Savannah Chapter 15: Wedding Dinner and Bachelorette Party

| Sep 27, 2021
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Savannah flew home to Atlanta from Chicago, and Mother met me at the airport. I went up to my room, found it had an entire makeover. For some reason, I thought I might have walked into Gwen’s old room, my mistake. ‘Nope, this her room,’ and as I turned to walk back to the first room. I said out loud.

“Mom!” She was right behind me, and I almost knocked her over when I turned around.

“Do you like it, Savannah ?”

“Oh my gosh, Mother.” As I gasped for air and put my hand to my heart. “It’s beautiful. I’ve only had dreams of a room like this, but never this elegant.” The walls were painted a pale butterscotch yellow. Plus, a four-poster canopy bed and new furniture. There were flowers on the dresser and in the bathroom remodeled. The shower head was gone, so I could only take a bubble bath. The vanity was well lighted, so I didn’t have to use Sis’s bathroom anymore to put on my makeup.

“And I got you a few cute items hanging in your closets for you. I’ll be doing your Sister’s room next.

I walked over to each closet and pulled each item out and held them up against me.

“They’re darling, Mother. Thank you, thank you, and thank you. What’s in that large bag?”

“Oh, that is the gown you wore when you went to the ball with Fred. Remember?”

“Oh my gosh, how could I ever forget that evening, Mom? It is indelibly embedded in my brain for life. I’d never be who I am today without you and Gwen’s help, support, love, and encouragement.” I held Mother tight.

“Savannah, the flowers are from Gwen. She brought them over last night,” I paused and thought for a moment. Wow, I said to myself, with all that she was going through to get ready for her wedding, she still had time to think of me. I called her and thanked her for the beautiful thought of the lovely bouquet.

Sis called again later and told me on the phone, “Savannah, tomorrow, you have to get your dresses for the dinner party and bridesmaid dress fitted. I’ll text you the address. It’s 10 a.m. tomorrow. Bring three, four or five-inch heels, whatever you decide to wear.”

I was amazed by how much had to be done for Gwen’s wedding. Mother was becoming quite stressed and frazzled, so I offered to take over some of her responsibilities. Hopefully, it would give her time to work on what she wanted to do; and allow her some time to herself and rest and recharge. I sat her down at the kitchen table and made a list of what still needed to be done from her list of the unchecked off items. Next, I pulled out another piece of paper and drew a line down the middle, and put Mom on top of one column and Me on the other. Mother chose what she wanted to do, and I put it on the first list. I list the rest for me to do. I saw the relief on Mother’s face.

Mother made sandwiches and a salad that night for us for dinner.

“Mother, it feels wonderful to be home. Home, I love that word. It warms my heart.” We chatted in the living room after dinner but had an early night. We both were up early the next day.

The next morning, I told Mom, “Mother, I felt like I was sleeping and dreaming on a cloud on my new bed last night. And the vanity for my makeup is perfect. You are so sweet and thoughtful. Thank you so much.”

After breakfast, I asked Mother if she wanted to go to the boutique for my dress tailoring.

“Sorry, dear. I have too much to do.”

“I understand. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” I wore jeans and a tank top, grabbed some 4-inch heels, put them in my big tote bag, and picked up my sweater. Mom told me my bra strap was showing on the way to the door, so I readjusted it.

I drove to the boutique, parked in the nearby garage, and headed East on Glendale Street toward the tailor shop. I looked down the street and saw the silhouette of a figure I thought I recognized. As I approached the closer, I saw it was Fred looking in another store window. I walked to him,

“Fred, Fred Franklin, how are you?” He stared at me for a while, and we both said, ‘Savannah,’ at the same time.

“You look amazing, Savannah. How are you?” Followed by a hug. “Oh my gosh, what a wonderful surprise. You look amazing. What are you doing in town?” I still had to stand on my toes to kiss Fred on his cheek. I guess I haven’t grown a single bit.

“So do you, Fred. I think fondly about you. How are your parents? Oh, my Sister (I should have said cousin), Gwen is getting married, and I am part of her wedding. I here now to get my two dresses fitted.”

“Fantastic, I think Mother told me we received an invitation.” Then he paused, then continued. “May I buy you lunch?”

“You’re still so sweet, Fred. Of course, I love to join you. I’m unsure how long this will take.”

“May I come in and wait for you? You’re always worth the wait!”

“You’re too sweet, Fred.” He offered me his arm, then opened the door, and we walked in.

