Until Extended Epilogue
Text copyright © 2018 Anna B. Doe
All Rights Reserved
“This was a bad idea.” I start to get up, but Anabel puts her hands on my shoulders and pushes me back into the chair.
“This was not a bad idea at all.” Her blue eyes stare at my reflection in the mirror. “You’re getting pre-wedding jitters. It’s completely normal.”
“Are you married?” I look pointedly at her hands still on my shoulders. There is a lot of rings on them, just not the ring. The one that counts.
“Well, no. But everybody says so.”
“Well, everybody doesn’t know shit.” I protest. “This is wrong on so many levels.”
Her small hands shake me. For a small thing, she sure has a lot of strength. “This. Is. Not. Wrong. You and J.D. are perfect together.”
“Perfection will last for as long as he expects me to be pretty and not a good cook.” I turn around in my chair to look at her, a though hitting me all at once. “What if he expects me to cook? I don’t know how. What kind of wife doesn’t know how to cook?”
Anabel’s soft laugh fills the room. It’s light and radiant and irritates the hell out of me!
“Ugh! Why are you laughing?!” I show her away. “There is nothing remotely funny about this. I think I’m having a meltdown.”
She laughs even harder at my words. Some friend I have here. And to think I was waiting for her to drag her ass across the ocean so I could have this wedding.
“You’ll do fine, Si. It’s just a wedding.”
“Just a wedding?” I shrike, loud enough for people on the other part of the street to hear me. “What if he changed his mind?”
I sigh, falling back into my chair.
Bel fusses over my from tantrum messy locks, before squatting in front of me. “Why would he change his mind, Si? I hate to disappoint you, but I think J.D. already knew you are a bad cook when he popped the question.”
“I guess you are right,” I agree reluctantly. When she puts it like that, there’s not much you can say to disagree.
“And despite that, he still asked you to marry him. He loves you, silly girl.”
He loves me.
I know he does. I can feel it in every touch. See it in his eyes when he looks at me. Those light, piercing green eyes that look at me with tenderness. Fierce protectiveness. I can feel it in every word he says and his every action.
Jack Daniel Shelton loves me.
Closing my eyes I take one deep breath in and slowly let it out. I repeat the motion a couple of times just to make sure I’m calm.
“You are right. I have to get a hold of myself before I go nuts.”
“I hate to inform you, but you already are nuts,” Bel teases me.
I give her a stern look, but before I can say anything else the door opens and my Mom and Lisa enter the room. A tray full of flutes filled with bubbly champagne in hand.
“Where are the girls?” I look behind Lisa, expecting to find my mischievous nieces in tow, but they’re nowhere to be seen.
Both of them have been overly excited for my wedding, fighting over who’ll be the flower girl and look prettier. In the end, both of them are flower girls. They have this cute, light pink matching dresses and baskets filled with rose petals.
“I left them with Emily and Grace.” My sister puts the tray on the table. “Hopefully, they’ll keep them out of trouble while we finish here.”
“Are you ready?”
I look around the room, taking it all in. All the flowers, hair and makeup products, champagne flutes and trays with canapes and pastries. Empty dress bags and shoe boxes. I look at the most important women in my life—my Mom, my sister and my best friend. All dressed up in darker, cherry pink dresses of different styles.
I should be nervous. I should be terrified. But in this moment, looking around myself I feel calm. I feel ... happy.
Safe, secure, loved and utterly happy.
“Yes,” I look at Mom. “I’m ready.”
They get the dress out of the bag and help me put it on. Bel insisted on me turning my back to the mirror so I don’t see myself before I’m all dressed up and ready.
I hate to admit she was right. When I turn around and see myself for the first time, I see a completely different person. Someone I haven’t seen before.
White satin covered in lace hugs my every curve and falls to my feet. The front is a modest V neck. Lace sleeves cover my arms, while the back is left completely bare.
Anabel curled my hair and pinned it into a bun at the nape of my neck, leaving just a few lock to curl around my face. The makeup is soft and girly. With a lot of light colors and glitter.
I was sure my nieces will agree once they see me. They have always compared me to their favorite Disney characters, but this is the first time I actually feel like one.
“You look beautiful,” Mom softly sobs.
“Mom,” I turn towards her and hug her tight, trying to hold in my own tears. The last thing I want to do is get all soppy and ruin Bel’s hard work.
“I know ... But, both my babies are grown up and have families of their own.”
“We’re still your girls,” I whisper.
