Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Chapter 9, Dreams Do Come True

***WARNING!!! My stories often contain strong language, sensitive issues, and, at times, other content that could be construed as offensive. Beliefs and viewpoints of characters are not necessarily the beliefs and viewpoints the Author holds in true life.***

The day of my extraordinary shopping trip will forever be etched in my mind. It was a grand day filled with laughter and fun, but what made it so extraordinary was my Robin's reaction when he saw me in my updated attire and modern hairstyle. He always looked at me in that soft, special way that curled my toes. This time, however, was a reaction I will always cherish.

My Robin just gazed at me as though I were something divine. I heard his breath catch as he whispered my name. "Alina! By Ariadne, is that really you?"

I smiled a little nervously and did a twirl, hoping I would keep my balance. It would completely dcstroy the moment we were having if I tripped and landed in a most ungainly position. "Aye, it is. The ladies gave me a done-over. Do you...do you like me?" I so wanted to please him and knew I had with his next statement.

"Oh, Alina, I more than like you. I love you, and you look absolutely drop dead gorgeous!" he said, taking me by the shoulders and gazing at me some more.

I blushed and grinned. "I'm so happy you like it."

"The more important thing is, do you like it?" he asked. "I love it, but you have to be happy and comfortable with it."

"Oh, I do! I love it. I have never in all my life had such fine attire. I never thought...I never dreamed..." Unexpected tears filled my eyes and I looked away.

Robin took me into his arms, kissed my temple, then just held me. "What is it, sweetheart? Why the tears?"

"It's just...och, I will sound completely daft," I said.

"You can tell me anything, Alina. I promise I would never belittle anything you say to me," he said, tilting my chin up so I had to look at him. I loved it when he held my face in his hands. His touch was always so gentle, so loving.

I smiled when Robin wiped the tears from my cheeks. "Well, you see, I've always wanted to be a fine lady, but it was an impossibility for me due to my status in my own time. I've always dreamed of dancing with kings and gliding across a marble floor like a princess. I envied those who would never see their hands roughened by labor, such as washing clothes or hauling water from the well. I even practiced pitching my voice in attempts to sound more refined. I wanted to live in a fine home, even a castle, rather than a tiny shack with a dirt floor. I think you see where this is going. I knew they were big dreams, impossible ones, for a peasant woman such as myself would never have married into the nobility or even come close to mingling with their ilk. And now with everything that has happened; meeting you and having such people like Lenora in my life...all of this...I'm beginning to believe dreams really can come true."

He listened, studying me all the while. When I was finished, he tucked a lock of hair behind my ear, then ran a thumb over my cheek. "When I look at you, Alina, it's like looking into a piece of Heaven. You dropped into my life from such an unlikely place. You're so beautiful, inside and out, Alina, that queens would be envious after just looking at you. To me, you are the finest lady in a class all her own. What's amazing is that you're mine and I'm blessed in the best way because it's me you love. I'm not a king; far from it, actually. I'm an insignificant person, really, just a policeman...uh...constable who tries to make things right and keep order. I do come from a wealthy family and you will want for nothing. But know this, my Alina. To me, you are the most amazing woman, the fairest of them all. Nobody, and I mean nobody, could ever hold a candle to you. The day you become my wife will be the happiest day of my life."

I was unable to speak, moved so beyond words was I. My Robin held me then and as corny as it sounds, I basked in his love. The gods certainly smiled upon me the day they saw fit to send Robin to me.

The day of our wedding dawned bright and glorious. I was awakened by Lenora, who was singing in the kitchen as she put the finishing touches on our wedding cake. My eyes flew open and I gasped, knowing what was going to occur later. I would become Mrs. Robin McIntyre, lawful wife to the most wonderful man who ever breathed. I threw back the covers, placed my feet on the floor, bounced merrily on the bed, and laughed like an absolute fool until my sides ached. Euphoria flooded my entire being and I never wanted that feeling to end.

I felt like a queen as I was being prepared for my wedding. Lenora as my matron of honor took charge, directing the other ladies to the tasks she'd assigned them. Lenora was a busy woman that day with making the cake and being in the bridal party. I locked gazes with her in the mirror, my eyes welling with tears. "Oh, Lenora!" I choked out.

