It was Don Taylor's last day before he began his family leave, and it couldn't end soon enough. It seemed that every time he turned around, his boss and good friend, Jason Blackwell, was giving him, 'Just one more thing.' He had the program installed into his office computer and the computer at home to allow him access to his work files should he need them, and had copied all of his important files onto several flash drives. In Don's mind, the day seemed to just drag on, and his thoughts were on his lovely wife Angel, who was waiting at home, and very pregnant with their first child. When Don met her just over two years ago, he had no idea how she would forever change his life.
His thoughts drifted back to the storm that brought her into his life, how it shook the tiny hut he was staying in that was supposed to be a second honeymoon for him and his now ex-wife Amy. Instead it was a chance for Don to refocus and re-purpose his life. After the storm, he went to clear the debris off the beach in hopes of a nice bonfire to cook some fresh fish over during his stay, only to find Angel's naked, unconscious, injured body lying under the palm branches. The huge lump on her beautiful head that caused her to lose her memory, and how entranced he was by her sheer beauty that captivated his soul. He knew a lesser man would have taken advantage of her in such a state, but he resisted his urges and sexual desires and instead carried her to his hut, loaned her some clothes, and nursed her back to health.
When she first regained consciousness, she was frightened, and rightfully so. Here she was in a strange place with a strange man, and was injured. Two days later, he gave into his desires and they made love, resulting in his taking her virginity. Of course, this was nothing compared to what he learned about his Angel the next morning when in a moment of romantic whimsy Don learned her real secret, Angel was really a mermaid.
By this point however, it didn't matter to Don, he was already head over heels in love. They spent the remainder of his vacation making love and Don had to make some quick decisions. He called his boss and for the first time in his life, gave an ultimatum: transfer him to the office on the island, or accept his immediate resignation. Luckily, Don's old boss was more than willing to allow the transfer as long as the current supervisor, Jason Blackwell, was willing to accept Don.
Don and Jason shared stories about the relationships with their respective mermaids over beer and a sampler platter at the local bar and grill. Don made it clear he wanted to make Angel his wife, regardless of whether or not she could have his child. Jason discussed in depth the negative reaction he experienced with his, the pain involved with breaking the heart of a mermaid, and the difficulty to get them to forgive. A loud knock snapped
Don out of his memories. "Come in!" he called out.
Jason Blackwell stepped in and said, "Hey there. How's it going?"
Don sighed, he feared Jason was here to pile on 'one more thing.' "Good. What's up?"
Jason looked surprised, but Don knew better. "Nothing. Hell man, you act like a nervous father or something."
Don rolled his eyes. "Sorry. It's been a stressful day."
"I'm sure, but right now, we have a meeting to get to."
"Meeting? What meeting?" questioned Don.
"Did you forget to check your e-mail again?"
Don sighed. He had avoided looking at his e-mail for fear it would just delay his departure just that much more. "Yeah, I guess I did."
"Well come on, I assure you, it will be brief."
Don hung his head as he slowly stood up. He wanted to leave early, but knew with all that needed to be done before he could leave, that goal was quickly made impossible. At this point, even leaving at his normal time was now a lost hope. He walked up to a smiling Jason and said, "I'm sorry man, I know I've been out of sorts all week. I'm just worried about Angel. She's only swimming in the cove now, and I fear her family will think I'm keeping her from them."
"Don, you know better than that," said Jason as they walked. "I'm sure she's fine. Just as I'm sure her family is well aware of condition."
"Yeah, but I wish I could meet them. Well, other than Grace that is."
"I understand. She came by again last night," said Jason.
"Yeah. We talked for hours before we..." Jason lowered his voice, "fucked."
"Have you seen your daughter yet?"
"Kinda, she stays in the cove. Ah here we are, after you."
Don opened the door to the conference room.
"SURPRISE!" cried out a chorus of voices.
Everyone in the office was there with big smiles. A pink banner along the back wall read, "Congratulations New Dad!" The room was decorated in pink diapers with flowers and seashells all over.
"What the heck?" asked Don.
