A/N: Here's the next chapter! Things should be wrapping up in another couple of chapters or so.
"Are you sure everything's ready for tonite?" Ryan asked for what seemed like the hundredth time that day.
Ben laughed. "Yes, everything's ready. I sent everyone a reminder this morning, the restaurant has a room reserved for us, and Mom doesn't suspect a thing," he reassured his captain. "Now relax, everything's going to go fine tonite."
"How are you getting Annie to the restaurant?" Ryan quizzed.
Ben rolled his eyes, smiling. He'd already told Ryan twice today the plan for how they planned to get Annie to the restaurant where Ryan planned to propose. "Ruthie told her that she wants to get everyone together at the restaurant to celebrate your ten month anniversary and to make an announcement. You'll pick Annie up at her house in…" Ben checked his watch, "about one hour. Now stop worrying and go get ready," he laughed. "I have a pregnant wife to get home to."
Lucy was now five months pregnant. Thankfully everything was still fine with her pregnancy, although Matt had made her cut back on her hours at the church just as a precaution. Thankfully Chandler had been more than willing to take on some of Lucy's responsibilities in an effort to pay her back for all the extra work that she put in when Roxanne was pregnant.
"Hey, Luce? I'm home!" Ben called as he walked in the door.
Lucy came walking down the hallway from the twins' room. "Hi, babe," she greeted him. "How's Ryan doing?"
"He's pretty nervous," Ben laughed. "I don't know how many times we went over the plan for tonite. Does Mom suspect anything?" Lucy had spent the day with her mom getting pedicures and manicures for that night.
Lucy shook her head. "No, she still thinks that it's just a family dinner together. She thinks that she and Ryan are celebrating their anniversary tomorrow night."
"Good," Ben replied. "Now, how are you feeling?"
"I'm fine, Ben," Lucy reassured him. "You can stop worrying. Matt said that everything was fine at my last checkup. Besides, there's no way I'm going to miss Mom's special night."
An hour later, she and Ben were waiting in a private dining room at Annie's favorite restaurant. The whole family was there and everyone was anxiously awaiting the arrival of Annie and Ryan.
As Lucy looked around the room, it reminded her of when Kevin had proposed to her. She smiled sadly as she thought about it.
It was Valentine's Day and Lucy was sure that Kevin wasn't going to propose. In fact, that she had even told him not to propose that day. So when she walked into the hotel restaurant to see her whole family, as well as Ben and Kevin's Mom, standing around the room and Kevin standing in the center of the room, she was surprised. As she walked over to Kevin, he dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him. She, of course, had said yes. The rest of the evening was spent dancing, eating, and spending time with family.
Ben broke into her thoughts. "You okay, Luce?" he asked.
Lucy nodded, "I'm fine. Just thinking back on some memories," she responded, looking up at him.
"I figured as much," Ben replied gently. Although he and Lucy were very much in love, he knew that there was a part of Lucy that would always still love Kevin. He wrapped his arms around her. "That was a great night. I'd never seen him so excited before. He was so nervous that day," ben shared.
"Really?" Lucy asked, surprised. "He didn't show it at all. He seemed so confident."
Ben smirked. "Oh, yeah, he was definitely nervous. I think he was even worse than Ryan. He wanted to make sure that everything went smoothly. By the time that evening rolled around, though, and we were waiting for you to arrive, his excitement overtook his nerves and he was just ready to ask you to be his wife."
On the other side of the room, Matt made his way over to Mary. "How are you feeling, Mary?" Matt asked his sister.
"How would you feel if you were almost four months pregnant with twins?" Mary snapped. At her second checkup, Matt had discovered that Mary was actually pregnant with twins. Although she was due more than a month after Lucy, Mary was just as big as her sister. She had struggled a lot with morning sickness this pregnancy, making her very miserable and crabby.
Matt put his hands up, "Okay, okay, sorry," he laughed.
Before he had a chance to say anything else, Annie and Ryan arrived. Annie gasped when she was how beautifully decorated the room was. The restaurant had gone all out. There were flowers everywhere, and the tables were covered in white table clothes with red runners. In the center of each table was a floral arrangement shaped to look like a heart.
"Happy Anniversary!" everyone called out, bringing tears to Annie's eyes.
"Happy Anniversary, Annie," Ryan said softly, just loud enough for Annie to hear.
As Annie turned to look at Ryan, he dropped down to one knee. "Annie Camden, these past ten months with you have been wonderful. I've loved getting to know you and your family better, and as each day passes, I fall more and more in love with you. Would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?" he asked.
