Mia was watching Alan standing with his back to her at the bar at the far end of the marquee chatting to Lucky, Harvard and his former CO Joe Cantalanotto. The SEALS all wore dress uniforms, all of them big, strong, courageous men, but to her, Alan would always be the one who stood out as the bravest of them all. Not because of the fact that they put themselves routinely into harm's way, but because of the decision he had made six months ago. She let her gaze trace down his body to his right leg. She could see the vague outline of the prosthetic's socket which fit his thigh like a glove. It was the only tell-tale sign of his artificial leg.
He turned around and found her smiling at him and he winked and smiled back. He raised his champagne glass to her then finished the last sip and turned back, placing the glass on the bar counter. The group of men erupted in claps and cheers, hand-shaking all around and then Alan turned again, walking toward her with just the vaguest unevenness in his step. On the way he picked a white rose out of one of the vases and walked up to Mia.
He knelt down on one knee in front of her; one of the few movements that Mia knew was really difficult for him. She felt so proud, so incredibly proud of him.
"Mrs Francisco?" He said formally with a gleam in his eyes, holding out the rose for her. "You are so incredibly beautiful. If you weren't married to me already I would ask you again, but since you are how about we move on to the final part of our wedding day?"
She took the rose from him and stood. "With pleasure." She held out her hand and he took it, using it to balance himself against her while he stood up, too. Nobody knew how many times they had practised this seemingly innocuous manoeuvre until he had been able to push himself up on his one leg without snagging the prosthesis and losing his balance. She had marvelled at his good-naturedness as well as tenacity as he tried again and again, laughing every time he tripped until he had finally figured it out.
While they walked to their SUV together, followed by the cheers and well-wishes of the wedding party, Mia thought about the time since Alan's surgery. The last six months had been a real revelation. Every day he had discovered something new he could do and every day he had told her about his setbacks and victories. Six weeks ago he had received his running blade and they had started jogging together every morning. By now she was struggling to keep up with him. Of course there were some real limitations since he couldn't actively move his knee or ankle, but he accepted them graciously.
Alan pulled into the driveway in front of their house and got out. He went to unlock the front door and opened it wide then he walked around the car and opened the door for Mia. He picked her up in his arms, carefully gathering the skirt of her white wedding dress to keep it from wrapping itself around his prosthesis and making him trip and carried her all the way into their bedroom. On the way he even managed to kick the front door closed with one well-placed swing of his artificial leg.