Saturday December 30, 1978

Diana Lynch stretched and opened her eyes, squeezing them shut almost immediately. The first slivers of weak winter sunlight had dispelled the velvety blackness of night, and she was back in her old room at the Lynch family home. She smiled, remembering what day it was. The day of her wedding to Mart Belden, whom she had loved for … well, she couldn’t remember how long she had had a crush on him. She wasn’t sure when she first knew that she loved him. But they had certainly dated since she was sixteen.

She curled up and enjoyed her warm, cozy nest for another minute, thinking of all that this day would mean. Then she sprang from the bed, sliding her feet into fuzzy lavender slippers and pulling a soft matching velour robe on over her lilac flannel pajamas. Knotting the tie of her robe, she hurried downstairs. It might be only six o’clock in the morning, but it was time to start getting ready for her wedding!

When she reached the Lynches’ large kitchen, she saw that her mother and father were already up. Mr. Lynch was reading the New York Times and her mother was pouring a cup of coffee. The daily crossword puzzle lay on the table in front of her chair.

“Good morning, Mummy! Good morning, Daddy!” Diana kissed both of her parents and reached into the refrigerator for orange juice and milk. Normally the cook, Janet, prepared a full breakfast buffet for the family of seven each weekend, but with the wedding being held today, Mr. Lynch had invited her to take the weekend off.

“Good morning, Princess,” Mr. Lynch replied, hugging his oldest daughter. “Are you ready for today?”

She didn’t have to think before answering that question. “Oh, yes! I’m definitely ready.” Reaching out to enfold her mother in the hug as well, she clarified, “Not that I won’t miss all of you. But yes, I’m ready to begin my life with Mart. And we’ll be close by.”

“Sweetheart, there’s no one who could love you as Mart does,” Mrs. Lynch agreed. “And I’m so happy you’ll be staying in town.”

“I know my little girl will be happy, and that’s all I care about,” added Mr. Lynch with a smile. “But listen here, Diana, if he ever makes you unhappy or is not good to you, don’t hesitate to ask for our help. We’re always here for you.” He dabbed at his eyes with a paper napkin.

Diana’s return smile was a bit watery. “I’ll never forget that, Daddy. I know you are.” She poured her own cup of coffee, adding artificial sweetener and milk until it was the desired shade of light brown. Mrs. Lynch dished up a bowl of oatmeal, thickly sprinkled with raisins, and handed it to her daughter, along with two pieces of buttered toast.

“Mummy, this is way too much,” Diana protested. “I want to fit into my gown today!”

“It’ll be a long time before you eat again,” her mother reminded her. “You don’t want to faint during the pictures—or during the ceremony. Eat up, now.” Mrs. Lynch’s hand rested on one plump hip as she instructed her daughter.

“All right, but I don’t think I can eat all of this.” She surrendered and began to eat the hot cereal.

“Now, go on up and take your shower, darling,” her mother suggested when Diana had eaten as much as she could hold. “Barbie and Margie will be down any minute—and if they’re not, I’ll go upstairs and get them up.” She glanced out toward the hallway where the children would come down the back steps to the kitchen. Seeing no sign of her two youngest children, she continued, “Honey and Trixie will be here at nine o’clock; the hairdresser is supposed to arrive at nine-thirty, the photographer will be here at eleven, and then we’re to be at the church by eleven-thirty for more pictures. Good heavens—the time will be gone before we know it!” She, too, dabbed at her eyes with a paper napkin.

Diana stepped out of the shower and wrapped herself in a thick violet towel, using another for a turban to pile her long hair on top of her head. She hummed as she dressed herself in a strapless bustier and pantyhose, sliding her legs into a pair of fleecy sweatpants and her stockinged feet back into fuzzy slippers to keep them warm. “No way am I wearing those high heels a minute before I have to,” she told herself. Zipping the sweatpants’ matching jacket over her bustier, she surveyed herself in the mirror, and shook her hair out of the towel.

“I wonder what Barbie and Margie are up to,” she thought. Stepping quickly into the upstairs hall, she headed for the girls’ suite. Her twin sisters were not in their beds, however, and Diana breathed a sigh of relief. She started back to her own suite and nearly collided with her twin fourteen-year-old brothers, who were heading for their own breakfast.

“We’re gonna miss you, Di-di,” Larry said, using their old baby nickname for their sister.

