Chapter Sixty One

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Phoenix decided standing at the mounting block wasn't in his best interest.
I could just make out Me And You playing and knew I was running out of time.
The guests were waiting.
Blayze was waiting!
Uncle Lukas swung down from Rowan's back and dropped the reins to ground tie Blayze's Horse.
"I'll give ya a leg up."
He told me, striding towards Phoenix and I.
A leg up wasn't the end of the world.
At least we were out of sight of the guests and I wouldn't have anybody other than Grandpa, Uncle Lukas, the Horses and the Dog's as witnesses to my being unable to make my own Horse stand still at a mounting block!
I grabbed my reins, placed my hands on Phoenix's withers and lifted and bent my left leg.
Uncle Lukas placed his hands under the sole of my new, bright white boot.
He asked me.
I nodded vigorously.
My Uncle lifted me effortlessly!
I threw my right leg over Phoenix's back and rump and settled onto his back while giving his neck a pat.
Was I asking for trouble by choosing to ride to the altar bareback?
But I just knew my saddle wouldn't look right.
Uncle Lukas gave Phoenix a pat and in a low voice warned my Horse to behave himself, then he strode to Rowan who was staring towards the action in The River Paddock with pricked ear's, but remained standing perfectly.
I looked to my left where Grandpa was sitting astride Jackaroo.
"Bit high up there, Grandpa?"
I asked.
The Horses he normally rode these days are about 15 or 15.2 hands high!
Jackaroo was an easy 16.2 hands and built like a brick shithouse!
Grandpa sent me a wink.
"So long as he doesn't throw me, I'll give him an apple at the end of the day!"
I couldn't help but laugh!
"We good?"
Uncle Lukas asked.
"All good!"
Grandpa agreed.
I sucked in a deep breath and Phoenix suddenly stood taller and stared towards our destination with pricked ear's.
"Let's do this."
I nodded.
Uncle Lukas gestured me ahead.
Our idea was to have Phoenix walk just half a Horse length in front of Jackaroo and Rowan, to make sure I wasn't hidden from the guests' view as we made our way down the aisle.
"Zuke, Azlan, Zeus! Move out!"
I commanded the waiting Dog's.
I'd not had the time I'd wanted to train Azlan and Zeus for the walk, because they'd been working with Blayze so much.
So I'd clipped two foot long chains either side of Zuke's collar and attached their other ends to Azlan and Zeus.
Because Azlan and Zeus were long ago trained to trail slightly behind when on a lead, in the few brief practices I'd managed to have with all 3 Dog's, Blayze's Dog's both obediently trailed basically at Zuke's flanks while they all walked.
Zuke had a little pouch tied around his neck, which held both Blayze and I's ring's in their box's.
I'd kept it a surprise from everybody that the Dog's, but namely Zuke would act as our Ringbearer.
"You sure this is gonna work?"
Uncle Lukas asked dubiously, watching the Dog's speed walk towards the noise we could all hear.
"Zuke nailed it in our practices."
I replied, adjusting my reins.
"And Azlan and Zeus know to follow him coz they're on lead."
"Let's go."
Grandpa urged.
"C'mon Phoenix."
I encouraged my Horse.
With pricked ear's, my Horse moved after the Dog's at a reaching walk.
As planned, Grandpa and Uncle Lukas reined Jackaroo and Rowan in to walk either side of Phoenix and in line with his rump.