"Yes," Annie answered through her tears, "I would love to marry you." Ryan stood up and slipped the ring on Annie's finger and then kissed her.
Everyone cheered. "Congrats, Mom!" "Finally!" "Welcome to the family, Ryan!"
After everyone had gotten a chance to congratulate them, Lucy spoke up. "So, when is the wedding going to be?"
Annie looked at Ryan. He nodded. "Well, neither of us really wants a long engagement," she said. "We were thinking about July. That way it's well before everyone's due dates."
"That only gives you three months, Mom," Mary exclaimed. "Are you sure?"
Ryan and Annie nodded. "We don't want a large wedding," Ryan explained, "just a small ceremony with family and close friends."
"Are you ready?" Mary asked Annie. It was Ryan and Annie's wedding day, and Annie, Mary, Lucy, and Ruthie were in Lucy's office where they had gotten ready.
Annie nodded, "Yes, I'm ready," she replied, smiling.
"Okay, then, let's go," Mary told her mom, giving her a quick hug before opening the office door. "You look beautiful."
They all made their way towards the sanctuary doors where Matt was waiting to walk his mom down the aisle. "Wow, Mom. You look gorgeous," Matt told her.
Annie smiled, trying to hold back tears from falling. "Thank you, Matt." She was wearing a sleeveless white dress that fell just past her knees, and her hair was curled and swept up into a loose updo.
From behind the closed doors, the music began playing. "That's our cue," said Ruthie. Matt opened the doors and Ruthie began walking down the aisle. At the front of the sanctuary stood Ryan, along with Ben, Sam, and Simon. The pews were filled with family and friends, as well as some long-time parishioners of Glen Oak Community Church. Sarah's parents, Rabbi and Rosina Glass, were there, as were George, Eric's adopted younger brother, and his wife, Jane, who had lived with the Camdens for a while. Chief Michaels was there, as were several of the guys that Ben and Ryan worked with at the firehouse.
After Ruthie made it about a third of the way down the aisle, Mary started down. She spotted Robbie, and Martin, as well as Morgan and Patricia Hamilton, and Paris, Peter's mom. Leah's parents were there, as well. What had started out as a small wedding had quickly grown due to the amount of people who loved Annie and the whole Camden family and wanted to be there to celebrate with them.
Next down the aisle was Lucy. Although she had originally wanted to perform the ceremony for her Mom and Ryan, Annie has asked her to be her matron of honor instead. Lucy was secretly relieved, as she wasn't sure if she would have been able to make it through the ceremony without crying, especially with the heightened hormones from being seven months pregnant.
Once Lucy reached the front, Matt looked at his mom. "You ready to do this, Mom?" he asked.
"Yes, I'm ready, Matt," Annie replied happily.
Once they had reached the front, Annie handed her bouquet to Lucy and Chandler started the ceremony. "Friends, we are gathered here today in the right of God and these witnesses to celebrate the love of Annie Camden and Ryan Stevens. In the time that they have been together, their love and understanding of each other has grown and matured, and now they have decided to live their lives together as husband and wife.
"Who gives this woman to be wedded to this man?"
"We do," Matt, Mary, Lucy, Simon, Ruthie, and Sam replied in unison, causing the audience to chuckle and Chandler, Annie and Ryan to smile.
Chandler continued on with the ceremony and before long it was time for Annie and Ryan to say their vows. "Annie and Ryan have written their own vows today. Annie?"
"Ryan, I am so incredibly blessed to have had the privilege to be loved by not just one great man, but two. God has given me a second chance at love. Because of you, I laugh, I smile, I dare to dream again. I look forward with great joy to spending the rest of my life with you, caring for you, nurturing you, being there for you in all life has in store for us, and I vow to be true and faithful to you for as long as we both shall live." Annie recited.
Ryan reached up to wipe away the tears that had formed in Annie's eyes. "Annie, I feel so blessed to have found you and to be given this chance to love you. Today, tomorrow, and for all the rest of my days, I promise to stand beside you, to dance with you in times of joy, to cry with you in times of sorrow, to rejoice with you in times of health, and to care for you in times of illness. I promise to turn to you for solace, for encouragement, and for inspiration. I promise to shower you with love and affection, and I vow to be true and faithful to you for as long as we both shall live."
Chandler continued the ceremony. "This passage was read at all of Annie's children's weddings, and she requested for it to be read here today: 'Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense and is not resentful. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.' I challenge you both to remember these words which were read here today and to live them out each day in your love.
