Eddie and Janet woke up the next morning tangled together in his bed, sore, hung over but happy. He was wrapped around her, his arms locked behind her back, pulling her into his body, her leg slung over his. Eddie was the first to wake, kissing Janet gently she smiled at him, her eyes still closed.
"Good Morning trouble maker." she whispered into his neck, deeply inhaling his scent. Something she had missed, yearned for.
"Back at you baby." He nuzzled her, his hands wandering over her body that was still new to him. Janet's new body looked and felt amazing, but his missed her soft curves and rounded belly.
"Ok, that's enough of that, I need a break. I have earned a break and some breakfast." She giggled as he ticked her bare hip.
"Ok, what are you in the mood for? He asked suggestively
"Food, actual food. The diner maybe or The Happy Donut. Yes, donuts and coffee. Sugar and caffeine. I think we both have earned it." Janet wiggled out from under him, walking naked to the bathroom "Shower?" she questioned, raising an eyebrow. Eddie jumped up running to follow her.
They sat in a booth, on the same side. Something that Janet always found annoying until she herself was in a relationship and then she understood it. The need to be close, to touch, to be touched. With fresh hot donuts and coffee in hand, they sat there together like they had never been apart. He caught her up on BFW, how they were growing every month. Carter Bump had thrown them tons of local business, the library, the middle school, the police station. They were able to hire Ikey and Ronnie full time, had a few local guys as part timers and were still turning a profit. They had a great reputation, despite Ray trying to undercut them and Eddie was even able to get back some of his business from Latekka Landscaping. He loved that he was able to work out doors again. Janet told him all about New York, her apartment and her job, how she was able to really get in the kitchens with the chefs and make drinks to go with the meals. They called her a mixologist not a bartender. She told him how much she loved the city, how there was always something to do or somewhere to go. How everything was possible there. And she and Rory took full advantage of it. They talked about Nick and Hannah and the impending wedding that was just a day away despite everything they had gone through they were finally there. They talked about everything except for the one thing that was on both of there minds, where were they going to go from here. Owen and Allison walked into The Happy Donut with the kids and joined them at their table. Owen was torn, he saw how much pain Brett was in despite how hard he tried to hide it. But in his heart Owen knew that Janet was where she should be. With Eddie.
"So are you guys all ready for the rehearsal dinner tonight?' Owen asked taking a huge bite of his cruller.
"What's to be ready for O. Ro, we stand there and watch and then we eat. I think I can handle that. What about you Meadows?" Eddie out his arm around her shoulders, twisting his finger in her hair.
"I think so, Latekka. I think so." Janet smiled up at him, resting her hand on his knee, sipping her coffee "How are you feeling Allison?"
"Huge!" She answered exasperated. The table laughed.
"Can I get you guys a refill? Alishia, The Happy Donut owner asked holding up a fresh pot of coffee. Eddie and Owen raised their mugs and Alicia poured.
"Hey Alishia, where are you from?"
"Me? New Zealand. I came to the States God, six years ago to go to the Duf and never left. And then I opened this place last year."
"Well we are grateful you did, these donuts rock!" Owen shouted, overly happy about a donut. Alishia smiled, poured some fresh coffee into Janet's cup.
"Good to see you back in the Ridge Janet."
"Its good to be here Alishia" Janet smiled as she lifted her mug to her lips. "I remember you bringing me donuts to Sully's when you were just thinking about opening this place and look at what you've got. Its amazing what a year and a half can do."
"Ain't that the god's honest truth. Well I am off guys, time to make the donuts." They all laughed as she walked away.
"Where are you guys headed after this?" Allison asked rubbing her belly.
"Uh, were going to go for a walk around the park and then go see Hannah and Nick. You guys?"
"Were taking the kids to a movie and then to the sitter."
Eddie and Janet were the first to leave, saying their goodbyes to the Rowans. They started down October Road, hand and hand. Stopping to talk to the townies, as they passed the shops and stores. Eddie would stop every so often to kiss the side of Janet's head or the top of her hand, wrapping his arms around his waist. They happily turned the corner, running right into Cassie walking out of the market with a grocery bag full of food. Cassie saw them before they saw her. She was stunned, watching them together looking so happy, it was so easy between them. She tried to go unseen but Janet looked away from Eddie gaze and locked eyes with her. A flash of pain spread across both their faces. Janet broke away from Eddie's grasp, confusing him, as she walked over to Cassie. Eddie looked up realizing what was happening and hung back giving them both some space."
