Alright everyone, here is the conclusion. Thanks again to everyone who read this and to a special thanks to Sadhappygirl and Roxy87 for all their reviews. Enjoy!
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Chapter 58A . . .
Mac had spent the following week trying to get Billy to open up about what happened with his mother at Jabot. He, however, adamantly refused to talk about it. As far as he was concerned , it was over and done with and anytime she attempted to bring it up, he would either blow the topic off or change subjects all together. It bothered her a great deal, his unwillingness to even slightly reconsider his stance on his mother, but he managed to keep her slightly distracted with the matter he always seemed to jump to when she began pressing about Jill . . .their impending wedding. The week before they announced their engagement had been spent by the twosome figuring out what they wanted their wedding to be. They both easily agreed it should be an intimate, low key affair. Neither was into the idea of a big spectacle, simply wanting their family and closest friends, Raul, Rhi, Tanya, and Greg, present.
After that, though, it got a bit tricky. Billy wanted the event to take place before the move to LA, in a couple of weeks. Mac was convinced, however, they could not pull off such a thing, no matter how small, in that amount of time. He refused to be dissuaded and she finally relented, touched by his determination to make it happen as soon as possible. Then came thoughts of where to hold the gathering. It would be big news in GC, as Jabot was well know there and neither wanted to deal with that, so they finally decided on the ranch back in St. Louis, something Mac knew would make her mother beyond happy. Billy then took it a step further, suggesting they set everything up at the pond where they first gave in to each other completely. This time Mac was nearly in tears at the idea. It was perfect and she again reveled in the deep love and bond they seemed to share from the beginning. They just knew each other so well.
Everything after that just fell into place. After the broadcast of their nuptials to their families, they shared their plans with them and all eventually jumped on board with the time frame and locale, offering to help anyway they could. Katherine was collaborating with Amanda about the food, the cake and everything else, while Billy's father authorized the use of Jabot's private jet to transport all of the guest to St. Louis. Everything was perfect . . .almost. Mac still couldn't accept that Billy's mother wouldn't be in attendance to see her own son married.
Though, she knew their relationship was nothing like hers and her mother, she just couldn't imagine not sharing something this important with her. She was still racking her brain trying to find some way to make Billy see that. As she now sat in the living room at the Estate going over the invitations one last time before the messenger came by to pick them up, Mac was again caught in those thoughts, including the first and last discussion she had with Billy about his stance.
Billy had just gotten into his car after helping Mac in. As they turned out of the office parking lot and began back towards his house, Mac finally got up the gumption to converse about what just transpired. She glanced over at her, still curiously serene Beau before taking a deep breath and softly began in, "Billy?" He gently replied, "Yeah, Sweetheart." "Please tell me you didn't mean what you said to your mother?" she continued. He glimpsed over her way but never changed his cool demeanor as he responded, "It's for the best." Mac shook her head, "Billy . . .no, it isn't. She's your mother. The only one you're ever going to have." "So . . .with family like her, I'll never need another enemy." he retorted, sarcastically. "Honey, I know you're upset because of what she tried to do but it didn't work. Can't you just take solace in that?" Mac concluded solemnly. "No, Mac, I can't. This is how things always have been with me and her and I doubt that it would ever change. This way I don't even have to worry about it anymore."
"But Billy . . . " he cut her off this time, with a bit more firm tone, "Look, I really don't want to talk about this anymore." She sighed and turned to look out her window as they were now pulling into the drive of his house. Once the car came to a stop, Billy parked it and then turned his focus towards a frustrated Mac. He reached out and took one of her hands, gaining her attention. He then gave her a delicate smile as he softly began to speak, "You mean so much to me, Mac, and what you feel and think do , as well. But this thing with my mother . . .it has to be this way. All I want to do now is focus in on you and our future together. Can we please just do that for now?" Mac could see she wasn't changing his mind right now and figured she'd give him some more time to calm before pressing forward. She looked down at his hand around hers and then back into his sincere and hopeful blue gaze before returning his light glow.
"Alright . . .for now." Billy nodded his approval and then leaned over to engage her in a light smooch.
She was brought back from her thoughts by the front door opening and closing. Moments later she was locked in an intense gaze with none other than Billy's mom. The silent stare was potent but brief, as Jill, without a word turned away first and headed for the stairs. Mac felt this was her moment and grasped it promptly, "Mrs. Abbott, can I please talk to you for a moment?" Jill, sighing heavily, paused at the base of the stairs but didn't turn to face her . . .
Chapter 58B . . .
"I doubt, very much, we have anything to say to one another," was Jill's eventual, scornful response. Though, logically, she knew this mess was all her fault, Jill had always had a tendency to blame her troubles on anyone but herself. Mac was just the easiest target at the moment. She was the person her son had chosen over her. With Brittany, she knew she was in control and that Brit would never overstep when it came to she and Billy but this Mackenzie was her own person and didn't seem as easily intimated by Jill as most were. This woman had just managed to single handedly, make her worst nightmare come true . . .losing yet another son.
The look she observed on Billy's face, as he berated her, was all too familiar. It was the same one his older brother, Philip, had given her when she attempted to interfere with his marriage and family he was trying to build with Nina and baby Philip. She continued to push until she lost him, tragically, for good. The devastation of that loss coupled with the recent rejection of her youngest was overwhelming her and causing her to spew her bitterness about it towards the latest woman to insert herself between she and her son. Jill still hadn't moved from her perch and was contemplating continuing her trek up stairs until a, not so easily dissuaded , Mac urgently pressed on, "It's about Billy."
