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Author's Chapter Notes:
Added 12/2. I'm REALLY REALLY REALLY sorry for the long gaps between updates. Ugh, I don't even have a good excuse, really. I just hope that y'all are stickin' with me.

Happy reading and feedback is appreciated. :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008
10:04 AM

AJ was standing at the stove in the kitchen whistling a random tune while he finished scrambling some eggs and flipped a pancake on the griddle. When he saw that the second side was a perfect golden brown, he added it to the other two on the plate next to him. He turned a couple of sausage links one last time before turning off the griddle and spreading generous amounts of butter on each pancake. He was so focused on the task at hand that he didn't hear Kim's footsteps on the stairs or the tile floor. 

"What's all this?"

AJ spun around and greeted her with a smile. "Hey. I didn't hear you come in."

"You're cooking? Did you suddenly become a Top Chef overnight?" Her eyes scanned the food on the stove. 

AJ shook his head. "Uh-uh-uh. No questions, you march back upstairs this instant."

Kim gave him one last skeptical look before doing what he asked. 

Once she left, AJ began to arrange the food on a serving tray, making sure to remember the syrup, orange juice, and add some white lilies (Kim's favorite flower) to a small glass vase. He carefully took the tray upstairs to their bedroom and saw that Kim had gotten back under the covers. 

Kim smiled. "Alex, you didn't have to do all of this."

AJ set the tray down in front of her. "This is your 'Happy 6th Anniversary' breakfast, I wanted to surprise you." He could see that she was already devouring the food with her eyes as she looked down at the display of pancakes, eggs, sausage, and bacon.   

"I am surprised, believe me. Ooh, your blueberry almond pancakes! Yummy!" Kim poured some maple syrup over them and cut a bite to put in her mouth. Her eyes lit up at the taste. "Mm..."

"Good?" AJ assumed with a chuckle. 

"Definitely." She moved on to the scrambled eggs, finally noticing the small bottle of hot sauce on the tray. 

"I know you can't have much spicy food, but I figure that you can splurge with some Tabasco for today."

 "You really know the way to my heart, don't you?" She put a few drops on her eggs and ate a forkful. "Fluffy. Leighanne's trick?"

"Cream cheese instead of butter is the way to go." AJ decided to join Kim in bed as she enjoyed her meal, occasionally stealing a few bites of her food. Once she was finished, he set the tray aside for her and fell back against the bed. 

Kim followed suit and sighed contently. "Thank you for breakfast."

"You're welcome." he breathed into her hair and moved in for a kiss. "Mm, syrupy. Happy anniversary, baby."

"Oh, I think it's just getting started..." She kissed him back and another quickly followed. 

AJ suddenly felt the air around them get hotter as he snaked his fingers in her long, dark hair, reeling Kim in as his tongue hungrily explored her mouth. He didn't stop as he slipped a strap of her nightgown off of her shoulder and brushed his hand across it. 

Kim could almost feel goosebumps along her skin despite the warmth that was spreading throughout her body at his touch. It was full of passion, yet, gentle; subtle, yet, completely electrifying. She moaned lightly and moved to kiss his neck, not leaving a spot vacant on the bulging vein just under his jawline...

Who says breakfast is the best way to start the day?

2:21 PM

Unlike some people, AJ and Kim had their wedding ceremony recorded on tape. As a tradition, they would watch it together every year to relive the wonderful day in which they became one in marriage. 

Just like every year since, they were cuddled on the couch as AJ pressed play on the DVD remote. 

The ceremony was held at Kim's childhood church in Santa Monica. The first scene was of Kim's bridesmaids and AJ's groomsmen entering the church sanctuary as part of the processional. After that, the wedding march started and Kim was walked down the aisle by her father, David, with their flower girl, Abbie, in front of her, who was Kim's cousin Carmen's five year-old daughter.  

AJ heard Kim sniffle and kissed her hair, knowing that she was tearing up over seeing her now-deceased father on the screen. 

What the cameraman didn't show was AJ's reaction to seeing Kim in her gorgeous white gown. He remembered feeling nervous but had a wide grin on his face in spite of it as he tried not to tear up. "You looked beautiful. You still do." he murmured and turned his attention back to the video. 

Once David gave Kim away to AJ, the two of them stood facing each other in front of the minister as he instructed the congregation to be seated before he began to speak. 

