Summary: Philip's big day causes Amanda and Lee to reflect.
Disclaimer: Most of the characters in this
story are owned by Shoot the Moon Productions and Warner Brothers. The
story itself is a product of my imagination. The songs mentioned in this
story were originally performed by one of my favorite duos--The Carpenters!
The songs belong to them and the record labels that produced them.
Written: January 14 & 15, 2001
Notes: Once again, I had an image in my head that I could not shake and I'm hoping that by writing, it'll will leave me alone! A lot of fanfic I've read has established Philip as younger version of Lee who gets married when he's older. I took the ball and ran in the opposite direction! Genre: Short Story Timeline: 5 years or so after the show ends. Thanks: JoAnn and Mary Elaine, my betas who are ready and willing to edit at a moment's notice. This story would be so confusing without them! A big thanks to Jude--you and your cheerleading pom poms (that Lee himself freshened for you) keep me writing ;-)
By the way: This is my 3rd fanfiction so if you don't know some of these characters, I'd recommend being properly introduced. My first two stories are "The Longest Weekend" and "The First Day."
"I'll get him," Lee replied with a smile as he made his way to the changing table in the nursery. "Hey buddy, are you giving your mama some trouble?" Christopher let out a giggle.
"I got his shirt on," Amanda reviewed, "but these pants are barely big enough for him." She pulled out the tag. "See, 12 months! I should have known he'd outgrow these on me. I just got them 3 weeks ago!"
"He just has to wear them today," Lee consoled. "Let's get them on and get him finished so we can get ready."
Amanda laughed. "Is it me or does it take us twice as long to get ready these days?"
Lee returned her smile. "It's worth it, though, for this handsome little guy and his big sister."
She had to smile at his comments. Never before had she seen him so enamored with a baby, since Chelsea, at least. Last fall when Christopher Lee Stetson was born the sky was filled with clouds, but no doubt Lee was on one of them.
Amanda put the finishing touches on her son. White socks, black shoes, all coordinating with the black and white striped dress shirt, black vest, and black bow tie that completed the outfit. Sitting him up on the changing table, Amanda pronounced him done.
"Would you take him downstairs while I check on our daughter?" Amanda asked without waiting for a reply. Lee took hold of his son and nodded. "Ooh, and would you pack the bag? Bring extra diapers in case we're out late."
"Yes, Ma'am," he replied as he gave his wife a warm peck on the lips. Amanda reciprocated and also placed one on the cheek of Christopher before the two headed downstairs.
Amanda tossed a wet diaper in the pail and headed into her bedroom. She had drawn the shades earlier and the room was dark except for the light brought in by the breeze moving in the window. Her baby girl, no, her little girl, she corrected, had put up a fight getting dressed this morning. Now she lay sleeping on the bed that had previously been used as a battleground for Chelsea's own war of independence.
Amanda observed the little girl from her position by the door. Lacy tights hugged the chubby legs of Chelsea Marie Stetson. The curls Amanda had worked so earnestly to style into Chelsea's hair this morning were now damp and plastered to her face. Her cheeks were a rosy color that only comes from a long sleep on a comfortable pillow. Sprawled out on her parents' bed, she slept away the rainy April morning. At just barely three years of age, Chelsea had developed her own stubborn personality. Well, *inherited* may be a more accurate description, Amanda thought to herself.
At the sound of a door closing somewhere downstairs, Chelsea squirmed in the bed. Amanda crept over to the bed as her daughter sat up to see her. "Ready to go?" Amanda asked softly. Her daughter, not fully awake, nodded her head slowly and willingly fell into her mother's embrace.
She wasn't sure. Philip was getting married. Married! Her mind could barely wrap itself around the concept of her son as a husband. She was trying to be happy for Philip, but he was so young. They were so young.
Why couldn't they wait? It was a question that had been asked over and over since last Christmas when Philip and Lisa had announced they were getting married in the spring. They had only graduated from high school last summer and started college in the fall. It was not the past, however, but the future that worried Amanda. Looking in the rearview mirror at her children, she knew firsthand how good things come to those who wait. She wondered how many good things could be in store for two teenagers setting out on life together. It was with that thought that she gave Lee's hand a squeeze as she fought back tears.
"Amanda, you're not getting sentimental on me, are you?" he teased. He knew that his wife was not really so much thinking about her mother's wedding as she was thinking about the first one of her own. Amanda and Joe had been young, too.
"Promise me something?" she asked.
"Promise me that we will do everything we can to make this marriage work. Philip and Lisa's marriage, Lee, I'm afraid for it already."
"I know, Amanda. They're young, but it's their marriage. They have to make it work. We can support them, though, and we can start off by showing up in that church. They're going to think we aren't coming!"
