"Are your parents coming?" Greg asked.
"I don't think so," Sarah replied matter-of-factly. She had given up on her dad long ago, but she still had hope for her mother – there were a few, strained conversations over the phone, but Sarah wasn't holding her breath expecting a "welcome back" any time soon. It had been eleven years since her parents threw her out of their house and their lives for being "a freak" - at least that's what they called her.
Sarah paused for a moment as she thought about her relationship with the people who raised her – her biological parents – and about the two new parents she now had. Sarah rationalized to Greg, "I don't need them there, anyway. I have a new mom and dad – your parents." She thought back to when his parents found out and accepted her. Tears welled in her eyes. She thought, "No, not today. I am not crying today." A single tear streamed down her face. "Okay, maybe just one."
Greg looked at his watch and realized that his mother and sister were going to show up soon to help Sarah, so he kissed Sarah with a quick peck on the lips. "Honey, I will see you at the church."
He then walked to the hotel room door, waved goodbye as she mouthed the word, "Bye", and he left to go to his brother's room. Sarah sighed deeply and internally chanted the mantra, "I will make it one moment at a time."
She sat alone in the room for about a minute before there was a knock on the door. Sarah went over, opened it, and was greeted with smiles and hugs from Joy, Greg's mom / Sarah's new mom, and Katie, Greg's kid sister. Sarah beamed at her new family.
Tears welled again as she hugged Joy. Joy, always aware of what was going on around her, patted Sarah's back and comforted her with "Sarah, honey, you are a beautiful bride, and Greg is a great boy. Being nervous is part of the day. At some point you will only remember that you were nervous, but you won't remember how it actually felt." Joy looked at her from arms length. "If there is anything we can do, just ask. We're here for you." Joy pulled Sarah in for a final hug and then released her.
Katie hugged Sarah, "Welcome to the family, sis."
Sarah felt better, but still nervous. A look of horror went over her face. "I have forgotten everything I am supposed to do now."
Before she went on, Joy cut in, "Don't worry, stop thinking, we got you covered." Then turning to look at Katie, "Katie, grab that chair over there and put it in the bathroom. I'll grab the make-up kit and the extra light, and Sarah, go sit on the chair. We'll get you ready."
With Joy in command, things happened. When Katie's back was turned, Sarah mouthed to Joy while nodding her head toward Katie, "Does she know?" Joy shook her head and mouthed the word "no".
Sarah sat on the chair in the bathroom, wearing white laced panties under a mini half slip and a white lace bra. Her cock was tucked quite well under her panties so no bulge could be seen. She looked in the mirror and thought scornfully, "This is what Greg's marrying!" Then Joy's smile relaxed her.
Joy looked at Sarah's skin tone for a moment and then at the wedding dress hanging on the shower curtain rod. She and Katie talked in low tones briefly when Sarah heard them agree on something, and they returned to standing beside her.
Joy spoke first, "Sarah, Katie and I know what we're doing. Relax. We have it all under control. You'll look beautiful to everyone in there. And remember, Greg will think you're beautiful even if you look like a clown." She realized too late that she should not say this to a bride, so she added. "However, we'll not test the last part."
The two ladies went to work. After about thirty minutes, there was a knock at the door. Katie answered it. A young lady at the door asked, "Is this Sarah Johnson's room?"
Recognizing the voice, Sarah yelled from the bathroom, "Annie, I'm in here."
Annie entered the room. "Sarah what do you need me to do?"
Sarah made introductions, "Annie, dear, this is Greg's mom, Mrs Booth. She's in charge; I've stopped thinking."
Joy turned to Annie and extended her hand, "Joy, please."
Shaking her hand, Annie replied, "Joy it's nice to meet you. I'm Annie, the Maid-of-Honor. What do you need me to do?"
"Nothing at the moment. Just have a seat and relax. We'll be done soon."
A few minutes later there was another knock on the door. Annie answered it, and a young lady entered without being invited. Katie looked and said, "Hey, Cindy." Figuring that this meant the young lady belonged there, Annie let the door close and took a seat on the bed.
After Cindy found out there was nothing for her to do either, she sat down in the chair near the bed. Annie extended her hand, "I'm Annie. I'm Sarah's Maid-of-Honor."
"Hi, I'm Cindy. I'm Alex's girlfriend."
"Greg's younger brother," Cindy explained.
Thirty minutes later, Joy and Katie stepped out of the way so that Sarah could see her own face with make-up and without someone in the way.
Sarah smiled, "You two have performed a miracle!"
Joy interjected, "The miracle happened when you were born. We just made sure other people could see your natural beauty."