Jill sighed heavily, positive she'd end up regretting this conversation, but slowly turning and heading towards the unwavering brunette perched in the sitting room. She stepped down from the foyer and strolled over to Mac, each woman studying the other intensely. Mac knew this could be a daunting conversation, but her love for Billy and need for harmony wouldn't let her shy away from it. Once Jill stood before her, though making no move to sit, Mac took in a breath ready to begin, when Jill cut in first. She immediately started the discussion off defensively, "If you plan to simply gloat, I'm not interested." This time Mac sighed, seeing more of what Billy had always talked about with his mom. She appeared to have a propensity for making things about her even when it wasn't the case. She intended to show her this was about her son and what he needed. Calmly, Mac finally retorted, "He's hurting right now." Jill promptly returned, "He can join the club. Do you have any idea how much it hurt to hear him say he wanted nothing else to do with me?" "I know it must have been hard but can you imagine how much it pained him to say it. You're his mother and no matter what he said , I know in my heart, he needs and loves you," Mac replied passionately.
Jill was again examining this fiery little woman before her. There was something there drawing her in more, in spite of herself. She began to let her guard down, somewhat, as she smoothly responded, "Why do you care so much? I mean about he and I reconciling?" "Because his happiness means everything to me and I know that right now he's not as happy as he could be. I just want to help but I can't do it alone." This time Jill finally lowered herself to join Mac on the sofa. Then as though some of the fight had left her, she despairingly replied, "What can I do, Mackenzie, if won't so much as talk to me? He's made it clear he wants nothing more to do with me." Mac remained quiet for a moment before responding. She was briefly caught up in being glad Jill appeared become more proactive in their talk. It showed her she was, at least, willing to make an effort. Now if she could only get Billy there too . . .
"Mrs. Abbott, in the short time I've spent with Billy, he has always spoken of his family with great love and respect, for the most part. Yet when it came to you, he spoke the most and it was basically about how he wished things could have been with you two, " Mac began again. Jill retorted, "And how was that?" Gently, she went on to explain, "He just always felt like you saw him as a means to an end instead of just your son. He thought of himself as more of an object that you only bother with when it served your purpose." That assessment hit home for Jill yet again. Philip had said as much to her a couple of times in his short life. He was convinced she had to have control of everything around her even if it wasn't what was right. Jill let out a shaky breath and tried to cover her pain at Mac's revelation, though not very well, as she quietly came back, "That's not true. I love him so much . . .maybe I don't show it the best way all the time but what's best for him is always first in my mind." "I feel the exact same way, which is why I'm here with you right now. I know it's not in his best interest to have no relationship with you. And I was hoping together we could make sure that didn't happen." Mac concluded hopefully.
Jill wiped at a stray tear now as she returned, " I still don't know what I can do if he won't even consider letting me back in. I know that I come off as overbearing and overprotective of him but he's all I have left. I don't know what I'd do if things stay this way." Mac finally saw what she needed to . . .genuine emotion from someone Billy was convinced had none. Jill now seemed to be a bewildered and confused mother unaware of what to do to make things right again with her child. This was where Mac was set to step in push the pair towards, at least, a beginning of an understanding. "They won't stay this way if you're willing to make that first move. Are you?" Jill looked into the determined young lady's deep brown eyes and finally relented to this woman who had come to mean so much to her son. She started to see why that was the case. Mac could have easily written her off like Billy but instead, for him, she was attempting to put them back together. Again, she took in a steadying breath before firmly answering, "What do you have in mind?" Mac gave her a light smile and Jill, for the first time since they met, offered a genuine smile of her own.
Mac then, momentarily, turned her attention back to the table that housed the personal invitations she had just finished working on. She shuffled through them and finally pulled one from the bottom of the stack. Then turning back to Jill, she held up and then out one of the small envelopes. The older woman looked over the letter and realized it was addressed to her. Mac knew Billy would have flipped if he knew about her having one drawn up for his mother but she remained hopeful that she could pull things off. So she discreetly had the calligrapher make the extra one for Jill, who now raised a brow in surprise as Mac kindly inquired, "Are you busy about two weeks from Saturday?" Jill recognized what she was referring to, having over heard the other Abbott's talking about the wedding being that soon. "Is that a wedding invitation?" asked a quite shocked Jill. Mac nodded, "It wouldn't be nearly as festive without our entire families there. So will you come?" "Mackenzie, I . . .I don't know what to say. Why? After everything I tried to do?" Mac forwardly replied, "For him . . . Jill, the one thing we have in common, without question, is our love for Billy. I know we may never be best buddies but I think we can at least respect that link between us, don't you?" Jill just stared at the invitation and then the petite young woman who had just gained more of her respect for not backing down and putting her son's needs before her own, justified feelings of discontent with her.
This time Jill nodded, slowly, as she replied, "Yeah, I think we can but what about Billy? Is he going to be OK with me coming to the wedding?" Mac gave her another small glow while now handing her the invitation, "He will be." Jill looked at Mac with confusion , "How?" Mac stood up and walked over towards the phone before finally, simply, responding, "Trust me." Jill then watched her go into action and quietly prayed, as she securely held her invitation, that Mac could make this invite a reality.
Chapter 59 . . .
Mac had just arrived at the Abbott's home, receiving a very warm and welcome greeting from her Love. The second she entered the house, Billy smiled brightly and pulled her into a deep and loving embrace. The two were instantly lost in each other as their lips danced tenderly with each other and their hands roamed freely. When they did finally come up for air, they were both glowing while resting their heads together and gazing sweetly into each other's eyes. It was a beautiful moment they knew they be sharing for many years to come very soon. Mac, before long, conceded she had to break the mood and get down to why she had called him and asked to meet.
"Billy," she softly began. He continued to beam, unaware of what was coming next, "Yeah." Mac slowly began to withdraw from his hold but sustained contact by holding one of his hands firmly, "There's something I really need to talk to you about." Billy instantly recognized the more tentative demeanor she was sporting and initially wondered if there was some trouble with the wedding plans that was causing it. "What is it, Honey? Something to do with the wedding?" "Actually, yes." Billy was instantly more alert, wanting everything to go off without a hitch. . He let out an anxious breath at her admission before leading her further into the house and over to the sofa. Once they were seated , Billy then prodded her on, "What happened, huh? I thought everything was just about set." She returned, "Yeah . . .almost everything. There's just one more thing, I need to discuss with you." Billy studied her face for a long moment, trying to get a read on what could be possibly weighing on her this much. Mac, though, covered very well and he eventually conceded and asked, "What would that be?" Mac knew this was a delicate situation and that she needed to cover all her bases before she jumped into the meat of her conversation.
