Friday, July 18, 2008

Lori's Choice Part 22

Not for younger readers. The subject of Lori's Choice should be screened by parents before minors read it.

The wedding was a celebration with their families and friends. The whole church turned out. Jenny volunteered to watch Anna instead of being a bridesmaid, since Caleb couldn’t come up with a matching number of men to be groomsmen. The day of the wedding he dressed at dawn, despite his brother informing him in his practical way that by the end of the ceremony (scheduled for one), he would reek with sweat. It didn’t matter. Lori would be waiting.

At 11:30, as arranged, they met in the garden behind the church. It was sheltered from the eyes of arriving guests. Lori was decked in her splendorous white, and he felt like falling over when she rounded the corner to meet him. He took her hand slowly, looked in her eyes, and said, “You look beautiful. Are you ready?” Lori could only nod, her voice choked with the emotion that spilled over into her eyes.

“Hey, don’t cry! You’ll ruin the pictures!” he teased.

The bridesmaids and groomsmen gathered in the reception hall with the couple to take photographs. Jenny had a dress to match the bridesmaids, and even Anna was in a coordinating gown. Mom and Dad on one side, and Michael and Tess on the other made elegant bookends. Lori felt it was a perfect picture of the way all her friends and family, and nearest to her, Caleb, had kept her together through all this.

Not more than an hour later, Lori entered the sanctuary. All eyes turned to her. Caleb felt like he’d never seen her before, she was looking so radiant. She was grown from the slight girl of seventeen he’d first fallen in love with. Her hands were the same that had gestured about the speedometer and bugs hitting the windshield in his pickup that day. He smiled at the memory, all the while searching the eyes of the woman crossing the distance between the door and the altar. The minister was talking. Dad said “I and her mother” to some question or other. After the ceremony he would try to remember what. Lori gently placed her hand in his, trusting him to hold on. That’s how she is. That’s how I always treat her, he thought.

A few of Lori’s favorite songs, romantic and spiritual, played while he whispered to her what he was thinking. Pastor Greg tried to keep from rolling his eyes. He himself was torn between sentiment and humor. He determined to remind his bride how much he loved her. Tess watched the exchanges between the bride and groom. Whenever Lori spoke to him she looked down first at her flowers, then up into his strong, smiling face. It was a thoughtful smile, Tess observed. She dabbed at the corner of her eyes.

For the vows, Caleb convinced himself to pay full attention to what was being said. He only got distracted a few times feeling Lori’s hand in his. Her fingers felt small, and a little cooler than his. He said “I do,” looking at her face with just the right timing that he got the words out strongly and still filled them with emotion, passion. She said “I do” with just a hint of that high-pitched tone that told him whenever she was doing something straight from her heart. Good thing she agreed to marry him in a more steady tone, or he would have wondered.

The pastor told Caleb he could kiss his bride, but he wasn’t quite sure he’d heard it yet. She waited expectantly, not puckering yet, but… puckering? He laughed he’d thought that. Then her eyes flashed just the tiniest second of irritation. Lori didn’t want to have to tell him to kiss her. At last, certain he wasn’t still waiting for the pastor to say what he’d missed him saying, Caleb bent to kiss his little Lori. His hands held her waist or she might have fallen. He’d been saving up. When he released her, she looked dizzy and he was on fire. So he knew now why he’d waited to kiss her.

He swooped her up into his arms. Lori shrieked for his sake, worried he couldn’t hold her. His natural strength coupled with his adrenaline made it an unnecessary fear. He carried her all the way down the aisle. The bridesmaids and groomsmen hurried to follow them out. A prayer at the end got skipped, and the official introduction, but they were legally married. Lori laughed as she told him just outside the doors what he’d done. “Do you want me to go back in so you can get introduced?” he asked.

“Maybe we’ll get Greg to do it at the reception. You should have seen Marybelle’s face, though!”

"Sorry. You don’t mind too much?” Caleb looked down at her as he lowered her to the ground. He pulled a wisp of her hair away from her face and tucked it under some white flowers. When the people started exiting, they were standing there, kissing again.

To God be all glory.

1 comment:

åslaug said...

Oh, Lisa. I've been waiting for this. You write absolutely wonderful. To God, our Saviour, be ALL glory!