"Natural?" Katie said harassing her mother, "With make-up?"
Joy gave her 'the look' and said, "You know exactly what I mean." Katie looked down sheepishly.
"Now for the dress," Joy prompted. Katie took it off the hanger and handed it over to Sarah, who shimmied it on. It fit beautifully – of course. Sarah was thinking she was ready, when Joy said, "Let me take a look at you." She stepped back to take a look. "Absolutely stunning!"
Katie agreed, "Mom, I won't admit this publicly, but you do know what you're doing."
Joy put her arm around her daughter and hugged her. "Thanks, dear. And I won't tell anyone you said so." Now turning her attention back to Sarah, "Shoes. Where are your shoes?"
Sarah got a sudden look of panic on her face. She knew she packed them, but she didn't remember seeing them in the room. Annie and Cindy had already started to hunt the room for them. Sarah started to speak when Annie yelled out, "Found them!"
There was a knock on the door. Joy went to answer it, and turning to the women in the room as she walked, said, "We leave in thirty minutes." Joy opened the door.
An older woman, about Joy's age, was at the door. This woman asked nervously, "Is ... Sarah Johnson here?"
Sarah heard the voice and turned to see the woman. Sarah cried in fear and joy, "Mom!" For at the door stood Sarah's mother, Betty.
After Greg left his room, he walked over to his brother's room. He knocked on the door, Alex opened it, and greeted Greg with "Dude, how's it hangin'"
Greg replied with his usual greeting for his little brother. With a quick upward head nod, Greg said with nonchalance and in an octave lower than normal, "Little bro, what's up?"
They shook hands as Greg entered the room. Their tuxes were hanging on the shower curtain rod. Greg jumped face first on the bed, spreading out to take up most of the bed.
"Really, Greg," Alex began, "How are you doing right now?" Greg rolled over to answer, taking up less space.
"I am ready for this thing to be over. Alex, elope when it is your turn."
Alex thought for a moment and responded, "I don't know which will make a better story, the full fairy-tale wedding or eloping." Greg laughed.
Greg then picked up the TV remote, "Let's see what's on before we need to get ready. As long as we are dressed and ready to walk out the door in an hour and a half, we are good to go. I figure it will take ten minutes to dress, ten minutes to get dad, and ten minutes to come back here to pick up the thing which we will forget. So we have an hour to kill." Greg turned the television on and started flipping through the channels. He pulled himself into a sitting position with his back against the headboard and his legs stretched out onto the bed; he now took up only half the bed. Alex sat beside him in a similar pose.
They assessed each channel for about five seconds before Greg hit the channel up button. They were on the fourth run through the cycle of channels when Greg stopped. "This is how to kill an hour." He found a game of Australian Rules Football, which Greg considered to be the greatest spectator sport ever.
While watching, Alex and Greg talked a little, but this time together was mainly about relaxing. About thirty minutes into it, Greg turned to Alex, "So what's the deal with you and Cindy?"
"We're really good friends."
"For three years! Really! Only 'good friends'. Any talk of permanence?" Greg raised his eyebrows on the last question.
"Actually, I was thinking about asking her to move in with me."
"What's holding you back?"
"It seems like such a huge step. How did you know it was time for the two of you to live together?"
"When I realized I loved her and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. Besides, I was already spending most of my time at her place anyway."
"And you proposed a year after moving in. Why wait a year?" asked Alex.
Greg furrowed his brow, took a deep breath, and said, "It's complicated."
Alex shrugged and then looked serious. "Speaking of complicated," Alex continued, "Why are you getting married here? I heard her parents aren't even coming to the wedding, so I figured it's not for her, and you have no family here."
"It's complicated, Alex." Greg hoped that would be the end of it. Alex started laughing. Greg looked at him, "What's so funny?"
Alex answered, "Admit it, big bro, she's a dude, right?" Alex was so tickled with his ludicrous suggestion. Then he noticed Greg's serious expression. Alex stopped laughing. "What!? No way, Greg! She really is a dude?!"
Greg let the last question hang there before answering, "It's complicated."
"No way, man. You are not letting this one hang out there. What's the deal?"
Greg, looking very serious, started, "Alex, she is a woman," and then paused before continuing, "trapped in a man's body."
Alex was floored, "That is quite the man's body. He is gorgeous!"
"She! She is gorgeous," Greg corrected him.
"Do mom and dad know?"
"Yep, they've known for a year." Greg got very serious, "They accept her as a daughter, I am going to accept her as my wife, and she will be your sister-in-law." He paused again, trying to gauge Alex's reaction. "Is this a problem for you?"
