Absolution
Author:Amanda Dick

Physical impossibility.

 

Yeah, well, so was what she was planning to do this afternoon. Months of practicing with a sheet tied around her waist so she couldn’t see her legs. Trusting her body was doing what she was telling it to do, without actually being able to see it respond. She was probably crazy for even thinking this would work, but she couldn’t back down now. She wanted to see Jack’s face as she walked up the aisle to be with him – no crutches, no wheelchair. Just this one time, she wanted to do things the same way everyone else did. If it never happened again, she was fine with that. But it had to happen today.

 

She pushed herself upright, throwing the covers back and transferring into her wheelchair. The butterflies in her stomach increased as she laid eyes on her wedding dress, hanging silently on the wardrobe door. She wheeled over to it slowly, reaching up to touch the soft white silk folds that fell from the waistline. When she wore it, she felt like a princess.

 

She was getting light-headed thinking about it. The plans – both public, that Jack knew about, and private, that he didn’t – were set in stone. It would be fine. It had to be. It was their wedding day.

 

She used the bathroom, then headed for the kitchen, eager for coffee. Maggie would be here soon, and the chaos would really begin. Before that though, she needed some quiet time.

 

Rounding the kitchen doorway, she stopped dead.

 

Jack stood leaning against the kitchen counter, arms folded across his chest, smiling at her.

 

She stared at him, wide-eyed. “What are you doing here?”

 

“And a good morning to you too, fiancée. I thought I’d come by and make your last ‘first cup of coffee of the day’ as a single woman,” his smile faded and he scratched his chin. “Did I get that right? That sounded better in my head.”

 

“You can’t be here, Jack – its bad luck!” she sputtered, glancing around as if someone might see him and throw him out.

 

“Yeah, well, that’s where my lack of superstition comes in handy. Don’t really care, y’see – I had to see you.” He shrugged, the smile back. “I didn’t like sleeping without you next to me last night. The day started all wrong, so I thought I’d come over and re-start it, if you know what I mean.”

 

“But… my dress is in the bedroom, you can’t see my dress!”

 

He glanced down the hall. “Don’t panic, I don’t plan on going anywhere near the bedroom. I just wanted to see you, that’s why I waited in here. Knew you’d come in for your coffee eventually.”

 

He walked over to her, bending down to scoop her out of her wheelchair and into his arms. The butterflies in her stomach took flight as she draped her arms around his neck, slightly breathless suddenly.

 

“What has gotten into you today?” she murmured, anger and fear dissipating as he pulled her closer.

 

His smile faded and the green of his eyes seemed to deepen. “I missed you. And I wanted to make sure you were okay – that you hadn’t changed your mind or anything.”

 

Her heart melted and she reached up to stroke his cheek. He hadn’t yet shaved this morning, and the stubble was rough beneath her fingertips. “Of course I haven’t changed my mind.”

 

He rolled his eyes, throwing his head back with a theatrical sigh. “Whew! That’s a load off!”

 

She grinned, grabbing his chin between her thumb and forefinger. “Here’s your last chance to kiss me as your fiancée,” she said, smile fading. “Next time, it’ll be as your wife.”

 

He didn’t need any more of an invitation, covering her lips with his. She closed her eyes, burying her fingers in his newly trimmed hair, and tried to remember to breathe. She hoped it would always be like this between them - that his kiss would always have the power to soothe the worry in her heart and her soul. It seemed to last forever, which is exactly what she wanted right now – to lose herself in Jack’s arms, his lips on hers, making silent promises she intended on making sure he kept.

 

The thought of walking up the aisle towards him wasn’t as frightening as it had been earlier. Callum was right, and she had been practicing for months. Everything would be fine, and at the reception, she would dance in his arms in front of everyone, light-headed from the champagne. She couldn’t wait.

 

“Wow,” he mumbled, licking his lips.

 

She smiled.

 

Just you wait till you see me at the church.

 

“As much as I want to hang around here and see where this leads, I should probably get going, right?”

 

“You should.” She nodded, as he deposited her carefully back in her wheelchair. “Maggie’ll be here soon – and while you might not be superstitious, she is. She’ll kill you if she finds you here, and I want you to make it to the church in one piece, otherwise this very romantic gesture of yours will’ve been a total waste of time.”

 

“Very good point. I guess I’ll see you later, then?”

 

He looked as if he wanted to say more. She waited, but he didn’t elaborate.