Her friends and family were seated. The groom and his best man waited with bright and expectant faces at the end of the long corridor that might as well lead to the execution chamber as a happy future. What would he think of her after this moment? Would he be sickened, repulsed, frightened? She fought against another round of nausea.
The organ music piped its first ghastly notes. Looking down at the dead flowers one last time, she pushed her right foot in front of her and forced the left to meet it. Again and again, her feet separated and met to the cadence of the wedding march, and she knew a hundred miles had passed before she finally met Jace face to face in front of the minister.
His quizzical gaze meandered first from the dead calla lilies to settle on her soft blue eyes. He titled his head to the side, a silent question, and waited for her response.
Sascha’s lids fluttered. She pulled from the very core of her being, and the heat flowed through her, drawing from her center, racing like liquid fire through her veins and pooling at the tips of her fingers. She felt the transfer of energy, as familiar as taking a breath and allowed the heat to pour from her body into the stems of the crinkled and lifeless lilies.
As if infused with air, the withered stems expanded, becoming solid and bright green. Dried leaves unfolded and the pathetic brown blooms stood tall, as if taking in a great breath, and erupted into a shock of yellow showered with morning dew. The living bouquet banished every trace of death, quivering in the bride’s clutched fists.
She looked to the brilliant blooms and her bridegroom followed suit, his round brown eyes taking in every detail. He looked up to see a single tear blaze a path down her cheek. Gripping her hand, he brought it to his lips and bestowed a tender kiss. Without warning, he snatched the flowers from her, blowing gently into the blooms which withered again from the touch of his breath.
A smile as bright as the rising sun dawned on her beautiful face. They turned to face the minister.
“Dearly beloved,” his voice rang out, “we are gathered here today…”