Return To Ragston
A Winterborne Wedding
“If you pick up one more thing, I am going to break your fingers off, dip them in wax and use them as candles for your birthday cake!”
“Honey! It’s just a shoebox!” I laughed.
“You paid for movers and organizers. Let them do it!”
“I’m pregnant Honey, not disabled.”
“Pick up one more thing, and you will be disabled,” she rolled her eyes.
The house that Wesley and I built in Ragston was finally finished. Big Wes’ construction company did all the work, and it turned out beautifully. After completing our house, they went right to work on the carriage house. It needed to be finished in time for Rocki’s wedding. She and Seth would be staying there before and after their New Year’s Eve wedding.
“Momma she can help. It’s her house,” Momma said.
Honey looked at me and said, “Pick something else up and see what happens.”
I was in my seventh month and the pregnancy was going well. Wesley and I were ecstatic about the baby. The family was excited, and Honey had forced me to be careful. Sometimes to the point of overbearance. I think she was concerned with the spotting that I had early in my pregnancy. It eventually stopped, and we all moved on, but Honey was still concerned that I could have another miscarriage even though my one and only miscarriage was years ago.
I turned around and went into the other room before I rolled my eyes. I knew I would not survive if Honey caught me rolling my eyes at her.
I retrieved my vibrating phone from the front pocket of my overalls.
“Hey, Emerson!” I said into the phone.
“Hey, Charli. How is the move going?”
“It’s going well. All of the furniture and boxes are all moved in. We are unpacking now. By we, I mean everyone else because Honey won’t let me lift anything heavier than a feather.” I looked behind me before I finished. “She is working my nerves,” I whispered.
“Little Weslene is going to look just like Honey?” Emerson chuckled.
“So, I was calling to talk about the bachelorette party. Did you get all the favors I ordered?”
“I got the penis shaped sports bottle and the headbands with the penis antennas. Should I be expecting any more dick shaped novelties?”
“I’m all dicked out,” she laughed.
“Are the moms still trying to come to the party?” I asked.
“I hope not. I thought we were having the Saturday brunch for them.”
“Well, Ms. Malone keeps trying to get the details out of me by sending over her brownies…”
“Ohhhh, she’s serious!”
“I know, right! She knows I’m addicted to her brownies and will do almost anything for them. I haven’t broken yet, but this date has to hurry up and get here. I can’t take much more,” I laughed.
“Don’t worry, I am on my way!”
“Flying this time, right?”
“Yeah, I don’t have time to make the road trip although I wouldn’t mind. You remember I met Roosevelt on the road.”
“How could I forget? Are things still going well?”
“They are. He can get on my nerves, but I love him.”
“They all can get on your nerves.”
“Is Wes back in town?”
“He will be tomorrow. He wanted me to wait to schedule the movers, but everyone in the family pitched in, so I didn’t need to wait. I want this basically set up by the time he gets here, that is if Honey will get off my back!”
“Girl, don’t test Honey. You remember how she read Ms. Pearl for accusing us of cheating on that home economics test?”
“I couldn’t stand Ms. Pearl’s old ass, but after Honey got finished with her, I wanted to give her a hug. I felt sorry for her,” I laughed.
“Right! I bet she never accused another student of cheating again.”
“I’m pretty sure she retired after that,” I laughed.
“I have to get back to work. I will see you soon. Take care of yourself and little Weslene,” Emerson finished.
“Von, don’t play with me. They were with you and your family for Christmas. I will meet you at the park at seven to pick them up. If you are not there, I am calling the police then I am going to come and whoop yo…naw, that’s what you want me to say. How about this, be late and go to jail, period.”
Tracey shoved her phone in her purse then looked up at me.
“Good morning, Charli,” she smiled.
“Good morning, Tracey. Is everything okay?”
“Same dumb ass Tevontraveous just a different day. I am so ready for him to find someone so he will leave me alone. The divorce is final, but he thinks he can get me back. It ain’t happening. I’m tired of fighting with him. He talking about the kids want to stay with him through new year’s. No, it’s already going to take me until school starts back to retrain them. I’m not sending them back to school after soaking up all that ignorant ass energy from that Jenkins family. I don’t even know how I was with him for so long. Ugh,” Tracey finished while shaking like something was gross. “Anyway, are you ready to go over the details for the wedding?”
Tracey was my right-hand man at the inn. She and Von had gone through a nasty divorce and now shared custody of their children. After she started working at the inn, she found out that Von did indeed sleep with a chick at the reunion and she got pregnant. The girl’s husband confronted Von in front of Tracey and the next day Tracey filed for a divorce.
