She did not know where she was going end up once she graduated, but this was the place where she always knew she was welcome. Because it was welcoming, and it contained her family “I barely know anything about him except we go ways back…” Carrie muttered.
“Then why do I think you are thinking of him?” Beth asked.
“I am not,” Carrie said in her defense. “We barely know each other” she sighed. “I mean what we do have is what we had in Madison, and that was friendship plain and simple and since Alex and me started university, I barely have seen Matthew or his brother, and now he’s in California going to school.”
“Sometimes you don’t have to know anything to feel compelled,” Beth remarked as she could feel her daughter was conflicted and she wished she could help. “Sometimes the simplest of moments that can capture you in ways that you would never expect” she murmured as a flash of a certain brown hair teenage boy stirred in her brain. “That was how it was for me…”
“How can you know?” Carrie wondered as she knew her parents had been defined by their ability to start over, and their ability to move on despite her mother’s lack of her memories due to a car crash that robbed her of what she and their father had shared until that point. Carrie knew how her lucky her parents had gotten and how fortunate they had been as she did wish that she could have that kind of love one day. “You barely remember you and Dad?”
“You don’t have to be young, because it can happen at any time,” Beth reasoned as memories flashed through her brain of those first moments when she had seen him. “You can be blown away at any age, no matter the history you might have had, but for me, I do have some memories of those days when we were young. The sense stays with me of how I was blown away, and how he took my breath away. How he was something new, and something to remember, and how no one would be able to compete with that rare first feeling” Beth murmured. “It was like that when I first caught a glimpse of him again seven years ago, after nearly fourteen years of being apart. I might have been robbed of what we had, and the memories and cherished feelings that go along with those special times, but from the moment I saw him, I knew he was the one. You do not have to be fifteen to know that feeling. You can have more than twenty years together and might have been apart for a large chunk of that time. But from what I do remember of our teen years. Your father was unique, and he captured something in me, and unfortunately I was with someone else at the time, when I was with Kyle, and then I saw your father...”
“You and Dad are different…” Carrie asked as she wished she had confidence that she knew the one. “You told me yourself that you and Kyle were barely anything. And that is what he also tells me, and still not many people are as fortunate as you two and Dad are?”
“We might be,” Beth allowed. “Still I know how it feels to be with someone who might be a great guy, but then you look into the eyes of someone else, you see someone so different,” she murmured. “It doesn’t help anyone to stay and try to make something work when there is someone else that might interest you,” she sighed. “It doesn’t help you, and it won’t help Justin,” she murmured…
“You and Kyle were better off as friends,” Carrie muttered.
“You are right, and it might have been high school, and those type of relationship end easier than ones later in life, but still, from the moment I saw your father. I knew that he was the one. He was something special. I needed to take that chance. Time has allowed me more insight of those times, and even seven years ago, it would have been very easy to walk away because of what we had lost, but looking in his eyes, I knew that I had to take a chance. And it was not only that we share Grace, and we share you girls. I knew I wanted to face the hard times with him, when we knew there was danger around each corner. Still, I wanted to at least try, and we were successful.”
“Justin and I are happy” Carrie muttered even though she knew that she had been having an inner debate with herself about how happy she was, or what she liked of Justin. “He’s someone out of our circle, and he’s normal, and it’s like I have a chance with him.”
“Are you?” Beth asked. “You were happy once before, and you weren’t able to share everything about yourself, and that is hard to get back to once trust is broken, because sometimes it’s hard to get back there once you take time away from each other.”
“It’s new,’ Carrie conceded because she knew her mother was right about trust, and yet there was something about Justin that made her want to try. “And we’re not at school so we’re out of our usual environment,” she admitted. “So, it’s hard to evaluate what we have…”
“Sometimes real life allows you prospective on something?” Beth allowed. “Being out of the bubble that is school and being on campus all the time?”
“Yeah,” Carrie allowed. “I was so bummed about our breakup all summer, and yet when he comes back, it makes me question.”
“You don’t know how to accept that things are different” Beth asked. “Things can’t be how it was back in the beginning, or before you broke up.
Things are different,” she said as flashes came of her standing with Max and looking at him with so much pain and angst in their eyes in the wake of what had happened with Tess.
“Yeah,” Carrie admitted.
