are two stories that come prior to this one. They can be found at
http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/CHPCentral/ You will need to join
the group to view the previous stories. :o)
Wedding Diary: Dreams DO Come True
Jess and Erica sat in the computer room with John and Jon looking over wedding plans and invitations.
"Here is our gift to you both." Jess and Jon laughed as she brought up the invitation. On the front was a rescue truck and the emblem of the CHP
He rescued my heart the day we met
She stole my heart on the night we embraced
We now request the honor of your companionship as we
John Roderick Gage and Erica Diane Hitt
Unite our hearts and homes as one
On Saturday, July 21 1 pm
"You guys...this is perfect." Johnny and Erica both laughed at the wording - how it sounded like them.
"How about dresses?" Jon was wondering if the girls had got themselves ready.
"Tomorrow morning all of us are going dress shopping." Erica then took a drink of her tea.
John didn't tell Erica about one surprise and Jess wasn't telling what her and Jon planned for them either. For John - he asked Dix to sing Erica's favorite song; for Jess - Charlie and Colin were coming to sing the song they sang that night at the beach party.
The night was spent talking, laughing, and planning for the wedding of a lifetime for them.
"Erica, when is your eye surgery?"
"On the 21st of June. Have to be at Rampart 6 am. Surgery is scheduled for 7:45." Her voice told how nervous she was as Johnny held her hand.
"Don't be scared, Dr. Ellison is the best in his field." Jon remembered him from some articles he had read.
"So don't get scared, although I know it's easier said than done." Jess walked over to her best friend.
Jon thought he would try to see if he could find out about the dress Erica was getting...time to play ‘help Johnny find out about the dress.’
"So, you got the minister, honeymoon decided, flowers to be decided, now how about the getaway from the ranch? Can it be fast, say on horseback, or will it be slow as if, say by a long flowing gown." Jess turned around and took a throw pillow and hit him with it.
"Now to get ready to get the wedding rehearsal and dinner together. And, what will ya do if it rains?" Johnny had that planned behind her back. " I got St. Matthews Church." She was in shock.
"Ya mean, the church we went to for the baptism...Johnny...that's perfect."
6 Months and counting ’til the Wedding:
The girls went to the dress shop and looked at gowns for all of them.
"How may I help you today?" The seamstress, and shops owner, about 65 years old with a tape measure around her neck walked up to them.
"We need to find gowns for all of us and Jenny especially." Erica was thinking about something; Kathy and Sindy were laughing about something said earlier by Jess-some comment about her and John 'stealing' hearts.
"Ok, lets see; colors?" Jo knew what they picked out earlier.
"Earth tones." Bonnie and Sindy looked at gowns on the rack while Jess and Erica were seated at a table filled with wedding gown books.
"Is this a military or civilian wedding?" She was trying to see what dresses would be proper.
"Kinda both; he’s a Paramedic with LA County and I work for the CHP." She smiled as Erica said that.
"Indoor or outdoor?" She began writing in her book.
"It's an outdoor wedding; but we have planned for rain and selected St. Matthews."
"Beautiful church, but just in case, you'll need dresses that will be proper for both venues." She walked back to the seamstress room and brought out more books, which they all looked through .
Everyone looked and picked gowns they liked. "How about this one?" Jo had one in mind, so did everyone else.
The sales person assured them that all the dresses were already on the shelf in their sizes. Now for Erica and Jess.
"Go look at the gowns and let me know if I can be of any help."
The girls did just that. She returned to the room to finish a gown.
One by one they tried dresses, each one was more beautiful than the last.
Jess chose a lavender ballerina length, off the shoulder. Sindy chose a blue sleeved with an empire waist that had the illusion of being off the shoulder. Betty and Jo both chose blue as well, with flowing skirts and also ballerina length. Kathy chose a hunter green off the shoulder ballerina length, with a matching wrap and gloves that could be worn at night during the reception. Erica sat there and looked at the many ideas and saw the one thing everyone agreed on - the length.
"How about this, all are jewel tones, so let me call Johnny and see if he's ok with jewel tones - bright, vivid, alive." She already knew what the answer would be ‘YES,‘ but she called anyway.
"LA County Station 51, Capt. Stanley...sure...hold on...John, it's Erica..." He handed the phone over.
"How's it going angel girl?....sounds great...sure...that's us. See ya tonight." John hung up.
"Wedding problems?" Chet was seeing a chance to pounce on his pigeon.
"No, she's gown shopping. The girls look better in bright colors and she wanted to be sure it was OK?"
"John, seems like you are a good couple." Hank had a cup of coffee in his hand.
"I can't believe she is so happy; all the girls are keeping her busy." Johnny had told Hank about what he was planning and all of them were enjoying the days ahead.
"Your turn Erica." Jess and Bonnie were readying for her to decide. They all began to help her find gowns to try on; Johnny had asked them to tell him about the dress: their response - ‘NO WAY GAGE.’
"Everyone, I figured out something; everyone agrees on ballerina/ankle length, right?" They all nodded; so we go with jewel tones, and silhouettes everyone likes for themselves, but make sure you can wear them in church, just in case of rain." All of them agreed and shooed her away to find her own gown.
