An Unconventional Kind of Love by Nene
John arrived at 8:00 am on the dot, to find RJ, Michael, Dusty, Todd and Davis huddled together in the auditorium seats, giving him the evil eye, while cursing Eve and Lisa.
"What kind of wedding is this, where the groomsmen have to take dance lessons at this god forsaken hour?" Michael demanded.
"Yeah, I thought all we had to do was wear the monkey suits and throw you a bachelor party," Todd grumbled. "I didn't know, being your friend meant suffering through this kind of humiliation."
"Oh stop your whining. Besides, you could all put your foot down and tell Lisa and Eve you refuse to take part in the ceremony," John replied, hunching his shoulders.
"I'd do it in a heartbeat," Davis replied, with false bravado. "But...I don't want to disappoint you and Cookie."
"Yeah, that's right," the other men agreed.
"Why don't you all stop the bullshit!" RJ laughed. "None of us are bailing on Mac because we love him or some sentimental nonsense like that. We're not bailing because Eve and Lisa would make our lives a living hell."
"Good morning, gentlemen." They all turned around to find Uncle Clay emerging from the stage. "I'm glad to see all of you made it."
"I see they dragged you into taking lessons too," John laughed. "Can't say that I'm surprised. Mom and Lisa aren't joking about this wedding. Come on down and join us, while we wait for this dance instructor."
"I am the dance instructor," Clay smiled.
"What!" they exclaimed, with a look of confusion.
"Since when are you a dancer?" Davis chuckled.
"I'll have you know, back in the day, I was quite the entertainer. I performed throughout Europe, with Nancy Wilson, Miles Davis, etc."
"Get the fuck out of here! So why did you give it up?" RJ asked with fascination. "Seems like an exciting life you lead."
"It was great and I didn't do too bad with the ladies, if I do say so myself," he smiled. "One day we all went out to this little club in Harlem, I can't remember the name, to do some serious partying. I walked through the door and saw your Aunt Rosalie. That was all she wrote. I knew right then and there she was the one for me. So I gave my resignation, got a job, went to college at night and the day after I graduated, we got married. We were together until the day she died five years ago."
"That was a touching story Clay," John said softly. "But I still don't understand why we have to take dance lessons. I think we all can manage for one day."
"I'm sure that's true. However, the steps I will be teaching you is a special surprise.
"What kind of surprise?" Dusty asked. " Hey, aren't going to be doing some boring ballroom dancing? Because, that's just not my style."
"Let's just say it's a special treat for the ladies," Clay grinned. "Now, let's get to work."
Despite the women's grumpy demeanor that morning, the rest of the day turned out to be eventful, just as Lisa promised.
After getting settled at their hotel, Eve and Lisa decided to get the major wedding details out of the way. The limousine took them to a swanky boutique in Manhattan, where Evangeline and her bridesmaids would have the final fitting of their dresses. Unfortunately, they were blindfolded throughout the entire time.
"I can't believe you won't let me see my own wedding dress!" Evangeline protested, after they left the boutique. "This is cruel and unusual punishment. Not to mention torture."
"Here, here," the women chimed in. "Since when can't the bridesmaid see their dresses."
"Please promise us we won't look country or ghetto fabulous," Layla demanded. "Because me and Shannon do have reputations to maintain."
"That's right," Blair added. "We have no intentions of being the laughing stock of Lainview."
"You're going to look marvelous," Eve promised. "Now that we've gotten the fittings out of the way, we've made reservations for brunch at the Waldorf, our treat. So why don't you ladies go eat and do some shopping. Lisa and I still have to errands to run. Therefore, we'll meet you back at the hotel around eight."
The women enjoyed a luxurious champagne brunch at the Waldorf, then proceeded to shop to their hearts content. They were still on a shopping high, after returning to the hotel a few minutes before eight. The front desk clerk handed Evangeline a message from Eve and Lisa requesting their presence for a slumber party, in their suite at ten o'clock.
After showering and changing into their pajamas, Eve greeted them at the door. "Come in ladies," she smiled, dressed in a pair of silk pajamas and escorting them into the spacious living room of the suite; where an array of the delectable comfort foods were laid out buffet style. The aroma of pizza, hot wings, barbecue, etc., filled the air.
"Did you have fun today?" Lisa asked, entering from the bedroom in her black silk pajamas.
"We had the best time!" Adrianna exclaimed, eyeing a slice of pepperoni pizza. "But can we talk about it later, because I'm starving."
"Help yourselves," Lisa and Eve laughed.
An hour later, everyone was sitting on the floor laughing, joking and sipping apple martinis, while the Aretha Franklin's Natural Woman played in the background.
"Ladies, I like to say something," Lisa shouted over the exuberant banter. Everyone turned their attention to Lisa as she raised her glass in a toast. "Eve and I want you to know, that this weekend isn't just about making the wedding plans."
"You could have fooled us," they laughed.
"We wanted this weekend to be an intimate celebration of the women in our family coming together, that includes Kerri, Blair and Adrianna," she said, turning to Evangeline, as tears of joy began to flow. "My darling Evangeline. I know I've given you and John a hard time...
"That's an understatement," Evangeline shouted.
"But I wanted to take this time to tell you how truly happy I am, that you've found true and unconditional love. I saw how the divorce from your father caused focus on success, while building a wall around your heart. Yet somehow, John was able to tear down those walls and you finally started living. Now, when I look at you, I see happiness and joy.
"Please let me finish," Lisa continued. "I love you so much and I wish you and John a long and happy life together. What the two of you have is a blessing from God. Don't ever take that for granted. This wedding is my gift to you."
"I love you too Mama," Evangline cried, hugging Lisa tightly. "You never cease to surprise me."
"Okay that's enough. You two are going to have the rest of us crying a river," Marita said, wiping the tears from her eyes. We love you Cookie and ditto about you and John."
"This is so touching," Kerri and Adrianna said softly. "Thank you for welcoming us into your family."
"Aside from my Aunt and cousins, I don't have any friends," Blair cried. "Thank you for giving me a place to belong."
"I still have something to say," Eve interrupted. "Evangeline, after Caitlyn died, I saw my son change from a confident, loving man to a shell of a person. He'd given up on himself and cut the rest of his family out of his life. But with your love he's become a stronger and better man, than I could have ever imagined."
"Please stop, before I start crying again," Evangeline insisted.
"Not before I give you this," Eve said handing Evangeline a long black velvet box.
"What is it?" everyone asked, trying to get a look.
"Evangeline opened the box to find an exquisite string of pearls. "Oh Eve, they're beautiful. But I couldn't possibly accept them."
"John's father gave them to me on our tenth wedding anniversary," she cried. "That was one of the happiest days of my life. I promised myself, that I would give them to the woman who made one of my sons happy. I would be deeply hurt, if you didn't wear them."
"Thank you Eve," Evangeline cried, as the pearls were placed around her neck.
"No, thank you daughter, for giving my son back to me," Eve whispered, kissing her on the cheek. "Since we're family, you can only call me, mom. Is that clear?"
"Alright now let's get this party started," Lisa replied gleefully. "We've got this suite until twelve noon tomorrow, so let's make the most of it."
That weekend the women formed an emotional and spiritual bond of sisterhood, that would last the rest of their lives.