"Greetings, all, friends and family. We are gathered here today to celebrate that the lives of Alexander and Kim, braided together by a growing love over the last two years, will now be joined in marriage.

Up to this point, their love has been nurtured privately. In many ways, that deepest connection is private and between them alone, but today, the promise of that bond is made public.

This group of witnesses is bound together by our family relationships—husbands to their wives, parents to their children, uncles, aunts, cousins. We are bound to others here by interconnected friendships. Many of you have shared challenges together—learning to be writers or doctors with each others' help. There are mentors and their students. Neighbors. Lovers with marriages to come. And we are bound by shared memories of those not who are not with us today—those who have let us travel down the corridors of time without them. 

So, when Alexander and Kim thought of gathering people together, they wanted to see not only the faces of the individuals they have loved over the course of their lives, but they wanted to put you together, shoulder to shoulder, to form a whole; a single, solid entity—a group that will witness the declaration of their union. They believe that the strength of this group will reinforce and protect their private union. And in return, they have a promise for you.

With their home as a resource—a place to bring friends and family—they promise to do their part to nurture long-standing relationships and forge new connections between those gathered here. It is to begin this process of weaving this group even tighter that they have squeezed you into this space, and they hope that this will continue as we share a walk, a drink, a toast, a meal, and a dance."

The minister paused for a moment before continuing. "We now will have a reading by groomsman Brian Littrell out of the Bible. First Corinthians thirteen, verses four through thirteen."

Brian moved from AJ's side of the platform to the pulpit as the minister stepped aside. He turned to the passage in the New Testament and put his lips to the microphone and read the following: 

"4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

Brian returned to his place on the platform as the minister spoke again. "Thank you, Brian."

"Alexander and Kim stand in front of you today, so truly excited about the years of marriage ahead. Their marriage will be the intertwining of two life stories. As individuals, they have each had a unique and life-shaping past, and now, they willingly choose to set aside the solitary exploration of their individual lives to discover who they are in the presence of one another. We celebrate with them, their arrival at this point in their lives. We are incredibly happy for them that the story of their lives now includes each other. And that their love has brought them and us to the joyous occasion of their marriage ceremony.

Alexander and Kim, if you will turn to me." They did. "Because you will be safe in marriage, you can risk; because you have been promised a future, you can take extraordinary chances. Because you know you are loved, you can step beyond your fears; because you have been chosen, you can transcend your insecurities. You can make mistakes, knowing the other will be there to catch you. And because mistakes and risks are the very essence of change, of expansion, in marriage, you will expand to your fullest capacity. Within the nurturing shelter of marriage, you will continue to grow and develop, so you can discover your individual paths and offer your gifts back to each other and the world. Marriage, then, makes you free—to see, to be seen, to love. Your souls are protected so your hearts can open.

In a sense, the person you marry is a stranger about whom you have a magnificent hunch. This person is someone you love, but her depths, his intimate intricacies, you will come to know only in the long unraveling of time. To get married is to embark on the journey of getting to know each other, of coming to see each other as you really are. This companionship on life's journey is the hallmark of marriage, its natural province, and its sweetest and most fundamental gift.

The contract of marriage is most solemn and is not to be entered into lightly, but thoughtfully and seriously, with a deep realization of its obligations and responsibilities. No other human ties are more tender and no other vows more important than those you are about to pledge."

"Will you please, as an expression that your hearts are joined together in love, now join your hands and face me."

There was a pause as Kim passed her bouquet to her Maid of Honor, her best friend, Nicole, and took AJ's hands. The minister looked to him. 

"Do you, Alexander, take Kim Luisa Borrego to be your wife, your partner in life, and your one true love? Will you cherish your union and love her more each day than you did the day before? Will you trust and respect her, laugh with her and cry with her, loving her faithfully in sickness and in health, in good times and bad, in joy as well as in sorrow, regardless of the obstacles you may face together?  Do you promise to love her for every moment of forever from this day forward for as long as you both shall live?"

AJ never looked away from Kim's face as he answered softly, "I do."

The minister nodded and turned to Kim, asking her the same questions. "Do you, Kim, take Alexander James McLean to be your husband, your partner in life, and your one true love? Will you cherish your union and love him more each day than you did the day before? Will you trust and respect him, laugh with him and cry with him, loving him faithfully in sickness and in health, in good times and bad, in joy as well as in sorrow, regardless of the obstacles you may face together?  Do you promise to love him for every moment of forever from this day forward for as long as you both shall live?"

