Author's note: This has really become my favorite story. I hope you enjoyed reading it just as much as I enjoyed writing it. Wishing my friend a very happy birthday once more!
That morning had been cold. The coldest one they've had in the four days they've been there. Being that it was such a busy morning for the hotel staff with the ceremony in the evening, Brenda and Dylan went to breakfast in the dining room for the participating couples. Again, the room was filled with white flowers and accents of gold. She couldn't imagine it looking anymore beautiful than it did right now with the golden sunlight shining through the windows, giving that other-worldly glow to just about everything it hit.
The room buzzed with excitement; excited couples eager for the ceremony and the feast afterward. It was so loud that Brenda and Dylan could hardly hear each other. But the atmosphere was contagious. Many time throughout their delicious meal, they found themselves smiling and sharing looks of knowing.
They'd spent the afternoon in their room, laying in each others' arms. Until three-thirty when Brenda received the call that her dress was finished. She went to try it on and it fit like a dream. She was unsure how the changes she suggested would fit the style of dress, but the seamstress had some a wonderful job. She hurried to the salon to get her hair styled in the fashion that best complimented the dress.
Calling upstairs at four- forty five (fifteen minutes before the ceremony was to start) Brenda asked Dylan to meet her outside by the fountain on the property. She wanted a picture (which the hotel staff was more than happy to provide) to remember her wedding day.
Dylan stepped off the elevator just a few minutes later and headed outside. Even though it was warmer now than it had been, he still partially regretted not wearing a coat. He was certain, however, that neither he nor Brenda would like it if he was in their wedding picture wearing a parka.
The white suit fit him perfectly. Of course he had no doubt that it would, given that Brenda picked it out. He walked outside amidst other couples dressed in white who smiled to him and wished him well on his marriage. It took him a moment to find Brenda out of all the brides but when he did, all of the air was pushed out of his lungs at the sight of her.
She wore a white fur cloak with a hood, but it was opened and he could see the lace dress she'd chosen for herself. The closer he stepped to her (no easy feat when his legs felt weighted down), he could see that it held an intricate design on the bodice. The same design was on the sleeves that peeked out from underneath the cloak. The fabric was pulled tightly against her arms and held in place by the finger holds. Specks of gold were sewn into the dress that fell just below her knees and the setting sun caught them all, giving Brenda a glow. The shape of the dress fit her body perfectly. It was tasteful and suited just to her. It reminded him of a Gothic Victorian gown that had been adapted to look more modern.
The crown of her hair was twisted in several rows, tied together in a long plat down the back, while the rest of her hair hung down to her shoulders in curls. Little specks of baby's breath flowers were entwined in the twists on the top of her head. White, laced up boots with golden accents completed the look.
Dylan was certain he'd never seen a more beautiful and breathtaking sight in all of his life. And the snow capped fountain behind her, with the sun setting directly behind that only added to that.
When he reached her, his heart was thundering in his chest. Something primal and protective swirled around inside of him when he reached for her hands. There was hardly any make up on her beautiful face, he noticed. And she looked happier than he had ever seen her.
"You look stunning," he told her, his mouth going dry.
"You don't look so bad yourself, handsome." She reached out and toyed with the tie. Then chided herself and smooth it out for their picture. "I think we have to hurry, they're going to be starting soon."
Dylan nodded, unable to form words at the moment, or tear his eyes away from her.
When one of the staff posed them for their picture, he too, must have known Dylan would have a hard time tearing his eyes away, because he posed them facing each other. One of Brenda's hands was around his shoulder, his are the same side around her waist, holding her close, while their free hands were clasped together between them. With her head tilted up and his down, they stared into each others' eyes lovingly as the photographer took their picture…careful to get the setting sun behind them
Not a moment after the flash went off, they were ushered inside for the ceremony. The couples were lined together in the dining room (even more beautiful with the golden lights handing from the ceiling). Six couples on each row of the three rows. Both Brenda and Dylan imagined that if the weather permitted and there were more couples participating, they would have held this outside.
The magistrate who was to preside over the ceremony took his place atop the makeshift stage at the far end of the room. Then, instructed the couples to turn and face each other.
Brenda and Dylan face each other with wide smiles.
"We have come together here in celebration of the joining together of these brides and these grooms." The magistrate began in a booming voice. "There are many things to say about marriage. Much wisdom concerning the joining together of two souls has come our way through all paths of belief, and from many cultures. With each union, more knowledge is gained and more wisdom gathered. Though we are unable to give all this knowledge to these who stand before us, we can hope to leave with them the knowledge of love and its strengths and the anticipation of the wisdom that comes with time."
Quiet filled the room.