Alex hesitated before replying, "No, man. She makes you happy, and in the end that's what really counts." He extended his hand to confirm his commitment to being okay with it. Greg shook his hand, then pulled him close enough to hug him. They man-hugged (handshake in between their chests) for about five seconds.
A thousand questions ran through Alex's head; he didn't know where to start. Before the first question came out, Greg warned, "This is not for you to tell anyone. To my knowledge there are only seven people here who know: the two of us, mom, dad, Sarah, her friend Annie, and the minister. It stays at seven unless Sarah wants someone else to know."
"That's cool. At least I can talk to someone about it if I need to." Alex's brain was skipping all over the place.
Greg reassured Alex, "You just met her. Take your time. You don't have to have all your questions answered right now."
Alex suddenly put some pieces together. "Ah. That's why her parents won't be here. I assume they want nothing to do with her."
"Since she was 18."
"She has to have had surgery to look like that!"
"Yes. That and hormone replacement therapy."
"And is she planning to have a sex change operation?"
"Still up in the air. That's a complicated topic, and I could not do it justice in the time we have right now. But here is the way I usually think about it. You know the deaf people who don't want the cochlear implants to give them hearing."
"My understanding is that it's because to fix the hearing would imply they were broken to start and not just different. I think it is that if she has the sex change, she would feel like it means that she was a freak before, not just different." He thought for a moment about whether it sounded right. "I could be off base on this, but it's the way I think about it."
"How do you feel about her not having the surgery, Greg?"
"I love Sarah, in whatever form she wants. When she is ready, we'll do it, and if she is never ready, we'll love each other just as much."
"I'm happy for you Greg." And Alex meant it.
Alex's mind skipped to another question. "Does this mean you're gay?"
"Does it matter?" asked Greg.
"Then why ask?"
"For your edification," Greg answered, sounding like Han from 'Enter the Dragon' and then returning to his normal voice, "I don't consider myself gay, because to me she is a woman in every respect except one, and," he paused briefly, "I'm not attracted to men." Alex nodded in acceptance.
They watched more of the game, until Alex asked about kids, then watched more of the game until Alex asked about her parents, and then watched more of the game, until Alex asked about her original name, and so on, until it was time to dress for the wedding.
They were right on schedule when they knocked on their dad's door. He was ready in a few minutes. When they got to the car, Greg asked Alex about the ring.
"No problem, I have it right here," when Alex patted his jacket pocket and didn't feel it. He ran back to the room, got the ring, returned to the car, and continued, "As I was saying, right here." This time when he patted his jacket pocket, it was there.
They got in the car and drove to the church.
Sarah heard the voice and turned to see the woman. Sarah cried in fear and joy, "Mom!" For at the door stood Sarah's mother, Betty.
Sarah stood there, her biological mother at the door, her new mom standing in between. Silence was waiting for someone to speak. Sarah was torn whether to invite this woman in or have Joy slam the door on her.
Joy broke the silence, first, "Sarah, this is your day. What would you like me to do?"
Sarah was very confused, "Joy, I can't think." Her eyes pleaded for Joy to decide for her. Joy sensed this and shut the door with Betty still in the hallway. The room was silent. Annie walked over to Sarah and gave her a big hug. Joy turned from the door and started to walk over to Sarah to hug her, when Sarah yelled louder than she had planned, "Let her in!"
Joy complied, opened the door to find Betty already walking toward the elevator. Joy stepped into the hallway and called after her, "Sarah will see you now." Betty turned, tears in her eyes, walked back to the room.
When everyone was in the room, Joy asked Sarah, "Would you like us to stay or go?"
Looking at Joy, Sarah responded, with surprising confidence, "I want you and Annie to stay." Glad to be out of the tension and knowing very little of the history, Katie and Cindy left. They waited down the hallway far enough not to hear what was going on in the room.
The door closed, and the four women were in the room. Sarah noticed that her mom looked a lot older than she should for her age. Joy again broke the silence with clear anger in her voice, "You have a lovely daughter who is part of OUR family." She thought through her next words, deciding how far she was going to vent; it had built up long enough. "How dare you treat her with anything except love! For whatever reason, she is the way she is; she is a beautiful charming young lady." Joy stood between Sarah and Betty. Joy's hand was clinched by her side while she fought the urge to punch Betty in the face.
Tears streamed down Betty's face as she choked out, "I know ... I'm sorry." Joy's fist loosened. Betty turned toward her daughter. "Hen..." She stopped herself. "Sarah ... I was so wrong. Please, forgive me."
