(This is a new section from my latest book. I love writing about weddings and marriages. This is where the bride and groom are together one last time before becoming man and wife expressing some of their anxiety and apprehensions about getting married. Marc had been married before and had two children by another woman--a woman who was less than perfect. I hope you enjoy it.)
Today was her wedding day.
A pale pre-dawn glow filtered softly into Cass’s room casting muted golden shafts on the carpeted floor. The light would have most likely awakened Cass, but she was already awake. Sleep had not come easily or often during the few short hours following the activities at the Swane’s home, saying a last romantic good night to Marc at her doorstep and this feathery light of dawn creeping into her bedroom. Her mind had been too full of last minute concerns and her head spun with the frightening realities of marriage. She couldn’t get much rest.
It promised to be a glorious day.
In a few short hours she would be Mrs. Marc Swane; Cassiopeia Swane. The thought brought a smile to her lips as she stretched languidly trying to push the tension out of her body from her toes to the tips of her fingers. There were still a few hours before they had to leave for the temple and Cass thought to use the leisurely quiet and undisturbed calm of pre-dawn to think and to ponder. This was the day she’d looked forward to since she began to realize boys didn’t have cooties anymore. So much of her teen and young adult life had been spent in preparing for this one single day and the days, months and years that would follow this day. Learning how to cook and clean; how to mend jeans, unstop a drain, shop for bargains, and serve a gourmet dinner without spending a fortune. She’d learned the art of rearing children, making a home and serving her family at her mother’s knee without being aware that’s what she was doing.
The lessons she received from her parents came in simple, intimate moments rather than formal classroom type settings. Those wonderful experiences she’d shared in her parent’s home gave her the confidence she needed to follow her dreams in education and now to become a wife. Even though she still felt some apprehension and concern about becoming Marc’s wife, with the confidence she’d gained from her growing up years and her training and education, at least she felt educationally prepared to be the wife Marc would need. She prayed he would be proud of her and that he wouldn’t have to worry about her slipping a gear and morphing into Lilly.
She knew Marc had been spooked by his first marriage and now was extremely hesitant about getting married again. What man wouldn’t be scared to death after having survived an experience like he’d endured? Words of assurance would not be enough to convince Marc she was different. Only time and positive experiences would prove to him he hadn’t made a second mistake. It worried her that he might be watching and waiting for her to snap or freak out or transmutate into his ex. Somehow Cass knew she would feel like she was a lab experiment in the beginning of their relationship. Whether she liked it or not, Lilly would hang over their marriage until she was exorcised out like an evil demon. Cass could only hope and pray that Marc would trust her, love her and give her a chance to demonstrate to him she was a totally different person from Lilly Goodhaven.
That’s why having the gospel at the center of their marriage was so vitally important; knowledge and inspiration were power—her power, his power. The gospel lessons she’d been taught by her parents were no less important than the physical ones. Being worthy to marry Marc in the temple today, made her feel radiant and light, as if she were a receptacle for the spirit. She’d need that light and inspiration to deal with Marc’s demons and phobias. She’d need the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost to aid her in teaching Marc’s innocent but confused children. She’d need the spirit to assure the children that there can be a loving mother figure in their lives.
Those children needed her.
As Cass studied the patterns the expanding light of dawn cast on the floor and walls of her room, she couldn’t help but feel that the whole thing was still a beautiful fantasy and if she made a sudden move, the dream would end. Silly. It just seemed positively unreal that the time had finally come when she was going to be someone’s wife and someone’s mother all in one moment. In a few hours she would give herself to a man and become his wife, his helpmeet, his lover and assist in raising his children. She would need every blessing the Lord had in store for a newly married woman. She knew they needed to start their married life steeped in the traditions of the gospel; family and personal prayer, regular scripture study and faithful church attendance. It would make their life together easier if these simple commandments were followed in the spirit they were intended. It was a promise Cass made to herself in the stillness of the morning and a promise she intended to keep to Marc and his children.
Today she would be sealed to the man she loved.