"Betty, that was easy; we got the dresses Johnny saw in our books. But now to get her fixed up." Bonnie and Kathy were getting a 'conspiratorial' look in their eyes and went to the gown in the window; saving that one for last-picturing her wearing this one.
When she came out in the first gown, everyone knew that was not the one.
She told the clerk that it wasn't her.
Each helped her find a dress. Next was Bonnie. Everyone decided that gown was too overpowering. Sindy’s choice was more for an evening wedding, so they all put their heads together to pick the perfect gown for her: the one from the window. She asked for no train,and this one had no train. They gave Jess the final gown so Erica could try it on.
Before she stepped in front of the mirror, Jess and Bonnie blindfolded her, Sindy picked a veil, Betty the shoes and Jo selected a bouquet from the counter which the clerk kept so that brides could see what they could look like on their wedding day. Jenny was in a matching dress, but with puff sleeves and gloves; holding a tiny bouquet in her hand.
"Tell me what's going on?" Erica was getting excited. Johnny always told her she was special and that she would be a beauty in his eyes.
"Glad it fit over her glasses." Everyone was whispering and soon as she was in front of the mirror, they removed the blindfold,after helping her get on the pedestal at the shop.
"Well?" Kathy asked.
"What do ya think?" Betty was hoping.
"Come on, are ya ok Erica?" Jo was getting worried.
"How do you like it?" Bonnie and Sindy looked at her. Erica opened her eyes and saw what she had always hoped to look like - a princess.
"Tears. Good or bad?" Jess was getting more worried than the others .
"Perfect...it's what I've always dreamt of." Everyone then knew that she had found her dress.
"Hey, that was easy...we found the dress." The clerk came over to see if it would need altering but happily it was a perfect fit. The clerk took her name and information needed after she returned from changing out of her dress.
Everyone but Bonnie and Jo were sitting down again looking at the books, trying to figure the bridesmaids dilemma.
"Hey Erica, here's a dress that everyone likes; and we want your opinion." Sindy asked Bonnie and Jo to put them on so Erica could see it.
Both of them came from the dressing room wearing gowns that were just what she would have chosen - not knowing that Johnny had helped them look at dresses earlier.
Everyone filled out the papers for the dress shop and left happily for lunch.
At lunch they were all talking about her getting ready for the wedding.
"Now that we have the dresses, next is makeup and hair."
"Bonnie?" Erica was getting tired but excited about everything.
"It's my present to you." She was grateful they were thinking about everything.
"Thank you." Bonnie smiled.
As they ate, Jo reminded all of them about fire-fighter bachelor parties.
"Beth told me that when she and Mike got married, his friends tried to have a party for him." She could barely stop laughing. "They...they...dressed him as a girl when he was asleep. And when Roy and I got married, his best man took him out and tried to get him drunk, it didn't work, he just drank one and went home so he could be ready for me."
"I know what CHP are like; Joe and I are married almost as long, if not longer than Roy and Joanne, so I can say that they are mischievous and fun loving. Least there isn't a Chet Kelly in the bunch at Central." They all started laughing.
"I like the colors - blue, tan, white and gold. "Sindy understood the colors John and Erica chose; they all shook their heads laughing and began eating again.
"How about music?" Betty was trying to see if she had thought of everything.
"Johnny said that he was handling that. He has a list of the songs we like
and he's trying to get my brother here." Erica didn't look up, concentrating
on her ring instead.
Kathy looked at her with surprise. "You have a brother?" Bonnie and Betty didn't know that.
"Sure do, Kathy. He's in West Virginia." She was sounding sad as she continued. "He wants to, but he said he can't come for our wedding, so I'm asking Hank and Joe to walk with me." She was sad about her brother not coming, but happy about Hank and Joe, so they decided to cheer her up.
Betty opened her book, and all went over what needed to be done, and what they were going to do today-a 'girls day out'.
"Ok, we got the dresses, music is being handled by Johnny, location is
done, now we need to see what we can do and what the guys have done."
Then Jo began laughing-" or...NOT done." Everyone said in unison raising their glasses.
At 51's all the guys were making plans on the girls.
"Last night, Jo told me that they were gown shopping today." Roy was laughing as they were talking about what was done and being done for the wedding.
"I talked Dix into singing before the wedding." Johnny drank his coffee. Jon added that he and Jess had a bigger surprise during the wedding...Charlie and Colin are going to sing the song they wrote for them during the ceremony." Jon and Johnny swore them to secrecy.
"And Ponch, I spoke to Jason last night and he said last time he talked to Erica, she was down that he may not get to come and give her away." John then dropped the bomb on everyone. "He called last night and told me that they had all been given that week off to come."
"We need to get a block of hotel rooms for everyone; I need a favor from the CHP..." Johnny, Jon, Ponch, Bear, and Joe talked about what they could do to get it organized for her.
51 Days ‘til the Wedding
When they were off duty, all the guys were at the ranch measuring and making the yard look nice for the wedding and reception, and the girls were making sure they had food and drinks.
