“Seeing Beauty”, Ch. 22–Wedding Planning & Marriage Counseling on Sunday, April 26th , 9/28/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #280)
[I will illustrate my stories with my dream cast: Richard Armitage as Keith Erickson, Mandy Moore as Lily Sherman, Matthew Perry as Brock, David Schwimmer as Jack, and Matt LeBlanc as Sam, and the late Jessica Tandy as Hazel, and Leelee Sobieski as Mercedes. etc.]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “Seeing Beauty” is a nontraditional romantic love story set amidst contemporary times. As such there will be some passages in this story involving heartfelt love scenes or other sauciness (R rated) and some passages involving highly dramatic moments. I will label the maturity rating of those chapters accordingly. Otherwise, the general rating for this story is PG or PG-13 due to mature situations and topics. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read those chapters. This is my disclaimer.
Author’s Recap from the previous installment: Keith and Lily plan their lives after making love in Keith’s apartment after lunch on Sunday. Their future is bright and hopeful.
“Seeing Beauty”, Ch. 22–Wedding Planning & Marriage Counseling on Sunday, April 26th
The week following Keith and Lily getting engaged is a busy one. Keith informs his rehab therapists that he would like to accelerate his training for living as a blind person so that he may move home in the next two weeks. He lines up physical therapists to visit him in his home to check on his leg rehabilitation. Keith also contacts his ad agency to explore when he might go back to work—given that he wants to also help Lily with her surgery. Finally, Keith and Lily contact Pastor Nels and arrange to meet with him after this coming Sunday’s April 26th worship service about wedding planning. After the service and coffee hour, Keith and Lily settle into chairs in front of Pastor Nels’ desk in his church office to discuss their hoped for wedding plans.
Pastor Nels: “Well first, you two, let me say that I’m delighted for you both. I’ve never seen our Lily happier, nor more radiant than this past week after she got engaged.”
Lily: “Thank you Pastor Nels.” Lily says shyly, also knowing that she and Keith are lovers. She is still learning how to navigate in the world as a woman in love and having a lover. Lily thinks that she should feel shocked at her seemingly wanton behavior–but she is feeling less so as she and Keith had met and loved over this past week. Lily feels that she and Keith are so right for each other that their loving each other can’t be wrong.
Keith: “Yes, thank you Pastor Nels. I feel like the luckiest guy on the planet.” Keith’s countenance bears the truth of that remark. Keith is radiantly joyful. And for a man still recovering from his severe physical injuries–and no guarantee of getting his sight back–he is surprisingly upbeat. But then, Keith has his sweet Lily in his life and as his love now.
Lily: “No, I’m the lucky one.” Keith and Lily look at each other adoringly and Keith kisses Lily’s hand that he has been clasping.
Pastor Nels: “I think your preferred date of Saturday, June 27th can be accommodated nicely with a mid day ceremony. Will the reception be here or elsewhere?”
Lily: “We haven’t thought that far ahead.”
Keith: “I suppose it’s easiest to just have a reception here at the church so people don’t have to caravan in their cars elsewhere. We could still have Lorenzo’s cater it.”
Lily: “That sounds lovely.”
Pastor Nels: “And with you two having your wedding date two months away, it will give you time to meet with me for marriage counseling that I give to all young couples.”
Keith: Keith blinks a bit startled. “Marriage counseling?” He gulps. Lily squeezes Keith’s hand tenderly clasped in hers.
Pastor Nels: “Yes, our church requires that all young couples explore issues related to marriage and family before they are married–to make sure that they have a solid foundation. So many couples divorce today because they haven’t discussed important issues, or they haven’t learned how to communicate effectively with each other as they build their lives together.”
Lily: “How many sessions are involved?” Keith asks skeptically.
