They’d be here in twenty minutes.
I tried, once again, to tame my curls but nothing I did could contain the spiraling mess on my head. Why did it have to rain on such an important day?
“You look beautiful.” Darren kissed the sensitive place on the back of my neck.
I shrugged away and leaned closer to the mirror, rechecking my makeup. “I only have one chance to do this right.” There was no hiding the zit budding on my chin. I prayed his mother won’t look too closely. First impressions were hard to erase.
Darren placed his large hands on my shoulders and turned me to face him. “I love you, and I know they’re going to love you, too.”
As much as I wanted to believe him, I couldn’t. He’d told me too many stories about these wonderful, perfect people who dedicated their lives to reach the heathen in foreign lands. I knew I’d never live up to their impossible standards of excellence.
I glanced around the apartment again, searching for microscopic specks of dust on the worn furniture. Everything looked so shabby. I wished now that we’d waited for a big church wedding with all the beautiful gifts, instead of sneaking off to the Justice of the Peace.
“Do you ever wish we waited?” I fingered the threadbare quilt my grandmother had made for her wedding day.
“And miss these last four months together.” He shook his head. “Never.”
His passionate reply made me smile, but my mind would not stop running through all the potential disasters. “What if…”
Darren enveloped me in his strong arms. “Please stop worrying. They can’t wait to meet the woman who stole my heart.” His fingers massaged the knots in my shoulders.
I closed my eyes and leaned into him. My burden lifted as Darren quietly prayed aloud for peace and calm in soul. He bolstered me with words of courage and comfort. I didn’t know how long I stood there, deriving strength from my husband, but he held me until all the tension was gone.
“Thank you.” I whispered into his shirtfront.
The buzzer sounded. Panic shot up my spine. They were here.
“Take a breath.” Darren kissed me. “Trust me.”
I hung back as Darren welcomed them with warm hugs and laughter. I immediately noticed their rumpled appearance and the fatigue sagging their shoulders. Darren motioned me forward and instead of sizing me up, as I had anticipated, they welcomed me with open arms.
“You must be exhausted.” I lead the way to the guest room. “Make yourselves at home. Rest if you need it. We have a whole week to get to know one another.”
Their gratitude was evident even as they shut the door.
Not twenty minutes later, Darren and I cuddled on the couch, listening to the rumble of his father’s snores. While my husband gave me a knowing look, he never once mentioned how right he had been. I loved him all the more for it.
There would be time to make first impressions later.
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