"Och, don't cry sweetheart. Ye'll ruin your makeup." Smiling through her own tears, she gently dabbed at my eyes with a handkerchief. "Ye are the most beautiful bride." She gave me a sisterly kiss, then hugged me. "May ye and Robin always be blessed with love and happiness."

I collected myself and offered a wobbly smile to my ladies. I had asked Lenora and Tyrone's daughters as well as the wonderful ladies Chris and Jonas were with to be my bridesmaids. Robin's sister, Lauren, also took part as an enthusiastic bridesmaid. For Robin, Tyrone was his Best Man and Carson, Chris, Jonas, Elton, and Blake were his Groomsmen. "I am nervous. What if I trip and fall on my face?"

"Every bride is nervous and you won't fall on your face," Tabitha grinned. "Everything is going to be absolutely perfect."

"Of course it will," Aurora said, grinning at me from where she and Andrea sat.

"Just keep your eye on the prize and you won't go wrong," said Sharon, her eyes twinkling.

"The prize for me will be getting out of this dress," Andrea said, pulling a little at the material.

I grinned and hugged Andrea, who I knew didn't like wearing dresses unless she really had to. "You're a dear for putting up with all of this, Andrea."

She snorted and flapped her hand almost dismissively. "Hey, anything for you, Alina. Besides, it's only one day and I shall soldier on." She hugged me back and despite her preference for trews and tunics, I could see she was pleased to be a part of my wedding party. Again, she pulled at the material of her dress and I lightly and playfully slapped her hand away. She grinned sheepishly at me and I kissed her cheek.

"Will ye quit fidgeting, for Ariadne's sake?" Aurora chided her sister. "Ye're going to look like a wrinkled mess before the wedding even starts."

Aurora was laughing and smiling, but there was no mistaking the wistful look in her eyes. I went to her and hugged her tight. "I am sorry your Silvan could not attend the ceremony, Aurora."

She shrugged. "It's okay. He sends his regrets to miss it, but I'll meet him later at the reception. Thanks for inviting him, Alina."

"It's my pleasure," I said, then lowered my voice. "I have a feeling you are going to be next."

She chuckled. "I wish, but Silvan and I are a long way away from a proposal. I--" She was interrupted by a knock at the door.

"Special delivery!" came Albus's voice. Robin and I had asked him and Gabriel to be ushers. "This big one is for you, Alina. Got something here for Aurora, too."

"Now, who would be sending me something?" I asked.

When Albus handed me the package, I knew exactly who had sent it to me. There were two dozen red roses and a card in a pretty envelope. I buried my nose in the roses, inhaling deeply, then opened the envelope. My Robin's neat handwriting was unmistakable.

Dearest Alina,
     As I sit writing this, I can hardly believe you will be Mrs. McIntyre, my wife and forever love by the end of the day. I can't wait to see my beautiful bride as she walks down the aisle toward me. You will be the most beautiful bride, I know, for you are already the most beautiful woman alive. I love you with a true, eternal love, and I can't wait to pledge that to you in front of our family and friends today. 
         Love Always,

I let out a sob as I held his much treasured letter to my heart.

"C'mon. Out with it. Read it to us," Andrea said, bouncing in her seat.

I dabbed at my eyes and grinned rather lopsidedly. I cleared my throat and shared Robin's letter.

"Oh!" Aurora said, then dabbed daintily at her own eyes.

"Oh my! Man, if I didn't see floating hearts before, I surely do now," Andrea said. She, too, was grinning. Andrea was tough as nails, as the saying goes, but everyone who knows and loves her realizes she is also a...soft touch? Yes, I think that is the right saying.

I laughed, looked in the mirror again, and saw Aurora quietly folding up her own letter. "Was that from your Silvan, Aurora?" I asked her.

"Yeah," she said, blushing.

"Oh, do read it to us if it is not too personal," I begged.

She shook her head. "Oh, Alina! I don't want to take anything away from your day. It'll keep."

I was insistent, however. "Nothing will take anything from my day. I am so happy right now, but it makes me even happier knowing there are others out there who share love as Robin and I do. Please do read it to us. C'mon, Aurora. Knock over."

