My heart, forever yours.Mature

The sun was low in the sky over the Parisian suburb on the Tuesday evening. The weak orange light fell on Lazarus, alone in the apartment staring at his suit hanging on the back of the bedroom door. Melissa had left earlier to get ready, leaving him with a few hours to kill on his own. He'd gone to a barber and had his hair cut, he showered and shaved and remembered to put on some aftershave.

But even after that, he had too much time on his hands. He tried on and off to play the piano, perfecting his latest composition for Melissa, he ate, and eventually he just sat and stared at his suit. He couldn't quite believe that after four hundred years of alcoholism and debauchery he was finally settling down and getting married.

He glanced out at the setting sun and stood up, somehow resisting the urge to smoke. It was bad enough to smell of a dog pretending to be a human, without adding to the odd smell.

Swallowing nervously, he undressed and walked over to the suit, pulling on the trousers and shirt, feeling strange in the formal, fitted clothes. He pulled the dark red tie from around the hanger and took it into the bathroom to knot it in the mirror. He scowled at his reflection, wishing he didn't look so much like a wolf in sheep's skin. I was never designed for suits, was I? he asked his reflection, trying to relax into the material.

He brushed his teeth quickly, picked up Gabriel's ring and Melissa's rosary from the top of the piano smiling slightly as he pushed them into his pocket. He looked at the golden ring for Melissa one last time, his smile growing a little as he reread the inscription on the inside of the band one last time. My heart, forever yours.

He put it in his other pocket and pulled his jacket off the hanger, shrugging it on and poking one of the white roses through his button hole. One last check in the mirror, and then he was out of the apartment, walking to the church with a spring in his step and a smile on his face that he couldn't erase.

When he arrived, the priest ushered him down to the altar, still skeptical about the union he was about to create.

"Are you sure about this?" The priest asked, and Lazarus had to hide his shock at the question. Why wouldn't he be sure?

"Positive, Father."

"Okay then, I guess it's not my place to object."

"Well it's not like we have any guests that might object," he smiled, his voice echoing slightly off the empty pews behind him.

"It's not now that I am worried about."

"When are you worried about, then, Father?"

"If ever the others will find out, you guys are certainly... unique," the priest explained as the waiter, Jacques walked down towards them,

"Bon soir," he greeted them, and the other two murmured "bon soir" in return. Lazarus handed Jacques the ring and smiled nervously, turning as the door opened again and Melissa stepped in, instantly bringing an ethereal beauty into the church. Her hair was pinned up, a few ringlets hanging loose, accentuating her flawless face. In her hands, she held two of the white roses Lazarus had given her on the day he proposed to her. The teasing cut of the feathered dress made the priest arch an eyebrow ever so slightly, but Lazarus beamed at her.

The feathers reminded him of the wings she had grown, snowy white and rustling ever so slightly as she walked down the aisle, her white shoes clicking on the stone floor. Lazarus wanted to hold her and kiss her right there and then, but he forced himself to stand still, waiting impatiently for her to reach his side.

It felt as though an age passed, and Lazarus half expected to walk out of the church and find another century had passed him by.

Eventually, she was stood beside him, their radiant smiles almost enough to wipe away the priest's doubts.

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God, and in the presence of this company, to unite Lazarus Thorn and Melissa Rose in holy matrimony," Lazarus was only half listening to the priest, concentrating on controlling his heartbeat and standing upright. "Do you, Lazarus Thorn take Melissa Rose to be your lawfully wedded wife? Do you promise to love, honor, cherish and protect her, forsaking all others and holding only unto her?"

"I do," he murmured without hesitation, his usually pale blue eyes seeming to sparkle with hints of a deeper blue than usual as he gazed into Melissa's green orbs.

"Do you Melissa Rose, take Lazarus Thorn to be your lawfully wedded husband? Do you promise to love, honor, cherish and protect him, forsaking all others and holding only unto him?"

"Of course, I do." Lazarus could have stood there all night just looking at Melissa, but Jacques nudged him, handing him the ring for Melissa.

"I Lazarus Thorn, take thee Melissa Rose, to be my wife to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, and I promise my love to you," as he spoke, he took her left hand and gently slipped it onto her finger, careful not to touch the silver ring just below it. Jacques handed Melissa the ring for Lazarus and she took it from him, turning back to Lazarus with a barely controlled grin.

"I Melissa Rose, take thee Lazarus Thorn, to be my husband to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, and I promise my love to you," she said, pushing the gold band onto his finger.

"By the power vested in me by the Church, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride," the words Lazarus had been waiting for. He put his arms around her waist, careful of the feathers on the dress and pressed his lips against hers, kissing her passionately. She smiled and kissed back, her arms slipping around his waist.

"I love you." She whispered.

"I love you too. My heart, forever yours," he murmured in her ear, repeating the inscription he had put on her ring as he kissed her again on the cheek.

"As mine is yours," she replied as someone behind them rose and clapped, the sounds reverberating loudly in the church.

"Beautiful, truly beautiful," Albert's voice rang out from the pews, and Lazarus gritted his teeth slightly, not letting go of Melissa, his grasp on her becoming fiercely protective. 


The End

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