The priest turned to Elsie. “Repeat after me: I, Elssereese Domenica Vansing”
Her gaze travelled all over Hildreth’s clean-shaven face. “I, Elssereese Domenica Vansing”
“take thee, Hildreth Mayhew, for my lawful husband”
This exasperating, wonderful man. “take thee, Hildreth Mayhew for my lawful husband”
“to have and to hold, from this day forward”
He knows how to make me laugh. “to have and to hold, from this day forward”
“for better, for worse”
He knows how to make me cry. “for better, for worse”
“for richer, for poorer”
He makes me crazy with desire. “for richer, for poorer”
“in sickness and in health”
He breaks through all of my self-created shells. “in sickness and in health”
“Until death do us part.”
I can’t imagine my life without him in it. “Until death do us part.”
The priest made the sign of the cross and said in Latin: “I join you together in marriage, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” Then, in English, he said, “The rings, please.”
Master Shinowa opened the small black box and removed the two rings.
The priest took the rings and blessed them. He then offered Elsie’s narrow gold band to Hildreth.
Hildreth took it with trembling fingers. The band fwooped out of his grip and hit the floor. He was about to retrieve it, but Master Shinowa beat him to that punch. He handed it back to Hildreth.
“As we were.” the priest said. “Put it on her third finger on her left hand and say: With this ring, I thee wed and I plight thee my troth.”
Hildreth looked into her eyes and the world ceased to be. “Elsie.” He gently slid the ring on her finger. “With this ring, I thee wed and I plight thee my troth.”
He removed his glove and stuffed it into his tuxedo jacket’s pocket. Goosebumps multiplied and divided all over his arms as she slid his ring onto his finger.
My frizzy-headed wench.
My own Marauder.
“With this ring, I thee wed and I plight thee my troth.” she said.
The priest said a series of responses in Latin.
Hildreth kept his eyes on her. “I love you.” he whispered. “I love you so much.”
Her eyes shined as bright as the summer sun. “I love you too.” she whispered back. “I love just you.”
“Do you suppose it would be okay if I kiss you now?”
She grinned and shook her head. “Later.”
The priest finished his responses and turned to the altar to start the nuptial Mass.
And, just like that, the door is shut.
Jeff focused on the middle of Hildreth’s back.
Not that I would have ever gone through that door.
They were meant for each other. They belong together.
They complete each other.
They love each other.
And, most important of all, Hildreth is my friend. Even if Elsie had shown interest in me, I would have turned her down. No matter what.
He smiled and looked down at the gold band around his own finger.
“With this ring, I thee wed.” Laura made those simple words sound like magic.
Laura girl, I have no regrets.