Two Lost Souls, part two
Maraene had her Maid of Honor, Carrie, help her get ready. They stood dressing her hair, placing the floral circlet just right on her head, then pinning it in place with small hairpins.
"Maraene," said Carrie, "you've lost weight since you tried on the dress last!" She tugged gently at the gown of white silk brocade, a little heavier than Maraene would have liked, but it was for one day. Besides, Aspen had fallen in love with the dress too.
There was a couple of extra inches between Maraene and the fabric. She had lost weight, it was true.
"There's no help for it now, and I hardly think anyone will notice," said Maraene, taking up the rose bouquet and smelling its heady tea rose scent. "I adore tea roses so!"
Carrie asked, "Where's the ring?"
"Right here, on my thumb, so I don't forget it!" smiled Maraene, showing Carrie on her right hand.
"Have you decided to go ahead with this, really?" asked Carrie, knowing her divided heart had been getting the better of her lately.
"I'm here, getting ready, aren't I?" asked Maraene. "Nothing is going to stop me from marrying Aspen. He'll be a good father to my baby, and a good ruler."
"Aren't you forgetting a good husband?" asked Carrie, wondering if it was such a good idea after all, these two marrying when Maraene's heart was so divided.
"Of course. Of course he'll be a good husband, Carrie!" said Maraene, but Carrie knew she wanted nothing to do with this wedding or Aspen. She wanted Drago. She would always want Drago. Carrie knew it would take a long time to get that married man out of Maraene's heart and Aspen would have to be very patient with her. But at least she had agreed to marry him, and she was trying to be optimistic.
But Carrie saw with her heart the struggles to come for the two of them. Being a Heart Witch, she knew that promises made weren't always promises kept. And the way that Maraene was sick all the time, losing weight, sent a foreboding vibration to her that she couldn't ignore. Her health had never been robust, but then, as Queen, she had a lot of demands put on her, and as a solitary missionary, even more responsibilities heaped onto her slender shoulders. But so far she was holding up and fighting to stay that way. Now she was expecting a child as well. It was an extra strain on her, and on the new marriage. Even Aspen felt it, she knew he did. colorful wedding dresses
The dress slid on easily, and Carrie was buttoning up the back and adjusting the folds of the long skirts and train. She turned to the jewelry, a diamond necklace in the shape of small vinelike leaves, and matching earrings.
From outside the minstrels wandered and sang and played. They could be heard even with the windows closed! Already merrymakers were dancing! The Maypole was being touched up, the colorful streamers readied.
"Have you planned your wedding trip?" asked Carrie, anxious to hear what exotic destination she and Aspen were going to.
"We're staying here for a few days, and Aspen says after the Beltane celebration is over, he's going to take me someplace special." Maraene's eyes twinkled, full of mischief.
"Well, I hope you enjoy it." Carrie adjusted her friend's petticoats and looked at the bride. She looked pale and tired, but she was rallying. "You'd better eat something," Carrie advised. "You look like you're about to faint dead away!"
"Oh, stop! I can't! I'm getting married now!" she teased. "You do look beautiful, too, by the way, Carrie! Aire might just notice you this time!"
"If he does, then that's fine! If not, there are other Knights in the Kingdom!" she flippantly answered. "I'm not worried in the least!"
"Look at the time," Maraene noted the clock on the wall. "We have ten minutes, we should get downstairs and to the Hall to take our places!"
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