Sunday, January 6 – Mooresville, North Carolina – 26 weeks pregnant
Chase takes a glance in the mirror, fixing his suit one more time as he takes a deep breath. All of the waiting since proposing to her was finally over as today was finally the day. He was about to marry the girl that had captured his heart three years ago without a chance of letting go.
“Starting to feel the wedding day nerves?” Darrell asks as he walks over and Chase shakes his head no.
“I honestly can’t wait to marry her,” he offers. “It’s almost like can we just do it already?” Darrell chuckles as he rubs Chase’s shoulders.
“You just want to get this over with because you’re nervou-”
“I told you that I was fin-”
“Dude, every groom gets nervous. Will you relax and just admit it?” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing that Darrell was right.
“What if she runs away? What if I get one of those famous your bride has run away scenarios? What if I’m left standing at the altar by myself?” Darrell didn’t want to share the same worry as his friend, but he absolutely understood those nerves coming to him right now. After all, Sarina was afraid of commitment for the long time, from even beginning to the relationship to discussing the mere thought of marriage. However, now they were supposed to get married with a child on the way?
“She adores you so much that I don’t think she could ever dream of doing that to you,” Ryan interjects as he walks over. “She would do anything for you, and wants to be with you every second of the day. I bet she’s just as set to get it over with and walk down that aisle then you are.” He then looks over at Darrell. “Dude, really?”
“I came over to check on our groom and make sure everything was fine,” Darrell confesses. “I didn’t mean to start this…” Ryan just lets out a sigh.
“Well, I can promise that there’s nothing to worry about. I can assure you from the ladies that everything is going smoothly.” Chase then smirks as he looks over at Ryan. “And no, I am not sneaking you a photo of her dress or anything. Good try.”
“Don’t you know how much bad luck that is?” Chase lets out a sigh as he looks back in the mirror. Alan then walks over, placing both of his hands on Chase’s shoulders.
“Think about this as the next chapter of your life,” he starts. “Everything that happened before is over with. Alison is caught, locked away forever. That chapter of your life is over and in the past. There’s no worries for you to wonder about moving forward. You can finally put that where it belongs, and live your life as you wis-”
“There are some feelings that still remain, Alan,” Chase confesses and Alan nods his head, accepting.
“I know, and those will linger for months as you work through getting past what happened. Like I’ve told you before, you’re one of the strongest people that I know and you’ve been through more than I’d wish on my worst enemy. It’s going to take time, Chase. However, this is your new beginning. Today once you both stand together, and share your vo-”
“That’s if I remember them…” Alan felt a bit of worrisome in hearing those nerves as he continued to rub Chase’s shoulders.
“You’ll remember them when the time is right, or you’ll come up with something right then and there that’s more beautiful. You love her, Chase, and all it takes in that moment is expressing what she means to you.” Chase knew that, but it didn’t take away from wanting to make sure they were perfect and the time spent writing them. “My point is you’re set to begin the next chapter of your life – you, Sarina, and the baby on the way together. Use that as motivation to make this even better, to make up for the wrongs of the past, and to move forward from what has happened. You deserve it, and I know you’ll make the most of it.”
“Thank you, Alan.” Chase then turns around, offering the crew chief a hug. “You’re more than just a crew chief; you’re my best friend, and I can’t thank you enough.”
“I’m just glad to be here and be a part of your special day.”
So many years have gone by
Always strong, tried not to cry
Never felt like I needed any man
To comfort me in life
“Sarina, it’s time to get started…” Lindsay says as she heads to the door, the last of the ladies. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” Sarina replies as she glances over with a smile. “I’ll be right out….”
As the door shuts behind Lindsay, Sarina takes a deep breath as she takes one final glance in the mirror. Was this really happening? It didn’t seem like it was even possible.
As she looked at the lady that she had become, she could only shake her head.
She remembered what she envisioned herself being when she got to this age as a little girl. She also remembered how that vision changed as she entered her teenage years.
Then everything happened, and her life was forever changed. In the span of three years, both of her parents were gone and her brother had become someone she didn’t recognize. She was also forced to leave behind every family member, friend that she knew.
She remembered the strength that she thought she possessed through those years. She remembered how quickly she hardened herself, knowing she needed every ounce if she was going to succeed and make the most of the second chance. Besides, it was easier to do that – then face the emotions and let the tears roll down her cheeks.
At that moment as she made the initial move down to North Carolina, her primary focus was on herself. She was going to make it in life, and do what she needed to do survive – without a focus on anyone else. How would she trust someone else with everything that happened?
But I’m all made up today
A veil upon my face
Adjusting the veil that she wore atop her head, she had to laugh when she looked back at that approach. Seeing what she had learned in the past four years, she wished she had done everything different then.
