Trent stood at the front of the sanctuary in his white tuxedo, waiting for his blushing bride. The minister stood in his place, facing the group who’d gathered to celebrate the coming union. In back, Natalia awaited the beginning of her part of the wedding march.
As it started, she marched down the aisle. She looked regal in her white gown as she made her way to the altar. Many guests in the back whispered how she made such a beautiful bride. She blushed with each comment.
Martin’s daughter, Callie, held the train. Callie’s twin, Amelia, was flower girl. Trent’s little brother was the ring bearer. Shasta, Dani, and several cousins had been made bridesmaids, as had both of Trent’s sisters.
Michael walked his daughter down the aisle, a proud father. Natalia was the first of his children to marry. Shasta was still in school and had planned to delay her wedding to Dan until they both graduated. Sasha was still too young for such thoughts.
But he stood proud in Trent’s small group of groomsmen. He seemed to be proud of his sister, though he really didn’t know her that well. Perhaps he just liked hanging out with the guys. She didn’t know.
She was nervous, but she wouldn’t trade this moment for anything. This was her ticket to happily ever after. She didn’t want the white picket fence, just a life with Trent. She hoped they would grow old together.
“We are gathered here today…” the priest began the ceremony…”to unite Trent Marcus Goodacres and Natalia Miriam Morrow in Holy matrimony. If there is any here who knows why these two should not be united, let them speak now or forever remain silent.” And awkward silence followed, then the priest continued. “Who has the rings?” Trent’s little brother stepped forward.
The priest looked at the nervous couple. “Take the rings and repeat after me. First, Trent, Your part.” Trent nodded.”With this ring, I, Trent, take you Natalia, as my lawfully wedded wife.” Trent repeated this first part nervously. The priest waited for him to finish before continuing. “For better or worse, in sickness and in health, richer or poorer, till death do us part.” Again, Trent repeated the lines, sliding the ring onto Natalia’s finger.
After Trent was finished, the priest turned to Natalia. “Natalia, repeat after me. ‘With this ring, I, Natalia, take you, Trent, as my lawfully wedded husband.” She repeated each word with such sincerity that all in the room could feel just how real it all was. The priest continued, Natalia repeating the rest as she slipped the ring onto Trent’s finger.
The priest smiled. “I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.” As they kissed and turned, the priest turned to the guests and,gesturing to the newlyweds, smiled. “I present to you Mister and Missus Trent Goodacres. What heaven has brought together, let no man tear asunder.”
The tables at the reception were loaded with gifts. At one end of the hall, on a table, sat the cake. At the other sat the banquet table where the new couple and their party were to be set. below, in between the two tables, the guest tables were situated. The most important guests, family, were set at the foremost tables. Friends were set in the rear. In the very center, A dance floor had been left open.
When all had been seated, The best man stood up and lightly tapped on his wine glass with a fork. “A toast. A toast.” He waited for the group to quiet, then continued. “To the bride and groom.” He turned to the new couple. “To your health and a wonderful and long future. May you find your fortunes and make many babies.”
Natalia smiled. She wanted desperately to give Trent a family. She wanted more children. His children. She needed to.
She knew how he wanted a family of his own. It was his way of proving to himself that he was a man. And different than his own real father. A man he never really knew. Not that he wanted to.
She was brought out of her thoughts as someone laid a present before her. A voice spoke in her ear. “Time to open presents, Hon. Go ahead.”
One by one, she opened the presents. There was everything from the most mundane to the most interesting. Small appliances, utensils, potholders, post, pans–the general fare, she supposed, for new couples. She couldn’t help smiling. Good thing she knew how to cook.
A voice announced the next item on the agenda. “Time to eat!”
Plates with wonderful culinary delights were brought before them all. First, a salad. Then came the Cornish hens, green beans almondine, and mashed potatoes. The champagne was poured and Trent and Natalia linked arms, sipping from their goblets in unison.
A voice raised the final announcement. “Time to cut the cake!”
The happy couple was escorted to the table where the cake sat.Trent cut the two slivers, feeding one to Natalia. Natalia fed him the other. Soon, pieces were being distributed among the guests.
The band began playing music and many of the guests wandered onto the dance floor to enjoy a few dances. Tangos. Sambas. Waltzes. Slow dances.
Each danced according to their tastes. Even Natalia and Trent made their way to the dance floor. All those dance lessons began to pay off. Although they weren’t the best, they were good enough.
In between dances, Michael approached the happy couple. “Would the groom allow me one dance with the blushing bride?”
Trent beamed. “Mister Morrow, I would be honored to give you her hand for a dance or two.”
Michael smiled. “A little tired?”
Trent nodded. “Need to rest my feet.”
Michael offered his daughter his arm. She took it and he led her to the floor. A slow waltz began to play and he took lead. One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three. they glided effortlessly across the dance floor, father and daughter, as if they were one. She looked into his eyes and saw sadness there, along with happiness.
She felt emotions welling up inside her, tears coming to her eyes. “Daddy, what’s wrong?”
He smiled sadly. “I just realized. This is the last time I will get to dance with my Natty. From this point on, Trent will be there to guide you through this dance called life. I’ll still be there, but not as your guiding star.”