alexis morgan



Alexis Morgan
© 2024.

alexis morgan

Mrs. Blackston stood nearby watching Phoebe McCree fussing over her daughter. She offered Abby a sympathetic smile. "I must say, you're being remarkably calm."

Abby grinned and jerked her head in her mother's direction. "That's because Mom is nervous enough for everyone else."

Phoebe sniffed a bit, her eyes looking a bit shiny. "Not funny, Abby. I just want everything to be perfect for you."

Pulling her in for a quick hug, Abby tried to reassure her. "I know, Mom, and I appreciate that. But seriously, I want you to relax and enjoy today, too."

Stepping back, she addressed the real issue that had her mom upset. "And for the record, it is not your fault that Dad isn't here. We invited him, but he already had other plans, ones he couldn't change."

"You mean plans that woman wouldn't let him change."

That much was probably true. Her father's second wife definitely had issues when Abby or her mother made any demands on his time. As far as Abby was concerned, that was her stepmother's problem. Abby might not have the same close relationship with her father as she did her mother, but she had no desire to write him off completely.

Aware that Tripp's mother was listening, she explained. "Dad and my stepmother had already booked a trip with nonrefundable tickets. From what Dad said, they are flying to Florida for a reunion with her family. It's been planned for months while our sudden wedding plans came out of the blue. I would've liked him to be here, but it is what it is. I'm not going to let it spoil our day. At least Tripp and I hired both a regular photographer and a video guy to record the ceremony and the reception. We're having copies made for you, Mom, and my dad."

That news clearly pleased Mrs. Blackston. "That's very thoughtful of you. Tripp has a lot of family and friends back home who will want to see it. They're all looking forward to meeting you, as well."

As hints go, that one wasn't even close to subtle. "We're planning on making a trip back there so I can do just that. Keep in mind, though, that Tripp has to work it around his classes, and I'm supposed to cover for Bridey at the coffee shop for a few weeks after she has the baby. But we promise we'll be there as soon as we can."

Smiling as she shook her finger at Abby, Mrs. Blackston said, "We'll hold you to that."

There was a knock at the door. Phoebe charged across the room and blocked the door. "Who is it?"

Abby rolled her eyes. "Really, Mom? Do you really think Tripp is out there trying to sneak a peek at me or my dress? I've already told you that he texted to say he and the guys left the hotel and are heading over to the park."

Meanwhile, Bridey called out from the hallway outside. "It's time to go, Abby. Gil and the rest of your escort are almost here."

Sure enough, she could hear the rumble of multiple motorcycles headed their way. She snuck a quick look out the window and gasped. "Good golly! There must be thirty or more riders. Bless Gil's heart, he said he was going to make sure my arrival at the park would be done in style."

Mrs. Blackston peeked over her shoulder as Gil and his friends rolled into sight. "Our friends back home are never going to believe this. I hope this is being filmed."

She stepped back. "I don't know if my husband has said anything to you, but he really likes Gil and his brother. He's really hoping he can work in another trip to the bar to play pool with them again."

"I'm sure Gil will be happy to accommodate him. His bike repair shop is just down the street from the bar, so he can probably sneak away to squeeze in a game or two."

Her soon to be mother-in-law added one more surprise to the conversation. "And speaking of pool, Jay is also disappointed that he didn't get a chance to see you play. Evidently Tripp and the other guys regaled him with how good you are."

Abby beamed with pride. "Yep, they're all afraid to face off against me. Personally, I think it's a hoot."

Phoebe entered the discussion with a huge sigh. "Yes, my ex and I are both so proud of the fact that our honor student daughter went to college to be come a pool hustler."

Abby laughed. "Hey! My efforts paid off. How do you think I funded my spring break trips all four years?"

Bridey tugged on her arm. "Come on, lady. We can all listen to the details of your sordid past on another day. Right now, we need to get you to the park."

Her pulse racing, Abby stepped in front of the mirror to check her appearance on last time. Turning from side to side, she asked, "So how do I look?"

The other three women exchanged looks and then said in unison, "Perfect."


The trip from the house to the park was taking far longer than expected. As a result, time was growing short and nerves were getting pretty frayed all around her. Abby hadn't expected to be the calm one in the center of barely controlled chaos. Even so, she drew a slow breath and let it out before speaking.

"Mom, remember they can't start without me. Everything will be fine."

They'd run into a snarl of traffic a block before they reached the turn off into the park, which made it impossible for the fleet of motorcycles and her vehicle to circle through in a timely fashion. Gil had finally parked his bike and took over directing traffic. Everyone in the car heaved a sigh of relief as the knot of vehicles finally cleared out of their way.

Abby lowered her window as they'd rolled by Gil, smiling at him and his leather-clad companions. "Thanks again for the escort as well as your help getting me here on time. I hope you all stay and enjoy the reception afterward!"

"I wouldn't miss it." Gil grinned and shook his finger at her. "Don't forget that you promised me a dance."

When the limo finally rolled to a stop, her door opened before she could do it for herself. A masculine hand appeared, offering to help her out of the back seat. She accepted the assistance as she drew a deep breath and stepped out of the car.

She kept her focus on making sure she didn't get her dress snagged on anything, so it wasn't until she cleared the vehicle that she finally turned to offer her thanks. When she did, she could barely breathe much less speak.

Her eyes instantly went all blurry as a pair of familiar arms caught her close. She whispered, "You came."

"Yeah, I did."

"But why, Daddy?"

His smile looked a bit tentative, but there was no missing the love in his gaze as he offered her a tentative smile. "I couldn't let my daughter get married without me there to walk her down the aisle."