After we made love, the first time, I pulled a little blue velvet box out of the nightstand and handed it to her. She shook her head, "Youíre trying to kill me."

"Na, Iíll wait till after weíre married. Collect the insurance money."

She opened it, "This is beautiful." It was the simplest one of the lot. Elegant. Round stone on a platinum setting.

I pulled out the other four boxes, "See if you like one of these better."

"Kevin? What did you do?" I knew sheíd be laughing.

"I borrowed all the oneís I liked. I couldnít decide in the store. So Iíd look at them, then you. Then you, then them."

She opened the boxes one by one, looked at them, closed them and tossed them across the room. I laughed as the boxes flew. She returned to the first one Iíd given her, "I want this one. Itís how you see me. I like it."

I pulled it out and slipped it on her finger, "I love you, Tracie."

"I love you." We kissed then she was laughing, "This was fun. You are fun to be with."

That was something I donít think a woman had ever said to me. That weíd done something fun, sure. Not that I was fun. If one had, it had been a long time.


Nick was throwing a party. He was all up my ass about when Kevin and Tracie were coming home. What am I . . . their keeper. Ok, so I was house sitting. I gave him their expected arrival date and he planned for the next night. I spent the day helping them set up. Meaning that I went shopping for booze and munchies. Lee organized, cleaned and was picky. Nick kept the pregnant one calm.

The party was in full swing when Kevin and Tracie finally got there. Looking very refreshed I might add. I watched them start to work the room. They never stopped touching each other, "You two get trapped in some tree sap in Kentucky that makes it impossible for you to separate?"

Tracie smiled, "No" and kissed his hand that she was holding.

I was blinded, "Shit." I grabbed her hand and looked at him, "Been annulled four, five days? Good boy. Much better choice this time." I pulled them both to the middle of the room, "I brought her into this. I get to do this." I stood in the middle of the coffee table, "Attention all Backstreet Boys, all Backstreet Boysí passengers and guests. I have an announcement. Remember all those months ago when I brought that cute blonde lifeguard to a party and she wedged herself into our lives, then we all went crazy trying to figure how to get Kevin and her to figure out they were really dating. Then he got married."

I paused to take a breath and someone coughed out, "Mistake."

I laughed, "Yeah. Well, he has corrected that mistake. Marriage over. But, heís gonna get married again. To the lifeguard."

They were rolling their eyes at me. Typical. Everyone clapped and yelled. Nick knocked me off the table and screamed, "Me too!" He threw his arms in the air and jumped up and down.

Kevin yelled, "You are not marrying my lifeguard!"

Nick threw his hand to his face, "Ooops, nope. Iím marrying Lee. She said yes."

Tracie dropped Kevinís hand and ran over to Lee and hugged her. Nick jumped off the table and he and Kevin laughed and hugged.

I leaned over toward Brian, "We could make a fortune on the internet off that picture."


I was happy for them all. I had been so stupid. I could have missed out on all of this. The rest of the night was kicked up a few notches. Many hugs and kisses were exchanged. When everyone but us had left we sat around the room. It was a time to come together. We remembered that after the big things the core group needed to be alone, to just be. We headed out for breakfast and feasted. I sat back and watched mostly. Being thankful. I watched my best friend with his pregnant fiancťe. Watched his concern with every breath she took. Watched when he thought no one was paying attention and would lay his hand on her swollen stomach. He kept his arm protectively around her. I watched my cousin and his best friend. The most right for him woman I could imagine. She was as bull headed and difficult as he was. He needed that to be happy. I laughed as they fought over the last piece of bacon and he let her win. I remember the first night that happened. The first night they met.

Lee and Tracie left when they finished eating. Both seemed to have a great sense of timing for when to leave us to ourselves. That would serve them, and us, well. Nick laughed, "She didnít kill you."


We were all confused, "Explain please?"

Kevin laughed, "I kidnapped her and hid the keys. I wasnít going to let her go until she said yes or one of us died."

"I figured it would be him."

"Yeah, she yelled, paced, called me a pig, told me she hated me, tried to hit me." He was laughing, "I figure itíll be our fifth anniversary before she forgives me for marrying her. I scared it, she wasnít prepared for that. She likes to be prepared."

"Like someone else we all know and love." I was laughing.

"That would be me. And Nick? How did this happen?"

Nick broke into a huge smile, "We went to a wedding this weekend. Whole time I saw us up there. I told her and she said yes. Now I get it all. The wife, the baby. Everything." We all sat for a minute. "Oh shit, sorry Kev."

"Donít. Thatís all over. I get it all too. With the right person."



We knew they needed guy time. And we needed some girl time. We went back to my house. My house with Nick. Bad thing about being pregnant. I was the designated driver. Tracie was a little drunk. Nick hadnít drank anything either. I told him he really didnít have to do that, but he did anyway. That wonít last.

"So . . . how did Nick propose?"

"Which time?"

"Pass that by me again?"

"The first time he blurted it out after we talked about me being pregnant. I told him no. The next time he didnít really ask, but I guess I changed my mind after he started crying at a wedding."

Her mouth was hanging open, "You turned him down."

"Hell yes, Iím not getting married just because Iím pregnant."

"Smart woman. That idea worked out well for Kevin."

"Exactly. I can learn from otherís mistakes. And you were kidnapped to a mountain. He told Nick what he was planning."

"I flipped out. Scared the shit out of me. Iím better now."

"Youíre not good with surprises."

She laughed, "I know. They fuck with my orderly little world. He does that all the time. Blows me away. I kind of like it once I adjust, but I didnít expect that right after the papers were final. Didnít know if heíd ever want to get married. And I would have been ok with that."

"You know that heís just the opposite on this one. Once he figures out heís doing it again and is eventually going to have to trust you to carry his child, and realizes he canít control that heís gonna flip out."

"I know. One at a time though."


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