‹ Prequel: God Please
Status: Will try to post once a week or more. Alot going on. If this story is up, it is active.

Second Chance

Special Evening

“Yes. I think that’s a good idea. I can put it together later today and get it to you tomorrow,” lightly painted lips said as her sleek black car pulled into the parking lot in front of one of Los Angeles’s many prominent clothing shops. She hummed an affirmative response to her new business partner’s words and slipped from behind the wheel. With a poke of an index finger to lock the doors, and she tugged her sunglasses from over delicately lined eyes of pure sapphire. “I’m here now. I’m going to have to let you go. I’ve gotta figure out what my darling husband has up his sleeve.”

“You’re going to love it.”

“You know?” freshly manicured eyebrows shot up in curiosity at the statement.

“Girl, I know everything that goes on between these guys.”

“Wait, who all else knows? Am I the only one who doesn’t?”

“Pretty much. Gotta go!” she broke the connection before the highly intrigued Haner wife had a chance to question her further.

A quiet laugh rumbled in her throat, and Converse clad feet padded up the steps to the store front. The doors opened for her and the only briefly smiling expressions fell off of both employee’s faces when the ordinarily dressed woman stepped inside. The gentleman said nothing to accompany a quite abrupt once over glance which ended with his immediate retreat, complete with an upturned nose. The remaining worker had to stifle a quiet scoff, but at least attempted (and failed) to flash a faux-friendly smile.

“Welcome to our boutique, ma’am. You’ll find the clearance section in the back right hand side of the store, but I am not sure if our prices will agree with your budget.”

Though many in her place would immediately pick a fight, Emily simply smiled at her. “My husband has already made a purchase. I’m just here to collect it.”

“Right this way,” the platinum blonde said with a roll of her eyes that she did not even try to mask. She made no haste in leading her customer to the counter located in the center of the store. “When did he make the purchase?”

“Earlier today.” Straightening up taller as the only outward sign of choosing to be the bigger person, she laid her hands atop the counter gently as she waited.

“I highly doubt it.”

“I assure you that he did. I saw the withdrawal from our bank account.”

“Ma’am, I can assure you that your husband did not make the purchase today. In fact, I would doubt that he ever stepped foot in this store. We have only had two purchases from today that are being held. One is for a Christian Dior custom, and the other is a Valentino dress and accessories.”

“It’s got to be the Valentino. He has always told me he loves the way it compliments my shape on the rare occasions I have worn one.”

“Look, miss. I’m sure you are mistaken. The dress alone was—”

“$4933.11. He took $5,600 out of the account and paid in cash. Brian Haner Jr. He has it held under the name Mi hermosa Reina, which is the code name he uses for me when he is trying to be discrete.” Her eyes narrowed at the persistent rudeness of this worker, and her resolve slowly broke. “I have been patient with you, and I’ve not lost my cool up until this point. Just because I didn’t strut in here like I was walking the runway in Milan, and demand an audience that I could manipulate does not mean that I am not of the class of clientele you prefer to cater to. I had hoped that I could walk in, pick up my things, and continue on without a hitch so that I could go meet with my husband. I am not going to stand here and prove to you I am ‘worthy’ of breathing the same air you do. My receipt number is 474-593, now please gather my things so I can be on my way.”

It was not a shout, nor even a particularly noticeable raise of her voice, but the dignity and poise in which she delivered her message that caused the blonde to duck her head in shame. It seemed it was only on rare occasion she was wrong, but it was apparent that she was accustomed to being verbally abused or being shown her error in a much more degrading way, and it was a shame. Emily hated it when people were mistreated by others, regardless of social status, wealth, or any other reason, however, it was still no excuse for this employee to treat her like dirt she walked on. The now sheepish woman left quickly without so much as a word.

Less than a minute later the same gentleman who had left her before came rushing to greet her, spilling apologies. “Here are your items, Mrs. Haner. I do sincerely apologize for Meredith’s behavior. We will admonish her at once upon your departure!”

“That’s not necessary. I can assure you, she has been embarrassed enough.”

“Yes ma’am! We’ve already sent champagne into your dressing room, our finest and most expensive bottle! You’ll find that we have also taken the liberty of upgrading you to our VIP room, which is complete with its own on-suite powder room, and vanity for applying makeup. I’ve just put a call into our on-site makeup artist who will be happy to do a mini glam session- normally a $1500 value- on the house! That way you can look your best when you go to meet your special someone this evening!”

