“Seeing Beauty”, Ch. 32 End (PG-13): Wedding Week Festivities, 11/19/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #309)
[From time to time, 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; the late Jessica Tandy as Hazel, and Leelee Sobieski as Mercedes. etc.]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “Seeing Beauty” is a 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: Lily’s final doctor’s appointment with her OBGYN goes well–her fallopian tube is healing nicely. But the doctor suggests that they wait six months to try to get pregnant, in order to give Lily’s body time to fully heal from all of her surgeries. Lily’s friends and Keith host a surprise wedding shower for kitchen gifts–except for Hazel’s gift of a sheer while lace negligee. Hazel “wanted to get her out of the kitchen.” And Keith has a very special present for Lily that he is waiting to share with her on their wedding day.
“Seeing Beauty”, Ch. 32 End (PG-13): Wedding Week Festivities
As Keith strides into his office suite bearing a box of pastry treats for his dedicated staff, he is the picture of the expectant bridegroom this Monday, June 22nd–five days before his June 27th Saturday wedding. Keith looks relaxed but professional in his pin stripe suit with his open collared shirt–his form of dressy casual. He has a selection of ties in his desk should he need them to look more business like for a meeting. Keith is jubilant–for many reasons that shall soon become clear.
Janet: Quickly getting up from her desk, she goes over to help him as she takes the pastry box out of his hand. “You should have let me know that you arrived–so I could meet you downstairs to bring you up.”
Keith: “Ha! Thanks Janet. But if I can’t find my way to my own office by now with my eyes closed …” He closes his eyes to illustrate. “… then I haven’t been paying attention. Ha ha ha!” Keith’s mood is upbeat and infectious.
Keith: “Yes!” With a gleeful smile on Keith’s face [(2) right], his hand hovers over the treats, and then he selects a banana nut muffin–with frosting on it. Holding it up for her inspection, he says raising his eyebrows up and down. “I’m making a healthy choice.” He says facetiously about the icing.
Janet: “I can see that.” She looks a little askance at him for knowing which pastry was the banana nut muffin, his favorite. “I’ll bring your coffee in to you in a moment–along with the Morton Foods advertising contracts sent down from legal.”
Keith: “Excellent! There is nothing like sealing a $50 million advertising deal first thing Monday Morning to pump up your energy.”
Although Janet thinks that Keith has quite enough energy for the both of them this morning–times two. Keith walks jauntily into his office and sets down his briefcase and muffin. Then he turns on his desk computer with its large display–but he doesn’t bother turning on the 6 foot wall board display next to it and also linked to his computer that he normally uses. Keith pulls out his eye glasses from his vest pocket and plops them on his face as he peruses email and news online [(3) right].
Janet: Walking into Keith’s airy office with windows with magnificent lake park views on two sides, Janet sets Keith’s coffee cup down on his desk. Then she sits in a chair to the side of his desk and facing him as she watches him intently with a slightly quizzical expression on her face. She hasn’t seen him wear glasses before. “Anything good?” She asks nonchalantly.
Keith: “Dicker & Sons is casting about for new representation.” He looks over at her with a gleam in his eye. Keith just loves landing advertising accounts that are ripe for the plucking. “Oh and Matthew Tripp got voted off Dancing with the Stars.” He grins like a cheshire cat.
Janet: “Why Keith! I didn’t realize that you watched that kind of show.” She joshes him.
Keith: “I don’t really. But Lily wants us to take dance lessons for fun this fall. So we have watched a few episodes. I just hope Lily doesn’t expect me to wear a jumpsuit. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” He howls with laughter while Janet titters.
Janet: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” Then she props her elbow on Keith’s desk and leans in close to him, studying him intently.
Keith: A bit taken a back, Keith leans back and asks. “What?”
Janet: “When were you going to tell us that you can see again?” She asks amusingly as she points to her own glasses.
Keith: “Ha ha ha! Nothing gets past you, Janet.”