"Who says men can't have a baby shower?" exclaimed Jason. "Now, we all understand that in Angel's delicate condition, she couldn't join us live, so..." Jason pulled out a tablet computer and said, "she's joining us virtually."
There on the screen, Don saw the face of his lovely wife. "Angel!"
"Hi Don!" she said smiling.
Don hugged the tablet and smiled down. "Did you know?"
"I only found out a few minutes ago when Jason called. He explained to me this was the last thing you'd be doing today and the staff really wanted to do this for you ... um ... I mean ... for us."
"I'm glad you can be a part of it with me," said Don.
Don sat in the "chair of honor" as he enjoyed some cake and opened presents. The staff had bought some baby clothes, toys, and even a crib. Jason agreed to bring all that to the cove for Don the following day, and even though Angel would have to wait for her cake, she was able to enjoy this unique human ritual, the baby shower.
Angel smiled as she watched Don interact with his human co-workers and friends, even though she couldn't really see them since Don kept the screen aimed at himself. She couldn't help but wonder how these people would react if they knew the truth about her. Occasionally, Angel would have to shift her weight as the baby moved within her swollen belly until Don's desk chair was just too much for her and she bade him farewell. She logged out of his Skype account and slowly rose. Yes, it was time to swim in the cove. It was the one thing she could do to keep their daughter calm until Don came home.
"I know little one," she said to her belly, "you want your daddy. Well, he'll be home soon enough. So, in the meantime, let's go for a swim."
Angel waddled down to the cove, stripped off her clothes, and walked into the water until her tail morphed. She floated in the water as she looked at their home and smiled. Her mind wandered back to the day she knew she needed the Elder Council's help.
They had been married for over a year, with no child. Don had admitted when they first met that this was the key issue with this first wife early in their relationship. He felt bad that he couldn't give Angel a child. Angel knew that asking for the Elder Council's help with this was risky, but unlike her other requests, this one was about adding a member to their clan.
Angel swam down for her monthly visit, ready to make her plea. The Elder Council only met when either a new human man was coming to the island, or if an issue needed to be addressed. In this case, it was her lack of a child. The Elder Council was made up of the most senior mermaids, all who had love and lost, including her own mother. Angel greeted her cousins and other extended family members, including Grace who was still not willing to forgive Jason yet. Soon, the members of the Elder Council took their places in the private chamber, while Angel waited.
Their most senior member, Melpomene, said, "I understand there is one among you who wishes to address the Elder Council."
Angel looked around, then said, "I do."
"Come with me child."
Angel swam in, and saw the Elder Council, including her aunt and her mother waiting for her. Melpomene took her place and said in a soft voice, "What brings you to us?"
Angel sighed. "I have been with my human husband for over a year now, and still, I have no child. He tells me he can give me no child but I feel he is wrong."
"Why do you feel this way child?" asked Melepomene.
"I dream of Don holding our curly haired daughter. Please, I beg the Elder Council, help me give my husband the one thing he feels he cannot."
"We do not like to interfere with the lives of humans," said Calliope
"But he's my mate!" cried Angel. "He's all I ever wanted. Please, I know he will make a good father to our daughter. This is only the second time I've asked the Elder Council for anything."
"Third," said Calliope in a sharp tone. "Or have you forgotten?"
Angel paused for a moment. "I stand corrected. But seeing how the Elder Council ignored my first request, I don't think this one request is asking too much."
Melepomene raised her hand to keep any others from speaking, then said, "We will discuss it child and you will have your answer before you return to the surface."
Angel left the chamber and waited nervously. It was one of the few times she couldn't talk to anyone about her request, even her own mother. Two full days passed before she was called back into the chamber. Nervously, Angel waited to hear her fate.
Melepomene looked up and said, "Well, we discussed it thoroughly, and we have made a decision. Since it is important we as a species must prevail, we will grant you a special potion that you can use one time that will guarantee you a child. But we must warn you, the side effects on your human mate could be dangerous. At the very least, it could change his behavior and affect your relationship. The changes could be temporary or permanent. We do not know. You must decide if this is a risk you are willing to take."