“Yeah, it won’t be the same without you here.” Terry looked sad for a moment, but burst out laughing as his brother added, “Yeah, there’s no one as good as you for playing tricks on.”

“I’m sure the girls will be a wonderful audience for your stunts,” Diana retorted with a grimace.

“Nah, they’re not scared of frogs and spiders,” Larry contradicted.

“Is that so? Well, maybe you can try to surprise them with nice things,” Diana suggested, a smile dimpling the corner of her mouth.

“I don’t think so!” Larry and Terry laughed and galloped down the steps.

With the upstairs to herself for awhile, Diana wandered over the floor, remembering how huge and strange the house had seemed when the Lynch family first moved in. It had taken her a long time, and the help of good friends, to become comfortable living as a “rich girl.” Now most of the staff who had intimidated her so were either gone, like the maids and the two nurses who cared for the twins; or good friends—like Harrison, the dignified butler who had terrified both Diana and her mother.

“I wouldn’t want to go back to our old apartment now,” she admitted to herself. “Sharing a room with two twelve-year-olds wouldn’t be any fun. I like having my own bathroom and a big enough room to have my friends over. There are still good memories from the apartment, though.” She stopped for a moment to look in each room – each set of twins had a spacious room with two double beds, and there was a large recreation room in between, with game tables and a television. The smaller room where the nurses, and later the two part-time nannies, had stayed had been converted into a laundry center for the upstairs bedrooms. Mr. and Mrs. Lynch’s suite contained a sitting area as well as a whirlpool tub. Alone of all the rooms in the house, the master suite retained some of the royal blue and gold color scheme that had originally earmarked the whole house. However, royal blue was one of her mother’s favorite colors, and the blue was set off by touches of other colors and a large framed oil painting of the Lynch children.

Back in her own room, Diana looked around and sighed in pleasure. Her room also contained two double beds, covered in bedspreads with an allover design of pansies. Sheer white ruffled curtains screened the large windows which overlooked the front lawn. Her walls were covered in a pale lavender paint with white woodwork. “It’s really my room now,” she thought, although she’d been living on her own in an apartment for over a year. She’d only returned home at the end of her final college semester because of her impending wedding; Mart and Trixie’s cousin Hallie Belden was subletting her apartment now, and she and Mart would live in Mart’s apartment after their honeymoon trip.

On the wall over her bed was a shelf containing several framed pictures—an eight by ten of Mart’s senior high school picture, a snapshot of her brothers and sisters, taken at the girls’ birthday the previous summer, and an eight by ten of the Bob-Whites. This one had been taken at the time of the three girls’ graduation from high school. She took it down and stared at the group of smiling faces, a smile curving her own lips.

“We’ve come through so much together,” she thought. “I hope we’ll always be as close as we are now.” She replaced the picture and turned to her closet, where her wedding dress hung on a heavily padded hanger. Touching the sheer tulle of the chapel-length veil, she smiled again. Honey Wheeler had insisted on making her gown, despite Diana’s protests that she was too busy.

“Diana, I’ll just die if you don’t let me make it,” Honey had said. “I’ve got so many ideas, and it’ll be good practice for making my own,” she added with a wink.

“Your own?” Diana was diverted. “So when are you and Brian tying the knot? Inquiring minds need to know!”

“You know Brian.” Honey sighed and shrugged. “He doesn’t want to commit to a date until he’s close to the end of his residency. He says he doesn’t want to have to go back to work on Monday after getting married.” She grinned suddenly and her hazel eyes danced. “But I can wait for that day. I know he’s the one, and he knows we’re going to be together no matter what.”

The dress was everything Diana could have wished for: it was white, with a fitted, lace-covered bodice and sheer, full sleeves that were gathered into a narrow band just below the elbow. Layers of polyester organza formed a full, pouffed skirt, and a sheer layer of the same fabric covered her chest so that she had no need to worry about accidentally exposing herself to the wedding guests. The bodice was accented with tiny crystal beads, painstakingly applied by Honey and Diana, and it sparkled when she moved. The veil was topped with a Juliet cap, covered with lace, and similarly embellished with beading. Diana was convinced that no bride had ever had a more beautiful dress. Leaving the dress, she stepped over to her mirror-topped dresser, and gasped as she realized she still wore the towel-turban over her hair. She flew into the bathroom and used the hairdryer to blow her silky black hair dry and straight.

