“Do you think it’s kind of fast?” Louise asked, gazing at her reflection in the full-length mirror her sister Penelope had set up in her bedroom. Louise wore her wedding dress, a simple, sleeveless sheath of lavender-colored lace, lined with lime green. She turned, posed, pondered, straightened a seam, lifted a wide shoulder strap, pulled the knee-length skirt down.
“Sister dearest, you couldn’t look fast if you tried. Did that come from the mother-of-the-bride rack?” Penelope snorted a little laugh at her own joke. Louise let her sister’s dig drift into the warm summer air. She knew Penelope was a bit envious, despite her commitment to a single lifestyle. And, most likely, she’d already had a glass of wine. Or two.
Louise turned again, keeping her eyes toward the mirror. “Not the dress, silly. The wedding. The marriage. Saying yes to Douglas. Doing all this. We’ve known one another less than a year.”
“Douglas is as good a man as they come,” Penelope answered. “You’ve got nothing to worry about there. And he’s abso-posi-lutely smitten with you.”
Yes, he is, Louise considered. Smitten. And I with him. How odd, at this stage of life, to wake up the butterflies in one’s heart, to feel them flutter when a man makes his attentions known.
“I’m glad of it,” Louise said out loud, with a final pat of her dress, smoothing it down over the soft protrusion of her belly. “I suppose, after all, we might as well give it a try. Grab the brass ring as it goes by, never knowing when it might be within reach again.”
Penelope rose from her unsteady perch on the edge of the bed, and came to stand behind Louise so that they could make eye contact in the mirror. Louise noticed for the millionth time that they had the same nose, broad between the eyes, turned up just a bit at the end. Their father’s nose. Even at my age, she thought, after all that’s happened, I wish he was here to see me happy.
“Sister dearest,” Penelope said, placing her hands gently on Louise’s lavender-lace covered shoulders, “you deserve every chance at the brass ring that comes your way. This one especially. Go for it, darling, and don’t look back.”
The two women embraced, their sniffling quickly turning to laughter, and another round of what Louise decided to call “preening” as they tugged and smoothed her lace dress back into place.