“Sometimes it’s like that,” came a voice from behind them and they both twisted and saw Max watching, and immediately Carrie could understand and sense the chemistry between her parents, and how her mother was a whole new person since taking her chance with her father. Despite the odds, and because of them too. “I woke up and you weren’t in bed?” Max muttered as he asked his wife and chose to ignore that his daughter was wearing the same dress from the party the night before, and obviously had just come home.
Dealing with Grace burnt me out on that subject Max muttered to himself, so he chose to ignore the implications and plus Carrie is nearly 21 so I need to be silent unless I am asked to respond on the matter.
“The baby,” Beth said simply. “Carrie was needing some advice…”
“Right,” Max muttered. “Is everything alright honey with you and Justin?”
“Just trying to figure it all out,” Carrie allowed. “But seriously Dad, I am fine. “I think I’ll go upstairs and get some sleep before getting dressed for the wedding,” she mused because she did not want to deal with her father’s reaction to her dilemma. Oh, I guess I should let you know that Justin is headed home to Maryland…” she sighed. “So, he’s not joining me for the wedding.”
“He is?” Beth asked as she looked at her husband.
“His grandmother is in the hospital, so he wants to go see her before we have to head back to school.”
“Right,” Max nodded as they watched as their daughter walk upstairs, which left him with his wife. “Is she okay?”
“She will be,” Beth promised.
“What’s going on?” Max murmured as they kissed and he counted his blessing once more that he had gotten this chance to be happy, and to have the woman he loved, and the only woman he ever wanted, and who made him the happiest man when she had given him another chance. First back in high school, and then seven years before, and because they knew how lucky they had been, well, they never took another day for granted.
“She’s finding it hard to go back again, with Justin” Beth admitted. “That time apart might not have been the most beneficial thing for their relationship.”
“What do you mean?” Max asked.
“She’s finding that it’s hard to settle back in,” Beth admitted. “She’s finding that maybe both of them are different people”
“That often happens,” Max allowed. “It did for us,” he muttered as he remembered how the transition to getting back after their yearlong break up had been rocky at best, because of what he had done with Tess, and how it had hurt Liz, and therefore he knew they had been damned fortunate that they had made it. “But we got lucky.”
“Yes, we did,” Beth admitted.
“Not only seven years ago, but back in high school,” Max murmured. “Our time away made for some bumpy paths to go down once we tried again,” Max allowed. “It takes two people to really want it to work. I got lucky when you wanted to try again, because it would have been so easy not to…”
“I can’t imagine not having taken that chance,” Beth sighed as the kissed. “I know how lucky we got and therefore I wish it could be easier for her, because it has been for the other two, but I have to wonder if there is someone else who might be making our daughter question her heart”
“There is?” Max asked, surprised. “Whom?”
“I think it is Serena’s son, Matthew” Beth admitted. “From the way I have seen them interacting, well, it makes me question how much she wants to be with Justin?”
“Excuse me,” Max asked. “Since when has this happened?” Max asked shocked and slightly unnerved. “I thought they were only friends?”
“They are,” Beth admitted. “But sometimes friends become more…” she sighed. “It did for Grace and Jake. But unlike those two Carrie and Matthew have not had much time to know each other over these years since we moved out here, and the Rogers family moved to Arizona” she sighed. “So,
Carrie is confused, and I don’t know what she’ll do with whatever there is between them because she does care about Justin, and that is making it hard because it’s obvious that Justin wants a chance with her, and she knows it.”
“Yeah,” Max muttered but it made him ask “But the heart wants what it wants, right?”
“Right,” Beth smiled as she embraced her husband. “Sometimes it takes a lot of pain to figure out what is best for you”
“Well I hope she doesn’t go half of what we had to go through,” Max murmured as she took his wife’s hand. “Are you ready, let’s go back to bed… because it’s way too early to be dealing with the affairs of our children’s hearts,” he said with a laugh but silently hoped that the affair part wasn’t going to be an issue.
“Always…” Beth murmured as they walked up to their bedroom together as the baby finally stopped being restless, and allowed its mother and father to fall asleep in each other’s arms while it’s older sister was a conflict of emotions and having a hard time sleeping.
