Note, this first part is meant to be rather exaggerated, as it from Stephen's point of view….you'll get what that means soon.

PROLOGUE

A cool breeze drifted through a Florida coast as 300 guests, including six bridesmaids and six groomsmen, a priest, and an eager groom dressed smartly in white awaited the arrival of the blushing bride. The groom, a 39-year-old Stephen Reilly, shifted nervously from foot to foot. The sun beat down cruelly on his slicked-back brown hair. If he had gone with the "natural look" as he had wanted to, then there would be much less product in which the sun could be absorbed. He heard an exasperated sigh from the Maid of Honor, Verity Meyer, as she tapped her foot in boredom. The other bridesmaids eyed her callously, either in jealousy from the fact that none of them were chosen to be Maid of Honor, or abhorrence from the fact that she could behave with such disrespect at her sister's wedding. The 22-year-old seemed to pay no mind and instead used the bouquet of flowers she held as a fan. The priest gave her a dirty look. To Stephen's left was his Best Man and brother, Bill Reilly. His eyes remained fixed on the door from which Sarah, the blushing bride, would emerge. There was a sudden eruption of music as the glass doors opened up and Sarah began to drift down the isle, linking arms with her weeping father. There was a murmur from the audience as they all expressed how beautiful she looked and how happy her father was. Stephen could hear Verity breath "Thank God," as she stood up straight.

As Sarah grew nearer, Stephen became increasingly nervous. This was it. He was getting married in mere moments.

Sarah stepped under the alter and the priest began his sermon. "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony…"

Stephen stared into Sarah's eyes and a hundred different thoughts flooded him. None of them, however, had anything to do with the ceremony that was taking place.

"…Into this holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined."

And when you're in doubt, and when you're in danger, take a look around, and I'll be there…I really wish I knew what he says next…

"Will you please, now join hands as you join your lives together, and face me?"

The couple took a deep breath, joined hands (as well as lives) and faced the priest.

"Do you, Stephen, give yourself completely and joyfully, as you choose Sarah as the person with whom you will share your life, in laughter and in sorrow, in conflict and peace, loving what you already know about her, and having faith in what you do not know yet know?"

"I do," said Stephen releasing a huge sigh; his part was over.

The priest nodded and turned to Sarah. "Do you, Sarah, give yourself completely and joyfully, as you choose Stephen as the person with whom you will share your life, in laughter and in sorrow, in conflict and peace, loving what you already know about him, and having faith in what you do not know yet know?"

Sarah took a deep breath. "Well…"

"Sarah don't do it, I love you!" The crowd let out a gasp of surprise and turned to the culprit. Bill Reilly had pushed his brother none too lightly into the priest, and was on his knees in front of Sarah. "I could never live with myself if I let you marry my brother; at least not without trying to stop you. So I have to ask: Will you marry me?"

"Oh Bill…of course I will."

The crowd erupted with cheers. Mothers hugged daughters, fathers shook hands with sons. As Bill embraced Sarah, the world seemed to be a brighter place. Only Verity seemed to remember her ex-future brother-in-law, who walked forlornly (as well as confusedly) away from the cheering crowd.

CHAPTER 1

Verity walked across the patchy grass lawn to the 10-foot seawall where Stephen sat, staring into the distance. His blue eyes were an exact match with the color of the water. Verity tripped several times, her stiletto heels (an choice carved into stone by her sister) digging small holes in the soft turf, but somehow managed to spill only drops of the champagne she was holding. She sat down next to Stephen with an uneasy grunt before handing him one of the glasses. Once he downed the first cup in seconds, Verity gave him hers with an uncontrollable smirk. Without a word, he consumed the second glass and threw them both into the crashing surf below him.

"Talk to me," Verity said after a longer silence than she wanted. There was no reply from Stephen. "You did not make me walk 50 yards across that uneven lawn just so I can talk to silence. Divulge, or my magic trick will have been in vain."

And so he divulged. He had known that Bill and Sarah had been seeing each other for the past 9 months. He thought, however, that it was just Sarah yearning to be "free" before she settled down with just one man. He thought they had stopped seeing each other once the serious wedding planning started, but that may have been just because she was too busy for an affair.

"I'm sure it's just cold feet." Verity said with a reassuring pat on the knee. "She left her last husband at the alter, and they were married a week later."

Stephen looked at her for the first time since she sat down. "What do you mean her last husband?" Sarah had said nothing of previous lovers, let alone previous husbands.

"Erm…nothing."

