A Mother's Wish Fulfilled
Rusty Hough Bader
PG-13 Charles and Celeste Chandler reflect on the perfect man for their 10 year old daughter
This is an amateur publication with no intention to infringe on any copyrights
The Hospital room was diffusely lit, accentuating the throbbing lights on the machines surrounding the critically ill woman. Celeste Chandler laid passively under the stiff cotton hospital sheets too weary to react to the discomfort that coursed thru her cancer riddled body. Charles sat on the edge of the chair he had occupied since the Oncologist had told him it was just a matter of days left for his lovely wife. They had waxed over their married life, their travels, the dreams they had achieved and the ones they hadn't fulfilled.
"Charles, what kind of wedding do you think Cathy will have? You will walk her down the aisle, won't you?" The pain medication had kicked in and Celeste's mind wandered to the question she had mulled for days. Before she had taken this turn for the worse Cathy had celebrated her 10th Birthday and Celeste had done her level best to look "normal" for the quiet party at the house. Thank God for their Housekeeper, Nannette, she thought as she remembered Cathy careening down the wide staircase with a princess crown nestled in her honey colored hair.
Once she saw Cathy in her favorite creamy ivory dress the thought hit her…Celeste was dying and wouldn't see her daughter in her most important white dress.
"She'll be as beautiful a bride as you, Celeste" Charles held his wife's thin hand carefully and felt her fingers curl around his.
"What kind of man do you think she'll marry, Charles, someone as handsome as her Daddy?" Celeste's eyes glittered as she sought Charles' serious face. At her question Charles chuckled just a bit.
"She's a brilliant girl, she'll have her choice of men one day" Charles took a calming deep breath as he thought of the little rapscallions that rode skateboards past Cathy and he had to shake his head that one of them would be worthy of his only child.
"Really, Charles, the man she marries has to be special, someone singular" her words were slowly pronounced with her halting breaths.
"It goes without saying that he'll be tall and strong otherwise Cathy will run circles around him" Charles surmised with a grin.
"He'd have to be strong to hold his own with her, she's a stubborn one" Celeste grinned as she recalled Cathy's intense green eyes honing in on her goals whether it was school or her riding lessons. "Probably a University Professor, someone philosophical with a rapier wit!"
"She'll sway some young man, probably one of the more influential men of her crowd. Someone literate and well spoken" Charles' ideas had always been an heir for his law firm; surely she'd excel in Law and eventually become a Judge! "Can you imagine their debates; he'll have to have the patience of Job"
"You know she loves to see new things, travel. Perhaps she might catch the eye of someone from another country?" Celeste pressed the bed button to raise her up to see Charles better. "You know she's curious, she'll be the one of us to venture into places we've never thought of" She had missed the warmth of his arms; they hadn't slept together in one bed in weeks. Was it too much to dream that her daughter would find a man as intelligent and thrilling as Charles Chandler? "Charles, promise me whoever she brings home if she's happy, please accept him"
"Celeste, you have my word I will raise her to understand that no success in life can replace a truly loving and happy home" Charles could read the need in Celeste's eyes. As fragile as her small body had become there were nights where he'd slip out of his shoes and slide beside her to hold her in his arms. He missed having her beside him in their luxurious bed at home and knew that connection had been severed by cruel fate. As he slid alongside her and held her he gently kissed her short wisps of hair. "If Cathy only has half of the blissful life that we've had she will indeed be so fortunate" Charles felt Celeste nod as her breathing rasped.
"Tell her how much I love her, Charles" Celeste kissed her husband's hand one last time and sighed as she drifted into another plane of existence.
-The candles flickered around the altar, tall tongues of flames dancing with the anxious movement of the gathering waiting for the bridal procession to enter the room. Hovering in that realm between the worlds, Charles and Celeste Chandler were in each other's arms. Their joy had multiplied when they had become aware that Cathy had found the love of her life. They watched the brief and emotional ritual hanging on every word of this singular couple's vows.
"He's everything we thought he'd be" Charles whispered into his wife's ear.
"And so much more" Celeste embraced her husband's waist to tuck her head under his chin.
As the Officient pronounced them "Man and Wife" Vincent turned to his Catherine and raised the short veil anchored in her hair with petite crimson and ivory roses.
"This is where we get to kiss" Cathy whispered as she petulantly waited for her husband to claim his cherished bridal kiss.
As Vincent raised his head to fully view his friends and family filling the room his expression moved from serious to impish, "I realize that my dear wife" Vincent made a step closer to Catherine and caught her slim waist in his right hand, drawing them together, her fragrance heady with the scent of the roses in her hair. Vincent's left hand gently tucked stray curls behind her ear to caress her cheek and jaw, and then uncharacteristically he dramatically dipped her back over his right arm and pressed a deliberately sensuous kiss on her anxious lips.
The room vibrated with the crowd's gasps until Vincent up righted his Bride and she caught her balance physically and mentally. "You devil" she sighed, her lips burning for more of what he'd just given her.
"Charles, did I mention he had to keep her on her toes?" Celeste patted Charles' chest as she shook her head to stifle her giggle.