Barbara looked down at the gown and a wonderful giddiness came over her.
It’s going to happen tonight.
The moment I’ve been waiting for and hoping for and praying for.
I’m going to get married to Ambrose. I’m finally going to get married to him.
I hope everything goes well. I hope he doesn’t get staked. I hope he doesn’t get cold feet.
I’m definitely NOT going to get cold feet. I know that much for sure. I know what I want.
This is what I want. I want to marry him. I want to keep him as my own. I don’t want him to marry anyone else. Just me. I want him to marry just me.
I want just him. I don’t want to marry anyone else. Just him.
For better and for worse.
Elsie’s heart raced as she admired her wedding dress in the wedding boutique’s multi-mirrors.
Tomorrow I will marry him and we will be married. I will be Hildreth’s wife and he will be my husband.
That exasperating, wonderful idiot.
She thought about his earlier suggestion.
It’s insane, but he is right. My father’s gauntlets would look amazing with this dress. I wonder if he really will bring his Bossman 550. Would he really do that? I would love to say that he would never do something that outlandish, but Hildreth is Hildreth.
The assistant smiled at her. “Well?”
Elsie smiled back. “It’s beautiful. Every bit of it.”
And it will blow his mind. It may not be a little Xena the Warrior Princess cosplay dress, but he will love it.
“I love it.”
Barbara disappeared behind the drapes again, leaving Sarah alone.
Sarah looked at the damask covered seat and shook her head. She was not going to even bother with it this time.
She sat on the floor instead and wondered if Barbara was going to wear that wonderful dress home.
Where was her home?
Was it with Barbara or Ambrose? Jeff or…?
Should she have gone with Carthage?
Maybe. He was her father. Going home with him was the right thing to do.
He was her father. That made him her home. Didn’t it?
She stood and looked over at the dress shop’s front door.
If she left now, could she find him? Would he find her? But.
Sarah put her hand on her throat and tried to talk.
She tried to say ‘Carthage’.
She tried to say ‘Dad’.
She tried to say ‘home’.
There was no motion in her throat.
No words because of The Institute.
No words because of Carthage.
He was her father, but that didn’t stop him from stabbing her and filling her with fire. Over and over. Every day. Every single day.
He didn’t stop.
He didn’t say sorry.
Just stabbed her over and over and let her mother make everything better. He didn’t want to make it better. He didn’t want to bother. He didn’t want to try.
He never read to her.
Did that mean he didn’t really love her?
Could someone like that be anyone’s home?
Barbara pushed the drapes aside. She had changed back into her regular clothes, after all.
Sarah ran to her and threw her arms around the young woman’s waist.
Sarah wanted to tell her everything she’d been thinking, but that was too many words which equaled too many gestures.
She released Barbara and told her the simplest truth.
She pointed at herself and pointed at Barbara.
“You want to stay with me?”
Sarah nodded emphatically and it was the truth.
There was no need to say more than that.