Something Old, Something New (Chapter Six, page 1 of 2)

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Another quiet evening together brought them exactly one week before their wedding. At church Sunday, the subject that she was staying at his house was avoided. Alex had been taking her to church for a long time, so they were greeted together warmly and everyone asked how repairs were coming along on her house.
One of the girls who watched the babies in the nursery was ill that morning, so Carmen volunteered to help. Alex went to services with Katie and Bill. Babysitting wasn’t something she had ever considered doing. Strange how a person’s mind could get set on something and see nothing else. Having children of her own was such a priority that she had missed something truly gratifying.
As the congregation sang a hymn, a deep voice could be heard above the others, strong and confident. She smiled, grateful that Alex didn’t know he was out of tune. No one had the heart to tell him, and it didn’t really matter anyway.
Gradually, the parents came in and picked up their babies until she was left with an 8-week-old little girl. The baby woke and started crying, so Carmen warmed her bottle and sat down in the rocker to feed her. No one was there to show her how to hold the baby, but the most natural position seemed to be as if she were breast feeding it. The infant stopped crying as soon as the bottle touched her lips, and started sucking the nipple. She made baby sounds as she nursed – sounds that aroused an instinctive reaction. Carmen leaned forward, softly kissing the baby on the forehead. It was so warm and soft, and smelled heavenly.
When she lifted her head, a figure in the doorway caught her attention. Alex was watching her. His expression indicated he might be a little annoyed.
“The mother should be here any minute,” she said quietly.
He nodded. “I’ll come back in a few minutes.”
He disappeared down the hall without another word.
The mother arrived a few minutes later and as Carmen finished cleaning up the nursery, Mums and a few other women walked in. They herded her back into another room to discuss plans for the wedding on Sunday.
Carmen had chosen the colors pastel violet and light gray, with the theme being hearts and the flowers being forget-me-nots. The color scheme was simple, but was turning out elegant the way the women worked with it. The last thing they discussed was her wedding dress, and Mums was still talking to her about it when they emerged from the room.
“I suppose it makes sense,” Mums said to Carmen, “but where are you going to get one?”
“What?” Alex asked as he joined them.
“Carmen wants to rent her wedding dress,” Mums said.
Alex frowned at Carmen. “Who rents a wedding dress?”
Carmen’s face warmed. “It’s been done for a long time, but it’s getting more popular now.”
“Why don’t you just buy one?” Alex said.
Carmen shrugged. “Why? And wear it once? That seems kind of wasteful.”
“So, give it to something like the Salvation Army afterward,” he suggested.
“Why don’t I just rent one?” Carmen said. “You’re renting a tuxedo, right? It makes more sense for the man to buy his tuxedo. At least he might wear it again sometime.”
His reflective gaze gave way to a smile. “Well, there you go, Heidi. Logic wins again.”
She smiled up at him. “I’ve already made arrangements to rent one and I really like it.”
He put an arm around her shoulders. “If you really like it, then that’s the one you should get.”
He glanced back at Mums, who was watching them with a satisfied expression.
“Bye Mums,” he said as they turned to go.
It was the first time she had heard him call her that, and the tender smile on Mum’s face made it clear that she was pleased. Mums had apparently accepted Alex as one of the family.
Carmen slipped her hand into his and smiled up at him. “I love you so much.”

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