I decided my sole job today was to keep the groom together. He was scared to death. It had been a weird week. Moving Jessica into his house, getting things ready for the wedding, and the honeymoon. I talked to him everyday. He would come to the club or to my apartment when he could get away, or when he needed to get away. Sometimes weíd talk about all of this, other times weíd just talk about nothing. Jessica went to her old apartment for the last night, and Kevin had his party. The wedding was at one. I showed up at his house at ten and shoved his hungover butt in the shower. When he came out I had breakfast ready.

He played with his food then looked at me, "Tell me what youíre thinking?"

"You are doing the wrong thing for all the right reasons. Youíre being responsible for your actions, and doing the only thing that fits with your convictions. The only thing you can live with. I understand it, but I donít agree with it. I also donít think Iíve ever respected you more, or been more proud of you. Youíll do everything you can to make it work and make everyone involved happy. Youíre a good man. Your kid is lucky. So is Jessica. And me." I was crying. He was crying. Lovely.


I would do this. I knew that once the initial shock was over things would get back to normal. Not that different than Jessica and I dating had been. We were together most of the time anyway when I was home. Her stuff in my house was weird. I wasnít used to girl things. Iíd get used to it. My decision to end my relationship with her had been about fairness. Not fair to either of us that I wasnít in love with her. It wasnít about not liking her, or fighting, or anything like that. That is the only reason I could do this. I could live without the fireworks of being in love, that faded with time anyway. Right?

That morning with Tracie was the last of the seriousness. It meant so much to me, what she said. Proud of me. I wasnít very proud of me. I knew my family wouldnít be very proud of me. If they knew the whole truth. One thing I knew for certain. If Tracie said she was proud of me, she meant it. I must be doing something right.


Today I marry the most wonderful man Iíve ever met. I love him more than Iíve ever loved anyone. Iíve worked harder on this relationship than any other. It means more to me. I am pregnant with his child. Heíll fall in love with me now. Iíll get to be first.


Tracie walked up to me after I was dressed and put her hands on my shoulders, "I have something important to talk to you about."

This worried me, "Ok."

She moved her hands down my arms and held my hands, "I know what your giving up that is bothering you most today and I have a solution."

"I wish. But let me hear it."

"Your wife canít give a blow job worth a damn. I know how you like blow jobs. So as my wedding present to you Iím gonna give you that."

I was lost, "Give me what?"

"A blow job."

Was she serious, she looked serious. "Youíre funny. Ha ha ha."

"Iím completely serious." She started to undo my pants, "Itís the least I can do to make this easier. Whatís a blow job between friends?"

I jumped back, "No fucking way."

She started towards me again, "You need to think about what youíre giving up." I just looked at her in amazement. "Ok, then, but the offer stands once a year on your anniversary. No strings attached blow jobs."

There was a knock at the door. It was time. We walked out to stand in front of the judge in a small reception hall we had rented. Jessica was entering from the other side. No big walking down the aisle thing. Nice, but no frills. I couldnít. Tracie grabbed my hand and I turned around. She smiled, "Gotcha!" I laughed out loud.


Lee and I sat next to each other watching the most bizarre scene unfolding. Tracie and Kevin on one side as Jessica and her dad came from the other. Tracie said something that made him laugh. Probably something dirty. They got to the judge first and I leaned over to Lee, "Isnít that they way this little drama should be unfolding? Tracie and Kevin up there."

"Can we hold up a hand and block Jessica out? Pretend sheís not there."

I didnít have a problem with that. We all sat in silence. When it was over and they were heading out as man and wife Nick leaned over, "Anyone ever been to a wedding where the word Ďloveí is never used in the ceremony?"

None of us had been.



Jessica and I stood at the exit of the hall and said goodbye to everyone. As soon as everyone was outside we said our thanks. I took my wifeís hand, smiled and got in the limo.

Have you ever heard the sound of a dream dying? Itís a very quiet sucking noise. I heard it that day.


We were going to go back to my house and have a party. The guys, Tracie, and I. No one had brought dates. I stood there arm and arm with AJ waving as the newlyweds drove off. I spoke to him through clenched teeth, "Think Tracie has a fucking clue why sheís gonna start crying any second?"

AJ laughed, "Nope. And I think maybe itís a good idea if she doesnít figure it out now. Since itís a little too late."

"Ah, AJ, itís never to late. Letís get to her and stop it."

We headed in her direction and each of us grabbed an arm, "Weíre off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz." She joined in and we kept her laughing all the way back to the house. Then poured a lot of tequila in her.

She was pretty much trashed when she asked us all to sit down. "Kevin asked me to tell you guys some shit once they were gone."

Nick shot the rest of his drink, "Finally, some fucking answers about this one."

"Jessica is pregnant."

Everyone groaned and a chorus of "oh shit", "no wonder", and "makes sense now" came from everyone, except AJ.

I asked the question everyone wondered, "Did she threaten him or something?"

Tracie shook her head, "No, not at all. She knows that he isnít in love with her."

Howie yelled out, "Then why the fuck did he marry her? Heíd still be a father to the kid. Jesus, Kevin wants a kid almost as much as he wants BSB."

"Howie . . . guys . . . he loves Jessica, just not in love with her. They donít fight, they have fun, they get along fine. The only thing missing is the spark. Heís willing to give that up for his child. Itís his responsibility. He wants to do the right thing. And before you ask, no, I donít agree and he knows that."

Brian shook his head, "This is the only option he could live with. The honorable thing. Sacrifice himself for the kid. Very Kevin. Very the way we were raised."

"Yeah, well it sucks. Heís being stupid." Nick was about to be blasted.

"It does suck, but heís not being stupid. Heís doing what he thinks is right. The best he can do." Tracie started to walk away then turned and threw her glass against the wall, "Goddammit, I have been dealing with this shit for a week now, watching him struggle, and hurt, and feel basically like complete fucking shit. Trying to be happy about his kid, but part of him dying because heís marrying a woman heís not in love with. Trying to rationalize that caring about her and them getting along will be enough for him. That heíll be happy. And you know what? Itís not enough for him. He deserves all of it. The love of his life and the kid. It shouldnít have to be a fucking choice."

AJ got to her before she hit the floor, "Tracie, sweetheart, it will be fine. He will be fine."

I had walked over and was sitting on the floor next to them, "Heís got you. Heíll be great."

The others had joined us and we gathered around her. They all agreed. She sat with her head on AJís shoulder as he held and rocked her. "I should have stopped him. I could have. I could have pushed harder. Thereís part of him that didnít want to do this. I should have made him see it."

AJ looked at Nick. Nick had been the one who set this off and AJ clearly expected Nick to fix it. Nick put his hand on her shoulder, "Tracie . . ."

AJ took over, "Sweetheart, you did good. You didnít push him. You shouldnít have. This had to be his decision. I know that you questioned him, and told him what you thought. If you pushed him to go the way you thought was right and all hell broke loose you would have felt guilty and he could have blamed you."

"Yeah, Trace, you did what a best friend should. You let him make his own decision. You held his hand to get him through something really hard for him, and youíll be there for him whatever happens." I held her hand.

Nick got it back together, "If it all blows up you wonít rub his nose it."

Brian joined in, "Iím proud of you. Kevin is lucky. No matter what happens youíll be there."

She was on her way to passing out, "Of course I will be. I love him."

AJ picked her up, "Weíll just keep that little piece of information to ourselves wonít we?"


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