CHAPTER ONE. WEDDING NERVES.
This was the most nerve-racking thing he had ever done in his 34 years on this earth. What on earth had possessed him? As he stood at the top of the aisle waiting for his bride to arrive, many thoughts rushed through his brain. His overwhelming sense was one of fear. Fear and sickness.
Martha stared back at the reflection in the mirror. Was this really her? The stranger in the white gown gazed back at her, very wide eyed. The words, rabbit and headlights came to mind. She hadn’t known she could be this beautiful. She was the image of the perfect bride. Well perfect except for one thing. She was satisfied with the illusion she had created. It was under-stated elegance. Classy and classic. She hoped her bridegroom would like classic.
The Banqueting Hall was filled with hushed whispers. Many had come. The large reception room was crowded with many of his close friends and family. There were also many faces he didn’t know. Her side of the family he supposed. He was too nervous to make eye contact with anyone.
Thank goodness his older brother Simon was here beside him, to guide him through the day. He watched as Simon fumbled in his waistcoat pocket, checking the rings were still there. Unnecessary but important behaviour, just to re-assure himself. Her ring was so tiny, that it fitted inside of Marc’s.
He stole a look at his watch, not long now. He couldn’t decide whether he would be relieved when his future wife arrived, or whether he wished she would never arrive.
“Are you ready for this Martha?” Louise asked as she lifted the veil down over her sister-in-law.
“Louise, what have I done?”
“You,” Louise assured her, “are taking a chance on romance!”
She handed Martha the bridal bouquet, to complete the outfit. Her bouquet consisted of red poinsettia’s, ivy and babies breath. The red against the white gown was stunning, and bought a flash of colour.
“But nothing. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You have to trust in this. You have to believe in the institution of marriage. It’s what you want. What you’ve always wanted. For as long as I’ve known you, you’ve been old-fashioned enough to believe in marriage. Living together was never an option for you. Now come on, let’s not keep him waiting. He’s down there now, ready to become your husband, for richer for poorer.”
“Til death us do part!” whispered Martha, as she headed towards the door.
When the invitation arrived, he had been surprised, shocked, confused and hesitant. Was this even the right thing to do? Marc was old-fashioned in his thoughts on the institution of marriage. He believed in love. He believed in family. He wanted what his older brother had, a home and children, someone to be with at the end of the day. So far it was the one thing in life that had evaded him. He had an excellent job, a nice house, but his home was empty of love. Fundamentally he was lonely. Hopefully that was all about to change.
This is it! Deep breath. Calm.
The opening strains of Mendelssohn’s The Wedding March started to play. The large oak double doors swung open, and she took her first step towards her future. She felt like she was drifting, ghost-like, everything was happening in slow-motion. The veil created an illusion; for those on the outside looking in and for her on the inside looking out. It filtered the light and softened the edges of the real world. She felt like an apparition. Was this even real? It all felt very dreamlike. Today she was the bride!
He heard the creak as the large oak doors swung open and the first strains of The Wedding March started to play. Here comes the bride. Don’t turn round yet, wait!
She let her breath out in a sigh of relief. He was here! She could she his tall athletic frame waiting patiently at the front of the room, for her. His dark short hair was cropped closely to his tanned strong neck. He wore a dark navy suit, which fitted very well and looked expensive. He was facing forward, concentrating very intently on the floor in front of him. Please turn around, she willed. Let me see your eyes!
He could hear her dress swishing as she glided towards him. He could catch the audience’s appreciation and comments as she approached, ever nearer. He could overhear her friends and family smiling, greeting her and offering words of encouragement.
Every fibre of his body was in an argument with itself. Look. Don’t Look. He would only get that first impression once. Should he look, or not look? As the melody played on, he knew she was getting closer. He couldn’t take the suspense any longer he needed to turn.
She was getting closer and closer to him. She could almost smell his after-shave. Scents of musk, spice, and something citrusy hung on the air. He still hadn’t turned. Please turn, she wished. He turned.
Marc’s face broke into a huge, relieved grin. She made as beautiful a bride as he had hoped.
He couldn’t see her eyes through the veil, of course, but she looked so classic and elegant.
His pure and graceful bride was moving towards him. He smiled at her with his eyes.
The relief was overwhelming. His gorgeous kind brown eyes smiled at her. Her nerves settled. Locking eyes, she walked towards her bridegroom.
As the distance closed, they both observed the little things. The cheeky red folded handkerchief in his top pocket, the pearl earrings swaying against her swan-like neck, his polished shoes, her womanly figure draped in satin, his gentle smile and her confident walk. There was trust in both of them for what lay ahead. This was going to be fine.