With my eyes closed shut I let myself enjoy this one last moment as a single girl. Sienna Roberts.
I want to remember every single detail and feeling about this day and save it for the rest of my life so when I’m older I can tell my kids about how happy I was. I want to savor this fragment of time with my favorite girls.
Bel and Lisa give us a minute to enjoy out mother-daughter time before they join in for the group hug.
The soft knock on the door notifies us it’s time to pull away.
Dad’s gray head peeks behind the door. A soft smile curls his lips and I can see the tears in his eyes as he looks at me in silence.
“It’s time.” He swallows down the emotions. “Are you ready, baby girl?”
Bel squeezes my hand in return. I wasn’t even aware I extended mine to her, but I did. We share a look and she smiles at me. Bright and reassuringly.
“Why is it taking so long?” Will shifts from one leg to the other next to me.
The guests are already seated and we’re all waiting for the ceremony to start.
Sienna wanted a small wedding, so she got one. Not that I’m big on spectacles so this worked perfectly. We pursued the owner of the restaurant where we had our first date, to book the whole building for the day to have the wedding in the garden. It wasn’t easy or cheap, but he gave in.
“I have no idea.”
Will shifts once again and straightens his bowtie.
“You’d think you’re the one getting married.”
“This is not funny, Shelton. What if she doesn’t show up?”
I look at him, brows raised high on my forehead. “I’ll go up there, throw her over my shoulder and drag her skinny ass down here.”
Not that I expect that will be necessary, but just in case I have everything planned out.
When we got engaged I had to pressure her into moving in. Si was reluctant to let go of her apartment and independence. Most of the time she spent at my place anyway so I stayed one day to sleep over at her place, woke up early the next day and started packing her shit. Once she woke up and saw that half of her stuff was already packed she sighed loudly and helped me finish the work.
My best friend looks at me. “You aren’t joking, are you?”
“Nope,” the P pops animatedly. “But it won’t come down to that.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“She loves me and I love her.”
It’s that simple.
Just in that moment, the music starts to play and the door to the garden swings open. I straighten my stance and turn toward the door. My heart starts beating faster in my chest and I can feel the anticipation in my veins.
Her nieces glide down the aisle throwing flower petals everywhere around. Grace is next, in her pretty pink dress and with her hair curled, she looks so grown up. She gives me a big smile and walks on the bridesmaid’s side of the altar.
When is she coming, for fuck's sake?
Anabel follows after Grace. Will’s hard inhale once he sees her for the first time makes me chuckle.
“That’ll be you soon.” I whisper quietly, for his ears only.
He grins widely. “A man can hope.”
The music switches to wedding march and I return all of my attention to the door my future wife will come through to me.
I’ve been patient and considerate.
I’ve been waiting long enough.
Too fucking long.
I wasn’t kidding when I told her I’d marry her that exact same day, but she wanted to have her friend by her side, so I waited. I’d do anything for her just to see her smile. If she asked me to jump off the building I’d do that too. Although I really hope she doesn’t ask me to do that.
One foot and part of the dress appear at the door, and there she is.
With her hand looped around her father’s elbow, she stands there, only a few yards away.
Amber eyes find mine in the distance and our gazes lock.
I can’t look away. The pull she has over me is so strong I can’t break it. I don’t want to break it. She takes me in, from head to toe, and smile spreads on her lips.
She’s breathtakingly beautiful.
In that white lacey wedding dress that hugs her every curve, she looks stunning. But what I love the best about her is the way she looks at me. When she smiles her eyes shine brightly and golden dots in them illuminate her whole face.
I expected her to be nervous. That would be so Sienna like, but she isn’t. There’s calmness around her that matches mine. I’m surprised, but at the same time, I’m not. Because I’ve known for some time we belong together. Sienna is my now and my future. Nothing made sense. Not until she came to my life.
She takes a step toward me, and in no time the yards that keep us away are gone. Her father gives me her hand, but I’m a greedy man so I take both.
“You didn’t run away.” I whisper.
“It was on my mind.” She admits with a quiet laugh.
My fingers brush a runaway lock of hair behind her ear. “Why didn’t you?”
Sienna leans into my touch and sighs contently. “Because I love you, Jack Daniel Shelton and I’m ready to be your wife. Although I don’t know how to cook.”
I laugh out loud at her words.
“I love you too, Sienna Roberts. Cook or no cook. I’m already yours and I’m ready for you to be mine.”
“Until death do us part?”
“Until death do us part.”