Chapter 19

The pair told their families the next night at dinner. Harold's first reaction was to protest the hasty nuptial, but Rose's swift kick to his shin under the table kept him quiet. They described their plan for a simple service to unite them eternally or until tomorrow. Upon hearing the news Amy was planning a wedding the following week, Dr. Brown appeared confused more than anything to those around him. He managed to utter out a few congratulatory remarks before excusing himself from the table. Ephram was quick to insure the table that that was nothing and Andy was just a bit emotional. This was a plausible story. There was not one person in the room that didn't understand the urgency in this situation. Ephram and Amy's wedding wouldn't be a celebration of their new life together. Instead a dark cloud of uncertainty would eclipse the proceedings because they were in hurry to start living before Ephram had a chance to start dying.

The Andy-less family ate, celebrated as much as possible, and started to plan. Harold eventually gave a very heart-felt blessing after a few minutes of his wife's eyes glaring at him. As the Abbotts were about to clear out, Ephram pulled Bright aside.

"You know you're my best man right?" Ephram said.

"I'd be honored man. I don't want to get too mushy or anything, but I just…I have your back ok," Bright said pulling Ephram into a hug.

When they finished their man hug, Bright headed to the car. Harold and Rose said their goodbyes and followed Bright. Amy paused by the front door. "You want me to stay with you tonight? I could just tell them I'll see 'em later. Say the word and I'm keeping you company tonight," she proposed.

"I would love that, but I think I need to talk to my dad. He looked a little sad. Rain check?"

"Soon I'll be your wife and we can spend every night together. So, yes I'll take that rain check. You need to get some beauty sleep tonight anyways. You look tired," she said as she cupped his face with her hand.

When Amy left, Ephram walked slowly to his father's room. This was a conversation he wasn't looking forward to. He knew when they dropped the news that his dad would have some kind of reaction. He knocked and Andy's soft voice replied.

"What are you hiding from?" Ephram asked.

"You know I don't when it happened or how it happened, but you're a man now. You aren't my little boy anymore. Ephram is all grown up. When you were just born and things were just wonderful between me and your mother we used to talk about what kind of man we hoped you would become. She used to tell me that she hoped that you would be just like me someday. Her idea probably changed over the years. At the end, she probably hoped for the opposite," Andy reflected in a sort of daze.

"What did you say?" Ephram inquired.

"I told her that I wanted you to experience things, everything actually. I hoped for you to be a man whose heart was full and someone we could be proud of. I gotta tell you Ephram I was right. I am proud of you," Andy said as tears filled his eyes.

"Thank you," Ephram whispered his reply.

"I'm happy that you and Amy want to get married. I had hoped that there would be a natural progression for the two of you, but I understand. I'm a confused about all that though and I think I'm not the only one that will be confused, especially in a few days. What's going on?" Andy asked.

"I have to do this. She has to know that she is what I want no matter what happens. She has to know that I want to marry her. Hopefully, someday she'll understand why I'm doing it. I don't necessary feel great about any of it, but she's so afraid that she's got enough anxiety for the both of us. I find myself scared for her…and for you these days more than myself. I'm probably wrong to do it, but my intentions are good and I'll try to explain to her in my own way," Ephram said answering Andy's concerns.

"Are you sure you want to do it all like that?" Andy questioned.

"I think this is how it should be. Definitely not the path of least resistance, but I've made my choice. Do me a favor and don't tell anyone, especially Dr. Abbott."

Andy and Ephram talked for a little while longer until Ephram found himself exhausted and headed to bed. Andy asked Nina to hang out in the house while he left for awhile, just in case. Andy headed to the closest bar. Soon after he started on his scotch, he heard a familiar voice order, "I'll have what he's having."

Harold gripped his drink and stared at it for a moment before taking a sip. "I don't think there was ever a better time for some liquid comfort. I see we had the same idea."

"Do you ever just look around, look at yourself and wonder where the years went?" Andy asked.

"Of course, it happens every time I look at my children," Harold replied as he took another drink, "What's on your mind Dr. Brown?"

"The end."

"I see," Harold paused to drink again, "When I first met Ephram Brown I will admit I disliked the boy immensely because he was the product of you, but I soon learned to relate to him for his tenacity in his dislike of you. We had that in common. That was three years ago or so and things couldn't be more different. Our children have fallen in love and I've grown to respect your young man mostly for his care of my daughter and his courage. Also, as difficult as it was you have given me more than one reason to make one of the men I respect most in this world. When the kids were talking tonight, my first reaction was to move in save my little girl, but I can't…and neither can you. All we can do now is sit back and hope for the best for both of them and pray I suppose."

"What happens if he dies? What do I do? I am supposed die and my son is supposed to live on," Andy worried.

"All you can do is have won't get to that."