And it was hours later as Carrie was dressing for the wedding that Alex cornered her sister and wondered what was going on. Carrie was trying to delay any talk because the last thing she wanted to do was talk it out. She rather just celebrate Colin and Sue’s big day, and be happy that the family was all together before whatever the hell the next day brought for the Guerin side of the family started to be unleashed when Elizabeth had to surrender to her deal with the government, and under judge’s orders.
“Justin isn’t even going to be there tonight?” Alex asked as she looked beautiful in her pink bridesmaid’s dress. She and Carrie along with Belle and Sue’s sister were to be bridesmaids while Grace was the maid of honor. Jake and Liam were co-best men for their brother Colin. Emily was flower girl, and Drew would carry the rings.
Elizabeth hadn’t wanted to be a part of the ceremony because she knew everyone would be looking at her as she sat and watched her childhood best friend marry her brother, and the media had glammed onto the wedding, and it had made the news but not nearly as much as it would have in the early days of everything scandalous that had hit their family.
Being a national name Maria’s fame had led to a lot of media interest but she and Michael had put a lid on it, but still enough had been unleashed, and Elizabeth hadn’t wanted to be a part of it, so she would be there as a happy participant as family, and watching her son carry the rings, and Finn was her date.
They had yet to define what they were. Given what she was sentencing herself to starting the following day, she had not wanted to start anything that she would not be able to finish, and she had not wanted to Finn to carry that burden.
Enough had already been placed on his shoulders. So, it was going to be an intimate family wedding. Yet one that would have a lot of family members coming into massive clan.
But with lots of prayers for happy days ahead but Carrie somehow doubted the happy would last long. It rarely does in this family she muttered to herself. “Family illness, nothing more than that” she muttered to her sister who looked doubtful. “I don’t want to keep him here when he loves his grandmother, and school starts up sooner than later.”
“Are you sure there is nothing more than that?” Alex asked as Carrie now on her pale pink dress, slightly more subtle than Alex’s dress but both looked beautiful with their long brunette hair. They had on the diamond earrings they had gotten from their father on their sixteenth birthday. A day that had come and gone with less emotional angst than what their sister had gone through. Grace had moved onto a new car that was more practical for her driving between Roswell and Las Cruces for classes at the university and gave her old one to the girls to share once they had their drivers’ license which they both passed with flying colors.
Carrie still drove it when she was in town as it still was in remarkable condition but then it helped to have a driver who could do more than average person to make sure the car made it through the day in one piece.
“I am sure,” Carrie muttered. “Who wants a guy when I have plenty of family to amuse myself with tonight…”
“Since when do you want to be surrounded by family?” Alex muttered as he knew how they had both rebelled against family events when they had been younger, and Carrie had been no exception.
“Well I am the one who spends the most time around here, so family is definitely my cup of tea” Carrie smiled as she checked her makeup. “Given
that you spend most of your time in Boston or better yet with Graham.”
“Would you bring him around here and give Dad a heart attack,” Alex laughed. “And with Christopher in the house, and soon the new baby, It would not be very prudent?” she asked, “Staying away does a world of good for my relationship with Dad.”
“Very true,” Carrie allowed as she remembered how her father had wisely stayed silent when he had noticed her that morning still wearing her dress from the night before.
“So, you want to be solo tonight?” Alexandra asked as she surveyed her sister. “With Matthew going to be there?”
“It can’t be helped,” Carrie sighed as she thought of Matthew, and fluttered went through her body at the memories. “You don’t need to make anything of it, sis. Matthew and I are only friends and had not even been in each other’s universe until a few weeks ago when we met up by chance at Cow Patties. So, I am quite confident I can manger whatever tonight brings, and really today is about celebrating Colin and Sue.”
“It is,” Alexandra smiled. “And yet weddings can bring out all kinds of mayhem.”
“I suspect that won’t be the case,” Carrie muttered as she took one more glance in her mirror. “I am going downstairs. I’ll meet you downstairs.”
“Suit yourself,” Alexandra laughed as she made sure she was ready after watching her twin sister walk away, and she wondered just what the night would bring as she to collected her purse, and walk downstairs, and before long the who house was quiet, and in their cars and headed for the ceremony.
With Alexandra and Carrie in their car, and their parents and Christopher in the other car. None of them knew what the night would hold.