Unfortunately Phoebe and Adam would not be sealed to her today or any other day. This realization gravely disappointed her. Intellectually she understood that only one sealing was necessary for the children. They just had to be sealed to somebody, as it were, they were born under the covenant which was the most important ordinance. It didn’t matter to which parent. It didn’t even matter if one or neither of the parents remained faithful, it only mattered that the sealing was preformed. Somewhere in the family links, they would be sealed. It shouldn’t have bothered Cass, but that didn’t stop her from feeling bothered by it and feeling some envy. She had to keep reminding herself that only worthiness mattered in this case. So while she lay in her bed welcoming the morning, Cass would put it aside and relish her special day.
It still amazed Cass that the preparations for their sealing and reception had been accomplished so quickly. It had been a frenzy of activity since Marc proposed to her. So much of normal wedding planning usually took weeks if not months to be accomplished and they’d done it in two weeks time. She owed it all to Maggie Swane and would be forever grateful. Having Maggie and Ralph Swane as her in-laws couldn’t have worked out better if she’d created in-laws herself. She loved them as much as her own parents and would be forever grateful they’d raised a son like Marc.
She thought about the tempestuous way she had Marc had come together. There was the incident with Marc’s dog Max and her suit, the sidewalk confrontation after her trip to San Diego to the kissing incident at the end of the street. It seemed as though fate, or the Lord, had steadily been pushing them together. She wondered what it was precisely that drew her to him, besides his obviously rugged good looks. He had been nothing but rude, arrogant and disarming every time they’d had a chance meeting. Only a deep abiding love could have brought them together and kept them together despite the complications. It surely wouldn’t have been a logical match. She had to giggle at that because she thought she and Vern had been a logical match and look how that turned out. She was right sure there was nothing logical about what she felt for Marc. What she felt for him turned her inside out. Passion was strong in their relationship, but there was something much, much more—much, much deeper and longer lasting. There was a fire there, a consuming, radiant blaze that heated the blood and forged the bond strong like tempered steel. She was absolutely sure she’d never find this kind of heat, this kind of union with any other man—ever. She’d proved that when they were separated for a month and a half. She couldn’t imagine living life without Marc. And that’s as it should be.
Marc was just beginning to doze again for about the fiftieth time. Most of the night he’d tossed and turned and slept pitifully. He shouldn’t be having second thoughts about marrying Cassiopeia. He loved her with all his heart. She was perfect for him and his children. She was so far from Lilly by comparison as to not be on the same chart, but that didn’t stop him from wondering what their married life would be like and if Cass would share any of the same characteristics with Lilly. The time they’d spent getting to know one another and dating had been a swirling tornado of highs and lows. He was so sure about Cass until the meeting with Lilly and her parents in the Bishop’s office. Then he wasn’t sure he could ever love a woman again and forced her away. That had been the second biggest mistake of his life—forcing Cass away. He might as well have cut off his right arm as keep her at a distance. Once he’d found her, there was no going back. They were meant to be together just as his father has prophesied. And just as his father had said, he was to accept the responsibility of the Lord’s challenges placed before him with eagerness.
So what kept him from sleeping?
It wasn’t the thought of marrying Cass precisely; it was more about the fact that he hadn’t proven to be a very good husband. At least he thought he hadn’t been a good husband to Lilly. He didn’t exactly have a good track record in the husband department. He hadn’t helped Lilly overcome her problems and he hadn’t given her what she needed to keep her happy. It hurt to think that he’d tried and failed. But maybe now after everything about Lilly had finally come to light, he could see that it probably wasn’t his fault that she’d turned to drugs and worse. He wasn’t responsible for making her happy. No one was. And it wasn’t his fault that she chose to hate him or the children. He’d been powerless to stop her from making horrible decisions and from ruining her own life and for trying to ruin his and the children’s lives as well. All he could do was try harder to help Cassiopeia find happiness by giving her his heart totally and without reservation.
His mind drifted to his charming and sexy Princess. What was she doing in the early morning glow? Was she still asleep, her beautiful, sweet face relaxed in slumber, or was she already up and moving, her active mind going over the organization of the day to the precise minute detail?
He needed to see her, to touch her and make sure she was real and his.