"If it means I can carry Don's child, then I am."
"Good. The potion will be ready in five days. You will be given two bottles. The first night you are together, give your human the potion in his food and drink. You will drink from your bottle. You will mate. Once your human has finished and is sleeping, you are to repeat a special chant until the sun rises on Cala, no matter how strangely he acts, or how badly you feel, you must do this. Do all of these things, and you will carry his child."
Angel swallowed hard. She was sure the Elder Council was just trying to scare her, but she also knew this was the only way. "I will do what I must."
Angel spent the next several days learning the chant she would need to repeat after Don and she concluded their lovemaking. Several times her mother tried to talk her out of this decision, but Angel assured her she was doing the right thing. Once the potion was ready, she was given the two bottles. The bottle for Don was much fuller than hers, but she knew why.
She swam home and prepared a fine meal for the two of them. Angel had taken her potion before she ate and knew quickly, Don would never drink it because it tasted awful. However, it mixed well with the dinner she prepared and the taste was barely noticed. She anxiously waited for Don's return home and when he arrived, she felt her arousal begin to grow. She served dinner and ate a bit more quickly than normal. She could see Don's facial expression become darker, and she knew the potion was working. It was the one night she didn't clear the table or clean up, nor did Don.
Angel quickly went into their bedroom and stripped down naked. Don followed her and when he saw her, she knew why the Elder Council had warned her about his behavior being different or strange. Don stripped down and kissed her forcefully, in a way he had never done before. He threw her onto the bed and was on her almost immediately. He mauled her so roughly and even though her body responded with arousal, her mind raced as she knew, this rough treatment wasn't at all normal. He went down and enjoyed her pussy and was rewarded with two powerful orgasms.
Don licked, nipped and bit her. The biting was the worst part for Angel, until he penetrated her. His cock was harder than she had ever felt before, and instead of slowly entering like he normally would, he forcefully shoved his cock deep inside her sex. She was so glad she was already very wet from the potion and oral sex, as he didn't even hesitate. Don pounded her in a way she never knew before, then he rolled her over and she rode him. Usually this meant she controlled the pace, but when she didn't move fast enough, Don would drive himself deeper into her.
Finally, he shoved her off, grabbed her around the waist and put her on her knees. He didn't speak, but growled as he rammed his cock into her and slid a finger into her ass. Angel yelped in pain and fear from the new experience, but Don seemed to take no notice. Angel knew it was a side-effect of the magic potion she was given. He pounded her sex with a violent force that had this been their first time, would have frightened Angel beyond words. When Don finally reached his climax, he roared loudly as if he'd achieved some great goal.
Don collapsed onto their bed, exhausted from the vigorous sex, and immediately fell asleep. His penis remained hard for several minutes, their mixed juices glistening in the light. Angel gently sat up on their bed. Her pussy and ass ached from the rough handling. She sat with her back against the wall, tears pouring down her cheeks, and began to chant. Though she worried about what Don would be like in the morning, she put her energy into the chant.
As the sun peeked through their window, Angel was exhausted. She had cried for hours while chanting, hoping she had done everything the Elder Council had told her to do. Don began to stir and Angel decided to see if things with him were back to normal. She moved down, took his cock, and slid it gently into her mouth. As she licked and sucked, she felt Don's hand gently touch her head. Once she knew he was firm enough, she crawled back up and kissed Don. His kisses were soft and gentle again as he moved on top of her and slid his now firm penis gently into her.
Had Don moved any faster, he would have known how sore Angel was from the night before. Angel knew her Don was back and the side effects she was warned about were just temporary. He moved so slowly, so gently, it reminded her of their first time. Once they reached their climaxes, Don slid off her and Angel climbed out of bed, dressed, and made breakfast. Angel could still feel the pain from the rougher sex and hoped sometime in the cove would ease her pain.
Don padded out, kissed her cheek, and asked, "Are you all right?"
"Are you sure?"
"Why do you ask?"
"Last night felt ... different."
"It was because I was gone a bit longer than normal, that's all," she lied.
