Hawk began to slowly caress her back, and she fell asleep with a huge smile on her face.
Sunny tried to focus on the moment rather than the pain in her head.
Sitting in the small bride’s dressing room of the century old church, she stared into the floor to ceiling mirror as Mrs. DelRay and Mrs. Florentine fiddled with the modest train of her dress. The makeup artist and hairdresser had done an amazing job and she looked like something out of a bridal magazine. While she may have appeared physically perfect, mentally she was a wreck. It should be one of the happiest days of her life, but instead she was swamped with worries and fears of a bleak future.
Mrs. DelRay, a plump woman in a pale mint dress who had Hawk’s bold nose and bone structure, stepped back with a smile. “There, perfect! Oh, Susanna, you are the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen. Hold on, let me get a few more pictures.”
Sunny didn’t bother pointing out to the older woman that they’d hired a professional photographer to cover the event. Mrs. DelRay was a scrapbooker, so she loaded up her phone with images to use for her wedding gift to Sunny and Hawk, a handmade scrapbook album of their day. It was a very sweet, very thoughtful gift, but Sunny was getting tired of the woman constantly following her around trying to capture ‘the perfect picture.’ Hawk’s mom didn’t mean any harm, she was just clueless.
“Mrs. DelRay?” One of the wedding coordinators popped her head into the room. “Mrs. Florentine, it’s time to take your seats.”
The woman surrounded her in a flurry of air kisses then departed the room, trading places with a dashing Mr. Florentine wearing a sharp cut navy blue tux with a cherry blossom pink bowtie and sprig of blossoms pinned to his lapel. With his thick white hair styled back and his usually stern face smiling, he was every inch the silver fox. Not that Sunny would ever tell him that. He had enough people literally worshiping the ground he walked on.
“Well,” she said as she tried to keep from wiping her sweaty hands on her veil. “You clean up real nice.”
Mr. Florentine held out his arm. “Mrs. Florentine made me shave and everything. Shall we?”
She smiled, hoping the meds that hadn’t been working today would somehow miraculously kick in soon so she could really enjoy this moment.
Looping her arm through his, she laid one hand atop his wrist and held up her bouquet with the other.
Squaring her shoulders, she said, “Let’s do this.”
He chuckled as they left the small room, the battered but still gleaming original wood floors of the church making his voice echo. It was late afternoon, and golden light pouring through the big windows down the hall made the bottom of her dress burst into dazzling pink sparkles. Delight filled her as she took in how beautiful her dress was, how much she loved it. Looking pretty gave her courage, and she hoped Hawk would like it.
The sound of a string quartet playing some romantic piece of music filled the hallway, and one of the wedding coordinators whispered into her phone as Sunny and Mr. Florentine approached.
She gave Sunny a beaming smile then gestured for them to come forward before a pair of closed, dark wood doors.
Shaking slightly, she gave Mr. Florentine a grateful smile as he patted her hand and whispered, “Deep breath, darling girl.”
She did as he ordered while a couple women fiddled with the train of her dress and veil, making sure they were just so before the big walk down the aisle.
The music switched to the classic wedding march and, as the doors flung open, she was momentarily frozen in place by her first look at the sheer beauty of the old wedding chapel.
Lucia had decorated it with hundreds, maybe thousands of blooming cherry blossom branches, all wrapped up with navy and white silk ribbons. The ribbons trailed over the crowd, and the scent of the cherry blossoms filled the air. She had no idea how Lucia had managed to find the ultra-rare flower and in such abundance, but she was blown away. As her gaze went from the arched and gilded ceiling to the front of the church, her heart took flight.
Hawk, dressed in a well-fitting tux, stared at her with a slightly slack jaw.
As she started down the aisle, he slowly began to smile, and by the time they reached the alter Hawk was beaming with happiness.
They’d decided to keep the wedding as small and stress free as possible, so there was no maid of honor or best man for the ceremony. Instead, it was just Hawk and Sunny, as it was meant to be. Mr. Florentine handed her off to Hawk with a few murmured words, and Anya slipped in to take her bouquet, but neither of them really paid attention. She was trapped in Hawk’s eyes, completely wrapped up in the love pouring from him like a physical caress.