Tessa’s daughter, Vicki, was still her Daddy’s girl and up until her mother’s remarriage day had refused to come for a visit or meet Michael. When she finally walked into the No Thanks, Lexi pounced, “Mom’s been fretting all morning that you weren’t going to show.”

“I’m not late. Dad and I flew in together. We had to wait for the rental car.”

Lexi’s face turned beet red. “WHY, is he here?”

“He wants to meet Emma and see you and Brent. Tomorrow will do.”

“You’re unbelievable. This is about celebrating Mom and Michael, not catering to our father.”


Tessa’s father saw the heated exchange between his granddaughters and went to investigate. “Hi, Vickie. Glad you could make it.”

Lexi snarled, “She brought Dad.”

“Excuse me,” Don replied.

Vickie whined. “He deserves to have a Thanksgiving with all of us too.”

Don shook his head in disbelief and sadness.

“I don’t mean today,” Vickie added. “He went to our hotel.”

Don spoke evenly. “You text him and say I said to stay there. And don’t tell your mother he’s here.”

“Yes, Grandpa.” Vickie pulled out her cell phone.

Lexi waited, then took her sister to see their mother.


After dinner, the photographer called Michael and Tessa to the cake table. Katie went to open the back door of the No Thanks for Gaylan’s group. “It’s time.”

“I can’t. “

“Come on. We’re all expecting this!”

“Except the happy couple.”

“You cleared it with Tessa’s Dad and Michael’s Mom. Hurry up!”

“What if Michael gets upset?”

“He won’t.”

Gaylan gulped, looked back at the group, blew the pitch pipe, and motioned, onward.

The church youth choir encircled the room as the invited guests backed away from the cake table. The rendition of “Unchained Melody” took everyone’s breath away.

Note: The wedding is taking place at the No Thanks Needed bar and grill on the Saturday after Thanksgiving when Michael’s, Tessa’s, and house band members gather for Thanksgiving dinner. Gaylan is the (baritone) teen leader of the youth choir at the church the families attend. We have met Tessa’s son, Brent, before, but only once. And if you remember, Tessa’s ex did not attend his granddaughter Emma’s baptism when he was invited.