The Days Before She Died

My name is Lucas Hunt,
The chances are you’ve never heard of me, never met me, and don’t even know who I am. I was a boy; I am now a man, with scruffy brown hair, big blue eyes and a body that all girls adore. This all means nothing to me. I don’t need or want the girls anymore, because the girl I truly love died. Rose is dead. I try not to think of her as dead, because she’s still alive in my heart. I live with the painful thoughts of her death, and the happiness of her smile. It’s the greatest of contradictions. That’s what I remember most though, her smile. But at least I Know that she died a happy woman because of what we did in the days before she died…

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9. Day Nine- Wedding Day

I woke up at three in the morning on my wedding day. My suit was already ironed and all I actually had to do was set up the wedding venue.

Rose’s old friends arrived as bridesmaids and went up into the castles’ little turret to get Rose ready. When Rose’s dress arrived the dressmaker asked if she could stay to see the wedding.

“Of course, with all the help you have given us I would want you to stay anyway.” I replied.

The dressmaker took the dress up to Rose and then I saw the ‘extras’ she was speaking of. She had made seat covers for the white chairs. They were pure silk and had ‘Forever and Always’ embroidered on them. I liked that little touch because Rose and I were forever and always will be. I don’t care if she’s dead we are still together.

Another extra was my suit. I already had one but she made one anyway. It was perfectly embroidered. It even matched the theme of a wedding. She saw my amazement when I tried it on.

“I know everything about someone just by looking at them!” She laughed as I turned around making the suit ruffle.

“You are an amazing person ms……” I didn’t know what her name was.

“Call me Autumn Skies, that’s my real name. I prefer Sky though because people used to tease me about the time of year.” Sky said.

Soon I had set up fifty chairs and other things. Rose was still up in her turret. The good thing about getting married at home is that there was no time slot, no nothing. We were just going at our own pace. Soon the marital celebration woman arrived and set up her stand on the steps so that she could do the ceremony.

Rose was ready by lunchtime and all the guests began to arrive. Fifty-five people arrived. Rose’s father was waiting by the back doors so that he could walk her down the aisle that was signified by arches covered in white roses. A small tear fell from my eyes as I saw Rose beginning to walk. Her bald head was covered in a veil that was lined with roses. You couldn’t tell that she was bald.

As I met Rose at the steps where the aisle ended her father handed her to me. I heard him whisper.

“Thank you, for making me, my wife, and my daughter proud to have you in the family now.”

I nodded. I walked Rose up the steps and we stood in the spot where sunlight peeked through the large tree’s that lined the gardens.

“Dear friends, we gather here at this hour to witness and to celebrate the drawing together of two separate lives. We have come so that this man, Lucas, and this woman, Rose, may be joined in marriage. Two people in love do not live in isolation from the wider embraces of humanity. To achieve love is not to be absolved of social responsibility. So it is that the institution of marriage is ordained as a public recognition of the private experience of love, and as a sanctifying of both parties to its great purposes. At the same time it represents the desire of Lucas and Rose to share their joy in each other with you, their family and their friends.” The minister said.

“Lucas Hunt do you take Rose Parker as your wife, promising to tenderly care for her, to respect her individuality, to cherish her as she is, to love her with fidelity?” He asks. I looked into Rose’s eyes.

“I do.” I replied.

“Rose Parker, do you take Lucas Hunt to be your -husband, promising to tenderly care for him, to respect his individuality, to cherish him as he is, to love him with fidelity?” The minister asks Rose. This time she looks into my eyes.

“I do.” She replied smiling with her pearly white teeth.

“Will each one of you here today do all that is in your power to support and encourage Lucas and Rose in fulfilling the promises they make here today - if so, please respond by saying, 'We will.'” The minister asked the guests.

“We will.” They chorused.

“I, Lucas, take you, Rose, to be my wife from this time onward, to join with you and to share all that is to come, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, and in all our life together to be loyal to you with all my being. And I will love you longer than we both shall live, past the time when death will do us apart.” I said, completely from memory.

“I, Rose, take you, Lucas, to be my husband from this time onward, to join with you and to share all that is to come, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond; and in all our life together to be loyal to you with all my being. And I will love you longer than we both shall live, past the time when death will do us apart.”.” Rose repeated after me.

“Rings are an ancient symbol, blessed and simple. Round they are, like the sun, like the eye, like the arms that embrace. Circles they are, for love that is given comes back round again Lucas and Rose, may these rings remind you that your love, like the sun, illuminates; that your love, like the eye, must see clearly; and that your love, like the arms which embrace, is a grace upon this world.” The minister said.

“Then, as I give you this ring, I give you my love” I said placing the ring on Roses finger. She smiled, and placed a ring on my finger.

“Lucas, as I give you this ring, I give you my love.” She smiled again.

