I woke up with a smile on my face, trying to remember where I was. Justin’s soft snores brought flashbacks from last night. I cuddled closer to him, enjoying the heat that came from his body. Realizing I was not going to go back to sleep, I began to get dressed. As I walked down the hall, Esther’s happy chirps hit my ears. I scooped her up, hugging her tightly, “Are you hungry, sweet-pea? C’mon, Mommy will make you some breakfast.”
Humming a song, I was busy making waffles for everybody when Cassidy appeared. She looked surprised to see me, but a smile on her face. She looked at me eagerly, “So, did you say yes?” My mouth dropped open, “You knew?” She nodded excitedly, “Daddy told me yesterday what he was going to do. He asked me what I thought about you and Esther coming to live with us.” I stopped mixing the batter and knelt down to face her, “Uh huh. What did you say?” She smiled wide, “Well, I told him that I love playing with Esther. She’s so cute, and I’ve always wanted a sister.” I laughed softly, but she continued, “And I don’t remember much about my mom. I know that Daddy was real sad for a long time, but you made him happy again. So I told him that it was okay if he married you.”
I hugged her tight, “I’m so excited to join your family, Cassidy. Would you be my special flower girl?”
She jumped up and down excites, yelling, “Yes! Yes! Yesssssss!”
I ut a finger to my lips, but it was already too late, Justin appeared in the hallway, stil not all the way awake. Cassidy apologized, but Justin scooped her into his arms, “I think someone just found out she’s going to be the flower girl.” Cassidy nodded vigorously and Justin laughed, “Okay, princess, go on and get dressed for school.” Cassidy scampered off while Justin stood behind me and wrapped his arms around me, kissing my neck. He smiled, “I haven’t seen her that excited in a long time, Sabrina. Thank you.” I smiled and planted a smooch on his cheek before turning around and finishing the waffles. We all sat down to breakfast, a great start to our morning.
~Three months Later~
I woke up in the same bed, Justin’s arms around me. I rolled over, and stretched, only one thought coming to mind, today is my wedding day. I smiled wide before putting my slippers on and left Justin a note, knowing I would see him again at the altar. The warmth of the shower pulsed though my body, and I placed a hand over my belly, keeping my little secret safe inside of me. Yesterday the doctor confirmed my suspicions, I was 6 weeks pregnant. I think we were both a little surprised since the outcome after I lost Christopher had been so grim. My tears mingled in with the shower, the thought of losing this baby all but consumed me.
Once I was dressed, I drove over to my parent’s house. The plan was to get ready there, and then head to Justin’s parents’ house, where the wedding and the reception would be held. My mom met me at the front door, pulling me into a hug, “I never dreamed we would get to share such a precious moment with you, sweetie. I’m so happy for you!”
The rest of the day seemed to fly by, and before I knew it, we were pulling up to Mr. and Mrs. Walsh’s home. Cassidy ran out front and gave me a big hug. I threw my arms around her, “You’ve become a beautiful young lady, Cassidy. I couldn’t be prouder to have you as my flower girl. I scooped up Esther one more time, “Okay, sweet-pea, you’re going to sit with Grandma, okay?” She waved to me as my mom walked her into the house. My father ushered Cassidy and I around the side of the house, where the music began to start.
When I saw the tears running down Justin’s cheeks, my own eyes began to betray me. Cassidy was smiling wide enough for all three of us though. The preacher cleared his throat as we reached the end of the aisle, “Who gives this young woman away?” My father nodded his head, “I do.” He kissed my cheek and sat down. The preacher looks out to our small crowd and addresses them, “If anyone who has gathered here today objects to the union of Sabrina Quinn and Justin Walsh, speak now or forever hold your peace.”
A single voice interrupted the silence, “I object!”
I whipped my head around, only to face a drunken, crazy-eyed Nickolai. He walked down the aisle and knelt in front of me, “Sabrina Quinn, I’ve lost my heart to you long ago and all this time, I’ve been working on a plan to win you back, and I couldn’t think of a grander gesture than this…” he pulled a box from his pocket, and looked up at me, “Will you marry me?” Justin started to move but I held him back for a second. Nickolai still knelt before us, and I tried to be nice, but I was so angry that I ended up yelling at him, “You thought this was the best plan? Coming, uninvited, to interrupt my wedding and to ask for my hand in marriage… AT MY WEDDING?!” He looked down at the floor, but I continued, “In case you’ve missed any of the OBVIOUS clues, like I don’t know, maybe the fact that I’ve been avoiding you for the last two years…the answer is no. I’m not sorry, but I hope you find someone else to fixate on. Now please, leave, so that I can marry the man I love.” He began to stumble down the aisle, but turned around abruptly, shouting, “You will love me! One day, you will love me!” He pulled a gun from inside his jacket and fired twice.” My father, and another guest tackled him to the ground as everybody screamed. I reached for Esther and Cassidy, making sure they were okay. I turned to find Justin, but his crumpled form at the altar caused an involuntary scream to rise from my mouth. I rushed to his side, crying, “Oh, Justin, oh baby,. It’s okay, baby. I got you.” I looked around, his mom was calling 911, and someone held their jack out to me. I ripped open his shirt, the whole time repeating, “Stay with me, baby, stay with me.” I cried out when I saw the pools of blood.
It was a blur, of red and blue lights, the paramedics rushed him away, and I was forced to let go as they loaded him into the ambulance. I wanted so badly to ride with him, but one glance over at Cassidy and I knew I had to be strong for her and Esther. Kneeling `down on the grass next to Cassidy. I held her as she cried, and my silent tears fell beside hers. It wasn’t until that moment did I notice just how bloody and dirty my wedding dress had become. I took Cassidy’s hand and led her into the house, slowly accepting the numbness that crept over my body. It took more effort than it should have to climb out of my dress. I packed some stuff to entertain Esther while we were at the hospital, and threw in some clothes for Cassidy. Franklin Walsh, Justin’s dad and a bear of a man, was waiting downstairs to take us to the hospital.
By the time we made it to the correct hospital wing, given the right waiting area, it was nearly midnight. Esther was fast asleep in my father’s arms. I stood at the nurse’s station, “Hi, I’m here for Justin Walsh, he came in not too long ago in an ambulance. Do you know his condition, or whether he’s in surgery right now?” The nurse’s lips pursed in a grim manner, “I’m sorry, Ma’am. I’m not allowed to divulge that information. I’ll page the doctor and let him know you’re waiting for an update.” I thanked her, but I couldn’t get past the look that had crossed her face. I took my seat back in the waiting room. My mother rubbed the small of my back, comfortingly. I must’ve dozed off because the next thing I knew, the nurse called me up to the desk, “Ma’am, Dr. Sinclair is waiting for you in the office to my right. He needs to speak with you about a personal matter.” I thanked her, took a big gulp, and pushed open the doctor’s door.