Garrett checked his appearance in the full-length mirror. He’d chosen the best Sunday clothes he had, which didn’t consist of much more than a nice shirt and a clean pair of trousers. He’d never been too conscious about the clothes he wore to church, though he knew some men and women really dressed their best.
He did, too, he just didn’t own a suit.
Now that he thought about it, he wondered what he would have worn to see his brother get married. Nate would have been dressed just like one of the Sunday men, a proper suit and tie, a top hat, something like that…
Garrett was getting married and this was the best he had.
Sophie wouldn’t mind, he was sure about that. She loved him and didn’t care what he was wearing as long as he committed himself to her for the rest of his life, which he fully intended to do.
It was a little easier to think about Nate these days. He was always in the back of Garrett’s mind. At least he could be with the woman he loved without thinking Nate would be angry with him. He and Sophie had agreed Nate would be pleased by the union.
He straightened his vest and turned away, plopping his hat on his head as he went out the door. Easter was just around the bend. Maybe he should break down and get a suit.
Dane called to him, lifting one hand.
“Are you ready to get married, my friend?”
Garrett grinned, nodding. “It’s not quite time yet, is it?”
“Not yet but it’s getting close.” Dane sounded so excited it was almost like he was the one getting married. But no, he and Diana had decided they would wait until the middle of summer and get married during the hottest time of the year, despite Garrett telling them how utterly foolish that was.
He snickered to himself, remembering how they’d protested, saying Colorado had beautiful summers and they wouldn’t burn up like it was the desert.
Garrett was just glad his two friends were getting married. He loved to see how happy they were together. “Where is my bride, anyway?” He looked around, turning in a slow circle. The garden was empty, though there were a few people out near the edge of the courtyard, talking.
“I think she went back inside. Her grandparents’ mansion is really grand, isn’t it?”
Garrett nodded, glancing back at the huge house behind him, looming over him like a giant made of stone. It was luxurious inside, too. He was surprised Sophie was willing to travel around in hotels with Nathan or live in Durango in an inn instead of this luxury. Then again, she wasn’t really a materialistic kind of woman.
“Went inside, huh?” he inquired, thinking of how vast it was in there. “I don’t know if I can find her. The place is huge. I think it might be the size of Durango itself.”
“Maybe,” Dane said with a laugh. “But the owners are so generous and kind. It’s a blessing. They paid for everyone to get here for your wedding.”
Garrett smiled. “I gotta find her. See what’s going on.”
“All right, see you in an hour or so. Right here so you can get married.”
Garrett chuckled as he walked away from Dane. The man was in such high spirits. When he and Diana announced their courtship and intention to marry, all their friends were happy, but none were as happy as the man himself. He had been smiling ever since. Garrett had an idea the man smiled in his sleep.
Garrett felt the same way about his own upcoming marriage. Sophie made him want to keep smiling all the time. The best thing he’d noticed about her was that she was able to laugh so easily. He didn’t even have to be very funny and he could get at least a smile out of her. She wouldn’t let him be in a bad mood and he loved that about her.
He went through the courtyard onto the square lawn in front of the huge house. The porch stretched from one side to the other and there were steps to get up to it on all three sides. Garrett headed for the front doors, which were absolutely huge. The butler likely had strong arms from pulling them open and pushing them closed.
They were standing open, and he walked through into a throng of people hovering around, mingling and chatting. He heard the sound of his lovely bride in one of the rooms to his left and made a beeline for her. When he saw her, his heart skipped a beat. She looked lovely in her long gown. Her blond hair was styled beautifully on her head and covered by a small bonnet.
She looked over at him and caught his eye. Did she know how beautiful she looked? He sighed, going over to her.
“Hello there,” he said softly. Her smile was bigger than usual. He tilted his head to the side. “You look very happy. I know we’re getting married but is it really that exciting?”
She laughed delightedly. “Of course it is, you silly man. But look. This is just as exciting, don’t you think?”
Garrett turned to look where she was gesturing, to the two men she’d been talking to. He nearly fell to his knees when he saw that it was his father and uncle.
“Pa!” he cried out, throwing his arms to the side, nearly knocking Sophie back. He rushed forward and tackled his father, who laughed uproariously and slapped him several times on the back.
