Time flew by as the photographer took picture after picture.
Pictures of just the groom’s men.
Pictures of just the bride and groom.
Pictures of the bride and the groom and the bride’s mother.
Pictures of the bride and the groom and the surly flower girl.
Pictures of the flower girl and the bride.
Pictures of the flower girl and the groom.
Pictures of the flower girl and the bride and the groom and the bride’s mother.
Pictures of the flower girl and the bride and the groom and the bride’s mother and the groom’s men. At which point the flower girl laid down on the floor and refused to cooperate further. Elsie wished that she could do the same. The flower girl’s mother came and rescued her daughter.
Pictures of the groom and the groom’s men.
Pictures of the bride standing alone at the altar rail.
Pictures of the groom standing alone at the altar rail.
Pictures upon pictures upon pictures until Elsie wanted to scream if he took one more picture and asked for one more pose.
So, he took one more picture.
Hildreth smiled at her and whispered in her ear, “You’re aching to go, aren’t you?”
The photographer told them to hold that pose as he snapped fifty-nine pictures of them.
“You have no idea.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t know about that.”
“Perfect!” The photographer turned his attention to Clarice.
Hildreth kissed Elsie’s ear. “Elsie Mayhew wants to get all alone with me. Elsie Mayhew wants to get all—”
She covered his mouth with her fingertips. “Not here in church.”
He laughed out loud.
“And that is the last shot.” the photographer said. “You all have been beautiful subjects!”
That was all the encouragement Elsie needed. She grabbed Hildreth’s hand. She didn’t say “Hi!” or “Bye!” to anyone. She marched down the aisle with Hildreth firmly in tow.
She didn’t release his hand until they were standing outside of Elsie’s car. Even then, she let him go only because she had to.
That’s when she noticed the big grin on his face. “What?”
“You.” He kissed her. “Just you.” He touched foreheads with her. “My fierce Elsie.”
She closed her eyes and took in the smell of his aftershave, the complimentary scent of his cologne.
I want more.
I want so much more.
“Hildreth, do we have to go to the reception?”
“Hmmm. Legally, no. It won’t nullify our marriage if we don’t go. But your mom would be super disappointed and embarrassed if we’re no shows.”
She opened her eyes.
“I really don’t want to do that to her.” He kissed her head. “Besides, if we don’t go, poor Jeff will have to eat all of those doughnut holes all by himself and he’ll absolutely hate himself in the morning about it. And he’ll take it all out on poor, fragile-boned me.”
Elsie scoffed. “Fragile boned?”
“As fragile as a hummingbird.”
“I doubt that.”
He grinned. “Oh? Care to explain why?”
“No. Explanations are unnecessary.” She spread her hands on his chest. “Especially when the reason why is so obvious.”
“mm? Are you trying to get all suggestive about my manly properties?”
Elsie opened her mouth to assert the innocence of her remark. Then, she stopped and thought about it.
His manly properties….hm.
“Well.” she said. “We’ll see just how fragile they are later. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.”
“Wait. Does that count as a yes or a no?”
She opened the driver’s side door. “No comment.” She quickly ducked into the car and closed the door.