Marrying Ember
Author:Andrea Randall

“I miss them,” I admitted, holding her hand tighter.

 

Raven’s long reddish hair had grey streaks weaving through its waves, leaving me smiling as I thought about how Ember and I might look when our children married. “I know you do, honey.” Raven smiled and wriggled one of her hands free to place under my chin. “And no one can, or could try, to replace them. But we’ll keep loving the hell out of you. You’ve given Ashby and me the greatest gift anyone could have given us. You helped our daughter believe everything we ever taught her. You made it real to her. You make her happy and keep her safe. You’re absolutely everything we could have ever asked for.”

 

Before I could answer, Regan struck the bow across the strings of his violin, signaling Ember’s approach. Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major sent goosebumps across my back. I’d heard the song played at a million weddings before, and never felt that reaction. Tonight, however, was different. Tonight it signaled that my wife was on her way.

 

“Here she comes.” I tilted my head toward the end of our makeshift aisle, lined with daisy petals.

 

“You’ll do perfect,” Raven whispered. She gave my cheek a quick kiss, then scurried a few feet in front of me to stand and wait for Ember and Ashby.

 

Georgia and Monica were the first out of the RV, holding tiny bunches of wildflowers. They’d changed into casual summer dresses, and walked with wide smiles toward me, stopping next to Raven. Monica wiped under her eyes several times, and I heard her cursing her mascara under her breath.

 

All of that faded into the periphery as I watched Ember’s hand reach for her dad’s and he led her down the stairs of the RV. The hem of the long, white, strapless dress her mother altered for her from her own collection of clothes brushed against the ground as she walked toward me.

 

While she clutched her father’s hand tightly, and he watched her with soft admiration as they walked, her eyes never left mine. No longer glistening with tears, her eyes were just like the first night I met her. Fierce. Glowing.

 

Her hair was half up, pinned on the side with a sparkly clip that had what looked like diamonds and emeralds in it. I’d seen Raven hand it to Monica before they boarded the RV, and it highlighted the depth of her eyes the closer she got to me.

 

Realistically speaking, the walk from the RV to me was only about twenty feet, but the wait was excruciating. When Ashby and Ember finally reached me, Ashby embraced his daughter once more, holding her at arms length before turning to me.

 

He put her hand in mine and squeezed our hands together, eyeing me.

 

“Take care of her,” was all he said before sniffling and taking his place next to Raven.

 

“You’re stunning,” I said as I pulled her close to me, kissing her softly on the cheek. We’d ignored every other conventional wedding protocol, why stop now?

 

Ember swallowed hard, and I could tell she was trying to ward off tears. “Thank you. For tonight, and forever.”

 

Journey had been standing just to my side the entire time, but only spoke once Ember and I were joined, and turned to face her. Her smile was as wide as Embers, and as wide as mine felt.

 

“Ready?” she asked, moving her eyes between us.

 

In unison, Ember and I looked over our shoulders, into the loving eyes of those standing behind us. Standing for us. We looked back into each others eyes and answered Journey.

 

“We are.”

 

And, that is the story of how I married Ember. Under the glow of twinkle lights somewhere in Northern California, we pledged for better or worse, for richer or pooler, and in sickness and health.

 

Boy, did we do that in the nick of time.

 

 

 

*The End*