Chapter 9

"… and now, by the powers invested in me by the state of New York, I pronounce you Mr. And Mrs. Nathaniel Carson!," the judge pronounced happily.

When Judge Bill Winters had been approached to marry Nathaniel Carson, he almost felt the need to have his ears checked. Nathaniel was no stranger to high society in New York, but never had he shown particular interest towards any of his lady friends. Yet, there he stood, clearly besotted with the beautiful woman by his side.

As Nathaniel and Maxine kissed, it truly felt like the stereotypical fireworks. Maybe it was because they had never quite shared that much physical affection, or maybe it was the excitement of the wedding, but either way, neither party wanted to stop the feelings that had been aroused. It wasn't until a soft cough interrupted their reverie that the two came up for air.

Realizing what had just occurred, Maxine blushed brightly and turned to hide her face in the crook of Nathaniel's neck.

Smiling at Maxine's obvious embarrassment, Nathaniel questioned, "Yes, Bill?"

"Nathaniel, I was wondering what you and your wife had planned for this evening? Clarice and I would love to have you two for dinner if you aren't too busy."

Nathaniel looked down at his new wife and smiled. "Bill, we'd love to come to dinner, but I think that we'll have to take a raincheck. We only have three days for our honeymoon and already have plans to head to my cabin upstate."

The judge nodded in understanding. But then glanced up to see his own wife, Clarice, sitting as witness, happily bouncing the baby Caleb in her arms.

"Well, I can't fault you for that, son. But I wonder, what type of honeymoon would it be with a small babe in tow? How would you feel about leaving Caleb with us for the weekend so you two could have some time alone?," the elderly judge asked.

As the judge was making his offer, Nathaniel could feel Maxine's grip around his waist tighten. He knew that this was a decision they would have to make together, and he already knew that Maxine would not be overly willing to leave Caleb with someone she didn't know.

So, asking the judge to excuse them for a moment, Nathaniel moved Maxine into a quiet corner of the room. Before he could even speak, Maxine rushed in, "Nathaniel, we can't leave the baby! I don't even know these people! And your sister! What if she tries to use this against us?"

Maxine was frantic. She might not be his birth mother, but Caleb was now her responsibility and it was not something that she took lightly.

Nathaniel cupped Maxine's face in his hands as he tried to calm her, "Shh, Maxine. Its okay. The Winters' are a wonderful couple, I have known them my whole life. They never were able to have children of there own, but they have always had a soft spot for the little ones. I won't ask you to leave Caleb if you are that uncomfortable with it, but I want you to know that other than being with us, the Winters' home is the safest place he could ever be."

He watched the indecision shadow across Maxine's pretty face. However, when he saw her glance over at Bill and Clarice who were playing with a giggling Caleb, Nathaniel knew what her decision would be.

Maxine looked up into the reassuring eyes of her husband and finally said, "Okay, Caleb can stay with them for the weekend. I guess it would be a good idea for us to get to know one another a little better now, anyway, since we are married."

Nathaniel smiled down at her, and she knew she was lost. "I think that you just made an excellent choice, Mrs. Carson. Let's go tell them."

Bill and Clarice were delighted at the news, and promised to call Nathaniel and Maxine twice a day to let them know that everything was fine.

So, after handing Caleb's bags and car seat off to the Winters', Nathaniel set off on their first trip as man and wife.