“I am. Have you talked with the planner?”
“Yes. We’ve been video chatting. All of the red and white decorations are coming in. I think there is just one last delivery other than the flowers.
Big Wes said the carriage house will be ready so they can use that for the night after the wedding and we can use it for the women’s dressing room. We will have the horse and carriage bring her from the carriage house to the green house where the wedding will take place. I have all the permits for the horses. It should be beautiful.”
“Have you spoken with the security team? We want to make sure they are throughout the venue and on the perimeter of the property. We don’t want any paparazzi pics being leaked to the blogs.”
“Yes, the company out of Saint Louis that you told me about, Chambers Security has all of that handled. The fine ass owner, Countee Chambers, flew down a couple days ago to take a look around. He said they would make sure they had the lockboxes for the cellphones so no one can sneak pictures of the ceremony.”
“Yeah, Mr. Valentine, Wes’ boss recommended Chambers Security and you are correct the owner is fine as hell.”
“Is he single?” Tracey asked.
“I’m not sure. I think so.”
“I will put my twenty-five-year-old on hold if he is.”
“Twenty-five? That’s a little young, Tracey,” I laughed.
“Naw, Sis. It’s the perfect age. He still has that stamina and wants to get it in several times a night and he eats pie like it’s his most favorite thing in the world!” She winked.
We both laughed.
“Hello? I’m looking for my family?” Wes said as he entered my office.
I jumped up from my desk and rushed into his awaiting arms.
“Baby! I thought you were arriving later this week!”
“I got an earlier flight. I missed you,” Wesley replied while rubbing my stomach. “How are you feeling?”
“I feel much better now that you are home,” I said as I stood on my tip toes to give him a kiss.
Wesley was still high off his team winning the World Series. After the loss they suffered right before we got married, Wesley moved from the field into the front office and took the position as general manager. His first season as general manager the team went back to the world series and won.
He pulled me closer and deepened the kiss until we heard someone clearing their throat.
“Tracey! I forgot you were in here!” I said while still holding on to Wesley.
“No problem. I will give you two some space. I will be in my office.”
She walked out of the office and closed the door behind her.
We started kissing again.
“Let’s go home,” Wesley said while kissing my neck.
“Rocki!” I smiled after opening the door to the carriage house. She and Seth had just arrived.
“Look at you gorgeous mommy. You are glowing!” Rocki said after we embraced.
“Hey beautiful,” Seth said after we hugged.
“Hey Seth,” I smiled.
“You are carrying that baby like a boss!” Rocki said.
“Thank you! I feel good. I just hope I can fit into that beautiful red dress I am wearing for the wedding. I feel like she is growing so fast,” I responded while rubbing my stomach.
“Don’t worry. My designer left you some space to grow,” Rocki explained while rubbing my stomach. “She must like her tee-tee Rocki’s voice because she is moving all over the place!”
“Yeah, she moves all the time especially when I am trying to sleep! I think she is going to be a dancer,” I laughed. “Enough about me. Let me see this beautiful ring in person.” I lifted Rocki’s hand for a better view of her engagement ring. “Wow! Seth, you did a great job picking this out.”
“He did, didn’t he?” Rocki added admiring the ring as well.
“She deserves the best of everything,” Seth smiled.
I smiled too. I was so happy they were here and had decided to use the Inn as their wedding location.
“So, you both are my first official guests in my newly renovated Winterbourne honeymoon suite. I know you are very familiar with the layout, especially the kitchen,” I winked. “So make yourself at home. Make use of every room and let me know what you think.”
“We will,” Seth smiled while pulling Rocki in by her waist.
“So,” I said sliding into the bed next to Wes. “What are you guys doing for Seth? Strippers? The club? What?”
“I would be breaking at least one million man codes if I told you what we were doing,” Wes responded.
Paul, Seth’s best friend, and Rocki’s brother planned a bachelor party for Seth and invited Wes, but none of the guys were saying anything about their plans. I wasn’t concerned at all. I didn’t care if they had strippers or went and got drunk. All the men knew their limits, and none of their significant others were the type to try to police them, but the secrecy made me curious.
“Baby,” I said while pressing my breast into him. “We don’t keep secrets from each other, right?”
“It’s not a secret. It’s just not your business and certainly isn’t my business to tell no matter how much you rub those big ass titties on me,” he laughed.
He’d often commented on how large my breast had grown since I’d been pregnant. They had become one of his favorite things.
