The day of Marilyn and Douglas’s wedding dawned cool and overcast. None of the forecasts she checked indicated much chance of rain, but Franny worried anyway. She hustled over to Marilyn’s house early, filled with suggestions for dealing with the weather.
Douglas met Franny at the door with a finger to his lips. “She’s sleeping, finally,” he whispered. “She was up most of the night.”
Franny matched his quiet tone. “Pre-wedding nerves?”
“She’s ill, Franny. She doesn’t want to tell you or anyone how ill. She was up all night being sick.” Douglas’s expression chased any worries about rain out of Franny’s mind. The suspicion she’d had since the day Marilyn called with the news she was getting married solidified like concrete hardening in the pit of her stomach. Franny knew her friend would not be on this planet much longer.
“Should we postpone?” Franny asked Douglas. She didn’t have to tell him she knew. The evidence was there in the quaver in her voice.
“I asked her about that around two a.m., and she said under no circumstances were we to postpone. Today’s my wedding day, she said, and nothing will prevent it from happening.”
Franny smiled. “That sounds like her, exactly. Okay, then, what do you need?”
Douglas stepped aside. To Franny’s great surprise, Leo stepped onto the porch with them.
“Leo?” Franny said. “What are you doing here?”
“Helping, I hope,” he answered. “I was out for a walk late last night and saw their light on here. I thought it seemed odd. I mean, Marilyn usually turns in early. So I knocked.”
“And thank goodness you did,” Douglas said. “He’s quite the nurse, Franny.”
“More the orderly, really,” Leo smiled. “I just kept cleaning up messes so you could sit with her.”
“Much appreciated,” Douglas returned the smile.
Franny stared at them both. Marilyn was dying, Douglas was nursing her, and Leo had been there all night cleaning up. The three of them clearly shared an intimacy Franny had been unaware of, and she wasn’t sure how she felt about it. Feeling left out seemed ridiculously self-centered, and yet she did, a little. Well, she thought, the only way to cure feeling left out is to jump right in.
“Then you both need a rest,” she said. “While you crash, I’ll get started setting up the garden for the ceremony.”
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