Jess was on the ladder trying to reach something that was a bit out of her reach. It wasn't long until the ladder teetered and started falling.
All they heard was 'Ya better put me down Jon Baker, or I'll get a water balloon on you." Jess was laughing and enjoying every second Jon was holding her.
"Remember? "John and Erica looked at each other, laughing at the site before them. "Sure do. And you look as cute now as ya did then." Johnny laughed and spun Erica around to the sound of everyone catcalling.
"OK, Gage, Baker, put them down, gently-we need ya over here." Hank was laughing as much as the others. The girls were enjoying themselves too much as well.
They put the decorations in the storage ready for the wedding and all went inside to 'map out' how the grounds would look. The girls watched them working together and even they helped get things cleared away so they could all look over the papers and see what remained to be done.
Thirty Days Before the Wedding
"Are you ready to be able to see again?" Dr. Ellison sat with both of them in the waiting area.
She held Johnny's hand and wished it was already over. "Let's walk back and get you ready for this." She was showing nerves more now than last night. Before surgery she had talked with John and Dr. Ryan , revealing some of her fears. The greatest was losing John if the surgery didn't work.
"That won't happen - I love you." Dix was working overtime and saw him holding her hand until she fell asleep, and for John, was there for moral support until she was taken to up to the OR.
As he waited, some of the guys joined him.
As time passed, they all talked about what was needed for the wedding; in the attempt to try and distract him. He looked up and she was standing there with coffee for everyone.
"Jess - I thought you..." She embraced him. "Couldn't stay away. Jon and Ponch are on patrol and want to know what happens; in fact all of Central is waiting." Jess sat with him after the others left to get something to eat.
Half an hour later, Dr. Ellison came out to get him. "John, she came
through perfectly. We're going to bring her out of recovery in 30 minutes, so
you can be there when we adjust the stitches. Oh, sorry I didn't see you,
"Jess Riley..." John stood next to Jess and then decided to say those words.
"She's Erica's sister; can she come in with me?" Dr. Ellison agreed.
As they walked together, she had to ask. "Why did you say that?" Jess was surprised at him.
"Easy, you were there for us, and you were very instrumental in our engagement." Moments later, they were with Erica as they took her from recovery. Both saw her awake, but barely.
"Jess can you hold this chart for me - stand here. John, hold her hand, cause if Erica can see there are going to be tears. Let's not think of the if not...." He knew in his heart that the 'if not' wasn't going to happen.
"Erica; it’s going to hurt, but try to keep awake so we can see those brown eyes. Ready?" She nodded her head slowly.
"How many do you see?" All hoped...prayed and didn't know what was happening.
"2" She was starting to cry. He then adjusted the stitches. Minutes later, he finished the adjustment.
"Tell me how many now." Dr. Ellison stood there next to her bed.
She tried not to cry, but they knew it-
"I see 1! Jess, you...look great." Johnny kissed her then let go of her hand and stood next to Jess. She was so happy to see, that she couldn't stop crying.
"Ok, that's great." He wiped her eye with a gauze pad . "Can you read the chart? Try the third line?"
"Can I try the fourth?" She was going for it. "L O V E Y O U J O H N." He couldn't help but cry as she smiled. Dr. Ellison was glad to do that for him - to ease her fears. Even Jess cried when she saw how much they loved each other.
"Well, I can say you now have 40 20 vision; before it was 150 20, legally blind. Let's get rid of that lens patch and glasses." He was happy for her, and when they looked over, Erica was again asleep with a smile gracing her face.
They left her so they could talk. "The only rule is she needs to wear sunglasses when outdoors and since you have that wedding planned for the outside, then, I want you to have a tent or something." Johnny nodded his head in agreement. "If that's all, then, we want you at the wedding." Johnny acted as if he was on clouds.
"Let me call Jon and Ponch so they can know it was successful." Jess was smiling and thankful to see there dream was coming true.
She dialed the phone from the nurses station and the call she made was the greatest joy she had.
"Jon Baker or Frank Poncherello please...I'll hold."
"Jon Baker, how may I help you?" He was hoping, but wasn't sure.
"It's me. They just got Erica out of surgery - she has her sight! Jon, tell everyone that Erica can see almost perfectly...only monitoring and follow-ups remain."
"On clouds; it’s been months since he got to see her really smile. Looks like all the nightmares are over." He could hear Jess’ tears of joy.
"Just get yourself here safely so we can all go to lunch and celebrate."
"I think Johnny and Erica are going home to let her rest; when I left she
was asleep again."
"You saw her?" She heard the question in his voice.
"Johnny told them I was her sister. And they let me see her."
"Then, soon as you can, get here to Central-and let us know what happened." They ended the call and he let out a yell that caused everyone to come running into Joe's office.
"What the - " They all saw him smiling. "Erica got her sight back - she can see!" Everyone began patting each other on the back and smiling brightly. They knew she was being hard on a lot of things due to her sight, but when everyone was told about her eyes, they had understood - she was sick and hiding it. The toll was becoming too high a price for her to pay as she buried herself in her cases. The Maddox case being the toughest on her because she let her friends know about her weakness and finally opened up to them.
