Pop would not factor here on our wedding night.
I wanted, no needed, this beautiful fucking dress off her.
Rewind - Aruba
We were taking time away after the trying weeks we’d endured. Heck, after the whirlwind that been our relationship so far.
Kidnappings - me twice, not including my initial abduction on high school graduation day. Him once.
Murder - murder of enemies. Murder of family members.
Angst. So much angst.
Tommy decided we’d get a chance to catch our breath before the wedding. But, not much of a chance, because he insisted he was marrying me at the “first fucking opportunity”.
Everything was piling up on him. And of course it was, after all we’d endured. He’d say he was fine, shrug off my concerns, but I could see it in the clench in his jaw, the hardness in his whisky eyes. I could hear it in the mild irritation that always seemed to be in his voice. And I felt it in the way he did not rest easy beside me or under me at night.
He spent a lot of time with his heavy bag. The day before we finished packing up the house was not a good day, and I could feel his frustration with life in the air around him.
I found him in the basement, not punching the bag, instead in a pose that reeked of distress, body glistening with sweat, gloves on his hands, but his arms were wrapped around the bag in an embrace, his face buried in the Everlast logo.
I wanted to go in and put my arms around him, comfort him, but I knew he wouldn’t have wanted me to see him like that, so instead, I backed away and went back upstairs with a heavy heart.
Would a holiday help after all he’d been through lately?
Planning and then attending Tom Sr.’s funeral. Watching Tessa exist, subsist, in the depths of despair over losing James, then her father.
Having Lisa go from catatonic for days to suddenly acting like everything was just fine despite the murder of her husband, which she was told was the fault of enemies and that they’d been dealt with. Sarah said she hadn’t even shed a tear at the news. She just went perfectly still. Statue-like. For hours. It was concerning, to say the least. This was followed by her being quiet and hiding out in her bedroom for days.
We saw her armor slip for just a nanosecond whe
n she announced to all of us, during lunch at the house while we were planning the funeral, that she was pregnant. She was hanging onto this pregnancy as a coping mechanism, it seemed. The timing was probably a blessing. She’d lost her husband, but had something to look forward to. She got to keep this piece of him, of their love.
As twisted as he was, it was obvious he was something else for Lisa.
People could say the same about Tommy and me. They likely did.
Luciana was emanating her feelings of powerlessness like a big beacon, and struggling with how to deal with it all. She had a new baby and a dead father, a broken sister, dead brother-in-law, and angry brooding big brothers. You could feel it in the air around her… her despair, her desire yet inability to fix things. She was coping by trying to mother everyone, even though she was the baby of the family. She did the bulk of the planning with Sarah for the celebration of life and funeral.
Dario was stepping up in a big way. He encouraged us to go away and enjoy our vacation, then plan our wedding; plan our happily ever after.
He and Tommy had a heart-to-heart at some stage while they were planning Tom’s funeral and Tommy told me they’d decided that Dario would be staying back and working with a consulting firm to get the bulk of the Ferrano business holdings ready to be sold.
Life would be moving forward. Tommy wanted something away from the world of crime, if at all possible. He had said he wasn’t sure how possible it would be, though. He told me we’d have to wait and see. His biggest priority was getting me out of the country. He told me he just didn’t feel safe at home after all that had happened.
First Aruba. A vacation with just us. I chose it because the owner of the ice cream parlor I’d worked at had gone for his honeymoon and said it had hundreds of beaches --- enough to see a different one every day of the year. I loved the idea of visiting a lot of beaches and then maybe having a beach wedding. Tommy arranged the trip and said we’d be meeting the family in Costa Rica for our wedding, there. He’d rent us a big beach house and it’d be a happy occasion. For all of us.
From there, I had no idea what would be next. Tommy had the wheel, the GPS, and the keys. I was along for the ride, trusting him to take care of us.
But, I really wanted to take care of him, too. He had on a brave face, wasn’t talking about what’d happened with his father. But, he wasn’t sleeping well and I knew that things were weighing heavily on him.
Aruba was meant to give us a minute to breathe. And Aruba stole my breath.