Chapter Eleven: One Wedding, Two Loves

The congregation smiled and whispered to each other as Mark lifted the white, frilly veil that obscured Caryn's face. He leaned quickly down and Caryn's arms came right up to grab his head at his ear. They kept their kiss closed mouth, but it was held long enough to make the crowd awh and ooh. Mark took Caryn's left hand and twirled her gently around under his arm so that she stood facing the witnesses.

Caryn giggled as she heard Lois in the background whistle excitedly. Everyone stood up, a few were clapping. Mark, still holding Caryn's hand, raised it up, making a canopy for the minister to walk under. Then the minister lifted his voice and Mark and Caryn walked formally away from another, taking positions at the altar where once the maid-of-honor and best man had stood.

A low rumble went through the small, tiny prayer house. The attendees were confused having never seen a wedding end with the bride and bridegroom taking positions on either side of the altar.

Chloe grabbed Clark's hand and hoped for Caryn to make eye contact with her. Caryn didn't, she stayed fixed on her husband several feet away.

"Please take your seats," the minister implored.

Chloe tried to sit down but Clark looked into her confused eyes and encouraged Chloe to stand up next to him.

"It's okay Chlo'," he whispered. "I know what's going on."

"Would the parents of the bride come meet with me for a moment?" He gestured for them to stand before the altar steps. Clark and Chloe slowly approached the man of the cloth.

In a low voice and a wide smile he explained to them what was happening. "As a gift to you, Mark and Caryn would like to share their service. If you want, you could be married a little more formally."

Chloe turned around and glanced through the small chapel. She saw her father in her pew keeping Martha company. In the back she saw Pete, Oliver and Bart. Her entire family and nearly all her friends were there in attendance. Lucy had even popped out of hiding to see Caryn get hitched. Chloe looked back to Clark as he went to his bended knee.

"Chloe Anne Sullivan-Kent, would you do me the honor of marrying me all over?"

"Oh, Clark," Chloe said with a youthfulness she hadn't felt in years. "Of course."

Clapping his hands together, the minister announced. "If I could have a few more minutes of your time, Clark and Chloe have agreed to accept Caryn and Mark's gift to them. They will also be exchanging wedding vows today in your presence."

Chloe hardly had anytime to gush as Caryn delicately placed a sheer, lacy veil over Chloe's head. She secured it with some old butterfly hairpins from Chloe's keepsake chest. Clark felt Mark place a velvet covered box into his hand.

Together Clark and Chloe walked up the steps to stand together at the altar.

"Clark, face your bride and repeat after me."

Clark turned and faced Chloe, his eyes fell to the hem of the lace veil. He was unable to look directly into her eyes. He felt oddly lost for a moment. She squeezed his hand and he focused on that as he started to hear himself say.

"I, Clark Jerome Kent, take you Chloe Anne Sullivan to be my wife, my partner in life and my one true love."

His other hand found Chloe's free one as the minister gave him the words, one by one.

"I will cherish our union and love you more each day than I did the day before. I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together. I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall live."

Chloe turned to face Clark, and repeated the vows back to him. Clark felt a little silly inside hearing something that he believed with every fiber of his being was true. Since the day they had met, Clark was sure that they always had each other. He was sure that they loved and trusted each other to a point that would make the most durable of unions faint with weakness. Yet, hearing these words, he felt the depth of his affection for Chloe all over again. Chloe's heart had always made him weak.

Clark lifted the lace hiding her smile, and gently draped it back over her head. He kissed her before he was given the cue. Stopping when the minister laughed that now he could kiss the bride.

Clark watched Mark and Caryn step forward and into the aisle when he heard the celebratory music. The bride and groom were shaking the hands of their guests. Not wanting to interrupt glad tidings for his son-in-law and daughter, Clark continued to hang back with Chloe and the minister.

He heard the man say, "It was a very thoughtful gift Mark wanted you to have."

Chloe turned his head to stare at the gray haired man with curiosity. "Mark? This was Mark's idea?"

"He admires your relationship. I think it surprised him that you two never had a real service in front of all your family and friends. He and Caryn talked about it with me, and, well, it didn't take much to convince me you should have a wedding too."

Chloe raised her eyebrow, "Does this mean we'll have to pay you twice as much."

"No," he shooed away the thought. "Marrying you two is a bullet on my résumé. It's like being asked to marry Adam and Eve. I hope God forgives my pride."

Clark chuckled and hung his arm over Chloe's shoulders. She let herself be nudged into his side.

"Thank you!"

"You're welcome."

Clark led Chloe into the pool of friends and family, joining his daughter and his son-in-law in celebration. His heart felt like it was going to burst with pride, as he watched Mark and Caryn stand together, adoring each other and not letting each other out of their sights or touch. Clark reflected not for the first time, how much luckier Mark was. He had figured out who he was suited for a long time ago.

The End