"Are you sure?"
"Of course Don," she said. "You're always extra aroused when I return. Don't worry yourself about it."
Even though Don would again ask for the next several weeks, Angel never shared the truth. She feared he might think she tricked him. It was during her second visit home after that night that the Elder Council confirmed she was indeed with child. She couldn't return home fast enough, and when she saw Don's wave runner enter the cove, she swam out to him as she couldn't wait to share the good news.
It was the sound of Don's wave runner that pulled Angel out of her memories. She wanted to swim out to him but she knew it was better to wait. She did swim toward him and he quickly slowed down and anchored. He swam to her, took her into is arms, and said, "Hello my beautiful wife. How are you two feeling?"
"She got restless. I think she wanted to swim."
"Well, me too I guess."
"Are you feeling all right baby?"
"Yeah, I just wish I could have come to your party. It looked like fun."
"But if you had, no one would have believed that I needed to be home this soon with you. With you not being there, everyone believes you're on full bed rest and need me here."
"It was nice of Jason to include me."
"It was. He's coming tomorrow with the gifts. Except one, I had to bring home. I got it after you left the party. Would you like to see it?"
Angel smiled. "Sure."
Don swam to his wave runner, and carried his backpack to the shore, then he scooped up his wife and carried her to the shore. Once her legs morphed, he helped her dress and opened his backpack. Inside was a piece of cake from the party, and a mermaid doll with red hair and a rainbow tail. Angel's eyes welled up with tears.
"Oh Don. It's a mermaid!"
"Yeah, the girls said tried to find a blonde, but they liked the tail on this on more. I know it will be a long time before she's old enough for this, but I knew you'd love it."
Angel smiled as the doll made her think of her mother, and her red hair. "She perfect. She'll love it."
"Ready to go in and rest my love?"
Angel sighed. "Yes my love, I am."
Don and Angel walked into their house. Don fixed them dinner, then relaxed watching TV and Don playing with Angel's stomach. He could feel his daughter move around within Angel's swollen belly, laughing as they played. Angel smiled as she watched their interaction and knew this was well worth the price she paid for this moment, though the thought did make her shudder.
"What's wrong baby?" asked Don.
"Nothing," lied Angel. "I think she just ... um ... hit something?"
"Maybe she tripped a nerve?"
"Yes, that is it."
Don didn't fully believe his wife, but he also knew her English skills were still limited and she would often mix up her idioms so he decided not to dwell on this. "Did I tell you Jason is coming by tomorrow?"
"Yes," she sighed.
"What is it baby?"
"Part of me still doesn't like Jason for what he did to Grace, but I don't see the heartless man she said he was. I see a broken shell of a man who wants a second chance."
"Jason reminds me a lot of me before I met you."
"How so?" asked Angel as she looked at Don.
Don took a deep breath, then said, "You know I was married before I met you. And I won't lie, I loved Amy with my whole heart, and her rejection hurt me beyond words. Before I met you, I would have done anything to get her to give me a second chance."
"And now I have you. You healed my broken heard, mended my wounded spirit, and gave me a reason to believe that my mission here on Earth wasn't over yet. I mean, if someone had told me two and a half years ago I'd be weeks away from being a new father with a wonderful woman I would have thought they were crazy. Yet here I am, with my amazing mermaid wife, playing with my unborn daughter in her belly. I can't begin to stress to you just how blessed I am to have you Angel, and how nothing will ever change that. Even if Amy walked through that door right now and begged me to take her back, I'd ask her to leave and never return."
Angel smiled. She knew his ex-wife, Amy, had been a sore spot for Don since they met. Ironically, it was because of her that Don even came to Cala de Sirena. Had she not been playing with Don's wounded heart, he never would have booked the trip that brought him here. Yet, here he is now, his hands on her belly as their daughter squirmed and made contact with him.
"She seems to really love her daddy."
"I just hope I'm worthy of her," said Don sadly.
"You are more than worthy of her and you will make a wonderful father."
Don kissed Angel's swollen belly, then her lips and said, "I'm going to take a quick bath before bed. Do you need anything?"