"Verity, you said she had a husband. You know more than I do. Please, tell me."

She looked away, unable to meet his eyes. "I didn't know she never told you. I guess I assumed she would." She looked at him again. "But it's a good thing! If history repeats itself, as it usually does, than it'll just be cold feet again! So you have nothing to worry about."

"Right, except for the fact that my fiancé just left me for my brother. That worries me a little."

"You know what?" Verity said, slapping his knee. "We'll get her back."

"We'll what?" Stephen asked uncertainly.

"That's right," she said standing up unsteadily, grabbing Stephen' shoulder for support, "we'll get her back."

Stephen stood up after her, holding her steady as he did so. "We won't get anything done if you fall down there."

"Except maybe amuse some of the drunken relatives."

"Does that include me?" Stephen asked nearly tripping over his own shoes.

"After a few more drinks, sure," Verity said with a smirk as the two made their way around the unseemly festivities to the parking lot, where they would enter their respective vehicles and drive towards their own homes.

X+X+X+X+X+X

The phone rang eight times and stopped. Stephen sighed with relief and sank his head deeper into his pillow. The breeze coming from his open window rippled the sheet that lay over him. He was very nearly falling back into unconsciousness. Then, to his great dismay, the phone rang once again. He groaned and sat up, letting the thin sheet slide off him as he did so. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and picked up the phone. After a brief pause he whispered a groggy, "Hello?"

There was a loud sigh on the other end, followed by an explanation. "Hi, are you okay? I just remembered I sent you home after not only two glasses of champagne, but a few bottles of beer before the…before. Just calling to make sure you didn't drive your car off a cliff." There was a pause. "Wow, that came out wrong…I just mean, I didn't know if you drank too much. I wouldn't blame you if you did—wow…that came out wrong too. This is Verity, by the way."

"You know, I actually guessed that," Stephen said, still waking up. It was 5:00 in the afternoon, but when Stephen came home (at about 12:30) he was exhausted enough to collapse on his bed.

Verity laughed nervously. "Um…right. I'm guessing you're not in the mood to be asked how you are."

"You guessed it."

"Okay, well…okay. Bye."

Stephen sighed, feeling guilty for his cold behavior. "Verity?"

"Yeah?" Verity asked, still very much on edge.

"Thanks."

The relief was evident in Verity's voice. "You're welcome."

Stephen hung up the phone, feeling a bit better about himself, but still horrible. He decided he would call Sarah. Maybe if she knew he still loved her (after 5 whole hours), she would come back to him more quickly. It had only been five hours, they hired the caterers for ten, and he knew there'd still be a party. He dialed his parents' number (as the wedding was held at their house) and after a few rings, he heard voices.

"I don't care what your cousin's neighbor said, this is the real thing…yes I'm sure, I paid good money for it." The voice on the phone was light and playful, but it still managed to be argumentative and intimidating.

"Hello?" Stephen asked when the voice failed to notice him.

"Go ahead." The voice turned cold and businesslike, and almost annoyed.

"Mom?"

Laura Reilly's voice turned lighthearted once again. "Bill, is that you?"

"No mom, it's Steve."

"Oh Stephen, how are you?"

"Not great, actually." He tried to rub away the headache he felt coming on. "Could you just put Sarah on the phone?"

"Sarah's gone," Laura said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Stephen furrowed his eyebrows. "Gone? Could you maybe go into more detail?"

"Antigua! They didn't think they should waste the tickets, and I had to agree."

Stephen, though normally quite steady-minded, suddenly had a hard time controlling his anger. "So you just let them go on what should have been my honeymoon? Is it normal for the groom to be the last one thought of in this type of situation?"

Laura's voice turned to ice. "Just like you to think of only yourself. You should be happy for your brother, and if you really cared about Sarah you would be happy for her too."

Stephen hung up the phone. Every once of him flowed with anger. He had the urge to reach out and break something, destroy something the way Bill did with his life. With the cordless phone in his right hand, he flung it across the room, watching it break into pieces as it hit the doorframe. He saw the dent of chipped wood he had left in the doorframe, and felt a tiny twinge of relief. He went to his basement where his workroom was and destroyed everything he could get his hands on. By the end, with at least a broken hand, splinters everywhere but his eyes (thank god for safety goggles), and no whole piece of wood in his basement, he felt the anger flowing out of him like a raging river. He could fix everything later. He would have two weeks while Sarah was in Antigua.

OK, so that was that...If you like it, review, if you don't...don't be too harsh