Jumping from the enormous bed they’d chosen together and thinking with a big smile—they would sharing tonight as husband and wife—he shoved his long legs into his favorite pair of worn jeans, zipped and buttoned them quickly and drug on an old worn t-shirt. After a brief unsuccessful search for his work boots, he grabbed up a new pair of tennis shoes and ran from the room.
He crept quietly past the sleeping children’s rooms and hustled downstairs and out the door. Until he stopped on her driveway, he hadn’t stopped to think if she’d be awake or not. So he bent down and picked up some fine pebbles from her flower garden and tossed a couple at her window.
Her mind was still going over the exact procedures and progress of the day when she heard a clack, clack at her window. It sounded like a bird tapping on the glass. Throwing her silky robe around her shoulders and belting it, she walked to the window and pulled open the shutters. Outside in the dim light of dawn, Marc was standing in her driveway throwing little rocks up at her window. Smiling, she threw up the window and leaned out. “I think there’s a law against vandalism this early in the morning. What are you doing up so early?”
“I need to see you, Princess,” he smiled.
“I’ll be right down.” Her heart did a little tap dance in her chest. But whether it was from fear or nerves, she wasn’t sure. What could he possibly want this early in the morning? Had he changed his mind since last night? Oh, dear Father, please don’t let him change his mind.
She moved quietly through her bedroom, tiptoed through the hall and down the stairs to open the door for him. She no sooner opened the door than he scooped her up in his arms and started plying her face with kisses. “Marc,” she sputtered. “What…”
“Shh, let me kiss you.” Greedily he kissed her bringing her tight within the circle of his arms. She was real and warm and his. His worry filled dreams had given him unhappy thoughts that he might have conjured her up from his overactive imagination. “I just wanted to make sure you’re still real and that I didn’t dream you up.”
Cass slipped her hands up his chest and tangled them in his hair bringing his mouth back down to hers in one scorching kiss. “Does this feel real enough for you?”
Smiling, he nodded. He knew he was toast. He dragged her to the sofa and sat pulling her onto his lap. “This is the last morning we’ll wake up alone, Princess. I just needed to see you one last time before we do this.”
She tried to read his thoughts through the serious look on his face and in his enigmatic grey eyes. “Second thoughts? Cold feet? Running scared?” She tried to make it light.
He took both of her hands in his, his eyes fierce and determined. “No. No to all of those questions.” Then he kissed her fingers one at a time until she shuddered. “That’s the one thing I’m positive about Cass, and that’s you. You’ve been in my head since I saw you standing in your driveway muttering to yourself the day after you dumped good old Vern. I wanted to rush across the street and gobble you up and take you away some place quiet and dark and make mad, passionate love to you until we were both too exhausted and spent to breathe. But I think you would have cut me off at the knees if I’d have tried to even talk to you then.” He laughed and looked closely for the first time at what she was wearing, or in this case, not wearing. A smile, broad and wicked erupted across his face. Cass sensing his shift in attitude clutched the thin robe to her breast. He licked his lips and continued. “I’d like to do the same thing right now.”
She squirmed on his lap and tried to break free, but he held her firmly in place. She sensed the predator/prey scenario and her breathing quickened. “I’ve…I have a lot to do before we’re ready to go. Was there something you wanted?” She sensed her mistaken choice of words as his eyes lingered way too long on the bodice of her thin robe.
“Yes,” he grinned. “But that will have to wait for a couple of hours.” Once again he nuzzled her neck and nipped at her chin with his teeth. “I was wondering if you’d join me in a prayer this morning.”
The change in subject was so abrupt that it threw her. Composing herself quickly, she nodded her head. “That would be wonderful, Marc. I’d be more than happy to join you in prayer this morning.”
“I have gained a great appreciation for the power of prayer in the last few months, Princess. My father has given me new insights into prayer. I always figured prayer was for closing and opening the day, praying for safety and for the blessing of restored health. But he helped me understand better the need for constant and specific prayer. I think we should pray for everything that comes into our lives that we have jurisdiction over. We’re entering a new phase of our lives and need the Lord’s help.” He’d never thought to pray with Lilly and that had been a big mistake. Well, he wasn’t making that mistake again. The Lord would be first and foremost in his and Cass’s life. “I want the Lord’s help in our marriage, Cass.”