"May I have the rings?" Ben handed Chandler the rings, who then handed Ryan's ring to Annie. "Annie, repeat after me. With this ring, I thee wed."
"With this ring, I thee wed," repeated Annie through her tears as she place Ryan's ring on his finger.
Chandler then handed Annie's ring to Ryan, "Ryan, repeat after me. With this ring, I thee wed."
"With this ring, I thee wed," recited Ryan.
"I now pronounce you husband and wife," announced Chandler. "Ryan, you may kiss your bride." Ryan pulled Annie close to him and kissed her. When they had finished, Chandler continued, "Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to present to you Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Stevens!"
"Ben! Wake up!" Lucy shook Ben urgently.
"Lucy? What's wrong?" Ben asked, sitting up in bed.
"I'm bleeding," Lucy informed him worriedly, standing beside the bed. She had been woken up earlier by some cramping and a wet feeling between her legs. When she'd gone to the bathroom, she had discovered that the wet feeling was blood.
Ben immediately got up. "Have you called Matt?" he asked, throwing on a pair of sweatpants and a shirt.
Lucy shook her head, "No, I came to wake you up first. I'm scared, Ben. What if something's wrong with the baby?"
"It's going to be okay, Luce," Ben reassured her, sounding more confident that he felt. Inwardly, he was terrified, but he was trying to remain calm for Lucy's sake. Ben picked up his phone to call Sam, praying that he would answer.
"Hello?" Sam answered groggily. "Sam, it's Ben. I need you to come stay with the kids. I need to take Lucy to the hospital." After Sam confirmed that he would be over in a few minutes, Ben hung up the phone. He was thankful that Sam had decided to stay in the garage apartment until he went back to college in the fall. Waking the kids up and taking them to the hospital would take too long.
"Ben, the cramps are getting worse," Lucy told him worriedly. "I'm scared that I might be going into labor. I'm scared."
"I know, baby," Ben comforted. "We'll leave as soon as Sam gets here. I'm going to call Matt now so he can meet us there." He glanced at his watch as he called Matt hoping that Sam would get there soon so that they could leave.
Matt answered on the first ring. "Ben? Is something wrong?"
"Lucy's bleeding and having cramps," Ben informed his brother-in-law. "It just started about twenty minutes ago. She said she thinks she might be going into labor."
"Get her to the hospital as soon as you can," Matt instructed. "I'm already here; I was called in for another patient. I'll meet you guys in the emergency room."
Sam walked in just as Ben got off the phone with Matt. "I'm here. You and Lucy go ahead and leave," Sam told Ben. "Do you want me to call anyone?"
Ben shook his head as he guided Lucy out the door and to the car. "Not just yet. I don't want to worry everyone, and I definitely don't want to disturb Annie and Ryan if we don't have to. I'll keep you updated."
Ten minutes later Ben pulled up outside the emergency room. As he jumped out of the car to go around to the other side to help Lucy, Matt came jogging out of the emergency room doors pushing an empty wheelchair. He helped Ben get Lucy into the wheelchair. "We'll be in treatment five. Just head back once you park the car. A nurse will be expecting you." After Ben nodded, Matt pushed Lucy into the emergency room. "What's this I hear about you trying to go into labor early?" Matt asked, trying to help Lucy relax as he quickly wheeled her to the treatment room.
Lucy managed a small smile. "I just wanted to keep you busy tonight," she joked back.
After Matt finished his exam, he started Lucy on some medicine to try and stop the contractions. "This should stop the contractions for now," he told Ben and Lucy. "We might have to put you on bed rest, though, to keep this little one from coming too early."
"Is the baby okay?" Lucy asked. "This didn't harm it, did it?"
"The baby is fine," Matt reassured her. "We can do an ultrasound if that would make you feel better." Lucy nodded, so Matt grabbed the ultrasound machine and turned it on. After applying the gel to Lucy's stomach, he moved the wand around to get a good look at the baby. "The baby's perfect," Matt informed Lucy and Kevin. "It's even in the right position for us to finally know the sex if you want." During all of Lucy's previous ultrasounds the baby had been stubborn and was always in the wrong position for them to get a clear view of whether it was a boy or a girl.
Ben looked at Lucy. "Do you want to know?" he asked her.
Lucy nodded. She knew that Ben had been disappointed when they hadn't been able to determine the sex of the baby. She had been surprised at how disappointed he was, but then had reminded herself that even though this was her fourth pregnancy, it was Ben's first time experiencing everything. "Yes, I want to know."
"Okay," Matt began, "it looks like you two are having…a boy!