“You look like you’re glowing.”
I turn around to see Adam’s wife, Eve, standing in the doorway. I’ve been holed up in this room inside the chapel for most of the day as I get ready to walk down the aisle. She has a giant smile on her face. I wonder where Adam is. I’ve never seen one without the other. I know she’s a little, too, but I think their relationship is a little different to mine and Daddy William’s.
“I’m just so excited. I can’t seem to stop smiling.” I turn to face her, wanting to show off my dress. The whole thing is covered in what looks like diamonds, and the bodice hugs tight to my body. At my knees, tulle skirt flares out and falls to my feet, a little dusting of pink at the trim. The designer called it a mermaid-style, and I absolutely love it. I feel like I belong in a Disney movie.
“You look beautiful, Haley. Like a real-life princess.” Eve looks just as excited as I am by the dress.
My smile grows bigger, and I’m afraid my face might crack. “I never thought this day would come. That I’d find someone who just gets me.” I know she’ll understand what I mean. I’ve never seen her and Adam do Daddy/little girl play, but I know he’s working with William on building a surprise house for his little, and as Eve is his wife, I knew that little was her.
“You’re lucky. It took me a while to understand what I was looking for. I felt lost.” She moves towards me, stopping in front of me to adjust the small tiara I have in my hair. I’d found it sitting on my vanity when I crawled out of bed this morning after Daddy left. It was wrapped in Christmas wrapping with a note that read, You’ll always be my princess. It was the most perfect Christmas present I have ever received. I’m not sure I’ll ever take it off. I bet I could even shower in it if I was careful.
“But you found your Daddy, too.”
“That I did.” This time she smiles just as big as me. I don’t know what it is about her, but I like her. Maybe it’s because I know she’s a little, too. I’ve never met another like me. I’ve never had a ton of friends, mainly just Molly, and she was super flakey. She’s also judgy about William and me, which I don’t think I’ll be able to tolerate much longer.
“You ready? I think everything is in place, and everyone is all lined up.” At her words, my father fills the doorway.
“Bridesmaids are walking down the aisle now, Haley. We’re up, sweetheart,” my father informs me, making my heart race. Not because I’m scared, but because this is it. I’m going to belong to William, and the whole world will know it.
Eve reaches out, grabbing my hand and giving it a little squeeze before exiting the room, leaving me alone with my father.
“You look just like your mother,” he says, and I can hear so much emotion in his voice. I know he misses her every day. “I was worried about this when I first found out about you two.” He cups my face, one hand stroking my cheek with his thumb. “But I know William loves you more than anything, and your mother would be so happy. Everything was always about true love to her, and you two have that. I’m sorry it took me a while to see it.” I can see the guilt in his eyes, but I was never upset that my father wasn’t okay about William and me at first. I got it. I’m his daughter, and it’s his job to worry about me.
“It doesn’t matter now. We’re all here together. That’s what’s important. We got there. There might have been a few bumps along the way, but you’re about to walk me down the aisle and willingly give me to William.”
“Happily and willingly,” he corrects. His hands drop away from my face, and he pulls me into a tight hug. I squeeze him back just as hard before he releases me and puts my hand in the crook of his arm.
“Let’s go give you your happy ever after, sweetheart.”
I’ve been pacing today, not because I’m nervous, but because I can’t wait. I’ve been ready to make her mine since the moment I knew I could have her, and all this anticipation is about to give me a heart attack.
“It’s time,” the officiant informs me, and I’m the first out the door behind him. I want nothing more than to run out and grab my little, but she’s worked so hard to make this a special day for both of us. And I won’t ruin it by making a scene and stealing her away from it all.
As all the groomsmen line up and I take my place at the front of the church, I have to hold myself still to keep from clenching my fists. I need to see Haley and make sure she’s okay. I know how easily she gets stressed and overwhelmed. I’ve been worried about her, sending her texts and trying to comfort her from a distance—a distance I never want between us again. Not having access to her today has made me see how much I need her and how good it makes me feel to take care of her.