So speaking evenly, Mac began , "You know how you always tell me you'd do anything for me?" He nodded, "I mean that, Mac. I'm willing to do anything I can to make you happy." She gave him another light glow as she continued, " Your happiness is just as important to me. That is why I need for you , before I tell you what's on my mind, to promise me you will hear me out and, most importantly, listen to what I'm trying to say." Billy was still unsure of where she was going with this and was apprehensive as he said, "I don't think I like the sound of this." "Promise me, Billy," was her firm retort. He hesitated for another moment but could see she would give away nothing without his assurance, "Alright . . . I promise." She nodded in return and then proceeded with her speech, " It has to do with the guest list. I was hoping to add someone, if it's alright with you." "Who did you have in mind?" he asked not expecting the name she soon dropped. Mac took in a deep breath, knowing this part would be tough, and then finally took the plunge, "Jill."
There was immediate tension in the room with the mere mention of her name. Billy stared at her, silently, while in complete disbelief. Then finally finding his voice, he edgily started in, "You're kidding, right?" Mac ignored his sharpness and remained composed as she replied, "No, Billy. She's your mother and should be there." "Mac, I thought we were clear on my mother. After all she's done recently . . .I don't want anything to do with her and definitely don't want her at our wedding," he bluntly countered. Mac then watched as he now stood and began running his fingers through his hair as he paced. She could understand his exasperation but still wasn't willing to let this go until she got him to see how important this was. So sighing heavily, She slowly rose to join him before continuing make her point, "Billy, I know you're still upset with your mom about what happened but you can't hold onto this grudge like this . . .I'm going to say something to you that was said to me not too long ago by my mom. She told me everyone makes mistakes but that you can't punish them forever, otherwise, you hurt not only them but yourself. I truly believe that you both will regret it, if she isn't there." Billy turned and faced her this time. Then looking deep into her eyes and seeing one of the things he loved so much about her . . .her big heart. That she was so willing to forgive was amazing to him but he still wasn't there. "I respect your opinion, Mac, but in this case, I think you are wrong. My whole life all my mother has ever done is try to control what I did and when and I'm just tired of it," he paused, briefly, taking both her hands in his and speaking a bit more gently as he attempted to close this topic, "Our wedding, the move to LA, all that is supposed to be about us and I don't want her there taking away from that. Please say you understand that?"
He obviously felt very strongly about this but Mac was equally as strong in her conviction as she removed one of her hands from his and brought it to his cheek as she returned, "I do understand why you feel the way you do and I don't want anything to mess up what we are building either but this thing with your mother isn't just going to go away because you say so. I think it's possible that your mom could change but if you cut her out of your life, you'll never find out." Billy shook his head again as he retorted, "Look, Mac, I know her better then you do. I doubt she will ever change and I have accepted that. Now can we please let this go?" Billy promptly received an answer but not from his girl but from another familiar voice, "Please don't write me off so quick, Darling." Billy turned to look back over his shoulder as his mother solemnly spoke from the dinning room doorway. She and Mac shared a brief gaze, acknowledging each other. Mac had thought it best for Jill to hear first hand what Billy was feeling about their relationship so she could better address it. She had been in the dinning room through the whole conversation and was now ready to face her only living child head on. He, though, was still in no mood to be cool and instantly took on a defensive demeanor as he coldly inquired, "What are you doing here?" "I asked her to come," Mac confessed. Billy turned back to her and looked as though he had been blindsided. "Mac . . ." But before he could berate her for her part, Jill stepped further into the sitting room and broke in again, "Don't be upset with her. She just wants what is best for you Bill, and I finally get that after talking with her."
Chapter 59B . . .
Billy was, again, in a brief state of shock, now watching his mother and Mac team up. It was a very weird moment and he instantly questioned the new alliance, "So, what, now you two are best buddies? Mac, she tried to prevent this wedding from even happening and now you want her involved?" "Yes, because it's right," was her simple reply. Billy was about to come back at her when Jill, stepping further into the room, cut in, once more. "Billy, I realize I messed up and not just about this . . . " she volunteered. Billy just stood quietly, smoldering as his mother made her way over to he and Mac. Jill knew her best chance was to get right to her point or he might tune her out all together. She quickly continued, "I know I could have done better by you when you were growing up and I really have no excuses for why I didn't. What I can tell you is that it was just so hard after your father and I split and he gained custody. I just felt like I didn't measure up and I always wanted to overcompensate when I did have time with you. Now I see that all I ended up doing was smothering you and have you resenting me. I'm sorry for that, Sweetheart. I am."
He was surprised by, not only her admission, but her first true apology to him ever. Billy, however, still was unwilling to concede anything where his mother was concerned yet. He had seen her in action and knew she would say almost anything to get her way. So without much let up, he brusquely retorted, "So what . . . That's suppose to justify all the years that you constantly ducked in and out of my life and interfered at will?" "No, Sweetie, I just need you to understand where it was coming from. You know about your older brother and how things went down between us, well I just couldn't take losing another child.. So I thought if I was vigilant and steered you away from the choices he had made, I could protect you." Billy shook his head and turned away from both women as he replied, "I'm not him. I don't need protection, what I need is to be able to live my life the way I see fit." Jill returned with equal passion, "I get that now . . .I do. Since you left, I realized you could take care of yourself." "Then why did you try to interfere again, huh?" he fired back as he whipped back around to face her. Jill sighed lightly, before glancing over at Mac, who urged her on. "Because, I was afraid," she finally uttered. Billy gazed at her with bewilderment etched clearly on his face, "Of what?" Jill hung her head, slightly, and quietly responded, "Of Mackenzie . . . I could tell, from the beginning, she was different. The way you two were with each other . . . I knew she was the one that would finally take you away from me for good and I just wasn't ready to let go."
