A BUTLER, A STRANGER, AND A PRIEST

by RAH

There are exactly five people at their wedding, including themselves. A bride, a groom, a priest, a butler, and a stranger. 
He’s paranoid, constantly glancing over his shoulder, as though his family will burst in at any moment to put a stop to it. She’s reassuring, holding her groom’s hand tightly, and refusing to look backwards. He’s giving up everything for her. She’s got nothing to lose. He’s dressed for the occasion. She’s in what used to be a white nightgown, and is now a makeshift wedding dress.
William was the one who altered the dress for her. The butler had done everything he could to make this seam as normal as possible. Of course there isn’t much normal about attending a secret wedding at midnight.
William looks at his brother, a stranger to William’s master and his bride. Alexander had offered to bare witness to the ceremony after learning of the young lovers’ predicament. The groom, it seamed, had found himself falling for a girl he never should have.
It’s not as if there was anything terribly wrong with Delilah. The young bride happens to be a beautiful girl, with curly dark hair and amber eyes that had melted Matthias’ icy heart. The problem was never really Delilah’s beauty or personality. It was just the unfortunate way her groom was raised.
William had never in all his life seen a person change as much as Matthias had. The butler had served Matthias’ family for years and practically raised his young master. He watched the bratty child grow into an entitled teenager, and firmly believed he would be just as bad, if not worse, than his parents.
That all changed when Delilah came into the picture. Matthias began to appreciate the small things and cherish the time he spent with other people. Practically over night, William watched him turn into a kind, caring, and humble individual. Delilah brought out the best in Matthias, and if William didn’t know any better, he’d say she was a witch, for only magic could have changed his young master so drastically. 
Unfortunately, William wasn’t the only one who noticed the change. Upon learning of Delilah’s interest in their heir, Matthias’ family was outraged. They forbid the two from seeing each other, and made multiple threats on Delilah’s life. This did little to deter them. William was an active participant in their late night meetings on Matthias’ balcony in a reverse Romeo and Juliet fashion. 
Unlike Romeo and Juliet, this lasted for quite some time. Three years of seeing each other in private. Matthias never showed any interest in any girl but Delilah. This raised suspicion amongst Matthias’ family, until they realized he’d been seeing Delilah all these years.
That’s why they have to do this, and they have to do this tonight. Come tomorrow morning, Matthias will be sent away to live with his cousins on the other side of the country, and Delilah could very well be killed in her sleep. They have to do something to keep the pair from being separated.
William had asked Alexander for help, and now here they stand watching the young couple be married a the stroke of midnight.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife,” The priest says. “You may kiss your bride.”
The look Matthias gives his new wife erases any doubt William might have had about the whole situation. Delilah reaches out to cup his cheek, her face soft, and full of love. The pair lean in and seal their marriage with a kiss. Matthias is holding her within seconds, his arms wrapping around her full waist and hands tracing patterns on her curves. His pale hands stand out against her dark skin, and William thinks it’s the most beautiful contrast in the world.

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