In Sickness and In Health

rainy wedding daySomebody once said that rain on your wedding day was good luck. Lucy could not figure out why anyone would think that as she looked out through the rain-streaked window. All she could see was mud. The road was muddy, the yard was muddy, and the porch was even covered with muddy tracks. Lucy sighed, her chin resting in hand as she idly blew a long, perfectly straight strand of red hair out of her eyes. She wasn’t exactly thrilled about the wedding to start with, and now the rain made things even worse. Lucy’s brother, Todd, was marrying her best friend tomorrow, an event Lucy considered to be the biggest betrayal of all time. How could this happen?

Todd, Lucy’s brother, older by only 11 months, was also Lucy’s hero. She had looked up to him and was so proud of everything he did. Todd was tall and handsome, while Lucy was short and plain. Todd was popular, played football, was captain of the debate team and was considered the BMOC throughout their high school years. He graduated a year ahead of Lucy, who had only a few casual friends and one best friend, spent her high school years working on the school newspaper, her straight red hair usually pulled back in a sloppy pony tail and her glasses either on top of her head or hooked in the collar of her perpetual t-shirts. Now she felt like she was losing her only friend, even if her mom kept saying that now Cheryl would not only be her best friend, she would also be her sister. The only problem was, nobody but Lucy and Cheryl knew that Cheryl was dying.

The rain was turning to snow, which, if it stuck, would at least cover up all the mud. Lucy stood up from where she was curled up on the window seat. She needed to go talk to Cheryl one more time. This wedding was a mistake, she just knew it. She could not bear to see Todd hurt, and it killed her to know that Cheryl would probably be gone before the following summer.

“There you are.” Lucy paused in front of the open door to the den, finding Cheryl sitting at the desk, the her pale face illuminated by the computer screen on in front of her. “What are you doing?”

“Oh, hi, Luce. I am just doing some last minute research on our honeymoon trip. Did you know that Todd booked a 3-day Mexican Rivera Cruise?” Cheryl turned to face Lucy, her blue eyes sparkling and her cheeks slightly flushed, somehow making her look even paler under the pink tinge.

“Cheryl, you have to tell him. It is not fair to either of you.” Lucy had said these same words to her so many times over the past few months, but Cheryl always blew her off with some flip remark. This time, however, Cheryl sighed, and answered Lucy, her tone resigned.

“Honey, I know you are worried about me and about Todd, but this is my decision, not yours. There is still a chance that a cure will be found in time. Besides, I know if I told him now, he will leave me and I am afraid of being alone if the cure is not found in time.” A single tear slid down her right cheek, leaving a silver track back up to her eyes, not sparkling anymore, but swimming in unshed tears.

Lucy looked at her friend for a few minutes, watching the silent tears overflow and slip down to her chin. She finally turned and walked away.

The next morning the ground was covered with snow, the trees sheathed in ice from the rain the day before and dusted with snow, making the world dangerously beautiful. Lucy burrowed down into the bed, wishing the day was over and not just starting. She had made a decision during the night, a decision that she felt right about, but knew could change the lives of her brother and her friend. When the minister asked if anyone had any reason to oppose this marriage, Lucy planned to stand up.

The wedding was taking place in a small chapel, lit by candles and decorated simply with white orchids and satin ribbons. Cheryl’s dress was also simple, a white silk sheath that accentuated her slim figure. Todd was one of those guys who looked great in a tuxedo, his white silk cummerbund fitted snuggly around his middle. It was a small ceremony, with only a few friends and family members in attendance. There was a best man and Lucy fulfilled the role of bridesmaid. She nervously watched the minister as he droned on through the ceremony. All of a sudden, he spoke the words she was both dreading, and waiting for.

“If any of you can show just cause why they may not be married, speak now; or else forever hold your peace.”

Lucy looked up and saw Cheryl looking right at her. Returning Cheryl’s gaze, she stepped forward and raised her head to speak. “Wait,” Cheryl said. “I have something to say.”

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