“How very lovely you look, my darling girl.”
Molly smiled into the mirror at her mother who stood behind her, clearly a bit misty eyed and trying not to show it.
“It suits you,” Rebecca chimed in brightly. “Granted, it isn’t quite the very latest fashion, but you wear it marvelously! I’m sure nobody would even guess it was from five years ago.”
“There will be hardly anyone there to pass judgement,” Molly said, looking herself over as well and smoothing her hands down the satin fabric of the bodice. “Wearing my cousin’s dress is perfectly suitable, given the circumstances- or rather, the timing.”
The circumstances . Yes, the circumstances were unique, to say the least. More so than even her family was aware. Perhaps her mother, in that way that mothers so often do, read something telling in her expression.
“My dear,” Mrs. Hooper began gently, placing a kind hand on Molly’s shoulder. “Are you...quite certain…”
“Yes,” Molly replied instantly, being sure to put on a smile far more confident than what matched the insistent butterflies in her stomach. “Quite sure, Mother. This is most definitely what I want and I have no doubts.”
Mrs. Hooper smiled, though Molly could tell she was only partly comforted. She had to put that out of her mind though and try not to worry herself. After all, this was her wedding day.
It seemed that before she even had time to blink, the little carriage had pulled up alongside the church near her home. It was all beginning to feel incredibly surreal, and she could only hope to maintain some form of composure and grace. And she successfully did so stepping out of the carriage, walking up to the little church, and stepping through the doors into the vestibule. It wasn’t until the inner doors opened that she felt her stomach drop and her knees grow weak.
Molly’s eyes went to the front of the church and to Sherlock’s instantly. She’d looked at that man more times than she could count of course, from the time they were children. She tried to think about that as she advanced down the aisle. She tried to remind herself that he was the same man, and that there was no reason this particular moment should turn her insides to jelly, all things considered.
Molly drew a deep breath as she reached him and he extended his hand to her, guiding her to stand beside him. And when she turned to look at him and he smiled, well...she stopped trying to convince herself that this was nothing.
It didn’t matter that this was a marriage of convenience, that it was a marriage on paper only, and that they’d mapped out its end even before it had even begun. It was still a marriage. He was her husband, and she his wife. And perhaps hardest hitting of all was the simple fact that despite all the oddities of the situation, she loved him with every fiber of her being.
The madness of it all swept over her and for just a breath she actually considered turning and taking flight from the church. But then a deep voice quickly silenced that thought as both his hands took hold of hers.
“I William Sherlock Scott Holmes, take you, Margaret Hooper, to be my wedded wife…”
She looked up at him saying those words, so intensely sincere that he nearly convinced even her. It certainly sounded lovely coming from his lips, even if she knew it was all for show.
He’s my friend , she reminded herself. We know what we’re doing and it will all be just fine. It’ll be worth it.
Molly involuntarily squeezed his hands a little tighter, which he seemed to notice, glancing down momentarily before meeting her eyes again. And in that exact moment she realized that her groom’s vows were now done. Her stomach did a double flip as she heard the minister now addressing her…
Sherlock Holmes couldn’t help noticing that those little gloved hands within his were rather strong.
Taking it all in; her hands, the look in her eyes, the way he could actually see her chest rapidly rise and fall as she did her best to repeat her vows...it was clear she was basically a bundle of nerves wrapped up in a lovely wedding gown.
Quite obviously borrowed, and not made for her...but lovely just the same.
He kept his eyes trained to her big brown ones, only half listening to the actual vows. Performance was perhaps a more accurate word. What a ridiculous spectacle, wedding ceremonies. Two people parading themselves in front of a crowd to make a show of promising to spend the rest of their natural lives together. What did it all amount to, really?
In this case, as he’d said to Miss Hooper, it was a means to an end.
“In sickness and health, for richer or poorer…” her little voice continued as Sherlock half listened.
He was ready to be done with all this and get back to life as it should be. In London, on Baker Street, and at Saint Bart’s Hospital for her. That was just the place for her, for those little hands to finally be allowed the freedom to work their natural talents.
Sherlock renewed his full attention for the minister’s final, and most important, question.
“I do,” he confirmed, giving Molly a small smile as he did.
This was all going to go just fine, he was sure of it. Smooth sailing from here on, and he wanted her to be just as confident in their plan as he was. He’d thought of everything needed to ensure their success. He wanted her to finally have all that she deserved.
“I now pronounce you man and wife...you may kiss your bride!”
He didn’t hesitate at all. Any other groom certainly wouldn’t. He leaned down instantly, pressing an appropriately chaste and momentary kiss to her little lips, wondering as he did if there would ever even be any necessity to do that again. It was possible there wouldn’t be...not that he cared either way of course.
And just like that, Sherlock Holmes found himself to be a married man, his childhood friend walking down the aisle with him, now as his wife.
They exited the church, her family and his in tow, and made their way to the carriage which would take them to the obligatory wedding breakfast before they were allowed to leave for London.
“Goodness!” Rebecca Hooper exclaimed with a laugh, gripping her hat. “It’s become rather windy since we went into the church!”
As she said it, Sherlock felt his own hat begin lifting off his head. Molly grabbed it quickly though, not allowing it to go far. Her eyes sparkled in the sunlight and little tendrils of curls whipping around her face as she handed it back to him with a smile.
He returned the favor, brushing a rebellious strand of hair from off her face, which apparently triggered a blush to spread over her cheeks.
“Be careful now,” Lady Holmes commented as she passed them, keeping a firm grip on her own hat and shawl. “We’re all at risk of being blown away on our way to the wedding breakfast!”
“Oh not to worry,” Sherlock stated calmly as he extended his hand to assist his new wife into their carriage, giving her a confident wink as he did. “It’s merely a gentle breeze!”