Phoebe didn’t look pregnant. Of course, what did Aaron know about anyone looking pregnant?
She looked happy.
Gus looked happy.
The rehearsal dinner went off without a hitch Friday night, and Saturday evening all the guys stood around in the backroom of the chapel waiting to go into the sanctuary and stand beside Gus as he took his wedding vows.
“Who would have thought less than a year ago when Phoebe slapped Gus across the face for trying to get her into a compromising position at Logan’s party that they’d be getting married?” Aaron stage-whispered to his brother, Owen.
“Who would have thought that you would be married to a feisty little girl from Guatemala less than three weeks after you met?” Owen replied.
“Wait, who got married?” That caught Gus’ attention and inadvertently all the other guys in the room.
“Aaron did.” Their brother, Hayden, patted Aaron on the shoulder and smirked at Gus. “Our oldest brother beat us to the altar.”
Aaron puffed up his chest and lifted his chin. “And I didn’t even have to get her pregnant to convince her to marry me.”
“Oh! Burn! He got you!” Jeers from around the room teased Gus and he stood there turning beet red.
“I did not get Phoebe pregnant on purpose,” Gus grumbled through clenched teeth. “Besides, that’s not exactly common knowledge.”
They all looked around the room at one another. The four brothers, Alex Jr., Alexander Sr., and Prince Marcos nodded and shrugged as if to say, we all knew.
“I’m a little offended I didn’t know until yesterday and had to find out from mom,” Aaron said. “You could have warned your oldest brother.”
“Not exactly the kind of thing you make an international phone call to admit.” Gus looked down at the floor. “Imagine my embarrassment having to tell mom and dad.”
“Son, no one’s judging you,” their dad said, then gave Aaron a pointed look.
“Shoot,” Alex Jr. said. “At least you can get your girlfriends and wives pregnant. I hope someday I’ll regain the use of that particular part of my body.” Alex placed his hands on the wheels of his wheelchair, and everyone grew quiet again.
“We all hope that too, son,” Alexander Sr. said, patting Alex on his shoulder. “For now, let’s all pull ourselves together and get this show on the road. Gus’s bride awaits.”
“And her morning sickness won’t kick in until tomorrow morning, so you should be able to have a fun night,” Owen said with a smirk.
That caused the taunts to start up again and they all teased Gus a few more times.
“Hey, guys, can I have a couple of minutes with my brothers and Alex?” Gus grew serious for a moment, glancing at Prince Marcos and Alexander, Sr.
“Sure, we’ll give you some privacy,” their dad said. “We need to get out there and help with the ushering anyway.”
Their fathers left the room and Gus led his brothers and Alex over to a little grouping of seats where the they could sit down and be at eye level with Alex.
“I just wanted to thank you guys,” Gus said. “The five of us are the only people who experienced the full trauma of our accident and I just wanted to thank you all again for sticking together. I don’t think I could have gotten through this past year without you.”
“I know I couldn’t have,” Alex said.
“We pulled each other through the past year,” Aaron said. “And things are only going to continue to improve. Alex, I think you’ll eventually make a full recovery, and I’m pretty sure Ellen will stand beside you even if you don’t. Owen, maybe you’ll find a girl crazy enough to date you. And, Hayden, don’t get the Princess Miranda pregnant.”
“Are you kidding?” Hayden feigned a gasp. “I do not want to feel the wrath of her father. It’s going to be hard enough to stand before the king of Madain Saleh and ask permission to marry his daughter?”
“Good luck with that,” Aaron said then turned to Gus. “And seriously, man, you’ll be a great dad. Things will all work out.”
“On that note, let’s go get Daddy Warbucks here married so he can give that baby mamma his last name, and a small fortune as an inheritance. You did get a prenuptial agreement, right?” Aaron asked.
“Very funny.” Gus stood and the brothers followed his lead.
He held open the door for Alex to wheel through, then Aaron, Owen and Hayden took their places at the front of the sanctuary. Alex followed in his wheelchair sitting beside Gus as his best man.
At the last minute, Aaron and Gus each took an arm and helped Alex out of his chair while Owen pulled the wheelchair back and out of the way so Alex could be on his feet for the ceremony and photos.
A lot had changed in the past year, but a lot had stayed the same. The four brothers and their honorary prince side-by-side in solidarity, lucky to be alive and ready to face this next phase in their lives.