“Son!” he said with great enthusiasm. Garrett heard the tears in his voice. His uncle approached them both and hugged them while they were still connected.
“Uncle.” Garrett’s tears has taken over so he had less steam behind his words. “Oh, how I’ve missed you. How I’ve missed you both. I didn’t think you would make it. Did you get any of my letters?”
“Son, I wish we’d stopped moving around so much three months ago or we might have gotten them.” His father, Richard, kept one hand on his shoulder. Garrett felt like a boy again.
“You two. I’m proud of you. Nate would have been proud of us, too.”
“He was coming to see us, wasn’t he, Garrett?” Richard’s voice was emotional. “That’s what you said in your letters. He was coming to get us when he was killed. He wanted to tell us about his lovely bride.” His eyes slid to Sophie. Garrett saw approval there and was thrilled. “And she decided to marry into our family anyway. Thank you for inviting us to your special day, Miss Sophie.”
“I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I’m so glad you were able to come.”
Garrett squeezed Sophie to him, his love for her pulsing through his body. She had kept her word and returned the favor of bringing his family to him, just as he’d brought her family to her for Christmas.
“I was wondering, though,” Sophie said in a curious voice. Garrett looked down at her. She was looking at his father. “Did you ever find the medallion? Nathan didn’t seem to have it in his things. We never found it, did we, Garrett?”
Garrett turned his eyes to his father and uncle. He hadn’t realized Sophie had asked them about it. Then again, he hadn’t known she was talking to them at all or even knew where they were to get in touch with them.
How resourceful his soon-to-be wife was.
“We did find the medallion, as a matter of fact,” his uncle Arnold said, pulling a folded piece of cloth from inside his vest. He handed it to Sophie, who took it eagerly.
“Oh, it’s much heavier than I thought it would be,” she remarked, unfolding the cloth. When the medallion was revealed, Sophie stared at it for a minute. “It’s smaller than I remember. Heavy and small.”
“It’s pure gold,” Garrett said in a low voice, leaning down to her side. “That’s why it’s so heavy. Look at the engravings on it. If you put it under a glass that magnifies, you can see a lot more detail. Do your grandparents have a magnifying glass?”
Sophie’s eyes lit up. “I think so! I’ll ask.”
She hurried away from him without a look back. He laughed, turning his eyes to his father. He had to take the man into a hug again, patting him firmly on the back.
“It’s so good to see you again, Pa. I’ve been missing you for about three years now, since the last time you visited Durango.”
“That’s right. What happened with the sheriff. What was his name? Mack Morris? He get hung for murder yet?”
“No, he’s in prison. But I don’t think they’re gonna hang him. They can’t say he killed Nate because he was in Durango when the fire started in Boones Mill. With Clay bein’ dead, there’s no way to prove anything against him. Not like he left a record of his dealings with Clay.”
“Gruesome death, from what I hear,” his uncle stated, visibly shuddering.
A quick image of Clay in the basement shot through Garrett’s mind but he successfully pushed it away.
“Yeah. Gruesome. Glad you two came to my wedding. Come on. I’ll find you a seat and you can get comfortable. You like Colorado on the springtime, don’t you, Pa?”
“I sure do, son.”
Garrett took his father and uncle to seats at the front of the rows so they would have prominent place. There was one seat with a ribbon that had his brother’s name on it so no one would sit there.
Garrett went in search of his bride-to-be. He found her by the fountain, her eyes closed, her face turned upward.
“Here you are,” he said softly. “What are you doing? Are you okay? Still going to marry me?”
“You know I am,” she replied, turning her head but leaving her face upwards. “I’m just enjoying the spray from the fountain. It’s a bit warm in this gown.”
“Well, come and marry me and you can change into something more comfortable afterward for the party.”
He gathered her in his arms and pulled her close.
“Thank you for getting my pa and uncle here for our wedding, Soph. You don’t know how much that means to me.”
“You did it for me first,” Sophie responded in a sweet voice. “I told you I would return the favor, and I always keep my promises.”
“You sure about that?” Garrett asked softly, lowering his head for a kiss. She sucked in her breath, her eyes on his lips.
“Yes,” she whispered.
“Then promise me you’ll love me forever and let’s go get married.”
She laughed. “I promise to love you forever!” she cried out happily.
“Good! Now let’s go get married!”