When they got home, Johnny took Erica into his arms and carried her. Everyone from 51 A shift was there and had food waiting for them; enough for an entire week premade for them both, and food ready for everyone there;also close to a weeks worth. Roy and Jo had the bedroom made with fresh bedding and the kittens were sleeping on the window seat, as if they were waiting. Jo couldn't help but laugh. Hank and the others were outside working on the deck, finishing it for the wedding. John explained she would have to take it easy for at least two weeks but would be healed for the wedding. The redness would be gone and she would look as if nothing had been done to her.
"Glad it went as you hoped. Is she still...?"
"Soundly. Looks like a little kid sleeping. Hank, she looks so small, but I'm glad it's ended. She was so scared to lose me that I did something special with Dr. Ellison's help."
"How did you cheer her up?" Chet was really worried for his friends.
"They made an eye chart, and on the fourth line, the 40 20 line, they had it spell LOVE YOU JOHN." They started laughing, but Chet understood, for Erica he'd give everything and she for him. That was when Chet decided that The Phantom was NOT appearing at the wedding, and would leave their love OFF Limits permanently.
Roy walked back to check on her for him. He sat on the bed next to her and took her hand as she slept.
Roy walked back into the bedroom and sat at the edge of the bed, like John, he was relieved to see she was asleep. "You got a keeper with Johnny; you already know that. Just love him with all your heart." He checked her over and was glad to see her sleeping so he returned to the deck. He saw Jo with a bucket.
"Honey, what are those?" He was hoping it wasn't what it looked like.
"Jess told me about the night that Johnny proposed. Sindy and Kathy put out water balloons - so I was hoping everyone could..." she looked at him with a mischievous glint. He finally caught onto her plans. "We could water bomb Chet; to get him for all the pranks on Johnny."
Roy got an idea to accomplish that. "Hey Chet, can you go to the stables and feed the horses for Johnny - he's changing his shirt so he can help us while she's sleeping."
"Sure." As Chet walked away Roy called everyone else over. He filled them in on the plan.
"Man, this is going to be fun. Chet getting it with one of his jokes." When he told Johnny, who just returned to the group, he became excited about being the 'giver' and not the 'receiver' of a prank.
Marco and Hank looked around to see if Chet was still in the stables - and he was.
"Count us in; about time Chet 'gets his' for the times he caught me when he was trying to pull a prank on Gage. The twit deserves it, and we need some laughs around here and for her."
Soon as Chet returned from the stables, everyone was waiting for him.
"Hey Johnny, ya didn't tell me the horses were needing BOTH food and water."
"Ya need to work up an appetite Chet me lad." John and Roy began laughing, holding the balloons behind their backs.
"What's that behind your backs?" He was trying to figure out what was happening, craning his neck, trying to see what was being hid.
"We got the deck to stain and set up the trellis." John was ready to see Chet get wet. Marco and Mike walked over; balloons in their hands.
Bruce walked over as he heard them talking. "Jo said the girls are decorating it with flowers and tulle so they are handling that the day before the wedding. "
"We also need to be sure that the sunlight doesn't hurt her eyes." Johnny remembered what he was just told by Dr. Ellison.
"We got an idea for that; but give us a few days to get it to work." Hank was thinking ahead and Marco saw Chet was getting nervous.
"What's..." Suddenly, SPLAT!!!!! Chet was drenched by all of those from A Shift, Bruce Nelson and the girls there helping them.
The Day Before
The guys went out to finish things at the ranch; Chris decided he wanted to help so he was already with Roy and the others. Erica was with Jo and Jenny. As they put on the movie-MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN, the phone rang. Seconds later, she grabbed her purse and made the excuse they rehearsed.
"I’ve got something to do - seems that the boys forgot the tack hammers they needed for the trellis." Jo told her that it wouldn't be long.
"Tell Johnny I miss him, and I'll see him in the morning." She was in the kitchen getting a snack for her and Jenny.
Jo laughed. "Ya, you'll be the one with the veil on. Jenny, don't stay up too late." Jenny got a kiss before Jo left.
Erica made them some popcorn and when it was finished, she brought it out to where they would watch the movie. Both watched and laughed about the way things were happening. Piggy and Kermit were trying to take 'The Big White Way' by storm, only to have things happen that would make anyone, but a MUPPET, give up.
"Can I call you 'Aunt Erica' now?" Jenny just looked at her and smiled the smile that made her "Johnny' melt and 'Uncle Johnny' do anything she wanted.
"I would like that greatly." She nuzzled into Erica's arms, and they watched the movie together. Soon the ending of the movie came and Johnny walked in the living room, readying for two of the three surprizes to be revealed.
Johnny and Jason stood there as the wedding scene played out:
Kermit and Miss Piggy walk in together and all the Muppets are in the pews.
Miss Piggy sings: You make me happy, each time I see you. You'll be the reason, my heart can sing. You'll stand beside me and I'll have everything.
Kermit sings: She'll make me happy, each time I hold her. And I will follow where my heart may lead.
Babies in the pews sing: Days go passing into years.
Old people in pews sing: Years go passing day by day.
