"I look like a beached whale, Pam."

She sighed in exasperation as she turned and walked to the couch I was sitting on. "Sookie, you do NOT look like a beached whale! How many times do I have to tell you that before you actually begin to believe it?"

"You can say it as much as you want to, that doesn't make it the truth!" Yeah, so it was the way a five year old would respond, I didn't care.

"Sookie, you know I love you like a sister, but if you don't stop complaining and cheer up, no one's going to want to stay more than just a few minutes."

"They'll just have to LEARN to deal with it! I'm hot, tired, and VERY pregnant! Besides, isn't this MY baby shower? What happened to all the 'it's my party I can cry if I want to' stuff?"

She closed her eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath to calm herself down. Then, she walked to where I was sitting, and put her hand over my mouth to make sure I understood that interruptions would not be tolerated. "Sookie, I understand that you're very uncomfortable. You're 7 ½ months pregnant with twins, it's hotter than hell outside, and you've been going mad with boredom since you were put on bed rest. I'm sorry that you're so miserable, truly I am. But, enough is enough. No more of this misery loves company bull shit. These women are coming over here today because they love you, want to support you, and want to help you ease into motherhood. Alienating them now will only cause you, Eric, and my little niece and nephew problems in the future. Now, cheer the fuck up!"

I laughed despite myself. That was such a 'Pam' thing to say. It made me look back at my life for a moment and wonder if I'd ever had another friend who was as wonderfully blunt as Pam was. When I realized I hadn't, I smiled up at her. "You're right, and I'm sorry. I know that I've been a little bit of a brat lately," I paused to stick my tongue out at her as she looked skeptical at the word little. "I can't promise that I'll be all sunshine and daisies at the shower, but, I will most certainly try to be gracious. Is that good enough?"

"I suppose it will have to be." She playfully rolled her eyes. "I'll tell you what, though. If that old crazy friend of your Grandmother's acts like her normal self, you can feel more than free to put her in her place."

I smiled brightly. "Yes, I do believe that telling Maxine Fortenberry to shut the hell up would brighten my day. It might even make me happy enough to talk Eric into giving you and Felicia the cabin for the weekend."

Her entire face brightened as she smiled. It was amazing to see how much Pam had changed in the past few months. Shortly after Eric and I had gotten married, they made a decision to open a restaurant not far from their club, Hell's Inferno. Pam threw herself into decorating the building, compiling a menu, and hiring staff while Eric continued to run the club. During this time, she spent long hours with the woman she'd hired to manage the restaurant. It came as no surprise to Eric and I when, on opening night, Pam told us that she and Felicia were ready for everyone to know they were together. Of course, we'd both suspected as much from almost the first time we saw them together.

Just like Eric and Pam, Felicia had not grown-up in the United States. Her mother was a much celebrated chef, and her father taught Philosophy at a university just outside of London. Drawing from their knowledge of old myths, they decorated the restaurant to be their own personal version of paradise, and named it Valhalla.

I watched as Pam began setting various plates of goodies on a long buffet table she'd rented for the occasion. We had argued long and hard about what type of food would be served at the shower. Pam wanted more upscale dishes like caviar, while I was leaning more towards little wieners on toothpicks. We finally compromised and settled on a variety of vegetables, fruits, crackers and dips, along with muffins, sweet breads, scones, and various cookies and cakes.

She began straightening some pictures on the fireplace mantle, and I smiled as she ran her hand over the frame which held a picture of Eric and I on our wedding day. I closed my eyes and allowed my mind to wander back to that wonderful day.

It was a beautiful spring day. Flowers had begun to bloom in the gardens surrounding the old farmhouse, and you could hear birds chirping in the nearby woods. I stood in my bedroom in front of the full-length mirror, turning side to side to gaze at my reflection in my wedding dress.

"You may as well give it up, Sookie. No matter how hard you try, you won't be able to find an angle where you actually LOOK pregnant!" Pam said, standing in the doorway and smiling. She'd known I was very self-conscious about looking like a pregnant bride. I smiled back at her through the mirror.

"I guess I'll take your word for it. Let's face it, you're probably the only person who would be completely honest with me and not lie to save my feelings!"

"Yes, I always have found that honesty is the best policy. That being said," She walked over and placed her chin on my shoulder, "you look absolutely beautiful." I turned and hugged her. Pam was the closest thing I'd had to a sister since my cousin Hadley passed away so many years ago, and I was grateful for her friendship.

Something must have caught her eye, because she pulled slightly away from me and walked to the window. I followed her, and saw Eric in the yard talking to some of our recently arrived guests. He was shaking hands with Sam, who was on crutches. He'd torn his ACL playing football with a bunch of friends a couple of weeks before, and had needed surgery to repair it.