Thoroughly unamused by the sudden turn around, she declined with a flattened expression, “I don’t need a fancy room, or a charity glam session. All I wanted was to be treated with decency up front, not a verbal gush of faux-sincerity after the fact.”

Without wasting another moment, the brunette took the bags from the shocked man and made her way out. This wasn’t worth ruining her evening. Despite the fact it would have been nice to dress now to save time, she could stop by virtually anywhere along the way to slip into the new ensemble. All that mattered was that she took a moment to do so before she met Brian, because he obviously had something pretty amazing in mind if he shelled out that much for the occasion. She’d be lying if she said she wasn’t excited to see what it was, and she did not have a clue.

I will meet you at sunset at the place that we shared our first kiss. Don’t keep me waiting, darling. I have something very special planned, read the text she found on her phone when she got back into the car. It brought a bright smile to her face, and the irritation of what had just happened instantly melted way.

*
Chocolate eyes flicked down the stretch of beach long forgotten by most of the public. A hidden gem near the heart of their old stomping grounds, and one that held several important moments of the couple’s history. They had not visited in years, but that is another reason he knew it was the perfect place to lay out his plan. He too, would be lying if he said he wasn’t nervous. Why, he couldn’t say. He just was. This was Emily. It was his heart and soul. He supposed Lacey was right last week when she said he resembled a teen on prom night, though it wasn’t a reflection of how he felt. He felt the way he did the night they made love for the first time.

It was like everything led up to the moment. He felt so alive, like every cell in his body was awake and highly alert with the feelings coursing through his chest. Only this time, they had so many years together under their belt. It was different this time, and even more special. He just hoped he didn’t mess it up somehow. The sound of the alarm being set in the distance told him that she was here, and had just stepped out of the car. His heart pounded in his chest, though he knew he wouldn’t be seeing her for a while yet. She had already let him know him that she had chosen to get ready here instead of off-site somewhere. That could be five minutes, or twenty-five; he wasn’t sure. Even though he knew he had a wait ahead of him, he stood from the soft white blanket that he had stretched out over the cushy mounds of sand.

Blowing a breath out that failed to steady him as he had hoped, the guitarist went to work lighting the decent amount of ivory colored candles that were dotted around the area. Once he was finished with that, he opened a small wooden box that set off to the side of where they would be sitting. A black pouch which contained red and white rose petals was pulled from it, and he began to toss them gingerly about the area. He dotted them over the cover, on the sand, and in a whimsical line up towards the stairs she would soon walk down to greet him. There was the faintest hint of wind coming off the water, but it was so feather-light that it did nothing to disturb his work, nor did it threaten to compromise the design. For that, he was thankful.

His last task was to pour them each a glass of wine, and though he knew he was anxious, he didn’t know until that moment just how nervous he truly was. Calloused hands shook slightly while he rested the neck of the jade colored bottle against the rim of the first glass.

“Calm down, Haner. It’s going to be fine,” he mumbled to himself in attempt to calm, but it clearly wasn’t going to work. He had put far too much pressure on himself, as usual.

Bare feet shuffled probably a dozen times as he poised himself at the bottom of the steps waiting for his bride. His eyes flicked down to his watch about half that many times, and laughed quietly at himself when he realized she had not even been here for five minutes yet. But in this moment, it felt like an eternity.

*

With a calming breath out, Emily looked herself over in the worn-out, sea salt rusted mirror. The dress was simply gorgeous. It was a pristine white, with straps that stemmed from the neck line and wrapped up around her neck. Slightly longer than knee length, it hugged every curve of hers which she had admittedly forgotten that she had, absolutely perfectly. It was modestly cut, and did not dip below where a bra-line would settle in the back. It was simple, clean, and classy. The shoes where meant more for show than for walking, though they were not uncomfortable in the slightest. Silver high heeled sandals is technically how they could be described, but they were certainly not made for walking on sand. She would take them off before she stepped off into the sand, so her husband could get the full effect of their beauty, which is no doubt why he chose them. Simple as well, but highly appealing to the eye.

Her hands rubbed together under the cold water to get the residue of the little bit of makeup she had applied with her fingertips. She had not brought much, not knowing where she was headed originally, but after having found out they would be spending an evening on the shores of the Pacific, she decided on eyeliner and lipstick only; and she went light on the eyes. Something told her that the evening would touch her enough that tears would be shed, and there was no sense looking like a rave attendee by the end of the night.