"Just for you to stop worrying so much."
Don stood up and smiled, then asked, "Is the reason you're staying close it because of her?" Don pointed to her stomach.
"Partly," said Angel. "And partly because it's difficult to swim. I now understand why Grace and the others would disappear during this time. Can we talk about this later hon?"
Don sighed. Angel had not wanted to talk about having their baby, as she didn't know what to expect. "Sure baby. I'll be in the bathroom. Holler if you need me."
Don padded into their bedroom, stripped down, walked into their bathroom, and turned the water on to their tub. Even though their home had a shower, and he used it during the week for work, he enjoyed relaxing in the large two-person tub. As the water filled, he reflected on how it was a moment in a bathtub that changed his life forever. The moment when he pulled Angel in for what he thought would be a chance for make-up sex, only to find out her real secret.
Turning off the faucet, Don stepped into the warm water and sat back, closing his eyes. He reflected on how happy he was, and how much he was looking forward to the birth of their child. Don though about how much he wanted to give his new daughter the world, and protect her from all potential harm, though the rational side of him knew better.
He heard a slight splash and opened his eyes to see his wife slide into the water, and her legs morph into her rainbow tail. Don smiled as she settled into the water. "I hope you don't mind, but the idea of sitting in water with you just sounded so wonderful, I had to join you."
Don smiled. "Never. I was just thinking about our first time in a tub together."
Angel giggled. "That did have a nice ending."
"You know, when you have the baby, we won't be having sex for a while."
Angel nodded, "Yes, you've warned me. But it's not like we have sex all the time now."
"True. And trust me, Jason said I could take as much time off as I need. I can work from home, everything is in place, and everyone knows I'm on family leave. In fact, Jason set this all up two years ago. Little did either of us know it would take me so long to get you pregnant. Though, to be honest, I never thought this day would ever come."
"Well I assure you, this is your daughter. I have not been with any other man. In fact, I've only met two other men aside from you, Jason and that nice man that married us."
Don smiled as he remembered meeting him. It was just after he had asked Angel to be his wife, and gave her the mermaid and pearl ring she wears. He had reported to work and on his first day, was asked to get himself and Jason lunch for as they poured over paperwork that needed to be completed.
When Don walked to the bar to pick up some sandwiches and a sampler to go, he noticed the old church at the edge of town. Don wasn't an overly religious man, but there was something about this church that drew him to it. He wandered over to it and went inside. He noticed that is wasn't as old as it initially appeared, but still had that rustic island look that he liked. The church itself was simple, open, with hard wooden benches and a stone floor. The walls were bare except for the windows, and the front had a simple podium.
Don turned to see an older man with dark brown skin, salt and pepper hair, and soft brown eyes. It was clear he was the minister by the tell-tale collar around his neck.
"Hello," replied Don.
"What brings you here?"
"I hadn't notice this here before."
"You must be new, I'm Pastor Ken. Are you a visitor to our island or a new resident?"
"I guess a new resident."
"Then welcome," said Pastor Ken as he extended his arms. "Now tell me friend, what brings you here this fine day?"
Don wondered if he could even try to explain about Angel, so he said, "Actually, I was heading out to get some lunch when I saw the church and wanted to check it out."
Pastor Ken smiled and nodded. "Well, let me assure you this building is sound. It was rebuilt after the storm that nearly leveled the island some time ago."
"I heard you got storms here a lot."
"Not like this one. This storm killed many of the natives and tourists, and destroyed almost all the buildings. The island is just now bouncing back, but Mr. and Mrs. Lee worked the hardest to aid in this area. Have you met them?"
"Yes. I rented a hut from them when I first arrived."
"And you and your wife loved it here so much you chose to stay."
"Actually, I came alone, and met someone here."
"And now you want to marry her."
"Actually, yes, I do."
"And I'll bet she won't come here to get married."
Don's face went pale. How did this stranger know? Pastor Ken smiled a gentle smile and said, "I'm sorry friend, but I don't know your name."
"Don. Don Taylor."
