Nocturne
Author:Andrea Randall & Charles Sheehan-Miles

“Not what I expected,” he said. “You’ll be teaching only ... not playing.”

 

I nodded. “I’ll always play. But ... I’ve been there, James. I spent ten years as principal chair at the BSO. I feel like it’s time to give something back.”

 

He nodded. “I get it, Gregory. I’m just ... surprised. And very happy for you. Can I tell you, I almost didn’t recognize you. You’re so happy it’s almost frightening.”

 

I chuckled. “You expect me to be tortured? Closeted somewhere with my cello?”

 

James laughed. “Yes. Generally that’s exactly what I expect of you.” He shook his head and took another drink of his coffee. “Does Savannah know yet?”

 

“About the job? No. Rather, she knows I’ve been talking with them. The offer came yesterday and I wanted today to be ... about us. Not about the job.”

 

He smiled. “I’m incredibly happy for you. Madeline is too.”

 

I leaned forward, took another sip of my tea. “Speaking of Madeline, she’s pretty far along. Do you know if this one’s a boy a girl?” Pretty far along was an understatement. Even though she wasn’t due for another three months, Madeline was as big as an upright bass.

 

He shook his head. “Not yet. She doesn’t want to know in advance.”

 

“And how is little Delaney?”

 

“She took her first steps two weeks ago.” The pride on his face was transparent and beautiful. He said, “What about you two? Any plans for kids?”

 

I shook my head. “Neither of us is really thinking along those lines. I don’t know what the future may hold, but for now, it’s the two of us.”

 

Oddly enough, I really didn’t know what the future held. I’d never planned on kids, and Savannah hadn’t either. But neither of us was as opposed to the idea as we’d been a year ago. So for the time being, we simply moved forward, and made sure we talked, a lot, about what we wanted.

 

This much I knew. Savannah and I were meant for each other. Now and forever.

 

James and I finished up our drinks. He looked at me and said, “Time to get ready, friend.”

 

I gave him a serious nod, then stepped inside and prepared myself. Freshly shaved and dressed, I rode the elevator down with my oldest friend and we got in the hired car, headed to Wilton’s Music Hall on Graces Alley in the East End.

 

Steeped in London’s history, Wilton’s was one of the most important and oldest music halls in London. A nineteenth century concert hall was joined by a terrace to the Mahogany Bar. Three houses made a unique, fascinating setting. Savannah and I had agreed almost immediately on the concert hall here for our wedding, because it echoed with the melodies of three hundred years of musicians. And, it was us. It was our life together past, present, and future.

 

It was a small wedding, but the hall was filled with people we both loved, and who loved us. Taking one last look over the crowd, my eyes rested for a minute on Vita and Malcolm. While Savannah hadn’t attended their wedding, her relationship with her mother was finally on the mend. I doubted it would ever return to whatever it was each of them thought it once was, but it worked for Savannah, and that’s what mattered.

 

Vita gave me a polite smile, and I returned it before watching her eyes move to the memory candle at the base of the stage. Stephen, Savannah’s father, had passed away the year before after an aggressive battle with brain cancer. Savannah was there at the end, and I was next to her, holding her as she cried for weeks. Getting through that in one piece gave us a strength neither of us realized we possessed together.

 

The string ensemble took a long pause at the end of their number, and I knew this was it. At their next cue, the doors would open and my future wife would be walking toward me. As the violin led, the doors opened, and I had to stop myself from racing down the aisle to get her myself.

 

God, she was exquisite. The simple long white dress highlighted nothing but her beauty. I watched her chest rise in a deep breath before she leaned in and gave Nathan a kiss on the cheek. Her eyes never left mine as he led her down the aisle. After a million years she finally got to me, and Nathan held her hand out to mine.

 

Leaning in, he said, “Take care of her.” He was serious, but not threateningly so.

 

I gave him a pat on the shoulder. “I promise I will.”

 

With that, he gave her another hug and kiss before he stepped back and left me with Savannah at the altar. I took her hands in mine and she squeezed them tight.

 

Breaking convention, as she did best, Savannah kissed me once and whispered, “I love you.”

 

“I love you, too,” I whispered back, ignoring the Awws from the guests.

 

She rested her forehead on mine for a beat and said, “Marry me?”

 

I kissed her once more. “Absolutely.”

 

And so I took her hand and we faced the minister. The music from the ensemble in the back of the hall had stopped.

 

But for us, the music was only beginning.