I was the only girl there for the fitting. Sis had chosen some beautiful outfits. I assumed she got my dress size from Mom. The saleslady hung them in the dressing room, and I put them on for alterations. In a little over an hour, I was done. I still had the last dress on when I heard, “Savannah .” I turned to my left to look. A flash immediately followed it. Fred just snapped a picture of me on his phone.

I looked at Fred sternly. “Can you please at least wait for me to smile?” Flash again.

“Ready for lunch?”

“I’m dressed kinda causal.” I left my heels on and rolled down the cuffs of my jeans.

“You look perfect as usual. In fact, Savannah, you would look fantastic in a burlap potato sack. I know the perfect place. It’s just around the corner.” Fred offered me his arm. I took hold, and off we went.

I thought to myself as we walked. ‘A burlap potato sack dress? I hope it has a lining.’

The restaurant was named The Aviary. It had large spacious, lightly tinted windows and beautiful greenery painted on a base coat of canary yellow and painting of birds, butterflies, flowers, and empty cages hanging from the walls and ceiling. The waiter came for drinks, and be both ordered sweet tea.

“Savannah, it is so nice to see you. My mother asks about you all the time.” That made me smile.

“You and your Mother must come to join us for dinner at the club.”

“That is a very kind offer, Fred. I’ll ask Mom and let you know. But it can’t be until after the wedding. How are you, parents? How are you? What are you doing these days? This place is lovely. Is it new?” I couldn’t stop talking and asking unrelated and random questions and not allowing time for him to answer.

“It’s been here maybe three or four months. I brought Mother last week, and everyone is fine.” The waiter came back with our ice teas and asked if we wished to order. Before I could say a word, Fred said,

“The young lady will have Aviary salad, and I’ll have a club sandwich.”

Wow, I thought. No one has ever ordered for me before. I loved it. I’ve been rooted back in the land of chivalry. I thought every man in Chicago should come down South of the Mason Dixon Line for obligatory chivalry training. He saw I was getting cold with only a tank top on. Fred took off his blazer and put it over my shoulders.

“Thank you, Fred. I left my sweater in the car.” He was still so thoughtful.

Fred asks about my life since he saw me last.

“Well, after graduation from college, and offered a job in Chicago. My job is fast-paced. I sometimes have time to date and having to work late a lot thwarts having a relationship.” I wanted to change the conversation back to him.

“Father wants me to go back to school and study medicine so that I can take over his practice. Mother says to do whatever makes me happy. Medical school is a huge commitment of time. I date on occasion, still haven’t found the right Southern Belle.”

“I find that hard to believe, Fred. I’ve never been with anyone as sweet and thoughtful as you.” I smiled, reached over, held his hand, and looked him in the eye as I squeezed his hand. “Don’t worry, I know you will find her, and she’ll be the luckiest lady in the World, Fred. I think you should come to Chicago and open a school to teach the northern guys how to be real gentlemen!” We let go of our hands when our food came.

Superficial chit-chat while ate or meals.

“My salad is scrumptious. Thank you so much for ordering it for me.” Fred nodded.

“I am so sorry to cut this wonderful time short. I promised Mom I help her this afternoon with wedding arrangements.”

“I understand.” Fred paid the bill the said,

“May I walk you to your car?”

“I’d love that, Fred.” He stood up first, pulled my chair, and offered me his arm, and I took off his blazer and handed him back to him. I held his arm tight, and we walked. The warm Southern sun rays felt soothing as it radiated down upon my shoulders after being in the chilly restaurant.

Fred opened my car door.

“Don’t forget to ask you, Mother, about dinner.”

“Oh, I won’t forget.” I pulled a piece of paper and pen out of my purse and wrote on it. “Here’s my phone number and email. Please send the photographs you took of me in the boutique—the ones with the smile; so I can show them to Mom and Gwen. It was so wonderful to see you. And thank you for the lovely lunch, Fred.” Fred gave me a big hug like he didn’t want me to go. Even with my four-inch heels, I still had to strain to get on my toes to kiss Fred again on the cheek. Fred closed my door, and I smiled and waved to him as I drove away.

I ran into the house. “Mom! Mom! Mom!”

“What is it, dear?”

“Guess who I ran into?” I didn’t give Mother any time to answer. “I met, Fred. He bought me lunch at this darling place. We have to go sometime.”

Mother, holding my hand. “I can’t wait to hear about it. Maybe over dinner. I’m in the middle of something.”

“Oh, Okay.”

Mother and I had a salad for dinner, and I told her about seeing Fred and lunch.

