“One beautiful day Whit and Jenny come together surrounded by their family and friends to commit themselves to each other for the rest of their lives.”
Whit stood in front of the mirror attempting to tie his bowtie. He took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves. Today was the day. The moment he had waited for. Early on in their relationship, it had seemed as if this day might never come but here he was. In just a few short hours he was going to marry the love of his life, Guinevere Clara Morrow. Jenny, his Jenny. He loved her so much. She was his inspiration, his rock, and his constant support, and he was so grateful to God to have her in his life. He glanced toward the door as he heard someone knocking.
“Whit?” Jack’s voice called from the other side of the door.
“Come in Jack,” Whit replied before he turned toward the door. Jack entered the room and saw Whit standing handsomely in his dark blue suit.
“Well, don’t you look great! That suit looks really good on you” Jack said with a bright smile.
“Thanks. Of course, I owe my appearance this morning to a certain beautiful redhead.” A smile came to his face just thinking of Jenny. “You look pretty good yourself.”
“Not bad for a best man I suppose.” Jack chuckled. “So are you ready?”
“Just about, if I could just get this bowtie to tie right,” Whit remarked as he turned back toward the mirror. He tried once again to tie it. Normally he would have already finished tying it ages ago yet today he could not get the bowtie to look right no matter how hard he tried. After multiple failed attempts, he quickly loosened the knot and pulled the tie from around his neck. Frustration was clearly visible on his face.
“Argh, why can’t I get this?” he sighed.
“Here, why don’t I help you with that?”
“Thanks, Jack.” Whit handed the bowtie to Jack who took it from him.
“No problem.” Jack stood in front of Whit and began tying the bowtie. After several seconds he was done. “There now you’re all set.”
“Thanks.” He exhaled and stepped away from the mirror. He then began absentmindedly pacing back and forth throughout the room. Jack smiled to himself and shook his head side to side as he became aware of Whit’s increasing nervousness.
“Whit, why don’t you sit down? You seem nervous and overwhelmed.”
“Is it that obvious?”
“It’s funny, yesterday Jenny was the nervous one and now today I am.” Whit sat down on the bed in the room.
“I can’t imagine why. You’ve said many times that Jenny is the most amazing woman you’ve ever met. That you can’t imagine your life without her.”
“That’s just it Jack. She is an amazing woman and I want this day to be perfect for her. If there’s anyone in the world who deserves a perfect wedding day it’s her and I’m afraid I’ll do something wrong and mess everything up. Like the time I tried to propose and she ended up in the emergency room.”
“But she still said yes.” Jack made his way over to Whit and sat down beside him. “Whit, for Jenny today isn’t about the decorations, the flowers…or even the wedding itself. It’s about vowing before God, your family, and friends to love and remain faithful to each other for as long as you live. For her, everything does not have to be perfect. It wouldn’t matter to Jenny if Mr. Vargas made a mistake while playing the “Wedding March” or if the cake was ruined. Though that would be a shame as Ms. Evans does make the best cake. But the point is, the only thing that matters to her is becoming your wife.”
Whit turned his face to look at Jack, deep sincerity in his eyes. “Thank you, Jack. You always seem to know what to say.”
“Think nothing of it.”
“No seriously,” he paused, “Jack for as long as I can remember you’ve been my best friend. In fact, it’s hard to recall a time when you weren’t in my life. You’ve stayed by my side through many ups and downs. Helped to strengthen my faith and encourage me to pursue my goals. I just want to say thanks for always having my back and standing up with me today.”
“Of course, Whit. It’s my pleasure. I couldn’t imagine not being here with you today.”
“Thanks, Jack. That means a lot.”
“You’re very welcome. Besides, you’ll be doing the same thing for me one day.” Jack said as he sat up from the bed.
Whit’s lips curled into a smile “Jack…” he playfully teased “You and Emmy?” he stood up as well and walked in Jack’s direction.
Jack somewhat nervously laughed, not used to being on the hot seat. “Well, we have been talking about getting engaged.”
“So tell me. When are you popping the question? Oh her birthday?” Whit eagerly asked.
“Now Whit you do realize that’s less than a week from now.”
“I know that but you two have been dating for over two years now so I don’t see any reason why you should wait any longer.”
Jack laughed “I said that we were talking about getting engaged. Not that I’m proposing next week.”
“Well, I’m not convinced. I’ve seen the way you two look at each other.”
They were interrupted as Harold opened the door and entered the room.
“I don’t mean to interrupt but I was just seeing if you two were finished getting dressed.”