"Don Taylor, a good name. Don, I'm a third generation pastor. My grandfather and my father built the original church, and took care of the religious needs of the people. I have two sons and I'm hoping one will follow in my path. But if not, then I hope the good Lord will bring me the right person to continue the good work.
"Now, being an island native and a third generation pastor, I know a few things. My father and grandfather would often talk about men who would marry women who weren't native women, but would fall deeply in love with them. These men would come to Cala for different reasons and over time, they would ask for private ceremonies to marry these women. Often, this was the only time they'd see these women. I'm well aware of the whispers and stories of mermaids that live in these waters, and to be honest, if they are true, then they are God's creatures and deserve to be loved like anyone else."
"Why are you telling me all this?" asked Don.
"My father was a good man. One of his last marriages was to a couple where the woman was already pregnant, and not like anyone he'd seen before. She was a beautiful woman with red hair and an angelic face, as my father said. The man was completely in love with her. Sadly, just a few years later, my father performed this man's funeral service. He and a few others were killed in a freak accident. Now, my father never confirmed my suspicions about this woman, but I think she is the barmaid. I have tried to speak with her, and she admits to having two children, and when I inquire about their father, she does say he was killed some time ago, but nothing more."
"And you don't think she came with the man?"
"No, I think she came to the island to find him. However, if she is a mermaid I don't know. I do know she is an amazing woman and if she really has two children, then she has set an excellent example for them both. Now, as to why I told you this story. My father told me that if a man ever comes by and asks about performing a private wedding, to do it. As I said before, even mermaids are God's creatures and should enjoy happiness. Now, would you like to bring your bride-to-be here, or would you prefer I come to your home?"
Don gaped at Pastor Ken for a moment or two. Did he know about Angel and her people? Had his father and grandfather performed mermaids to human men marriages in the past? "Don't you require paperwork?"
Pastor Ken shook his head. "No Don Taylor. Paperwork doesn't mean a thing to me. Answer me honestly, if you would please, do you love this woman?"
"With all my heart," said Don without a moment of hesitation.
"Does she love you?"
"Have you asked her to marry you?"
"And did she accept?"
"Don Taylor, marriage isn't about paperwork, it's about love. Pure and simple. I don't even care if she's pregnant."
"She's not," said Don in a mournful tone.
"How can you be so sure?"
"Because I can't have children."
"Hmm, interesting. Does she know this?"
"I think so, but I'm not sure."
"Don Taylor, please speak with your fiancée and let me know if you would like me to marry you two. I don't mind coming to your home. All we need is a witness. I'm sure there is one person you know who could be such a witness. My fee is very reasonable, and as I said before, all of God's creatures deserve happiness and love. And if you need paperwork, I can take care of that too," he said with a quick wink.
Pastor Ken extended his hand to Don. Don shook his hand and left. He went to the bar, picked up the food and went back to the office. As he entered, Jason said, "Get lost?"
"I was at the church."
"How is Pastor Ken?"
Jason took the food from Don and set it on the table. "Going to have him perform the ceremony for you and Angel?"
"I would," said Jason. "He's a good guy and one of the few here that I would trust to keep your secret."
"He said he didn't care if Angel was a mermaid. That all of God's creatures deserve love."
"Yeah, that's him. The Lees aren't big fans of his as they have a different view of mermaids as you well know."
"Do you think Angel will go for this?"
"She might, if she loves you as much as you say," said Jason, taking a bite of his sandwich.
"Would you be willing to be my best man and witness then?"
Jason dropped his sandwich on the table. "Me?"
"You're the only friend I've got here, and the only one who knows the truth about Angel."
"You consider me your friend?"
"Well ... yeah."
Jason's face reflected the shock he was feeling. Then he said quietly, "Don, I'd be honored to stand by your side under one condition."
"Sure, anything. What is it?"
"That if Grace ever forgives me and give me a second chance, you do the same for me."
"You got it man."
They shook hands, then finished their lunch and paperwork. Don went home and talked with Angel about Pastor Ken, how he wanted a simple, but formal ceremony so their marriage would be official and legal. He also explained that Jason needed to come and if after this, she didn't wish to see either man, this would be fine. Angel listened quietly then asked, "Don want marry?"
