Authors: Clementine Roux
Sammi shook her head. "No, the fireman from Logan Square."
"The fireman? I thought you didn't like him because he was too nice?" Alessandra stared at the ring.
Sammi didn't answer. She remembered saying that Robert wasn't bad boy enough for her. She looked at her ring and her eyes lit up.
Alessandra could see how happy she was and said, "Congratulations! I'm so happy for you. When did he propose?"
"Two days ago." Sammi answered, preparing herself for the next question Alessandra would ask. She cleared her throat before continuing, "I was in shock and, honestly, I didn't think I would say yes. That's why I didn't call you. I needed a little while to think and try and figure out if I even wanted to get married. I mean, you know me, I'm not exactly the marrying type, but I don't know, it just feels right. Are you okay with this?"
"Of course I'm okay with it. Why wouldn't I be? I want you to be happy. You deserve the best." She got up and hugged Sammi from across the table. The waitress appeared with their food and they sat back down, giggling. "So, did you set a date yet?"
"I was hoping you could help me with that. I haven't even called my folks yet. I've just been in shock, you know. Robert was talking about maybe taking a trip up to South Dakota and getting married by some waterfalls or something out that way. I don’t know. I wasn’t really listening because I was so focused on the fact that I said yes," Sammi answered.
"South Dakota? Do you even know where that is?" Alessandra laughed because Sammi was far from being a girl that liked to travel to desolate places.
"Yes. He likes it up there. He grew up in South Dakota, so that's where he wants to get married, but we haven't decided anything yet. If we go out that way, you'll go, right?" Sammi asked.
"Yes! You can't get rid of me," Alessandra answered.
They made wedding plans while they ate lunch. Both women were so happy. Neither ever imagined that Sammi would be the one to marry first, but both thought it was the best news they'd heard in a while. After lunch, they agreed to talk on the phone later and start getting their ideas organized for what would prove to be a beautiful wedding.
Alessandra returned to her office, looking stunned. She pulled her assistant aside and told her the news. "Can you believe it?" Alessandra asked. "Sammi's really getting married."
Her assistant asked, "If you're the maid of honor, who will be the best man?"
Alessandra shrugged. The last thing she wanted to think about was having a date. After the catastrophe in Miami, she’d had enough of men, dating, or anything having to do with love.
“August? It's hot in August,” Alessandra complained.
Sammi sighed, "I'm trying to compromise here. Help a girl out, will you? He wants to be there for the Sturgis Rally and that's in August."
"He rides a motorcycle?" Alessandra rolled her eyes, remembering that Devon also rode a motorcycle.
"Yes. I told you this when I first met him. He wants to be there for the rally. I think it will be a lot of fun. Do you know how many people go up to South Dakota for that? It will be like one giant party to celebrate my nuptials." Sammi giggled. She was clearly smitten with the idea of getting married.
"I can't keep up with who did what and when in your life. I don't even remember what Robert looks like. Remember, I thought you were marrying the banker," Alessandra teased.
"I'll tell you what; since you are clearly suffering from memory loss and no longer have the ability to remember and/or recognize a hot man when you see one, I'll stop by and pick you up on Saturday and take you to the firehouse. That place is full of steaming, hot, sexy firemen. Wear something sexy." Sammi purred like a kitten.
"No. You're not talking me into another crazy scheme. I'll go, but I'll wear normal clothes. You're not pimping me out to a bunch of greasy, old bikers." Alessandra laughed.
"Good. Anyway, Joe will be there. You need to meet him. He's Robert’s best friend. He'll be his best man, so you need to become acquainted. Oh, and he's single. Very single." Sammi never stopped trying to fix Alessandra up with the next best thing to whoever she was dating at the time.
"Don't do it. I'm not dating this guy, so don't even think about it," Alessandra warned her.
She studied every muscle on his body, wondering what it would feel like to touch him, taste him, lick him.
Sammi nudged her back to reality. "This is Alessandra Di Novo. She's my best friend and she'll be my maid of honor."
Her voice squeaking, Alessandra shook Joe's hand, "Hello. Nice to meet you."
He held hers for just a moment longer than necessary, taking in her body, before saying hello. "Nice to meet you, Alessandra. That's a beautiful name."
She could feel her heart flutter. This man not only looked good, but he sounded like the man of her dreams, with his low voice humming his words. He sent chills up her spine.
"Thank you," Alessandra answered, sheepishly, her mouth going dry.