Mac and Jill both watched as Billy emotions silently played across his face, from anger, to skepticism, to shock and now confusion. Neither was really sure what he was thinking at this point, so Mac, who had remained quiet as mother and son hatched out their differences, now decided to join in the discussion. "Jill and I talked about this, Billy, and I let her know that was never my intent . . .to come between you two and I mean that. I won't be the reason you have no relationship with your mother." "Mac, I know . . . " he began in. His fiancée, however, wouldn't allow him to go further as she cut back in, "I know things won't happen overnight but, at least, don't close any doors completely. Let this be a step towards possibly rebuilding something down the road." This time he remained quiet for awhile. Seeing his Sweetheart's persistence, not to mention that she and his mom had seem to have found some common ground, caused him to soften his stance, somewhat. He placed his focus squarely on Mac, now, and quietly inquired, "You really believe what she's said? You think this is on the level?" Mac gazed up at him with vibrant, warm eyes and smiled gently as she replied, "Yes, I do. The question now becomes can you try and believe, as well?"
Billy let out a soft sigh while gazing into her hopeful brown orbs. He then glanced over at his mother's tentative demeanor and knew that this was very important to both of them. Though not thoroughly convinced this was the right call, at the moment, he felt he could only give one reply, "Alright, Honey., I will let this go . . .for you." Mac, though, objected to those terms, firmly expressing her position, "Not for me, Billy, for you because deep down, you know this is how it should be." They held each other's gaze as Billy absorbed what she had just said. He knew what she was saying was true. The only way things could ever possibly work out was if he wanted them too and right now, though, he was still a bit gun shy, he didn't really want to shut his mom out totally. He finally tore his gaze from Mac and directed it towards his anxious mother. Pulling his fiancée into his hold and moving closer to his mom, he eventually gave into the request before him. In a soft tone, Billy offered, "Mom, Mackenzie and I would really like it if you came to our wedding." "Really?" was Jill's, too scared to be hopeful, question. He looked down at Mac one last time and the pair shared a small smile before he returned, "Yes though I'm not making any promises. However, if Mac sees something there, I trust in her enough to try this. Please join us."
Jill's emotions bubbled over and she began to lightly tear through a, now, tender smile, "I wouldn't miss it for the world." Mac gave Jill a wink and smile, which Jill reciprocated before deciding to make herself scarce. "I'm going to go. Thanks so much, both of you. I promise you won't regret this." Billy just nodded and gave her a faint smile while Mac said a simple bye, as Jill turned to head out. Once she had gone, Billy easily pulled Mac completely into his embrace, hugging her securely for a long moment. The silence between them lasted a while but was soon broken by Billy whispering near her ear, "You're truly amazing, do you know that? Having a rational talk with my mom and then bringing her here." Mac pulled back, some, and looked back in his brilliant peepers. She then smiled lightly as she replied, "I hope you're not too upset about that. I just couldn't accept things ending that way. I know your relationship is not like mine and my mother's but she is your mom and she loves you . . .and so do I. Don't ever doubt that."
Billy gave her another tiny glow as he charmingly replied, "How can I be upset with you or doubt how you feel when you always steer me right and now you're about to do me the greatest honor by becoming the new Mrs. Abbott." Mac's grin brightened more with his sincere words, "Mrs. Abbott . . . I really like the sound of that." Billy returned her glow as he drew closer to her waiting lips. Then just before he completely cover them, he mumbled tenderly, "Yeah . . . Me too." The two concluded their chat with a deep and adoring kiss.
Chapter 60 . . .
The day had finally arrived. On a clear sunny summer afternoon in St. Louis, Billy and Mac were set to take their vows before both their families and closest friends. The bright blue skies and the light wind that carried the sound and smells of their special day were only the precursor of how things were to happen. Billy was already at the pond, waiting with the other guest, for Mac to make her appearance. He was happily giving everything the once over again. The set up was truly beautiful thanks to Amanda and Kay's hard work. It was just as they had envisioned it, simple yet very elegant. It began with a basic, braided white wood archways intertwined with white lilies, Mac's favorite, that was facing towards the pond. Then there was the cream colored silk rug, which was also lined with white lilies, that lead from the pathway in to the arch. From there, his focus went to the reception area, just off to the side. It was set up sort of like the bistro that Billy and Mac had went to that last night in Miami. Small, intimate tables were staged around one bigger table that housed their two tier lemon chiffon wedding cake, which Amanda baked herself. All the tables were set for two and had personal name plates and white lilies in the center of each. The whole scene was absolutely breath taking.
The only thing need to make it complete was the bride. Mac had decided to make her entrance in one of her favorite ways . . .on horseback.. Her dress, though, provided a bit of a challenge to that at first. As simple and non- traditional as it was , a pure white knee length, silk slip dress, it still had been a task figuring out how to get it accomplished. Finally, her father agreed to join her on her horse. Though he wasn't as comfortable on horseback, he knew how to ride and wouldn't deny his daughter anything on her day. So it was the ceremony was soon set to begin. The guest began taking their places on either side of the walkway while Raul and Greg stood up beside their friend. Billy took in a nervous breath as the familiar wedding march began to play from the cd player set up on a nearby smaller table. All smiled proudly as first Tanya then Rhiana strolled down the aisle dressed in similar dress to Mac's, only theirs were floor length and a shimmering lavender. The two women made it up to their post, then along with the others, turned and watched as a stunning Mackenzie began her trek down the same aisle way , snuggly holding onto her father's arm. She was absolutely radiant as her curly free flowing tresses, crowned by a halo of the same lovely flowers that adorned the whole area, blew gently in the subtle breeze.