While there was some comfort in having the Pastor, Jax, Kylie, Bridey, Heath, Yvette, Keegan, Hayley, Codie, Noah, Joel and Kristen on the altar with me, it was still highly nerve wracking waiting for Bailey to arrive.
The Flower Girl's arrived and took their place on the Maid Of Honour and Bridesmaids' side of the altar.
And there wasn't any more movement coming down the aisle!
My gut clenched uncomfortably tight.
The guests began to talk among themselves and most of them turned to get a look at the start of the aisle.
"The Dog's are coming!"
I heard somebody shout.
My heart began to pound inside my chest.
The Dog's?
I knew we were going to be having them in some photos later, but why would they be coming down the aisle?
Was something wrong?
"Zuke's carrying something!"
Somebody shouted.
I was more than ready to jump off the makeshift altar and make my way back up the aisle.
Jax clamped a restraining hand on my shoulder.
"Wait a sec."
He muttered.
The Dog's were in my sight now.
Zuke led the way, looking proud as punch as he scanned the crowd, mouth open in a huge Doggy grin.
And there was something light blue dangling in front of his white splashed chest.
What the hell was going-?
A flash of gold and white from the end of the crowd lined makeshift aisle snapped my attention off the Dog's.
Phoenix, golden head high and practically prancing in his steps, made his way down, flanked at the rump by Jackaroo and Rowan.
I felt a deeply relieved breath whoosh from my lungs and my shoulders noticeably relax.
While I knew without a doubt that Bailey was going to look breathtakingly beautiful, I couldn't wait for her to get closer so I could actually see the style of dress she'd chosen.
That was another thing she'd refused to let me see ahead of time.
Me And You was supposed to have been finished by now, but as professional musicians were trained to do, Jax's band had kept the beat's flowing and Knox sang his way through a few more of the verses while Bailey, Isaiah and Lukas made their way down the aisle a little behind schedule from how our rehearsal's had gone.
The Dog's half walked, half jogged to the edge of the altar the Guy's, Girl's, Flowergirl's and I were standing on.
It was clear to see now, that Zuke had some kind of a pouch strung around d his neck.
And Azlan and Zeus were attached to either side of him by small chains.
Zuke, his huge grin still on display and his tail wagging, gathered himself and launched to get up onto the altar.
His front paws hit the wood, but before he could get any higher or get his back feet up, he was flipped backwards!
Azlan and Zeus not following his lead had led to the chains reaching their limit and pulling Zuke back.
I distinctly heard Codie try to smother his laughter and most likely Hayley and/or Yvette make a whimpering sound of sympathy.
Several members of the onlooking crowd echoed the sympathy coo's, while a good handful laughed!
Zeus dropped his head to kick at Zuke's face and then the clearly embarrassed looking Dog sheepishly scrambled to his paws.
Phoenix, head still high and ear's still pricked, came to a halt about six feet behind the Dog's.
"Jax? Could you unclip the chains please?"
Bailey asked while giving Phoenix's neck a pat.
My Cousin agreed, breaking rank from our line.
Why the hell didn't she ask me?
Lukas and Isaiah climbed down from Rowan and Jackaroo's back's and Lukas handed Row's reins to Isaiah before going to Phoenix's near side and offering Bailey his hands.
Phoenix pranced on his toes, trying to turn his head around to get a look at the crowd that was now mostly behind him.
Bailey gave her Horse a pat, then slipped her hand's into her Uncle's awaiting ones and Lukas helped her down from Phoenix's back.
When she hit the ground, facing me, I felt like a bolt of lightning struck me straight in the chest.
It was like...
Like I'd been thrown into some kind of vortex where only Bailey and I existed.
There wasn't a doubt in my mind that I would be seeing this picture of her in my head for the rest of my fucking life.
Beautiful didn't cut it.
Neither did breathtaking.
An Angel sent from heaven itself came close.
Her big blue eyes were as bright as a summer sky and today they were absolutely popping.
Her lips...
I wanted to grab her right now and kiss them until they were swollen.
And her dress...
If her mission was to kill me, then I was pretty confident she was about to accomplish it!
It had laced shoulder sleeves that went to about half way down her upper arms and a neckline that swooped into a v on her chest.
I know fuck all about Women's clothing, but could see that the white fabric hugged her trim frame and had an overlap just under the left hip, where there was a split that ran from the top of her thigh, right down to the ground, exposing her entire left leg and the white boots she was wearing!
Before I could even blink, somebody had moved in to lead Jackaroo, Rowan and Phoenix out of the limelight and Isaiah and Lukas held each of Bailey's elbows and helped her step up onto the altar.

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