Finally! Got the last and final chapter of this story done! It's four months later...enjoy!

Emancipation

By: CNJ

3: New Beginnings

Jackie:

I could hear the violin start at the front of the yard in back of the Lodge that cool March day four months later. The weather was cool, but there was a faint hint of spring in the air on this day that my sister Roseanne married Dan, her longtime boyfriend and lover.

I stood near the back since I was the bridesmaid at their wedding. After a long, sometimes painful winter, I was feeling better these days and I don't hurt as much thinking about Mom and Dad, who by the way, are not even at this wedding. We haven't had contact with them for many months now. I've tried writing to them, but they don't answer our letters. I turned seventeen in January and am trying not to dwell on our parents and trying to concentrate on healing my heart and starting my adult life.

My apartment is working out very well now and I'm still bartending. Roseanne now has a job at the Wellman Plastics Factory and the pay is decent. Dan does drywalling and is getting paid all right for that and they now have a house on 714 Delaware Street.

Just then, my sister and her soon-to-be husband walked up the aisle in their best...my mouth fell open as I took in the lovely bride my sister made in her long pale mauve dress and mauve veil. They grinned at me when they saw me and I remembered to close my mouth and smiled back at them. Dan also looked good in a dark blue suit with a red tie.

Another friend of ours who's also a bridesmaid like me joined us...Crystal. We both had on identical purple flowered long dresses. We stood at the back for a few minutes while the judge began the opening lines of the ceremony.

It was a simple outdoor ceremony, but a beautiful one with flowers all over and an archway in the front where my sister and her boyfriend were to get married. Roseanne gives me a quick hug as she and Dan start to walk up the aisle. I felt a pang of a strange emotion as I watched my beautiful sister walk up the aisle. It was a touch of envy, yet happiness, then a feeling of almost bereftness...she's married and I'm not.

I also looked around, feeling a bit like an ugly duckling among swans. Crystal looked very pretty and I smiled nervously at her, feeling self-consciously buck-toothed, stringy-haired, flat-chested, and skinny. She smiled back.

Our cue then went and both of us started up the aisle. I swallowed nervously, realizing that the small crowd was watching us. I had a terrible moment of silent panic, feeling spectactularly ugly and ashamed of myself and could feel my hands begin to shake, but then I caught Roseanne and Dan beaming back at us and felt calmer, although my heart was still hammering.

Perhaps it was Roseanne and Dan's silent encouragement, but I made it through the ceremony keeping my self-consciousness at bay and enjoying the ceremony. I had to wipe tears from my eyes when Roseanne and Dan are pronounced husband and wife and they go back up the aisle.


"To the new bride and groom!" Crystal crowed as she held up her beer glass and we all toasted once the ceremony was over and we gathered for the reception also in the yard. A couple of people were already tipsy and I myself was working on my second beer. I gulped it down, partly to relieve my dry throat and partly because I love beer.

I still felt a bit bereft, especially watching Roseanne and Dan dance together. But then I felt so happy for them, enjoyed their deep love. What a lovely couple they made, I thought. They'd dated since sophomore year of high school. I was lucky if I could have a boyfriend for more than a month. I tried to shove away the thoughts of my painful, awful acne-ridden teenage years and remind myself that it's over and that I am now an adult.

"That was a beautiful ceremony," I told my sister once she'd stopped to get a beer. Dan joined her and all three of us toasted.

"Thanks..." Roseanne told me, putting an arm around me. Oh, how good her strong arm felt around me again. "Jackie...you're forever welcome at our house...know that nothing will change between us as sisters." She gave me a hug then and I hugged back, feeling tears spring to my eyes.

"Oh, Roseanne..." I wiped my eyes. "I needed to hear that."

"And we'll be there when it's your turn to get hitched," Dan told me, adding his hug.

"I wonder if my turn will ever come," I mumbled sadly. I can't picture myself as a bride...I'm just...I still feel too ugly.

"It will..." Roseanne said softly. "At the right time."

"I wonder if our parents...?" I say sadly. Dad probably won't walk me down the aisle either, I realized dejectedly.

My sister and her new husband must have read my thoughts because Dan said softly, "Jackie...if you need somebody...I'll be there when your time comes."

"Will you?" I said.

"Sure..." Dan grinned down at me.

"Oh...thank you." I hugged them both again.

"This wedding won't change a thing between the three of us..." Roseanne told us. "We'll always, always stick by each other just like that judge said and whenever things get rough...we always have us...hey, let's do a three-way dance!" She waved at the violin player and sure enough, all three us of us found a way to dance a three way jig to seal our pact to celebrate our new beginnings. At first, people looked at us in surprise, then joined in our laughter.

Storyline Copyright 2005 by CNJ