Scarcely had she turned off the hairdryer when she heard a voice calling, “Diana! Di! We’re here!” Of course, it was Trixie and Honey. Diana ran to the landing to meet her friends, and the three girls grabbed each other in a group hug.

“You are a bit early,” Diana commented. “How did that ever happen?” Honey was known for her hatred of getting up early, and Diana had not expected the pair until nearer nine.

“You know Miss Impatient,” Honey said, pointing to Trixie. “She had me awake at six.” She smiled and winked at Trixie, who stuck out her tongue at her best friend.

“You know perfectly well, Honey Wheeler, that you couldn’t sleep a wink either,” Trixie reminded her. “It’s not every day that my almost-twin marries my oldest friend. I couldn’t miss a minute of today. Besides, Jim told me he couldn’t sleep with me tossing and turning all night.” Trixie had married Honey’s brother Jim the previous summer. Trixie blew a stubborn curl out of her face and dragged her friends into Diana’s bedroom.

“It’s just beautiful, Di!’ Trixie exclaimed at the sight of the wedding gown. “I’m glad it’s you and not me, though. My dress had me nervous enough, and it wasn’t even long. As for a veil – gleeps! I’d have tripped over it!” The other two laughed. Trixie’s hatred of dresses was as well-known as Honey’s love for sleeping in.

“So, Di, do you have ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue’?” asked Honey with a smile.

“Of course!” Diana giggled. “I’m not messing around with tradition.” She pulled a small flat box off the dresser. “See? Here are the pearl earrings my mother wore when she got married – that’s something old. My dress is new. I have a blue garter”—she showed them the pale blue elastic garter in its cellophane box—“and I was going to ask if I could borrow Mummy’s pearl necklace, but I’m afraid she’s going to wear it.” She frowned for a moment. “Actually, I was going to ask one of you for something I could borrow yesterday, but I forgot!”

“Di, darling, of course you can borrow something from me!” Honey jumped up from the bed where the trio sat. “I’ll run home right now, since we’re so early. What would you like? I’ve got a pearl necklace—Mother and Daddy gave it to me when I turned twenty-one. I think it would look lovely with your dress and your pearl earrings.”

“Honey, you’re a doll! I’d be honored to wear it.” Diana smiled in delight.

“If you need anything else, I know Moms has a pearl bracelet she’d let you use. She mentioned it the other day, but I forgot to tell you,” Trixie said, blushing.

Diana checked her watch. “It’s still thirty minutes before the hairdresser is supposed to arrive,” she said. “I hate for you two to turn right around and go home, but if you really want to get those pieces, now is the time. We’re probably going to spend a lot of time sitting around waiting today, but we won’t be free to come and go.”

“Never fear!” Trixie struck a dramatic pose. “We shall return. All for one, and one for all! Come on, Honey.” The two hurried down the steps again, giggling. They narrowly avoided colliding with Diana’s sisters, who were climbing the steps after eating their own breakfasts.

“Margie, Barbie, hurry up with your showers,” Diana urged the two. “You know the hairdresser’s going to be here in an hour, and you’re supposed to be ready for her. Be sure to wear a shirt that buttons in the front.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Margie answered for both girls. “We know that, Di-di. Mom has told us a dozen times already.”

“Okay – I know I’m just keyed up. Of course you do.” Diana hugged her sisters and pushed them back toward their own suite.

Returning to her room, she paced back and forth as she waited for her friends to return with the borrowed items. The event she’d dreamed of for so many years was happening today, and she couldn’t wait. She and her mother had planned everything, down to the wedding favors for guests. The flowers, photographer, music, reception food, cake—everything had been planned with the greatest care. By one o’clock, she would be Mrs. Martin Belden and by four o’clock, she and Mart would be leaving for their honeymoon. The thought brought an ecstatic smile to her face, and she spontaneously spun around, imagining her full skirt belling outward.

When the doorbell rang, she expected the return of Honey and Trixie, but instead it was the hairdresser. She heard her mother greet the woman in the foyer. “We’ll have you use the guest suite to fix the girls’ hair. There’s a large bathroom and plenty of space in the adjoining bedroom for them to dress afterward. I’ll take you upstairs.”

