Dawn inserted the last invitation into the envelope and sighed. “Just weeks away, can you believe it? Charles will have a full month of leave before his next deployment. Our wedding and honeymoon will be heavenly.”
“I’m sure it will be dear. You’ve been very patient, both of you. Your father, and I are very proud of you.”
“It’s been difficult, but we’ve both wanted to fulfill our obligations. Working at the Pentagon has been a great honor, and Charles has spent three years in Afghanistan. Now he’ll join me in Washington, and we’ll complete our military careers together.”
“I’m amazed that you’ve both stuck to your goals so stringently, but it’s why we’re so proud of you.”
“Thanks, Mom. This wedding proves that.”
“Your dad thought it was the least we could do. You’ll need your money to furnish that new house.”
“Has Charles told you where you’ll be going on your honeymoon?”
“No, he’s got it all arranged though. Charles said I won’t know until we land. A private jet and all first class. The one thing I’m sure of is that I’ll need a bikini.”
The minister started the ceremony with Isaiah 32:
“Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a covert from the tempest, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness, and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. Please be seated.”
“The bride and groom have written their own vows. Dawn, please share with us your words for Charles.”
Nervously Dawn cleared her throat, smiled at Charles, and their eyes locked. “Charles, you are my life, my love, my hero. I promise to cherish, honor and always be ready for a new adventure. I pledge to hold your hand through life, to never interrupt your football games, and to always seek your guidance for the important decisions. I am blessed with your love, your friendship, and vow my devotion, forever and always.”
She smiled through her tears when she saw his eyes fill with moisture and delicately wiped the escaping drops as they rolled down his cheek.
“Now it’s your turn, Charles,” The minister said.
“You are the most blessed thing that has ever happened to me. I cherish you, your honesty, your strength and especially your smile. I promise that laughter will always outweigh the tears. I vow a shared future, of fulfilled dreams, diminishing obstacles, and a balanced life of love, family, and personal satisfaction. You are my hero, and I will love you until the end of time.”
They exchanged rings, and the priest pronounced them husband and wife. At the reception, their first dance as man and wife held so much meaning as it was their first real moment together since his arrival was last minute and just hours before the start of the wedding. Dawn finally relaxed in his arms, and they clung together in silence. Swaying to the music, appreciating each other, and looking forward to their future together.
Spending Christmas and their honeymoon on the beach in Hawaii was everything Dawn had ever dreamed of, and as they soaked up the sun, she noticed their glasses were empty. Rock, Paper, Scissors decided who would refresh their drinks. Charles won again, but after declaring himself the winner, he kissed his wife and told her. “Relax, Mrs. Collins. It will always be my pleasure to serve you.”
Charles had only been gone minutes when the air raid sirens went off. Thinking it was just another drill Dawn remained in her seat but searched the sky. Hearing shouts of "it's not a drill! I can see it. Look!" She jumped to her feet and sprinted toward the bar and her husband.
During those same moments, Charles dropped the drinks he'd just purchased. He witnessed the missile hurtling toward them and raced back to Dawn. They met in an embrace just seconds before their world ended.
Yolanda Renée © 2017
My apologies to those looking for a happy ending, I honestly meant for my story to be light and uplifting when I first started. I began writing it while at the dealership waiting for the oil change on my car. The television station on in the waiting room was set to CNN, and a story about Hawaii reinstating regular Nuclear Attack Warning Siren tests caught my eye and sadly changed my story.