After one final once-over, she gave herself a nod and made her way outside again. Her new wristlet hung delicately by her side, the Velvet Eve necklace and matching ring sparkled in the waning sunlight, and her eyes watched the rays glisten over the silver tone shoes. For the first time in quite a long time, she felt like a princess. The moment began to catch up with her, and she knew the second she locked eyes with her husband, the tears slowly gathering in her eyes would threaten to spill over. She was definitely right. As she came to the top of the stairs, carefully lined spheres of sapphire glanced down to see her love gazing up from the sand, wine glasses in hand.

“You look absolutely stunning, baby.”

“Oh, don’t say that.” She whispered as her suspicion came true, and that freshly done liner was put to the test, starting with a single tear drop that trickled carefully down her cheek. “You’re going to make me cry.”

“Don’t cry. I wasn’t counting on crying yet!”

His exclamation and brief glance to the side drew laughter out of her and her hand came up to swipe the moisture from her face.

“I’m not crying, my eye just leaked a little. That’s all!”

“Come, baby.” Thin lips smiled and extended a hand to her.

Carefully making her way down, the already emotional woman glanced to her feet to be sure of her footing. It had been ages since she had donned such high heels, but truth be told, the love in her husband’s eyes was enough to make her steps falter. “What’s all this about?”

“Can a man not have an evening on the beach with his wife?”

“He can. It’s just been so long,” unable to control it, a few more tears snuck out and her hand came up to slap them away again.

“And I apologize for that, but we’re going to have more of them in the future. Many more.” His smile only became more radiant as she reached him. A flick of his eyes down to her shoes reminded her that she should probably take them off, and he waited for her to do so before his hand took hers to guide her into the warm sand. He took one of the wine glasses from his left hand and handed it to her before turning to offer his arm.

Her hand slipped through it and she allowed him to lead her to the most romantic spread she’d ever seen. “If you’re not wanting me to cry, you should have done this in a parking lot somewhere.”

“Not quite as classy as I was aiming for, but I’ll keep that in mind next time,” he mused with a kiss to her cheek. “M’lady.”

“Oh,” she said with a tinge of embarrassment after realizing he had stopped walking and was waiting for her to take a seat.

The guitarist slipped to sit beside her and his expression lit up even more when they locked eyes. “How was your day?”

“Um, ah…m-my day?” a laugh escaped her at her sudden case of being tongue tied. “What day?”

“You know, from the time you kissed me good morning and walked out the door until now,” with an upward flick of his brows, he gave a half nod to encourage her to raise her glass.

“I’m having a hard time remembering what happened before now, to be honest. What’s wrong with me? You’ve got me all kinds of a mess right now.” Her glass clinked against his and they each paused to take a sip of the sweet crimson liquid.

“I’m not going to complain, but I do hope that whatever you did today that you enjoyed it.”

“I’m sure I did.” Her head shook lightly at her own sudden teenager with a crush behavior, but she would be lying if she said it didn’t feel good. “What’s this about, baby? What did I do to deserve this?”

“You love me. You’ve stuck by me through heaven and hell on earth. You’ve been my best friend and my ass-kicker when I needed it for longer than I can really remember, and I’m thankful that I can call you my wife.”

“Aw, baby.” Her palm hid her eyes for a moment while she willed herself not to shed anymore tears. Fat chance that was going to happen. “You’re doing terribly if you’re trying to not make me cry. Did I even say that right? Trying to not….make me…I don’t even know if that is proper English.”

“You’re adorable,” he grinned, and lent forward to take her hand from her face.

“No, I’m not,” she sniffed now. “I’m a ferocious tiger!”

“In an adorable kitten kind of way, yes.”

“Babe!” she giggled and pushed his shoulder playfully. “I’m serious.”

“So am I. But, no, we haven’t done anything like this in a long while and I wanted to bless my wife. Is that okay?”

“Bless?”

“Please. Pleasure—no, wait. Now you’ve got me flustered!” laughter fell from him now as well, and the two leaned forward to rest their foreheads against one another for a moment. “I just want to spend the evening with my wife. Here, look.”

“You packed a picnic for us?”

“Who’s the king of the snacks? Are you that surprised?”