Who knew a simple Georgia Peach would change everything in her life? She remembered the fear of trusting him, and how she kept saying no to his advances despite feeling every bit of attraction to him. She remembered the initial conversations, and the sleepover that changed everything, where she confessed everything.
From there on, she was thankful beyond anything for what he had done for her, as he slowly pulled back the pieces. She learned that it was okay to shed those emotions and be vulnerable, while being strong at the same time. She was finally able to address that pain – and she thanked him every day despite how much it hurt. It was amazing how much therapy it was to release all those feelings after everything that happened.
Seeing how much he cared for, and how much she cared for him return, there was no turning back. Then seeing how much he was willing to endure for her, and help her through, she knew that she couldn’t ever lose the connection they shared together.
They certainly made mistakes along the way, but she was thankful they were both patient and forgiving. She could officially say as she glanced at her reflection in the mirror that it was beyond worth it.
But no father stands beside me
To give this bride away
Feeling confidence in her step, she makes her way out of the room and gets in the car for the short ride from Dale’s house to the western down.
“I was wondering if you got cold feet or something,” Morgan half-jokes as Sarina shakes her head no.
“I could never do that to Chase,” she confesses with a smile.
Once down at the western town, the ladies got out of the car, joining up with their partners for the walk down the aisle.
As she watches Brexton and Lydia begin the parade down the aisle as ring-barrier and flower girl, it begins to hit her that she will have to make the long walk down alone. Taking a deep breath, she had expected it to come easy – though she couldn’t help but feel a couple butterflies. Taking another deep breath, though, she knew it’d be worth it once she reached the other end.
She smiles in seeing Kyle and Sam walk down the aisle next, thankful all the help they had offered through the past couple of years. As strong as she and Chase were together, she wondered if they would’ve been able to get through last year in January with the miscarriage if it wasn’t for Samantha. Knowing what they had gone through recently, she now felt the need to repay them with whatever they needed. It also served as a good reminder to make sure to take it easy today despite everything going on.
The next pair to walk down were Darrell and Emma, which caused her to chuckle via the jokes shared in an attempt of Darrell to ruffle Cale Conley a little bit. Thankfully, though, he had behaved on this important day.
Morgan and Alan were the last of the pair of bridesmaids and grooms to make their way down the aisle. Considering it was their first meeting together, everything went smoothly.
Lindsay glances back at Sarina, sharing a quick nod and smile. She then turns to face the aisle, making her way down as the maid-of-honor. Sarina couldn’t believe how easily the pair had been able to reconnect, or how much their friendship grew with each passing day. If she was going to have only limited family moving forward, she was glad that Lindsay was the chosen one.
Taking a deep breath in knowing everyone else had taken the walk down with the music beginning to play, she knew that it was her turn to make her way down.
Well, I’m standing in the chapel
Wearing my white dress
I have waited for this moment
With tears of happiness
Here I leave behind my past
By taking the chance
I’ve finally found the right man
Thoughts racing fast through my mind
As I’m gazing down the aisle
That my future will mend the memories
Torn between father and child
My emotions overload
‘Cause there is no hand to hold
There’s no shoulder here to lean on
I’m walking all on my own
“Are you ready?” Ryan whispers and Chase nods his head as he looks up the aisle, ready for her to make her grand entrance.
Seeing her enter the chapel with her first step into the aisle, everyone’s eyes turned around to face her. However, none of that mattered as her eyes were focused on a pair of brown ones at the other end of the aisle.
Chase’s jaw dropped immediately upon seeing her, admiring how snugly the dress fit her and showed off her ever-growing baby bump. His eyes followed from the train of the dress, all the way up to the eyes that stared right into his.
“I…I don’t….I don’t know what to say,” he fought to find the words in commenting how she looked.
“She looks amazing,” Ryan filled them in as Chase just nodded his head in return, standing there speechless.
The silence remained as she made her way to the altar, their eyes still locked together, as he reached out and took her hand.
“You look beyond stunning…” He comments as she smiles back in return.
“You look very handsome,” she replies, sneaking in a quick kiss.
“Hey now, I didn’t say you could kiss the bride yet,” the wedding officiator states, earning a couple chuckles through the room.
“She’s so beautiful that I couldn’t resist accepting her offer,” Chase comments, eyes back locked on her as all that mattered to him was saying the key words today and walking out of the chapel married to this stunning woman.
Here I go
Now I’m standing at four corners
To have and to hold
Now, my love, you stand beside me
“Dear friends and family, we are gathered here today to witness and celebrate the union of Ms. Sarina Lynn Ott Dryer and William Clyde Elliott in marriage,” the wedding officiator states.