Just as Diana felt a prick of dismay that her friends weren’t back, they also arrived. Seconds later, Trixie burst into the room, thrusting the pearl bracelet out before her. Honey followed more sedately, with her pearl necklace in a velvet bag.

“The hairdresser just arrived,” Diana told them. “She’s going to do my sisters first, and then the three of us. Mother will go last. After our hair is fixed, we can get dressed, and by then it’ll be time to leave for the church.”

“Oh, woe!” Trixie made a face and clutched a handful of her curls. “Did you tell her my curls are impossible? We might be late if she has to work on my hair.”

“Trixie, don’t be silly!” Diana waved away Trixie’s words. “You know perfectly well that a professional hairdresser deals with curls every day. It’ll be fine. Now, I hope both of you are wearing tops that button up the front. We don’t want to be pulling anything over our heads after she’s finished with us.”

By the time everyone in the bridal party was finished with hair and makeup, and Margie and Barbie were dressed, Diana began to feel that she might be part of a fairy tale. Her twin sisters were sweet in their crimson satin empire-waisted dresses with puffy sleeves. Their mother had allowed them to use a light lip gloss and excitement had brought a blush to their cheeks. Their black hair fell in ringlets to their shoulders, and hair ornaments decorated with tiny ivory-colored rosebuds, dark red berries, and sprigs of rosemary set off their coloring to perfection. Honey’s smooth, tawny hair was pulled into a chignon, accented with the same flowers, and subtle makeup enhanced her hazel eyes and clear skin. Trixie’s look surprised everyone, Trixie most of all.

“Look at me!” she exclaimed. “Who would have thought I could actually look pretty?”

“Of course you look pretty, Trixie!” Honey told her. “But Adrienne took a little more time than you usually spend on your makeup and hair.”

It was true. Adrienne hadn’t tried to tame Trixie’s curls, but had styled them into a golden aureole all over her head. A band of ivory ribbon secured a tiny cluster of the same flowers worn by the other attendants that was visible just over Trixie’s left ear. Shimmering beige eye shadow and brown mascara accentuated her blue eyes, and sheer foundation softened the contrast between her skin and her freckles.

Mrs. Lynch, and she was under the dryer when Harrison knocked on the guest room door. Diana answered the door, surprised to see the butler looking a bit disheveled.

“What is it, Harrison?” she asked.

“I’m very sorry to interrupt the wedding preparations, Miss Diana,” he replied. “But there is a phone call for Mrs. Lynch.”

“Is it urgent?” Diana could feel her face puckering in puzzlement. “Mother’s under the dryer right now. Can I take it for her?”

“I’m afraid it requires her attention now.” He looked regretful, but didn’t offer any further details. “She can pick up on the upstairs hallway extension.”

“All right, I’ll let her know.” She turned away and went to summon her mother to the phone.

Mrs. Lynch looked equally as puzzled as her daughter had felt when Diana gave her the message, but she stood as soon as Adrienne lifted the hair dryer’s hood, and walked out to the hallway after making sure her robe covered her slip.

“Girls, let’s go back to my room to dress,” Diana suggested to Trixie and Honey. Just as the trio entered Diana’s room, Mrs. Lynch let out a little cry.

“Oh, no! Is everyone all right?”

Diana stopped in her tracks. What had happened? Honey and Trixie had stopped as well.

Diana hurried to her mother’s side. “What’s wrong? Who’s calling? Is it Uncle Monty? Grandma and Grandpa?”

Mrs. Lynch put a finger to her lips and listened to her caller. Diana tried to listen, too, but she couldn’t understand any of the words, although she could hear the agitation in the caller’s voice. Finally, Mrs. Lynch spoke again. “Thank you for letting me know. We’ll arrange something. Please don’t worry. Thank you again. Goodbye.” She hung up the receiver and sat there for a moment, a look of bewilderment on her pretty face.

“What is it, Mother? If no one’s hurt, what was the emergency?” Her mother’s face worried Diana.

“That was the caterer, darling. The bakery was transporting your cake to the reception hall when the van was involved in an accident. Luckily no one was injured, but the cake… well, it was badly damaged and couldn’t be salvaged. The caterer is almost hysterical. What are we going to do?”