"Yes Angel, Don wants to marry Angel."
"Don stay with Angel?" she asked, her English still broken.
"Yes. Don loves Angel."
"Angel marry Don," she said with a big smile.
Tears welled up in Don's eyes as he wrapped his arms around her. "Thank you Angel."
The next day, Don asked Jason about making him a ring. Jason laughed and said, "It will be ready by the end of the week. I assumed you'd want a ring as well."
"Seems only fair."
"So when's the wedding?"
"Saturday, I hope."
"Then it will be ready in time. What should I wear?"
Don's eyes grew wide. He hadn't thought about what they would wear. "I don't know."
"How about at lunch we go shopping for something nice for you and Angel to wear, and pay old Pastor Ken a visit?"
At lunch, they wandered to the clothing shop where Don had bought Angel the dresses and clothes she wore and they found a simple white sundress that would look perfect on Angel. He also found a white bikini she could wear underneath. For himself, he bought a pair of white shorts and a blue and white shirt. Jason bought a pair of white shorts and a matching blue and white shirt. Then they walked to the church. Pastor Ken was outside sweeping the steps. His face broke into a huge smile as he saw the men and said, "Welcome Don Taylor and Jason Blackwell! It is good to see you both again."
"Hey Pastor Ken," said Don smiling. "I was wondering, do you have any plans for Saturday?"
Saturday morning, Don paced along the shoreline barefoot in his new shorts and shirt while waiting for Pastor Ken and Jason. He couldn't remember being more anxious or nervous, and he worried that Angel might change her mind and back out. Soon he saw Jason's wave runner and Pastor Ken's boat enter the cove. Once the vessels were anchored, Pastor Ken took Don's hand and shook it saying, "This is a beautiful day for a wedding. May I meet your fiancée?"
"Um, sure," said Don nervously.
He lead the two men to the house were Angel was. She was wearing the white dress and bikini underneath, the mermaid necklace Don had given her around her neck, and some seaweed in her hair, pacing in the living room, barefoot.
"Angel," said Don, "this is Pastor Ken, and this is Jason."
"Hello," she said quietly.
"Angel," said Pastor Ken in a gentle voice, "it is nice to meet you."
Angel smiled softly and said, "Nice ... to ... meet ... you."
"Angel, do you want to marry Don?" asked Pastor Ken.
"Yes, Angel marry Don."
Pastor Ken turned to Don and asked, "Does she always talk like this?"
"Three weeks ago she couldn't speak at all. See that scar on her forehead?"
"She was hurt when I found her. I think the injury affected her speech. She's still learning and if you speak slowly to her, she can mimic what she hears."
Jason gasped and whispered, "Grace just chose not to speak to me."
Don shrugged. "Will this be a problem?"
"No," said Pastor Ken as he shook his head. "As long as she loves you and understands what you two are getting into, it's fine."
"Angel love Don," she said firmly. "Angel marry Don."
Angel stomped her foot on the floor and Pastor Ken chuckled. "Well then, it seems the young lady more than understands. Let's get started then, shall we?"
Pastor stepped out onto the beach and Don took Angel's hand into his and said, "Give me your ring for a moment."
"I promise you'll get it back."
"Don want Angel ring?"
Angel slipped off her ring and gave it to Don. "I'm going to give this to Jason for a moment to hold for me." Don handed Jason Angel's ring. "It's Jason's job to hold our rings until Pastor Ken tell us to put them on each other."
"Rings?" she asked.
"Yes," said Don. "Angel's ring and Don's ring."
"Don's ... ring?" questioned Angel. Then her face broke into a huge smile. "Don's ring!"
"Yes Angel, Don's ring."
Jason smiled and said, "I'll see you two outside."
"Now, let's get married, shall we."
In bare feet, they walked down to the beach and stood before Pastor Ken with Jason standing by Don's side. Pastor Ken spoke slowly and clearly so that Angel understood his words. "I Donald Raymond Taylor, take you Angel to be my wife. To have and to hold from this day forward, to love and cherish, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."