Billy eyes his soon to be wife with great appreciation all the way up to the arch . Once there, Brock cheerfully gave his child's hand to the young man standing before the minister. Then, after placing a soft kiss on her cheek, he joined the rest of the party as both Billy and Mac fully turned their attention to each other and the minister. "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join, William Foster Abbott and Mackenzie Elizabeth Browning in holy matrimony. However, before we began the traditional ceremony, the pair has asked that Ms. Browning do the honor of saying few words about love and its power. Amanda was surprised at the request but when she saw the couple smiling at her, hopefully, she knew exactly what she would say. She came up to the front and faced them as she began to speak from her heart.
"Well, I'm a bit surprised at being asked to do this but I guess Mackenzie's heard me yap about it so much she figured might as well." Their was a light chuckle from the entire crowd before she continued on, proudly, "Destiny . . . Fate . . . Kismet, all powerful words, all meaning the exact same thing . . . the way things are preordained to be. When I heard them before, I always smiled because I truly believed in it. Now when I hear any of those words I still smile but not because I just believe in it but because I know it's real . . . every time I see my daughter and Billy together. The way they came together and all that it lead to in it's aftermath . . . How could I, or anyone, not. It takes some of us a lifetime, or longer, to find that special someone who completes us but they were lucky enough to find theirs at the beginning of their journey."
Amanda paused briefly and with a loving smile, looked from one to the other as she concluded, "Both were searching for something when they found each other and soon discovered that what they each needed was in the other. That in itself was rare and extraordinary but the fact that Billy was the link to helping unlock Mackenzie's past and she had the power to heal his wounded heart, just shows that they were, beyond a doubt, meant to be. That's why it makes me so proud to be here before them and all of you and see them complete their destiny. To walk this earth together . . .forever. Billy, Mac I simply wish you guys all the best as you begin your lives together and to always remember this day and this moment and how you feel. Always make each other happy and know we are all always there for you. I love you . . .both of you."
The couple was easily in light tears as she finished her speech and quietly mouthed thanks you's to her as she rejoined the other guest. Billy and Mac gazed deeply into each others eyes, momentarily, before finally refocusing on the minister, who continued the ceremony. Things progressed along effortlessly, as they were read the wedding vows they were to repeat. It wasn't until they were set to exchange their rings that things became truly emotional, though. Tears, now, freely fell from both their eyes as they smiled happily, recognizing that these symbols that would make their union genuine. The crowd was quite moved, as well, as they realized they were in the presence of truelove.
Eventually, the minister came to the close of the service, speaking very proudly at the obviously, amorous pair, "It gives me great pleasure to announce this lovely couple are now husband and wife." He then paused , briefly, and smiled over at Billy before he concluded, "You may now kiss your bride." Billy returned the glow before leaning into his new bride and placing a gentle kiss, at first, on her lips before Mac drew him in more and they, again, became lost in their all consuming love. Their friends and family joyfully applauded for the duo as they continued to seal the ultimate commitment.
Chapter 60B . . .
The reception kicked off soon after and started with Billy's best man, Raul, and Mac's matron of honor, Tanya, saying a few words on their friends. Raul started out, beaming happily at the contented pair and speaking from his experiences with both, "Billy, we've grown up together and had some great times as well as some trials but I want you to know that I have always loved you like a brother and that I will always be there for you no matter what happens. That being said, you have a good one there and I know that because I see how you are when she's around. I was afraid you'd never find that but like Mac's mother said, it found you. Just hold on to it, Buddy. And to you, Mackenzie, I say thank you for bring my best friend back to life and for showing him he deserves to be loved this much. I wish you guys all the happiness in the world and hope everything about your life together rocks . . ." He paused to raise his glass, as did everyone else, before closing, "To Billy and Mac." "To Billy and Mac," was the repeated refrain of the rest of the group before Tanya now stepped to the fore. She took a long look around and then over at her best buddy, who had come so far, with her new husband. This was where she figured they'd end up and she decided her speech would simply speak to that effect. She gave them both a deep smile, as well, before getting right to the point, "I just want to say to you guys, as someone who saw this coming from the moment you two met at that club in Miami, that I wish you nothing but happiness and love for now on and most importantly and just so you never forget . . . I told you so."
The whole party laughed heartily at her final comment as she came over and hugged both Billy and Mac. The newlyweds thanked their friends for their comments before taking their turn at addressing the gathering. The buoyant pair stood before their family and closest friends, smiling brightly and holding each other closely. Billy than began first, "The first thing Mac and I want to do is thank you all for coming and supporting us in this. We realize it was asking a lot for you to, first, get behind this and then help pull it off but we truly appreciate it and are glad you continue to come through for us." He then glanced over at Mac and placed a small kiss on the side of her head before relinquishing the floor to her. She beamed proudly up at him then took over for him, "As my husband said . . ." She forced to pause a moment and smile brighter as she looked back to Billy adoringly and added, "My husband . . . I don't think I'll ever get tired of saying that." He returned her glow and the pair shared another light kiss to the delight of their families. Mac then regained her focus and finished her thoughts.
"It means so much to both of us, to have you all here to share something so special in our lives . We hope you continue to be there for us as we grow together. We love you guys . . .all of you," she stressed as she gazed at everyone there, including Jill, with a sincere smile. Billy concurred with her assessment, to happy to think about much but the moment at hand. He was set to pull his beautiful wife into another loving exchange when she held him up with her hands on either her side of his face. Then with her effervescent brown eyes shining excitedly, Mac, again, stole the floor, having thought up another special way to commemorate their day. Grudgingly, she removed her gaze from her Love and spoke to the whole crowd, "Since this is usually the point where the traditional first dance would take place, I figured, as we have been anything but traditional up to this point, why start now."