I couldn't help but feel that the scene seemed oddly familiar. I could tell that Pam was thinking the same thing, because she tilted her head slightly and bit her lip in thought. At the same moment that it clicked in my head, she started to laugh, having figured it out as well. We laughed and looked at each other, and in unison said, "Forest Gump and Lieutenant Dan!" We laughed at the hilarity of the situation, but were soon interrupted by the sound of someone clearing their throat.

I turned to see my brother, Jason, standing in the doorway. "Wow. Sookie, you look wonderful," he said, his voice thick with emotion.

I smiled, walked over to him and pressed a kiss to his cheek. "You're looking pretty nice yourself." He was wearing a black tux, with a black vest and red tie. I'd never seen him dressed this nicely, not even for his own wedding.

Pam moved passed us and went out into the hallway, giving us a chance to be alone. "Sookie, I know I haven't been the best brother in the world." That was the understatement of the year. "But, I want you to know that I love you, and I'm real proud of you. And, I know that Hadley and Gran would be proud of you, too."

"Oh, hush up now. You're gonna make me cry and smear my make-up!"

He smiled at me and pulled a small box from his pocket. "Before Gran died, she gave me this, and made me promise that I'd not let you see it until your wedding day. She said that she wore it on the day she got married, and that Mama wore it when she married Daddy. Now, it's your turn to wear it for Eric. And, I hope that someday, I'll get to see your little girl wear it for her wedding as well." He opened the box, and removed a beautiful antique hair comb in the shape of a flower, with a diamond in the center. I immediately recognized it from our parents wedding pictures. I ran my thumb over the comb, and felt a single tear run down my cheek. He walked with me back to the mirror, and watched as I placed it in my hair underneath my veil.

"Come on now, you two. It's time!" Said Pam from the doorway. Jason turned towards the door and offered me his arm. I linked mine with his, and he walked with me down the stairs, towards the back porch. The backyard had been beautifully transformed. Jason had always enjoyed working with wood, so he'd built a large deck and bowery and painted it white. A few rows of white chairs were set up in front of the bowery, and a long red carpet had been rolled down the aisle. Red had always been Eric's favorite color, so, I'd decided to use red and white as our colors.

Jason gave me a kiss on the cheek, then stepped to the edge of the porch. Pam winked at me, and took her place next to Jason, and he escorted her up the aisle. We'd decided to have a fairly small wedding, inviting only our closest friends. Since neither Eric nor I had much family to speak of, Jason was acting as best man, and Pam was maid of honor, and there were our sole attendants.

I was still hidden in the shadow of the porch, so I knew that Eric couldn't see me. But, I couldn't take my eyes off of him as he smiled as Pam and Jason walked towards him together. Pam was wearing a short red dress to match Jason's tie, and the flowers she was holding were white and red roses that matched the dress perfectly. Once they reached Eric, Pam gave me a quick kiss on the cheek, and they took their places, and turned to me.

As much as I wanted to keep my eyes on Eric, I had to look down at my feet as I descended the short staircase from the porch, and walked to the deck. The moment I stood on the wooden deck, however, I lifted my gaze to his. I'd made him follow tradition, and knew that this was the first time he'd seen me in my dress. The smile that appeared on his face the moment our eyes met made me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. I couldn't help but feel a flutter in my tummy at how wonderful he looked in his tux. He was wearing a black tux that matched Jason's, but, both his vest and tie were red. We smiled at each other, and with each step I took, I was more and more certain that this was the man I'd been waiting my whole life for.

As I reached the top of the aisle, I handed my bouquet of red roses to Pam, and turned, smiling at Eric as he took my hands in his. The judge who'd been such a help to us in the past had agreed to perform the ceremony, and as he began to speak, everything else faded away, as I gazed into the eyes of my future.

I can only assume that everything went fine during the ceremony, but I'm not sure how, because I was so lost in Eric's eyes, that I honestly didn't pay much attention. Oh, I'd said the right things at the right time, but, if Pam hadn't made me rehearse it about fifty times in the past 24 hours, I'm sure I would've messed up. I heard the judge tell Eric to kiss his bride, and I closed my eyes and felt his lips touch mine. As I opened them as Eric ended the kiss, I saw a single tear running down his cheek. I smiled, and reached up to wipe it away under the guise of cupping his cheek. He leaned into my hand, smiled back at me.

I was brought out of my memories when I heard the doorbell ringing. Pam turned to me, said, "show time!" and went to answer the door. I heard the voices of several different women as she opened the door, and I pasted the best smile I could muster on my face as Maxine Fortenberry walked into my home. This was going to be a long day.

A/N Those of you who are familiar with my stories know that I try to post a new chapter every other day, if not every day. Unfortunately, that will not be the case with this one. Not that I'm not looking forward to posting. But, I work for the postal service, and this is our busy time of the year. Starting with my next shift, I'm going from working 25 a week, to anywhere between 40-60, plus I still have holiday shopping to do, and a 2-year old to take care of. I'll try to post as often as I can, though

Links to Sookie's wedding dress, Pam's bridesmaids dress, and Eric's tux are on my profile. Please read and review! Enjoy!!