Weeks fly by and the day is finally here. I help Vera fix her hair, making it look just so. Letting my fingers linger along her neck, our eyes meet in the mirror. She reaches her hand up to pat mine, a sad smile on her lips.

My own isn’t much better, so I close my eyes briefly, take a deep breath, then flash her a happier one. “You’ve never looked more beautiful, Vera. Lloyd is a lucky man.”

I stop, unable to continue without risking my voice betraying me. Squeezing her shoulders, I manage, “Come, it’s time.”

She nods.