'Till Death Do You Part

I turned my attention from the gawkers, and focused on Joey's bright eyes. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the paper he had passed me the previous night.

"I checked yes," I whispered.

Even the air seemed to stop as Joey stared deeply into my eyes.

"Are you serious?" His voice cracked.

"Definetly," I assured him. My breath caught in my throat and my heart hammered. This was the biggest day of my life, "When did you want to have the ceremony?"

"As soon as possible," Joey responded immedietly. His handsome face still bore an expression of pleased bewilderment.

"I thought you'd say that," I laughed. I cupped his face gently in my palms and pressed a kiss to his lips, "I've already arranged for a priest to come. It was going to be a surprise."

"How'd you do that?"

"I have connections."

"You amaze me."

"Actually, he was a family friend," I glanced at my watch, "He should be here in an hour or so. I've got som stuff in my backpack upstairs for the ceremony."

"What are you waiting for?" Joey's uncle broke in, "Go get ready!" He beamed down at us as he helped Joey back into his wheelchair, "I'll call your father Bud."

"Could you call my mom for me?" I asked, and held out a slip of paper with my phone number on it.

"Certainly," He replied easily.

An hour later, I crossed the hospital lawn, wearing a white skirt and sweater, carrying a small bouquet of freshly-picked daisies. Joey sat in his wheelchair; still too weak to stand for long periods of time. He wore a t-shirt with a tuxedo printed on the front over his hospital gown.

My mother,a nd Joey's uncle and father were seated to the side. My stomach jumped and tumbled as I grasped Joey's hand and stared at the minister.

I zoned out through his long speech, thinking of what was to come in my wonderful new life with the boy of my dreams.The sound of a clearing throat broke me from my fantasies.

"Do you, Constance Janine McMahn, take Joseph Larson Jr. as your lawfully wedded husband, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, 'till death do you part?"

I flinched at the last words, but said yes clearly, with more joy than I'd held in my life.

"And do you, Joseph Larson Jr.," The minister turned, "Take Constance Janine McMahn to be your lawfully wedded wife, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, 'till death do you part?"

"I do," Joey replied, adding softly, "But not even death will part us."

I gripped his hand tighter and waited for the minister to permit the kiss.

"You may now kiss the bride."

I knelt in front of Joey and he pressed a beautiful kiss to my lips, more passionate and intensly satisfying than any other I'd tasted. I opened my eyes slowly as our family cheered.

"You're so perfect," Joey whispered in my ear. I laid my head on his shoulder. Tears of happiness flooded my eyes. Through my blurred vision, I could see Melanie standing a few feet away, arms crossed and an expression of pure hatred marring her face. I ignored her and turned my attention back to my new husband.

"Let's stay out here for a little while longer," He said as everyone began heading inside. Mr. Larson glanced at us, gave a quick wink, and followed the other two.

"I'm so happy!" I exclaimed.

"Me too," Joey agreed quietly.

"What's wrong?" I sensed

"I'm just so tired," He said shortly, "I feel exhausted. I need to sleep."

Fear clenched my heart. What if it was an eternal sleep?

"No," I protested, lifting my hands to stroke his hair, "Please don't."

"Sorry," Joey murmered as his heavy eyelids closed.

"I don't regret it at all," I told Joey's father. We sat at my sunny kitchen table, ten years to the day Joey and I had wed, "Not everything is always perfect, but I thank God every day for my time with Joey."

"Me too," The older man agreed, "I couldn't ask for more." He sipped his coffee slowly and gazed out the window, lost in nostalgia.

I stood up to stir the pot of boiling spaghetti sauce.

"Honey," I yelled out the window, "Come try this!" My eyes roamed outside searchingly, until I saw a shock of black hair pop out from under a bush.

"Joey," I admonished, "Be careful of ticks! Geez, isn't it bad enough you almost died back then? Now you have to go risking your life every day?"

"Ticks aren't that bad! I was just playing hide 'n' seek with Sebastian Jr." Joey replied with a flash of dimples. He picked up our small son, slung him over his back,a dn galloped into the kitchen.

"I love you," he greeted me with a kiss.

"Stop trying to suck up," I laughed, "I love you too."

"Forever."

"For always." I smiled at my words and thought of the note I had ready to give Joey at dinnertime: Are you ready for another child? Check yes or no. Of course he would check yes, and witht he addition of another child, our life was well on its way to being perfect, but of course I had already tasted perfection, the day I walked into my new school and saw the boy of my dreams. Who knew fairy tales really did come true?

A/N: Well, that's it. Its sad, I know, but I had fun writing it. I only hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. Thanks to all my readers and reviewers. Especially those who reviewed every chapter, and Blacksheep18 who made me start writing after I'd given up, and who was the real driving force for me to finish, as she seemed to love Joey as much as I do. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all!