Say I'm Yours (Page 43)
“I’m not goin’ anywhere.” I kiss his cheek. “I’m right here.”
“Trent’s a good man. He loves you and he’ll take care of you.”
I don’t doubt that anymore. Trent has shown that he’s changed. He changed before I even knew, but I was too hurt to see. I know that we’ll always have our challenges, but with him by my side, I know we’ll endure.
“I love him, too.”
“Then take care of each other. Marriage is hard, and lovin’ someone for all their faults isn’t always easy, but it’s always the right choice. You’ll have days where you want to walk away and then times when you’ll hope the day will never end. It’s a give and take, and sometimes . . . you have to shoulder the burdens for both of you. But you and Trent are strong enough to do that for each other.” Daddy touches the side of my cheek. “Your strength will be what gets you through the muck.”
“Thank you for bein’ my Daddy.”
“Oh, baby girl,” he says before he kisses my cheek. “It has been my honor.”
I wipe the tear and try to fan my cheeks. “I don’t want to cry already.” I let out a nervous laugh.
“Well, let’s get you to the man waitin’ for you.”
“Okay.” I nod.
We start walking, and I hold on tight to the man who’s always held me up. He’s been the best father a girl could ask for. He loved my sister and I with every part of him. I think about what it was like for him to lose Scarlett. I think about how my sister’s story mirrors Macie Hennington’s. I wish she were here today, and it breaks my heart she didn’t have a man like Trent.
He would never do what his father did to his mother. He fights for women who are in relationships like that. Trent wouldn’t raise his hands in anger, he’s a protector. Learning about the type of man he came from was hard for him. Knowing that his own father tried to kill him and possibly his mother isn’t something he’s accepting of. But if anything, it showed him how much he’s like Rhett. How much he truly is a Hennington, because he’s Rhett’s son.
Daddy and I step through the doorway and Trent stands next to his father’s bed. I walk toward him with tears in my eyes. His blond hair is pushed back the way I love it, he has on khakis with a blue button-up shirt, and has a yellow rose in his hand. His eyes don’t move from mine as I move closer.
My father takes my hand and puts it in Trent’s. “Be good to her,” he says.
“I will,” Trent promises.
My father kisses my cheek and moves over to stand behind my mother.
Rhett clears his throat. “Can I say somethin’ before we start?”
“Of course,” I say quickly.
“Grace,” he says as his voice trembles. “You’ve been my daughter in my heart for a long time. I’ve never seen someone love another with such conviction. I want to thank you.”
I release Trent’s hand and move over to the side of Rhett’s bed. “Thank you for raising the man I love.”
“Thank you for loving the man I raised.”
I kiss his cheek, and he touches my hand before looking at Trent. “Marry that girl before she runs out of here.”
“You got it, Pop.”
The Reverend smiles at both of us and begins the ceremony. They’re words that have been spoken a million times, but they sound different to me. I listen to him talk about love and acceptance, and I gaze at Trent. We’ve come so far. Our relationship has changed and grown in so many ways. Two years ago, he never would’ve opened up to me. He would’ve kept it in and suffered. Our relationship felt like it was always teetering on the precipice of disaster. Now, I have nothing but hope for where we’ll go. We’ve learned that we’re stronger together than we are apart.
We turn to face each other, and I say the words I’ve waited to recite for a long time. My eyes fill with tears and my voice trembles. “I, Grace Louise Rooney, take you, Trent Milton Hennington, to be my wedded husband. To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us do part.”
Trent squeezes my hands, and he clears his throat. My heart pounds as he repeats the same pledge to me. “I, Trent Milton Hennington, take you, Grace Louise Rooney, to be my wedded wife. To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us do part. And long after that.”
I smile through the tears and everyone chuckles.
“I think after a lifetime with you, she should get a free pass,” Wyatt jokes.
“Because you’re a walk in the park?” Angie tosses in.
“Can I kiss her now?” Trent asks The Reverend.
“By the power vested in me by the state of Tennessee, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
“Kiss me, wife,” Trent says as he tugs me against him.
“Whatever you say, husband.”
Our lips touch, and I throw my arms around his neck. I hold on as he kisses me with so much love, I can’t feel the ground. Standing in a hospital room while surrounded by family, I just married my best friend.
I walk around and hug everyone, thanking them for being there as happy tears find their way past my eyelashes. Doctor Halpern urges us all to leave and let Rhett get some sleep. He’s had a very exciting morning, and even though there are a dozen people in his room, his eyes are heavy with sleep.
We head to a small break room that the nurses were nice enough to let us borrow for a few hours. There isn’t any music or decorations, but there is food. Sort of. We have jello, milk, and I don’t even know what kind of pie that’s supposed to be on the table.
This is what I get for tasking Zach and Wyatt with food. It’s not as if Wyatt’s wife owns the bakery in town.
Mrs. Hennington enters the room and heads straight to me. There are tears in her eyes that match my own. “Oh, honey, don’t cry.” She squeezes me in her arms. “You were always my daughter. Even before you loved my son.”
Things between his mother and Trent have remained a little tense. He’s managed to forgive his father, but he’s still holding anger toward her. I, on the other hand, want to hug her. She’s the survival story my sister wasn’t. She fought through abuse, found real love, and gave me my husband.
Her eyes travel to where Trent is standing, talking to my parents.
“You know he’ll come around,” I say as I glance at him.
She waves her hand. “Oh, I know. He’s a stubborn ass, but he needs to be mad at someone, and I’ll be it for now. You know what you got yourself into with marryin’ a Hennington?”
“I think I have a good idea.” I smile.
“I’m glad he has you, honey.”
“I hope I have a sliver of the love you and Rhett have.”
Her eyes turn sad as she looks back at the door. “I don’t know how I’ll live without him. I’ve spent my entire life takin’ care of him. I thought I was prepared, but lookin’ at him today, so weak.” She sighs. “I know that I’ll never be ready to live in a world without him.”
“Did the transfusion help?” I ask with a little hope.
She shakes her head. “It’s like putting bubble gum on a slashed tire. It’s been a lot of patchin’ holes and there’s nothing more we can try.”
“But he looked better today.”
Mrs. Hennington’s voice is filled with despair. “It’s temporary, sugar. He looked better because he’d gotten the blood his body needed, but in a few hours, he’ll be back to the way he was. This was probably the last transfusion he’ll do. He doesn’t want to prolong the process.” A tear falls down her face and she wipes it away. “I’m so sorry I’m talkin’ about this, it’s your weddin’ day.”
“Mrs. H.,” I touch her arm. “I don’t know what to say.”
She touches my face. “First, you call me mama like my other daughters do. Second, you be happy today. Because if you saw the smile on my husband’s face, you would know it was because of you and Trent. He’s wanted to be at his boy’s weddings. And after what occurred the other day, to be his best man, I know it gives him great peace.”
Trent walks over and wraps his arms around my shoulders. “Mama,” he says with restraint.
Macie smiles at her son and touches her throat. “I’m so happy for you, Trent.”
“I’m glad Dad got to see this.”
“He is too, honey.”
“Trent,” I look at him from over my shoulder, “why don’t you talk to your mother for a bit? I’m going to talk to my new brothers.”
They need to work this out. There’s no better time to put your crap aside than at a wedding. His grin tells me he knows exactly what I’m doing. He kisses me, and I extricate myself from his hold.
Wyatt holds his arm open, and I lean in. “Who knew it would take this long to be officially family?” He smiles down. “I’m happy for you.”
I wrap my arms around one of my oldest friends and squeeze. “Thank you. For everything.”