Janet: “Keith! This is wonderful!” She says joyously as they clasp hands.
Keith: “Thanks! It’s a miracle!” He sighs.
Janet: “So what do the doctors say? Does Lily know?”
Keith: “It doesn’t look like I will need that second brain operation. Things seem to be clearing up all on their own nicely. I’m not cleared to drive yet, but the doctors think I might be in a couple of months. And no, Lily does not know.”
Janet: “But why, Keith? Lily will be so thrilled for you!”
Keith: “I know she will be. But I want to surprise her on our wedding day. She hasn’t seen me wear my glasses–they would be too big of a clue that my eyesight has vastly improved. I mean, why would I need glasses if I couldn’t see? Right? So, I just slipped up in wearing them here at the office.”
Janet: “Well, I can’t wait to see Lily’s face when she realizes that you can really see her in her wedding gown.”
Keith: “Me, too.”
Keith beams. They continue the rest of their meeting going over the new Morton Foods advertising contracts that Keith signs. And then Keith slips out at lunchtime to pick up his wedding attire at the formal wear shop.
After picking up Keith’s parents at the airport on Wednesday afternoon, Keith and Lily settle them into the guest room at their place and then they all go out for dinner at Biaggi’s–the restaurant that is also catering their wedding. Keith and Lily are the picture of a happy and soon to be married couple. And Keith’s parents couldn’t be more pleased for them both. After placing their orders–capellini de mare all around–they chat.
Dad: “Well, you two, Saturday is the big day!” He claps his hands together and rubs them excitedly. “Any glitches?”
Mom: “Now dear.” She gently swats his arm playfully. “You will make them nervous. Kids I’m sure that everything will go off swimmingly.” She gives Keith and Lily a warm smile.
Keith: “Mom and Dad, Between Lily and I, we have things organized down to the second.” He nods his head commandingly.
Lily: “Well, something might come up, I suppose. But I think things are simple enough. And with a church reception catered by Biaggi’s, it will be lovely.” She smiles wanly.
Mom: “Lily dear, you look a little pale. Are you feeling alright?”
Keith: “Lily darling?”
Lily: “I’m fine everyone. Just pre-wedding jitters.” She worries about her family coming to the wedding.
Dad: “How about you, son. Any jitters?”
Keith: “Not yet.” He says with a twinkle in his eye. “Nothing can spoil our wedding day, Lily Darling. You will be my beautiful bride and I will be your loving groom.” He leans over and kisses her lips softly.
Dad: “Now now. Remember, you’re not legal yet.” Keith grins sheepishly and Lily blushes. “That reminds me, for tradition’s sake you will be absenting yourself from your apartment the night before the wedding, I hope?”
Keith: “Yes, Dad.” He rolls his eyes. “I have a room booked for you and I while Mom stays the night with Lily to help her get dressed the next day.” He dad nods his head approvingly. Then you and Mom will stay at the hotel together Saturday night while I return to Lily for our wedding night.” Keith lifts Lily’s hand and kisses it and she blushes profusely.
Mom: “And when do your brother and sister and their families arrive, Lily Dear?” She asks interestedly. They have yet to meet Lily’s side of the family.
Lily: “Not until Friday night–work commitments are preventing them from coming earlier. So I’m afraid that they’ll miss the wedding rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner.” Lily winces.
Dad: “But their baby sister only gets married once. Couldn’t they take off work for that and make it to the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner?”
Lily blanches, because Keith’s Dad has read her thoughts precisely–and her hurt feelings.
Keith: “Now Dad, not everyone is retired like you. Nor do they have an understanding employer–like me! Ha ha ha ha ha!” He says puncturing the mood. “You and I will pick Lily’s family up from the airport after the rehearsal dinner and we will get them settled in our hotel Friday night.” Keith rubs Lily’s arm in encouragement. “I spoke with Lily’s sister yesterday and she and her brother and their families are all looking forward to the wedding.”
