A/N: So, here we are then. The end of this story. Before you panic, I'm thinking of writing yet another sequel. It won't be as long, but what do you think? Good idea or not? Let me know. Now, before we go on, I'd like to say thank you.
Thank you to joellen818 and morgieO for coming onboard and reviewing. Thank you to Frogster for sticking with this and reviewing. Thank you to Yva J. for your constant support and suggestions. And thank you to DiamondSkin for encouraging me to continue I Love You from a oneshot and to do this sequel. Without all of you I wouldn't have got this far with my writing, so thank you all for reviewing. You've no idea just how much I appreciate it. Love you all :)
Anton had asked me if I wanted a Jewish wedding and I suddenly remembered the conversation I'd had with Sharon, what felt like years ago but was only about a week. I decided right then that I did not want a Jewish wedding. I didn't care what kind of wedding we had, just as long as I was marrying Anton. We decided on something simple yet sweet with a fairly traditional style.
Everything was quite hectic. I stayed with Ruth while Anton caught a train back to Nashville, and even though he was only gone three days, I felt tears of relief fill my eyes when his car pulled up. Ruth watched in mild amusement as I raced down the drive to engulf Anton in a hug, and he started chattering as we headed back inside.
"I went straight down to the local church after I had retrieved my car," he explained, "and spoke to the Pastor. He was quite pleased for us, and we have organised the date exactly one month from yesterday."
I yelped. "That's quite soon. We better start getting organised."
Anton barely heard me and continued chattering away like a budgerigar in the sun. "I have bought paper for the invitations. White with a gold border. We shall organise a guest list and what we want said, then we can either handwrite or have it printed in Nashville. We must book a venue for the reception; I have here a list of possibilities. Where would you like the honeymoon to be?"
I chewed my lip in an attempt not to giggle. Anton hadn't even taken a breath as he'd spoken. "I don't really mind, but we shouldn't be worrying about that just yet. Let's just write out the guest list for now, and write a list of things we need and things to do."
"There is so much, Liebling," Anton said, his eyes shining with delight. "Come, a cup of tea would be nice."
We held hands and strolled inside to find Ruth already making two steaming cups of tea. I felt a stab of guilt that we were intruding on her so much, but I would repay her once the wedding was out of the way.
"Ruth," I said as we settled down to do the guest list. "She's at the top. Then Sharon."
"Got them. Who else?"
"Aunt Beth, Janet and Thomas. And Louisa!"
Anton scribbled the names down.
"That's all for me. How about you?"
"I do not know if my family can afford to come here for the wedding at such short notice, but I shall contact them regardless and try. And…?"
The unspoken question lingered in the air and I shook my head. I didn't want Harry and Pearl there. They weren't my parents anymore. Anton nodded his understanding and no more was said. It sure was going to be a small wedding but that was fine with us. We were inviting the people who meant the most and had helped us on our journey to find one another again. That was all that mattered.
Ruth and I decided to make a dress ourselves. It would be cheaper and we could make it completely our own. We went out and bought several metres of gorgeous floating white fabric and other bits and pieces from the haberdashery store and spread it out on Ruth's living room floor. I sketched up a rough drawing of how I wanted it to look and Ruth measured me before starting to draw up a pattern. For some reason Anton found it amusing that we were so serious about it and teased me for stressing. I threw a pin cushion at him and Ruth muttered something about acting like children.
A week later Ruth received a note from the post office that they had a package waiting for a Reiker. Anton went and collected it and I gaped. It was the biggest package I had ever seen and I hovered excitedly as Anton opened it.
"Oh, wow," I breathed. It was a dark grey suit, clearly made of expensive fabric, and included was a white shirt, silk bow tie, gleaming leather shoes and a satin waistcoat.
"This was the suit my father wore to his wedding," Anton said in awe, his voice almost a whisper. "He always told me as a child that if I married a beautiful lady he would allow me to wear this."
I blushed at the compliment, and gently stroked the expensive fabrics. I could tell this was very special to both Anton and his father. This inspired Ruth and I to work harder on getting the dress done and within another week it was finished. Unfortunately, not everything was going according to plan.
"P.B.," Anton said one morning. "I'm catching the train to Nashville and will return in a week."
"Why?" I asked, panic creeping through my veins.
"Exams," Anton chuckled. "Did you forget?"
"Oh, yes," I admitted sheepishly. "Have you studied?"
"I have," my fiancé said slowly but I got the feeling he hadn't studied quite as much as he could have done.
"I'm sorry," I said, placing my arms around his neck. "I should have remembered. If you fail it will be my fault."
