The church was covered in multicolored roses.
The seemingly endless rows of seats were full and the chattering of two newly connected families echoed in the grand majesty of god’s temple. The clouds were partially covering the sun, but the humid air of August slipped through the many tuxedos and dresses of the guests, making them sweat softly. The green of the trees seemed brighter today and the lawns appeared soft and welcoming. The church had been built thirty years earlier and had seen many rituals. It had witnessed, and sometimes felt, the tears of those who came to pray for their loved one’s health. It had seen the baptisms of those who were new to our world. And it had seen it’s fair share of weddings.
But no wedding was like this one.
The two families had been sure to make this wedding an unforgettable one.
White balloons that floated in the windless sky indicated where the wedding was being held to passersby. A black limo was parked at the front with the trademark “Just married” sign on the bumper and parked cars seemed to form a never-ending line down the streets. This truly was the wedding of the year. Little girls who wore pink dresses walked up the church’s stone stairs with their parents, while little boys wearing miniature tuxedos ran around the lawns. There was music from within that was being played on a pipe organ and laughter echoed out through the large wooden doors. Soon a black horse drawn carriage would appear and the fuss in the church would truly begin. The minister, who stood with his half-moon glasses on his nose, was positioned behind the altar and was looking at his bible.
When the church bells chimed three p.m. the church grew quiet. Someone coughed and someone giggled. The atmosphere was a mix of anticipation, joy, and sadness. With a renounced pang, the pipe organ began the classic “Here comes the bride” theme song.
As the bridesmaids, flower girls, and groomsmen made their way to the front of the church sniffling was heard throughout the large space. Babies tried to sing along with the background music while the groom walked up the red carpet accompanied by his requested partner. His mother. As he watched the entrance to the church his mind was reeling. To Jake Light, it felt like yesterday had been the day that he had decided to ask his Fiancé for her hand. They had been watching My Best Friends Wedding on a cold November night when he started to joke about her marrying him. To his surprise, it was no joke to her and she accepted while tears welled up in her magnificent blue eyes. He smiled slightly at the memory and looked down at his mom who had taken a seat in the front row. She gave him her trademark thumbs up and dabbed the corners of her brown eyes with a white handkerchief.
Time felt so much slower to Gabriella Stones as she slowly descended her horse drawn carriage. Her white dress spilled behind her, and the matching heels clicked as they connected with the stone steps. Gabriella’s father who stood beside her, his arm intertwined with hers, walked proudly down the aisle. He stared at no one but his daughter. Gabriella looked at the massive amount of people that had attended her wedding and smiled at her bridesmaids. She mouthed thanks to her best friend, who was the maid of honor and walked up to her future husband. She felt like she was in a daze but she managed to look into in his green eyes without crying.
Jake mouthed I love you and Gabriella did the same seconds before the minister began reading.
“Love is patient and kind; Love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
Love never ends.”
Tears slowly ran down Gabriella’s face and she sighed deeply.
“We will continue with the ceremony but if anyone has any reason why these two should not be married please speak now or forever hold your peace.”
Silence took over the church and someone coughed. With this reassurance the minister went on.
“Jake Light, do you take this beloved woman to be your lovely wedded wife? To love her and to nurture her through sickness and in health?”
Jake smiled and looked at Gabriella. He took out the wedding band he had chosen carefully and placed her finger through it. “I do.”
“Gabriella Stones, do you take this beloved man to be your lovely wedded husband? To love him and to nurture him through sickness and in health?”
Gabrielle sniffed. She too took out her specially chosen wedding band and placed his finger through it. “I do.”
The minister smiled and closed his bible. “Jake and Gabriella, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
Jake kissed his wife and was muttering how happy he was when a bang echoed throughout the church.
Screams were emitted from the crowd as it parted itself in half, revealing a black haired, sweating male face whose hand was raised in the air holding a gun. He seemed to be smirking as he slowly lowered his arm. He walked a few feet down the carpeted aisle and stared up at the newly wed couple.
Silence rang out in the crowd then the stranger started to clap.
“What else is there to say? Congratulations! This is a great wedding. Really! But you see there’s a problem here…” The stranger paused for a second and rubbed his chin. “I can’t quite place it, how about you Gabriella? Can you see the problem?”
Everyone in the church seemed to move as one to stare at the bride.
“Oh my god Victor McNeil, what are you doing here? What are you doing?” Gabriella spoke tensely as she recognized the stranger.
“You know this guy?” Jake stared at her with a surprised look.
“We were going out before I met you and I broke up with him…” She said to Jake, then turning to Victor she said, “Leave.”
“Now, I can’t do that,” Victor went on. “Because you see I’m not done, and me leaving in the middle of such a beautiful wedding isn’t very polite, is it?”
“Hey buddy, she said leave. Look, too bad she dumped you, but put that stupid gun away and just leave.” Jake said calmly, his voice trembling slightly. He then slowly started putting his arm around Gabriella, trying to shield her from any possible gunfire.
“Wrong answer.” Victor pointed the gun at Jake and everyone gasped. “You see I made a vow to myself when Gabriella ditched me for a loser like you. I promised myself that no one was to make her happy unless it was with me, or in this case she wasn’t going to be happy without me. Ever.
“So when I saw that she was hanging around with you, I thought I should make her see why, by leaving me, she had made a horrible mistake. This is going to be a cliché, but truthfully, if I can’t have her no one will. And by the way lover boy, I found the problem with this picture.”
Gabriella saw Victor pulling the trigger. She heard the sound of the gun firing a deadly bullet. And she also felt Jake fall beside her. She heard screaming and soon realized it was her own. Tears stung her eyes and she saw Victor run out of the church and she collapsed beside her bleeding husband.