An aura of love filled the air, as the rose garden was illuminated by crystal shaped lights creating a magical wonderland with the setting sun. John and Michael took their place under the white gazebo, next to Pastor Andrew Carpenter.
The five piece jazz band began playing an instrumental version of Luther Vandross' Here and Now. "Last chance to back out bro," Michael teased, as the groomsmen and bridesmaids slowly began their march down the isle. Clay's granddaughter Imani Williamson followed sprinkling red and white rose pedals along the isle, as ring bearer, Jackson Manning shyly walked by her side harboring a secret crush.
Everyone in the bridal party took their place, when the band began playing Ribbon in the Sky, by Stevie Wonder. "Not a chance," he smiled giving Michael a playful nudge, as all the guest stood on cue.
"Just double checking," Michael smiled giving John an affectionate pat on the back.
A hush fell over the guest, as Evangeline slowly descended the staircase with the graceful elegance of a queen greeting her subjects. She reached the final step, where Clay and Lisa proudly took their places by her side.
John was rendered speechless, as his tear filled eyes locked with Evangeline's. "Man, isn't she the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?" he said overcome with emotion. "She's...my angel."
"Yeah, she is bro," Michael replied.
Evangeline glided down the isle, basking in the love and joy she saw in John's eyes. "Hello Mr. McBain," she smiled taking her place next to him, as their hands intertwined. "Thanks for waiting."
"You're always worth waiting for Mrs. McBain," John winked gently kissing the palm of her hand.
"Let us begin," said Pastor Carpenter.
"My baby!" Lisa cried losing all composure leaning on Clay's shoulders. "Isn't she beautiful?"
Henry leaned over and gave Lisa another tissue. "Will you please stop all that blubbering," he said rolling his eyes. But the floodgates had been opened, as Eve broke down into tears, with Evangeline's bridesmaids following suit.
John heard the sound of sniffles and quickly turned to face Michael and Dusty wiping tears from their eyes. "What the hell is this?" John asked in disbelief. "Are you two crying?"
"He started it," Michael sniffed pointing to Dusty." I just got caught up in the moment, that's all."
"Hey, I just had something in my eye," Dusty shot back.
"Yeah, it's a called tears," RJ smirked as Todd and Davis shook their heads.
"Well, stop it!" John insisted. "It's bad enough mom and Lisa are balling their eyes out. Now I've got you two idiots balling like babies."
"Hello, remember me?" Evangeline whispered tugging on John's arm. "The faster we finish, the sooner we get to the honeymoon."
"Go ahead Pastor," John replied as the magic word was spoken.
"I appreciate that," he said. "Ladies and gentlemen, we're gathered here today to join John Thomas McBain and Evangeline Elise Williamson in holy matrimony. Marriage should not be entered lightly. It is a holy union between two people who have chosen to love and commit their lives to one another. Evangeline will now recite their own vows. Evangeline, you may go first."
A sense of calm and serenity flowed through Evangeline, like the warm summer breeze. Looking into John's eyes, she tossed aside the vows she had initially written and spoke from the heart. "John, I use to believe happily ever after was a fairytale meant for hopeless romantics and fools," she smiled, trying to hold back the tears. "Then you came into my life and filled it with love, passion and romance. Everyday that we've been together has been a wonderful journey, that I know will never end. So, John Thomas McBain, I take you as my husband, lover and best friend. I promise to love, honor and cherish you for the rest of my life." Evangeline slipped the band on his wedding finger and gently kissed his hand.
John let out a deep breath before speaking. "Evangeline, I don't know what good deed I performed in this present or past life to deserve someone like you. But, I thank God everyday for bringing you into my life," he smiled. "If I had to use one word to describe this romance of ours it would be unconventional. That being said, let the words in this song be an expression of my love."
"John, what's going on?" Evangeline whispered with a mixture of shock and curiosity, as she watched John, his groomsmen and Clay form a line in front of the guests. John turned around and gave her a sly wink, when the familiar beat came over the speakers.
"I've got sunshine on a cloudy day," he sang, while Clay and the groomsmen gave a smooth imitation of the Temptation.
"When it's cold outside
I've got the month of May.
I guess you'd say, what can make me feel this way?
My girl, my girl, my girl,
Talkin bout my girl. My girl.
I've got so much honey the bees envy me.
I've got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees
I guess you'd say what can make me feel this way
My girl, my girl, my girl
Talkin bout my girl. My girl
Oooooo...hey, hey, hey
I don't need no money, fortune or fame
I've got all the riches baby one man can claim
I guess you say, what can make me feel this way
My girl, my girl , my girl
Talkin bout my. My girl!
Evangeline burst out in laughter, as everyone clapped and sang the chorus in unison until long after the song ended. After a raucous cheer, Pastor Carpenter was finally able to get the boisterous crowd to quiet down, so John could complete his vows.
"I, John Thomas McBain take you Evangeline Marie Williamson to be my lawfully wedded wife, lover, soul mate and best friend," he grinned. " I promise to love, honor and cherish you for all eternity." Placing the band on her finger, he captured her lips with a scorching kiss that made everyone blush.
"Jeez bro save it for the honeymoon," Michael whispered, giving John an elbow to the side.
"Sorry," John said with a lipstick covered grin, while Evangeline stood breathless.
"Well...I... pronounce you husband and wife," Pastor Carpenter laughed. "Ladies and gentleman, I announce Mr. and Mrs. John McBain.
John and Evangeline joined hands and jumped the broom receiving well wishes and congratulations on the incredible life that was to come.