Alex and I decided it would be better for me to move in with him, but keep my place for when my visiting friends or family came to visit. That way, they could come and go as they pleased without worrying that they were imposing on us, not that they would be of course. So the very weekend he came back from the CD promotion in Europe, we moved as much of my stuff as we could cram into our cars and drove it over to his place, or should I say our place as it’s called now.
“Fuck me Steph, I thought I had a lot of shit, but I think your DVD collection is way bigger” he said as we found a new home for my ever growing collection “what the hell…I can’t believe you like some of these films”
“Hey, there’s nothing wrong with my taste in films” I defended my DVDs
“Oh yeah, what about this?” he said and held up ’17 Again’.
“What about it, it’s a good film” I replied
“If you’re a teenager” he laughed
“Well I like it, it’s better than some of yours, like ‘Scarface’ for example” I retorted.
“Ha! Scarface is a classic!” he protested
“Well, not in my eyes” I said. I’d never known why men seemed to love that film, but they all did.
“No taste” he muttered and shook his head
“Obviously not” I joked and looked him up and down and shook my head.
“Funny” he raised an eyebrow at me and then put the DVDs down “that’s it, you asked for it” he crawled over to where I was kneeling down on the floor and grabbed hold of me tight “torture time”
With that, he began tickling me. I hated being tickled.
“I didn’t mean it” I screamed as he had me pinned down on the floor.
“Oh, I’m not sure I believe that” he grinned and carried on.
“Please” I begged as I squirmed on the floor under his body.
“Hmm” he contemplated “do you give in and admit you’re wrong?”
“Yes” I screamed “I’m wrong, I have bad taste in films but fantastic taste in men”
“Too damn right” he grinned smugly and let his guard down for a moment. I took advantage and rolled us over so that he was pinned down under me.
“Oh no you don’t” he took charge again, rolling us back over and moved as if to tickle me again “but I’m done with the tickling…for now”
And he was done with tickling. Those DVDs lay there neglected for a while whilst we had other activities to keep us occupied.
“I’m sorry Ronan, but I’m going to have to finish working here” I told my boss after the end of a busy shift a few months later.
“Why? I thought you liked it here, is it the hours? We can change them to whatever suits you” he asked as he ran his hands through his hair in confusion. I’d worked at the coffee shop for a few months now and loved it. But with the tour rehearsals almost complete and the tour fast approaching (Alex had asked me to go with him and naturally I wanted to be wherever he was); it would be unfair to ask for that amount of time off, or for Ronan to keep my job open. It would be better for them to find someone who needed the job, someone who would stick around instead of me, who didn’t ever need to work again if I didn’t want to.
“I do like it here. I’ve loved working with you all, but AJ’s going on tour and he’s asked me to go with him” I explained “I’m so sorry to just spring it on you like this and I’ll stay until you find a replacement for me”
“Hey Steph, no worries, I completely understand” Ronan said “I know if I had the chance to travel the world, I’d take it with both hands”
“Thanks Ronan. I’m really going to miss you all” I sighed. Since I’d come to live here, I’d made some really good friends at the coffee shop.
“You just promise to come back and visit us when you get back from all that jet setting” he smiled and placed a reassuring hand on my arm.
“You don’t get rid of me that easily” I replied.
“So where are you touring?” he asked
“Where aren’t they touring more like” I laughed “you know, I think they try to do as many shows in as many places as possible”
“Sounds like fun” Krissy joined in the conversation “I hear the shopping in Europe is fantastic”
“Well, I don’t know about the rest of Europe, but I quite like the shopping in England. But we’ll be travelling a hell of a lot, I doubt we’ll get time to do anything like shopping or sightseeing” I admitted, although I had a feeling AJ would make time for a bit of shopping along the way.
“How are the wedding plans coming along?” she asked “not long now!”
“I know, I can’t believe where the time goes. As for the planning, everything is booked, bought and paid for, now we just have to wait for the big day” I replied, still hardly able to believe AJ had talked me into the kind of wedding we were having.