“Well, when you put it that way. I guess I’m not. But it’s still sweet.”

He moved to open the decent sized bag off to the side and began laying out the spread of food he had brought along. Cheese, crackers, chocolate covered strawberries, and a few other finger foods, as well as some fine chocolates which he had admittedly snuck a few pieces of before she had arrived. They were dark chocolate and imported, how could he have resisted that? He explained that while they did have dinner reservations later, but he had hoped this would tide them over until then.

The couple fed each other every few nibbles, and spent a good few minutes just lost in one another’s eyes. When the sun had set fully on the horizon, the guitarist pulled something else out of his pocket.

“Baby, there’s something I want to tell you.”

“Okay. What’s that?” shining blue eyes looked down at the piece of paper in his hands before tilting her head in question.

“In all my planning, I forgot to actually go get what I wanted to hand you tonight, and I apologize for that. But this is an itinerary.” Brown eyes deeply searched her expression as she took the page in her hand with a sip of her wine.

“Two tickets to Naples? Florida? Oh, Italy! My bad, I couldn’t see that well.” Her eyes snapped open wide in wonder now. “You’re taking me to Italy next month? I thought you guys were talking about heading into promos, interviews, and PR campaigns next month.”

“Well we were, but we pushed it back for this.” Leaning forward, he took her left hand in his and pressed a kiss to it. “Two weeks. You and I, moonlight walks on the beach, breakfast on the veranda, and afternoons lounging on the sun-drenched shores of the Capri Isles.”

“Really baby? Oh my God!” she exclaimed and threw her arms around his neck.

One might think this would be no big deal to a couple who had the money to pretty much go and do anything they chose to at any given time. That was just it, though. They rarely ever had time to themselves until here recently; and never the time to go away such a distance, let alone for so long at one time. Emotion gathered in and escaped her eyes once again and she went to slip her hand out of his, but he tightened his hold.

“There’s one more detail I want to share with you.” Despite the words of their dear friend Lacey, he found himself swallowing back a lump in his throat now. “We won’t be alone a couple out of those fourteen days.”

“Who’s coming to join us?”

“My parents, yours, the guys and their ladies, and Jimmy’s parents.” Noting the look of confusion on her face, a small smile turned up his lips. “Baby, I love you with all of my heart. We have been through hell together, and we’re still standing. I shouldn’t have expected any less with someone as incredible as you by my side, but I am still surprised and—well there’s not really another word I can think of to say besides blessed-that you are still here. Emily Rose Haner, will you marry me again, on the beaches of Capri—for real this time?”

Already leaking eyes widened further as he pulled an absolutely mesmerizing sapphire ring from his pocket and sat up on one knee like something out of a movie- one that she had never felt good enough to be in. His name fell from quivering lips and she found she couldn’t say anything, she could only nod. Others might fight this question confusing, but she knew exactly what it meant.

When they married the first time, they simply eloped. They didn’t need anything fancy, just each other. This time, after all they had been through, he wanted to give her a wedding he felt they both deserved. And it broke her to her core. She didn’t realize it until that moment, but she discovered she had never felt worthy of such an event. She was drawn into his arms as soon as the ring was slipped on atop her wedding band, and his hand cradled the back of her head as she cried into his shoulder.

“But—” she didn’t have to finish. Her husband already knew.

“You’re worth it, baby. Every second, every penny, down to the last detail. I want to marry you again, and I want to do it right this time.”

“I don’t know what to say,” her whisper was nearly drowned out by the gentle lapping of the waves against the sand.

“Well, you haven’t officially given me an answer yet. You could start with that,” he mused with a light grin.

“Yes, yes!” she laughed and squeezed him tighter. “I love you, baby!”

“I love you too, Em.” Pulling back, he captured her lips in the softest of kisses, and they both felt themselves falling in love all over again in that moment.

It definitely wasn’t how she would have ever guessed the night would go, but she could honestly say she felt like the luckiest person in the world. Had she said that aloud, Brian probably would have challenged her on it, because as far as he was concerned, it took so much more than just fate to bring him the most amazing wife he could have ever imagined.
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Here is the double length chapter I promised. I have not been feeling well lately and I just haven't been up to getting it posted until today. Hopefully you all understand. Thank you so much for sticking with this story. Don't forget to drop a line to tell me what you think, to say hello, or ask questions!