Lily: “They are?” She let’s slip her reservations about her family. Keith nods. “Thanks for doing that, Keith.” Lily smiles a bit relievedly
Mom: Changing the subject, she asks. “Who are your attendants?”
Keith: “Well I’ve got Brock, Sam, and Jack. Brock is my Best Man.”
Mom: “And you, Lily Dear?”
Lily: “I’m having my hospital friends, Theresa and Sally as Bridesmaids and my sister is my Matron of Honor. Little Keira from church will be my Flower Girl.” She smiles brightly.
Mom: “Well, I never had a daughter that I can fuss over. So I can’t wait to see your wedding gown, flowers, and the girls dresses for the color’s you’ve chosen.” She squeezes Lily’s hand warmly and Lily squeezes her back with a smile.
Keith: “Me neither. Lily has been mum about the flower colors–even for our bouttonnieres. Us guys are wearing formal charcoal gray morning coats–with no tacky matching color cummerbunds. Thank god! Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Lily: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” She giggles. “I never did understand that matchy matchy fashion choice.” She raises her eyes widely.
Mom: “I’m sure that your color choices will be lovely.”
They all go on to have a lovely dinner, with only two more days until Keith and Lily’s wedding on Saturday.
As planned, Keith and Lily have a lovely wedding rehearsal Friday night–no glitches. Two year old Flower Girl Keira walks down the aisle pretending to throw flower petals like she will on Saturday. Keith’s Dad stands in for Lily’s brother, who will give her away on Saturday. Then they have a lovely rehearsal dinner before Keith and his Dad drop Lily and his Mom at their apartment. Then Keith and his dad head to the airport to pick up Lily’s family in a large taxi bus since there will be ten of them total with spouses and nieces and nephews. It is a little awkward at the airport because they haven’t met each other before–only talked on the phone–and Keith’s Dad has a way of looking at people quite penetratingly. That is, until Keith nudges his Dad in the ribs for him to knock it off. However, Keith is gracious and offers to buy them dinner–the kids choose pizza–when he discovers that their flight did not include a meal. Of course, Keith is paying for Lily’s family’s air tickets and hotel as well. Keith has the resources to do that and smooth over any lingering family difficulties–he hopes. As the kids are happily munching their pizza’s, Keith and Lily’s brother, Doug Sherman chat while sipping their beers in the hotel restaurant.
Doug: “I must say we were surprised to see Lily looking thinner than usual the last time she Skyped us. But despite her weight loss and surgery, she will never be truly thin. Lily has always had a chubbiness problem.” He says sotto voce and rolls his eyes. Doug is quite athletic looking, and disdains people who aren’t seemingly physically fit–including his sister.
Keith looks over at Doug–though Keith can’t see Doug’s facial expressions very well with the low lighting and not wearing his glasses. But Keith can sense the tension in Doug’s voice from his clipped speech. Nor does Keith like the intimation that Doug is making–that Keith would not love Lily if he could see her properly
Keith: “So she told me.” Keith says in rather a clipped voice himself. He is trying to reign in his impulse to punch Doug in the jaw.
Doug: “But I guess with you being blind, that’s not really a problem for you.”
Keith: “Lily is a beautiful woman–inside and out. Her womanly curves are a bonus.”
Doug: “But you can’t really see what she looks like.” He pesters.
Keith: “Can you? Let us speak frankly. Your derisive tone about Lily will not occur tomorrow at our wedding. I love Lily very much and you will not spoil it for her.” Keith stares Doug down.
Doug: “Now see here. Who are you to …”
Keith: Cutting Doug off, Keith interjects. “That’s enough! I am the man who loves your sister more than words can say. She is a beautiful loving sweet soul who wonderfully fell in love with me. And I will spend the rest of my life making her happiness my priority.”
Doug: “But ….”