“Did I make a mistake asking you to come with me this weekend?” Serena asked of their son as they stood outside of the church and waited for the doors to open and the crowd that was starting to descend to be able to go and take their seats. “What is going on with Carrie and you?”
“Nothing,” Matthew muttered as he did not value getting a lecture from his mother on this matter. “We’re just friends. Since apparently, she has a boyfriend?”
“And since when has that stopped you in the past,” Serena muttered to the irritation of her son because they both knew his reputation with the ladies. “We both know that you have walked those lines before, but this this time there is much more a risk if you play with fire…”
“Mom,” Matthew muttered as he did not appreciate the stern glance from his mother. “Despite how it does look. Usually I do stay away if there is someone else, and in this case there is someone else, and yes, I know what it means to see Carrie in that way, and I don’t, because we hadn’t seen each other in a long time before we saw each other recently. She’s attractive yes, but I am not looking to go there with her…”
“I hope you do know” Serena muttered as she loved Alexandra and Carrie like honorary children and had been a big part of their growth, and even when they had moved across to the country to reunite with their birth father and sister, she had been a big part of their lives. She knew how well adjusted the girls were despite their circumstances. As much as she should be rooting for her son and Carrie but still, she knew how tricky it was to mess with someone you know so well. And while the kids had not spent that much time together after Madison due to their own social lives as they grew up. Still, the girls had been a major part of their lives. “While your father and I want you to settle down one of these days with something more than casual, but we want you to be happy, and taking this kind of level is just asking for a lot of grief” she murmured. “Carrie means too much to us, for you two to screw it up.”
“Look, I know what you and Dad think of my love life,” Matthew muttered because he had known how Jonathan always seem to find the right person for him, and had a few long term girlfriends over the years, and one he was currently with seemed to be the most serious of them, and yet he Matthew liked to play the field, and didn’t believe in settling down. “I am not going to change the way I conduct my life to please you and Dad…”
“And we’re not asking you to,” Serena muttered. “All I am asking for is for you to be careful, and while in the past you might have played a little two casual with girl’s heart, if you do it this, time, the fallout doesn’t just hurt you…”
“Jeez Mom, all we are talking about is friendship Mom, and that is all there is between Carrie and me” Matthew assured his mother as the door to a red convertible opened across the parking lot opened, and he spotted both Alexandra and Carrie as Carrie got out of the driver’s side, and he knew he was in trouble. She is a knockout he muttered to himself.
Friendship my ass Serena swore as she saw the twins’ approach and saw the expression on her son’s face and knew she was fighting a losing battle, and she only hoped there was not carnage at the end of this. “Girls” she smiled as she did love the twins and wanted happiness for all involved.
“Nice to see you Serena and Matthew” Carrie said she acknowledged Matthew.
“Where’s the boyfriend?” Matthew said through gritted teeth and Serena almost wanted to shake her head. My foolish little boy
“Gone back East because of a sick relative,” Carrie mused. “Tonight, means more to me than it does him, so it’s no loss because I’ll see him when we head back to classes.”
“Right,” Matthew asked. “So, that means you’re here solo tonight?”
“It’s a family wedding, so I am among family, so I won’t be bored” Carrie muttered. “And they won’t be allowing me to get bored,” she laughed.
Alexandra could only laugh at the interaction between her sister and longtime friend. Justin made a bad move she murmured When he gave room for Matthew to come into the situation and yet she knew she wanted out of this situation. So, she was quick to speak up “Speaking of boyfriends. I see Graham, so I better go intercept him because I want him to meet Elizabeth” Alexandra smiled politely and had an amused look on her face as she saw the look pass between her sister and her old friend. “Carrie, I will see you shortly, since we’re in the wedding party.”
“Yeah,” Carrie muttered as she saw her parents and little brother arrive and knew that was her escape from this awkward situation. “I see Mom and Dad and Christopher, so I better check in with them, and then I need to check in with the bride because after all it’s her day, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is,” Serena smiled as Carrie walked off as she turned back to face her son. “You are thisclose to getting burned” she commented to her son.
“Yes ma’am,” Matthew muttered as he walked as Carrie approach her parents, and he sighed because this was the last thing he should want because he knew how awkward it was to being seeing Carrie as he was setting her as he knew they were better off as friends. Therefore, he knew he needed to listen to his mother on this one and stay away.