From the sound of the ladies' laughter, I realized I must have erred an expression of slang, as I am still apt to do.

"Alina, that's GIVE over, not KNOCK over," Andrea said.

"Och! Bugger me," I said sheepishly. "Mayhap, I will get it correct one day. Now, do give over, Aurora."

"Yes, Ma'am," she said, taking out the letter. Looking down at it, she began to read.

My Beautiful Aurora,
     How I regret not being able to be there with you for Alina and Robin's wedding. I will miss you every moment I am away from you. Know that my heart is with you. While we are apart, I will look up and think about you and I being under the same sky. 
     Please extend my thanks to Robin and Alina for inviting me and give them my regrets that I was not able to attend the ceremony. I will be there afterward though and will look forward to giving you a special kiss and having a dance with you. 
              With all my heart, from your fairy prince,   

It was my turn to dab at my eyes. "Oh, that is lovely!"

"Yeah," Aurora said rather dreamily.

Another knock came, and Chris poked his head into the room. "Good. Everyone's decent. Man, the place is packed! Ma, the cake looks great and I can't wait to pig out after this hullabaloo is done."

"Spoken like a true barbarian," Aurora said, rolling her eyes and chuckling. "Ma, Tabitha, someone had better keep an eye on him or there won't be any food left for anyone else. He'll sneak off to the reception hall and demolish the whole thing before the ceremony is even halfway over."

Lenora laughed. "Don't worry, dear. Your Great Grandda will keep an eagle eye on him."

"Damn!" Chris said in mock disappointment, then closed the door as he left.

I grinned at the exchange, picturing the day I could proudly present a son to my Robin. First, however, we had a wedding to get through.

I loved "Canon in D" by Pachabel, which I thought was the perfect piece to have played for the wedding party's entrance. As everyone was getting lined up, my stomach fluttered nervously. This was really and truly happening!

First to enter was Chris and Tabitha.

Jonas and Sharon.

Elton and Andrea.

Blake and Lauren

Aurora and Carson.

Lenora and Tyrone as Matron of Honor and Best Man.

Robin's niece, Alicia, made a beautiful flower girl.

Since I did not have a living father, Liam agreed to give me away. "I couldn't have been more proud of ye had ye been my own daughter," he said in his wonderful Irish brogue.

"And I could not love you more had you been my biological father. Thank you for this...for all of this."

He kissed my cheek, then tucked my arm into his. I gulped audibly when the Bridal Chorus began to play.  My moment had arrived. As I glided down the aisle with Liam at my side, I felt every eye on me and blushed. Everyone was standing and smiling at me. Never had I been the one to receive such grand attention.

My nervousness evaporated immediately when I saw the look on my Robin's face. His eyes shone with adoration and the smile he gave to me alone caused my heart to skip a beat. He mouthed "I love you," and I smiled so wide that my cheeks actually hurt.

My mother had arranged for someone from the Witch's Council who had the proper credentials to marry us. I'd been surprised when the person turned out to be a woman. In my native time, no way would a woman have such power to perform such a task, but Mother assured me that it would be all right. Women had much more power and position nowadays, and Carrie Adamson had performed many a wedding ceremony. When Robin and I had meet with her, we liked her instantly.

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of Ariadne, family, and friends, to join this man, Robin McIntyre, and this woman, Alina Rebecca Blankenship, in holy matrimony. Robin and Alina have expressed their desire to become one on this day and wish to share their joy with those they hold most dear. Who gives this woman to be married to this man?" Carrie asked.

"Her mother and I," Liam's strong voice said just before he kissed me and placed my hand into the hand of my Robin. As Liam went to sit next to my mother, my Robin pulled me to him and squeezed my hand.

"If anyone can show just cause why Robin and Alina should not be joined, may they speak now or forever hold their peace," Carrie intoned.

After a moment of silence, Carrie spoke again. "Alina Rebecca and Robin will now exchange their vows, which they have chosen to write themselves."

Robin took my hands in his and squeezed them tight. "Alina, the day you dropped into my life was the day I truly began living. You are from a different world, a world that is so foreign to all I had ever known. I knew you were the one I'd waited all my life for. Our love transcends time and space, and even the world of the spirits could not hold you back from me. I, Robin, take you, Alina Rebecca, as my lawfully wedded wife. I promise to love and cherish you, keeping myself only unto you. I promise to protect and honor you from this day forward. I promise to respect and care for you in sickness and health, in good times and in bad, all the days of my life until death do us part."