Nancy: Doug and Lily’s sister trounces her brother. “Doug! Put a sock in it! Well said Keith! I’m glad that you and Lily found each other.” Doug pouts. “Keith, don’t worry about him.” She points at her little brother. “He won’t get out of line, or I’ll just tell his wife about …” She stops and smiles–like only a sister in the know can– ticking off revelation options on her fingers.
Doug: “That’s blackmail!”
Nancy: “Yes it is, Doug. So you just make sure that you’re on your best behavior tomorrow with Lily and at Lily and Keith’s wedding.”
Keith: “Thanks Nancy!” He smiles.
Nancy: “My pleasure!
So with potentially pesky relatives being monitored and chaperoned, Keith and his Dad head up to their suite of rooms to sleep for the night.
Meanwhile, Lily and Keith’s Mom have gotten into their jammies, made hot cocoas and are sitting around the fireplace chatting before bedtime Friday night after the rehearsal dinner.
Mom: “I just love your wedding gown, Lily. You will look beautiful in it!” She beams.
Lily: “That’s kind of you to say.” Lily never believes compliments about herself, but she is grateful for the thoughtfulness of others. “Thank you, Mrs. Erickson.”
Mom: “I’m not being kind. You are beautiful and sweet and loving–more than I could have ever hoped for my son in his future wife.” Lily blushes. “And Lily Dear, we need to come up with something other than Mrs. Erickson for you to call me. After all, tomorrow, you will be Mrs. Erickson, too. I mean, if you plan to take Keith’s name.” She back peddles a bit given modern brides and their name choices.
Lily: “You’re right. Ha ha ha! I guess in all of the wedding commotion I forgot about my name.”
Mom: “So are you keeping your name, adding Keith’s, or hyphenating the names together?”
Lily: “Keith and I haven’t really discussed it. Lilyana Sherman Erickson sounds like a mouthful–hyphenated or not.” Lily smiles impishly.
Lily: “I think taking Keith’s last name and being Lilyana Erickson will be just fine for me.” She smiles.
Mom: “That has a nice ring to it. And the other?” Lily looks at her quizzically. “What you’re going to call me, Lily Dear.”
Lily: “I will be happy to call you whatever you prefer.” Lily says biting her lower lip. “Agnes …. or Mom, like Keith does.” Lily says hesitatingly in a quiet voice. It has been nearly ten years since Lily had a mother. And even calling her mother-in-law Agnes will be nice.
Mom: “Well, it’s up to you, but I would be happy for you to call me Mom.” She squeezes Lily’s hand and smiles at her warmly.
Lily: Lily nods holding back her tears of happiness. “Thank you, … Mom.” A single tear falls down Lily’s cheek.
Mom: Mom pulls Lily into her embrace and rocks her soothingly back and forth as her own tears begin to fall. “Lily Dear, you’re the daughter I have always wanted. We’re going to have such wonderful times together as a family. Sons are nice, too. But it’s just not the same for a woman.” She leans back and caresses Lily’s face.
Lily: “I love Keith very much. And I promise to make him happy.” She says shyly, her tears still flowing.
Mom: “Lily sweetheart, you already do make Keith happy. And he loves you, too. Now! We can’t collapse in tears tonight or we will never get our beauty sleep. Tomorrow is operation wedding!” Mom smiles cheerfully at Lily and Lily smiles back.
Lily and her new Mom rise, clean and put away their hot cocoa mugs, and then they each head to bed to sleep. As Lily turns down her sheets, she finds a single red rose on her pillow, and a note from Keith with one word on it. Beloved. Lily touches the rose to her nose and sniffs its flowery scent as she fingers the letters in Keith’s note with a contented smile. Then Lily slides into bed to sleep–knowing that tomorrow night, she will forever be joined in happiness with her Keith.