I may be a millionaire lottery winner, but even I thought our wedding was over the top, especially since we were already married. But when Alex and I had sat down all those months ago to talk about getting married ‘properly’ I didn’t have the heart to put a damper on his dreams. As the weeks and months had gone by, I’d even started to get as excited as him by the whole idea. As Alex said, it would be so much more memorable than a simple wedding on a Mexican (or wherever) beach, and of that I was 100% sure!
Touring with the boys wasn’t as glamorous as people might think. Those guys and the people behind the scenes worked damn hard at their jobs. And the travelling, oh god, sometimes we had so little time to get from one city or country to another; it was a wonder that they had any energy to get up on stage. Who knew travelling could be so tiring? But watching those guys perform with so much energy made me realise just how dedicated and professional they were when it came to their fans and their business. Night after night they gave the show of their lives. From the very first night of the tour in Lisbon, to the last night of the first leg of the tour in Dubai, it had been one hell of an eye opener to me and a bit of a rollercoaster ride if I was honest.
The reception the Backstreet Boys got around the world varied from place to place. I was shocked at the persistence of some fans and the lengths they went to to try and get to their favourite Backstreet Boy. I could’ve understood a little better if they were teenagers, but most of these fans had to have been at least my age, if not older! The good times far outweighed the bad times though, and we did meet and talk to a lot of very nice people. I could understand why the guys were always saying they had the best fans in the world.
The time they did have off between shows was either spent catching up on sleep or getting out for some much needed freedom. Being cooped up in hotel after hotel was no fun after a while; eventually it drove a person crazy.
“This is nice” AJ told me as we strolled hand in hand through Prague on a cold but surprisingly sunny November afternoon.
“Isn’t it just” I replied. I’d heard that Prague had become a bit of a party city over recent years, the kind of place groups of guys came for their last weekend of freedom before getting married. But strolling around this beautiful historical city during the day time, it was hard to imagine by tonight there would be thousands of drunken partygoers spilling out onto the streets.
We more or less went unnoticed as we walked over little cobbled bridges and admired the medieval buildings which seemed to blend well with the more modern parts of the city. AJ had a thing for all things gothic and medieval and I must admit, I could see why.
We visited the castle, which must’ve been one of the most ancient castles in existence in the world and then stopped at a little café for something to eat before heading back to the hotel for a few drinks with everyone else. Considering we were all together a lot of the time, there were very few arguments, we were like some big extended family on tour.
Before long we were flying home to America. It was mid December and for the next two months, our time would be our own.
“Wow Steph, that dress is just beautiful” Izzy exclaimed when I stepped out of my bedroom into the living room of the suite I was staying in.
“When you said gothic medieval wedding, I was picturing you dressed from head to toe in black with dyed black hair and black veil to match…but this is something else, you look stunning” Chloe said as she snapped away with her camera.
“As if I’d ever dye my hair black” I laughed “thanks though, I’m so glad you’re all here and agreed to be my bridesmaids, it means a lot”
“Nothing would’ve stopped us Steph” Jess reassured me.
“No, especially since we didn’t get to be there the first time you married AJ” Izzy giggled.
“Shhhh” I said and pointed towards my bedroom where my Mum was fussing with my bouquet, as always, she wasn’t happy until she’d fussed with everything.
The big day had finally arrived at long last and to top it all off, outside was covered in a thick blanket of fluffy snow. Winter in Scotland didn’t disappoint.
When AJ and I had begun talking about this wedding, I was surprised to hear that he wanted a fairytale wedding. A gothic fairytale wedding complete with castle, horse drawn carriages and guests dressed the part. At first I’d kind of shunned the idea, it seemed over the top to me. I’d favoured a beach wedding, something small and simple with just a few family members and friends to share it with us. But eventually I came around to Alex’s way of thinking.
The castle we were staying in was reputed to be haunted, I wondered if that was just rumour to bring in more custom, or true? I hoped it was just a rumour! Beautifully located with panoramic views of the choppy sea below, the castle looked like something from the pages of a fairytale book. The stunning medieval gardens, although blanketed with snow, looked perfect.