"I shall do my best not to fail," Anton said with a smile. "But if I do, it is no fault of anyone's other than my own."
I had thought the week would be spent with me moping, but I was wrong. I was helping Ruth out with housework every second that wasn't spent preparing and organising for the wedding. When Anton came back I was surprised that a whole week had already gone by, and only a week was left until the wedding.
"Come for a walk with me," Anton instructed after we had done the washing up on his first night back from exams. "I want to show you something."
We strolled hand in hand down the lane, admiring the dusky blues and purples that filled the sky as the sun set. It was so beautiful, so perfect and I sighed contentedly. Anton kissed my cheek.
"I picked something up in Nashville," he said softly, "between exams. I wanted to get you a proper engagement ring."
I gasped as Anton pulled out a small velvet box and opened it to reveal a ring that glittered in the evening light. It was made from the softest gold and three tiny diamonds were imbedded in its surface, twinkling up at me as they caught the light. I quickly removed Anton's ring and replaced it on the chain around my neck, and held my finger out so Anton could slip the new ring onto it. It was a perfect fit and looked beautiful.
I flung my arms around Anton's neck and kissed him lovingly, trying to show my appreciation in the way I caressed his cheek. The warmth I felt in his touch showed that he understood.
Anton drove Ruth, Sharon and I all the way to Nashville in his car three days before the wedding. Louisa and her father decided that Anton had to stay at the motel the night before the wedding because it would be unlucky to see me. They didn't charge him.
I threw up three times on the morning of the wedding. Sharon said I should go to hospital but Ruth laughed and reassured us that it was just nerves upsetting my stomach. It was to be expected, she said. Sharon was almost as nervous as I was and kept flapping about like a hen who had just laid an egg.
I washed my hair and Ruth set it in large rollers for me before blowing it dry with a hair dryer. She and Sharon removed the rollers once it was dry and gorgeous soft curls cascaded past my shoulders. I felt like a princess, especially once Sharon pinned half of it up with her special silver clasp.
Ruth made lunch whilst Sharon did my makeup, and I managed to eat about two bites of the food before I gagged and hurried outside for some fresh air. Eventually it was time to get dressed. Ruth guided me into the living room to help me dress and burst into song.
"Somethin' old, somethin' new, somethin' borrowed and somethin' blue," she sang.
"What's that?" I asked, cocking my head in curiosity. It sounded familiar.
"It's an old tradition," Ruth announced, producing a paper bag out of nowhere. "You have to wear somethin' old to your wedding, as well as somethin' new and somethin' borrowed."
"And something blue," Sharon chimed in. "You've borrowed my hair clasp, and you've got a new dress."
"You're wearing Anton's old ring around your neck," Ruth said, "and in my little bag o' tricks I have somethin' blue."
Out of the bag she extracted a pale blue garter and Sharon squealed with excitement. I grinned with pleasure and began to get changed. White nylon stockings, pale blue garter, and my beautiful dress. It was mid-calf length with a full skirt and was figure-hugging from the waist up. It had a beaded sweetheart neckline and ruched straps at the shoulders. I loved it.
Ruth was full of surprises that day; she organised for an old friend to drive me to the wedding in his 1942 Chrysler. I honestly felt like royalty when I arrived and my heart was racing.
The church was quite small, which was fine as we didn't have many guests, and I felt dizzy as the organ music floated out through the doors. For a moment I wished I had a father to walk me down the aisle but dismissed that thought and walked up the ancient stone steps. It was overwhelming and I clutched my bridal bouquet tightly in sweaty hands and took a deep breath.
I saw Louisa first, beaming at me, and then spotted Janet and Aunt Beth. Little Thomas grinned happily at me. As I made my way down the aisle I saw Sharon and Ruth with tears glimmering in their eyes, and on the other side I saw three people who were clearly Anton's parents and sister. I smiled at them and they flashed wide grins back. I was so glad they had made it. And there, at the front of the church, was my Anton. He looked wonderful, and I could see the joy radiating from him as I walked forwards in time to the music.
Saying "I do" was much easier than I had thought it would be; I had been terrified that I might stutter, but I didn't. And when Anton kissed me and everyone cheered I felt as though my heart was floating. As we walked hand in hand out of the church into the sunshine I realised that this truly was what I had been waiting for, all my life. Genuine love and happiness. And, after today, I would have it for eternity.
A/N: So what did you think? Please review and let me know what you thought. Also, let me know if you'd like to see a sequel to this one or not. Add me to your author alerts so that you'll know if/when I do it. Thank you all again :)