"I Angel, take you Don," began Pastor Ken.
"I Angel, take Don."
"To be my husband."
"To be ... my husband."
"To have and to hold."
"To have ... and to hold."
"From this day forward."
"From this ... day ... forward."
"To love and cherish."
"To love and cherry."
Jason snickered and Don smiled.
"No Angel," said Pastor Ken, "cherish not cherry."
"For better or worse."
"For better ... or worse."
Pastor Ken smiled. "For richer or poorer."
"For richer ... or poorer."
"In sickness and in health."
Angel began to smile, "In sickness ... and ... in heath."
"Until death do us part."
Angel's smile faded. "Death? Don ... death?"
"Not today Angel. Not for a long time," said Don in a soothing voice.
"Until death do us part," repeated Pastor Ken.
Angel sighed. "Until ... death ... do ... us ... part."
Jason reached over and placed two rings in Pastor Ken's hand. "Exquisite rings. The wedding ring is a symbol of endless love. It has no beginning, and no end. Don, please take the ring and place it on Angel's finger."
Don's hand trembled as he took Angel's ring and then her left hand.
"With this ring," said Pastor Ken
Don slid the ring back onto Angel's finger, and said, "With this ring."
"I thee wed."
"I thee wed," echoed Don.
"Angel," said Pastor Ken turning toward her, "please take the ring for Don."
Angel looked into Pastor Ken's hand and saw the matching ring with a dark pearl and mermaid band. She smiled and whispered, "Angel."
Pastor Ken helped put the ring into Angel's hand. "Now Angel, take Don's hand."
Don raised his left hand and Angel took it into hers. "Put the ring on this finger," said Pastor Ken as he pointed to his ring finger.
Angel examined the ring, looked at hers, then slipped the ring onto Don's finger as Pastor Ken said, "With this ring."
Angel didn't say anything as she was too focused on putting the ring on Don's hand. Pastor Ken gently put his hand on her shoulder and said, "With this ring."
"With this ring," she repeated.
"I thee wed."
"I thee wed."
"By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Don, you may know kiss the bride."
Don leaned down and kissed Angel softly on the lips. Jason clapped his hands and said, "Okay, time for a picture you two!"
"Picture?" asked Angel.
"It's okay Angel. It's just for us."
Jason took a picture of Angel and Don standing together, one with them and Pastor Ken, one of just Angel, one of just Don, then had Pastor Ken take one of him and Don, and one of the three. "Ya know Don, I can set this to get a picture of all four of us if you'd like."
"That would be nice," said Don.
They stood near the porch as Jason set up the camera. He had Pastor Ken stand by Angel, then he ran down and stood by Don. Once the picture snapped, Pastor Ken kissed Angel's cheek, shook Don's and Jason's hand, and bid everyone goodbye. As Pastor Ken left, Don turned to Angel and said, "Thank you Angel."
Angel looked at him confused. "Don ... thank ... Angel?"
"For becoming my wife."
"I'm going to leave you love birds alone now. Don, I'll see you Monday at work. Angel, it was an honor to meet you."
"Jason?" asked Angel.
Angel began to think. "Jason ... Grace?"
Jason sighed. "Yes, I'm the one who hurt Grace, and if I could, I'd fix it."
Angel frowned. "Jason ... hurt ... Grace."
"Yes, I hurt her, and I wish I hadn't."
It was clear that Angel's attitude toward Jason had changed. Grace was like her and he had caused her great pain. "Angel, don't be angry with Jason," said Don. "He wants to fix what he did."
"Yes," said Jason. "I want to fix what I did to Grace."
Angel looked down at her ring, then said, "Angel help?"
"Can you baby? Can you help Jason?" asked Don.
"Would you?" asked Jason with the clear sound of hope in his voice.
Angel straightened up, smiled, and said, "Angel help."
Jason hugged Angel and kissed her cheek. "Thank you Angel." With that, Jason left the newlyweds alone, and rode back to his home.