Coralie had never felt more in love with Kody than she did right now. The kindness he’d shown her sister was a prime example of the type of man he was – generous, thoughtful, and caring.
And of course, handsome.
Oh, so handsome….
Moreover, Kody was a good influence on Leo, and an attentive and affectionate father to the twins (Watcher knows how important that is to a child on the brink of their teenage birthday!). And Coralie knew the value of an involved father first hand. Her relationship with her biological father was non-existent, of course, Lamont’s jealousy and anger toward Aurora ruining any chance of a relationship with his daughter. But family is chosen as well as genetic, and Palani had chosen to adopt her as his own. Growing up with Aurora for a mother, Coralie was never bothered by Lamont’s absence. And so when Palani proudly proclaimed himself her father, the keen sense of belonging that washed over her came as a shock. She remembered vividly the first time Palani had called her his daughter, back at his wedding to her mother. Coralie felt special and wanted, and so honored that he’d chosen to claim her as his family. Palani protected her and looked out for her until the day he died.
Palani was exactly the kind of father she’d needed. And now, watching Kody with the children, he reminded her so much of Palani. Her father would approve of him, Coralie knew. He would give them his blessing and he would give her away at the wedding – if he was still here. She only regretted they’d waited so long, that her father hadn’t lived to see her say “I do.”
Coralie thought about this one morning, laying next to him in bed, watching him sleep.
Impatient, she nudged him awake.
“I don’t want to wait another day to marry you,” she said. She squeezed his hand and looked him square in the eye. “I mean it. Not one more day.”
Kody laughed indulgently. She obviously wasn’t serious. “Okay,” he teased. “Right now then. Right this minute! Not a second to waste! No time to brush your teeth!”
But Coralie surprised him. She grinned and shot up in bed. “Really? Right now? Okay!!”
Kody stared at her slack-jawed. Okay. So maybe she was serious.
“Coralie….” he started, shaking his head. “Weddings don’t plan themselves overnight! There’s a guest list to make, invitations to send – we have to book a venue and you have to buy a dress!”
But Coralie sprung out of bed, fluttering around the room excitedly.
“We don’t have to have any of that, do we?”
“But don’t you want a wedding?” Kody asked. “I thought you wanted a big party – like your mother’s!”
“I don’t want a wedding, Kody. I want a marriage. And we don’t need fancy china or pigs in a blanket for that.”
She glanced over her shoulder at him as she rooted around in the closet. Her smile faltered at the sober expression on his face. She stopped and turned around.
“What’s wrong? I thought you’d be happy!”
“Nothing! I am happy. Couldn’t be happier, sweetheart.” He smiled again, but Coralie wasn’t fooled. She sat next to him on the bed.
“What’s wrong?” She asked again. “Whatever it is, you can tell me.”
He sighed, avoiding her gaze. “It’s nothing. It’s stupid really…”
His voice drifted off, and she only looked at him quizzically, and cocked an eyebrow.
“I guess…. It’s silly, Cora.” He stared at the ceiling. “I guess I just had this vision of you in a white dress, you know?” He glanced at her sideways, and continued on quickly. “But it’s not important! As long as I get to marry you – ”
He stopped abruptly. Coralie was laughing.
“Is that all?” She asked. “I’ve already got my dress, had it for ages actually, see?”
She was rummaging through the closet again, frantic.
“NO!” Kody shouted. “I don’t want to see it! It’s bad luck to see the dress on the wedding day!”
Coralie shut the closet door and turned back to him. “So today is our wedding day, then?”
He nodded, beaming. “I think it is.”
They waited all day, keeping their secret. With everything going on in the house, Coralie wanted their wedding to be a private moment between her and her husband-to-be. No hubbub. No fuss. Just the two of them, and her white wedding dress.
Once the house as asleep, she tiptoed down to the reflection pool and found Kody there waiting, according to plan. He gasped audibly as she entered the room, and she smiled at the tears that sprung to his eyes
“Do you like it?” she asked, hoping it lived up to his vision of his bride.
“Like it? Coralie, you’re perfect.”
They didn’t need an audience or wedding cake. They didn’t need a first dance or even a honeymoon. All Kody and Coralie needed was each other