Darkness Finds the Heart

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Chapter 18

Khryssa Hart sat in a chair nearly motionless wrapped in a thick white robe. Her hair was already done, a thick loose French braid with strands escaping. Ringlets curled against her cheeks. The finishing touches of makeup were being applied. When the makeup artist pulled back, Khryssa opened her eyes.

“All finished?”

“Yes Ma’am” The artist handed the bride-to-be a mirror.

Peering into the mirror, Dr. Khryssa Hart smiled and looked to the other woman. “You did a beautiful job, thank you so very much.” All of the bruising caused by the attack a little over a week ago was gone, thankfully. Turning to look at her mother, she was positively radiant.

“Mom? What do you think?”

Jael Hart hugged her daughter. “Khrys you look beautiful.” She smiled at Khryssa and hugged her again. She was so happy for her only child.

“Well. Time to get into the gown I suppose. You know I tried to talk Xavier into letting me get married in jeans. He refused.”

“I believe it Khrys. Even when you were a small child you hated getting dressed up.” Jael shook her head. Khryssa knew how to dress beautifully, but she hated it. Offering her daughter a hand, they walked over to where the gown was hanging.

“Ah yes. What was it I called the frilly little dresses you tried to put me in? Baby Barbie Clothes or something like that.” Khryssa and her mother both laughed.

“For someone who would rather wear jeans all the time Khryssa, you picked out a beautiful gown.”

Looking a touch sheepish, Khryssa blushed. “Actually Tess helped Mom. Okay that is not exactly true, Tess picked it out.”

Tess and Khryssa’s best childhood friend, Margalo, helped her into the beautiful dress. The dress was a strapless, full length gown of mixed silks. It was styled in an A-line fitting with baroque graduated beading from the bust line to the waist.. A tulle sash around the waist accented the slenderness of the woman wearing it. Khryssa dipped low and Margalo helped attach the veil. Standing back up straight, she looked at her two friends.

“Do I look okay?”

Tess and Margalo hugged the bride warmly. Each one whispering in her ear how wonderful she looked. Margalo stepped back to speak.

“Xavier is going to be so stunned that I am not sure he will be able say ‘I do’ without ravishing you first!” Margalo tipped her head to the side considering what she just said. “Actually I think when he sees what is under the gown, you are done for Khrys.”

Khryssa laughed and blushed brightly. A grin appeared across her painted lips. “I am sure Xavier will be able to control himself.” Drawing in a deep breath and exhaling slowly she spoke once more. “I can’t believe the day is already here. You both look lovely.”

Margalo had picked out the bridesmaid dresses. The dresses were both beautiful, a dark red wine color with a small gold sash. Both dresses were A-line halter styles made of delicate chiffon, which dropped to the floor.

“Thank you Khrys.” Both women replied in unison.

Right at that moment there was a knock on the door. There was a voice on the other side. “Khrys it is me. Is everyone decent? May I come in?”

Turning to her mother and friends, she started to grin. “Of course Dad, everything is ready to go.”

James Hart stepped into the room. He gasped at the sight of his daughter. She was stunning. “You look beautiful babygirl. I am so proud of you.”

“Thank you Dad.” She reached over and gave her father a hug.

“Alright then ladies, are you ready for pictures?”

Khryssa made a face and then nodded. “Yes Dad.”

“Okay it is just going to be the bride, the parents and the bride, and your bridesmaids Khrys. We will get the ones with you and Xavier after the wedding.”

“You realize we have been living together for a while? So aren’t you taking this a touch too far on the husband not seeing the wife before the wedding Dad?”

“Not at all!”

The five of them laughed. Then they headed outside to have the photographs taken in the setting sun.

Benedict stood up with Xavier, along with Dr. Gavril Vlaicu. The tenting overhead was beautiful. There were to have been almost five hundred people for the wedding. Then she put her foot down. Khryssa had spoken to Xavier about the excessive number of people that were to be attending and the two of them changed the guest list. It was a much smaller wedding now with less than one hundred people attending. A friend of the family, Louis McGarry, was doing the officiating. People from all over the world were here.

Xavier stood rigid in front of Louis. He was nervous. He had not been married for nearly six centuries. That was all about to change. Benedict clapped Xavier on the back with genuine affection. Benedict never forgot that Xavier was the one that came for him when his mother died. Gavril smiled at the other vampire; he was fond of the human that Xavier was marrying.

