Eddie was sitting at the table in Frank's backyard, putting the finishing touches on the wedding planning. It wasn't going to be a very big wedding and the reception was going to be at the Reagan house afterwards; they'd decided on inviting only close family and friends, which had been fine with Jamie. She'd sighed, though, looking at her side of the invite list. Friend wise, she didn't have that many. She had Haley, but she'd begun thinking if she should put Kara Walsh and Brenda Patimkin on Jamie's side of the aisle - despite having become really close to both women and their families, she never would have tried to befriend them in the first place had it not been for her soon-to-be husband's influence. Jamie, however, insisted that if the three of them could have a three hour conversation discussing the merits and disadvantages of wedge-heeled shoes, that they could be on her side.
The family list is what had really disheartened her; her father had died not long after she'd told him of her engagement - he'd had an aneurysm and the news came as a shocking blow, especially with how much he was looking forward to walking her down the aisle. She'd been alone with Jamie at the funeral; Armin had had no other family. There was some distant cousins, but they were all back in Serbia and they'd never been close.
Her mother's side was the last piece of family she had left. Her mother had died when she was nine in a car accident and after her father had gotten arrested, she'd been shipped off out of New York to go live in Philadelphia with her grandparents. She'd loved it there, though, her grandfather most of all. When she was little, she could spend hours in his lap listening to old stories or giggling like mad as he pushed her on the tire swing in the front yard, and as she grew up that never changed and they remained close. Sixteen brought about the change from drinking invisible tea from tiny teacups with her handsome prince to drinking actual tea from a mug as she decompressed to him after a tough day at school. Him helping her train for field day at school or helping her become better at basketball and soccer switched to him giving her endless encouragement and advice through the police academy. Moving back to the Big Apple had been one of the hardest things she'd had to do, but with phone calls and old-fashioned letters she'd managed to teach him how to use the computer to Skype with her. He was also the first to tell her what a fool she was being for letting things go on for so long with Jamie without doing something about it.
She wiped away a tear. Both of her Great-aunts, Meg and Patty, had already RSVPed with their families, her Great-uncle Will was bringing his lot all the way from California, and while her Grandma Beth had said she would be there with her son, Trip, and his wife and kids, she'd also said that her Grandpa JJ might not be able to come. As he'd gotten older, his leg had become worse and he was on the cane full time now, and he was still week from where he'd fallen in the driveway not long ago in trying to get out of the car. She'd immediately offered to change the date of the wedding, but that was when he'd come on the phone and told her she'd do no such thing. She scoffed at his words: 'Life is short and you not waiting on an old man to get married'. The thought of him not being there, though -
''Hey, Eddie? You out here?''
She wiped her eyes frantically before turning in her chair out on the patio in the Reagan's backyard. ''Yeah.''
Jamie pushed open the screen door, smiling widely. ''Look what the cat dragged in,'' he said, stepping to the side, revealing an older man, moss-green eyes striking against the gray in his hair.
''There's my little lamb chop,'' he laughed.
''Grandpa!'' Eddie jumped up and ran to her grandfather, excitedly but carefully wrapping her arms around him. ''How - I thought -''
''Did you really think I wouldn't be here? I wouldn't miss this for the world. Besides, someone's got to walk you down the aisle, and I've been going to therapy every day for it.'' He leaned close to her to whisper, ''and Trip's been taking me out on 'errands' so I could double up on it.'' He ran a thumb gently across her cheeks. ''I've got a while more on this Earth yet, don't you worry.''
She hugged him to her again, squeezing tightly as he chuckled. ''Jamie,'' she said suddenly. ''Have you met Jamie and -''
JJ gave a great a great laugh. ''Just how do you think I got here?''
Jamie stepped up, hands in his pocket as he watched the two. ''Under the guise of going to the stage party, I flew to Philly and back - then we went to the stag party where he kicked my butt in darts.''
''I've still got it. I may not after the wedding, though - Trip and Jamie here were the only ones who knew of my plans to come to the wedding. Beth still thinks I'm 'at home resting' so I can visit with you more when you come back from your honeymoon.''
''I'm sure she'll just be happy you're feeling better,'' Eddie said.
''I don't know,'' he said, and turned to Jamie, ''wives are tricky that way.''
Eddie bumped her grandfather's shoulder as her fiance laughed. ''Come on. Let's go find a chair and introduce you to everyone.''
Jamie fell behind as he watched Eddie lead JJ back into the house, smiling at the both of them huddled together and catching up. He was glad that Eddie could have this; it'd been a rough year for the both of them. With a shake of his head he followed them inside, eager to hear anything he could about little Eddie.