“No cake?” Diana felt almost hysterical herself. What would a wedding reception be with no cake? And she had spent so much time choosing the cake’s “look.” Tears sprang to her eyes, and she felt a moment’s panic. Now her makeup would have to be redone from scratch. The sob that was on her lips tuned into a strangled laugh. She patted her mother’s back and then wrung her hands. “Oh, my gosh! What can we do? It’s not like we can get a whole wedding cake baked and decorated in the next few hours!”

“Don’t worry, darling,” Mrs. Lynch soothed her. “We’ll think of something. Go ahead and dress.” Her voice and hands betrayed her agitation, but she forced a smile. “Go ahead!”

Diana wavered uncertainly, but her mother gave her a little push. “Go on, it will be all right.”

Reluctantly, Diana walked back to her own room, where she found Trixie and Honey in the midst of dressing. Trixie was wrestling with her pantyhose, but she stopped and hobbled over to grab Diana’s hand.

“What happened?” Trixie demanded. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Honey’s face reflected concern, too. But she was too tactful to blurt out her questions.

“Oh, it’s awful! No one was hurt, so not really awful, I suppose.” She wrung her hands. “But it’s my wedding cake—the bakery transporter had an accident and the cake was destroyed. Mother is upset and neither of us knew what to do. The caterer was hysterical and she didn’t have any ideas.”

“I’ll call Mother,” Honey offered immediately. “She’ll know what to do.” She moved quickly to the princess phone on Diana’s nightstand.

Diana wrung her hands again. “No matter what, no one can bake and decorate a wedding cake in a few hours.”

Trixie patted her back. “If there’s anything Mrs. Wheeler doesn’t know about putting together a party, I don’t know what it could be. The cake might not be the same as the one you picked out, but I know she’ll arrange something fantastic.”

Diana blinked her tears away and blew her nose. “I know, and Mart and I will still be married even if we don’t have any cake.”

Honey hung up the phone and hurried back to Diana’s side. “Don’t worry, Di,” she said. “Mother has everything in hand. She’s going to call the bakery. She says most often, bakeries that do wedding cakes keep several frosted layers ready just in case of mishaps.”

“Do you really think so?” Diana blinked rapidly to prevent any more waterworks. “I’ve never needed to know these things.”

Trixie shrugged. “If anyone would know, I’m sure it would be Mrs. Wheeler. Me—I don’t know anything about bakeries.”

“If Mother says so, I’m sure she’s right. Don’t worry.” Honey nodded her head emphatically.

Diana tried to put the cake situation out of her mind. She did trust Honey and her mother on questions related to parties and hosting events. But she was the one getting married, and although it might sound selfish and shallow, she didn’t want a generic cake. She hoped it would be all right.

She walked over to the closet door, where her dress still hung on its padded hanger. She turned it around and started undoing the loops that secured the strip of small, covered buttons that fastened down the back from the neckline to below the waist. Something moved. Something that was on the dress. Diana jerked her hands away and stared at the spot where she’d seen movement. There was a tiny white spider on her dress.

She screamed.

Trixie and Honey ran over to see what had upset her. Diana pointed at the spot where she’d seen the spider. “Right there! It was a spider! On my dress!”

Trixie didn’t hesitate. She brushed the arachnid to the floor, where she promptly stepped on it. “Help me check to make sure there aren’t any more, Honey,” she said. The two examined the dress carefully from top to bottom, but didn’t find any more unwanted visitors. Diana sighed with relief.

“Do you think I need to have Adrienne refresh my makeup?” she asked.

Honey studied her face. “I think you look fine,” she said. “But after you’re dressed, you might have her take a look.”

Reassured, Diana took her dress from the hanger and stepped into it. In the dress, she felt like a fairy princess. She wouldn’t add her veil until she was at the church. Slipping into her white satin heels, she returned to the guest room. Adrienne had just finished with her mother’s makeup.

“Honey called her mother, and Mrs. Wheeler said not to worry about the cake. She has it all in hand,” Diana said told her with a reassuring hug.

“If Maddie Wheeler says it’s under control, then it is,” Margaret Lynch declared. “I’ll call her myself just to make sure. Thank you, darling.” She glanced at her watch. “My goodness, look at the time! We need to be at the church in forty-five minutes.” She turned to the hairdresser. “Adrienne, I can’t thank you enough. I’ll dress while you’re collecting your gear and then, let me walk you out. I’ll give you your check then.”