“We just finished,” Jack replied.
“Excellent.” He glanced back and forth between Whit and Jack, before resting his eyes back on Jack. “Do you mind giving us a second Jack?”
“Certainly.” Jack exited the room and quietly closed the door, leaving the two men alone to talk. A few moments of awkward silence passed before Harold spoke up.
“You look, wonderful son. Jenny’s a lucky girl.”
Harold walked closer to Whit.
“You know seeing you grow and mature from a curious young boy to a dedicated hard-working man, who loves the lord, has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. And I know you will be a wonderful husband. Jenny’s an amazing woman, in many ways she reminds me of your mother. Independent. Nurturing. Kind. She embodies all those qualities and I have no doubt that she is the woman you’re meant to be with.”
Whit stood there, moved and even a bit taken aback by his father’s words. In his earlier years, his relationship with his dad had been wonderful, the kind of father-son relationship every boy wished for. But somewhere along the line, it had all changed and a distance had come between the two of them. Harold was never really one to hold and comfort him when he stumbled but rather firmly pushed him to get up and keep moving. Anytime he made a mistake he would come down on him like a ton of bricks. Whit desperately craved his father’s affection and affirmation yet he so rarely received it from Harold. It made this moment he was now sharing with him even more meaningful and he savored every moment, knowing that his relationship with his dad could at any point change from being warm and heartfelt to cold and frigid like it had done many times in the past.
Harold stood silent for a moment and then walked even closer to Whit. He tenderly placed a hand on his shoulder and looked intently into his eyes.
“I know that your mother would have loved Jenny and would have been so happy to see the two of you together. Especially today seeing her son get married to the love of his life. That was one of her prayers, both of ours in fact, that you would meet the right girl for you…and you did.”
Mom. His Mom. Her face, her smile, her laugh, they all flashed before his eyes. How he loved her. How he missed her. Whit loved Fiona and she held a special place in his heart, especially with how her influence had led him to Christ. She was a ray of sunshine in his and his dad’s lives. But what he would give to have just one more day with his mother. Especially on important milestones like today. Still, he carried her love and memory in his heart, and there it would always remain.
“Thanks, Dad.” Dad, he couldn’t remember the last time he called him Dad, for the longest time now he was always Harold. Whit sniffed and continued “That means a lot. I wish Mom was here too but I’m grateful to have you here with me.”
Harold smiled and wiped his eyes. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a watch.
“Your mother gave this to me on our wedding day. And now I want to give it to you.”
“No Dad. I couldn’t take it. That gift is from Mom to you” Whit interjected.
Harold held up his hand, “And we always said that when you got married we would give it to you.”
Whit stood there, tears once again welling up in his eyes.
“Please, consider it a gift from the both of us.”
Whit nodded his head. Harold unclasped the watch and passed it to Whit. He then clasped it on his wrist. “Thanks, Dad.”
“You’re welcome, son.”
A knock then came from the door.
“Harold?” Fiona called “Is Johnny ready?”
“Yes, he is dear.”
Fiona opened the door to Whit’s old bedroom and walked inside. She took in the sight of Whit and Harold standing next to each other.
“Oh my, you look so handsome in your suit John Avery,” she paused as tears began welling up in her eyes, “It seems like it was just yesterday you were a precocious five-year-old curious about everything…and now look at you, all grown up and getting married to the girl of your dreams.”
“Fiona, please don’t cry again.” Whit said as he walked towards her and placed his hand on her arm “You spent all last night in tears. I hate to see you cry.”
“Can’t help it. I’m realizing more and more how my kids are grown up.” she paused for a second as she wiped a tear away strolling down her cheek “I only wish Charlotte was here.”
Whit looked down at the floor for a second at the mention of his step-sister’s name. He still hoped she’d attend his and Jenny’s wedding. That by some slim chance she’d be here but he wasn’t holding his breath. He loved her yet she had a tendency to be self-centered and if he was being completely honest, irresponsible, inconsiderate, and spoiled. No matter what he was getting married to Jenny and that was the most important thing, though he’d be lying if he said that Charlie’s most likely absence from the wedding didn’t hurt him because it did. It hurt him a great deal.
He looked back towards Fiona and softly replied, “I wish she was here too.”
A few moments of silence passed before Harold glanced at his watch. “Well, we best get going.”
“Yes, we don’t want to be late,” Fiona added.
They all left the room and made their way to the living room, where Jack was patiently waiting. Harold opened the front door and they all exited the house and walked down the driveway to where the car was parked. Once they were all seated inside Harold began driving toward the church.