Forever Yours, Faithfully.
Benani stood on the groom's side of the aisle but her heart was with
the young woman who'd just come into view. Her husband looked so tall
and handsome next to Nazli that she couldn't help but smile at him.
Benamil, on the other hand looked quite nervous as most grooms do and
she smiled with approval. Before turning back to watch the bride come
down the aisle.
She hadn't had found a way to tell Zathris about her idea to save her
brother's reputation so it was still limited to just a necessary few.
Even though this was a 'real' marriage, in Benamil's mind, and even
though he had quickly agreed to this arrangment for the sake of
appearances, the younger son of Benaroy found himself insanely
nervous. He looked up as he heard the soft gasp ripple across those
attending, the bride had entered the room. When Benamil looked up he
felt an involuntary smile catch his lips. Nazli looked beautiful.
From the back corner of the room, Arion felt like he'd swallowed a
knife. That look on Benamil's face, the traditional bride in the room,
everything someone of Benamil's rank was expected to have. He'd told
himself that he wouldn't come, he wouldn't torture himself this way,
but Arion had inevitably found himself drawn toward the wedding. Some
other vintners from the Hall were present, so he stood with them.
Benani had done her best to coach Nazli and drill into her the moves,
so Nazli went through the motions she'd been taught like an actor in a
play. She smiled and placed her hand lightly on Lord Zathris' arm as
they started down the aisle. Her dress was far more ornate than she'd
ever even dreamed but she'd never wanted to be the center of
attention. She began to tremble.
Zathris could feel Nazli trembling, and he put a hand over hers
reassuringly. Most brides had cold feet, after all. The Lord Holder
bent and murmured in her ear, "Congratulations, and welcome to the
family." Before turning her over to Benamil and going to stand beside
of his wife.
Benamil took Nazli's hands and gave them a reassuring squeeze as they
turned to stand before the harper that was officiating the ceremony.
"You look beautiful," he whispered for her ears only.
Finally it was Benamil who held her hands. Benamil who would protect
her as he swore in front of all the Lord and Ladies guests. Her smile
was genuine and happy as she made her own vows to love, honor, and
In the back of the room, Arion's stomach twisted as Benamil said his
vows in a strong, clear voice. The Son of Benaroy vowed to love, and
protect his new bride, ending his vows with, "My home is where you
are, and my arm is your protection."
Polite applause rippled across those gathered as the harper pronounced
Benamil and Nazli husband and wife.
She looked up at him expectantly. She knew what was coming next and
though they hadn't really practiced. It was something they would do
now for the first time and pretend to enjoy.
Benamil knew Nazli was nervous, but he looked down into her eyes with
a smile, one that was probably mistaken for infatuation by those
gathered, and then brushed his lips against hers.
She trembled slightly though she kept it under control and continued
to smile up at him as his lips approached. At the last moment she
closed her eyes as Benani had shown her and tilted her head as his
lips touched hers. Then she heard the applause and pulled back to
smile as she turned to face the crowd. She clutched Benamil's arm
tightly, the only evidence of her near terror. It was almost over, at
least the part where the crowd was watching their every move.
Arion's gut twisted into tighter knots as the newly married couple
turned and smiled at those gathered. Over the tops of the heads Arion
swore that Benamil's eyes locked onto his for a moment.
Benamil looked down at his bride and placed a hand over her arm, "Here
we go." He wrapped an arm around her waist and led her out of the
room, past congratulatory smiles and nods.
They were swept into a private room for a moment of peace before they
had to perform again and Nazli pulled slightly away from the close
embrace to sink into a chair and wilt. She breathed deeply and rubbed
her hands together trying to still the trembling. "Sorry," she whispered.
"Hey, you were great." Benamil touched the top of her head lightly
before collapsing in a chair himself. He closed his eyes and pinched
the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger. All Benamil could
see when he closed his eyes was the look on Arion's face when he and
Nazli had been leaving. Even after all of the assurances that Benamil
had been trying to give Arion lately, he knew that there was would be
some fires to put out later.
"Are you alright," she asked when she saw his reaction. She'd found
over the last while that she liked Benamil. He wasn't like any other
man she'd ever known and he made her feel safe in a way she hadn't
since she'd been a child while her parents were still alive. She saw
some refreshments on the table and rose to take a look. "Would you
like something to drink."
"I'm fine. A drink sounds great," Benamil said, opening his eyes. Even
if it wasn't a marriage of romance and they were both aware of the
situation, Benamil still didn't feel quite right bringing Arion up on
his and Nazli's wedding day.
She brought the drink along with one for herself and sat down next to
him. Maybe it was the way he looked at her. There was none of the
speculation in his eyes that would make her afraid of other men. He
seemed to see her as an actual person instead of a thing to use and
forget. "Thank you," she said softly.
"For what?" he asked, taking the drink she had brought him.
It took her a moment to clarify her own thoughts but finally she
smiled shyly into his eyes. "For friendship."
Benamil reached out and touched Nazli's hand, "Of course. Here's to
our friendship," he said, touching his glass to hers.
She turned her hand over under his and lightly clasped his fingers. It
was a very bold move on her part but her feelings for him were real.
"To our friendship," she replied with more confidence.
Last updated on the July 4th 2018