Noah Grant is the hero in Debra's Wild Wedding Weekend.
Noah was raised in small-town Indiana and wanted nothing more than to live a big life away from his small-town roots. He's an older brother to four siblings: two sisters and two brothers. His mother and father got married because she was pregnant with him. He's never gotten over the guilt, as he feels she gave up a promising career as an artist because of him. As a photo journalist, Noah travels all over the world to beautiful, exotic places. He has no interest in settling down and starting a family and being stuck in one spot like his parents.
As Noah's character arc unfolds throughout the story, he learns a lot about life and love.
Here's a scene between him and his mom toward the end of the book:
“Are you okay, dear? You don’t seem yourself today.” His mother’s voice broke into Noah’s reverie.
He half smiled at the words. A familiar warmth washed over him at her being able to discern his mood. Which is why he’d driven to Indiana. Running his fingers through his hair, he
sighed. He hadn’t felt like himself in a long time. How could he explain that to the woman looking over at him so expectantly? He couldn’t explain it himself. “I don’t know, Mom.”
“Talk to me, Noah.” She sat down on the arm of the couch.
He turned to pace the length of the basement, passing the Foosball table he and his brothers had spent countless hours at while they were growing up. He barely noticed the assortment of photographs on the walls, but he knew every picture by heart and could almost name the dates of each of the Christmases, holidays, and family celebrations chronicled there. Over the years the family had grown, and more and more smiling faces mugged for the camera. Finally he turned to face his patiently waiting mother.
What could he say to her? That he thought he might be in love, but he wasn’t sure what that felt like, so what if he wasn’t? He could say that, but if it didn’t sound right in his head, he doubted the
words would come out any more clearly.
One of the pictures caught his eye again, and, out of the blue, words Abby had spoken that day in Grand Cayman came back to him. “May I ask you something?”
“If you had to choose between traveling around the world and having the whole family together, what would you pick?”
His mother sent him a reproachful look.
“I know, I know. Stupid question.” He paused. “Tell me this. Do you ever feel like you missed out on things? Because of me?” He held his breath, waiting for her answer.
She rose, coming to stand before him. “What on earth are you talking about, ‘because of you’?”
“Well, you know. Having to get married and all. Because you were pregnant. With me.” He couldn’t meet her gaze.
“Had to get married?”
“Yeah, you know. Because of me.”
“Noah, dear, I’m not sure what this is all about, but your father and I didn’t have to get married, we wanted to. From the moment I met him, I knew he was the man for me. We didn’t have to do anything.”
Her words didn’t convince him. He’d carried his guilt with him for so many years, he couldn’t let it go as easily as that. “But you could have been an artist or—”
“The only thing I wanted to be was Ed’s wife. And the mother of his children.” She reached up to lay a soft hand against his cheek. “We were thrilled when we found out we were going to have you. How could you think anything else?”
He cursed to himself at the tears that sprang to her eyes. He gathered her to him in a comforting hug. He hadn’t meant to hurt her. Inhaling, he breathed in the familiar floral scent of the perfume she always wore. It brought back countless memories of being comforted as she held him in her arms. Now he was the one who held her. “I’m sorry, Mom. Please don’t cry.”
After a moment, she pulled away, dabbing at her eyes with the hem of her apron. “Have you always felt like this?”
No use pulling punches now. “For a long time. As long as I can remember,” he admitted.
“Oh, Noah.” Her voice was anguished. “Why didn’t you ever talk to us about this? Why didn’t you tell us how you felt?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. I figured if I could bring pieces of the world back to you from my travels, you wouldn’t feel like you were missing out on so much. I guess I didn’t think there was anything to talk about.”
“Well, now that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Your father and I haven’t missed out on anything. Other than maybe having you around more.”
He flinched at the slight note of recrimination in her voice, but he deserved it. Abby sure had hit the nail on the head with that one. How had she picked up on it so quickly, when he had missed it
all these years? He shook his head and smiled to himself. Because she was Abby, that’s why.
Until next time,