"The law of life is love unto all beings. Without love, life is nothing, without love, death has no redemption. Love is anterior to Life, posterior to Death, initial of Creation and the exponent of Earth. If we learn no more in life, let it be this."
Those words seemed to have been spoken directly to the two of them.
"Marriage is a bond to be entered into only after considerable thought and reflection," the magistrate continued. "As with any aspect of life, it has its cycles, its ups and its downs, its trials and its triumphs. With full understanding of this, these Grooms and Brides have come here today to be joined as one in marriage."
Brenda smiled and Dylan smiled back.
"Others would ask, at this time, who gives the bride in marriage, but, as a woman is not property to be bought and sold, given and taken, I ask simply if she comes of her own will. Bride, is it true that you come of your own free will and accord?"
"Yes, it is true," Brenda replied with the other brides. The chorus of their voiced filled the room.
"Please join hands with your betrothed and listen to that which I am about to say. Above you are the stars, below you are the stones, as time doth pass, remember... Like a stone should your love be firm like a star should your love be constant. Let the powers of the mind and of the intellect guide you in your marriage, let the strength of your wills bind you together, let the power of love and desire make you happy, and the strength of your dedication make you inseparable. Be close, but not too close. Possess one another, yet be understanding. Have patience with one another, for storms will come, but they will pass quickly."
"Be free in giving affection and warmth. Have no fear and let not the ways of the unenlightened give you unease, for God is with you always."
Dylan wiped the tears that fell from his beloved's eyes, aware that his own were slipping down.
"Groom, I have not the right to bind thee to Bride, only you have this right. If it be your wish, say so at this time and place your ring in her hand."
"It is my wish," Dylan answered with the other grooms. He pulled his ring out of his pocket and placed it in her hand.
"Bride, I have not the right to bind thee to Groom only you have this right. If it be your wish, say so at this time and place your ring in his hand."
"It is my wish," Brenda said with tears before reaching into his other pocket and placed her ring in his upturned palm.
"Groom, if it be your wish for Bride to be bound to you, place the ring on her finger and repeat after me: I take thee to my hand, my heart, and my spirit, to be my chosen one. To desire thee and be desired by thee, to possess thee, and be possessed by thee, without sin or shame, for naught can exist in the purity of my love for thee. I promise to love thee wholly and completely without restraint, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in poverty, in life and beyond, where we shall meet, remember, and love again. I shall not seek to change thee in any way. I shall respect thee, thy beliefs, thy people, and thy ways as I respect myself.
Dylan looked more serious than she'd ever seen as she said the words and placed the ring on her hand. When it was her turn, she did so just as reverently. The weight of what they were saying to one other striking chords deep within them both.
So engrossed in one another neither of them saw the hotel staff passing out golden chalices and little pieces of cakes until it was their turn to receive them.
Once the staff had finished, the magistrate began again. "May you drink your fill from the cup of love."
Dylan held out the chalice carefully to Brenda while she drank half of the warm apple cider. She smiled and laughed to herself while Dylan finished the rest. On the magistrate's instructions, she held out the tiny piece of vanilla cake to him as he bit half and then she ate the other.
Excitement began to flow throughout the room, and they figured the ceremony was coming to a close. The staff came through quickly to take the chalices away.
"By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. May your love so endure that its flame remains a guiding light unto you."
The brides and grooms around them shouted with joy and kissed. Dylan swept Brenda up into his arms and placed a sweet, reverent kiss to her lips.
"Best vacation ever!" Brenda exclaimed with glee.
They decided not to participate in the feast the hotel provided. Instead, retired to their room for some time alone on their wedding night. The staff was providing room service again and they ordered what was being served downstairs.
Curled up against his side as they lay in bed, Brenda wondered, "Do you want to go down to city hall and make it legal tomorrow or wait until we get back to London?"
Half asleep, Dylan sighed and ran a finger lazily down her bare arm. "We could, if that's what you want."
Brenda thought for a moment. "I would imagine that we weren't the only couple who didn't have a license to participate in the ceremony. City hall might be swamped."
"Maybe. We can wait if you want." He turned into her and dropped a kiss on the top of her head. "I don't think it matters to us right now if it's legal or not. You're my wife in every way that counts and I'm your husband."
Already decided that they would go to city hall because she wanted to make her marriage to Dylan legal as soon as possible, Brenda nodded. "Yes, you are my not legal but spiritual husband, Dylan McKay."
Pulling her up until she was practically laying on top of him, Dylan asked. "So, was this anything like you pictured our wedding to be, my not legal but spiritual wife?" His fingers searched under the covers for the hem of the nightgown she wore, aching to bare her flesh before him.
Pulling the nightgown off of her, she straddled him naked before leaning down to press a sweet kiss to his lips.
"Just like a fairytale," she whispered before proceeding to make love to her husband on their wedding night.