A tear rolled down my cheek, which Robin wiped away with the gentlest of touches. It took me a moment to compose myself, and when I spoke, my voice sounded strong and sure. "Robin, I have always dreamed of treasures untold. I wanted to live among kings, to dance the night away with royalty, and to be looked upon as a fine lady. I wanted to fall in love and be loved in return by a handsome prince who cherished me above anything or anyone else. I was hurled into something completely unbeknownst to me and was so frightened. I'd lost everything I had ever known. Then, you came into my life, bringing with you the hope and light I so desperately sought. You loved me despite my station in life and reunited me with my mother. You even braved the realm of the spirits to save me. I now know that I don't need royalty or beautiful balls to make me happy. All I need is you. Knowing you love me is everything I need to feel like the wealthiest of women. I, Alina Rebecca, take you, Robin, as my lawfully wedded husband. I promise to love and cherish you, keeping myself only unto thee. I promise to honor and respect you from this day forward. I promise to care for you in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, all the days of my life, until death do us part."

"The ring is a sign of eternal love. It is a circle, a shape with no beginning and no end. Robin and Alina Rebecca will now exchange their rings and then will recite a binding spell that goes back to the days of the druids. This spell will forever seal them to one another and cannot be broken," Carrie said

I uttered a little sigh when I felt the golden band encircle my finger. "Alina Rebecca, I give yo this ring as a sign of my constant faith and abiding love. May its presence surround your finger as you surround my heart with your love."

I slowly slid Robin's ring onto his finger, then spoke. "Robin, I give you this ring as a sign of my constant faith and abiding love. May it's presence surround your finger as you surround my heart with your love."

Robin and I shared a long look before he placed his right hand over my heart and I placed my left hand over his. My right hand went to his heart with my left one over his right one. Robin spoke first, never taking his eyes from my face. “If aught must be lost,  It will be my honor for yours. If one must be forsaken, it will be my soul for yours. Should death come anon, it will be my life for yours. I am Given.” The instant the words were uttered, Robin gasped and closed his eyes. I knew instantly what was happening, for Lenora warned me of the onslaught of deep emotion that would cascade over us once the spell was cast.

It was my turn and I looked deeply into his eyes, speaking as though he were the only one in the room. “If aught must be lost,  It will be my honor for yours. If one must be forsaken, it will be my soul for yours. Should death come anon, it will be my life for yours. I am Given.”

I cried out and doubled over. Robin caught me in his arms, holding me tightly to him until the swell of emotion passed. "How is it possible that I love you more in this moment than I ever have before?" I whispered.

"I don't know, but I'm not complaining, for I feel the same way, my Alina. What a wonder you are!" he said, gazing into my face.

"By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Robin, you may now kiss your bride," Carrie said.

When Robin lowered his lips to mine, I was completely lost. Everything save Robin disappeared. I loved this man more than I ever thought possible, and oh! This could not have gone more perfectly.

"May I now introduce to you for the first time Mr. and Mrs. Robin McIntyre," Carrie announced.

Oh my! I was married. I was really MARRIED! I gazed up at my Robin, grinning soppily. He laughed and kissed my temple. "Well, Mrs. McIntyre, what do you think?"

"I think...I think I'm so happy I could burst, Mr. McIntyre. Oh, Robin, how I love you!"

"I love you more," he said.

I didn't know how that was possible, but hearing his words overwhelmed my heart to overflowing. I couldn't stop smiling as I hugged everyone as they came to congratulate us.

I was still grinning when we arrived at the reception hall where we were greeted with cheers and more congratulations. Once again, every eye was upon Robin and me as we had our first dance. Robin led me onto the dance floor and I smiled up at my husband...my HUSBAND...as he slid his arms around me.

"You look so beautiful today, my Alina...my wife," he whispered as the music engulfed us.

"And I am married to the handsomest, kindest man ever! Oh, Robin, I don't want this day to end," I said.

"Today is only the beginning, my darling," he whispered as he whirled me across the floor.

