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- Danielle stayed at Matt’s apartment to help him recover from the injuries he sustained during his kidnapping.
- Trevor returned to town for Lauren’s wedding to Josh.
- On Trevor’s first night back in town, he ran into Alex, and after reminiscing over drinks, they slept together. Alex was then shocked when Trevor introduced him to his fiancé at the wedding!

Harbor Blvd

“Liam is my fiancé.”

The statement, so succinct and plain, turns Alex Marshall’s entire world on its head. He feels himself spinning, trying to establish some kind of foothold on the ground that is rapidly shifting and sliding beneath him. He looks to Trevor’s face: Is he kidding? No, he appears serious, even pained by the admission. He looks to the two men’s hands. He couldn’t have missed seeing a ring on Trevor’s finger last night, could he? But no, there are no rings. Finally he looks to Liam, the tall, handsome man with dark hair who only seconds ago was a stranger attending Lauren’s wedding--and is now, apparently, the man Trevor is going to marry.

The man Trevor cheated on with Alex.

“You’re engaged?” Alex asks, forcefully directing his facial features to perform what might be characterized as “bright”--mouth curved upward in a smile, eyes widened slightly. He suspects that he looks insane, but he does not care; this is the best he can do to get through this interaction now.

“Yeah. I only told my parents and Lauren this morning,” Trevor says. “I wanted it to be a surprise.”

“It’s a…” Alex involuntarily pauses to give Liam a once-over. He is incredibly striking, standing at just about the same height as Trevor, well over six feet, with a broad chest and long legs that wear his tuxedo perfectly.

“It’s a big surprise, that’s for sure,” Alex croaks out. He feels as if he has to push the words past rocks in his mouth.

Trevor’s body is turned at just the right angle that he is able to flash Alex a pleading expression: Please go with this. I’ll explain later. Alex doesn’t know how to respond other than to turn toward Liam.

“Well, congratulations,” he says, jutting his hand out.

“Thank you,” Liam says, his British accent apparent even in the short phrase.

They shake hands, and Alex repeats the gesture with Trevor, though he realizes mid-movement that it was a mistake, that touching him now feels all sorts of wrong, that the way their bodies connected last night was a lie and he was a complete fool for thinking that it might be the beginning--the renewal--of something special, rather than a drunken romp on the side.

“I’m gonna go find Jason,” Alex says. His breathing is short, as if all the air in his body is jammed someplace in his chest and he cannot move it up or down. He doesn’t even wait for the men to respond, just bolts away from them and through the crowd, his limbs so fuzzy and weak that he doesn’t quite understand how they manage to carry him.

* * * * *

When Lauren Brooks was a little girl, she imagined herself getting married in the biggest, poofiest, whitest gown anyone had ever seen. She would be like a princess, with people tailing her at every moment to carry the train.

Now, as she takes a final glance at herself in the mirror, she sees no evidence of that enormous, show-stopping dress. Today she wears a strapless sheath dress in an ivory tone, with her hair in an understated up-do and a simple but elegant silver necklace. It isn’t at all what she imagined growing up--but it’s perfect.

Minutes later, she steps into the main dining room to get married. With her arm linked through her father’s and the pianist and flutist playing Delibes’ Flower Duet, she makes her way to the front of the room, where Josh is waiting for her. The restaurant has been rearranged for the wedding, with tables pushed to each side to create a makeshift aisle. As she passes family and friends, she smiles, reminding herself to pause and drink in each moment. This only happens once.

In all those fantasies of what her wedding would be like, she never could picture the groom. He was an afterthought, really, some vague sense of a man who would sweep her off her feet and make her happy forever and ever.

Now, standing at the end of the aisle, waiting for her, is Josh Taylor. He is incredibly handsome in his tuxedo, with his dark blond hair parted to the side. He almost looks like that vague, princely guy Lauren always imagined--almost. But he is so much more than that. They have had their ups and downs, and there were truly times when Lauren believed that they would not be able to make it work, but they are here now, and she has every bit of faith that this is how it was always meant to wind up. Josh has excited and confused and challenged her, but maybe it needed to be so complicated in order for both of them to realize how much they need this.

  Josh Taylor

When they reach the end of the aisle, her father gives her a kiss on the cheek and moves off to join her mother. A wave of nervousness washes over Lauren as she takes her place beside Josh.

“You look incredible,” he whispers, his face lit up by a smile and his adorable dimples.

She stares into his eyes as she says, “I am so happy right now.”

“Then let’s get married,” Josh says, and together, they turn to the minister.

* * * * *

Once the ceremony concludes, Lauren and Josh are introduced for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, and the waitstaff begins serving the meal. The bride and groom move from table to table between courses to mingle with the guests. Finally, when the cake is cut and the toasts have been made, the dance floor begins to fill with party guests.

Danielle sets her coffee cup down on the saucer and looks across the table to her daughter and Travis. “You guys feel like dancing with me?”

Elly scrunches up her face. “Ummm…”

“No, no, it’s fine,” Danielle says teasingly. “Just let me be the crazy woman out there dancing by herself.”

“I’ll dance with you,” Matt says before grabbing a final forkful of his slice of cake.

Danielle looks to him with surprise. “Are you sure you’re up for that?”

  Danielle Taylor

He shrugs. “For a little while, at least. Why not?” To prove that he is serious, Matt stands from his chair. Danielle follows suit, and he leads the way to the dance floor, where the DJ is playing a Black Eyed Peas song.

