Aliya danced in her fiancé’s arms. The smaller ballroom in Tower One had been decorated festively for the engagement party Tawny had planned.
“Are you sure you want to wait until September?” Jonathan asked as he effortlessly twirled Aliya around the dance floor.
She laughed. “I didn’t want to rush it. You?” she confessed. She’d been having those same thoughts all week.
“I didn’t want to rush you. When you said, let’s wait for the baby . . . I just thought that’s what you wanted.”
“Well, it’s all happened so fast, and then I thought to give your family time. . .”
Jonathan interrupted her. “What’s one more surprise?” he nuzzled her neck. “They’ve gotten to know you better these past two weeks, as have I with your family. Let’s just do it.”
“Really?” Her eyes flooded with emotion.
He pulled back to gaze into their depths. “Why not? I know this is forever. Plus, I really like the thought of us being married when this little one arrives. He reached down to her flat stomach which was just starting to expand with his child.
Aliya nodded through her tears. “When?” she asked. She had been regretting the decision and was thrilled when he suggested not waiting.
“Next week,” he stated bluntly. “We’ll keep it small, just our families.”
“Do you think your Mom will be okay with that?”
“Most assuredly.” He glanced at his mother across the room. Dawn and Eve were by her side. He waved at her and she waved back watching her son proudly. Joseph was approaching and took his mother’s hand, indicating the dance floor.
Tawny graciously accepted and they joined some of the other couples. Joseph smoothly maneuvered his mother so they danced near Jonathan and Aliya.
“Mom,” Jonathan craned his neck in his mother’s direction. “We decided not to wait. Small wedding. Next week. Just the two families.”
His mother shook her head and laughed. “Of course, Jonathan. Anything you say. Still full of surprises.” She had secretly hoped they would change their minds.
Tawny happily allowed Joseph to twirl her under his arm. He too was an excellent dancer. Both her sons were. Just like their father.
Joseph congratulated the couple, and when the song ended he brought his mother back to where she had been standing with his two sisters.
She thanked him for the dance. “I guess your next dance will be as mother of the groom,” he teased her. Both Dawn and Eve gave him questioning looks, and Tawny quickly filled them in on what the couple had decided.
Both girls were ecstatic, thrilled to have Aliya and their new niece or nephew as part of their family.
They headed to the dance floor together when the next song started. It was a fast one, by Levi Stryker. And they both loved his music.
Joseph stood beside his mother, watching his sisters join Jonathan and Aliya on the dance floor.
“You did an excellent job with the party. The food was fabulous tonight, wasn’t it? The new chef did a superior job.”
“Yes, he did. And that reminds me. I have not thanked him yet. Can you go do that for me, son? I want to stay a while longer. It makes my heart glad to see these two starting their life together.” Her eyes were fixated on the young couple whose lives were finally headed in the right direction. A life she’d never gotten the chance to live. She hoped her other children found their mates soon.
“Of course, Mom. I’ll be back in a bit,” Joseph stated as he bent to give her cheek a quick kiss.
He left the ballroom and headed through a door in the back that led to one of the many kitchens at Mystic Nights. The noise of the clean-up was well under way. He found the new head chef calling orders and directing some of the night staff as to what needed to be done to be ready for tomorrow. He was very imposing, but effective, too. The kitchen bustled with activity.
Joseph stopped to thank several of the workers until he reached Louis, the French chef they had hired three months ago.
“It was my pleasure to cook for the family tonight,” Louis bowed slightly and graciously accepted the compliments Joseph extended on behalf of his mother. “My new sous chef, well, she is quite talented. She helped make everything a smashing success.”
Ah yes, Joseph remembered that after only one week in their employ, Louis had requested the old sous chef be sent to one of the other kitchens. He couldn’t work with him. They feared they had hired a Prima Donna. But since there had been no further incidents in the kitchen, their worries had subsided. Louis wanted to hire someone of his own choosing to fill that position. Joseph hadn’t met the woman yet.