The next morning we were up before dawn. Today was our wedding day and we had a lot to do. Matthew managed to pay the owner of The Prosper Room an absurd amount of money to reserve their reception room. First, we ran to the courthouse to talk to Matthew's lawyer. Matthew requested a prenup and I was happy to oblige. I wasn't marrying him for his money anyways. I signed the prenup and we applied for our marriage license.
Next, Matthew dropped me off at Barney's so I could spend the rest of the morning and afternoon getting ready for our wedding. "I bought you something," Matthew said, digging in his pocket. He pulled out a new smart phone and handed it to me. "Everly, I was serious about you cutting off contact with your family. All they do is bring you down. You need to surround yourself with people who love you, like me. I bought you this new phone and I want you to give me your old phone as a sign of trust that you are putting that side of your life behind you." I was suddenly very uneasy. I agreed to the exchange under the condition that I was allowed to transfer a few contacts into my new phone. Matthew needed to approve of the numbers I transferred. "Who is Mary?" he questioned as I input her number into my new phone. "An old friend of mine from high school," I lied. I had a feeling I may need to talk to Marina, and now I understood why she coded her name.
After my contacts were put into my new phone, Matthew took my old cell and put it in his pocket. He gazed into my eyes. "Everly, I promise I will make you that happiest woman alive." I held him tightly and inhaled his scent. It was comforting and reminded me of the reason I was leaving my old life behind. I loved him. He left me at the front door and left to finish preparing for the day.
I met Lola inside. "We have a lot of work to do," she smiled. Lola's smile relaxed my nerves. I was really starting to like her. I even considered her my friend.
They had me change into swimwear so they could do my hair and makeup. They also gave me a manicure, pedicure, and a full wax.
After hair and makeup, Lola brought a rack of wedding gowns into the changing room. I fell in love with the first one I tried on. It was a breathtaking, elegant gown with exquisite lace mended together to create a rich texture. I didn't even want to try on another gown. I knew this was the one.
I wasn't sure if it was nerves but I suddenly felt unsettled. Lola picked up on my mood and asked me if everything was alright. "I just didn't imagine my wedding like this. I know it's a dream wedding and I should be grateful but I always imagined my Aunt would be there for me. I'll be exchanging vows while looking into a crowd of strangers," I answered. Lola grabbed my face in her hands. "No," she said softly, "you'll be exchanging vows, looking into the face of the man you love." Lola surprised me by taking me into her arms in a giant hug. "I'll give you some time alone before you have to leave," she said as she walked out of the dressing room.
I stood in front of the dressing room mirror and stared at the reflection. I hardly recognized the girl staring back at me with her designer dress, silk gloves, and perfect up-do. I still felt incomplete. Is this how you were supposed to feel on your wedding day? I wished Kylie was around to ask. I wished I could call her and hear her sweet voice. I wish I could apologize for being so cruel to her. I took a deep breath and head out the door to the parked limo waiting for me.
I was taken to The Prosper Room downtown. I had to admit, the venue was beautiful and the decor was perfect for such short notice.
I met Matthew at the alter. He looked slightly annoyed. "Why aren't you wearing a shawl with that dress?" he asked me quietly. Before I could answer, the music started. The wedding was a small affair. Only six of Matthew's close friends were in attendance. I looked out into the audience and sadness washed over me. No familiar faces. I missed my Aunt terribly at that moment. The fact that she wasn't here felt so wrong.
Matthew and I exchanged our vows. It was fairly traditional. He promised to take care of me and love me until the end of time. I promised to dedicate myself and life completely to him.
I slowly placed the ring on his finger, my hands shaking.
Matthew had taken my ring earlier that morning so he could place it on my finger during the ceremony. As he was sliding the ring on my finger he told me he got it engraved. I looked down at the ring. The inscription had our wedding date engraved along with a simple message: Yours Forever.
We were pronounced man and wife and the time came to end the ceremony with a kiss.
The audience clapped as Matthew looked into my eyes and told me I had made him the happiest man alive. I just smiled lovingly. I was so happy but I had such mixed feelings about our wedding. The finality of the day rested heavily on shoulders. A nagging voice in the back of my head wished I would have at least heard Kylie out when she was trying to warn me.
Matthew and I cut the cake. It was a three tiered, elegant wedding cake with fondant ruffles and Tiffany lace. It taste as good as it looked.
We danced our first dance to the music of the live jazz band. It was moments like this I was sure I had done the right. Matthew had a way of smoothing rough edges and feelings in me.
After our first dance, Matthew had his first drink.
It didn't stop then. It was an open bar and Matthew took full advantage of that. I mingled and made it a point to visit with all of his friends but every time I saw Matthew he was nursing a cocktail.
I had one glass of champagne the whole evening. By the time I had finished my drink, Matthew had downed another three.
The bar was closing and everybody had gone home. I pleaded with Matthew to stop and come home with me. The alcohol was making him fairly loud and belligerent. Finally, he agreed to get in the limo with me. One the ride home he lectured me about embarrassing him by telling him what to do. "I'll have no more of that," he chided. "You do not get to tell me what to do," he continued the rest of the ride home.
We arrived home and Matthew headed upstairs. I told him I would be up in just a moment. I needed to freshen up. I stepped outside, closing the door quietly. He may have deleted all my contacts but I knew Nancy's number by heart. I dialed the number, hopeful and desperate to hear her soothing voice, but there was no answer. I hung up the phone and went upstairs.
Matthew was passed out in his wedding tux. I shook him gently to wake him but he would not stir. The night was over. I dressed into my pajamas and crawled up to next to him. He reeked of alcohol. I turned my back to him and a tear slipped down my cheek. I could not control the tears as they continued to flow freely down my face and onto my pillow. I buried my face and allowed myself to cry quietly until I fell asleep.