Contrary to last night’s weather forecast that predicted rain, the bride and bridegroom awoke to a cloudless wild blue yonder. A bright sun shone on this very special day, which, to Helen, was a good omen.
Callahan and her parents had been invited to stay at the Elgin ranch on the eve of the wedding.
Knowing they’d have to avoid seeing each other on the morning of their holy wedlock, the turtledoves slipped away from the assembled company to retreat in a corner of the barn to quench some of the lust consuming them. They had willingly chosen to remain celibate until the wedding night, but their passion was flaring up to a fever’s pitch. Their intense desire burning within nearly drove them to consummation.
Callahan was reminiscing on last night’s stolen moment while she delicately brushed her hair. Then horror struck her. “Mom!” she called out. “Mom!”
Judith Callahan breezed into the room. “Peggy, what is it?” she asked, all flustered.
“Look at my hair! It’s a mess!” she complained bitterly.
“It’s beautiful, honey.”
“I wanted it to hang over the shoulders in curls.”
“Peggy, no one is going to notice with your veil.”
“My veil! Where’s my veil?” she searched the room frantically.
Judith went to a chair and scooped the coveted item up in her hand. “Right here. I’ll fix it up for you.” She took bobby pins and began attaching the veil to her daughter’s hair. “Hold still now.” She could feel Peggy trying to get her breathing under control. “Relax, honey.”
“I’m sorry, mom. It’s just that I want everything to be perfect.”
“There’s no such thing as a perfect wedding.”
“Thanks for the encouragement,” Peggy said with a tinge of sarcasm.
“I’m merely stating a fact. I don’t think Steve will care how you look. He loves you very much.”
“I love him too, Mom. So much that it hurts sometimes,” she mused, closing her eyes to visualize his bewitching deep-blue eyes and fetching lopsided smile. “And Kim, I couldn’t consider her more my daughter that if I’d given birth to her.”
Judith caught little Kimmy’s head poking in the door.
“Speaking of Kimmy. Come on in, Sweetie.”
“Peggy, you look beautiful,” Kimmy enthused, standing in awe of the lady dressed in white.
“Thank you, Kimmy,” Peggy blushed. “Did you see Steve?”
“Yes,” she said with a giggle.
“What’s so funny?”
“He cannot get dressed.”
“Oscar, Rudy and grandpappy Jim are helping him dress. He is shaking too much,” she laughed.
Callahan hunched down before Kim and grasped her hands. “Thanks for telling me. I thought I was the only one who was a basket case,” she said, winking her gratitude at the shy little girl.
“That he is.”
In Steve’s room, the men were putting the finishing touches on the bridegroom’s appearance when Helen entered.
“How’s my boy doing?”
“Don’t ask, Mrs. Elgin,” Oscar sighed, rolling his eyes in exasperation.
“I can’t wait to see you on your wedding day,” Steve scoffed at Oscar as he tried pinning his carnation to his lapel.
“It’ll never happen.”
“Never say never, Oscar. Ouch!” Steve shook his left finger and stuck it in his mouth. “Why couldn’t I have pricked my right finger instead?”
“I hope you won’t be this clumsy on your honeymoon, pal.”
“Oscar, watch you mouth!” Steve chastised. “My mother’s in the room.”
“I think you’re about ready. We’ll see you downstairs,” Rudy said with a friendly slap on the back.”
“Good luck!” Oscar said with a squeeze on Steve’s stiff shoulder.
“Thanks,” Steve exhaled.
Jim kissed his wife on the cheek on his way out the door with Rudy and Oscar.
Helen walked up to her fidgety son and turned him around to face him. As she straightened his tie, her motherly instincts told her there was definitely more to Steve’s expression and poise that met the eyes. “Steve, what’s wrong?”
“How can anything me wrong?” he replied innocently.
“You’re my son. I know when something is troubling you. You’re not just nervous, you’re worried about something.”
He let out a sustained sigh and ambled over to the window. “I hope we’re not rushing things. You see…I sort of asked Peggy to marry me on the spur of the moment. I was so afraid of losing Kim, and I knew they’d let me adopt her only if I could vouch to provide her with a stable family life.”
“So you believe you asked Peggy to marry you only so she could be a mother to Kim?”
“Oh no! I love her, Mom. But I don’t know if that’s what she believes. I did put her on the spot, asking her in front of Kim. What was she going to say? No?”
“You both had six months to discuss your feelings for one another. Has she at any time given you the impression that she felt pressured?”
“I don’t know,” he answered dejectedly.
“Well, I know. Because she told me.”
“What did she tell you?”
“That she loves you with all of her heart and couldn’t imagine her life without you.” Helen gazed tenderly into her son’s eyes and stroked his cheek. “You’re marrying a wonderful woman. She’ll be a good wife and mother to your children, because you are planning to make me a grandmother once more, are you?” she teased to steal a smile out her flustered son.
“Yeah. We want to give Kim a little brother or sister, that’s for sure.”
She kissed him on the cheek and brushed back the lock of hair hanging loosely on his forehead back. “Are you ready?”
He took a deep breath and exhaled. “Yes.”
Arm in arm, mother and son headed downstairs and stepped out back where the guests were seated in the rose garden. Steve kissed Helen before walking up the aisle to take his place by his best man, Oscar, standing under the white flowery arch.
“You’re okay, pal?”
Steve let out the breath he’d been holding and simply nodded.
Minutes later, the wedding march began to play and there appeared the most beautiful sight he’d ever beheld in his life. On her father’s arm, his blushing bride started up the aisle behind the cutest little flower girl stewing rose petals onto the red carpet. Steve’s heart performed flip flops when Peggy’s father presented him with his daughter’s hand and nodded his approval of this union.
Steve kissed the back of her hand before turning to the Reverend who united them in holy matrimony.
The wedding banquet lasted well into late evening, but husband and wife excuse themselves early to retreat in their luxurious honeymoon suite. In their nuptial bed, nestled in each other’s arms, their bodies melting into one, they satiated their desire, unbeknownst to them that they were about to conceive a little sister for their adopted daughter.