“I’ve never seen you afraid before,” he said, amusement touching his voice as he visibly relaxed.
She lifter her head from the horse’s forelock she was stroking and stared at him, her shoulders dropping and eyes hardening. She looked so beautiful there, her elegant neck offering up her lovely face. The bust of the white gown shimmered under the delicate weaving of thousands of crystals intricately sewn into the fine lace and silk, requiring hundreds of hours of labor and many thousands of dollars. He had paid, he did not care. Any cost was not too great to look into those fathomless eyes and know she was his. Those dark, mysterious eyes that stared back at him now.
She did not speak still. His comment had been half a feint, guessing at her state of mind, hoping at it. Finally,
“You know it is bad luck for a groom to see his bride before the wedding.”
“Luck doesn’t count much if this is the only chance I get. What’s going on?”
“I needed some fresh air.”
“And will this little sojourn be ending here or do you intend to continue this pursuit of fresh air.”
“I keep asking myself how we got here. This,” she gestured to the church just visible from around the corner and to the train of her gown held up by frantic and nervous attendants.
“If you don’t want to go through with this,” he said, “I will put you in a car, send you to wherever you want to go, no questions asked.”
“And then what?”
“And then I will excuse our guests, write you a check, and we will go our separate ways.”
She dropped her gaze, a lovely knit in her brow, sighing heavily.
“But if you choose not to do that, we will walk into that church, face the crowd and and bystanders together, side by side today and every other day after. The choice is yours.”
Breathing heavily she pursed her lips and shut her eyes, took a steadying breath, and lifter her head to face him.
“No. I have never been late to a part so let’s not start with my own. You may walk me back across the street but we will not broach tradition and scandalize your family. Let’s just get this over with.”
Gathering the enormous skirt of her gown she set off by his side to the church. After a few steps she turned and, moving with impressive speed for a gown so cumbersome and expansive, she apprached the carriage horse she had been had been petting. Extending both hands to the velvet muzzle she planted a kiss on its nose.
“Is that for good luck?” asked the driver.
“It is now,” she smiled.
And just like that, they were married.