“What if I did this,” I said while rubbing my hand along his semi-hardness.
“You will get something that you will enjoy, but it won’t be the information on Seth’s celebration,” he said while flipping me onto my back.
He climbed on top of me and started kissing my neck.
“Why are you so concerned with what we are doing? Don’t you have enough to worry about like how many more dick shaped novelties you are going to purchase?”
“Wes! You’ve been in my stuff!”
“You left it out so I could see it,” he responded.
“No, I didn’t! You went looking, and you call me nosey! That’s not fair. Now, I need to know a detail about the guys' plans.”
“Okay, one detail then I’m going to put you to sleep,” he responded seductively.
“Okay,” I moaned as he kissed my neck.
“We…are…going…to…a…place…called…nunyah…” he said punctuating each word with a kiss.
“Shh, it’s night, night time.”
“The REC shop divas are back together again!” Emerson exclaimed as she entered my house.
“Hi!” I screamed as I hugged her.
“You made it,” Rocki said while hugging Emerson also.
“Look at you, mommy!” Emerson said while rubbing my stomach. “You are radiant!”
“And so are you, Emerson. Love and that California sun are doing right by you!”
“Thank you,” Emerson rushed. “What’s her name?” She asked while rubbing my stomach.
“We decided on Celestial Elaine.”
“That’s beautiful!” Emerson gushed.
“It is! How did Honey react to the baby being named after her?” Rocki asked.
“I haven’t told her yet. She’s been getting on my entire collection of nerves. I understand her being worried but she is the first string and second string of team too much!”
We all laughed.
“Let me show you around the house.”
I gave the girls a tour of Wes and my newly built home. It really was my pride and joy. Big Wes was able to put everything in it that I wanted from my custom built soaker tub to my customized meditation and massage room.
“It’s beautiful, Charli. It feels like you,” Rocki commented after the tour.
“Thank you. I want it to be peaceful and relaxing for everyone especially Wes. He’s not going to be here all the time because he will be splitting his time during baseball season between here and Charlotte. So when he is here, I want him to be relaxed.
“You seem to be as in love with him now, as you were when we were teenagers,” Emerson remarked.
“I am. I can honestly say that I love him more now. He is everything that I thought he would be as a man and more.”
“Good, so marriage hasn’t changed anything for you guys?” Rocki asked.
“No. Is that something you are worried about?”
“I mean…yes. Yes, I am concerned that after we say I do, things will change.”
“Don’t let them. Love is an emotion, right? It comes, and it goes. I can be in love with Wes one day and not so much the next. What I was taught through counseling is that I have to stay committed to the covenant that we have with each other understanding that my feelings will change. Understanding that his feelings will change also, but the commitment does not. So for us, we know that divorce is not an option. We have to communicate our problems and try to resolve them. If we cannot then, we will seek outside help.”
“I hear you. It’s just that I see so many marriages that fail. I don’t want that for Seth and me. Especially with all the Hollywood bullshit that we will have to put with. People love to be in your business,” Rocki commented.
“Make your marriage and Seth off limits in interviews. Don’t let anyone try to get information out of you and keep your camp tight. Make sure they know that if any of your business gets out, then they are fired! Lock everyone out except for those of us that you know are on your side. Anyone else, consider them poison. I won’t let anyone near my belly or my man, period.”
“I know that’s right!” Emerson said as we high-fived.
“Mrs. Phillips, we are all set up and ready for you,” one of the spa technicians said after handing each of us a glass of sparkling liquid. “We will begin with the waxing, then facials, massages and finish up with the V-steaming.”
“Thank you, Sadie.”
“This is champagne,” Rocki said after taking a sip. “What’s in your glass?”
“Sparkling cider. I wish it was champagne,” I responded.
“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this vag steaming,” Emerson mumbled.
“It’s refreshing. I guarantee you are going to like it,” I promised.
“I will go first with the waxing and get this painful shit over,” Rocki laughed.
“This isn’t bad at all,” Emerson confessed as we sat on our v-steam pots.
We’d been expertly groomed and massaged. We’d just sat down to start our v-steam.
“See! I told you. Now you will be nice and conditioned when you and Roosevelt get together again. He will appreciate it, believe me,” I winked.
“So, is it true what they say about pregnancy sex?” Emerson questioned.
“The orgasms were great before the pregnancy, but now they are mindblowing! I’m always aroused and always ready. They say that once I hit my eighth month, all of the fun my slow down. I hope not.”
“Do you want more children?” Emerson asked.
