don’t know. She can be one of the most stubborn women on the planet. Where do you think Jon gets his stubbornness from? You’re just going to have to give her time. Jon will bring her around.”

He wasn’t sure if he truly believed that right at this moment, but he decided to keep any doubts to himself.

Changing the subject, Amanda voiced another of her concerns.

“The kids really want their parents to get back together again.” She accompanied this statement with a quick sip of her drink.

Richie knew from Ava that this was not unusual.

“That’s pretty normal, Manda. Ava still asks why Heather and I don’t get back together.”

Her response was soft enough that Richie had to lean in a little to hear her.

“Yeah, but do you and Heather still love one another?”

Not looking at Richie now, she gave a small shake of her head and excused herself before he had a chance to respond. She got her drink freshened and then again moved off to the kitchen. It was now 5:45.

Richie watched her walk away from him, got another drink himself and then stood there to the side, his mind racing furiously.

Damn! What the hell is going on?


The doorbell announced the arrival of the minister, who was welcomed in and offered his choice of libations. He chose a small glass of white wine and then entered into a discussion with Eric, his brother, and other relatives of both the bride and groom. Carol had joined the conversation, but for once was quiet as this was not her son’s wedding, although she hoped she had gotten through to Jon. A quick look around showed he had not yet returned and she suppressed a secret smile.

Melissa entered the kitchen and again saw Amanda silently overseeing the food preparations. Smiling as she walked towards her, she attempted another apology for her earlier assumption, but Amanda laughed it off and they started talking about how quickly the time was approaching.

Melissa looked lovely in her light rose gown and was happy to provide the details of its design to Amanda. They both complemented Dot on her choice of colors for the flowers and the decorations, the various shades of pinks with white Angel’s Breath sprays added almost randomly, but with their use bringing out the full delicacy of the roses and lilacs that made up most of the flower arrangements.

Melissa showed Amanda the bridal bouquet, a cluster of dusky pink roses, which would complement Dot’s dark hair.

“I think she’s chosen some really beautiful colors and it looks like everything should go off without a hitch.” Melissa stated, putting the bouquet back into the refrigerator to keep it fresh.

“It’s almost time, isn’t it?” Amanda asked, glancing at her watch. It was now 5:55.

Both women returned to the main room to see that the guests were setting aside their glasses and gathering their assorted items to make their way into the tent. Eric was beaming from something his brother had obviously said and his mother was quickly straightening his tux into perfect lines.

The guests made their move into the tent and soon it was just Eric, Michael, and Melissa who remained. Amanda stood off to the side, waiting for Jon to return so they could enter the tent for the ceremony. She overheard Melissa tell Eric that Dot had asked for a few minutes, so they should be expecting her at any time. Amanda noted that Melissa didn’t tell Eric that Dot’s few minutes were being spent with Jon.

Keeping herself apart from the groom, his best man, and the matron of honor, Amanda waited as unobtrusively as possible for Jon to return. Her mind processed everything she had seen, heard, and felt over the last two days and her thoughts were a whirlwind. One thought, however, kept surfacing to override everything else.

Damn! What the hell is going on?


  1. Jan Says:

    What is going on? Dot and Jon do still love each other -- but Dot said herself she can't live with Jon's life anymore. Eric is there for her and the kids.

    Jon loves Amanda and Amanda loves the kids.

    Jon and Dot .... what are you doing?!

  2. calijovigirl Says: many emotions right now!!! Carol...what has she done?!?! i hope Jon and Dot see the light....whichever way this goes, if they are back together or with their new partners. now waiting vey impatiently for a new chapter!!!

  3. Kay Says:

    I love how you use the passing of time to invoke a sense of suspense.

    And Jon's mom is as snide as they come, ain't she?

    Not so sure if Amanda is 'man' enough to confront her or if she'd be able to handle it if things take a surprising turn.

    Great writing!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Where are you going with this? Wherever it is, let's get there quickly! The suspense is killing me!


  5. Anonymous Says:

    As always another great chapter. I would love to see Jon and Dot really settle it once and for all. Although I have a feeling you are leaning to him being with Amanda, it's nice to see the relationship did not end badly and I do like Dot and Jon together. Waiting patiently. :)


  6. Romaine Says:

    Well yeah, what the hell is going on?? Please don't keep us waiting too long!!! We're dying here ;-D

    Great chapter!!!

    I hope they don't do something stupid. Eric loves Dot and Amanda loves Jon. If Dot and Jon still love each other, they should have said so before....

  7. AliceFayeNC Says:

    damn come on Jon grow some balls. She is marring another man and you have something better waiting on you.

    Mrs. B. needs to let him grow that other words cut the apron strings and let him get on with his life.

    Oh yeah Hey Jon! Don't do anything stupid that you will live to regret.


    Now where is that rascally gas? I know it's out there somewhere... I really want to put some in my tank before I have to walk to work!

  8. Cathy Says:

    Great chapter, I feel sorry for babysitter Steph. Wouldn't want to be in Amanda's shoes at the moment. I think I'd be more curious about what they are talking about than concerned. The way you've written Jon and Amanda I don't think she should be worried they will get back together or do anything stupid.

  9. Shelly Says:

    Okay why I am stressing over this?

    What is taking her so long to come down the stairs.

    And Jon? Amanda's waiting for you. Come downstairs.

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