The Night Before the Wedding
Emma sat in her favorite chair doing some needlepoint. She tried to concentrate on her work, but was often distracted. Tomorrow was the day that she would become Mrs. Emma W. Knightley.
"Mrs. Knightley..." Emma said wonderingly aloud, letting the words roll off her tongue. "I must get used to the sound of that."
"Yes, you must."
Emma snapped back to reality, and looked to find the owner of that dear, familiar voice. She turned around in her seat to find her fiancee standing under the archway with one arm behind his back. A smile involuntarily broke out over her face as Mr. Knightley walked toward her.
"I'm sorry for being so early," Mr. Knightley said, "but I couldn't stay away. I want to be with you as long as I can before tomorrow, for I won't be able to see you until we are at the altar, and I will have a hard time waiting."
"Of course you won't be able to see me," Emma replied cheekily, "It's bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her dress the day of the wedding before they have actually gotten married. But there is nothing to be sorry about. I'm glad you came."
Mr. Knightley kissed Emma's hand. Emma moved over in her chair, and Mr. Knightley sat next to her. In truth, the chair wasn't Emma's favorite merely because of its comfort, or its position close to the fire. Rather, it was because it was unusually wide, so that they could sit in it together. Emma always blushed when Mr. Knightley sat with her in this chair, but there was nothing she enjoyed more.
Now, he brought his hand from where it had been in back of him around, so that Emma could see what it held. Emma exclaimed when she saw the beautiful bouquet of violets. Violets had always been her favorite.
"Oh, thank you! Mr. Knightley, you always brought me violets when I was a girl, did you not?" said Emma after kissing his cheek.
"Yes, Emma, but never a bouquet this precious..." His voice trailed off as he glanced at the stems. Emma followed his eyes. She gasped, for there, right under the piece of lace that had been tied around the flowers was a pearl necklace; it was hidden under the bows and loops that the lace had been tied in. Emma removed the necklace and looked at it.
"Mr. Knightley, I..."
"No, darling," Mr. Knightley interrupted, "don't say anything that even resembles thanks. It is merely something that I wanted to get you, and you deserve it." He now cleared his throat, for he was about to make a speech, and, as he had told Emma on the day their engagement was formed, he was no speech-maker.
"Emma. I always had something missing. My heart was not complete...it is my belief that no man who is to marry in his lifetime has a complete heart, and, unless he marries for love, his heart will never be whole. Well, I was one of them--those men. Until I realised that I loved you, half of my heart was missing, and when you accepted my proposal I felt so warm and happy because I knew that you matched that missing piece of my heart. You filled a gap in my life that I never knew existed. And now, I could never imagine living without you; you and I are like pieces of a broken coin--only when I am with you am I whole."
By now Emma was far beyond speechless. All she could do was look at him with tear-filled eyes, and hold his hand, but he was completely content with that.
© 1997 Copyright held by the author.