“You what?” Taylor asked looking at me. I cleared my throat painfully.
“I want you to marry me. Here. Now.” I looked up at him.
“Bailey I don’t know if that’s the best idea right now.” I looked down away from him. “You were in a coma for 2 weeks baby.”
“I know.” I looked up at him again. “But I need this. Please. It’s all I want.” My voice was raspy and low as I talked to him. The doctor walked back in with a cup of ice water.
“Here sweetheart. Drink this.” I took a sip of the cold water sighing as the cool liquid soothed my ache throat.
“Thank you.” I smiled weakly before looking back at Taylor. He had a thoughtful look on his face. Fin was reaching towards me biting his lip unhappily. “Come here baby.” I reached out my arms. He came into my arms holding onto me tightly. I felt a sharp pain in my lower stomach. “Careful baby.” I said clearing my throat. “Mommy hurts.” He nodded holding me loosely. I stroked his hair.
“You want me to marry you? Right now? In this hospital?” I looked up at him.
“Yeah. I need this. I need it now Taylor. I thought I was never going to see you again.” He shook his head.
“I was here the whole time.” He whispered moving to stroke my hair.
“I know. But I was scared I wouldn’t get to see you anymore. I wasn’t going to make it Taylor. I was dying.” He shook his head.
“The doctor might have said that but baby you have to-” I shook my head cutting him off.
“Taylor I knew I was. I could feel it.” He leaned down to look at me.
“Bailey.” I coughed at him in response before clearing my throat.
“I couldn’t leave you. I had to stay here with you. With my babies.” I kissed Fin’s head before looking at him. “I didn’t want to leave you.” I knew he was about to cry as he looked at me.
“I wouldn’t die for you Taylor.” I swallowed painfully. “I would live for you. It means much, much more.” He closed his eyes. Fin sighed holding onto me a little tighter. “All I ask is you marry me right here.” I put my hand over his. “I want it official.” He opened his blood shot eyes at me. “Please.”
“What about the big wedding? What about your father walking you down the aisle?”
“We can do that. But Taylor I’m sick and I know it. I want it to be official. In case anything happens.” The doctor cleared his throat.
“You know I can get a Minster to come marry you here.” Taylor looked at him. “It would be nothing. Me and him have been good friends for a while. I’m sure he can marry you two today.” Taylor looked down at me. He nodded.
“That would be good if you would give him a call.” I smiled at him happily as he leaned down to kiss my head.
“I’ll go now.” The doctor smiled at us before walking out. “I’ll be right back.” Taylor sat down on the chair next to my bed.
“I love you Bailey.” He smiled at me. I smiled up at him.
“I love you too Taylor.” Fin looked up at me.
“And me Mommy?” I smiled at him.
“And Conrad?” He asked with big eyes.
“And Sissy?” Taylor smiled at us.
“And Sissy.” Fin nodded at me.
“I love Sissy too.” He looked down at my empty stomach. “Even if Sissy no there no more.” He said pointing at it. Taylor started to laugh at him.
“Sissy came out to play early.” I sighed at him.
“Well she shouldn’t have. I no got to play with her.” He pouted crossing his arms. The doctor knocked on the door to the room.
“Sorry to interrupt. But I called my friend. He should be here in about 10 minutes to marry you two. If you need anything now would be a good time.” I looked at Taylor.
“You need to get Conrad.” I said panicky. “Where is he? Is he okay?” I coughed loudly.
“Hush Baby. It’s okay. He’s at the house. He has a little cold. I didn’t want you to get it so I kept him at the house with your Aunt Emilia. She has been helping a lot since we have been here.” I nodded trying to stop my horrid coughing.
“You have a house here?” He nodded.
“Temporary housing. Conrad and Fin share a room.” He stroked my hair. “I’ll go call Emmy to bring him in.” I nodded at him quickly.
“Thank you.” I smiled at him as he smiled me.
“I’ll be back soon.” I nodded as he walked out of the room. Fin smiled at me from where he was lying on my chest.
“Hi Mommy.” He smiled at me happily.
“Hi Finny.” He giggled at me.
“I missed you Mommy.” He said looking up sadly. “Daddy missed you too.” I stroked his brown hair.
“I missed him too. You too.” Fin moved to sit up and put something on my chest.
“What that?” He asked me pointing to the dog tags from Uncle Wyatt. I moved them into my hand running my fingers over them.
“A gift.” I finally said after a moment. “A gift from someone special to Grandpa.” He touched them looking at it curiously.
