Watching and Waiting (17)

Steven Bains sat across the street from the house of Annette Bains, observing that something was not right within. A blonde woman dashed away from the front door in anger as Redmond Gardner closed the door in her face. That was unlike Redmond, he thought to himself. “That doesn’t seem like the type of woman either of them would know,” Steven thought aloud. He considered a moment longer, and decided that there was nothing he could do, for the time being at least. He drove off to make another stop.

He drove a bit farther, and arrived at the home Peter Falcone. A bitterness erupted from his heart as he gripped the steering wheel with every ounce of strength he had. From a safe distance, he watched Peter Falcone and his angry-faced wife laugh on their wrap-around porch. Peter, portly and seemingly overheated, puffed on his cigar as Josephine furiously worked her knitting needles, laughing and smiling. Steven Bains had not laughed in two years. To see the dregs that had taken away his reason for living infuriated him. No one would hurt his family again.

Driving from the home of his sworn enemies, he stopped by the house of Frank and Laura Gardner. He had always liked the Gardners. They were the ideal family. They had the life that Steven wanted to live with his beloved Diane. Frank Gardner had been especially good to him when he was around, like a second father. From his car, he saw their faces filled with joy. Now that’s life, he thought with slight warmth. He drove off, frowning.

***

Laura Gardner ran to her daughter, hugging and kissing her just as she did when she was a child. She was crying. “Oh Elaine, how I’ve waited for this day! My daughter is getting married to the most wonderful man in the world!” She paused, “I mean, aside from you dear,” she said, glancing at Frank. “Oh Teddy! You have no idea how happy I am to have you in the family!” she shouted, planting a kiss on his cheek.

“All right, all right! Enough of this! This isn’t Oprah, for God’s sake Laura! Lemme get a bottle of wine and we’ll toast!” shouted Frank, smiling as he left the room.

“Elaine dear, I can’t wait to plan the wedding! You remember how nice Reddy’s wedding turned out? Oh how I love weddings! Reddy and Annie told me how much they loved it. Of course, it’ll be hard to top Reddy’s, but I’ll try!” gushed Laura, unaware that her daughter was becoming agitated.

“I swear, if she calls him ‘Reddy’ one more time, I’ll choke myself again with that friggin’ potato,” she thought.

“Uh Mom,” she said, trying to divert the conversation, “So what’s the best month to get married,” she said, awkwardly. With ease, her mother slipped into party-planner mode, forgetting Redmond for the time.

“I suppose June is my personal favorite,” she said dreamily, “But I’d stay away from a summer date…perhaps September…” she said, becoming absorbed in her own thoughts.

For the time being, Elaine would bask in the happiness of the moment. Nothing would spoil what she had been waiting for since she’d met Teddy a year and a half ago. Not even her older brother’s seeming perfection could stain that perfect day.

END

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