After Lily makes a quick call in the morning to determine driving to the church logistics with her family, it is decided that her sister will join her at the apartment to get ready and then everyone else will meet them at the church. The three women–Lily, Mom, and Lily’s sister Nancy–have a lovely morning of pampered wedding preparations. Keith had thoughtfully engaged a hair dresser to come to the apartment to assist the ladies with their hair dos. Then, a smaller limo bus arrives to take the ladies to the church–it being less likely to crush Lily’s gown than a conventional limo would. Nancy and Lily’s other bridesmaids are wearing three quarter length black velvet cocktail dresses with a pale pink satin sash and bow around the waist. Lily is carrying pale pink roses for her bouquet and her attendants are carrying cream roses. The men will have cream rose boutonnieres.
As the Bride, her soon to be mother-in-law, and her sister as Matron of Honor step out of the limo at the church, they are greeted by a profusion of pale pink and cream flowers in an archway in front of the door. Lily gasps at its beauty–it is not something she ordered.
Mom: “The flower archway turned out beautifully! Keith said that he didn’t know what your colors were, but he asked the florist to create this archway for you. It will be lovely to take pictures in front of as well.” She beams for her thoughtful son.
Lily: “I think I’m going to cry right now.” Lily dabs at her makeup under her veil already covering her face.
Nancy: “Don’t cry! You’re make up will run. You can cry later.” She says jokingly as her own tears are stayed from falling.
Doug: Walking out to greet them, he says sincerely as he takes her arm in his. “Lily! You look so beautiful! I had no idea!”
As they walk into the church vestibule–foyer–with the sanctuary doors closed, Carol walks up holding her two year old daughter, and Lily’s Flower Girl’s, Keira’s hand. The delicate lace and satin of Lily’s elegant gown–and Lily [(4) right] in it–overwhelms Carol with its beauty.
Carol: “Lily! You are breathtaking!”
Keira: “Lilla pitty.” She smiles in her poofy pale pink satin Flower Girl dress with a black velvet sash and bow tied around her waist.
Theresa and Sally: “Absolutely!” Lily’s Bridesmaids say in unintentional unison and laugh. “Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Lily: “Thanks everyone!” Lily beams a smile that they can see through her whisper thin veil.
Carol: “Okay, if you’re ready, Lily, everyone is seated and I’ll give the okay to start to the minister. Then he’ll cue the organist in the loft.” Lily nods. Then Carol bends down to her daughter. “Keira, honey, I’m going to sit down in the church so I can watch you and Lily walk down the aisle. So you be good.”
Keira: “I will Mommy. I practiced.” And she pretends to drop the now real petals in her basket.
Carol: “Okay Keira, you can actually pickup the petals and drop them on the white runner today when you walk down the aisle–like this.” She shows her by picking up a few petals and dropping them. Keira nods and imitates her mother with the petal dropping. “Good luck everyone.” Then Carol leans in to Lily and says confidentially. “Keira went to the bathroom ten minutes ago and I haven’t given her much to drink this morning. So she should last through the service.”
Lily: “Good to know, Carol. I just hope that I also make it through the service. Ha ha ha!”
Lily and her brother stand to the side so that when the sanctuary doors are opened, they will not be seen yet. Carol walks to the outer aisle and motions to Pastor Nels that Lily is ready.
Pastor Nels is standing up front in the middle aisle. He motions to Keith and his attendants–Jack, Brock, and Sam–who walk out to the front of the church, with Keith going last. Keith is beaming–his smile bursting as much as his heart is with love for his Lily. Then Pastor Nels motions to the organist in the choir loft at the back of the church to change from preludes to play the recorded orchestral music version of Pachobel’s Canon in D [(5) below) for the Bridesmaid processional.
First Sally and then Theresa walk up the aisle as Bridesmaids. Then Matron of Honor Nancy walks up the aisle. With each of them met at the first pew by one of Keith’s groomsmen who then walk them to the communion rail. Then little Keira has her turn and she looks at everyone sitting down and doesn’t move. Her Mommy Carol has thoughtfully decided to sit at the very back center to encourage her on.
Carol: She whispers. “It’s okay, Keira. Just walk to Pastor Nels and drop the flower petals as you go.