“It was my pleasure, Mrs. Lynch.” The hairdresser smiled. Mrs. Lynch left the room.

“Will you just quickly check to see if my makeup is all right?” Diana asked. “It’s been a hectic morning the last little bit.”

She stood still, next to the bright window, as Adrienne studied her face. After a light dusting of powder and a few expert swipes of mascara, she pronounced Diana wedding-ready. “Thank you so much!” Then she, too, left the room so Adrienne could gather her supplies.

The remaining time passed in a blur. Even the pre-ceremony wedding photography sessions in the Lynch living room and at church were like a dream. The ceremony itself took place during a Mass, but it was different from any regular Sunday since she and Mart knelt before the altar at a prie-dieux. Only when they exchanged vows and rings did everything seem to come into sharp focus.

As she and Mart turned to face the congregation and the organ music of the recessional swelled in the joyous Wedding March, Diana started to worry again about the cake. What if Mrs. Wheeler was only able to line up a sheet cake? Or cupcakes? What would everyone think? She gripped Mart’s hand tightly and turned her head to look up at him.

“Don’t worry, we’ll still be married if our cake is only cupcakes topped with mini-disco balls and hippie flowers,” he said with a wink. She laughed despite herself. Mart certainly knew her! People said she could almost read minds, but he could always read hers. With a brilliant smile, she started down the aisle with her husband, elated to be beside him in the first steps of their new life together.

She thought about cakes topped with miniature disco balls and hippie flowers during the photography session after the ceremony, and each time her lips would curve in a smile. Occasionally Mart would whisper another idea about the cake decorations they might find at the reception. Perhaps a topper depicting John Travolta in his Saturday Night Fever white suit, dipping Donna Pescow.

“That would be especially off-base since we’re opposite in coloring to Travolta and Pescow.” She giggled. Mart’s old buddy Ty Scott had started a wedding photography business and he snapped a picture as Diana offered her new husband a radiant smile. Then she had another idea. As the photographer arranged the bride and groom in front of the altar, she whispered to Mart, “A cake with Day-Glo tie-dye design frosting with peace signs around the sides! And two smiley faces kissing on top.”

Mart tried to smother a laugh, but it erupted as a snort.

“Mart! Stop laughing!” Trixie glared daggers at her almost-twin. “I get that you’re deliriously happy to be married to Diana, but some of us are hungry. Try to keep the hilarity down to a low chuckle.”

“Trixie! Shush!” Honey cautioned. She drew her friend off to one side, where Jim and Brian were talking as they waited for the pictures to be finished. Luckily, the guys’ pictures had been taken before the ceremony. “Everything is fine,” Diana could hear her saying. “And remember, the church is only allowing us thirty minutes for pictures.”

“Everybody, look this way,” said Ty, trying to regain control of the situation.

Mart dipped his head after the shot and whispered, “Pong! No, Space Invaders!”

Picturing a cake themed after one of the video games Mart wanted, Diana couldn’t suppress a snort. “Star Wars, then,” he suggested. His breath disturbed a wisp of hair in front of her ear, and it tickled.

“At least Princess Leia and Han Solo could be us.” She winked at him.

“Mart, can you and the guys move to another spot?” Ty asked. “I’m going to get a shot of Diana and her sisters, and then all of the girls.”

Diana could tell her new husband was trying to come up with another crazy cake theme, but he moved obediently to the other side of the sanctuary. So far, she didn’t think anyone had heard their conversation, and she wanted to keep it that way.

With her two little sisters on either side, she turned her attention to Ty and his camera, as carefree as if she already knew the cake was fine and the reception would be perfect. Margie and Barbie had become comfortable in their cranberry colored satin dresses and floral hair ornaments. The twelve-year-olds had originally complained about the dresses looking babyish. But Trixie’s and Honey’s dresses were almost identical to theirs, which had mollified them somewhat.

“We look just like fairy princesses,” Barbie murmured to her. “But you look like a fairy queen, Di-Di!”

“Maybe a Barbie bride with black hair,” suggested Margie.

Diana leaned down—not very far these days—to give them both quick hugs. She loved them so much! Ty snapped a picture just as the two younger girls looked at her adoringly. Then he signaled to Trixie and Honey to join the group and took a few more shots.

“Now, let’s get a few pictures with the whole Lynch family.” Diana’s parents and brothers were seated in the first pew and started moving toward the altar.