“Yes. So do I.”
“I feel as the Priesthood holder that I’m entitled to inspiration regarding our home and family and with you as my wife, we’ll be a team and seek that inspiration together. You’re entitled to the inspiration you’ll need to be my companion and I ask for your faith in petitioning the Lord for the blessings we’ll need as a new family.”
She studied him for a moment as if she was looking at him for the first time. She had to laugh to herself again about her first impressions of him. It was anything but spiritual. He’d been both annoying and arrogant and she’d been put off all the while fiercely attracted to him. Then he’d been too ruggedly good looking for his own good and had swept her away with his depthless passion until she knew there was no one in the world that could fire her heart as he could. Now what she saw was the powerful force of the priesthood on him as he looked forward to becoming her husband and felt it a responsibility to ask for help. Her heart warmed and her spirit swelled.
“Will you kneel with me, Cass?” He loosened his grip on her and pushed her to her feet.
“I’d be honored, my love.”
He pushed her coffee table out away from the sofa and they knelt together between the table and the sofa. He took her hands in his, brought them to his lips for a quick kiss then he began to pray.
It wasn’t so much the words he spoke that touched her heart and soul, but the feeling of the prayer. He was taking his responsibilities of husband, father and priesthood holder very seriously and felt to plead with the Lord for a blessing on their union. He spoke to the Lord as opposed to just offering a standard prayer. He asked for guidance as they started their married life together. In closing, Marc pled with the Lord for a blessing on their sacred physical relationship as husband and wife and that they would be blessed with children to join them in their earthly journey. Cass felt her heart bursting at the seams with love for this man who’d humbled himself before the Lord enough that he felt comfortable in asking. She didn’t know if it were possible to love him more than she did at that moment.
When he finished praying he pulled Cass into his arms and for many quiet moments, he just held her tenderly within his embrace, resting his cheek against her head and stroking her hair. She rested her head on his shoulder and felt the power flow from him into her.“Before the Nauvoo temple was completed,” Marc started, “Joseph Smith performed the endowment ceremony in his home. Parley P. Pratt and his wife participated in this ceremony, which I understand took many hours.” Marc sat back down on the sofa and pulled Cass down beside him still clasping her hands tightly. She looked at him in amazement as he continued. “It was there that Parley learned from Joseph Smith, ‘that the wife of my bosom might be secured to me for time and all eternity;…the affections which endeared us to each other emanated from the fountain of divine eternal love.’” Marc paused, trying to remember the entire quote. “Ah, yes,…Parley said something like: ‘I had loved before, but I knew not why. But now I loved—with a pureness—an intensity of elevated, exalted feeling.’” Parley went on to say that he now loved with the spirit and understanding as well. I’m sure that meant an eternal understanding.” Marc turned toward Cass so he could look deeply into her eyes. “That’s how I feel about you, Cassiopeia. I love you with all the intensity of elevated, exalted feelings of eternity and with the spirit of the Lord. Do you understand?”
Cass’s heart rose in her throat as tears welled in her eyes. She’d never heard anything so beautiful. “Yes,” she choked, the tears escaping. “That was a tender, wonderful sentiment. I feel exactly as Parley did. I love you intensely Marc. I’ve never been able to explain how quickly and intensely I was drawn to you and how complete are my feelings. I’ll love you forever.”
He kissed away the tears from her cheeks and as soft as butterfly wings he swept her lips with his as if she was a delicate piece of china that would break if he pressed too hard. She sighed sweetly tugging his heart strings then he wrapped his arms around her to draw her to him. “Well I guess I should leave and let you get ready.”
He pushed her away from him and gazed in her eyes. “It won’t be long now, Ms. James. Are you excited?”
She licked her trembling lips and rubbed his arms with her nervous trembling hands. “Nope.”
“Liar,” he grinned and kissed her nose. “I love you Cassiopeia. I’ll love you forever.”
Copyright 2009 CAROL A. MALONE, (except images which were acquired from Google Images)
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