The music started to play and the groom looked down the aisle. His back straightened and then he started to smile. In his view was Khryssa, arm in arm with her father. Xavier could not take his eyes off of her. She was a vision of pure beauty. She was always a stunning woman, even first thing in the morning. Granted she would disagree with that, at least before she had her first cup of coffee. But now, she positively glowed.

James Hart stood there with tears in his eyes; he could hear a sob from his wife in the front row. Giving his daughter over to Xavier was the hardest thing that he had ever done. Shaking hands with the man that would soon to be his son-in-law, he spoke quietly.

“Love her son; love her like you love nothing else. Take care of her, please.”

Xavier smiled with genuine warmth. “I already do Mr. Hart. I will never let anything happen to her. Thank you.”

Louis McGarry started the ceremony once James had sat down. He kept it short and simple as per the couple’s wishes. Taking a moment to lift the veil, he was struck that this magnificent woman had said yes. She had said she loved him. Xavier stood there with the love of his very long life, hand in hand. He couldn’t stop smiling.

“Khryssa Leigh Hart, do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband for as long as you both shall live?”

The soft sweetness of her wine and roses voice sent a shiver through those gathered. “I do.” Xavier pressed the wedding band onto her finger.

Xavier Gregori Harcard, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife for as long as you both shall live?”

His deep accented voice was filled with warmth that no one had heard from him before, except Khryssa. “I do.” Khryssa did the same to him, the wedding band slid onto his finger with ease.

“By the power invested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife!” Louis smiled at the couple. “You may kiss the bride!”

Xavier brushed his fingers against his new wife’s cheeks. Taking her face within his hands, he kissed her. When they kissed the new couple became lost in their own world, they did not even hear the applause. It was a moment filled with love. Breaking the kiss, Xavier looked into his wife’s eyes and whispered. “Hello Mrs. Harcard.”

She smiled kissing him one more time to the cheers of the crowd behind them. “Hello Mr. Harcard, my husband.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Xavier Harcard!”

They walked back down the aisle together. Happiness was shining in both of their faces. They walked out of sight for a while. A few minutes of being alone before the reception began was needed. Xavier kissed his wife tenderly.

“I have never seen anyone or anything as beautiful in my life as you are right this minute.”

“It is you that makes me beautiful Xavier. I do have a question though, Gregori?”

Xavier smiled a touch sheepishly. “I had to have a middle name, so I made that up on the spur of the moment.”

They talked for a few more minutes. Taking the time to relax with each other and come to the realization that they were bonded legally as well as in their hearts.

“Shall we greet our guests my darling?”

Kissing him one more time, she spoke. “Of course.” They walked out of the room and into the great hall hand in hand.

Photographs had been taken. Dinner was over. The cake had been cut. The toasts were done. The orchestra started to play at that moment. Xavier took Jael onto the dance floor right after Khryssa and her father started dancing. When the first song was over, Xavier took his bride into his arms for their first dance. The room narrowed down to each other. Nothing was disturbing them. The music changed abruptly, causing Xavier to look up. He started to smile. Picking his new bride up and swinging her around, much to the joy of the others that were watching.

“Instrumental version of the first song you ever sang to me. I can only assume that this is your doing.”

“But of course it is.” She started to sing softly in his ear. The melodic words were for him and him alone.

When the song ended a rain of applause started. Walking off the floor they were both accosted with new dance partners. For hours, it seemed, they danced. When they were apart, their eyes never left each other. There was one final dance of the evening. Xavier took his wife into his arms once again.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this was the music that Khryssa danced her first dance ever with me. Seeing how it is our wedding night, I would like it to be the one that starts our honeymoon and married lives together. If you would please join us in this dance, we would be honored to share this with each of you.”

‘The Maid with the Flaxen Hair’ began to play. Khryssa and Xavier moved like they belonged together, and they did. When the song was over Xavier picked his wife up into his arms. Escorting her out of the public view and into their vast home, they changed quickly into more casual clothes. Dashing down the steps, to the waiting car, they were greeted with handfuls of bird seed. Pausing at the car Khryssa did not step in immediately. Turning her back to the crowd, the bouquet was tossed back. Tess reached up and caught the lovely flowers. The young woman blushed happily while Khryssa and Xavier started the applause. Climbing into the car, the newlyweds disappeared out of sight.

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