There were raised eyebrows by just about everyone, including Billy. She, however, promptly answered their cautious looks, " It just dawned on me that most, but not all of you, were not there when Billy and I made up the last time. The way he did it touched me so and I think everyone else there as well, and I was hoping to get an encore performance out of my hubby. So what do you say, Honey? Will you sing the first song we dance to as a married couple?" Billy was as surprised as everyone else at her request and didn't answer right away. He wasn't about to deny her but he began thinking of how to expand on her idea and soon came up with a reply to her request. With a small but brilliant smile of his own, Billy softly returned, "Yes, I will . . .if you join me." This time Mac was shocked and tried to thoughtfully decline, "Billy, I can't sing. I'd just embarrass us both." "That's not what your mom told me. She says you have a lovely voice," he quickly retorted. Mac glanced over at her mom, who innocently hunched her shoulders while smiling. Mac then turned back to Billy, who spoke again, "Come on. I have the perfect song if you're up for it. Shall we?" She gave him a nervous smile before relenting, "Alright, what's the song?" He leaned in and whispered his selection in her ear. This time her smile was more relaxed as they both moved to the area set aside for their dance, just in front of the pond.
The party gathered around the two as they both concentrated on each other. Billy's sparkling azure peepers locked with Mac's shimmering chocolate ones. Then, as though they were the only two people there, Billy softly lead them off . . .
Billy: 'My Love, there's only you in my life
The only thing that's right
Mac: My first Love, you're every breath that I take
You're every step I make
Together: And I, I want to share all my love with you
No one else will do
And your eyes (your eyes, your eyes)
They tell me how much you care
Oh, yes, you'll always be
My endless love . . .'
The whole area was enthralled with the display of the couple. Both had very beautiful voices, as advertised, and it was obvious they were passionate about what they were doing. Billy had his arm wrapped snuggly around Mac's waist while she had hers folded around his neck. They were still lost in each other's eyes as they continued to belt out the sentimental tune acappella . . .
'Two hearts, two heart that beat as one
Our lives have just begun
And forever, I'll hold you close in my arms
I can't resist your charms
And I, I'd play the fool for you, I'm sure
You know I don't mind (no, you know I don't mind)
Cause, you mean the world to me
I know, I've found in you
My endless love . . .'
The stirring and heartfelt rendition of the classic song soon sucked every one else in, as well. They all began to pair off. Rhiana and Raul were first, followed by Greg and Tanya, then Amanda urged Brock out onto the floor, with Kay and John and the rest of the couples falling into line. Jill was left alone but was unaffected as she stood by, finally appreciating what she was witnessing. The way Billy and Mac were eyeing each other made it crystal clear to her now. This was exactly where her son belonged and definitely what he deserved.
She smiled lightly at the scene and also the knowledge that his happiness would not be challenged any more, not by her or Brittany, who resigned her post shortly after the board meeting. Jabot could have sued her for breech of contract but after the smoke cleared everyone there was glad to see her go. Though, she and Billy we still far apart, Jill was now determined to do all she could to mend their relationship. For now, she would settle for being a part of his special day and hoping it was a step towards that goal . . .
'And Love, I'd play that fool for you, I'm sure
You know, I don't mind ( Whoa, you know I don't mind)
Oh yes, you'd be the only one
Cause no, noone can deny, this love I have inside
And I'll give it all to you
My Love (my Love, my Love)
My endless love.'
The twosome finished their performance with a loving kiss and a loud hand from their guest. The day had gone perfectly and ended that way as well. The last thing they did was cut the cake, which became an adventure unto itself. As they cut a small piece to share, their family prepared to snapped pictures and record their exchange. While Mac sweetly held Billy's pieces of the delicious cake up to him mouth for him to taste, Billy decided to sneak attack her. He brought it to her mouth, like she had, but instead of placing it in her mouth, he pressed it into her face. Mac was stunned as everyone else laughed. She, though, sort of got the last laugh as she quickly recovered and pulled his face down to hers, placing a messy kiss on her Sweetheart. Billy, however, didn't seem to bothered, as he returned the kiss and then proceeded to eat away the sugary confection as Mac giggled along with the rest of the group. It was an absolutely perfect ending to their perfect day.
Chapter 61 . . .
Billy sighed, contently, as he now concentrated exclusively on his new bride. She had her eyes closed and head resting against the seat of the cab. The plane ride into LA, not to mention all of the days earlier events, had finally caught up with both of them. Billy, however, was entirely too caught up in the reality of their situation to follow suit. Billy and Mac were now married. They had gone from strangers, to friends, to the love of each other's lives in a matter of months. It blew his mind, not so much because of the speed, but how right it felt the whole way through. For so long he was sure he'd never let another girl get close to him again but Mac broke down all those walls by simply being her . . .sincere and loving. Never before had he felt so totally and deeply for someone from the first meeting. It was the most all consuming yet serene feeling he had ever experienced.
He tenderly glanced the back of his hand across her cheek, soliciting a tiny smile from the semi slumbering beauty. Billy returned the glow as he thought of how good it felt to know she woukd be with him for always. His joyful reflection was, eventually, suspended by the cabbie announcing they were nearly to their final destination. Billy glanced away from his sweetheart, briefly, to examine the place they would be calling home. As the lovely, two story condo came into sight around the winding driveway, he could only beam a bit brighter. Both he and Mac had agreeded to put their official honeymoon on hold until winter break, as they wanted to focus on getting settled in LA first. They had planned to come to town and find an apartment to hold them over until they found a more permenant place. Billy's father, though, had other ideas. After opening all their other wedding gifts, John presented them with his offering. They jointly opened the small box and found two sets of identical keys. Both were bewildered only momentarily, as he went on to explain they were keys to their new house. That disclosure took them both by surprise, neither expecting something so grand. John, though, went on to tell them he felt it would help them have one less thing to worry about as they adjusted to a new place and married life. They both engulfed the older Abbott and thanked him profusely for all he had done and then did the same with all the other guest before heading off for the airport.
