Prologue

I stare at the double doors and take one last breath. I lose myself in the swirls of white tulle and the overpowering scent of flowers as the music begins. The breath works only ever so slightly, so I keep my eyes closed.

Pull it together, Rina, I repeat every time the nerves overcome me. But there is no way of pulling myself together- at least not when my heart wants to leap out of my chest in joy. I accept this fact, and open my eyes, convincing myself that today is truly happening.

My mother's touch is assurance. Father's voice is a comfort.

"Are you ready for this?" his deep baritone asks and I face him. His eyes are glassed over, tears threatening to spill. But dad pulls it together, and I know it's for me. I smile at him and nod.

"As ready as I ever will be," I respond. Mom says nothing but she runs her fingers down my cheek under the veil.

They are there for me when the doors open. I walk to the beat of my music, though the beat of my heart is a million times faster, because of this one man: The man who waits for me down that aisle- the man who I have decided to give my heart to. It only takes one glance, one missed heartbeat to confirm that I have made the best decision by deciding to spend my life with him.

I wondered how I could ever be so lucky. He was a man of so much strength, so much passion that I sometimes felt I wasn't worth his time, his effort. But he'd assured me so many times that while I may feel that way, that I was worth his love. And his love was everything to him. To an extent, it was all he had. And his music.

But now he had everything, he told me a few nights ago. I close my eyes and remember his exact words.

"If I were the man I was before you came into my life, there would be much left to be desired on my part. And while I wish I could see you walk down that aisle on our wedding, your touch will be enough assurance that there isn't anything else I could ask for at this point in my life."

His smile, when my hand touches his confirms every word he uttered then.

Ubi Caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. Where Charity and love is, God is there.

My love is in his heart. And while so many moments in his life, he has doubted an existence of a God, I know that He exists because I am here, with the man who I truly do not deserve.

Et ex corde diligamus nos sincere. And from a sincere heart, let us love one.

His love is so pure, so sincere that nothing can make me think twice about today. Nothing that has ever dared tear us apart can and will ever be able to.

Gaudium quod est immensum, atque probum,
Saecula per infinita saeculorum

The joy that is immense and good, Unto the
World without end

It takes all my might not to kiss him right then and there.