Everyone in attendance sings: She'll make him happy now and forever. Until forever there love will grow.
She only knows he'll make her happy. That's all she needs to know.
Miss Piggy sings: I only know you'll make me happy. That's all I need to know.
Music stops and Kermit and Miss piggy are in front of a human minister.
Kermit: "I thought Gonzo was gonna play the minister."
Miss Piggy looks at him and giggles.
Minister sings: Do you, Piggy, take this frog to be your lawful wedded husband? Do you?
Miss Piggy sings: I doooo .
Minister sings: Do you, Froggy, take this pig to be your lawful wedded wife until you die?
Kermit: oh. . .I. . .I. . . .
Minister sings: Do you?
Kermit: I. . .I dooo"
Minister sings: Because you share a love so big, I now pronounce you frog and pig.
Kermit sings kind of:
What better way could anything end. . .hand in hand with a friend. . .
He and Miss Piggy are holding hands and he kisses her cheek. They float away on about a quarter slice of moon or less.
As the movie ended, Johnny and another man entered the room with Jo,Roy and Chris.
"Hi pipsqueak." She looked toward the voice. "Jay...JASON!" She got up and ran to him.
"Couldn't keep away from here and miss your day." Her brother swung her around in his arms. "Johnny called and told me you were missing me." Jason had a smile planted on his face...the one he had seen her give him when she wanted to do something special and wanted to win him over.
"Jenny, Chris, Jo, Roy.. this is... is my brother Jason." He shook hands with them and walked over to Jenny. Kneeling so she could see him, he took a teddy bear from inside his coat and gave it to her, with Roy's permission; a hug was given to him in return.
"Wow Uncle Johnny, he's tall as you." Everyone started laughing.
"He is, isn't he." Johnny and Jason looked at each other and began laughing. "I was a good girl,we watched a movie, ate popcorn and had some M and M's...OPPPS, I wasn't to tell was I?" Erica just couldn't help laughing.
"That's OK, we just have to do something special for Chris in the next week of so, huh?"
"So, you and John finally set the date, and got it together huh-but how about...?" She just couldn't believe it;her brother was with her,on her special day...but she was really hoping to see her uncle there also.
In what was the mere span of minutes, the doorbell rang. When the door was opened,Ponch and Bear ran in. "Sorry guys, but we have a problem...the roses-they came, but in the wrong color ribbons...John, did you want them with Green ribbons or with Gold,Green and Black ones?"
"Oh no!!!!" Erica stood in the doorway and saw them all-Bob Shilley, Jesse Porter, Sid Pittinger, Mike Dixon, and Rob Andrews-all in uniform and holding a single rose with a green bow. Her hands flew up to her face in shock.
"Well, now if this was goin' to happen." Rob closed the distance and gave her a hug, as well as the others. The tears were glistening in her eyes. "I can't believe it...you came-you really came." They looked at her-happy, healthy and in love.
"We we're not going to miss this for anything. So we took the week off and let the others take care of the barracks for us. Everyone who couldn't come sent you a card." Jesse gave it to her.
"Thanks...but Uncle Jack didn't..." She was really hoping, but that was the third and final surprise. Roy's doorbell rang again and she was told to open it-standing there was her uncle and the chaplain; grinning ear to ear.
Roy was amazed about what he did for her. "Ya did it-this is the best present for her...her family is here. But, how?" Johnny only smiled.
Everyone entered the living room. Jenny and Chris said goodnight and went to bed as everyone talked. The chaplain was glad her family was able to be there.
They sat, talked, laughed and and enjoyed each others company. Soon the time grew late and they left to ready for the morning.
At the ranch house, Johnny fell asleep with thoughts of the next day filling his mind.
"Johnny, Johnny." A French accent and scent of French perfume filled the room.
He looked to the foot of his bed and saw...a pig dressed in a flowing white gown.
"How???"I thought ya married the frog; I saw it on TV at Roy's." He couldn't think clearly.
"Mwa, and tha frog; now come here handsome." The blanket fell, showing his bare chest; causing her to give an appreciative smile.
"I feel like I'm in that soap-As The World Turns or something. This isn't happening." John felt like he was in some type of twilight zone episode.
"Then, I'll be Barbara if you're Hal." She wiggled her eyebrow at him. He then thought he heard a 'rimshot' and laughs.
"What am I goin' to tell Erica?" He rubbed his face, trying to wake up so he could think up a way to get the 'pig' out of his bedroom.
"Well, I hear Kermie-chow." She sat on his bed, so she could reach and give him a kiss. "Farewell my love,; be happy as we are." Then it was over.
"Erica won't believe this-ever." He then was able to fall asleep again.
In the morning, everyone met and put the finishing touches on the wedding. The girls completed the trellis the night before and helped get her family together for her; kind of a 'we got ya didn't we' gesture. The caterers were there setting up tables with supervision of Mama Lopez. Charlie and Colin were setting up, and Dix was with the girls, trying to help Jess put on the necklace Erica had given each of them as gifts for being in the wedding.