“O God, give your blessings now to what we have done here. Make this moment fruitful to Lucas and Rose through an added devotion to one another, through new inner strength, and through a new sense of the sacredness of all life. We do not ask that they be kept from sorrow and trial, but that they may learn from these and be stronger because of them. We do not ask that all life be easy and profitable to them, but that they find life good and worth celebrating. May all their tasks in life, including the task of being human, be easier because they approach those tasks together. Make them each quick to forgive, quick to laugh, quick to enjoy. Let each so value the personality of the other that he may not wish to alter it into some other course. And let them, in the measure of time that is theirs together; find much joy in small things. Amen.” The minister read the prayer.

“Forasmuch as you Lucas and you Rose have consented together in wedlock, and have pledged yourselves each to the other in the presence of God and the presence of this company, I do now pronounce you husband and wife. Let all others honor their decision and the threshold of their house.” He continued. “May all blessings attend you, may joy pervade your lives together, and may your home be forever a place of peace and true fulfillment. You may now kiss the bride.”

I pulled Rose into a big kiss and the guests all cheered.

Rose and I walked back over the aisle so that people could throw confetti at us. Rose looked the happiest she had been since I met her.

“Mrs. Rose Hunt.” I laughed to myself.

“I’m yours truly.” Rose laughed back.

Soon we were sitting at benches giving our speeches.

“Thank you for all coming here today. Thank you everyone who has travelled from far afield to share this day with us. Thank you for your generous gifts too.

I must also thank Rose’s parents – Marcia and Dave –I would’ve loved to be able to thank my parents but they have passed away and cannot be here today–for all their help in the organization of our lovely day. When I met Rose, I thought she was sincere, kind and caring and when I met her parents, I knew exactly where she got it from.

My love and thanks today really have to go to Rose most of all though, for being here, for being so beautiful and for being my wife. Even though she’s dying, she has made an effort to be my wife.

Finally, thank you also to the beautiful bridesmaids. I know they have been a great support to Rose during the last few months and ladies and gentlemen, I would like to please ask you to raise your glasses, as I give you… Mrs. Rose Hunt.” I read out, clearing occasional tears. When I had finished the people were stunned.

Then it was Rose’s turn.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I stand here tonight in place of not my father, but Lucas’s mother and father, who sadly passed away last year. As brides don’t usually give speeches I have tried my best to write this one.

Lucas’s parents weren’t ones for sentiment, but I do feel that if they were here today their speech would probably follow the traditional route. They’d  maybe start by saying how absolutely beautiful the bride is looking today and how she took their breath away when they saw her ready to leave for the church earlier. They’d probably stick with tradition for a little longer and say that she's grown into an intelligent, successful woman, and how proud they are of her.

Well, who am I to stand in the way of tradition?!

 

His Dad would probably then go on to say how thrilled he is that I am marrying Lucas. Now, it's not just because I’m rich, but also because he can see how happy he makes me, and how perfectly suited we are to each other.

I first fell in love with Lucas years ago when we met at school. He had a sense of fun that was infectious to all around him, especially the girls - and there were a few of those, weren't there honey? But I knew right then that I could be the happiest woman alive if I could be his only girl.

Thank you so much for proposing and for turning up today; on time, clean shaven, and appropriately dressed.

You are mine Lucas. You are my generous, warm hearted and caring man. I know that you will always be there to catch me when I fall, to make me a bed on the sofa when I've had too much to drink, and to impress my girlfriends with your cooking, I know this however will be gone when I die in a few weeks time.

I love you completely, but then you know that already because I tell you far too often, and yet you don't mind. I love that you always make me laugh, and that life is so much more fun with you in it. I look forward to our short life together.

Thank you for marrying me today and making me your Mrs. Hunt.

Now as the bride I would like to tell you that I did it all myself today, but that would only be half true! It took an army and I would like to take this opportunity to thank some of them.

Firstly, of course, I'd like to thank our minister for marrying us today.

Thanks go to my stunning bridesmaids, to Sarah for being so patient when trying on so many dresses. Laura is the light of our family, you fill us with such pride, always ready with a smile, and you will always be our favorite niece.

Compared to most brides, I have known my bridesmaids Cheryl and Susan for a relatively short length of time, but our friendships have quickly grown, and I know I can always rely on them for support in the shape of a glass of wine or a banoffee pie! Thank you guys for being here today, for looking gorgeous, and for taking one for the team by wearing flat shoes!

I'd like to thank the Lucas for welcoming me so warmly into his family, the little of it that is left.

Finally I'd like to thank my parents. They gave Lucas and me the strength and courage to face every new challenge ahead with a sense of humor and a strong spirit. We could not have got through the last few years without them. Not through my illness anyway. Even at the best of times, I think you'll agree that parents can be embarrassing, annoying and frustrating, but a wise woman once said 'you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone' and never was a truer word spoken. I miss them every day but appreciate them all the more since their passing.

So, on this note, I would like you to be upstanding and to join me in our first toast of the evening...To absent friends!” Rose read out. For once I could’ve said that she did it, she beat me. That speech was on behalf of my own father.

The day was ending, and Rose and I were both tired. We watched the sun go down with the guests and went to bed, as our first night as husband and wife. 

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