“Who Mommy?” I smiled at him.
“I’ll tell you when you’re older Baby.” He looked at the door as Aunt Emmy came in holding a tired looking Conrad. He had a paint splattered designed green pacifier in his mouth as he held a reindeer security blanket in his arms. He had a little red nose and was in knit stripped full body outfit. He reached for me instantly making Aunt Emmy laugh. I took him into my arms hugging him close to me. He held me close closing his eyes. I kissed his head sighing as I pulled Fin in on the hug. I smiled up at Aunt Emmy.
“Hi Sweetheart.” She smiled at me as I moved Conrad to my side as he sucked away on his pacifier.
“Thanks for taking care of my family when I couldn’t.” She shook her head.
“We’re family. We help each other in a time of need.” She patted my hand. “Congratulations Bailey. You’re getting married.” She smiled at me.
“Thanks.” I smiled at her rubbing Conrad’s back as he sneezed before coughing. I put the pacifier back into his mouth. Taylor walking back in talking to the Minister.
“Hello Bailey.” The Minister smiled at me. I shook his hand.
“You’re going to marry us today?” He nodded.
“I’d be honored to marry you two today.” I nodded at him s Conrad turned to look at him before lying down again. “Let’s get started.” He smiled as Taylor put something into my hand. I looked up at him the tears forming in my eyes at the two pink carnations. He still remembers what they meant, and what they meant to me. He smiled at me as I smiled as the nurses crowded in the door way looking in.
“Come on in.” Taylor smiled at them as the doctor stood in the corner and the nurses came in to watch as well.
“We are gathered here today in the sight of God and the United States Marine Corps, to witness this exchange of vows, and see the love that these two dedicated, loving people have for one another.” Taylor took my hand in his. “Do you, Taylor Andrews, take Bailey Williams as your dependent, to dwell together in so far as the Marine Corps will permit? Will you love her, care for her; hold her hand while she’s sick so far as the Marine Corps will permit?”
“I do.” He smiled at him. I couldn’t hold the tears in anymore.
“Do you, Bailey Williams, take this Marine as your wedded husband, knowing that he is depending upon you to be the perfect Marine wife, running the household, being nice to his Commanding Officers wife no matter what? Do you understand that your marriage wouldn’t be normal? That you will have to explain to the children more than once that Mommy’s have husbands and they have a Daddy that loves them no matter what and tucks them in when they are sleeping? Will you send pictures of you and the kids so he can remember what y’all look like?” I couldn’t stop the tears that were running down my cheeks.”
“I do.” I nodded wiping my eyes. All the nurses were crying as they watched us. The Minister turned to Taylor nodding. Taylor pulled his dog tags out from under his shirt before taking them off. He unclipped them and pulled the two wedding rings from around them. I looked at him.
“You were always close to my heart.” He shrugged at me handing me his ring. The Minister once again nodded at Taylor.
“I, Taylor Andrews, take thee Bailey Williams as my wife, the mother of my children, my soul mate. I will love you for better or worse, earlier or later, near or far, from sea to shining sea, and I promise to look at the pictures you send me. I’ll guard them from everyone around me. I’ll hold your hand when you’re sick, kiss it better when you’re hurt. I will love you for the rest of our days and forever and ever.” Taylor pushed the wedding ring on my ring finger. The minister looked at me giving me a nod of encouragement. I handed my flower to Fin who smiled at me.
“I, Bailey Williams, take this Marine as my husband, for better or worse no matter what country we may be living in. I promise not to be shocked or taken by surprise when you inform me that we will be leavingthis duty station within the month. I am a family member and proud of it, dependent upon myself and my family. Although I miss you when you are away, I know I can handle everything when you are gone till you can come home again to me and your children. I know I can make you proud.” I slipped the ring onto Taylor’s ring finger on his left hand. The Minister looked into his bible.
“Let no man or woman put asunder what God and the Marines have brought together. The Marine Corps hereby issues this lovely, beautiful, dedicated, independent, woman knowing that she'll be an asset not only to your marriage but also the Mission of the United States Marine Corps which is, as you all know to remain in a state of Readiness. By the authority vested in the Bible, elaborated in the regulations and subject to the current directives concerning the aspects of marriage in the Marines,you are now a Marine with Family Member, a dependent. Semper Fi.” He smiled closing his bible. “Marine you may kiss your wife.” Taylor took my face in his giving me a loving deep kiss as everyone around us clapped happily wiping their eyes.