She crushed the red velvet between her nervous fingers, wrinkling the soft fabric of her dress.
“Jill, honey, don’t do that. You want your dress to look pretty,” her mother chided gently, as she straightened the wreath of white flowers that had tilted precariously on Jill’s soft brown curls and put the little basket of flower petals into Jill’s hands.
“Mama, there lots of people. I scared,” she whimpered.
“I know, honey, but see look. You get to drop the pretty red rose petals on the floor, and then wait with Aunt Joyce and watch Mama wear her pretty white dress and walk in to stand by your new daddy. Won’t that be fun?”
“Mama, why daddy have to go be with Jesus and me get a new daddy?” she asked, a small tear glistening in her big blue eyes.
“Oh, Jill, sweetie, we miss him, don’t we? Daddy had a bad, bad owie, and he couldn’t get better. The doctors tried to help him, but he was hurt too bad. He’s all better now with Jesus. And Mr. Brad, your new daddy, loves us very much. He makes us happy, doesn’t he?”
“Uh, huh,” she whispered, a small smile flitting across her little face.
“Can you hear the pretty music, honey? It’s almost time. Give me a kiss and then go with Aunt Julie, okay? I know you’ll do a GREAT job.”
“Jill, your mother wanted you to have this. I know how hard it’s been on you since she went to be with Jesus.” He sighed with fatherly pride, “You were such a sweet little thing in that dress, skipping up the aisle, and tossing those rose petals… my new baby girl.”
Her step-dad smiled as he handed her the little red velvet dress.
She sank into a chair and smoothed the red velvet of the little dress absently, remembering.
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