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The Price of Love
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The Price of Love
by AshleyTara

CHAPTER 43
Church

Theresa, Pilar, Kay and Jessica with Ashley and Amanda, Ethan, and Ivy paraded out of the small room and into the hallway, stopping before the doors to the sanctuary. Ivy had no bridesmaids, but Theresa, Kay and Jessica were going to process in before her, carrying little Ashley and Amanda with them. She had wanted to Sheridan, Heather, Lily, and Holly join the procession, but Sheridan had felt a little too pregnant to make the long walk and it looked doubtful that the three girls would be able to get away.

Just as the harps, violins, flutes, and piano were heard to start "Pachabel’s Canon in D" and the small procession started, Ivy was tapped on the shoulder. She turned around, dropping her bouquet in excitement and threw her arms around Heather, Lily, and Holly. "Oh, my Darlings! I thought you weren’t going to be able to get away from your father."

"Well, we almost didn’t," explained Lily, "but we snuck out when he went to the cellar to get some more of his precious brandy."

"Yes, he looked almost sad this morning." Heather continued her thought, "I think he’s actually beginning to miss you, Mother. The house is pretty empty without you and Ethan. Why else would he let us come home from school in the middle of the semester?"

Ivy was silent and for a moment felt bad for Julian. She had never cared for him, but they did have three children together and she knew what it was like to be lonely. Well, enough of that, she wasn’t going to let anything rain on her parade today. "Girls, I would be so happy if you would join the procession." She looked over at Theresa who was the last to begin walk down the aisle and had just taken her first step.

Shy Holly spoke up, "No, Mother! I mean, thank you, but we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves."

"Alright," Ivy smiled as Ethan handed the bouquet back to his mother and hugged each of his sisters. She blew each of them a kiss as they wished her luck and went around the side of the sanctuary to find seats.

Ivy heard the trumpets join the music and turn into a fanfare. That was their cue. "Okay, Mother. Let’s do this."

Ivy took a breath. "Here we go." They began their slow march down the aisle of the church on the ivory carpet, rolled out especially for the occasion. Ivy felt herself choke back a sob as tears of joy sprang to her eyes. Everything was just as she had always dreamed it would be. From the glowing candles and fabric that draped the pews to the flowers that matched her own home grown autumn bouquet. And of course, there was Sam. He was waiting for her at the front of the sanctuary. Her heart skipped a beat as her eyes met his, and she smiled. Every step brought her one step closer to him, until they were only a foot apart. Ethan gave his mother’s hand to his father and stepped back to take a seat.

"You’re a vision," Sam whispered as they took their place before the altar.

The ceremony began, "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today so that these two people may renew their vows and that they might have all of you and God as witnesses. They wish to declare their love for one another and so have written their own vows." The priest looked at Sam and Ivy, "You may begin."

Ivy set down her bouquet. They turned to face each other, joining hands, and Sam started. "To put it simply, Ivy, I love you. I love everything about you and what you’ve done to my life. When I first met you, my world was turned upside down. It was miraculous. When I lost you, I thought my life was over. But I’ve found you again, and I’m never going to lose you. You’re my wife, and you and the children are the only things that keep me going. So, I’ll say it again: I’m simply in love with you."

"Sam, you, your children, my children, our children, you’re all my life. I’ve always loved you and I always will." Ivy’s voice was broken as she spoke, for she was choking on her tears the entire time. "You were the first person to see me as myself, who actually took interest in me. The happiest memories I have include you or the children. I adore you, Sam, and every time I think my heart will burst from being so full, it grows a little more. You’ve given me so much, and I want to thank you for that by giving you my heart."

There wasn’t a dry eye in the church as the priest handed Ivy her bouquet and preceded, "Now that you have confessed your love to one another with God and your guests as witnesses, I pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride."

Sam and Ivy just looked at each other for a moment, and then, simultaneously, wrapped their arms around each other and gave the crowd something to clap for. The trumpet fanfare soared in the background as their kiss intensified and was reluctantly ended. But the show wasn’t over. The second their lips parted, Sam picked Ivy up and carried her back down the aisle and out of the church.

The applause of the guests was deafening and still audible as they were leaving the church, the guests not far behind. Ivy laughed happily as Sam opened the door and kissed her cheek. There was a flash. Then another. There were photographers, news cameras, and reporters everywhere on the lawn of the church. But Sam and Ivy didn’t care and hardly noticed. Sam made his way through the crowd with Ivy in his arms, neither of them looking away from each other. They were quickly ushered into their limo by a chauffeur and began whisking their way to the Seascape with the paparazzi in hot pursuit.

"It seems," Sam said once they were safely inside the limo, "that every time you get married it’s a grand occasion."

"And why shouldn’t it be?" Ivy feigned surprise, "Do you doubt how fabulous a woman I am?"

Sam laughed, "Of course not. I wouldn’t want to get into trouble on my wedding night."

"In that case, you’re forgiven. I’ll even make you a promise: I promise that this is the last time I’ll get married," Ivy kissed her husband tenderly. "And I also promise that it is the only marriage that has every meant anything to me."

"I am utterly in love with you," Sam kissed Ivy right below her ear.

Ivy closed her eyes and replied, "And I am completely enamored with you."

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