Yes, I am getting back on the horse so to speak…. I hope I can stay on….


Marry Me (Train)

"Can you put that over there please"? Collins asked the florist as the last arrangement spilled over the vase, overtaking the smaller more contained stems and blooms around the room.

"Honey, those are beautiful" Mrs. Collins stated, leaning in close enough so her daughter could hear the words solemnly whispered, feeling the necessity as the grand room surrounding them emanated a reverent aura.

"Yes, they are, and thank you for all of your help. I can't believe everything came together so easily" Collins replied in the same hushed tone, letting a small smile creep over her features as she looped her arm through her mother's.

"It was my pleasure sweetheart" Mrs. Collins answered as she pulled her daughter in closer, looking around the room, completely satisfied as all the colors flowed together that gave the room a warm feel, wrapping those who entered in a loving embrace.

"You can't be serious, that was perfect" Austin stated through gritted teeth as Jason's voice came through the speakers once again, wanting to run through the song one more time.

"It's almost perfect. Just one more time, humor me okay"? Jason replied, with a hushed tone as he covered the microphone, not wanting the musicians in the other room to hear him.

" I am holding you to that, I mean it, one more time, that's it" Austin said a little more forcefully, not wanting to be at the studio any longer than necessary.

"Sorry buddy, but they are paying us the big bucks to get this right. So let's get this right, and then we will call it a wrap" Jason responded, as he looked through the glass into the other room that was patiently waiting his cue to begin again.

The band began to build the introduction to the song that would once again, filter through the speakers, that would soon have the lights on the board dancing in their own rhythm. The sounds bounced off the walls and trickled through the headphones of each band member as they began to get lost in their own instruments, knowing the tune before the notes were even played. The occupants in the other room were soon both smiling at each other as each instrument came together as one, to complete the arrangement, just as they had heard in their own heads, knowing, this was it, this was going to be the song, the song that would set this group on their way. Jason clicked the button that would allow his voice to fill the other room and then said, "That was great guys, that's it for today. See Julianne on your way out and she will set you up with a time to come back and go through the final edit".

"Can we go now"? Austin stated impatiently, as he began to turn the pots to clear out the previous sessions settings.

"Yes, I am done torturing you today. Oh wait, this is your job remember, I get paid to torture you and you get paid to take the torture" Jason chided as he rolled his eyes at his best friend and former band mate, knowing he was just anxious about the next day.

"Do you need help setting up sis"? Jason stated as he held the door open for Simone who was loaded down with her camera equipment.

"Yes, actually I do. Can you grab the other tripod out of the back? Then meet me in the main chapel so I can check the space I have to work with and find a good spot to set up" Simone replied while checking her bags to make sure she has enough memory cards for today's event.

"Okay, I will be right back" Jason answered as he pushed back through the door in search of her car, finding it quickly as it was parked along the curb, with the lights still flashing.

Simone was double checking the zoom on her camera when a familiar voice rang through her ears. She looked up to see a face from her past. Her lips turned upward as she took in the sight of the woman in front of her, who only a few years ago, was sitting in her lecture hall, taking in all of her words as she talked about the drama and tragedy that weaved their way through the great written works in English literature. She set down her equipment and moved to embrace her former student who had become a part of her 'family' once she was a somewhat permanent fixture at her house, at the many gatherings, birthdays and holidays over the years. It had been a couple of years since they had seen each other. Simone traveling schedule left her little time to attend the normal activities of family and friends, so the sight of the more mature woman in front of her, made her heart swell, realizing all at once, that she had grown up so much, her features changing just enough to notice a difference, but it was a good difference. They wrapped their arms around each other as people had a tendency to do not having seen each other for a couple of years.

"You look absolutely beautiful" Simone stated while stepping back to get another look at the woman who was now meticulously put together in her attire on this day that she had been dreaming of since she was a little girl.

"Thank you Simone, you look great also" Collins stated with a smile for her former professor who had turned in her lecture hall for the more detailed view of the world through the lens of a camera.

"So, congratulations are in order. I am however surprised that you accepted, well, knowing that Austin is still under the assumption that Homer Simpson should get his own spin-off show" Simone stated as she did the best she could holding back her laughter, settling on a slight smirk as she finished her sentence.

"Thank you. I know, you're right, but he has a couple of other qualities that balance that out. I should congratulate you as well" Collins replied while letting out a little laugh at Simone's remark but soon formed a smile when she noticed the younger Bradley struggling with staying upright as the legs of the tripod extended unexpectedly.

"Wow! You look, um"… Jason stammered but was interrupted by Collins saying "Hey, aren't you supposed to be making sure someone doesn't decide to run for it"?

"Don't you worry about that, he is totally occupied. His brother brought the latest version of Rockband. Actually, we will probably have to remind him he is getting married today" Jason replied with a slight chuckle as he set the equipment down at the same time trying to avoid Collins' swipe at his shoulder for his previous comment.

"Hey now, don't mess up your dress" Jason stated as he quickly moved out of her reach and headed back out the door to join the rest of the guys for some last minute antics to keep the groom-to-be relaxed before the big moment.