I stood and stared at my reflection in the mirror, liking the way the purple fitted bodice of my dress gave me a cleavage AJ wouldn’t be able to tear his eyes from. The dress was gorgeous, consisting of a fitted corset/bodice styled top half, with layers and layers of tulle under the sumptuous dark purple silk material of the full skirt. Purple may not be a traditional colour for a wedding dress, but it happened to be my favourite colour and besides, AJ and I weren’t exactly a traditional couple.
“It’s time” my Mum said when she stepped out of the bedroom looking immaculate in an outfit which just about passed for medieval attire.
My bridesmaids on the other hand had fully embraced the idea of a medieval styled wedding; they thought it was so romantic to be getting married in a fairytale castle, complete with turrets. Wearing a lighter shade of purple dress than mine, with skirts not quite so full, they all looked stunning.
“Let’s go and get you married” Izzy said and mouthed the word ‘again’ to me. I was just glad my Mum wasn’t looking!
At that very moment, my Dad came knocking at the door “are you decent?” he asked.
“Of course Dad” I said and gave him a brief hug.
“You look beautiful” he said and stood back to take in the full effect of me standing there in my wedding dress.
“Thanks Dad” I said “you don’t look too bad either”
“Well, I don’t know about that, but your Mum thinks it’s very ‘Mr Darcy’” he laughed.
We posed for numerous photos before eventually positioning ourselves ready to walk down the aisle.
I wasn’t what I would call nervous, I had nothing to be nervous about really, we were already married, but I wasn’t exactly calm and collected either. But the moment I spotted Alex waiting for me in the distance, my heart rate picked up and I couldn’t wait to be by his side.
Pachelbel’s Canon in D began to play softly as we walked slowly towards the man I was about to marry for the second time.
I glanced to the left and right at our guests, all dressed in their gothic medieval wear. I noticed the purple flower arrangements and candles dotted around giving the atmosphere a romantic feel to it, but then my focus switched to the man waiting for me ahead.
Dressed in a black velvet frock coat and brocade trousers, with a white frilly shirt and purple waistcoat, he was like Pride & Prejudice meets Interview With The Vampire, and I liked it!
“Wow” he whispered when I reached his side and he looked at me for the first time “you look beautiful”
“You look sexy as hell” I whispered back. He took my hand in his and we smiled at each other, then it was time to begin the ceremony.
We faced the wedding official (also dressed the part) and listened while she spoke about marriage and how it shouldn’t be entered lightly, and then it was over to us.
“I, Alexander James McLean, take you, Stephanie, to be my wife,
knowing in my heart that you will be my constant friend,
my faithful partner in life, and my one true love”.
“And now Stephanie” the wedding official looked to me.
“I, Stephanie Mahoney, take you, Alexander, to be my husband,
knowing in my heart that you will be my constant friend,
my faithful partner in life, and my one true love”
We exchanged rings (proper rings this time) and were pronounced husband and wife.
“You may now kiss the bride” she announced and he placed his hands on my waist and pulled me close for a deep kiss. Our guests all cheered and clapped, bringing us back into the here and now.
After photos in the snow outside, we made our way back indoors for a proper gothic medieval banquet, with goblets of wine, tables full of exquisite food and even medieval music played by musicians using traditional instruments.
“This is just magical” I told my husband as he twirled my around the stone floor later on in the evening.
“The magic isn’t over yet” he mumbled in my ear and nibbled on my neck lightly.
“What a cheesy line…but I like it” I laughed.
“No, I mean wait until you see what else awaits” he said
“I already know, and believe me, I can’t wait to slowly undress my very own Vampire Lestat” I grinned
“Gutter brain, but I love you” he wrapped his arms tighter around me and kissed me.
The surprises weren’t over, he was right, there was more magic ahead. Instead of staying here in the castle with all of our other guests, at the stroke of midnight he escorted me to a horse drawn Cinderella style carriage, complete with a uniformed driver.
“Wow” I exclaimed.
“We’re spending the night in a little cottage just along the coast, no one else for miles and miles, just you and me” he murmured as his lips trailed up and down my neck.
“Magical” I sighed.