"Cassie, hey." Janet said softly.
"Hi." Cassie knew that once things were over between her and Eddie he would go straight to Janet but they had just broken up two days ago and he already looks so damn happy, it broke her heart. "Uh, how are you?"
"I'm good. How are you?" Janet asked actually concerned.
"I'm good. Fine." Cassie's had mixed feelings, in one way Janet was the enemy. The girl who came and blew up her life. But on the other hand Janet was not that girl, she didn't come here intending to blow anything up. What Cassie and eddie had was an illusion, and what he and Janet had was the real thing.
"Cassie, come on? This whole thing just fucking sucks. Its ok to say it." Janet felt awful for how Brett and Cassie was the collateral damage of the Janet and Eddie saga.
"Yeah, it does fucking suck. It hurts like hell but it's the right thing." Janet put her hand on Cassie's shoulder.
"Look, I know this is strange, but I really liked you. We all do actually. I would like us to be friends, not like besties but friends. I am going to be spending more time in the Ridge now, so we are going to see each other, it doesn't have to fucking suck. It could just plain old suck." Janet and Cassie both laughed. Eddie watched, relaxing a bit.
"I see it, you know. Why you two belong together. Its so obvious. I had that once, and I let it go."
"Its never too late Cassie, trust me, its never too late. Is it Ok if I call you the next time I am in town?"
"Yeah, that would be nice." The two embraced tentatively and Cassie continued on her way past Eddie.
"Hey Eddie." They said no more, they only smiled as they passed each other on the street.
Eddie caught up to Janet, looking back at Cassie once more before turning his full attention back to Janet.
"Why don't we skip the park and take a nap before we go to Nick and Hannah's. I am not as young as I used to be and you wore me out last night. " Janet laughed.
"I wore you out huh. Ok lets go take a nap old man."
They walked into the house on Gelson, Phil and Pizza Girl were sitting in the sofa watching Barefoot Contessa make a pesto sauce.
"See Philly, I told you. I can totally use walnuts instead of pine nuts. Jeeze."
"Hey you two. What goes on?" Phil asked happy to see them back together. Eddie threw him a bag of donuts. "Nice, thanks man." Pizza Girl grabbed the bag from Phil, pulling out a Boston Cream, her favorite.
"Thanks Eddie, these are my favorite."
"That's why I got it PG, Janet and I are going to take a nap. Will you wake us in an hour we have to go to Nick and Hannah's."
"Nap?" Phil asked raising his eyebrows "is that code for sex?"
"PHIL!" Pizza Girl shouted slapping him on the shoulder. Janet blushed and Eddie scoffed.
"No Phyz, it mean nap, sleeping." Eddie grabbed Janet's hand leading her up the stairs.
"Philly I cant believe you sometimes"
"What, it was a valid question. I have many a time walked in on Eddie and his company. I think of Janet like a sister, that is the LAST thing I want to see. " He shuddered. "Now, if you use walnuts we cant make this when Nick and Hannah come for dinner."
'He's allergic to peanuts, not walnuts."
"You wanna risk it?"
They laid down together, fully clothed, shoes kicked off on the floor. Eddie on his back like he always slept and Janet tucked into his arm, hand on his chest. They were peaceful and contented together. The drifted off to sleep quickly and when Phil knocked on the door an hour later, it felt like sixty seconds passed not sixty minutes. Phil watched them for a moment, and was struck with a feeling that everything was how it was suppose to be. Like anything and everything was possible if you were willing to fight for it. If you were willing to work for it and in that moment he knew that he had to leave the house and give Emily the life she deserved, the life they deserved. He just wasn't sure how he was going to muster the strength to do it.
Eddie and Janet decided to walk to Nick and Hannah's, actually it was Hannah's house. Nick moved in when they got engaged and Aubrey moved in with Ronnie and the Commander and Leslie. All the pieces were falling into place.
"What goes on?" Eddie yelled out as he walked thru the door not bothering to knock.
"We're in the kitchen." Nick called out. Hannah was standing at the sink, washing tomatoes for the salad she was making, Sam was sitting in the stool reading a book and Nick was at the fridge getting the beers.
