A/N: This can be taken as a stand-alone story, but it makes more sense if you go and read my other story "Because I Love Him" first. If you're confused, you can't say I didn't warn you.
I can't remember the last time that I was this happy. Four years ago I said good- bye to the man that I loved wondering if I was ever going to see him again. After today, I'll never have to go a day without seeing him if I don't want to. Looking at my reflection in the mirror, I'm still not sure that this isn't just some wonderful dream.
A knock on the door brings me out of my thoughts. The door opens slightly and my mother's head appears around the corner. There's a wide smile and maybe some tears, but that could just be the light playing tricks on my eyes.
They're ready, she says. Nerves hit me harder than I would have expected, but I'm more excited than anything else. Smoothing down my long, full skirt, I turn and walk to the door, knowing that my father is waiting for me on the other side. Taking a deep breath, I cautiously open it. My dad's opinion means the world to me and without his valuable advice, I know that I would have never reached this point. He looks at me and I can tell that he's fighting tears.
You're beautiful, he says. A hug and a quick kiss on the cheek are all that we have time for before my younger sister comes to tell us that it's time and that everyone is waiting. Taking his arm, I walk down the hall toward the outdoor exit that will take us to where everyone has assembled.
Finally, we come to the doors. The others have gone ahead and the doors are shut. Time seems to stand still for me as I take in the beautiful wood doors with the graceful windows, the glass blurred and smudged so that only the shadows and outlines of my closest family and friends are visible. Soft music is playing in the background and then I come back to the present as I realize that this is it- the moment I've been waiting for my whole life. Then the doors open.
Everyone is on their feet and looking back at me. For a split second I feel a small amount of panic. The aisle looks so long and there are so many people. But a gentle squeeze from my father reassures me and we begin to move forward. There is a collective sigh and murmuring amongst the guests as they see me for the first time, but I'm only looking for one pair. Suddenly I see him, and I can tell that he's just seen me as well.
The look on his face makes every tear ever cried insignificant and every doubt instantly vanish. I never thought that anyone would ever look at me the way that he is, but this is true- it's not some wonderful dream. I continue to walk with my father and I hold his gaze. Knowing that everyone is looking at me, he mouths I love you to me and I can't help but blush.
Finally we reach the front. My mother is there and we embrace. It's a meaningful hug, both of us knowing that after this, things will be different. It's not a sad occasion, though. I know that both of my parents are almost as happy as I am. Then he is there. He shakes my father's hand and embraces slightly. My father looks to me, not even trying to hide the tears. He hugs me tightly, holding me close one last time.
As he lets me go, my father takes my hand and places it in his out-stretched one. I willingly go and we walk a few steps forward to the waiting minister. The music fades out and everyone is seated. The dreamlike feel is back, but I know that this is one dream that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life. The minister calls for us to turn and face each other and I'm caught breathless at how handsome he is. His eyes are roaming all over my face, as though he's trying to memorize it and I take the opportunity to do the same. I hope that when we're old and gray I'll still be able to remember the look of happiness and love that I see in his eyes as he smiles almost nervously at me.
Before I know it, we're pledging to love one another, stand by each other in sickness and in health, to be committed to one another, to take each day together as a blessing from Above, and to above all else, cherish the other. I've heard the vows over and over since I was a little girl, but never have the words meant so much to me and never have I been able to say them and know how true they are.
I'm fighting tears of joy now. I think back to the day that he left and how I thought that this would never be possible. I remember the laughter and the tears and the bickering and compromise that we had to go through to get to this point. Looking into his eyes again, I see that he is barely holding back his own tears. It's assuring to see that he's as in awe of this as I am.
Then he's taking a simple silver band and sliding it onto the fourth finger of my left hand, asking me to wear it as a symbol of his love and commitment. I smile down at my hand, loving the way the band compliments the beautiful diamond already there. Next, I do the same; his band is wider and has our initials engraved on the inside, making it even more meaningful. There's a bit of resistance as I slide it on and the minister makes a joke about it being the wrong size. The assembled guests chuckle lightly and he grins down at me; I can't help but grin back.
All of a sudden the minister is publicly declaring us Man and Wife and uttering the famous phrase, "You may now kiss the bride." I glance up nervously at him and see a look of concentration settling across his face. He looks like he's trying to memorize exactly how I look and how he feels in this moment; I do the same as I wait for him to act.
He raises his left hand to cup my cheek and leans in a little. Our eyes meet and he smiles softly before wrapping the other arm around my waist and pulling me into him. Our lips meet in a gentle, loving kiss. But rather than breaking away, he kisses me again, showing me a little bit more of how much he loves me. There's even a little applause and laughter as he dips me back a bit. I can feel his smile and I bring my hands up to cradle his face and hold him close even after he breaks away.
Resting our foreheads against each other, we enjoy a private moment, despite the assembled, watching guests. He sneaks another quick kiss as the minister says something about blessing us as a new couple and joining us in celebration, but all I know is my heart leaping within my chest, about to burst from happiness.
We join hands and turn to face the congregation; they rise in applause as the music swells and we walk back up the aisle to start our new life together. When I was little, I dreamed of white horses and handsome knights riding in to sweep me off my feet. I always dreamt of falling in love with the perfect man but never expected it to really happen to me. As we climb into the back of a waiting limo, I send up a prayer of thanks as the dream has come to fruition.
I turn to look at my husband and he leans in and kisses me in a way that makes me dizzy with delight. Despite the odds, I knew we were meant for each other. Even on that awful day four years ago, I was assured that this is how things would end: us, together- because I love him, because he loves me.
A/N: ACK! All done. (For now). Whaddya think?