Keira: “I know, Mommy. I was just waiting to make my entrance.” She says cutely as she begins to walk up the aisle–delicately dropping the flower petals as she goes. But when Keira gets to the end of the aisle where Keith and the minister are standing, she has a lot of flower petals left. What to do? At first, Keira wonders if she should just grab a whole bunch of petals and drop them here. Keira grabs a bunch of petals in her little fist.
Pastor Nels: Staving off a petal dump, he gently places his arm on Keira’s hand and says. “Why don’t you save them for later. Hmmm?”
Keira nods her little head, releases the petals back into her basket, and Matron of Honor Nancy guides her to stand next to her. Keira’s Mommy Carol breathes a sigh of relief and sits back in her pew to enjoy the rest of the service.
As the strains of Pachobel’s Canon in D wane, Doug turns to his sister Lily and says with love.
Doug: “Lily, I know if Mom and Dad were here, they would be as happy for you and as proud of you as Nancy and I are.” He squeezes her hand holding his arm.
Lily: “Thanks Doug. That means a lot to me.”
Doug and Lily smile at each other and then they walk to stand at the sanctuary door–waiting to start to walk forward when the organ begins playing “Trumpet Voluntary”. Lily can see Keith standing tall, handsome, and proud at the end of the aisle waiting to make her his Bride.
Keith fuzzily sees his Lily move to stand in the sanctuary doorway and he smiles at her. Then Keith reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out his eye glasses and puts them on. Now with Keith really being able to see the lovely vision of his Lily in her exquisite lace and satin wedding gown and veil, his heart catches in his throat. Keith puts his hand on his heart, then touches his fingers to his lips and blows Lily a kiss.
Lily looks at Keith in awe and wonder–and she touches her fingers to her lips and blows a kiss back to him. And Keith pretends to catch it and places his hand on his heart again. So Lily truly knows that Keith can see her.
Doug: “Lily Dear, this morning Keith asked me to tell you his secret gift to you for your wedding. Keith’s vision has improved so much that he can see you as you walk down the aisle to him in all of your loveliness.” Doug smiles warmly at his baby sister Lily–whose eyes are tearing up with love for her Keith. “It’s showtime, sis.”
As the strains of “Trumpet Voluntary” [(6) below] play on the organ, Lily and Doug slowly walk up the aisle toward Keith and the minister.
As Lily gracefully walks up the aisle on the arm of her brother Doug, she only has eyes for Keith–and Keith only has eyes for Lily. It is a moment in time that neither of them will ever forget–the day that they join their lives together forever in love and happiness, beginning with their first gazes upon each other.
As Lily and her brother reach the front and Keith, Lily turns to her brother who lifts her veil and kisses her cheek. Her sister Nancy takes Lily’s bridal bouquet from her. Doug takes Lily’s hand and places it in Keith’s hand. Then Doug moves to the first pew and sits with his wife and family. As Lily turns toward Keith with her face now revealed, Keith is once again swept away by his feelings of love for her.
Keith: “Lily my love! You are more beautiful today than I have ever seen you.” There are tears in Keith’s eyes. “Thank you for becoming my wife.” Lily is too overwhelmed with love and the emotion of the moment to speak as she gazes at her Keith.
Lily: But she mouths the words to him. “I love you.”
Keith: He mouths the words back to her. “I love you.”
Pastor Nels: Leaning forward to the happy couple, he suggests in a whisper and a smile. “About that. Shall we get started?”
The rest of Lily’s and Keith’s wedding is a lovely blur of heartfelt vows and a tender kiss once Lily and Keith are pronounced husband and wife. The church reception, too, is joyous and heartfelt–with lovely toasts from the bridal party and family over the lunch banquet. And Keith has another surprise for Lily, their first dance as a married couple to the song “This I Promise You” [(7) below]:
Then Keith whisks Lily back to their apartment for a wedding night of adoring love and passion as true lovers in love. Wearing her sheer white lace negligee, Lily glides toward Keith awaiting her standing by their bridal bed that is strewn with flower petals from a rose in Lily’s bouquet. Keith is wearing only a smouldering smile and his eye glasses, the better to appreciate his lovely Lily and all of her beautiful womanly curvy charms.