Kim nodded. "I do."

The minister then looked out to the congregation. "Will the rings please be brought to the altar?"

Kim's friend Stacey's three-and-one-half year-old son, Ryan, brought the two gold wedding bands to the platform on a pillow. A few 'awwws' and whispers could be heard as he walked down the center aisle in a little matching black suit, complete with a bow tie and rose in its front jacket pocket.

"Little Ryan was so adorable, wasn't he?" Kim asked AJ. 

He smiled and looked at her. "He was." They both turned their attention back to the TV screen.     

After Ryan finished and sat with his parents, the minister handed Kim a ring. "Kim, as you place the ring on Alexander's finger, will you repeat after me: May this ring,"

"May this ring..."

"Forever be to you,"

"Forever be to you..."

"The symbol of my growing love."

"The symbol of my growing love."

"With this ring, I thee wed."

"With this ring, I thee wed."

Kim then slipped the ring on the appropriate finger on AJ's left hand. 

"Alexander, as you place the ring on Kim's finger, will you also repeat after me: May this ring,"

"May this ring..."

"Forever be to you,"

"Forever be to you..."

"The symbol of my growing love."

"The symbol of my growing love."

"With this ring, I thee wed."

A tear threatened to fall from AJ's eye and he sniffled. "With this ring...baby, I thee wed," he said, chuckling to keep from crying, which generated a few laughs from family and guests alike.

After the rings were exchanged, the minister nodded to AJ and alternated his gaze between he and Kim as he said the following:

"Before these witnesses, you have joined yourselves in solemn matrimony. May you strive all your lives to meet this commitment with the same love and devotion you now possess. For love is truly the greatest gift we are given to share. Delight in each other's company and never take each other for granted.

By virtue of the authority vested in me by the State of California, I now pronounce you Husband and Wife. Alex, you may kiss your bride."

AJ did so by surprisingly dipping Kim, sealing her lips in a passionate and seemingly long kiss. It was met by cheers, applause, whistling, and a few cat calls. 

Once they stood again, the minister announced, "It is a great honor and joy that I now present to you for the very first time: Mr. and Mrs. Alexander James McLean."

The congregation stood and applauded as AJ and Kim made their way down the center aisle. Once they exited the sanctuary, the rest of the recession followed as Abbie and Ryan left after them with the rest of the wedding party and congregation in an orderly fashion.

The last scene on the DVD was of the empty sanctuary before it ended, the main menu replacing the view of the church.

AJ hit stop on the remote and turned to look at Kim. "I love you." He leaned in for a kiss.

"Mm, you, too, baby." Kim moved and rested her head on his chest. "Some days it feels like we're newlyweds again, you know? I can't believe it's been so long."

"Yeah," AJ murmured, wrapping his arm around her and rubbing her side.



"...Can I tell you something?"

AJ noted Kim's hesitation. "Anything," he assured her gently.

"Well...for a while, I was scared that we weren't going to expand our family, have more kids."

AJ looked down at Kim in surprise. "Really?"

"Yeah, I mean...especially since Jordan was getting older, around last year. It made me happy that we decided to have another child. We're good parents of one, but I always wanted to Jordan to have a sibling. To have that special bond, to create and share memories on birthdays and Christmases, 'camping' in the living room when it's pouring rain outside, playing tag and sports in the backyard...I want Jordan to have what I had growing up with my brothers. And I know you do, too."

AJ simply kissed Kim's temple, letting his lips linger there.

"And, baby...I know you're scared; scared of what the future holds for our life together. Your insecurities as a father and a husband and a person. I want you to know that I believe in you, I always have and will. You can do anything."   
AJ didn't know exactly what to say to that; he struggled to find his voice for a moment. "...Thank you, baby. But really, we don't have to talk about this right now. It's okay."

"You believe me, don't you?"

"Of course I do. But today's a happy day, let's not ruin it, hm?"


"I believe in you, too, Kim. Don't let anything hold you back. Not me, not my work. I would never want to keep you from following your dreams, not ever." AJ wasn't sure where that came from, but felt that it needed to be said. 

"Thank you, Alex," Kim replied softly.  

He replied in the same tone and gently began to smooth her hair, "I mean every word."
Chapter End Notes:
Part 2 of their romantic, mushy, anniversary goodness will be the next chapter, stay tuned... ;)