"They will never change will they" Collins said matter of factly as she smoothed out her dress a little after her attempt of physically assaulting her fiancé's best friend.

"No, they won't" Simone replied knowing that as much as they had all moved on in age, the men in the other room would for the most part always function using the part of their brain that has never really evolved from their high school days.

"How long are you in town for this time"? Collins asked quietly hoping her response would be something along the lines of a few months or maybe longer.

"I wish I could give you a definitive answer. I haven't heard about any new assignments as of yet, so I am hoping I will be around for at least a few weeks this time" Simone replied appreciative of Collins inquiry, but knowing the real reason behind her question. She took a deep breath, pretended to be adjusting the cap on the lens of the camera she was holding and continued by saying, "Can I ask you something"?

"Of course" Collins replied, moving in and adjusting her dress so she could sit on the pew across from Simone.

"How is"….. Simone's words were interrupted by the sound of a door opening and a loud voice saying "We have been looking all over for you" a tall auburn-haired girl bellowed as she stomped in an uncoordinated fashion down the strip of carpeting that would lead her to her cousin and the woman who at one time turned her already green eyes, more green for a time many years ago. She finished her trot toward the front, adjusted her dress to join the two other women in their seated positions.

"Hi Simone" Cheyenne stated as she sat behind her pew and put her hand on her shoulder and gave it a squeeze.

"Hi Cheyenne, good to see you again and you look beautiful" Simone responded with a small smile and returned the sentiment with a squeeze to Cheyenne's forearm that was now resting on the back of the pew.

"Thank you Simone" Cheyenne stated with a grin and continued by saying, "Aunt Jane is looking for you. She says that you needed to be in the dressing room, like right now so no one who isn't supposed to see you, sees you".

"Alright, alright, she is more nervous than I am. I think I need to go find some wine to calm her down" Collins replied as she got up from the pew, making a conscious effort not to snag her dress on anything.

"My mom already took care of that. She is on her second glass already" Cheyenne said with a smirk as she playfully elbowed Simone before she got up to follow her cousin back to the dressing room so she could finish getting ready.

"We will see you in about an hour. If you need any help, just go down the hallway and listen for a bunch of obnoxious noises and I am sure someone in that room will be nice enough to offer assistance" Collins stated as she moved past Simone with a wide smile, just taking in the whole moment, the whole day so far, and what was going to come later on.

"Okay, I will see you later" Simone replied as she returned the smile in Collins direction, feeling a sense of warmth at the sight of the girls in their dresses and the decorations placed meticulously around the room. She closed her eyes for a minute, to take in the scent of the flowers that surrounded the room in simple beauty, and soon her senses were overwhelmed with the sights and sounds of the last place she felt completely secure, completely loved, completely lost in the heart of someone else. That day was perfect. That day found Simone surrounded more colors than she could visually take in all at once. She made her way down each path, taking in the scent of each species of flower and plant soon found herself surrounded by the many subtle colors of the Plumeria, but the fragrance filled her senses with a calmness she could never say she had ever experienced in her entire life. She had brought her camera, to take a few candid photos of people on their vacation in the state that was the last to be granted statehood that was also divided into a set of islands that gave the world such diverse beauty from the ocean to the highest volcano. She had left Annabelle back at the villa, when she claimed she wanted to go on her own nature hike while she was taking photographs for the magazine. Simone continued her journey through the gardens and noticed a thatch of thick leaved plants that would lead a person out to an open field filled with wild flowers and grasses. She got closer to the plants and noticed some of the had been 'written' on and she took note of the description placed on a placard next to the first set stating these are "Autograph Trees" and their leaves can be marked on like paper. She walked further down the path, noting the different quotes people had left as a memento of their visit. She came to the end of the path when she stopped to read a single leaf at eye level that said, "Simone, stay on the path, I will be waiting" with a shape of a heart drawn below the words followed by the letter "A".

She took a deep breath, to bring herself back to reality quickly realizing how much time had gotten away from her when she heard the volume in the chapel increase due to the guest beginning to fill the foyer and pews for the upcoming nuptials. She gathered the rest of her equipment and did one last check, as the din grew louder, she looked back toward the doors that lead to the foyer and noticed her brother, just standing there, smiling at her. He was looking more and more like their father, especially now since his hair was a little shorter and his face was free from stubble. She returned the heartfelt smile but that quickly turned to a small grin when she noticed him move away from doorway as he reached in his pocket and pulled out his phone.

"Where are you? What do you mean you can't tell"….. Jason's rant was cut off by someone tapping him on the shoulder as he turned around to see who it was; he was met with mischievous eyes, a small smirk and was soon engulfing the caller on the end of the line in a bear hug.

"I can't believe it, you're really here" Jason mumbled before he set the person that he had just squeezed all the air out of their lungs down.

"I hope that dress still fits" was heard falling from the lips of Jason's former band mate.

"Well, you better hurry up, if you weren't sure, that music you hear is not from the opening act" Jason chided as he shoved the late intruder in the direction of the dressing room.

Happy Holidays everyone!

I hope all of you have a Happy New year! Please, where ever you are, be safe!

Here's to a great 2011!