"Hey Dad, get me a juice box."
"Please." Sam said dripping with thirteen year old sarcasm. 'And how are my two favorite Star crossed lovers doing today?" Sam asked looking at Janet and Eddie
"I thought you mom and dad were your favorite star crossed lovers Rockstar?" Janet replied matching his tone.
"Cut the crap Sam." Nick said handing him the juice box. "Hey guys, you hungry?" He handed out the beers. Eddie sat next to Sam on the stool, pulling Janet against of him.
"I am always hungry." Eddie took a long swing from his beer.
"Ain't that the truth." Janet mumbled over her bottle of beer. Eddie chuckled, understanding what she meant.
"I got steaks, I am going to throw them on the grill, think you can pull yourself away from Janet long enough to help me?" Eddie patted Janet in her thigh, urging her off his lap, making his way towards Nick. "Come on Sam, you too."
"Nahh, I am going to go watch the game in my room, call me for dinner."
"Ok Janet, details… go!"
"Hannah, I don't know, its all happened so quick but I feel like I never left, like all this time hadn't passed. I mean Eddie and me together, its perfect."
"Yeah, perfect. Until we ran into Cassie on O Road today."
"Ouch, that was bound to happen." Hannah put the lettuce in the salad spinner as Janet chopped the tomatoes.
"Yeah, but so soon, it's been two days. I felt like shit. She was so nice, I would like to try and be her friend. I mean I am going to be in the Ridge more, we are bound to see each other."
"Wait, you are not moving back here?"
"I don't know, I mean right now I have a lease, and I love my job. And things with me and Eddie are so new, old but still new. So no, I am not moving back right away. I am happy in New York."
"So man, you and Janet back together. How goes that?' Nick asked throwing the steaks on the grill.
"It's good Nicky, really really good. I mean I love her. I never stopped."
"I know, we all know. I am really happy for you Eddie. How did Cassie take it."
"It sucked, it was the worst thing I ever had to do. But she knew, she called me out. She said she knew we were never going down the aisle."
"Yeah, we ran into her today. I don't know what Janet said but they hugged."
"Well, its past you guys now, you can move forward. Is she moving back to the ridge."
"Yeah, I mean yeah. I will take a few days after the wedding and take her down to New York to get her stuff."
They all sat in the dining room, chowing down in the fine meal in front of them. When Hannah started to speak.
"Um, so we asked you guys here for a reason." This meal was in the works weeks, Nick and Hannah had something the needed to ask of their Maid of Honor and Best Man. "It is kind of perfect now that you two are back together.' Nick grabbed Hannah's hand urging her on. "Well, a few weeks ago I found out that I am pregnant." Janet gasped loudly "And Nick and I would like you guys to be the godparents!"
"Hannah Jane! Oh my god yes!" Janet and Hannah jumped from their seat and embraced, tears in both of their eyes. Eddie and Nick stood, shaking hands and then embracing.
"I am so happy for you guys."
"Do you realize that your baby and the Rowans baby are going to around the same age… the Knights Brigade 2.0!"
"I know, Janet can you believe it!"
"When are you due?"
"The end of November."
"Oh good, I will have to come back and stay for a few weeks." Eddie heard Janet's comment, I will have to come back and stay for a few weeks and it made him stop dead in his tracks. Maybe she just wasn't thinking, caught up in the moment. Or maybe she had no intention of moving back to the Ridge. Did she expect him to move to New York, it wasn't possible with the shop and the landscaping. His mind was reeling, but he knew now was not the time or the place to bring it up. Eddie sat the rest of the meal in silence, listening to them talk about tonight's rehearsal dinner, the plans for tomorrow morning, the brunch on Sunday. It sat there drinking his beer waiting to get Janet alone.
"Hey you, what goes on? You have been so quiet." Janet leaned into him at the table.
"I'm fine, we will talk when we get back to my house."
"Eddie, I am going to my place after this I need to get ready for tonight, as do you. I want my man looking sexy. " Janet kissed him softly, feeling his tension. "Hey Hannah," She called into the kitchen "I think we are going to take off, its later then I thought and we have much to do for tonight."
"'Holy shit J you are right." Hannah called back. "Ill see you guys at the Johnson Inn"
Janet and Eddie walked in silence for a few minutes until Janet couldn't take it anymore.