Mart moved closer to Diana again and murmured, “Barbie and her bridesmaids!”

“My mom used to make those cakes with the doll inside and the decorated cake for her skirt when I was little,” she told him. “I loved it when she made me one for my birthday. But it would have to be an eighteen-inch Barbie to fit a wedding cake.”

Mart’s face was convulsed with a silent chortle. “And that would be a little scary!” he managed to gasp.

“What are you two whispering about?” asked Trixie, materializing next to Diana’s elbow. “And do you know how much longer we have to take pictures?”

“I think he’s going to take pictures of my family with us, then the Belden family with us, and then both families together. That should be it.” Diana picked up her bouquet, which she had set down on the prie-dieux for a minute.

Diana was right about the sequence of pictures, and sure enough, it wasn’t much longer before Ty was putting away his cameras, flash attachment, and tripod. Bobby Belden, as well as Larry and Terry Lynch, had served as ushers for the wedding, and their tuxedos were still looking sharp by the time the pictures were finished. As soon as Ty confirmed the boys were done they all unfastened their bow ties and slipped them into the pockets of their coats.

The bridal party split up into several cars for the short trip to the reception at the Country Club. Mrs. Lynch had wanted to host the reception at home, since there was plenty of space, but Mrs. Wheeler had discouraged the idea. “You’ll have so much to do beforehand, with all of the family in the wedding party. You don’t need to have caterers and servers bustling around too. And it’s too cold and snowy for people to spread out on the outdoor terrace and grounds.”

Mrs. Lynch had agreed to the good sense of her statements, and she’d been able to secure the Country Club for the event. As she pointed out to Diana, the club had plenty of restrooms for a crowd, which might have taxed their own facilities.

When Mart and Diana arrived at the Country Club, the rest of the wedding party were assembled and waiting for them.

Mr. Lynch had engaged a four-piece band—over the protests of Diana and Mart—and the band struck up God Only Knows by the Beach Boys. Diana was surprised that her dad’s band of “fuddy-duddy” middle-aged men played such a modern song, and she spontaneously applauded. The Lynch parents, as hosts, entered first and started greeting their guests. Next, the younger Lynch children followed their parents and made a beeline for the food table, to see what kinds of soft drinks were available. The Belden parents and Bobby walked in next, followed by Brian and Honey, who joined her parents, and then Trixie and Jim, who also slipped over to the Wheeler table.

As the band switched to Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love, Diana took Mart’s hand and the two of them walked into the lavishly decorated space. The guests rose to their feet, with the odd scrape of a chair or swish of a taffeta skirt. She felt so happy that her smile couldn’t stretch widely enough. The cake—whatever it might look like—was the farthest thing from her mind.

When she and Mart had taken their seats at the head table, she put down her flowers at last, and slipped out of her heels “just for a few minutes!” But as the club’s servers began to circulate with offers of non-alcoholic beverages, she touched Mart’s shoulder. “We should circulate little and speak to people.” He nodded, although he was casting longing glances at the table where a large festive bowl of punch was surrounded by dishes of mixed nuts and butter mints. She slid her feet back into the silk-covered pumps and stood up, smoothing her skirt and checking to make sure her veil wasn’t rumpled in back.

As they moved from one table to another, she found herself searching for the cake serving stand. It must be back almost next to the wall, she decided. After all of their speculations at church, she was anxious to see it, and tried to guide Mart in the direction she thought it might be. Finally, she glimpsed an arched garland against the wall, wrapped with tulle and twined with crimson, ivory and pink roses, baby’s breath, and glossy green leaves. Strands of tiny white fairy lights were wound in and out among the red, green, and white floral elements. “Look, Mart! There’s the cake. Let’s go look at it.”

When they at last reached the cake, they saw a round, three-tiered cake with pillars between each tier. Each of the successively smaller tiers was five inches high, and the sides were covered with delicate white icing latticework. A ring of white frosting beads accented the top edge and base of each layer. Tiny clusters of deep red and ivory sweetheart roses decorated the center top of each tier. But it was the topper that took Diana’s breath away. Obviously antique, it depicted a bride and groom in wedding finery of the early 1900s in delicate white porcelain.

The exquisite figurines seemed to shimmer, and a delicate cloud of gossamer veiling gave the decoration an ethereal appearance.

