Long Cold Winter: Chapter Fifty-One

Matt handed Amanda the envelope Tariq had given him. “I’m not sure I want to open it. Last time you handed me an envelope, Terry, it had a popper in it.”

Amanda wasn’t listening. She was intent on finding out exactly what Tariq had planned for them. She looked at the tickets as she pulled them free and nearly dropped them. “Oh my God!” She breathed in disbelief. “These must’ve set you back quite a bit! A tour of Europe? Really?

Tariq smiled. “Consider it a vacation. And it didn’t really cost me much. Even I have friends that owe me for something. I also have connections most wouldn’t.” He winked. “Like the sons and daughters of dignitaries who can pull strings.”

Matt put his arm around his son. “So do you have anyone you have your eye on?”

Tariq nodded. “She’s flying in tomorrow. We tried to get the same flight, but couldn’t. She thought I ought to be here to finish what we all started.” He gestured to everyone in the room. “Of course, half of us aren’t present, but they will be. And Amanda was an unsuspecting pawn.” He winked at her.

Tyrell appeared at the door with Lil following behind. “Am I too late?”

Amanda turned to him. “No, you’re just in time. E nominated you to give me away. I would be honored if you did.”

He looked at her. “What about my parents?”

She shook her head. “My daddy died two years ago. Massive coronary. Mama will come, but she can’t stand for long.”

Ty nodded. “Alright. I would be more than honored to give you away.”

Lil smiled. “Is it going to be a traditional white wedding?”

Amanda looked over at Matt, stunned. “I-we haven’t planned that far ahead. all we have is a list of possible dates this summer. We want everyone to be there. Even Thomas.”

Sandra suddenly appeared from the hall. “I have sent emails to all the family who aren’t here with the proposed dates. I hope I didn’t overstep. I went into dad’s office and found his address book and just started sending.”

Amanda smiled at her. “No. Your help is very much appreciated. Thank you.”

Matt looked over at her and smiled. “Any word on the other?”

She nodded. “There are at least four so far.All are coming to find out for sure. I might have found another six. Not sure though.”

Ty looked over at his friend, suspiciously. “What’s that all about?”

Matt smiled back sheepishly. “It may be a fool’s wish, but after Sandy arrived, I began wondering how many kids I had that I did not know about. She has been helping me track them down by contacting the women I had been with briefly in the past.”

Lil smiled. “I am so proud of you Matty. You are doing the honorable thing.Acknowledging that you had possible children elsewhere.”

Matt blushed. “Well, yeah. I was pretty wild in the late seventies and on through the late eighties. after all, I was a rock star and lived the life of one. With all the excesses.”

Ty grinned. “Yes. Six exes within what…six years?”

Matt nodded. “That was about the size of it. But back then, they wanted the fame of being Mrs. Morrow. Not the responsibility of being a loving wife or mother. I ended up raising all my children. Thomas came to me when he reached his teens. The rest gave up the children in order to have alimony.

“Juanita was the first to truly love me. At the time, I did not know that she was teaching me how to truly love a woman. I had no clue that she was only meant to be the beginning of my growth. I expected that we would both grow old together.

“When she died, so did a part of me. I promised her that I would move on, but I was not loyal to my promise. That is until now. Amanda brought back to life the part of me that died. She gave me a renewed sense of purpose and stability.”

Ty smiled. “Not to mention the groupies, female backup singers, actresses, and models who passed through your life.”

Matt nodded. “Yes, and that is the list that Sandra has been going through. I don’t expect the models to acknowledge, or the actresses. I don’t expect the vocalists to remember either. But the groupies…they’re another matter altogether. From what Sandy told me, some have formed a support group of sorts.”

Amanda smiled. “It is all good. Family is family. And I already know about his past. Egypt told me. And I am comfortable with that. I love him for him. Nothing else.”

Matt changed the subject. “So let’s talk about wedding colors. what are everyone’s favorite colors?”

Lil started off. “Let’s start with tradition. We need to put white at the top.”

Amanda nodded. “Agreed.”

“Sky blue.”

“Pink.” Amanda wrinkled her nose at the suggestion and laughter followed.

“Burgundy.”

“Royal blue.”

“Peach.”

“Crimson.”

“Pastel yellow.”

Amanda raised her hand to quiet the suggestions. “As long as it is anything but pink, yellow, purple, or green we will be fine. I think we can look into the darker colors to see if we like them, but keep the traditional white as a backup. I am not sure about pastels.”

Lil smiled coyly. “Do I hear the plea for a dress committee to be formed?’

Sam arrived with Lady Jane and Lucinda. “Al’s somewhere behind us. Probably stuck in traffic.”

Matt smiled. “Good. You can join Amanda in deciding colors.”

Lucinda smiled. “Oh, fun. If you want a planner, I can get my sister here. She owes me a favor or two. I’m sure she will give a good deal.”

Timothy, Marnie’s oldest son appeared behind them. “Someone call for a minister?”

Matt chuckled. “So that was your big, horrible secret four years ago? And here I though your Aunt Sam or Uncle Lady had corrupted you.”

Jane patted Matt on the cheek. “Just keep it up, Mother Matt.

Matt let out a long, hearty laugh. Soon the whole house was echoing with the laughter of all who were present. It had been too long. But, damn, it felt good.

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