Four Weddings And A Fireman(133)

By: Jennifer Bernard


“You sing like a freaking angel,” he told his new brother-in-law. “Why don’t you do it for a living?”

“Ohhh, that’s what we should call ourselves. ‘Freaking Angels.’ Just kidding. None of us wants to sing professionally. We do it for love, that’s all. But I won’t be surprised if Cherie starts using music in her work with kids.”

Vader nodded. He could picture that. He could also picture Cherie singing to their children, raising them with music and dancing and peanut butter brownies. There would be several children. He knew it, the same way he’d known Cherie was the one for him. “I’ve been wanting to ask you, Jacob. What’s the deal with Soren and Nick?” Both members of Optimal Doom were out on the dance floor, stumbling their way through a tango with Cathy and another of Cherie’s students. “Are they really such good friends of yours?”

“I know what you’re really asking. You want to know why I made such an annoying pair of losers move into the house when I left.”

“Yeah.”

“To watch out for Cherie, of course. I couldn’t leave my sister unprotected.”

“But them?” Vader watched as Soren squished Cathy’s foot, making her hop around in agony. “What were they supposed to do, irritate intruders away?”

“In a way. I figured any guy who could put up with those two must really love my sister. Think of it as a labor of Hercules.” Jacob winked, and headed off to dance with Robbie, his own brand-new spouse.

Vader had to think about that for a minute. Feats of strength were his stock in trade. Feats of putting up with irritating housemates . . . he’d never considered that.

“Frickin’ Hercules,” grumbled Stud, who stood at his elbow, holding a bottle of beer. Frankly, he looked a little drunk. “It’s always the big, strong guys who get the girl. Look at you, Vader. You know what girls think when they see you?”

Vader didn’t care what any girl except Cherie thought, but he humored him. “What?”

“They think ‘hero.’ Like Hercules. You’re strong, you can lift anything, you have that manly look they go crazy over. They all want a hero. That’s what they see when they look at you. If I could have just a tiny bit of what you have . . .” He trailed off, shook his head sadly, and tilted the bottle to his lips. “Ignore me. I’ve got a buzz on.”

Vader clapped a hand on his back. “Freddie, I’m going to get mushy right now, because it’s my wedding day and I want everyone to be happy. You ready?”

Fred, looking a little alarmed, nodded.

“If the girls knew what a hero you are in here”—he thumped Fred’s chest—“you wouldn’t be able to take a step without some chick falling for you. So be careful what you wish for.”

Fred stared at him, the beer bottle stranded halfway to his mouth. Vader could practically see the wheels churning.

But now Vader had run out of patience with being separated from his bride. The need to be with Cherie propelled him across the crowded dance floor. Today, now, after everything they’d been through, he didn’t want to be apart from her. As he made his way to her side, the final words from the Firefighter’s Prayer echoed through his mind.

And if, according to my fate, I am to lose my life; Please bless with your protecting hand my children and my wife.

His wife. It had been at least four minutes since he’d touched her, or even seen her. But as usual, he knew exactly where she was, without even looking. It was as if an invisible lamp glowed in her soul, lighting his way back to her.

Life was pretty simple, as it turned out. All you had to do was follow the light.

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