The usage of their full names was a discussion point for a couple of days between them, but they decided to go with it to be official. It also brought forth a second discussion in regards to Sarina’s name choice, which Chase left up to her. She decided to use the name that she had been using since changing her identity over, but yet add the Dryer part. While she wasn’t proud of her entire’s family past, she did admire parts of it, including her father, and felt it was right to be honorable. Perhaps those words stated by Lindsay in relation to their child to come were beginning to soak in.
“In the years they have been together, their love and understanding of each other has grown and matured, and now they have decided to live their lives together as husband and wife,” he continues, before taking a glance at the pair before him. “May you always need one another, not to fill an emptiness, but to help each other know your fullness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you embrace one another, but not encircle one another. May you succeed in all important ways with each other, and not fail in the little graces. May you have happiness, and may you find it in making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it in loving one another.”
Sarina and Chase simply nod in response to the words, without taking their eyes off of each other. There was only one thing that mattered to them both about today.
“Your love brings me to a simple question,” the officiator continues. “Do you, Sarina Lynn Ott Dryer, take William Clyde Elliott, to be your lawfully wedded husband, promising to love and cherish, through joy and sorrow, sickness and health, and whatever challenges you may face, for as long you both shall live?”
“I do,” she answers with certainty laced in her voice. There was no need for those nerves that she had ever felt before.
“Do you, William Clyde Elliott, take Sarina Lynn Ott Dryer, to be your lawfully wedded husband, promising to love and cherish, through joy and sorrow, sickness and health, and whatever challenges you may face, for as long you both shall live?”
“I do,” Chase replies as a smile forms on his face. The months of waiting that never seemed like they would end had finally concluded.
“Do we have the wedding rings?” The officiator asks as Sarina and Chase both finally turn away from each other to face Brexton. The little boy reaches into his pockets, taking out a pair of rings, handing one to each of them.
“Sarina is still my princess,” Brexton states matter of factly as he hands the ring to Chase.
“Don’t worry – I can share buddy,” Chase replies, giving him a hug, before letting him go.
“The couple have chosen to write their own vows today,” the officiator reveals. “Ladies first…” Sarina lifts her hand, spinning the ring inside of it before reaching out to slide it on his face.
“As I slide this ring on your finger, I vow to always love you,” she starts, trying to hold back the tears that threatened to fall. “I vow to always cherish you, take care of you, and be there for you. I vow to always listen to you, and help you with every emotion that you feel. Chase, you opened a door that I wasn’t willing to open to anyone. You pried harder than I could’ve imagined – but yet so gently that I didn’t realize, making me face my greatest fears and helping me through the roughest patch of my life. So therefore, I vow to be there for you no matter what in the same way in return – and that includes moving past the latest chapter in our lives. I vow to do whatever you need me to do for you to be there for you, and to love thee completely. I vow to be your partner in life, till death do us part.” She then slides the ring up his finger, as he simply smiles in return.
“Now were those really so hard to write?” He asks, breaking the ice a little as she chuckles remembering the paper balls they had both thrown out in the process. He then takes a deep breath, holding up the ring in which he had gotten for her. It was a simple diamond band, with a slight opening so it’d fit snugly around the pink diamond engagement ring. “As I slide this ring on your finger, I vow to always love you. I vow to be there for you every single day. I vow to be understanding in our rough moments, even if you threaten to run awa-”
“There’s no way I am doing that again. I’ve learned my lesson.” He smiles, as he wipes a piece of hair out of her eyes.
“I’m glad, but just in case, I vow to be there for you. I vow to hold you, cuddle you, listen to you, and be your rock when you need someone to vent to. I vow to always be there for you to give you advice, and guidance when you need it. I vow to bring out the best in you as you’re more beautiful and talented than anyone probably imagined. I vow to take care of you, and keep you safe. I vow to make sure that we don’t endure the same pain that we’ve gone through again. I vow to make you feel safe, and secure in my arms like you’ve never felt before. I vow to be yours forever and always. I will cherish what we have no matter as I vow to be yours, and yours alone, till death do us part.” He then slides the ring up her finger, as she wipes away the couple of tears that slid down her cheeks.
“By the power vested in me by the States of North Carolina, I now pronounce you husband and wife,” the wedding officiator officially proclaims. “Mr. Elliott, you may now actually kiss your bride for real.”
“Thank you…” He then pulls her close, as the pair share a big kiss to the chime of whistles from the crowd in the church.
“Ladies and Gentleman, family and friends, I present to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Chase and Sarina Elliott.”
“I like the sounds of that,” Sarina comments, before diving in for a second kiss.