Keith and Lily kiss each other sweetly, tenderly, lovingly, adoringly, and passionately as they begin their lovers’ dance on this their wedding night–with their bodies becoming one in joyous rapture union again, and again, and again, and again. Keith and Lily will have a lifetime of love and happiness together as they heal the wounds in each of their lives with the love they share together. For Lily and Keith have found a deep and abiding passionate love with each other–and love shared is a beauty beyond compare.
Epilogue: Valentine’s Day, one year after Keith and Lily met
As a newly married couple, Keith and Lily find that the Fall is a whirlwind of finding infinite joy with each other. They also tend to practical matters by finishing sorting through and moving the rest of Lily’s furniture and possessions over to their apartment and storage. The holidays are marked by sharing them with their families–going to their families for now, but hoping that their families will visit them in the future. And, they hope to find a home to move into with a yard for future children.
At Christmas time, Lily and Keith are given the go ahead to stop preventing pregnancy, now that Lily is completely healed. Though, they jumped the gun a little at Thanksgiving. But, they don’t have any baby news in December, nor in January. So Lily is getting a bit despondent. And the Winter weather giving her the flu hasn’t helped her spirits either. But Keith is an attentive husband and lover, as he lovingly and cajolingly raises his wife Lily’s spirits with special outings, loading the dishwasher and other chores she detests–a sure fire way to any woman’s heart–and always wrapping her in the embrace of his tender loving heart. And with Lily’s love and support, Keith feels confident enough to try driving again once his eye doctors cleared him to do so. But Keith practices in an empty parking lot at first while he gets acclimated to driving again. And bravely, Lily is his first test passenger.
So February 14th–a year to the day that Lily and Keith met– they decide to have a special lunch out. It is an anniversary they will always celebrate–in addition to their wedding anniversary. February 14th is a date when fortune smiled on them–though at the time, neither could see it. Keith had been the aloof and arrogant guy and he initially viewed the sweet Lily as the chubby gal. My what a difference a year makes! And Keith and lily each have a special surprise for the other to celebrate this Valentine’s Day.
After lunch at their favorite restaurant Biaggi’s, Keith drives Lily over to the hospital. Lily thinks they are going to the hospital to join the Valentine’s Day Party in the Rehab unit–which they do enjoy. After saying their farewells to Myron, Sally, and Theresa and the patients, Keith guides Lily to the hospital’s activity room where the annual Valentine’s Day blood drive is going on. They chat as they stand in line, waiting to check in to be blood donors.
Lily: “Oh! I had forgotten about the blood drive.” She says sheepishly and a little nervously.
Keith: “Forget? Never! We met here. I will gladly drain all of my blood to remember the happy day when you came into my life, my love.” He leans down and kisses her.
Lily: “And I you. But since I’ve been sick, I don’t think I should give blood.”
Red Cross Worker: “Have you been on antibiotics, Miss?” She asks helpfully.
Lily: “Well, no.” She says truthfully.
Red Cross Worker: “Then unless you’re feeling anemic–and we’ll check for that–you’re good to go. We need all the units we can get.” She says eagerly.
Lily: “I know that. It’s just …” Lily stops. This is not how she wanted Keith to find out. She has something more romantic in mind. But she can’t give blood today–or in the near future. So she will have to tell him.
Keith: After signing in, Keith hands the pen to Lily. “You’re turn.” He smiles broadly.
Lily: She shakes her head and smiles wincingly. “I can’t.”
Keith: “You’re not getting squeamish on me, are you?” He pulls her into his arms in a light embrace.