Pastor Nels: “We just have four half hour sessions over a month’s period. So, we can get most of those in before your surgery if you prefer, Lily. “ Then chuckling, he says. “And there is some homework. You’ll each have reflective exercises to ponder issues related to marriage and family individually, you’ll discuss it together, then we’ll talk about any questions or concerns you have in our sessions. However, let me stress that my role is to facilitate, not to dictate. So, I hope that alleviates any concerns you might have about the nature of these counseling sessions.” Pastor Nels realizes that Keith is a mature man–with more years of relationship experience than Lily. But he senses that Keith might not have had productive relationships given that he is a 35 year old man newly contemplating marriage for the first time.
Keith: “It does, thank you.” Whew! 2 hours total isn’t so bad, thinks Keith.
Pastor Nels: “Now as to your order of the wedding service. We’ll need to decide on some basics. I’ll send you home with some checklists and options that you can discuss privately. Then next Sunday, we’ll chat and clarify any questions you have and you can let me know your wedding service choices. Does that sound fair?”
Lily: “Yes, Pastor Nels, thank you.” She says in a dreamy haze as she thinks about her upcoming wedding.
Keith: “Yes, thank you. I guess all that’s left is to announce our engagement, then decide on our attendants, our wedding clothes, the cake and food, the flowers, etc.–just a few minor details.” They all laugh. “Oh, and our honeymoon destination, Lily Darling. I’m holding you to your wish for a warmer climate with a beach location.”
As they had last Sunday, Keith and Lily head to Lorenzo’s for lunch after church and their wedding planning meeting with the pastor. Everything is coming together for them. And, they will be living together as of next weekend. They chat leaning in closely to each other while they wait for their meals to arrive.
Keith: Keith tenderly strokes Lily’s left hand, the one wearing her engagement ring. He whispers in her ear. “I can’t believe it, Lily Darling. In one short week, we’ll be living together. It’s a dream come true.”
Lily: “I know, Keith my love. I feel the same way. I have to pinch myself.” Lily smiles [(2) right] warmly at Keith and he smiles back at her. “Keith! You smiled after I smiled. Can you see my face?”
Keith: “Yes, I seem to see things a little bit clearer each day.” He smiles. “And, though I’m still walking around on crutches, I’m hoping by our wedding day in June to be mostly rid of them. I want to walk you out of the church unimpeded.”
Lily: “That’s great Keith! I’m happy for you!” She leans in and gives him a hug. “And how is the apartment living blind training going this week?”
Keith: “Good.” Then he adds sheepishly. “Basically, I’m planning to not touch the stove at all.” He waves his hands in front of himself. “I’m sticking with the microwave.” He raises his eyebrows cheekily.
Lily: “Oh? And are you planning to have me cook all of our meals?” She asks impishly.
Keith: “Nooo. I just don’t want to burn the place down. Besides, I was never much use in the kitchen before I lost my sight–just a warmer upper.” They both laugh.
Lily: “What about work. Are you planning to go back soon? And what adaptations will you need there?”
Keith: “Yes. I’m going to work the first two weeks in May, the 4th through the 15th. Janet is going to be my right arm for reading and summarizing documents for me. And, I’ll see if I can’t get a large plasma screen tv hooked into my computer in the hope that I can see some things while my vision improves. Then, I’ll take off the first two weeks you’re having your surgery and then recovering from it through the end of May. After that, I’ll work the first four weeks in June before our wedding and then have off the last week of June and first week of July for our honeymoon.”
Lily: “Well, you sound like you’ve got everything planned out. We still have to talk about announcing our engagement and picking our attendants and such. I want to get as much planning done before my surgery that I can, because I know that I won’t really feel up for doing anything but healing after it.”
Keith: “Yes. Hopefully, they’ll have you on good pain meds. How long with they keep you in the hospital?”
Lily: “I’ll be in the hospital overnight. Then the next two days I’ll stay at a private nursing facility.” Keith frowns. “Now, Keith, I’ll miss you, too. But, I’ll need the nursing care—just like you needed nursing care right after your surgery. But, I should be home by Thursday for you to play nursemaid to me.”
Keith: “Great! I can’t wait to turn the tables on you and I’ll take care of you for a change.”