“Savannah, I think you should marry him.”

“Mother! He doesn’t even know I’m not a real woman.

“You fooled me, Savannah. And I’m your Mother. Any you fooled everyone everywhere you have been.” My phone dinged.

“Mom, look, Fred texted me the pictures he took of me in the boutique. Here, look. “I’ll send them to Sis.”

“Savannah, it’s beautiful. Both you and Gwen have turned into beautiful women.”

“Awe, Mom. Thank you. Oh, Mom, I forgot. Fred invited us to join him and his Mother and Father for dinner that the club after the wedding. Will you please come, please?”

“Of course, dear.” Great I’ll text Fred back after dinner.

Mother seemed to appreciate me helping her so much with the wedding dinner; and bachelorette party that I, as the Maid of Honor, is supposed to coordinate.

I finally had time to send the picture Fred took of me to Gwen.

The dinner party was in three days.

The Wedding Dinner

Mother was a blessing to me, helping me to organize Sis’s bachelorette party. I’ve never been to one before, so I appreciated and needed Mom’s help and advice since I had no clue what to do or what happens at one.

Mother reserved a room for the reception and a small one for the dinner party where I stayed for Mother’s Day. The wedding would be at our church. Sis only wanted family and bridesmaids and grooms for dinner. The invitation with who, what, when, and where were all sent out early, and all luckily RSVP’d early. We were all set.

Gwen turned and surprised me when she asked me, “Savannah, you want to be my male stripper?”

“What?” As I turned my head quickly to the right towards her with lowered eyebrows showing my disbelief in what I just heard.

“Gwen, that’s an awful thing to say to your Sister.”

“Sorry, Sis. I was just joking.”

I asked, “Do you want a male stripper?”

“Not really. I just want a fun night with everyone.”Mom interjected quickly and quite forcefully, “What? No stripper coming out of a cake?” Gwen and I both promptly looked at each other and then back at Mother in disbelief, and our eyebrows raised.

“Did you have one at your bachelorette party?” I asked.

“Why, of course, it did.” Gwen and I looked at each other again quickly with our eyes still wide-open, and I bit the right side of my bottom lip, not knowing what or if to say or ask anything.

“No, stripper!” Gwen burst out.

“Okay, Okay.” First from Mom, then from me almost in unison.

Looking over the dinner party list, I barely recognized the name of one only one of the bridesmaids. She was one of Gwen’s girlfriends I met a long time ago. I had met Steve once briefly, but not his parents or any of his groomsmen. We had a solid headcount, the venue, and the menu all arranged. Mother was footing the bill for this, and I felt terrible.

“I’ll be more than happy to help you with the cost of Gwen’s wedding, Mother.”“You’ll do nothing of the sort, Savannah Thomas. Your father left me well off. I’ll even pay for your wedding too.” I didn’t know what to say about her last statement. I smiled, hugged, and praised Mother for being so kind to us. I could not even begin to think of anyone marrying me. A guy dressed like a girl since junior high school.

I drove Mother to the dinner party. We arrived first. She looked so beautiful. Mother wore this beautiful forest green velvety long-sleeved dress that I’ve never seen before. I wore the long, light orange-soda-colored dress with three-quarter length sleeves that I had fitted at the boutique. It had a boatneck and fitted in my torso, and the skirt dropped to my painted toes. Mother went to check on the dinner while I had bellmen carry our boxes and bags up to our hotel suite. Our hotel suite was where Sis’s bachelorette party would be following the dinner. After all, that’s what she wanted. I then returned down to be with Mother to greet everyone as they arrived.

Gwen and Steve showed up with his parents first. Sis looked terrific in this long icy steel-blue-colored dress that had an amazing to die for the skirt on it.

“So this is your cousin from Atlanta, Gwen,” Steve’s Mother asked?

‘Yes, this is, Savannah but Mother and I have both have completely adopted her. I now consider her my younger Sister and best friend, and Mother calls Savannah her youngest daughter.”

That was so, so nice of Sis to say that. Mother and I held hands and smiled at each other. Mother and I both went up to her and kissed Gwen on her cheek. I kissed her right cheek and Mother, her left cheek at the same time. Flash. I was glad the photographer captured that photo

Next, all the bridesmaids and the many cute, well-dressed groomsmen arrived. Hugs and air kisses from the bridesmaids. Handshakes and only kiss on my hand from one groomsman. It seems many of the cute groomsmen took an interest in me. They had me corralled in the back corner by the open bar, and I was flattered. Mom to the rescue – not that I wanted or needed rescuing – darn it, Mother. I smiled and told the young men I’d love to chat with them after dinner.