“Oh, Mart!” Stricken speechless, and heedless of her carefully applied lipstick, she clapped her hands to her mouth.

Feeling a light hand on her shoulder, she spun around to see Madeleine Wheeler smiling at her. “It turned out pretty well after all, didn’t it?” Honey’s mother asked.

“Oh! It’s absolutely gorgeous,” Diana exclaimed. “You’re a miracle-worker! How in the world did you do it?”

“Well, the topper is an heirloom from my family. It was used to decorate our wedding cake, too.” Mrs. Wheeler reached out a slim finger to touch the shimmering veil. “I did have to ask Honey to get into her sewing scraps for this. Don’t you recognize it?”

“It’s—it’s just like my veil!” She took a closer look at the scrap. “Well, you and Honey were magicians to fix this up so quickly.”

“Actually, Ella Kline did that. Honey was so busy with her bridesmaid duties I didn’t try to get her to do anything.”

“You must have been running all over town.” Diana blushed, embarrassed at causing so much extra work for someone. “I can’t tell you how sorry I am—and how grateful!”

“Please! I was happy to do such a small thing for one of my daughter’s closest friends.” Mrs. Wheeler smiled again. “And really, it didn’t take that long. The bakery has a great process for emergency cake accidents. I had to stop by to take a look at the cakes and let them know what was needed, but I left the topper with Ella while I did that, and then picked it up and delivered it here to wait for the cake delivery.”

“Oh, Mrs. Wheeler, you are a fairy godmother! I can never thank you enough for lining up another wedding cake for me. When the bakery called, I felt like crying! My wedding would be ruined. Even right after Honey called you, the most awful thing happened! I found a spider on my wedding dress! Ugh, I hate spiders. And I was afraid if I tried to kill it, it would leave a spot on the dress. Thankfully Trixie brushed it off onto the floor.”

Madeleine Wheeler laughed with a musical ripple, although she shuddered, too. “I would have reacted just as you did,” she said. “But did you know that there’s an old superstition that it’s good luck to find a spider in your wedding dress?”

“If that’s true, then maybe it helped you fix the cake situation!” Diana laughed too. “Although I wonder if you have to let the spider live to receive the good luck!”

Mrs. Wheeler smiled fondly at her daughter’s friend. “Diana, the love you and Mart share is worth far more than any luck a spider could bring.”

Diana beamed, knowing that she was already the luckiest woman in the world.

back   next


Author’s Notes

6510 words

Sixteen years since my initiation as a Jix Author?!?!? How can that be?!?!?

Thank you today, dear readers, for continuing to read my fanfiction offerings.

Thank you to my wonderful editors, Ronda, Ryl, and Trish, for faithfully helping me to “get it right.” My stories are always better for your input.

Thank you to all of my WWW girls for just being such good friends. Thank you to my dear mentor in all things html- and graphics-related, the awesome Vivian!

Thank you to the awesome current Admin team, who continue to make Jix our home on the ’net. You all are the greatest.

Everyone who has been a regular reader of my stories knows that Mart and Diana end up marrying in my universe, thanks to the fact that I don’t really post in chronological order. So this story shouldn’t be a spoiler for anyone (I hope!). When I first started writing it, some beta readers suggested it needed some conflict/ something to create drama. I remembered my own wedding cake, made by my dear late mother-in-law and sister-in-law, and transported the few blocks to the reception venue by my brother-in-law and his best friend via friend's van. There was a slight mishap, although not nearly as dramatic as what happened to Diana and Mart’s cake. I only learned during the research for this story that wedding cake bakers do have a backup plan, and in fact the cake is usually not assembled until it’s at the venue.

The music for this page is “The Wedding Song,” by Noel Paul Stookey. He purposely didn’t copyright it, so that it could be freely used by anyone who wanted to use it for their own wedding.

Some fun research sites (hyperlinks removed but you may copy and paste into browser's search bar):

re: finding a spider in your wedding dress is good luck:

re: transporting wedding cakes:

Disclaimer: Characters from the Trixie Belden series are the property of Random House. They are used without permission, although with a great deal of affection and respect. All other material on these pages copyright 2006-2030 by MaryN/Dianafan. Background image purchased from Etsy; banner image from; all manipulated by Mary N in Photoshop. Graphics copyright by Mary N 2022.

Valid CSS!