"Ok, Latekka, spill it." Eddie took a deep breath
"What did you mean when you said, you would come for a few weeks when the baby is born?" Janet's stomach tightened "I mean, I thought we could go down to the city this week and pickup your stuff."
"Eddie, I cant just move back here, Just like that."
"And why not?" Eddie was trying to control his temper knowing anger would get him nowhere.
"Well, I have a lease, that Rory cant afford alone. I have a job that I love, I have friends and a life in NY. You just want me to give that up?" Janet was feeling her body tingle.
"Jem, I want you here with me. Everyday, every morning, every night. I don't want you hundreds of miles away. And I cant move to NY with the shop. If it wasn't for that I would just to be with you." Tears welled up in Janet's eyes.
"Eddie, I am sorry, but I am not ready to live back here. I am leaving on Sunday with Rory and Brett as planned."
"Are you fucking kidding me, is that what this is about Brett?"
"Don't you dare, Eddie. Don't." Janet put her hand on his cheek, trying to calm him down. "Eddie I love you, I do. I will never love anyone more, except for myself. And I am telling you I am not ready to be here yet. I want to be with you everyday, every morning and every night. But I need to know that we are stable and solid before I am willing to give up the life I have made for myself. And if you love me, really love me then you will understand. I work, Thursday through Sunday, so I can me here Monday thru Wednesday. I can take the train to Boston and some weekends you can come back with me. We can work this out.'
Eddie was silent, trying to absorb everything she was saying.
"Look, lets talk about this later, I am going to head back to my house. And get ready, I will pick you up at 6:30" Eddie gave her a quick peck on the lips, unable to meet her eyes, turned on his heel and walked away.
She called out to him, trying to get him to stay. He just waved his hand to her and kept on walking. She watched him until he turned the corner and she walked the rest of the way home on her own.
"Hey Rory, you here?" Janet called out as she walked through here front door. Rory emerged from the bathroom, makeup half done, hair in rollers.
"Well, look who is alive and well!" Rory joked. Janet half smiled, giving it way "Oh Christ, don't tell me you are fighting already?" Janet slumped down ion to her sofa.
"It was more like a disagreement, and then he just walked away."
"Me moving back to the Ridge."
"Wait you're not?"
"Well, no. Not now, I mean I can't. we have a lease and jobs. I couldn't just leave you in the lurch and I like my life in NY."
"Janet, I just assumed you would be moving back. I started making plans you see…"
"Well my mom is not doing so good, her Parkinson's is getting worse. So she asked me to come back. So I got to thinking the Ridge does not have a Yoga studio, I was thinking I could open one. And then there is Ikey."
"Wait, hold on Ikey?"
"Um, yeah. We have been spending a lot of time together this week, everyone off doing their own things. He is really… special…and sweet and supportive. I really think I like him." Janet was floored.
"So you are moving back here then, like soon?"
"Yeah, I spoke to Brett, he said he would talk to our landlord, or we could maybe sublet. I just assumed you would be thrilled about this, that you would want to come back here. And to be honest J, not seeing you everyday. I really couldn't handle that so…"
"You and Ikey, I need a second." Janet laughed and Rory joined in. "Everything is happening so fast, I don't know what to think Rory."
"Stop thinking and feel, what feels right?"
"Cut the new age crap."
"Seriously, what feels right Janet. Can you really imagine living back in NY away from Eddie. Away from me and Hannah, Sam…" Janet jumped off the sofa.
"Uh, Rory. I'll be back ok." She ran out the door, running as fast as she could to Gelson. She had been so stupid, so foolish to think that she could leave. Eddie was right, she wanted to be with him everywhere all the time. She wanted to have coffee with Hannah on a Tuesday, she wanted to go to all of Sam's games, she wanted to go to Sully's on a Friday and drink with Eddie and her friends. She wanted to come home.
She bounded into the front door, scaring Phil and Emily. Janet was out of breath.
"Is… he… up… Stairs…? Emily nodded and Janet ran up taking two stairs at a time. She swung his door open. He stood there stunned, in his suit pants and he shirt open and un-tucked. Janet stood there for a moment staring at him trying to catch her breath.
"I am an idiot… a stupid… fucking… id… iot…" she had her hands on her knees still trying calm he breathing.