Sammi knew the signs. She started to giggle, pleased that Alessandra found Joe just as attractive as she did.
"I hope your boyfriend doesn't mind that you'll have to stand up with me," Joe said, noticing that Alessandra wasn't wearing a ring.
"I don't," she hesitated, trying to focus on something other than his bare chest and muscle-laden torso. "I'm not seeing anyone. That won't be a problem."
His eyes lit up. "Oh, okay. Well, even better, then. Wouldn't want some jealous boyfriend threatening to ruin what should be a perfect occasion."
"Absolute perfection, if you ask me." Alessandra hadn't realized she said that aloud until both Sammi and Joe started laughing.
"Can we take a look around? Give us the grand tour." She grabbed Robert's arm and motioned for Alessandra to follow. “Oh, and don't bother to put shirts on. Trust me; we don't mind.”
"I'll tag along if you don't mind?" Joe asked as the trio walked away.
A low moan escaped Alessandra's throat. She didn't mind a bit. She'd all but forgotten about Devon. Joe would prove to be a welcome distraction.
Sammi and Robert looked the epitome of happiness as they stood at the base of Roughlock Falls and posed for their first official wedding photo. Alessandra and Joe stood off to the side, awaiting their turn to have their photo taken too.
It was a blistering ninety-two degrees and shade was at a premium, but Alessandra endured for the sake of her best friend in the world.
From head to toe, Sammi was stunning. She chose a tea length, eggshell, form fitting gown with a simple flower for her hair. Robert wore a black and gray tuxedo with a smile as wide as his face. From everything Alessandra had seen over the last few months of wedding planning, Robert truly loved Sammi for the person she was. Where she was flighty, he was solid. Where she was silly, he provided levity, but he loved her in every way. Alessandra couldn't have been happier for them and for her new found love with her own sexy firefighter.
Joe was like no other man she'd ever met. He was strong and sure of himself, but sensitive and kind and always made sure her needs came first. Their relationship was easy. Alessandra was living the dream. In the two and half months that they'd been dating, he never said an unkind word and never went back on his word. It was like a new, bright, beautiful beginning for Alessandra and she finally felt like the pieces of her life were in order.
Alessandra took comfort in knowing that he was there when she needed him, but allowed her the space that she so desperately craved. Their work schedules didn't allow for a lot of together time, but they took advantage of every free moment they could get. He would stop by and bring her lunch when time was running short. She would whip up a quick meal for him and drop it off by the firehouse whenever she could. He’d even gone so far as to join and her church. Despite her apprehension about the members of her church community, they welcomed him with open arms. No one flinched at the fact that a white man was dating their preacher’s daughter. The very Black – black women shouldn’t date outside of their race – preacher and community leader.
As they stood watching Sammi and Robert pose for their pictures, Joe used his suit jacket to shield Alessandra from the sun. He looked at her lovingly and kissed her forehead. "You are so beautiful."
She wrapped her arms around his waist and placed her head on his chest. "So are you."
"It's your turn," Sammi announced. "Pose with the king and queen for the day."
The four of them posed for several photos before and after the official ceremony. Tourists and onlookers stopped by to congratulate the couple, who married at Roughlock Falls, adjacent to rushing water. The ceremony was absolutely perfect.
"We're married!" Sammi hung out the car window as they drove toward Sturgis.
Robert pulled her into the car. "Get in here. You're going to get hurt."
Sammi sank back into the seat, turning to Joe and Alessandra in the back seat. "Can you freaking believe it? We're married!"
Alessandra and Joe applauded.
"Are we going to stop some place to change?" Alessandra looked down at the dress she had on.
"Change in the car. I'm wearing this when we get there, until my hubby rips it off my body," Sammi teased, leaning over to lick Rob's ear.
"Pull over somewhere so she could change. We don't need everyone on the highway to see my girlfriend naked." Joe leaned over and kissed Alessandra.
They pulled into a gas station just off the highway. The parking lot was filled with motorcycles and bikers everywhere. Alessandra hesitated before getting out.
"Want me to go with you?" Joe asked.
"No, I'll be fine. I can take care of myself." She poked Sammi's shoulder. "You sure you don't want to change?"
"I'm sure, but I need a drink. I'm going in. Who knows, maybe these bikers will buy us lunch!" Sammi kissed Rob before following Alessandra inside the gas station.
When they walked in, the place was jam packed with bikers and their companions.
Alessandra saw him before he saw her.