“I don’t think I have ever seen Matt dance,” Travis comments as he continues to eat his wedding cake. “Maybe, like, one slow dance at his own wedding, because my aunt made him.”

Elly watches her mother and Matt for a moment. “Yeah… Do you think something’s going on with the two of them?”

“I don’t know. I thought they were just friends.” As they watch, Matt places a hand on Danielle’s lower back, pulling her a little closer.

“But maybe not,” Travis adds.

* * * * *

Alex makes it through dinner by focusing on his food and letting the others at his table do the talking. He is happy to be seated with Jason, Sophie, Bill, Paula, Don, and Helen, rather than anywhere near Trevor and Liam.

When all four grandparents take Sophie out onto the dance floor, Jason and Alex remain at the table. Jason turns to his friend.

Leaning in, he quietly asks, “What’s going on with you?”

“Nothing,” Alex says unconvincingly.

“Don’t even try that with me. You were on Cloud Nine two hours ago, and now you look like… I don’t even know.”

Alex glances at the bride and groom’s table, where Trevor and Liam are talking with Roz.

“See that tall guy with Trevor?” he says to Jason.

“Yeah…” Realization lights up Jason’s face. “No way. That’s his boyfriend?”

“Fiancé. His fiancé. Trevor is engaged.”

“And you two…” Jason makes a vague hand gesture to finish the statement. “He didn’t tell you?”

“No! We had drinks together, we went back to his hotel room, and… let’s just say there was absolutely zero talk of fiancés.”

“Wow.” Jason sits back and lets out a heavy exhale. “That’s unbelievable. I’m sorry, buddy.”

“So am I.” Alex turns his head again to cast another glance over at Trevor and Liam. “You know what? I should just talk to him.”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Jason asks, indicating the glass of wine in Alex’s hand.

“I’m not going to make a scene or tell Liam or anything. I just… I need some answers.”

“Just be careful,” Jason says, but Alex is already out of his seat and crossing the room to Table One.

* * * * *

Jason decides that, instead of sitting by himself at the table and watching what might be a very uncomfortable confrontation between Alex and Trevor, he will go watch his daughter dancing with her grandparents. He is standing at the edge of the dance floor when Lauren comes up beside him.

“Am I crazy, or am I watching Jason Fisher hesitate about getting on the dance floor?” she asks.

“Just watching Sophie,” he says. He holds up his almost-finished beer. “And I’ll be out there soon enough.”


“I know I said it before, but you look beautiful. And so happy.”

“Thank you. I am,” Lauren says as she surveys the rapidly filling dance floor with a glowing smile. “How are you doing?”

  Lauren Brooks

“I’m good. Really glad to see you get your happy ending.”

A weighty moment passes between them, one full of things that neither of them needs to say, before Lauren ventures, “I really wish she could be here with us.”

Jason nods. “She would have been so happy for you.”

“I know.” Lauren lets out a sigh. “Isn’t it weird to think that there was a time this could’ve been you and me?”

“Yeah. Really weird.” Jason cracks a grin as he turns to her. “I bought you an engagement ring.”

“And then you punched Josh at Christmas dinner and the whole thing went to hell.”

“And somehow that was the universe’s way of working things out,” Jason says, shaking his head in disbelief at how much they have been through. “I’m so happy for you, Lauren. I’m lucky to have you as a friend.”

He wraps his arm around her shoulders and pulls her near, and Lauren rests her head upon him as they watch the wedding guests dancing in celebration.

* * * * *

Alex passes by the head table as Liam is turned and talking with Roz. He leans down and simply says to Trevor, “Can we talk for a minute? Outside?” Then he walks off without waiting for a response.

He is outside the restaurant for perhaps thirty seconds when Trevor joins him. The sky is in the midst of a long, colorful sunset, and it occurs to Alex how perfect it is for the occasion of Lauren’s wedding.

If only he felt anywhere near as cheerful.

Alex is trying to think of how he should even begin this when Trevor takes the lead. “I’m sorry,” he says contritely.

“So am I.” Alex lets his gaze wander out to the street, where the typical weekend traffic is in full swing. “Why didn’t you just tell me?”

“I don’t know. I wanted to. But it just happened--I didn’t even tell my parents that Liam and I were engaged until I picked him up from the airport this morning--”

“That’s where you slipped out of bed to go, isn’t it?” Alex knows it is stupid, but that feels like another punch to his gut. “What were you going to do if you came back to the room and I was still there?”

“I don’t know!” Trevor blurts out, and then he quickly looks behind him to make sure they are alone outside the restaurant. “It’s just, we were drinking last night, and I realized that I miss you, and I got caught up in the past.”

“So you cheated on your fiancé?” Finally Alex snaps around to look at Trevor. “Even worse, you made me a part of it without even giving me a choice!”

“I wasn’t thinking. Okay?” Trevor appears genuinely distraught and confused, and for a moment, it almost reels Alex back into feeling sympathetic.

He is about to continue tearing into him when he sees the restaurant door open. An instant later, Liam steps through and spots the two of them together.

“What’s going on out here?” Liam asks. “Is everything all right?”


Should Alex tell Liam what happened?
Could Matt and Danielle have a future together?
Will Lauren and Josh have a happy marriage?
Discuss all this and more in the Footprints Forum!

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Monday, May 28, 2012

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