Amanda smiled and unclicked her seatbelt. "You're right. Let's get going."
Lee and Amanda lifted their two children out of the car seats and piled onto themselves the accessories that accompany parenthood. Grabbing hold of Chelsea's hand, Lee lead the way as Amanda and Christopher followed. A small crowd of guests were already mingling with each other in line when the Stetsons entered the church.
Amanda turned to see Philip near the guest book. He put down a wedding bulletin and all but ran towards her.
"I was wondering when..." The rest of Philip's statement was muffled by his mother's dress as he hugged her.
"Oh Sweetheart, sorry we're late. Chelsea fell asleep and Chris' pants..." While his Mother explained, Philip played with his brother's hand, which he had all but crushed a moment ago in the hug. "Don't worry. Everything's set up, everyone's here...now...even Grandma." Philip pointed towards the drinking fountain where Dotty and Michael were busy chatting with Lisa's parents, Mark and Linda. Amanda's mother and her not-so-new husband were back from Florida for a few months and were already busy welcoming the Kelly family into the King-Stetson family.
"I guess I should go. The guests have been seated and I need to get in place," Philip said with a twinge of regret. Moments with his mother were few these days. "I'll talk to you more later, I promise." With that Philip was gone. Amanda looked around to see that the guests had been seated. Joe and Carrie, Joe's parents, Dotty and Michael, and two sets of the Kelly's stood near the back of the foyer waiting for their cue to be escorted to their seats. Lee and Amanda joined them.
The church sanctuary held around 75 people, mostly family dotted with a few close friends of the bride and groom. This was just how Philip and Lisa had wanted it. A traditional wedding, only with a reduced size. Lee and Amanda watched as first Lisa's grandparents, then Dotty and Michael, and finally Joe's parents were walked down the aisle. After a hug, they took their seats in the pew. Next Philip took the arm of his future mother-in-law, Linda, and escorted her to the front.
"Mom?" Philip asked as he extended his arm to Amanda. "Are you ready?" She smiled to him as she took his arm. The walk was a slow one as they tried to keep pace with the solemn processional being tenderly tickled out by the organist. Following behind was Lee, juggling Christopher in one arm and prodding Chelsea along with the other. When they had reached the front, Philip shook Lee's hand, planted a kiss on both Chelsea and Christopher, and embraced his mother. "Love you," he whispered. As tears formed in her eyes, Amanda was speechless, only able to embrace her eldest son tighter in response.
They took a seat in the pew and listened while the organist ran through the processional once again as Joe, Carrie, Emily, and Matthew, were also escorted to their seats. Amanda couldn't help but smile as she watched Philip with his father's family. He gave a hug to Emily and Carrie, and gingerly hugged his father who had a sleeping one-year old on his shoulder.
Joining his best friend, Steve, and his brother, Jamie, at the front,
Philip gave a nervous nod to the organist. On cue, the crowd rose to their
feet as a familiar tune began to play. At the back of the church appeared
a tall blonde dressed in a simple white dress. Lisa smiled to her father
and gently accepted his outstretched arm before beginning the famous walk
down the aisle. Almost in dream sequence, Lisa and her father reveled in
the walk that ended at the edge of the church's platform, where Philip
stood awaiting her arrival.
"There you are!" Amanda exclaimed as Lee suddenly appeared before her, barely steadying two plates.
"I got back as fast as I could," he defended. "You'd think Aunt Edna was having her last meal judging by the speed she made her food choices!"
Amanda let out a chuckle and gave him a good-natured swat. "Lee, be nice!"
"I was just kidding...sorta," he admitted. "I'm just saying that it was not my fault it took so long to get through the line."
"Mmm, what's this?" Amanda asked Chelsea as she set the somewhat smaller plate in front of the little girl. "Daddy got you some macaroni and cheese, and meatballs, a roll, and green beans." Chelsea promptly grabbed the roll and stuffed a good portion of it into her mouth.
"So what'd you get us?" Amanda asked as she picked up her fork, bringing Christopher down to her lap. "Nevermind, I'm too hungry to care," she said with a laugh and a wave of her hand.
"Your mood seems to have improved, anyway," Lee observed as he inserted a meatball into his mouth in sync with his daughter.
"I'm feeling better now," she admitted, "but I've decided something."
Lee raised his eyebrows.
"I've decided," Amanda continued, "that just because Joe and I got married young doesn't mean Philip and Lisa's marriage won't work out. I know they are best friends and are truly in love with each other."
"They've dated three years now," Lee added.
"Oh yes, how could I forget? Their first date was supposed to be the night Chelsea was born and they had to postpone it!" Amanda recalled. "That night was the first time I heard about her. Little did I know she would become my daughter-in-law!"
