Chapter 4

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The wedding was a month later, in the beautiful season of Fall. Sheba was extremely busy on the special day. She rushed around, ironing her dress, browning the flour for her face, simmering the cream to make her skin softer, and arranging the bouquet flowers just right. All too soon, it was time to dress.

She slipped into her creamy gown, soft as a petal. The fabric had been a gift from Martha Washington, who was a close friend. Sheba washed her face with the cream, then gently powdered her face with the flour.

After fixing her hair into a braid bun, she stopped and looked in a mirror. She sighed. How she wished her mother could see her now. And her father, he should walk her down the aisle. Then her brother. He would be the best man, and at least dance with her once. A tear slid down her cheek, but Sheba quickly brushed it away.

"Sheba?"

A voice startled her. She turned and saw Larksong peeking through the tent flap.

"It is time," she told Sheba, piecing together the words. "You ok?" She asked.

"Oh, Larksong," she said sadly, "None of my family is with me on my wedding day. Not even my mother can tell me what to do."

Larksong put a hand on her shoulder. "I sorry," she said, "I see it hurt you deeply. Tis a heavy burden. Remember, I be with you all the way." Sheba hugged Larksong, the friend who stood by her, the friend who she used to envy.

"Let us go," said Larksong, taking Sheba by the hand.

"Yes," she replied. The girls walked out. General Washington was waiting for her.

"Are you ready?" he asked.

"I am," she replied. He linked arms with her, and a lone violinist began playing. As she walked, Sheba couldn't stop thinking about her family. Her father would have liked James, and it was he who should be giving her away. But the General was as close to a father as she had. Lafayette, who was more like a brother to her, and some troops stood as the bride walked down the grassy path that served as an aisle. Larksong was dressed in a pale pink dress and was holding a rose. When they reached the end, the General kissed her hand and walked over to seats. Everyone was seated, and the preacher from a nearby town began.

As he drawled on, Sheba was looking at James. They now held hands, and when the preacher finally got to the vows, and they both said I do, they kissed. Everyone cheered, especially when James scooped up his bride and walked her to their tent. The people showered them with flower petals as they passed the couple. Sheba kissed James again, and when they reached the tent, James laid her down on the cot.

"I love you so much, Sheba," he said.

"And I love you," she whispered. She pulled him to her side, and they held each other for a while till they fell asleep.

"WAKE UP LOVE BIRDS!!! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!"

The newly weds nearly jumped through the top of the tent. James fell off, and Sheba fell on him.

"Ollie! You little bilge rat!" Yelled James.

"Can't catch me!" Ollie yelled.

"I could if I wanted to," he yelled back.

"Babe," said Sheba, "Its nearly time for the reception."

James sighed. "Boy," he said, "I wish we could just stay together all day and all night without interruption."

"That will never happen with Ollie around," laughed Sheba.

She kissed him again and fixed her hair. She sweetly brushed James' hair and took her bouquet. When they walked out, they were greeted cheers. Music played sweetly.

Soon, Sheba saw Martha Washington waving at her. Sheba made her way over to her.

"Martha!" She cried, "Its so good to see you." Martha hugged her.

"I missed you too, love."

"I'm surprised to see you here," said Sheba, "You came all the way from Virginia."

"That I did, dear," said Martha, "I couldn't miss your big day. Here," she said, pulling a small package from behind her back, "From George and I." Sheba opened it, and beheld a piece of paper. "It's the deed to twelve acres of my land," she said, "No doubt you will have many children someday." Sheba was speechless with joy.

"Thank you, Martha," she managed to say, "Thank you so much. I wish I could repay you some how..."

"No dear," said Martha, "I'm happy to give it." She hugged her and went over to George.

Sheba hurried over to James. "James!" She cried, thrusting the paper in his hand, "It's a gift from Martha and the General." James read it over, and his eyes grew to the size of saucers.

"This is from the Washingtons?" he whispered.

"Yes," she replied.

"Oh Sheba!" He said, sweeping her off her feet, "We can start a farm and a family!" He was so happy, he twirled her around. At the end of the party, the couple laid on their cot. Sheba couldn't remember a happier day in her life.

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