EXCERPT FROM WILD IRISH ROGUE
The modest white clapboard building boasted a single steeple that stretched toward a blue sky painted with wisps of clouds. Situated across Celestial Creek from the main street, the chapel welcomed people of all beliefs.
The minister’s eyes lit up with delight when Bernie asked him to perform a marriage ceremony. “We haven’t had many celebrations lately.”
His wife was similarly pleased and complimented Tallie’s new dress that Bernie insisted on buying for her and the bouquet of flowers–real ones they had brought from the florist in a town fifty miles away.
Self-consciously silent in their suits and slicked-down hair, Collin and Patrick watched solemnly as the minister opened his Bible. “Dearly beloved…”
Tallie stared at Bernie, so handsome in his navy blue suit and starched white shirt. He repeated the vows clearly and looked directly at her.
This will be a real marriage. Bernie had told her when he proposed a union so the boys would have both an adoptive father and mother. You decide when you’re ready to be physically intimate. But I’ll always be faithful to you.
Could Tallie be intimate with a man again and not fear disappointing him? The thought brought a quiver to her voice. Bernie smiled with encouragement, and strength surged through her. When Bernie slipped his grandmother’s ring on her finger, a sense of rightness settled in Tallie’s heart.
“…You may now kiss the bride,” the minister said.
Bernie aimed a gentle kiss toward her cheek, but Tallie turned her head slightly so his lips settled on hers.
“I want this to be a real marriage too,” she whispered.
Bernie’s fingers touched her cheek, then traced her jaw line. Tallie held his hands tightly. Her lifeline to a future she hoped was brighter than the challenges of her past.
“I now pronounce you a family: Bernie, Tallie, Collin and Patrick O’Shea.”
The boys finally smiled as Bernie and Tallie took their hands to include them in their family circle.
© Genie Gabriel, Wild Irish Rogue
BUILD A LEGACY IN 2018
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