The priest turned to face Hildreth and Elsie. “May the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, be with you, and may He fulfill His blessing in you: that you may see your children’s children even to the third and fourth generation, and may afterwards have life everlasting, by the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, would without end. Amen.”
He picked up a golden vase-shaped vessel off the altar and carried it over to the happy couple.
Hildreth looked over at Elsie as the priest sprinkled them with the holy water.
Our children’s children. Yours and mine, Elsie. Our own special blend of alchemy and magic. Our children. I want to see them, Elsie. I want to hold them in my arms. I want us to struggle through the mysteries of changing a diaper. And the late night feedings. And the profound lack of sleep.
I want to see our children in your arms, Elsie. I want to see you change from the fierce warrior I know you are to the fiercest tiger mom the clubhouse has ever seen. You will be magnificent, Elsie.
I know you will. And I will be so proud of you.
Elsie looked up at Hildreth and the priest’s voice faded away. The organist may have played another hymn or two. Elsie couldn’t be sure.
She was lost in the nearness of him. Words escaped her. There were no thoughts in her head. Just wordless admiration of the man standing at her side.
He looked down at her and softly smiled.
It was more than Elsie could resist. She grabbed the lapels of his tuxedo jacket. His smile brightened, but she didn’t give him a chance to think or speak. She pulled him into a kiss.
He laughed, a deliriously happy laugh.
“Stop laughing and kiss me.” she whispered.
“Oh, baby. My Elsie baby.” He kissed the tip of her nose, which made her want to slug him.
That is not what I meant by ‘kiss me’.
“Not now, Els.” He kissed the side of her face. “Ask me later.” he whispered against her skin. “Ask me when we’re finally alone.”
She couldn’t argue with that.
Elsie released his lapels and turned to face the altar again.
My wonderfully fierce Elsie.
Hildreth held her closest hand.
There aren’t enough words to describe how I feel right now. None that are strong enough. The best I can think of to say is ‘I love you’, but it feels insufficient to describe the warmth and brightness and heat I feel inside.
There are no words, Elsie.
Just I love you.
And I do.
Master Shinowa felt the glow of pride as he looked over his former students: Hildreth, Elsie, Darius, Jeff, Edmund.
And his youngest brother Kaneshiro.
It has been much long time lost between us, Shiro. Every since Kencha’s death.
But you are here.
The two brothers exchanged a look. Kaneshiro smiled. It wasn’t a very big smile. Just a little bit of one.
But it was enough.
Master Shinowa acknowledged him with a slight bow and turned his attention to the ending of the Mass.
Shiro, we have much catch up to do.
Jim-Marie felt overwhelmed by it all.
The unfamiliar language.
Seeing the mature hunters with all of their weapons made matters worse. He felt so small compared to them.
I will never be like them. So strong. So confident. I will never get there.
But I can’t give up. I don’t want to give up. I want to become stronger. I want to show Hildreth that I can do it.
I want to prove to myself that I can do it. I want to be able to pick out my own weapon. I want to become as big and as strong as all these guys.
I want to be able to go out at night and hunt as well as Hildreth. Powerful and fearless, but still kind.
I want to be just like him when I grow up.
So, I have to stick with the training and keep trying to get stronger.
I can do it.
I know I can.