By Teresa Pollard
“She made sweet tea how? You’re kidding me!” Kaylee snickered at Betsy’s description of Darryl’s zany mother.
Betsy paced, the long white satin gown swishing violently as her petite form flounced across the room. “I swear, she made six glasses of tea by putting one teaspoonful of tea at a time into glasses half full of ice water, and she didn’t even sweeten it first. Blasphemy! I offered to make it for her, but she won’t allow me anywhere near her kitchen.”
Betsy tossed her auburn curls and frowned into the floor length mirror before resuming her pacing. “And after dinner, she asked Darryl to fix a lamp for her, and every time he used a tool, she’d put it back in the toolbox, so the next time he needed to use it, he had to hunt for it again. I’m telling you, she’s nuts! What am I getting myself into?”
“Stand still.” Kaylee placed the veiled tiara on her head and pinned it to Betsy’s hair. “Stop frowning. You look gorgeous. I wish I had your silky hair and curvy figure. God made me straight as a stick including my hair. You’re just getting cold feet. You know Darryl is the love of your life. And he’s crazy about you. You’re not marrying his wacky mother, now are you?”
“No, she’s not. She’s marrying me. I’m sorry Mama’s behavior freaked you out last night, Betsy.” Darryl’s lean, blue-jeaned figure appeared in the curtained doorway. At the sight of him, Betsy heaved a sigh and turned away.
“Darryl, what are you doing in here? You’re not supposed to see the bride in her gown before the wedding. It’s bad luck.” Kaylee shooed him out, trying her best to block his view of Betsy, a task made practically impossible by his six-foot-plus height and her own short stature.
“I figured if I didn’t come, there wasn’t going to be any bride coming to meet me at the altar. I could tell last night Betsy was upset. My mom has that effect on people.”
“Oh, have there been many others she scared away?” Betsy giggled but kept her back turned.
Darryl barged past Kaylee and spun her toward him. “You know better than that. I’ve been in love with you since before I had the first scraggly hair on my chin.”
“Oh? And how long ago was that? You don’t have that many now,” Kaylee teased from behind them.
“Cut it out, Kaylee. I can’t help it if I still have a baby face, can I?”
“No, but you can help it if you’re a mama’s boy,” Betsy interrupted, pushing him away. “That’s what I’m worried about.”
He stroked her chin with gentle fingers. “I admit that, honey. I kind of think every male kid who ever grew up in the South is. There’s just something about our mamas. They coddle us way too much for our own good. But I promise you this. I’ll love you the way my daddy loved my mama, and there was never a man on the planet who loved his wife more than my daddy did.”
“Aww. That’s so sweet,” Kaylee gushed. “After that, you’ve gotta marry him, Betsy. If you don’t, I will.”
“Not a chance.” Betsy wiped the tears from her eyes and rushed into his arms. “He’s mine.” They kissed. And kissed. And kissed some more.
At last, Kaylee groaned. “Okay, that’s more than enough, guys. Can Casanova get out of here now? He’s already seen your dress.”
“That’s okay.” Darryl grinned. “This isn’t the one Betsy’s going to choose anyway.”
Betsy’s eyes widened. “How’d you know that? I hadn’t decided myself.”
He chuckled. “Cause I know you. This dress is beautiful, but it’s not your style. That one on the rack by the window looks much more like something you’d choose.”
Betsy nodded to Kaylee. “He’s right. This one kind of reminded me of my mama’s. That’s why I tried it on. But Mama was a lot taller than me. I don’t think I could get down the aisle without tripping in all this material. That’s why I frowned when I looked in the mirror. It sure didn’t look on me like Mama’s did on her.”
She walked to the dress Darryl had indicated. “This one is the first one that caught my eye when I came in the door. I thought I’d try it last.” She punched him lightly on the arm. “I guess you do know me better than I know myself.”
“So, does that mean you will be coming down the aisle?”
“You know it does.”
“By the way, do you think there’s any way you could teach my mama to make a decent glass of sweet tea? I never could figure out how she could have been raised in the South and not learn that. I guess it’s cause her mama was from Boston.”
“Oh, that explains it…” Betsy exchanged a look with Kaylee.
“Your sweet tea is the best, and I told Mama so last night after you left. I doubt she’ll ever let me put away my own tools, but she did promise from now on to let you make the tea whenever we come over.” He flicked the veil off her face. “Hey, it’s a start.”