"Well, I think we can safely say that Venice has given Paris some competition." Joey smiled as he held Kelly in his arms and pulled the last of the baggage into the foyer. "Who says the honeymoon has to be after the wedding?"
"Awww sweetie," she smiled kissing him.
"What?" he smiled down at her confused.
"If you think I'm going to let you off that easy, you're crazy. That was so not our honeymoon." Kelly kissed him quickly and walked into the living room. "But it was wonderful," she called back, smiling at him over her shoulder.
Sighing, he grabbed the bag and lugged it up the stairs. He couldn't wait for her to drive him crazy for the rest of his life.
"No problem," Joey panted, barreling down the steps. "No, No," he smiled, waving his hands theatrically, "I've got the door. Sure, I just carried two tons of luggage up the steps, but please…ladies…don't get up," he smiled.
"Ok," Jessica and Kelly smiled and giggled as they resumed their excited chatter in the living room.
The doorbell sounded again.
"On my way," Joey yelled, grabbing the door and pulling it open. "Oh my God," he said, his face breaking into a big smile.
"What?" Kelly yelled from the living room. "What is it sweetie?"
"Don't worry about something old, Kel," he yelled. "Kevin's here!"
"I heard that," Kevin said and he leaned over to give his younger brother a quick hug. Joey smiled and as soon as they pulled apart, he spotted a lanky blonde boy standing behind his brother. He waved to his nephew and then called back into the room.
"Uh, Kel, Kevin brought you a little something. Or a big something actually," he said and winked at Zane, whispering, "You are growing like a weed." And it was true. Every time Joey saw Zane he looked at least an inch taller than before.
Kelly walked into the room and her mouth dropped open in surprise. "Zane, honey!" she cried out and hurried over to him, crushing the teenager in a tight hug. "I thought you were staying in Europe."
Zane grimaced as Kelly squeezed him super tightly. "I hope you're happy to see me."
"Are you kidding? Of course I am!" Kelly said as tears lit in her cobalt eyes.
"Kelly, I think you're crushing him," Joey said.
"Oh, oh yeah," Kelly said and after planting a huge kiss on Zane's forehead she turned to look at Kevin, holding out her arms to him. "Can I have a hug from you too?"
"If you promise not to squeeze the life out of me too," Kevin said.
"Kev's delicate," Joey joked and Kevin shook his head before giving Kelly a warm hug.
"Are you sure you want to marry this jokester?" Kevin asked, jabbing a finger in Joey's direction. "His stand-up routine gets really old after a while."
"Hey, she likes my jokes," Joey said faux-indignantly. "She thinks it's one of my best features. Along with my dashing smile…"
"Well they say love is blind," Kevin joked back and soon the brothers were trading playful barbs.
Kelly grabbed Zane's hand. "Let's go see your aunts while the two of them flex their funny bones." She led him into the living room where Natalie and Jessica were sitting on the sofa with their babies.
"They look like twins," Zane murmured to his mom about the babies.
"Same dad," Kelly whispered back and smiled. Another DNA test had revealed what they had wished for all along – that Brody was indeed Ryder's father as well as Liam's. It was an awkward situation but fortunately Jessica and Natalie had made peace over it sometime ago.
"What are you two whispering about?" Jessica asked as she set down Ryder on a blanket and he immediately started sucking on toys and gurgling happily. Natalie soon put Liam down beside Ryder and they both played together. Hopefully they would always get along this well, Kelly mused.
"Zane was just asking –"
"Which room I'm supposed to stay in?" Zane filled in, covering effortlessly. He was a slick one that was for sure.
"Good question," Natalie said. "We'll think of something though before bedtime. For now there are lots of things to do."
"Wedding planning of course," Jessica said. "Kelly, have you picked a dress yet?"
"Adriana is making me one, yes," Kelly said.
"What about the wedding party?" Natalie asked. "Have you decided on that?"
"What about the seating chart?" Jessica asked. "You know we can't put our mother and your aunt Dorian next to each other. Then there's table settings and –"
Kelly's head was literally swimming at the thought of all the work that needed to be done. "I guess we should start planning, huh?"
"Okay," Joey said coming up behind Kelly and resting his chin atop her head, "table settings aren't really my forte so what about if Kevin, Zane and I go out for a bit and plan something else?"
"The bachelor party," Kevin offered.
Zane's eyes widened. "Oh! Do I get to go to that too?" He asked hopefully.
"Of course, Zane," Kelly says. "Because there will be no strippers or anything like that. Right, Uncle Joey?" She said pointedly.
Joey sighed. "Okay …"
"But we'll still look for venues," Kevin said. "Come on, Buchanan boys. Leave the wedding stuff to the girls. You know we'd just mess it up anyway."
Kelly shook her head but was laughing. She kissed Joey and Zane goodbye and then Kevin hugged his sisters and the men were soon gone.
"Wedding planning?" Jessica encouraged.
"Of course," Kelly said. "This is the last wedding I ever intend to have so I really want to it to be amazing."
The Buchanan boys loaded into Kevin's rental car and soon they were driving across town scouting locations for the bachelor party. Nothing seemed particularly suitable at first glance so they decided lunch at The Palace would help - if not clear their minds, then at least fill their stomachs.
They were soon sitting down with menus in their hands when they saw someone familiar approaching their table.
Rachel Gannon approached the table and made a comment about how there was a roomful of handsome Buchanan men…her eyes seemed to land on her ex, Kevin, though. It didn't go unnoticed.
"What are you doing back in town," Kevin asked her. It wasn't lost on him that her eyes seemed sad. And then she said it.
"I'm trying to pull my mom out of her depression. You heard they lost the baby didn't you?"
"I was sorry to hear that," Joey said. "Are they going to make the wedding? We would certainly understand if they wanted to skip it."
Rachel looked at the collection of men gathered and tried to hide the sadness in her eyes. She had lost a sister when her mother took a tumble down a flight of stairs and her family was suffering…but at the same time she wanted to make things okay for Joey because he had a right to be happy.
"I'm trying to convince them to come but I'm not sure they'll take the bait. They don't want to ruin your happy day by being so miserable."
"I'm sure everyone would understand," Kevin said as he rose from the table. He looked right at Rachel. "You want to take a walk?"
Rachel looked at Kevin suspiciously. Something just didn't seem right with him. Was he reaching out because he wanted to cheer her up or because he needed cheering up? She didn't know.
"I would love to go for a walk." Rachel agreed.
Joey and Zane looked at Kevin and Rachel as they walked out of the place. Neither of them knew what to say so they initially said nothing.
"Is your father okay," Joey asked.
"Yeah, why…" Zane returned.
"I don't know. He just looks kind of lost."
"He does, doesn't he?"
And the conversation ended there…the words they wanted to say dying in their throat as they looked towards the terrace.
Kevin and Rachel walked towards the river and sat on a bunch of rocks. He wasn't really sure why he had brought her here or why he felt safe with her but he knew he had to tell someone something or he would lose his mind. Rachel seemed so lost herself as they spent a moment just sitting.
"Are you okay," Rachel finally asked, breaking the silence.
"Shouldn't I be asking you that? You're the one who lost a sister."
"I'm not the one who needs the prayers. My mother's the one who…never mind. I don't want to put a damper on this day."
"You're worried about her. It's okay. It's okay to care."
"I care about you too. If there's something you want to tell me."
"I don't know but you aren't acting like yourself. I know I haven't seen you in a long time but I think I still know when you're hiding something. What is it Kevin? What aren't you telling me? You can trust me. "
She reached out and took his hand and he wondered if it was really okay to tell her…if somehow she would help him make his brother's wedding okay…