"Funny how things work out."
"Ya," Amanda agreed as she caught a glimpse of Philip and Lisa dancing together. "Things seemed to have worked out."
Lee and Amanda finished their meal in relative silence as they watched the party in progress. The bride and groom circulated with the crowd, passing out hugs and kisses to family and friends. When did he grow into such a handsome young man? Amanda wondered. A flood of memories haunted her mind. Somewhere along the line Philip traded his dirty shirts and bikes for phone calls and dates. And now he was Lisa's. She wasn't sure she was ready to let him go.
"Lee?" Amanda questioned as she adjusted the baby in her lap. "What do you say we get Mother and Michael to watch the kids while we get in a dance?"
"I was just waiting for you to ask me that!" Lee teased. "Did you see where they went?" As Lee turned around, the table was ambushed by the guests of honor.
"Hi you two," Amanda almost sang as Philip and Lisa abruptly appeared at the table.
"I was wondering if you'd mind us taking the kids out for a spin on the dance floor?" Lisa asked as she smoothed the sandy brown hair atop Christopher's head.
"Them?" Lee questioned, pointing to Chelsea and Christopher.
"Ya, do you mind?" Philip replied.
"Not at all. Here let me wipe their faces off first," Amanda insisted. She had no sooner said the words, then spit on her napkin, wiping the various shades of goo that had seemingly formed into an indestructible version of plastique on their faces.
"There ya go," Amanda announced as she presented Chelsea to Philip and Christopher to Lisa. "Have fun."
"Thanks, we will," Lisa said more to a smiling Christopher than to Amanda.
"Shall we?" Lee asked, extending his hand to his wife, who was more than willing to accept it. As the two moved onto the dance floor, the disc jockey announced that they were taking a break from slow dancing to something with a beat.
Amanda let out a genuine laugh as she heard the first few strains of the music. "Can we dance to this song?"
"Such a feeling's coming over me...There is wonder in most everything I see...Everything I want the world to be...Is now coming true especially for me..."
"Let's try," Lee breathed into her ear. Amanda smiled and melted into his arms.
"Lee, close dancing will not cut it for this song!" Amanda said with a twisted grin. Lee smiled and extended his arms out and twirled her around. "That's better," she teased.
They had resumed their dancing for a moment when a delicate laugh caught their ears. Stopping, they followed the noise to the center of the dance floor where Chelsea and Philip, Christopher and Lisa, were dancing to the song. Philip twirled Chelsea around in his arms as she let out a giggle. Christopher, very amused by his sister, joined in on the laughing until Philip and Lisa had joined in and could barely walk.
"And the reason is clear...It's because you are here...You're the nearest thing to heaven that I've seen..."
"Do you ever wonder how we got so lucky?" Lee asked out loud as he drank in the sight of his children. Chelsea, with her sandy curls bouncing in rhythm with the beat, twirled in her velvet dress and black dress shoes. Christopher, in a fit of giggles, laughed as Lisa sang the song into his soft brown eyes.
"There's a pleasing sense of happiness for me...There is only one wish on my mind...When this day is through I hope that I will find...That tomorrow will be just the same for you and me...All I need will be mine if you are here..."
"They're amazing, aren't they?" Amanda sighed. The couple stopped and just watched as the dance progressed. Philip and Lisa traded partners and soon it was Chelsea again in a fit of giggles as she tried to dance with Lisa.
"And the only explanation I can find...Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around...Your love's put me at the top of the world..."
"What do you say we get them to exchange partners?" Lee asked with a wink and a nod towards the foursome quickly taking center stage. The current song ended as a slow song quickly took its place over the P.A.
"Good idea!" Amanda agreed. Hand in hand they found their way to where Philip and Lisa were chatting with the kids.
"May we have this dance?" Lee questioned as he tapped Lisa on the shoulder. She nodded with understanding as Lee picked up his daughter and Philip relinquished Christopher to his mother. The bridal couple embraced and joined the other couples slow-dancing in rhythm.
The Stetson family made their way to a quiet corner of the floor as the music wafted around them. With Chelsea playfully dancing on his toes and Christopher sleepily resting in Amanda's arms, Lee knew the answer to his own question. They had gotten lucky, not three years ago with the birth of Chelsea, but more than eight years ago on that train platform. Friendship had blossomed into love for them.
"Let's take a lifetime to say I knew you well...For only time will tell us so..."
Philip and Lisa's friendship had grown into something strong, young or not, and as Lee Stetson danced with his daughter now in his arms, he could not help but wish his good fortune upon his step-son and daughter-in-law. The song was right.
"And love may grow...For all we know..."