Lily: She says caressing his face. “Keith my love. You have taken care of me all along.” She smiles warmly at him. Then Keith lifts Lily’s hand to his lips and he kisses it.
Lily and Keith go on to discuss their attendants and some other wedding details during their lovely lunch. But most importantly, they have homework to do before their marriage counseling with Pastor Nels next week. So, Keith and Lily head to Keith’s rehab suite of rooms after lunch where they can do their homework in privacy.
After returning to Keith’s suite of rooms at his private rehab facility, he and Lily make love joyously before sitting around comfortably only partially clothed as they open the sealed envelope containing their first marriage counseling assignment.
Keith: “Lily, having a sealed envelope with our marriage counseling assignment in it almost makes it seem like we’re in a clandestine spy operation.” They both laugh.
Lily: “Well, hand it over and let me see what it says.” Keith hands her the envelope and she looks at it intently. “Hmmm. Well, this should be interesting. We’re supposed to write wedding vows that convey why we love each other and what we give to each other in our love. Although, these vows don’t have to actually be used at our wedding. It’s just to jumpstart our thinking about why we want to marry each other.
Keith: “Well, I’m good with words, so this shouldn’t be hard. But, I’ll have to figure out a way of maybe dictating it to a recording device since I still can’t see well enough to type it on a computer even if I enlarge the type face. So, my end may be a bit difficult logistically.”
Lily: “You know, when you go back to work, you’ll have to navigate the issue of recording your ideas. So, this will just be good practice for you. Why don’t we each pick one thing to start with—what we love about the other person and what our love gives to them. We’ll have to think about that a little bit.”
Keith: Keith smiles [(3) right]. “I think I’m ready. How about you?”
Lily: “Almost. You go first.”
Keith: “Well, you’re putting me on the spot. Here goes. My Darling Lily is sweetness and goodness and caring personified. My Lily has faith in others, even when they don’t have faith in themselves. My Lily touches my very soul with her love for me and I feel blessed. I can only hope that my love for Lily gives her the happiness that she so richly deserves as we share our lives together as husband and wife, best friends, lovers, and soul mates. Keith leans over and kisses Lily adoringly and he feels the tears falling down her cheeks.
Lily: “Oh Keith my love! That was so beautiful and heartfelt.” They kiss adoringly yet again. “I’m afraid my vows are not as poetic, but they still come from my heart. My love Keith is a lovely dream that I have hoped for all of my life–to find a man to love and who loves me, completely and unconditionally. I feel safe and protected and loved and cherished by Keith. I hope that my love for Keith gives him in full measure the support and encouragement he needs to meet life’s challenges, the devotion to live his passions fully, and the peace and contentment to enjoy the blessings that we will share together as husband and wife.
Keith: “Oh Lily Darling. You are a poet.” Keith leans down and kisses Lily tenderly.
After Lily transcribes each of their vows onto their homework sheet, she and Keith celebrate their love again with joyous and tender lovemaking that is sweet, reverent, caring, and adoring before Lily must return to her apartment for the night. They have only a few more nights when they must part from each other. Because this weekend, Keith will move back home and Lily will move in with him.
To be continued with Chapter 23
(1) The “Seeing Beauty” story logo is a composite of:
a) Image representing Keith Erickson is that of British actor Richard Armitage as Lucas North in the BBC’s Spooks (2008 – 2010), series 8 promo, pix 15 was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spookspromo/album/slides/series8-15.html
b) Image representing Lily Sherman is that of American actress Mandy Moore and was found at http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Mandy-Moore-mandy-moore-661788_1024_768.jpg ; NB: I chose Ms. Moore to represent this character not because she is fat or chubby–far from it–but because she has a fresh faced innocence and sincerity that reflects the goodness of this character. Any pre weight loss Lily images could be handled with makeup and costuming.
(2) Lily image is that of Mandy Moore and was found at http://images.fashionmonitor.com/Images/2012/6/2_19052_9105.jpg
(3) Keith image is that of British actor Richard Armitage portraying Lucas North in Spooks, series 8, episode 5, pix 7
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