Maggie Dove had never believed that a wedding was the happiest day of a woman’s life. Happiness, she thought, like grief, could not be scheduled. Her husband’s touch one long-ago night when they danced under a full moon. The sound of her daughter’s bat when she slammed her first home run out of the park and into the Hudson River. A friend’s whispered confidence. A cat’s soft fur brushing against her cheek. An oak tree’s sudden burst into leaf. These were the memories that popped into her head far more frequently than the details of her wedding day.
However, even from that philosophical vantage point, Bethany Coleman’s wedding was shaping up to be a disaster.
Everything that could have gone wrong had done so, and the bride hadn’t even walked down the aisle yet. First of all was the snowstorm that slammed down the Hudson Valley early that January morning. The sanctuary reverberated with the sound of plows. The organist couldn’t make it down to church, so Bethany had to scramble for a substitute, and came up a gentleman who played at a funeral pace. To cap it all off, the Rolls Royce that was supposed to carry the bride and groom to the reception came whistling to a stop at the front of the church and immediately broke down. Smoke filled the sanctuary, mixing unpleasantly with the floral aromas, causing everyone to cough.
The most patient person in the world would have been sorely tried by the events of the day, but Bethany Coleman was famous for her lack of patience. She was both hot-tempered and oversensitive, a toxic combination. Years ago, when she’d been one of Maggie’s Sunday School students, more than one class had ended with Bethany in tears.
She would not take this well, Maggie felt confident.
That must be why the wedding was delayed in starting. Somewhere, Bethany was festering, even as her groom, Graham Lockwood, stood patiently at the front of the church, and Maggie sat in the front row, waiting to be called up to read the Scriptures. Another unexpected twist to the wedding, the honor of being asked to read.
Well, on the bright side, Maggie was pleased with the way she looked. She’d found a stunning lavender dress at the last Attic sale and she’d paired that with a sheer pink shawl. She probably should have waited until Easter to wear the outfit, but she was so tired of the snow and slush and dreariness of winter, and she wanted to glow. She wanted color.
Reprinted courtesy of Susan Breen.
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