~ Chapter Seven ~
"I still think this is too soon, Rosie."
Rosie sighed. "Mother, a few months ago you were complaining that I was twenty three and that I had to get a move on before all the good guys were gone."
"I suppose I did, but I wasn't expecting my daughter to get married a week after she was engaged! Honey, are you sure about this?"
"I wouldn't be standing here in my wedding dress if I wasn't, Mother." Rosie sighed. "I thought you were happy for us." Rosie could feel the prickling sensation behind her eyes warning her of tears. She bit the inside of her cheeks to prevent them.
Eva frowned at her daughter. "I've never said I wasn't happy for you two. I just think it's a bit soon. I just want you to be happy, Rosie. I don't want to see you running into things and getting hurt. As long as you're happy, I'm happy." Eva smiled encouragingly at her daughter.
"Thanks, but this is something I want to do. I love him. I really love him. I don't want to waste a minute pondering whether it's too soon when I should be living it with him." Rosie kissed her mother's cheek and lowered her white lace veil. "How do I look?"
"You look… Stunning." Eva smiled at her daughter, her eyes flooding with tears that filled dangerously close to leaking.
"Mother…" Rosie took a deep breath to try and strengthen her voice to stop herself from choking up. "Traditionally, the father gives his daughter away, but seeing as that is kind of impossible… Would you give me away instead?"
Eva bit her bottom lip and nodded her head gently, not entirely trusting her own voice. She held her arm out for Rosie. Rosie latched on gently, sniffing behind her veil. "Ready?"
"Ready." Rosie whispered.
They walked together through the doors into the large ballroom. Despite Rosie's childhood dreams of getting married in a church, this fantasy was unrealistically achievable on such short notice. She didn't mind getting married in her own house; it was large enough to host the event to all of her guests and she was still getting married to the man she loved.
The room was crammed with chairs to provide seating space for all the guests, who were now on their feet as Rosie entered. An elderly old woman was playing the traditional wedding song on their piano at the front. Then Rosie saw Henry at the top of the aisle and all the fears, doubts and butterflies were set to ease. He was there. Waiting for her. Waiting for her to accept him and become his bride. Rosie smiled to herself and concentrated on her footing, trying to not catch it in the hem of her dress.
After a cautiously slow shuffle to the front, they eventually pulled up next to Henry.
"You look beautiful" Henry whispered to Rosie as the song finished and everyone sat down. Rosie blushed. The elderly officiant smiled at them, waiting for a cue that they were ready. Henry smiled and nodded his head.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to witness the joining of Henry Fredrick Armstrong and Rosie Elizabeth Day in matrimony. If anyone knows of any reason in which they may not be lawfully joined together, let them speak now or forever hold their peace." The celebrant paused and Rosie looked around, sweeping the crowd nervously. Her eyes found Mr Solomon and he glared at her. The man beside him held his arm and whispered something in his ear. "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?" The officiant continued.
"I do." Eva lifted Rosie's veil, kissed her cheek and placed her daughters hand in Henry's.
"Thank you, please take a seat." The elderly man said smiling warmly at Eva as she herself smiled and walked away to take her seat at the front.
"Henry Fredrick Armstrong, do you take Rosie Elizabeth Day for your lawful wedded wife?"
"I do." Henry smiled at Rosie.
"Will you love her, forsaking all others, keeping only unto her for as long as you both shall live?"
"No." Henry said confidently. There was a silence before the crowd began whispering among themselves. The officiant shuffled from one foot to the other uncomfortably.
Rosie's eyes filled with tears, feeling the painful throb of rejection stab her as she stood holding his hands. She swallowed. "No?" she whispered questioningly. "Honey, you're supposed to say I do…"
"No." He repeated, turning to the crowd. "I will however, love her like I have loved no other, comfort her when she feels down, cherish every moment I spend with her and wait for the moment when we are united when we are apart." The crowd hushed as Henry carried on. "I want to spend every minute by her side, not as her boyfriend or her fiancé, but as her husband. I want to hold her close to me; in my arms, in my mind and in my heart. That way we can always be together, even when we are not." Henry's deep blue eyes found Rosie. "I promise to look after you and hold you, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. I would say 'as long as we both shall live', but I know that when I'm on the other side, I'll be begging them to bring me back so I can look at you one last time."
The crowd simultaneously let out an "aww".
The officiant smiled and proceeded to ask Rosie. "And do you, Rosie Elizabeth Day, take Henry Fredrick Armstrong to be your lawful wedded husband? Will you love him, forsaking all others, keeping only unto him, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health?"
"I wish I could say something equally as amazing as Henry, other than 'I do'. Words cannot summarise my love and devotion to him, other than 'I do'." Rosie smiled.
"Can the one who holds the rings, please step forwards." Shyly, a young boy with sandy coloured hair steps forwards, presenting two golden rings on a red velvet cushion. Henry picked up Rosie's ring. "May this ring be blessed so that he who gives it and she who wears it may abide in peace."
"With this ring I thee wed. Wear it as a symbol of our love and commitment." Henry said as he gently slid the ring onto Rosie's finger.
"And now," the celebrant said with his deep booming voice as Rosie picked up the remaining ring, "may this ring be blessed so that she who gives it and he who wears it may abide in peace."
"With this ring I thee wed. Wear it as a symbol of our love and commitment." Rosie eased the ring onto Henry's finger before she looked up into his eyes and beamed.
"May this couple be able to embark on their adventure in married life; being able to experience more and more joy with each passing day. Henry Fredrick Armstrong and Rosie Elizabeth Day are now beginning their married life, after consent to live forever together in wedlock, witnessed before you here today. We hope that they have loving support from friends and family, and a long life with good health, happiness and everlasting love. I pronounce you husband and wife. To seal your promises, you may now kiss the bride." Without hesitation, Henry's lips locked Rosie's lips and they stood there caressing each other before the crowd of friends and family as they applauded and cheered. "Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the loving couple, Mr. and Mrs Armstrong!"