Dinner started. I sat to the left of Steve’s best man. Darn, he has a ring on his finger, I joked to myself. We chatted small talk on the usual topics of work, family, travel, hobbies, etc. Mother was pleased and relieved that everyone was chatting and intermingling. Dinner lasted just over two hours. Steve’s father spoke first, but way too long; then Larry Bates, Steve’s best man, gave him a heartfelt yet funny toast. And finally, my turn to speak – The Maid of Honor, to speak. I had not prepared anything to say.

I got up and straightened my dress, then walked over confidently to stand next to Sis and put my hand on her shoulder, then held her hand. I made her stand up, and I put my arm around her waist. I welcomed everyone and praised and congratulated Steve and Gwen for their special day in their lives.

“Gwen and met many years ago during a family reunion. I felt more at home with her and Mrs. Thomas than any other place in the world. I now only see Gwen as my older Sister, more than my first cousin, and Mrs. Thomas as my mother. I am so happy for you, Gwen, Steve, and everybody here for sharing this joyous night with us. Gwen, soon you will be Mrs. Gwendolyn Thomas Jefferson, but in my heart, you’ll always be ‘Sis’ to me. Please, everyone, raise your glass with me to wish Steve and Gwen the most wondrous life together that anyone could ever dream of, and of a life together that we have all read about in storybooks.” I raised my glass, “To Steve and Gwen!” Gwen gave me a huge hug and kissed me on my cheek after we tapped wine glasses to my toast. Flash, flash. I sat down, content with what I said. The obligatory talks were over. Everyone began getting up and started their final socializing. A few slowly departed.

Mother came up to me. “Savannah, I am so proud of you. That was an amazing and heartwarming Maid of Honor toast to your Sister and Steve that I’ve ever heard.” I became emotional. I welted up and tried not to cry.

Some of the groomsmen stopped me to chat for a while. One asked me out, but I said I was returning to Chicago and thanked him for his kind offer.

“I love our family so much, Mother. I would have never dreamt of being offered this incredible and amazing honor for me to be her Maid of Honor. I walked with Mother holding her hand as we headed for the elevator to go to the suite. But before we left, I made sure each bridesmaid had our room number that I gave them on a pink post-it note.

The Bachelorette Party

The bachelorette party seemed more like a slumber party, except for no pizza and doing nails and hair. It was what Gwen requested. I’ve never been to a bachelorette party. I gave all the girls an oversized, long button-up shirt to wear so we’d all be comfortable. We all took off our dresses, hung them up, and wore the more comfortable shirts all night. Even Mother wore one. She looked so cute in it. We provided plenty of wine and non-alcoholic beverages, and plenty of finger food to absorb the alcohol.

I started with a story about how Gwen and I got in trouble one time. Of course, I was her brother then, but who cares. Everyone laughed. Then Mother said,

“I remember that day you two got in trouble,” as she shook her finger toward us. That topped it off, and everyone started laughing again.

Next, each of the bridesmaids could tell as many stories about her and Gwen as they wanted. Laughing, jokes, more stories. What a fantastic evening.

I looked at the clock, and it was almost 2 a.m.

“Hey, girls,” I said. “All of you are more than welcome to crash here. I’ll have the hotel bring up more pillows and blankets. Who wants to stay? And we have a late checkout.” No one stayed. Most had already booked their rooms or were going home. They said their goodbye’s and grabbed their dresses and belonging. I couldn’t believe most of them are going out in the hallways barefooted, wearing only the big shirts I gave them, holding their gowns and purses in their arms. It must be the alcohol.

We all hugged and kissed as they left. Sis and I shared a bed and gave Mom the other one.

We all slept with our makeup on, and I looked horrendous the next morning. I gathered everything up and was going down to pay the room bill. I decided to touch up my makeup as best I could without starting all over before heading downstairs. I prayed I didn’t scare anyone. I took off the big shirt and put on jeans and a Henley. I brought Mother and Gwen some coffee and toast. Later I carried some items down and had the valet get our car.

Mother and Sis and the bellman came down with the remaining bags and packages to load the car.

“Ready to go home, Mom?” Before Sis hopped in her car and headed to her apartment, she hugged and kissed us.

Both Mother and I needed the next day to recover and relax.

Next: The day after.

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Category: Fiction


About the Author ()

This story is not like other stories that I’ve read saying that the author has always know they were a girl — I think I discovered being one.

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