The wedding day finally came. Evelyn sent Artemis to the chapel first to get ready and we put my dress on at the house. I was more nervous than I thought I'd be. Thankfully, the poofy sleeves were gone. Yvonne had embroidered red thread instead of green around the dress. It was gorgeous.
My mother was sobbing as we got in the car. I gathered my dress so it wouldn't drag on the dirty ground, ignoring the paparazzi on the lawn. I was shaking and not from the cold. When we got to the chapel, I didn't get out.
"Deidre?" my mom asked. "Are you okay?"
I stared at her with wide eyes. "I can't do this," I breathed.
"Oh, Deidre," she sighed and got into the back of the car around me. She wrapped her arms around me. "It's going to be okay."
"But- I can't." I started to hyperventilate. "What if he changed his mind? What if he decides I'm not worth it? All I've been is trouble!"
Evelyn got in the other side and passed me some tissues.
"He loves you, Deidre," she said softly. "And you haven't been trouble."
"I ran away and-and almost died," I sniffled, blowing my nose. "And all the drama with the media just gave him more pressure! Oh God I can't do this!"
I sobbed into my hands and my mom kissed my hair. It was in a fancy bun with a green ribbon tying it in place.
"This is normal," Evelyn promised me.
"Look at me, Deidre," my mom said and I obeyed. "Do you love Artemis?"
I sniffled. "More than anything."
"Does he love you?"
"I-I think so. D-Does he?" I asked Evelyn who nodded, smiling. "Do you really think we can do this?"
"I know you can," my mom said.
I gulped but nodded. They helped me clean up the makeup that smeared and opened the car doors again just as the bell rang. Once again, we were swarmed with paparazzi. It was hard to walk up the chapel stairs with them all crowded around me as I tried to keep the bottom of the dress clean.
Thanks to my little meltdown, we were almost late. There wasn't any time to visit with Nancy but she gave me a quick hug before walking ahead of me. Ethan was in a wheel chair by the door and I bent down to give him a big kiss on the cheek. He turned bright red and I hugged Patty who was crying. Then the organ began to play.
I felt light headed and took a step back. My mom would be walking me down the aisle and stood firm, holding my arm tightly. She gave me a watery smile and the door opened again.
All of my nerves and doubts disappeared. Artemis was standing at the altar, looking like he couldn't breathe as he watched me walk up. I smiled shyly. I gripped my bouquet tightly, praying I wouldn't trip on the stairs. My mother kissed my cheek and I started to walk up the three steps to the altar. I could hear the paparazzi whispering and taking pictures.
I lifted a foot and it caught on the hem of my dress. I almost fell forward but Artemis was quick to help me cover the mistake. I grinned at him and passed my bouquet to Nancy who was crying a little. With a deep breath, I faced Artemis again.
"Beautiful," he croaked and I blushed with a smile.
The priest began to speak and I held onto Artemis' hands tightly. We stared into each other's eyes. I couldn't look away, no matter what happened around us. When it came to our vows, my mouth went dry. Patty wheeled Ethan to us and he held up the pillow with our rings on it. I kissed his cheek again and Artemis shook his hand.
"Do you, Artemis Kilgore, accept this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife in sickness and health till death do you part?"
"I do," he breathed.
"Do you, Deidre Scout, accept this man to be your lawfully wedded husband in sickness and health till death do you part?"
"I do," I managed and Artemis beamed as we put on each other's rings.
"With God as our witness, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may-"
We were just about to kiss when the chapel door opened. I turned and Artemis put his arm around me, pulling me close.
"I object!" my father yelled, striding up the aisle.
The paparazzi went insane. People were whispering and Larry, Nancy, and our mothers stood between us.
"Artemis," I whimpered.
"What a beautiful wedding," my father sneered, stopping just before our mothers. He put his hands in his pockets. "Janine, it's so great to see you again." His eyes traveled to Artemis. "You know, I still have that bruise from where you punched me." More whispers and cameras clicking. "It took me a while to find this place."
"Leave," Artemis snapped.
"It's my daughter's wedding," he said innocently. "I've just come to see it. And to convince you not to marry her sorry ass," he added.
"Leave!" he yelled as I held onto him tightly.
He looked around at the media and smirked. He strode up the altar, pushing past everyone, and snatched up the microphone.
"This way I don't have to shout," he said, winking at me and stepping to the side when Larry reached for him. "Good afternoon everyone! Valentine's Day, what a romantic time of the year, wouldn't you agree? The perfect day for a perfect wedding. And we all know how it ends, don't we?" he added with a disgusting wink. "So romantic," he repeated with a breathy sigh. "There's just one small problem."
"Don't do this," I whispered.
His smirk widened. "Little Miss Deidre isn't a virgin." He didn't get the reaction he wanted. Sure, the media muttered but it didn't come as a shock. "But wait! There's more!" he added in a Billy Mays impression. "I'm sure you think it was old Arty here that popped her cherry, don't you?"
"Please just leave," I sobbed, gripping onto Artemis.
"My ex-wife was gone from the home a lot," he said, strolling down the stairs. I was shaking and turned my head away, hiding it behind Artemis. "Little Miss Deidre was so lonely." He gave us one final devilish smirk. Artemis was shaking with anger. "So, she begged dear old Daddy for his company. I couldn't stand to see my daughter so upset so I asked her what was wrong. Let me tell you, she didn't waste any time."
That got him the reaction he wanted. My knees gave out and I sobbed into Artemis' shoulder. Larry grabbed my father and snatched the microphone.
"These are lies," Larry snarled into the microphone.
"Why do you think I went to their house?" he yelled, fighting to get to the mic. "She missed me!"
Artemis pushed me to Nancy and she gripped me when I ran to stop him. Artemis spun my father around and punched him as hard as he could. People gasped and screamed. My father stumbled into the first row of people and they scrambled away. He swung for Artemis but he dodged it, grabbing his arm and twisting it behind his back.
"Don't just stand there," he snapped at Larry. "Call the damn police! I'm sick of this man's lies and how much pain he's put my wife through!"
My father laughed, his lip bleeding.
"I'm sure it doesn't hurt anymore," he sneered.
I felt like I was going to be sick. The police were already here, though, I saw Evelyn put her phone in her purse, shaking like a leaf. The police rushed to take my father and Artemis came back to me.
"Are you okay?" he whispered.
"No," I cried and put my head in his chest.
He hugged me as I sobbed, gripping onto his coat. And, just like that, what should have been the best day of my life turned into the worst.