In the previous episode, readers voted that as the wedding guests dispersed after an interruption from an unrelated lover led to it being called off, Vera spotted her father in the back of the church.
Waiting in the back of the church was Vera’s father, standing to the side as wedding guests flocked to the exits. His eyes searched the church until he finally spotted Vera and gave a half-hearted smile and hand wave. Vera couldn’t believe he was here. She then recalled the missed messages on her cell phone yesterday, when she was in and out of consciousness. Vera stepped down from the altar and ventured toward her father.
“What are you doing here?” she said, after finally managing to work her way through the mass exodus.
“You called me yesterday. You don’t remember?” Despite not being invited, up close he didn’t look too out-of-place from the wedding guests, as he had dressed up like he had been on the list, wearing black slacks, a dress shirt, and blazer. Vera wondered what she had told him on the phone.
“I had been hit in the head with a golf club, so I was a little out of it.”
“That explains a lot.” He put his hand to Vera’s goose egg on her forehead.
“What did I tell you?”
Vera’s father gave a head nod toward the altar, where Betsey was standing with Richard, probably discussing how much money they had wasted on this wedding.
“Everything,” he said. “Loan Some. Your mom. Cole. All of it.”
Vera found it strange that in her moment of physical weakness she had achieved emotional strength and clarity.
“So, are you okay?” he asked.
“Yes, believe it or not.”
Soon, upon noticing Vera speaking with a man she hadn’t seen in 30-some years, Betsey gingerly walked toward them. Despite this happening behind Vera, she could see in her father’s eyes that Betsey was approaching by the way his pupils grew intense and nervous.
“Adam,” said Betsey.
“Bets,” he said.
They just stared at each other for a few moments, until Betsey awkwardly put her arms around him. Vera quietly soaked up this moment of seeing her parents together for the first time.
“I met Vera,” she said. “She’s lovely.”
“She is. We like her.” As much as Vera appreciated having both of her parents in the same room, it was really quite uncomfortable.
“Could we go for a walk?” said Betsey to Adam. “Just you and I.”
Adam met Vera’s eyes, almost as a sign of seeking permission. Vera nodded.
“Sure,” he said. Betsey and Adam walked toward the back of the church, out into the courtyard surrounding the building. Vera stood watching them, until Cole approached.
“That your dad?” he said.
“Yeah. Apparently I called and invited him here yesterday.”
“Nope,” he said. “I did.”
Vera turned to Cole.
“After I walked out last night, I received a call from your dad. He wanted to know more about the business, but mostly if you were okay.”
“What did you tell him?”
“I said you were in a tricky situation and that you would need his support.
“He didn’t need to come here.”
“He didn’t, but he may as well be a part of this family reunion, too.”
“You jeopardized the company’s rules for this.”
“I did,” he said with a sigh. “But I’m thinking we may have to amend some of the rules.”
“And why’s that?”
“Well, we’ve never accounted for situations where you might actually be related to the people you’re loaning for.”
“Besides,” he said with a smile. “As long as you’re around, all bets are off.”
Vera matched his smile with a grin. It was just the kind of description of her favorite literary heroes and heroines. Only now, she was the protagonist.