“He and Erika love in the same way. Erika loves my brother to her core. She’d go through hell and back to keep him smiling, even when it hurts. She’s caring, she’s smart, she’s gentle. She welcomed me into her home, even though I left messes in every room, because she loved him. She loved him for all that he was, and all of the heavy baggage that came with him—including me. She loved him before cancer, she loved him during cancer, and I swear to God, she’ll love him after cancer. Because her love is unconditional.
“These two individuals are superheroes of love. They showcase how when things get hard, there can always be smiles to be found. They sacrifice for one another, because they know that their love is real. Even when it’s dark, their love somehow shines. These two individuals taught me to embrace love. To believe in happily ever afters. To give my all, unconditionally. So to that, I raise my glass.” He lifted a glass into the air, and stared at his brother and Erika. “To the good days, to the bad days, to the unconditional love that these two taught me to believe in. May we all search for that kind of love, may we all discover that kind of love,” his eyes moved over to me, and a single tear fell down his cheek, as one rolled down mine. “And when we find it, may we hold onto it for always, and always, and always.” I blew him a kiss, and he caught it in his heart before turning back to the couple. “To Kellan and Erika, and their forever kind of love.”
Everyone cheered, everyone drank, and everyone loved. Logan wiped at his eyes and laughed. “Now, please, everyone clear the dance floor as the beautiful married couple share their first dance.”
I joined Logan onstage and took the microphone from his hand. “Your hair is gone,” I whispered, running my hands over his bald head.
He shrugged. “It’s just a haircut.”
“No.” I kissed his forehead. “It’s so much more than that.”
“I love you,” he whispered.
“I love you,” I replied. He moved over to the guitar and picked it up, sitting on top of the stool as I moved to the piano, placed the microphone near me, and waited for him to begin strumming. When I heard the sounds that he only recently learned to play, I smiled, joining him as I played the keys and began singing the intro to Ingrid Michaelson’s song, “The Way I Am.”
Kellan and Erika swayed back and forth on the dance floor, falling deeper in love, minute by minute. During the guitar solo, Logan spoke into his microphone as the front door opened to the restaurant. “Please welcome the mothers of the bride and groom to the party.”
Everyone’s eyes widened and cheered as Julie and my mom entered the room together. My heart started pounding against my ribcage as I turned to Logan, shocked. “How?”
He shrugged. “I made a few stops before coming over here.”
You’re my world. My whole, wide world.
The wedding was going amazingly well, with more laughter and happy tears than I’d seen in a long time. When everything wound down, we all walked out to the parking lot of the restaurant, Kellan and Logan still in their suits, and Erika and I still in our dresses.
“Thanks again, Logan and Alyssa. For everything. Tonight was everything I ever dreamed of,” Erika said. The way she looked at Kellan and the way he stared her way showed me what true love really looked like.
“No problem. Kellan, I know you have your doctor’s appointment tomorrow, and I’ll be there. But I think tonight I’ll stay at Alyssa’s, so the newlyweds can have the night to themselves,” Logan said.
He smiled and agreed, but Erika yipped. “No!”
“What?” I asked.
“We have to make one stop before anyone goes their separate ways,” she explained.
“Okay. Where’s that?” Logan asked my sister.
A wicked grin fell against Erika’s lips, and that smile told me exactly where we were about to go.
The four of us stood in aisle five of Pottery Barn, staring at the different plate sets. Erika’s eyes were narrowed, deep in thought, as the rest of us swayed back and forth.
“Did you really have to break all of my things?” She questioned, tilting her head to the left, looking at something that cost more than my bridesmaid dress.
“It was Logan’s idea,” Kellan said, throwing his brother under the bus.
“Alyssa went along with it,” Logan replied.
“Kellan told me you wouldn’t mind,” I chimed in.
“Whatever. I blame you all equally.”
“You can’t blame me!” Kellan said, defensively. “I have—”
“Cancer, we know!” Logan, Erika, and I moaned in unison. He laughed.
“Okay. On the count of three, everyone point at which set I should get before we move on to the glasses. One, two, three!”
“That one!” we all shouted, pointing at different items, then we all began to argue, shouting over each other, laughing, and smiling.
Once the plates were chosen, there was a sense of peace that washed over the once hectic aisle five. I looked around at the people who knew all of each other, the good, the bad, and the destroyed. I saw it. It was still there. Through all of the pain, tears, and destruction, somehow our love for one another survived. Somehow we were all still connected.
Somehow, we were unbreakable.
TJ’s office was cold. Colder than it needed to be. But I was used to it by now. I hadn’t missed one appointment with Kellan since I returned to True Falls.
On the left corner of his desk was a jar of jelly beans along with red licorice sitting on the right side. At least he got rid of the black licorice.
I crossed my arms, pressing them against my body for heat. Shit. I was freezing. My eyes moved to the chair right next to me, where Kellan sat.
When I looked up to TJ, I saw his lips moving pretty quickly. He kept explaining the situation over and over again. I couldn’t be certain though, because I wasn’t listening anymore.
I didn’t know the exact moment when I stopped hearing the words flying from his mouth, but for the past five or ten minutes I was simply watching his mouth move.
My hands gripped the side of my chair and I held on tight.
Erika sat on the other side of Kellan’s chair, tears falling against her cheeks. “It’s working?” she said, breaking me from my daze.