“Yes, we both do. I hope this continues to be a smooth pregnancy because I want to have another one in about another year. I want them to be close in age.”
“You always said you wanted a basketball team,” Rocki added.
“Yep, and that hasn’t changed.”
“So, what are the plans for tomorrow night?”
“We will all meet here and load the party bus. The bus will take us into the city to our destinations. Saturday we will have the brunch with the mothers and Sunday is the big day!”
“I know it came so fast. It feels like when we decided on a new year’s eve wedding it was so many months away. Now, it’s here. I can’t wait to be his wife even though I still pinch myself. Who would’ve thought that Seth and I would be here?”
“It’s going to be an epic event!”
“The other ladies should be here soon. The party bus is on the way to take us to the first location.”
“Ms. Malone didn’t break you with the brownies, did she?” Emerson asked.
“Girl, no but she almost did! I think she was putting a lil something extra in those brownies! I’ve been craving them my whole pregnancy!”
“Yeah, she asked me about the plans too. I told her about the brunch on Saturday,” Rocki laughed. “I don’t need nobody monitoring my turn up!”
The rest of the ladies that were invited to the party arrived and we all loaded the party bus.
“Alright, ladies get comfortable because we are riding into the city for our first stop. The bar is fully stocked. Edibles and snacks are in the cooler. I, unfortunately, will be sober the entire evening so relax, get fucked up for me and you, and let’s have some fun!”
All the ladies screamed as the bus pulled from in front of the carriage house. We laughed, they drank, we danced and enjoyed the ride to our first location.
“Okay, ladies, we are here. Our first stop is pole dancing lessons that’s why I told you to either wear heels or bring them with you. I figure Rocki can learn some new moves for Seth!”
We left the bus and walked into the small storefront studio where we were greeted by a beautiful woman with mocha skin, black hair parted in the middle that stopped near her tiny waist and her ample bottom. She was stacked.
“Hello, ladies,” she smiled as we piled into the studio.
“Hello,” we all responded while taking our positions near a pole.
She looked around the room at everyone then said, “We are waiting on a couple more people, right?”
I looked around the room at everyone.
“No, we are all here.”
“Oh, I got a call that told me to make room for four more lad…”
As she was finishing her sentence, the door opened and in walked Ms. Malone, Nana Jacobs, Honey, and Mom.
“Mommy!” both Rocki and I said together.
“Oh, I know you didn’t think y’all was finna have all this fun without us!” Ms. Malone remarked.
“How did you find out where we would be?” I asked.
“We are older and smarter than you. Don’t worry about how we found out. Y’all wasn’t about to have some boring ass brunch for us. We gone turn up too,” Honey gibed. “And,” she looked me up and down, “I want my sash and headband too.”
She was referring to the sashes all of us were wearing that read, team bride while Rocki’s read, bride to be. We all had on the dick antenna headbands Emerson purchased.
I shook my head and took my spot next to my pole. They were here now. We might as well make the most of it.
For the next thirty minutes, the instructor showed us beginner pole moves. I wasn’t able to go full in, but I made sure to remember some for Wes and my after pregnancy celebration.
“Alright everyone great class! Would anyone like to come to the front and show us what you’ve learned?” The instructor asked.
Honey immediately stepped to the front and stood by the pole.
“Okay, Ms. Honey, show us what you got,” the instructor said.
“Do you have that song that DJ Self recently did the remix to…ummm…Swag and Surf? I think it’s originally by F.L.Y.?
The instructor looked at me, and I shrugged. I was used to Honey knowing way more about pop culture than I did.
“Let me see if I can find that,” the instructor responded while typing into her phone. “Oh, yep. I got it.”
She pushed a button to connect her phone to the speaker then stood next to me.
Honey started swaying to the intro while holding on to the pole. When the beat dropped on the song so did Honey causing the whole room to respond. She went to work on that pole like she was getting paid to do it.
“Aye, aye, aye,” was chanted throughout the room while Honey worked the pole like a pro.
We all threw singles at Honey while she performed. By the time the song was over, the floor was littered with money and Honey was out of breath.
Everyone whistled and cheered after her performance. The instructor even asked her how she did one of the moves.
“You guys go ahead and have the rest of your day. We just wanted to pop up and have a little fun,” Ms. Malone explained.
“Make sure you sit your pregnant ass down somewhere,” Honey scolded before all the moms left.
“Yes, Ma’am,” I responded.
After stopping at the hotel we’d booked for the evening, we changed and prepared ourselves for our next destination. Pulling up to the front of the nightclub, the line to get in was wrapped around the building.