Now here they were, in the shadow of their stunning new residence. Billy, again, focused in on Mac, who was still resting, as the car finally came to a complete stop He knew this woud blow her away and couldn't wait to share it with her. So smiling deeply, he moved closer to her, gently nuzzling his nose into her cheek. She stirred, some, but her eyes remained closed, causing him to persist, this time placing soft kisses on her cheek, the up her jaw line, and finally over to her ear. Once there, he spoke softly, "Hey, Mrs. Abbott . . .we're home." Eventually, her mocha peepers fluttered open with a brighter grin covering her lips. "Hey . . .we're really here?" she asked while now looking over at him and stretching. He gave her another soft peck before gently instructing, "Take a look." Mac, lazily, turned to take in their new home only to beamazed at the view. The entrancing homestead was truly picturesque, a lovely brick villa that sat upon it's own private hill. They were both really lost in it's charm and beauty when Mac finally turned back to her hubby and faintly uttered, "Wow." He glowed at her assessment and nodded as he replied, "My sentiments exactly."
After they finally got themselves together and unloaded from the car, the driver helped bring their things up to the house. There Billy paid and tipped him before he left and the duo prepared to enter their new life together. He pulled out his key and turned to her, "You ready?" She gave him a brilliant beam as she replied excitedly, "Very." So with that, he proceeded to unlock the door. Both took in that moment for a long while before taking their first steps into their new home as husband and wife. It was a bit overwhelming but slowly Mac began to make the first move towards entering. Billy, though, held her up, causing her to look up at him strangely and prompting him to answer her look with a tiny glow, " Some traditions we have to keep." He then went on to stoop down and gently lift his new bride into his arms, eliciting a quiet giggle from her. The pair then cheerfully stepped over the threshold and into their house, where they shared another more passionate kiss before he finally placed her back on the ground.. The then stood in each others grasp for bit longer just taking in their new surroundings. The spacious domicile was decorated in contemporary style, from the comfy looking black leather sofa and recliners, to the sleek black wood coffee and end tables that flanked them. This all then centered around state of the art entertainment center, complete with a large screen TV, DVD player and top of the line stereo system. It was an awesome sight and only the first room they had been in. Billy stole one more soft kiss before going to grab the bags, which afforded Mac the chance to move further into the place and examine the living room a bit more.
Her sights were drawn to the sunlight that was flooding in from a large glass sliding door off to the side the mini bar that resided right across from the living room. She easily made it over to the window and gazed out on another breathtaking scene. There, right over the edge of the balcony, she could see the Pacific Ocean and the sun just beginning to set. Again she was entranced and would have stayed so had it not been for her spouse creeping up on her and placing a tender smooch on her bare shoulder. She smoothly melted into him and both just stood in each other's hold taking in the beautiful view before them. The silence was extended but quite comfortable, neither in a hurry to break it. Billy, however, soon whispered near her ear, "What do you say we check out the rest of the place?" Mac slowly began to move from his hold, turning to give him a blazing glow as she replied, "Let's do it." They shared another quick peck before setting off to explore more of their new home.
They went through the house, peeking in the roomy and loaded kitchen, then two of the extra bed rooms, on the first floor before heading up the stairs and examining the third bedroom and study prior to arriving at the master bedroom at the end of the hall. Once in there, both were again, elated at what they found. It was a huge, fully furnished room. From the king sized bed that was the centerpiece to the dueling dressers, walk in closet and the final catcher, another sliding glass door that led to their own private balcony, the whole area was just grand. Both took in a deep breath and beamed at the setting before they headed out onto this balcony. Out in the mild California evening, the couple took in the picturesque scene. The beach and surf were right in their backyard. It was like some sort of dream but it was theirs, thanks to their family.
"This is just incredible, Billy. Your dad has gone way above and beyond." Billy grinned at her before lightly replying, "He's your family now, too, Mac and trust me this is how all the Abbots are. I, personally, plan to spoil you for, oh . . .the next fifty or sixty years, if that's OK?" "It's better then Ok," she replied as she reached up and placed a tender kiss on his lips. When they finally separated, Mac gave him one more glow before softly stating, "I want to go freshen up some." Billy, grudgingly, released his Sweetheart and watched as she grabbed her carry on bag and proceeded to their adjoining bathroom. He then returned his focus to the serene scene and silently said a thank you to the heavens for all that he had been blessed with . . .
Chapter 61B . . .
Awhile later, Billy had moved back to the lower level of the home and was examining the entertainment center in the living room, when he was eventually brought out of his trance by Mac gently clearing her throat. He smiled, luminously, as he slowly turned to face his wife, only to be thrown for loop at what he observed. Mac had shed her travel attire, a blue jean mini and white tank top, for a very sensual alternative. Billy had to brace himself against the railing when he took in the exquisite beauty clad in a sultry, cream colored nightie that was accentuating her frame perfectly. It was a very tasteful , low cut ,mid thigh length teddy that laced up the front. He could only stand in silent appreciation at her splendor until a slightly, anxious Mac finally broke his trance with a sultry query, "So Mr. Abbott . . .what do you think?" She added a little spin, which caused Billy to finally come out of his stupor, slightly stuttering, "You . . .you look . . .absolutely breathtaking."
She immediately blushed at his candid assessment. Billy couldn't help but smile at one of her many lovable traits . . .her modesty. Gradually, he began to make his way towards her but Mac started to back up while motioning for him to follow. His curiosity was peaked and he did as she requested, ultimately, coming to the master bedroom door which was opened. Upon entering, Billy was, again, stunned at what Mac had waiting for him. Making herself more then comfortable in their place, she had the covers turned down on the king sized bed and lily petals sprinkled all over it. Then the room was accented by soft light from candles that had been placed all around the room.
Billy glowed again as he now watched her lighting a candle she had missed on the night stand near the bed, as well as turning on a cd player. When finished, she turned back to face him, also, beaming . . .
'First, first time I looked into your eyes
I saw heaven, heaven in your eyes
Everything I did before you wasn't worth my while
It should have been you, you all the time
I'd do anything and everything to please you
You know how much I need you
You're always , always on my mind . . .