The guys-Ponch, Bear, Bruce Nelson were talking about how they were leaving the wedding; their plans were close to what was originally planned, that he couldn't help but agree to their gift. Erica was arriving by CHP cruiser, driven by Grossie and Fritz, but they were leaving in far more 'elegant' means.
So as they and John and Roy were putting on the final touches to their uniforms,the guys all agreed that after the ceremony, they would change into their tuxedos.
"Nervous?" Jon looked at him, and they noticed that he was looking at himself in the mirror for what could have been the 6o th time in 20 minutes.
"Wedding jitters?" Hank and Joe knew about it.
"No-for once-no. Been thinking about this for months. Ya got the rings, the quilt?"
"For not being nervous, ya sure act it." Everyone started laughing.
"So, last minute jitters;36 said they could be here with oxygen for a fainting groom." Chet just couldn't resist.
"I' m not-well, just a little. It took a lot of planning, but we did it." John was glad that it was soon to be over, and she would be with him. Seconds later, a knock came on the door. "Hey Jason, Jack; nervous groom here." They all laughed and let the trio have a few minutes alone.
"No warning, no threat of-well, 'firemens baseball, but just promise us one thing?" Jason was the one to look at him.
"What ,just ask."
"Love her with all your heart. I saw her before coming here, and she is real happy and wanting to be with you." They shook hands and when Johnny looked at her uncle, he stood from the chair.
"I saw that day you were with me, that you are the one that stole her heart, so just love her as much as we do." Before leaving, he gave John an envelop and they left to let John get ready.
He began reading the letter.
I know I can never imagine that someone could be reading this, so forgive me.
My name is John Wolffe. And to the man reading this, it means that you are marrying Erica; the one who has my heart and will always. I guess her Uncle Jack has told you about me and how I was taken from her. All I ask is that you love and treasure her as I did.
Forgive the letter and me for asking this of you-but stand beside her-not over her; if she cries, hold her and comfort her, as she will comfort and love you.
I will be there as your 'spirit guide' if you ask this of me.
John placed the letter back in the envelop, and finished readying for the wedding. Shortly he would join the others.
Roy and the others were looking at the lawn and saw all the work they did, and how perfect it looked. Guests arrived and began to be seated by members of not only the CHP but LAFD, wearing dress uniforms and smiling as the photographer took pictures for the couple. The men of 51's A shift looked over and saw two CHP cruisers entering the driveway.
"No way John; she's in one of those cars, and ya aren't 'jinxing it'." Chet Roy and Mike took him inside so that Hank and Marco could go help her out of the car.
"Allow me." Hank took her hand and helped her from the car.
"Can I see John; I just have to-call it nerves." They knew it would help.
"OK, but he'll be behind a door so he can't see you; how beautiful you look." Chet was there and took her to him.
"Nervous?" He heard her voice. "Yeah, you too?"
"UhHuh. But I love you." That's all she had to hear.
That was all they said.
Music filled the air as each walked the pathway. Jon, Ponch, Roy, Bear and Marco stood with him as the girls, wearing off the shoulder gowns of Royal blue satin with matching gloves, carrying arm bouquets wrapped in ribbons-colors of the LAFD and CHP. When the children entered, all the guest oohhh and awwwed at the sight of them-Chris in a suit matching his dad's uniform, and Jen was in a gown of white rose brocade with puffed sleeves and carrying a small bouquet of roses and carnations, fitted into a small satin basket.
"Please, don't let this feeling end,
it might not come again,
and I want to remember,
how it feels to touch you,
I can feel so much,
since I found you
looking thru the eyes of love." Dix ended the song as Jess stood at the altar.
Soon as Mike and Bruce opened the door, Johnny almost fell over as he saw her. She was in an off the shoulder gown made of rose brocade satin, carrying a bouquet of white roses, carnations, baby's breath and a veil that looked like a crown was holding it in her hair.
"Oh God, she looks like an angel." Hank and Joe walked with her and then they parted and let Jason and her Uncle Jack walk with her the remainder of the way. Johnny looked to see who would give her hand to him-surprizingly, it was Uncle Jack who lifted her veil and Jason gave him her hand.
The minister signaled for all to be seated. "Today, we come together to unite two hearts as one. John and Erica come today to unite in the bonds of matrimony. They asked that one part be removed, and for them, I do that with great pleasure, for I have seen their love and the love of their family and friends. So now I ask all present to support and pledge their faith in helping them grow in the love they share for all they care and hold dearly in their hearts. If you are willing, please say I WILL." Everyone said I will.
"Before they take their vows, I want to tell you a story of another couple. The year was 1927, and a couple was marrying. They had nothing, but their love to keep them warm, so their families had a quilt made for them. Not anything grand, but something for them to remember their wedding day and keep the cold away from them as they grew old together; the couple was Erica's great grandparents." Roy and Jess brought the quilt out so all could see. "John asked that a special tradition be observed." Jess and Roy placed the quilt around them. "You are both special in everyones' hearts, and you are never to hide from the other your fears, tears, joys and hopes. Love is what keeps a heart beating, it is never hurtful, boastful, arrogant, but caring, kind and comforting. Let this quilt fill you with the warmth of love shared by you and your families." They both stood there as the prayer was said. Roy and Jess took the quilt, placing it on the table.