Lily: “No. Could we discuss it over there.” She tilts her head in the direction of a potted palm–hoping for some privacy. He nods his head and they walk over to the palm.
Keith: “Okay, what’s up?”
Just then, a lullaby plays on the hospital PA system. Perfect timing for Lily.
Lily: She smiles. “Do you know what that song is, Keith?”
Keith: He listens. “A lullaby?” He asks questioningly.
Lily: “Yes. they play a lullaby every time a baby is born in the hospital.” She smiles eagerly up at him.
Keith: “That’s nice, Lily Darling.” He says comfortingly–not wanting her to feel bad about their babyless state.
Lily: She reaches up on her tippy toes and kisses him sweetly. “It’s why I can’t give blood.”
Keith: Being very obtuse, he asks. “Because someone else had a baby?” And he looks at her askance.
Lily: “No silly.” Lily pauses for effect as she gazes up at Keith adoringly. “Because we’re having a baby!” She whispers gleefully.
Keith: His eyes go wide. “Really!?! That’s wonderful!” He lifts her up in the air and twirls her around as he kisses her adoringly. “Oh sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.” He sets her down gently. “Are you alright?”
Lily: “I’m fine.” She smiles triumphantly.
Keith: “When?” Keith looks at Lily in awe as he gently places his hand over her abdomen, where their baby sleeps and grows.
Lily: “Late September.” She holds her tummy, even though she won’t begin to show her pregnancy for a few more months.
Red Cross Worker: Pulling aside the palm fronds, she pokes her head in on their conversation and asks. “So are you donating blood today or not?”
Keith: “I am. But my pregnant wife is not.” He says giddily.
Lily: “Maybe next year I can donate.”
Red Cross Worker: “Okay. Well, you’re up Mr. Erickson.”
Keith: The elated Keith replies. “That is an understatement!” Keith and Lily kiss each other adoringly again before he donates his blood.
Then they head home to celebrate their new state as parents to be before eagerly informing their family and friends.
Thank you so much for reading and commenting about my original story “Seeing Beauty”. I have enjoyed sharing Lily and Keith’s story of love with you. They each wanted and needed love in their lives–and they found that love in each other. Keith was the handsome man blessed with a life that many would envy, but who loses everything when he is injured. Lily was the shy unnoticed woman who gives Keith back his life–and in turn, she finds love and a new life with him. And love that is shared is the most beautiful of all gifts. May we all be able to see the beauty in others–and may they be able to see the beauty in us.
Cheers! Gratiana Lovelace, 2012
(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) Keith image(cropped, brightened, sharpened) is that of Richard Armitage portraying Lucas North in Spooks (2008), series 7 DVD Extras, pix 106 and was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/album/spooksextras/Spooks7DVDExtras-106.jpg
3) Keith image(cropped, brightened, sharpened) is that of Richard Armitage portraying Lucas North in Spooks (2009), series 8, episode 6, pix 78 http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spooks8/album/Episode6/slides/ep6_078.JPG
4) Jessica McClintock wedding dresses are found at https://www.jessicamcclintock.com/search/keyword/wedding ; the image shown here of a beautifully demure gown (brightened and color corrected) is found at
5) “Pachobel’s Canon in D (very full orchestra)” music is a video by OmarD97 and was found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkSp8wc8lKw
6) “The London Symphony Orchestra – Trumpet Voluntary” in a video by Holliday1patriot was found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmJLv5fEb3k ; music by Jeremiah Clarke
7) “This I Promise You”, sung by Ronan Keating, a video by KrissKross75 and was found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHpK7QGEBds
8) The poem “She Walks in Beauty” by George Gordon Lord Byron (1814) was found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/She_Walks_in_Beauty
9) Image (cropped) representing Lily Erickson 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
10) Image (cropped, sharpened, color corrected) representing Keith Erickson is of Richard Armitage portraying Lucas North in Spooks 8, episode 5, pix 58 was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spooks8/album/Episode5/slides/ep5_048.JPG
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