"Janet?" He stood in front of her, and ran his hand through her hair.
"Yes, I want to move back to the Ridge, Yes." She stood up straight, resting her hand over his heart.
"Really." Eddie wrapped his arms around her, pressing his lips to hers.
"Ok Latekka, don't start something we cant finish I have a party to get ready for and you need to give me a ride, I am took old for all this running around."
The music was playing and the doors opened, Janet began her walk down the aisle, following the bridesmaids who went before her. She was nervous, her dress was heavy and her new shoes pinched but Sam was by her side, keeping her straight. He looked like a little man in his tux, walking tall. He gave her arm a squeeze and they looked at each other and smiled. She relaxed when she saw Eddie standing next to Nick at the alter. He looked so happy and relaxed, she tried to match his emotions. So much had happened is such a short period of time, but they were finally in a good place. The best place. She made it to the end of the aisle and Eddie couldn't take is eyes off of her. She was breathtaking, but to him she always was and always had been. He took her hand, lacing his fingers in hers and the priest began to speak.
"We are gathered today, to bear witness to the marriage of James Edward Latekka and Janet Edith Meadows. Who gives this woman in holy matrimony?"
"I do.' Sam shouted from behind them. Eddie couldn't take his eyes off of her, she glistened every part of her looked like she was lit from within. Her dress was simple, white satin. It was a scoop neck, dipping low in front showing off her cleavage, and empire waist and a pale grey silk sash tied in a bow to match the grey morning suit's and silk ties the groom and his groomsmen wore. She wore a bird cage veil over her perfectly curled hair and diamond crusted broach that Gram's had given her. Her flowers were a mix of lavender and sterling roses.
"Is there anyone to give just cause why these two should not be wed, speak now or forever hold your peace?" The small church was filled to capacity, the entire town of Knights Ridge showing up to see two of their own finally get married. The girls were all in pale lavender silk, Hannah was Janet's Matron of Honor, eight months pregnant and glowing, Rory was her Maid of Honor, newly engaged herself to Ikey, Allison had just given birth to Carter, a now three month old bouncing baby boy who slept in the front row, with his older brother and sister, Emily a newlywed, married Phil a month earlier in Vegas and Aubrey still happily dating Ronnie, both too young to make a lifelong commitment. Gramps had passed away three months prior and Grams sat there next to Sully both of them with tears in their eyes. Leslie sat with The Commander was doing well finally out of the hospital after receiving a bone marrow transplant from his grandson Sam.
Their vows were simple, traditional, neither one big on speaking in public. And when The priest said you may now kiss your bride Eddie smiled, lifted the small veil and gently kissed his wife. He rolled the word around in his head. Mrs. Latekka his wife. Janet had never been so happy in her life, she had gotten everything she had ever wanted, everything she had dreamed about. She looked at Eddie, her husband and knew that no matter what came next, he would always be at her side.
"Alone at last." Eddie whispered to his wife, when the door shut on their limo. "And how are you feeling Mrs. Latekka?" He asked kissing her forehead.
"I feel amazing. How are you feeling Mr. Latekka."
"Fine, I guess." He said jokingly as she lightly punched him in his shoulder. He lowered himself to her growing belly "And how are you feeling Baby Latekka?" He gently rubbed his hands over her belly and kissed it softly. Janet ran her fingers through his hair. They didn't know it at the time, but that night in the old claw foot tub, Janet and Eddie made a baby. Eddie reached up, drawing Janet's mouth to his really kissing his wife for the first time. He was hungry for her, the days before the wedding they tried to behave at Janet's request. Janet moaned into his mouth, wanting him, needing him.
"Eddie, don't start something we cant finish. We have a reception to get to." Eddie knocked on the window between them and the driver.
"Could you please take a detour, down Springbay Road." The driver nodded, with a smirk on his face and he raised the glass. Janet laughed happily and Eddies hands wandered up her dress.
"I guess we are just going to have to be late then."
Ok guys, I am planning to end the story here. If you want to see a sequel let me know and I will see what I can come up with. I really hope you all enjoyed this story. I know there were some bumps in the road with Brett/Cassie but it was all leading up the bait and switch wedding. I hope you all thought it was Nick/Hannah's wedding at first… Pleas review, as I love to hear what you all have to say… xoxo CBD