They all watched as the vows were said, everyone was in awe of the words said.
"Both have written their own vows." She gave her bouquet to Jess. "John."
"What can I say." Everyone laughed. "We have withstood storms that have and could destroy any couple. Here we are, together-side by side, one heart, but two souls." He saw the tear and wiped it away with his thumb. "Erica, you came into my life at a CHP recertification class;and you fell into my arms. That was not the only surprize; before I knew you, I was told you were an Admin. clerk,but learnt you had another facet to you: a police fire investigator; and that was our beginning." The laughter filled the air. "But today, I give you my heart, filled with love; my soul and spirit, filled with all the adventure we can have for all time; hope for a brighter and more glorious day than the last, and faith in you and me." He took her hand and kissed it. "Grow old with me, for the best is to come for us."
The minister looked to her. "Erica."
"Today is our new beginning, and I look forward to each day I have with you, beside you and loving you." John looked at her and a tear glistened in his eyes as well. "John, you have stood by me and loved me through every storm that has come our way. The night you asked me to marry you, your gift was one small rose-and a ring. I didn't think you could touch my heart as much as the day we went camping on my birthday; but you did. You have given love, hope, faith and shown me beauty in everything we do. Come my love, my friend, grow old with me, for the best will come." She held his hand, squeezing it lightly.
The minister continued with the traditional ceremony. "John Roderick Gage, today do you come before God and all present to unite your heart with Erica's in the bonds of matrimony, forsaking all others be true to her in sickness, health, adversity and prosperity?"
"Yes, I do for eternity."
"Erica Diane Hitt, today do you come before God and all present to unite your heart with John's in the bonds of matromony,forsaking all others be true to him in sickness, health, adversity and prosperity?"
"Yes, I do for eternity." they both looked at each other.
"The ring has long been a symbol of the affinity, but for John and Erica, it has become more; it is a symbol of something that is unending-the bond of love they share." He then looked at their friends and family. "Great is the love of the hearts that receive these rings, for they will share the bounty of love eternal and everlasting." Not an eye was left dry.
"John, repeat after me: Erica, I give this ring as a symbol of love enternal, and my promise to treasure you." John repeated the words the minister said.
"Erica, repeat after me: John, I give this ring as a symbol of love eternal, and my promise to treasure you." Erica also said those words.
"With the giving of rings, and exchange of vows. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased and honored to introduce, for the first time, John and Erica Gage. Let those God and the Spirits have united together, let no one part."
The reception was just as impressive as the ceremony. Jess and Jon danced with each other, and were waiting to 'give' hem the surprize of a lifetime.
"Chet, what are you doing?" Mike was looking at him with suspicion.
"Nothing, but trying to find out how they are leaving. John didn't say about that."
"Maybe because the CHP,or her family is handling that." As the music played, everyone walked around, looking at the work John put into his and Erica's home.
After all the pictures were taken, the men changed into their suits, and the party began.
"Everybody, may I have your attention." That is when it got quiet. "We got
a surprize for the bride and groom. Seems her uncle,brother and everyone from
the State Police in West Virginia has sent this to them, and I want you to hear
John and Erica-
The Prince and Cinderella have requested the honor of your presence at her castle in Disneyland. Our gift is 4 nights in the Magic Kingdom. We all wished to come, but someone has to protect home.
They all began laughing. But the best was what Jon and Jess did; they walked to the microphone together .
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a confession to make to John and Erica...you see, they have a love of country music,and our surprize got 'held up' so we couldn't get her favorite to come, but someone else did. May I introduce Charley and Colin Riley." The music filled the air as they began playing.
Everyone danced, ate and talked with each other.
"Thank you. Colin and I had the honor of being there the day they got engaged-and we have the song for their first dance.
The music filled the air as they shared the first dance as husband and wife.
THERE'S A HERO
IF YOU LOOK INSIDE YOUR HEART
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE AFRAID OF WHAT YOU ARE
THERE'S AN ANSWER IF YOU REACH INTO YOUR SOUL
AND THE SORROW THAT YOU FIND WILL MELT AWAY
AND THEN A HERO COMES ALONG
WITH THE STRENGTH TO CARRY ON
AND YOU CAST YOUR FEARS ASIDE
AND YOU KNOW YOU CAN SURVIVE
WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE HOPE IS GONE
LOOK INSIDE YOU
AND BE STRONG AND YOU'LL
FINALLY SEE THE TRUTH, THAT A HERO LIES IN YOU
IT'S A LONG ROAD
WHEN YOU FACE THE WORLD ALONE
NO ONE REACHES OUT A HAND FOR YOU TO HOLD
YOU CAN FIND LOVE
IF YOU SEARCH WITHIN YOURSELF
AND THE EMPTINESS YOU FELT WILL DISAPPEAR
AND THEN A HERO COMES ALONG
WITH THE STRENGTH TO CARRY ON
AND YOU CAST YOUR FEARS ASIDE
AND YOU KNOW YOU CAN SURVIVE
WHEN YOU LIKE LIKE HOPE IS GONE LOOK INSIDE YOU
AND BE STRONG AND YOU'LL
FINALLY SEE THE TRUTH, THAT A HERO LIES IN YOU
LORD KNOWS DREAMS ARE HARD TO FOLLOW
BUT DON'T LET ANYONE
TEAR THEM AWAY
THERE WILL BE TOMORROW
IN TIME YOU'LL FIND A WAY
AND THEN A HERO COMES ALONG
WITH THE STRENGTH TO CARRY ON
AND YOU CAST YOUR FEARS ASIDE
AND YOU KNOW YOU CAN SURVIVE
WHEN YOU LIKE LIKE HOPE IS GONE LOOK INSIDE YOU
AND BE STRONG AND YOU'LL
FINALLY SEE THE TRUTH, THAT A HERO LIES IN YOU.
