Chapter Twenty Six: Dresses

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"Happy birthday," Tom whispers into the phone.

"Please don't remind me. Do you realize in exactly one year, I'll be thirty? I'm getting old."

"Darling, you are not old. If being thirty is old, then you're engaged to an old man."

"You're not old."

"But I'm older than you, and if you're old, then I'm old. Do you see the flaw in your logic?"

"Yes, but I chose to ignore it."

"You're so difficult."

"I try."

"So, what are you doing to celebrate?"

"Do you really want to know?" The excitement rises in your voice.

"Well, you sound extremely enthusiastic about whatever it is, so yes, I do."

"We're going wedding dress shopping!"

"Darling, that's fantastic! When will I get to see the dress you pick?" You hear the playfulness in his voice.

"When I'm walking down the aisle," you laugh.

"Well I hope you have fun. I'm sure you'll look beautiful in everything."

"I love it when you're charming."

"I'm always charming."

"I know."

---

"You look gorgeous!"

"It's beautiful."

"How do you feel in it though? Do you like it?"

"Yeah, it's beautiful. I really like it," you say, looking at yourself in the mirror.

"That's not the response we were hoping for," your mom states, all enthusiasm about the dress is now gone.

"Why? I really like it."

"We're not looking for a dress you "really like", we're looking for a dress you love. You have to feel beautiful. When you step into the dress you need to feel like it's the dress that you want Tom to see you in when you first walk down the aisle. When you see yourself in this dress, do you feel like that?"

You're quiet for a moment while you let this sink in. You slowly shake your head.

"Then we keep looking," Monica states.

"It's just..." you trail off.

"What?" Sarah questions, looking slightly concerned.

"It's just you always hear about women knowing when they've found their dress. They see themselves in the mirror and they break down into tears because they feel like they're the most beautiful person in the world, and they know it's their dress. I'm afraid that it's not going to happen like that for me. What if I never get that feeling?"

"You will," Monica assures you. "I felt the same way until I found my dress. I was convinced that I wouldn't feel that way, but as soon as I stepped into it, I knew it was the one. You'll know it, too."

You nod, but you're still not convinced. You move back into the dressing room with the bridal consultant and slip off the white gown. You put on the silk robe you've been given and make your way out to look for another gown.

"I like this one." Sarah holds up a strapless mermaid gown.

"I don't like it. I don't know what it is, but I don't see myself walking down the aisle in that."

"Okay. Keep looking."

You, your mom, and your three sisters move around the bridal shop searching for your gown.

"Oh my," you breath. "Can I try this one on?"

The attendant nods and takes it off of the rack. You return to the fitting room where you step into the beautiful gown.

"Oh," you gasp, looking in the mirror. "I love it. I absolutely love it."

You stare in the mirror at the gown caressing your body. It's simple and elegant. A layer of lace covers the dress, yet it's not overbearing. It gently hugs your upper body, then moves down and gracefully fans out around your waist and lower half. You step out of the dressing room and glide to where your family sits and waits for you.

"Billie," your mom breaths. "You look wonderful. How do you feel?"

A tear slips down your cheek. "I love it. This is it. I know it."

---

"How was your shopping trip?"

"I found it. It's beautiful, Tom. It's absolutely beautiful. I wish we were getting married tomorrow so you could see me in it."

"I bet you look absolutely stunning."

"You say that about everything I wear."

"This is different. It's not just any dress, it's a wedding dress. I'll probably only get to see you in one."

"I hope I never need to wear another one."

"Trust me when I tell you that I will do everything in my power to make sure that you'll only have to wear one."

"I do trust you. Do you trust me?"

"Of course."

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