I laughed giddily when we finished it off with Robin dipping me back for a passionate kiss, much to the delight of our guests.

Next, it was time to cut the cake. Lenora had dome a beautiful job on it as I knew she would.

My heart gave a lurch when all the single ladies lined up for the throwing of the bouquet. I'd heard stories of bouquets filled with magic. Even if it went in the direction of a lady the bride hopes will catch it, the bouquet can sometimes have a mind of its own. I took at as a sign of a good omen when the bouquet and I appeared to be in perfect harmony.

It sailed right into Aurora's waiting hands and I could not have been happier.

The party was in full swing still by the time Robin and I left for our hotel. We'd decided to spend our honeymoon in Sunlit Tides but weren't scheduled to leave until tomorrow. Robin got us a honeymoon suite in what Lenora calls a swanky hotel in the more upscale part of town. When we arrived and got checked in, Robin carried me all the way up to our suite. Everything looked so beautiful and romantic, and I felt like a fairytale princess as Robin gently placed me atop the bed.

Robin was about to lower his head to kiss me but I stopped him. "I-I should prepare myself for..." I looked away, blushing.

"Prepare yourself for what, Alina?" Robin asked.

"Well, you see, I...well...this being my first time to..." I bit my lip, needing to find the words to explain. "A newly married woman needs to prepare herself for her husband and for...for what is to happen on a wedding night."

"Oh," Robin said, understanding dawning on his face. He helped me to my feet and smiled at me.

I scurried into the bathroom where I dawned one of the pieces of lingerie the ladies picked out for me during my shopping trip. I arranged my hair so it flowed down my back, studied myself in the mirror, and gulped. I wanted to please my husband but oh, I was so nervous.

He was waiting for me when I emerged. In my day, the married women prepared the new bride for her deflowering. She was arranged in the marriage bed where she waited for her husband to come to her. Things were much different in the time I lived in now. Instead of me waiting for Robin to come to me while I lay naked in a big, unfamiliar bed, Robin was waiting for me to come to him when I was ready. It was a strange idea but one that Robin seemed to like. I watched as his eyes traveled over my body and I trembled slightly. "The ladies said this is the right thing to wear for...for this night," I whispered.

Robin came to my side and looked at me intently. "They were right, Alina. You are the most beautiful creature to ever breathe life."

"So...does that mean you like me?" I asked shyly.

"You are my beautiful bride, Alina,' he said, caressing my cheek. "I more than like you. I love you and I want to show you just how much I love you. Will you come to bed with me, Mrs. McIntyre?"

He led me to the bed where he touched me in ways that made me feel so loved and desired. He took his time with me, insisting that he wanted to give me a night I would never forget. Having him minister to me in this way wasn't like anything I'd ever expected. In my time, a woman was taught to do her duty and that it was the man who was supposed to be pleasured. However, Robin made it different. He wanted to pleasure me, which made me want to pleasure him all the more. Every touch, every kiss was something I wanted to treasure forever. He was so gentle and romantic, yet there was unmistakable passion as I went from virgin to being my Robin's much beloved wife. It was the most beautiful night of my life.


Bonus Shots

Here are a couple more pictures of Alina in her dress. She looked so beautiful that I wanted to show her from head to toe.

These are head to toe shots of each "couple" in the wedding party in no particular order.

Liam and Mathilda, the mother and father of the bride. I reckon Mathilda will always be the woman in black no matter the occasion. She's not a witch to wear bright colors.

Here are some bonus wedding night shots. I think those two lovebirds are going to make the most of that honeymoon suite.

Author's Note - The Druid binding spell that Robin and Alina used was not my own creation. I borrowed it from the Highlander Series by Karen Marie Moning, whose books I would highly recommend.

Thanks to PiazzaGirl for use of Lauren McIntyre and Alicia Slayer. You can be sure the rest of the family was there for the big event but weren't mentioned. It just would have been a freaking nightmare to try to get even more arranged than what I already did. Big weddings are beautiful but man, they're crazy hard to put together. Anyway, you can read her awesome stories by going to the following links.
A Race Against Time
Romance on the Horizon

if you would like to read more about Aurora and Silvan, you can find them in my story, "Forever in Time."