He soon was gliding over to join her by the bed, gently pulling her into his secure hold. The pair then shared a tender, lingering kiss before slowly ending the exchange, both sharing deep smiles. Billy then quietly spoke to the scene she had created, "Have I told you how amazing you are?" Mac pretended to think about his question for a moment before brightening her smile and lightly, replying, "Not today." "An oversight that won't happen again . . . You, Mackenzie Abbott, are the most amazing woman I have ever met. I will make sure that you are aware of that everyday for the rest of our lives," he passionately replied before deepening their embrace and moving gently with his bride . . .
'You're more then wonderful, more then amazing
The irreplaceable love of my life
You're so incredible, here in these arms tonight
The irreplaceable love of my life
Always, seems like a reality
Forever, don't seem so far away
All I want to, all I want to feel, all I want to be
Is close to you
Everyday is my lucky day
All I want to do, is love you
Place no one above you
I'll tell you why . . .'
Mac absorbed his touch and sincere words before softly responding, " That goes both ways, Billy. I know our life together is going to be awesome." He grinned down at her before raspily returned, "Definitely." He then cover her mouth in another searing but brief kiss, as Mac was the one to break the contact, barely. She gazed up into his incandescent eyes and whispered , "I love you, Billy . . .forever. "Love you, too, Baby," was his own faint retort before the couple reconnected in a sensual exchange and slowly began to melt to their bed . . .
'Baby, you know, you know you're my one and only
All I want to do is be together
Sugar, you know I'll never leave you lonely
Cause in your eyes, in your eyes I see forever . . .'
You're more then wonderful, more then amazing
The irreplaceable love of my life
You're so incredible here in my arms tonight
The irreplaceable love of my life.'
Song Credit: Love Of My Life by Brian McKnight
Epilogue . . .
Both Mac and Billy sat quietly, taking in the invigorating view. The pair slowly ascended towards the brilliantly lit Miami sky on a familiar lift. Billy had out done himself as far as his new missus was concerned. Both had been beyond swamped since arriving in LA, adjusting to a new school and city on top of Billy learning the ropes at Jabot. Mac and Billy, though, had always tried to make sure the other always felt they were priority one. They would spend any free time they had together either studying or working on making their house more theirs, anything to be close. However as fall turned to winter, it was looking less and less likely that the pair would be able to have the honeymoon they put of that summer. School break would be coming but things at Jabot were still so new and Mac didn't want to pull him away while he was trying to adjust. He, however, felt like they needed more time alone to focus on each other. That's when Billy set out to make the plans for something special. It didn't take him long to come up with a very sentimental, and sure to go over well, idea.
One night, while they were studying for spring midterms, he surprised her by not passing her the notes she requested next to him, but two plane tickets. At first, she was shocked and then skeptical and questioned whether he could really getaway and even tried to let him off the hook about having to take a trip at all. Billy, though, promptly assured her he cleared his schedule, that he needed and wanted some free time alone with his little woman and finally that it was not up for debate. With all his reassurances on record, Mac finally got excited about the news of, not only the trip back to Miami, but that it would be happening exactly one year to the day they first met . . .spring break.
Upon arriving in South Beach, the couple proceeded to engage in all the activities they did the first time around. From staying in the hotel Mac and Tanya had, to revisiting the same club where they first met and they even attempted parasailing once more, though, Mac eventually decided against actually going up and instead played co captain with the boat operator while Billy soared high and waved down at her. Everything had gone extremely awesome through out their time there. Then as the week drew to a close and they prepared to return to LA with a pit stop in G.C., Billy did something else to completely blow his wife away. He got reservations at the same restaurant they went to the night they decided to build their relationship. They ate the same meal, danced to the same song and ended the evening the same way, with the sun setting on them as they walked along the beach. It was truly a magical moment for both of them and would have been the perfect way to end their trip. Mac, however, had one more thing she wanted them to share before they left their own private fantasy.
They were set to leave that following evening so she easily persuaded her hubby to take one last stroll down the streets, as the spring break crowd had began to thin out, as well. Before he knew it, she had walked him back to another familiar site. The street fair they had attended with their friends the first time was back and, again, with little coaxing, she got Billy to go in. They mostly browsed around and absorbed the atmosphere that was until Billy watched with, momentary, bewilderment as his Love's eyes brighten, as well as her smile. He followed her eyes and saw what had her so stoked and he couldn't help but join her in that powerful glow. She immediately began to guide him towards the towering contraption that overshadowed the entire event.
It was now where they found themselves, continuing to be lost in the captivating view of the entire coastline from above. The Ferris wheel had just paused it's ascent with the loving duo perched at the top. Their hands were interlocked but neither had felt it necessary to speak since they boarded, instead just enjoying the moment of being together, like the first time. Mac soon, though, took the initiative, breaking her gaze from the view and turning to her still entranced Beau. Then with a light smile playing on her lips, she quietly posed a memorable question to garner his attention. "So . . .do you believe in destiny now?" Billy reciprocated that grin as he slowly turned to face her, recalling when he asked her basically the same question.
"How could I not . . .look at all I have gained since our chance encounter," he sweetly began. Billy then brought their joined hands to his soft lips and placed a kiss upon hers before continuing, "Before I met you, Mac, I really believed I would never let another woman into my heart . . . Then I saw you in that club and things just clicked, even though I was cautious at first." She gazed at him tenderly as he spoke and finally joined in, "I felt it too, though, I was scared by it in the beginning. You were the first guy I fell for and then when getting to know you led to so much more in my life. I was sure we were meant to be." Billy nodded before retorting, "I know . . . it's too uncanny to be a coincidence. You gave me what I needed, someone to trust in again, and I was able to help bring you what you needed, back to your family. What else could it be but destiny."
Mac's beam glistened as she moved closer to him and whispered softly, "Kismet . . .like my mom said. It was how things were suppose to be." Billy now caressed her face gently as he softly replied, "Yeah . . .and I couldn't be more happy about how it turned out." They were within inches of each other now with their lips lightly touching when Mac concluded, "Same here." And then only thing unlike the last time occurred, as the couple exchanged a tender, loving kiss as their seat, slowly, began to come back to earth.