Since Sarah Morgan was still sleeping I didn't go downstairs with Morgan. I looked out the window and I could see that the orchard was already a beehive of activity. A path was cut in the grass for the guests and wedding party. low tables and cushions were being set up in a wide circle around the perimeter of the clearing where the ceremony would take place. The wedding reception breakfast would be held after the ceremony ended at dawn.
Since the guests wouldn't even start arriving until about nine o'clock at night, I decided I would put her to bed in her baby carriage. I packed a pretty little lavender dress for her to wear at the reception. She loved Morgan's dress so much I got the seamstress that made Morgan's dress make a baby version for Sarah Morgan.
As soon as the sun went down, the bells in the village church began to ring merrily in celebration of our nuptials. The pastor from that church was going to conduct the human part of the ceremony. Sarah Morgan had already been fed and put to bed in her carriage by nine o'clock.
The guests had been going down the path with lit candles for at least an hour. They would probably be put out until the wedding party started down the path. Most of the human guests carried flash lights as well. The guests were guided to their places at the low tables. Those who were unable to sit comfortably on the cushions were given low patio chairs to sit in.
Thalion would be waiting at the place where the actual ceremony would take place. In the centre of the clearing was a small woven carpet called the oinurte, representing the home. On it would be a brazier of burning coals and amber incense, and a silver basin of rainwater.
Morgan and I got ready together in my room. Just as the number of guests began to dwindle down, There was a knock on my door.
"Is that you aunt Sarah? " I called
"It is." She replied.
I opened the door and my jaw dropped! There stood someone that I had given up hope of seeing at my wedding.
I threw my arms around her and burst into tears. So did she, and so did aunt Sarah, who was standing beside her. I could hear Morgan weeping from the arm chair in the corner.
When I finally stopped I backed away and went to get a box of tissue off my bureau. That's when I noticed a man standing a little ways to the side of the doorway, looking decidedly uncomfortable.
Mom noticed my line of sight, so she motioned the man to come forward. When he did, mom introduced him.
"Gloria, I'd like you to meet..your father!"
That's when I fainted dead away.
When I woke up the man was nowhere in sight, and I was lying on my bed.
"He ran out on us! There's no way he's walking me down the isle!" I blurted out.
Mom put her arm around me as I sat up with my legs over the side of the bed.
"James didn't run out on us honey." Mom said gently.
"He didn't come back to us because he's dead!"
"He doesn't look dead." I grumped. What a stupid excuse to explain away all the lost years!
"Neither does Fancy Anne when she chooses to show herself. They're both ghosts. You only see what they want you to see. He was only a teenager like me when we were married, because I was pregnant with you. He shows himself to you at the age he would have been if he had lived."
I was flabbergasted! All those years that I thought he had abandoned us, he hadn't, he was buried under a mountain of garbage!. That was the one and only reason that I could think of to make me forgive him for putting us through the loss of him.
"What happened to him?" I asked.
"He was coming home from work at the local burger joint where he worked, when he was mugged and murdered! His body was buried in a county dump. It had been closed for years when they decided to clean it up and plowed it under as landfill. He had been put in an old trunk, so his driver's license was still with his bones. When the trunk was opened, his spirit was free. It had been buried under all that garbage with his body. The first thing he did was come home to me."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
" He only came home four days ago. I've tried calling you several times, but I keep getting your voice mail."
"Oh mom I'm sorry! I haven't even been wearing my phone for days! That's why it's been on voice mail. I'm sorry."
"I'm so glad you came to the wedding after all mom. What made you change your mind?"
Mom shot a quick questioning glance at aunt Sarah, who nodded agreement.
"I asked Sarah to forgive me, and she did."
"Forgive you for what?"
"Sarah and Ben were engaged when I got married. Ben's family was rich, and Ben didn't approve of James. In high school he had hung around with a pretty rough crowd. Ben and Sarah tried to talk me out of marrying him, but I loved him, I truly did. He loved me too. Everybody thought I made him marry me, but I didn't We had talked about marriage even before I got pregnant. When James disappeared I thought maybe Ben had paid him off to go away.. permanently."
I looked over at aunt Sarah who was sitting beside me. She didn't say anything, she just looked very sad.
"Of course Sarah and Ben denied it, Ben even hired a detective to find James, but of course he was never found. I thought that was a cover up to get Sarah and I back together. Then when Sarah got married she asked me to be maid of honour I refused. She asked if she could have mom's wedding dress. I still had it from my wedding I wasn't showing yet when I got married. I was only eight weeks along. I wouldn't give it to her. i told her I would burn it first."
"Wow! That was harsh, mom." I remarked
" I know, but I was lonely and bitter. I was miserable, and I blamed Ben and Sarah for it. Anyway, when Jame's ghost showed up, I sent you my mom's wedding dress. In the envelope I sent Sarah a heartfelt apology along with James' death certificate and autopsy report. Sarah graciously forgave me."
Mom went over to aunt Sarah and they hugged. Aloud knock came on the door. It was uncle Ben. He yelled in through the door.
"Ladies, I hope you're ready. Sarah, you and I have to lead the way down the path. Morgan is going to follow with Mike, then Rebecca will accompany Gloria as far as the clearing, then Gloria will continue on her own till they reach the oinurte where Thalion will meet her."
My head whipped around to look at Morgan.
" Mike is in the wedding?" I gasped.
"Oh yeah, i just found out myself two hours ago, and with everything else going on.. I forgot. Dad told me that Thalion didn't have any Elven friends who would know how to perform best man duties, so he asked my dad."
" I laughed and clasped my hands. That's perfect!"