The driver pulled to the side of the club. We were escorted from the bus through the side door and into the secluded VIP area.
The DJ kept the packed club on their feet with up-tempo, current dance music. We danced, ate and drank enjoying every minute of our time together.
Feeling a hand reach around and rub my stomach, I went into immediate momma bear mode and swatted it away while turning around to see who had the audacity to touch me. I was ready to kick someone’s ass.
My frown softened when I realized it was Wes along with all the guys that were attending Seth’s bachelor party.
“You turned around like you were about to fight!” Wes chuckled.
“I was about to kick your ass for touching me! I was thinking; obviously this motherfucker don’t know who I’m married to!” I laughed. “What are you doing here?”
His slightly hooded eyes showed that he’d had a few drinks before arriving at the club. He pulled me close and placed a few kisses on my neck.
“Seth was missing Rocki, so we decided to come by,” Wes finally answered still kissing my neck.
“Baby, you are going to have to stop kissing my neck like this or we are going to give our friends a show they are not expecting.”
“Can you sneak out of your hotel room later? I got us a room.”
“Yep, I sure will.”
“Charli, are you okay?” Tina the makeup artist asked.
“Yeah,” I responded while rubbing my side. “My doctor said I am having Braxton Hicks contractions.”
“What is that?” Tina asked.
“It’s cramping like a contraction but it just the body’s way of preparing for labor. She said it could be from all the running around we’ve been doing in preparation for this wedding. She said to stay hydrated and lay down if necessary, but I’m not in any danger.”
“Okay cause the last thing we need is for you to go into labor around here,” Tina laughed.
“It’s too early for me to be in labor. I’m not due for another six weeks so we will be fine.”
“I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride.”
As soon as the minister made the announcement, Seth moved in and kissed Rocki.
We all cheered as we followed down the aisle behind them after the ceremony ended.
“How are you feeling?” Wes asked as soon as we found a seat outside the reception area.
“I feel okay. I’ve been cramping all day,” I said while rhythmically breathing through another cramp.
“Are you sure everything is okay?” Wes examined my contorted face while I rubbed my side.
“Yeah, I’ve seen several women go through these contractions. They get all in a huff and rush to the hospital only to be sent away because they are not in labor. I’m okay. I just need some water, my flat shoes, and some food.”
“Okay, let me go and get those things for you. Don’t move!”
“I have to go and pee then I will meet you right back here.”
We both stood and went in separate directions.
After finishing in the restroom, I stepped out and bumped into Paul.
“Hey, beautiful pregnant lady. How are you feeling?” Paul asked.
“Hey yourself, handsome. I am feeling okay. A little tired from all the events over the past couple of days. Your little ones were so cute in the wedding.”
“Thank you. It was hard keeping that boy clean. He loves to mess up his…Charli what’s wrong?”
I’d grabbed hold of Paul’s arm because I was having the most intense cramp I’d had all day.
“Mmmm,” I moaned until I felt it let up a little. “Braxton Hic…”
Just as I was trying to finish my sentence, I felt a huge cramp and then a pop. Water started to trickle down my leg. I wrapped my arms around his waist because I felt like I was about to pass out.
“Hold on, Charlene. Where is Wes?” Paul calmly asked someone behind me.
I heard shuffling going on around me.
“What happened?” Wes said.
“My water broke! It’s too early! She’s not due for another six weeks!” I cried as Wes lifted me and carried me towards the door.
“It’s okay, Baby. I’ve got you.”
“Congratulations, Mr. Phillips, it’s a girl!” The doctor announced two hours ago.
I’d witnessed the most spectacular miracle. I saw my Queen push my Princess into this world.
Celestial Elaine was born at 12:01 A.M and one second, making her the first baby of the new year in the entire country (another baby was born somewhere else at 12:01 and ten seconds).
The entire family left the event and followed us to the hospital. After Charli was examined, we found out that she’d been in active labor all day long. She was almost fully dilatated and was only at the hospital for about an hour before she started pushing.
The doctor ran down a list of things that could potentially go wrong with premature birth. Celeste, they ran all the necessary tests on her, and she passed them. She won’t have to stay in the NICU for more than a day just to be on the safe side.
When the doctor placed my little princess in my arms, it felt like my heart exploded. I felt an overwhelming sense of love and protection for her immediately. She hadn’t opened her eyes yet, but she looks just like her beautiful mother.
“Congratulations, Wes,” Emerson said. “She is a beautiful addition to the REC Shop Divas.
“She really is!”