Sarah stood there. She surprised herself that she didn't cry. With all the emotions of the day and the past eleven years, she just felt pity for this old woman. "Joy was right", Sarah thought, "I am good the way I am, and I feel the love and support of a family. Do I need this woman?" What came out of Sarah's mouth barely concealed her anger. "Is dad with you?"
Betty shook her head, "No." She choked back the sobs. "We divorced two years ago."
"Because of me?" Sarah asked. There was still anger in her voice but not as much as a few moments earlier.
"There were a lot of issues, and your ... situation brought the real issues to the surface." Betty looked truly sorry and continued, "I realized that as soon as we threw you out, it was a mistake, but your dad would not think about bringing you back into our home. We made a huge mistake eleven years ago, and I have had to live with it." She started crying, again.
Sarah was relieved not to face her dad, and felt somewhat happy to have her two moms there, but her anger still outweighed her sentiment. "Are you planning to see the wedding?"
Betty looked up and whispered, "If you are okay with it?" Sarah nodded without smiling.
Joy took command, again, and said, "We have to get to the church, ladies," even though they were well ahead of schedule. Turning to Betty, she said, "I assume you will drive yourself." Betty nodded.
Joy opened the door as Annie and Sarah left, holding hands for support. Katie and Cindy were relieved that there was no blood on the dress – they had imagined a lot of scenarios during the brief time they waited. Once Annie and Sarah were walking down the hall, Joy stood at the door and waited impatiently for Betty to leave the room, too. Joy felt deep inside that no one was beyond redemption, but just below the surface, her feelings were far less charitable.
Betty started to leave the room, knowing that she had at least gotten this far. When she walked past Joy, she said, "Thank you for taking my ... girl into your family. She deserves far better than she has had."
"Damn right, she does." Joy felt some internal success with her having uttered only one profane word. She didn't cuss much, but she knew there were times when she would forgive herself for doing it.
Once in the hallway, Betty took the stairs, and the five other ladies took the elevator down. They got to the church five minutes early.
Sarah was escorted to a waiting area, and Greg was already waiting at the alter. Joy found her husband, John, who was near the waiting area getting ready to escort his new daughter down the aisle. Joy whispered into his ear, "Sarah's mother is here."
John felt his anger rise until Joy added, "Relax. It's a good thing. She and Sarah have spoken." She then gave the thirty second version of what transpired. John took a deep breath and refocused on his job, bringing someone new into the family. Joy walked into the main part of the church and took her place in front. Greg would be told what happened later.
The minister, seeing that the groom's mother was seated, nodded his head, the organist started to play Wagner's Bridal Chorus from "Lohengrin", and people stood. As it began, Katie sneaked down the side and slipped into the pew beside her mother. Annie walked down the aisle first and took her place at the front across from Greg and Alex. Then at the entrance stood John and Sarah. They walked slowly down the aisle, she gripping onto his arm, his free hand on her arm comforting her. Greg's only thought when he saw Sarah was "Wow!"
John talked to her quietly as they walked, "You make Greg incredibly happy. For that, thank you. And remember Joy and I love you, too, for who you are and who you will be." He thought for a moment and wondered if that came across like he expected her to be someone specific. "Let me rephrase that last part. We don't have any preconceived notions about who you will be. We just..."
Sarah stopped him with a laugh, "I know what you're saying. Thank you." She squeezed his arm and smiled. And maybe for the first time, she saw John smile.
When they arrived at the front, the minister said, "Who presents Sarah and Greg to be married before the eyes of God and friends?"
John cleared his throat and replied, "I do, John Booth." The minister nodded "thank you" as Sarah moved up the steps and John took his seat beside Joy. Sarah flashed her amazing smile, the one which ordinarily would make Greg want to have her alone. He was lost in thought briefly until the minister started to speak.
The rest of the service was sort of a blur. When the organist started to play the Mendelssohn's Wedding March, Greg and Sarah left the church followed by everyone else. As soon as the newlyweds were outside, Greg pivoted around and passionately kissed her. They kept this up until Alex came over, cleared his throat, and tapped Greg on the shoulder. "There will be plenty of time for that later, bro."
Coming back to reality, the centers of attention and the guests went around to the adjoining building for the reception. As Sarah and Greg walked, she saw Betty walking alone. Sarah picked up the pace, bringing Greg with her. They quickly neared the woman, who turned around at the noise. Sarah started, "Greg, I would like you to meet Betty Johnson." Greg started to extend his hand. "And mom, I would like you to meet Greg, my husband."