Everyone applauded as he kissed her gently. Her brother's ,friends, 'extended family' from the LAFD and CHP played one joke on the couple.
"Venus-oh Venus...." They all started singing Frankie Avalone's Venus to them and everyone started laughing; both John and Erica laughed so hard they were crying.
"Ladies-Erica's going to toss her bouquet; so all marriageable young ladies, get ready." Betty made the announcement.
Everyone was ready. The girls-Bonnie, Sindy, Kathy, Marco's date, Elena and Chet's date, Sara, were standing there-
"ONE TWO THREE!" It sailed and was caught in the little hands of JENNIFER DESOTO; causing everyone to laugh.
Then Roy let the guys know about the garter toss. All of the men stood there ready to see who would be the next man. Jon was laughing at the thought of trying to see if Ponch would catch it-and Ponch was thinking the same for Jon. As it sailed through the air, it was caught by ROB. Everyone clapped as he walked up to Roy and asked if he could sit with her so a picture could be taken of them. The photographer had a special idea for the picture. One everyone agreed to. Rob was in his uniform still and he knelt on one knee and it was posed as if he was presenting the bouquet to her.
"This is perfect." John kissed Erica and no one saw that Chris had walked to his dad, reminding him about the cake.
"You're right. Thanks Chris."
He went to the mic and got everyone's attention.
"Everyone...may I..." Silence greeted him. "Well, we seen it-John Gage got married." Everyone laughed loudly, and then the toasts began.
"We have been partners, friends and 'brothers'. You have one very special lady, and you found her at Central; don't know how it happened, but it did. Today, she became your wife. They say that dreams DO come true-and yours has. John, don't forget to treasure her, and Erica, don't get mad and blow the siren in his ears too hard." Roy couldn't keep a smile from his face. "But-in all seriousness-John and Erica, we all wish you love, happiness, and joy. You both are what the other needs; treasure every moment you have." They all raised their glasses.
Jason stepped forward at Roy's insistence. "Ok...well-John, you are part of the family now-and that means you are always welcome in West Virginia." He had to stop and clear his throat. "You have my little sister's heart, and that is an incredible gift. When she moved here, she told me that she wouldn't find love-but she found you and her friends at 51's and Central. John, love her, stand beside her and let her treasure you, as you treasure her. Erica, I hope you have what our grandparents did-true love. To my 'brother' and my baby sister." John kissed her. Then the cake knife appeared.
John stood behind her, placing his hand over hers as they cut the first piece together.
"SMASH HER' and 'Get him Angel girl'" chants filled the crowd. He fed her a piece of cake and placed a drop of icing on her nose,and kissed it away. Then it was her turn. "Ya wouldn't dare-" She laughed as he worried...but she fed him a piece and did the same thing he did. They danced, spent time with family and then it was time for them to leave.
That was when everyone saw what Jon Baker, Jess Riley and Frank Poncherello, with everyone at Central had planned. Jon drove up a white carriage pulled by two horses.
Everyone threw bird seed (Erica insisted that for the birds-because rice might make them sick.) at them as they left for their lives together. The carriage was decorated with tulle and paper roses with the traditional JUST MARRIED sign on the back. Two CHP cruisers were poised to provide escort for their getaway.
"Johnny-you didn't?" He nodded as he helped her into the carriage. "Ready Mrs. Gage?" she nodded.
Jon drove the carriage for them, and they left as everyone waved.
"That's how he made our day that much more perfect." Erica was remembering their wedding day as John came home with a bouquet of white, red, yellow and pink roses for their first anniversary. He gave her a kiss as he gave them to her. A smile and nuzzling embrace greeted him.
"Oh John, guess what? We got a wedding to help plan-" He laughed as they embraced and sat with their best friends;returning the favor.
Tuesday, May 10 is mine and my husband's second wedding anniversary. I was watching the tape with him and remembered how he planned the perfect day-behind my back-what a sneaky, loving, gentle and BIG teddy bear I have-he's more like Roy than Johnny in looks, but he is all Johnny shows in this story. I used the ending of the song THRU THE EYES OF LOVE and HERO by Mariah Carey-so NO intended copyright infringement.
This is to my best friends that helped me beta-Molly and Audrey.. To my husband: The man that stands by me and even if ya don't understand why I like John, Roy, Ponch and Jon; you still read and help me-you are my treasure and heart.
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