I was ten days behind Stanley.
With Aishe and the other maids crying profusely, I left the house I was used to living in with my parents and my wedding gear.
The journey to Stanley’s parents’ house, which would normally take a day or two, took three days to complete, taking my health into consideration.
I was able to spend some time with my parents, who were always busy, and it helped me to recover from the loneliness of being away from my servants and my home.
Dana had quit her job as a governess after seeing my engagement, and had finally made up her mind to get married, which she had been dreading. At her age, I’d thought she’d never find a good match, but it seems she’d found a pretty good one. And it’s in the ward where Stanley lives.
I’m sure she will continue to be a good advisor to me.
We finally arrived at the church where the ceremony was to be held, stayed overnight, and finally arrived on the day of the ceremony.
My stomach was so tight that the corset was going to kill me because I had eaten so much in the morning thinking I wouldn’t be able to eat much today, but other than that, I was generally in good health.
In a room in the church, I was quickly made into a bride.
I was sure Stanley was just a few walls away, but he was only allowed to see me in front of God. I guess God liked to show off.
Finally, the final touches were done, and Father and Mother were ushered into the room.
Mother’s face broke into a smile when she saw me.
"You look beautiful, Florence."
When I looked up at my father, who said nothing, I saw that his eyebrows were lower than ever and he looked as if he was about to cry.
"I never thought I’d have to let you go…"
He looked at his mother and laughed, "What’s the big deal now?"
"I thought you were frail and would stay with me forever…"
"I’m stronger now, thanks to you, Father and Mother."
It was thanks to them that I’d been able to live to this age, and it was thanks to them that I’m wearing my wedding dress now.
My father nodded his head and looked at me with red eyes.
"Florence, be happy."
At these words, I put on a big smile and said with confidence.
"Yes, I will be happy."
The veil was lifted by Mother’s hand. Now, the first happiness would begin; the wedding.
I left my mother and walked with my father to the entrance of the church. It seemed that a lot of people had already entered the large church. I was told that Stanley was already there.
The solemn sound of the pipe organ rang out, signaling the entrance. The large doors slowly opened, and the priest leading the way stepped through them.
I placed my hand on Father’s outstretched hand and took my first step.
I was surprised to see so many people in attendance, but that didn’t bother me for long.
I could see the back of Stanley, dressed in his formal attire, across the bright green carpet.
I was tempted to skip and run to him, but I moved forward step by step on the carpet at a speed that would not cause my siblings’ children, who were carrying my long veil, to fall.
The veil was less visible than I had expected, and I didn’t notice until I got quite close, but it seemed that Stanley had cut off the hair that had reached the middle of his back.
I secretly waved to my brothers and sisters who were standing in the pews alongside my mother, and with my father’s support, I walked up the stairs and finally arrived next to Stanley.
I look up at his face. He looked down at me at the same time, and our eyes met and we smiled at each other. I’m sure it was the veil that kept me from feeling embarrassed to see him after so long.
Stanley whispered to me, "You look beautiful."
"Thank you. Did you cut your hair?"
"Yes. I liked your long hair, but it’s nice too."
The sound of the pipe organ ceased and I turned my gaze back to the front.
The ceremony proceeded with the priest’s opening statement, hymns and words of thanksgiving.
I really should have listened to the priest talking about love, but I was too busy with other things. Just before the opening statement, Stanley called out "Joseph" to the groomsman standing next to him.
I stole a glance at him. So this was the Joseph I’ve heard so much about. He was quite a big man, and instead of being scared off his back by a bear, he looked as strong as a bear himself. I’ll definitely have to talk to him later.
By the time I finally began to listen seriously, the grateful words were already at an end.
My father stepped forward. My hand, which was still clenched, was gently placed on the palm of Stanley’s proffered hand.
"I’m counting on you, Stanley."
I heard a firm but clear reply, and my father’s mouth relaxed slightly. Then he slowly let go of my hand.
Father and Joseph left the altar, leaving Stanley and I. Our clasped hands trembled slightly, but I couldn’t tell which one was trembling, or if they both were.
When I squeezed to stop him, he squeezed back twice as well, and the tightness in his mouth finally relaxed.
We listened to another long, long sermon, sang a hymn, and recited the priest’s vows.
I had been looking forward to the exchange of rings because Aishe had told me about a certain jinx. It was said that if the groom could fit the ring on the bride’s finger without it getting caught in the joint, he would be able to take control of the marriage.
Stanley had successfully hooked my second joint, and I thought I was going to get my backside kicked for this, but I did the same and we had a draw.
I wondered if Stanley would think that I was thinking about something so absurd. No, I’m sure he could see right through me.
The veil was lifted. My vision finally became clearer and I could see Stanley.
The priest announced that we were now husband and wife.
Hymns were played, and the church was filled with gorgeous colors.
But I couldn’t take my eyes off Stanley’s face.
His face squinted and smiled so happily.
Seeing this, I suddenly realized.
Oh, I’m sure we could be so happy that everyone will envy us.