Inevitably, Una's wedding day dawned deceivingly promising. The sun bright, no cloud in the sky. Her wedding was to begin at sunset, in the privacy of our modest back yard that boasted new Spring growth.
In the last few weeks, with Carey Verona having moved in, I have seen behavior from him that I cannot accept. He is sly, sneaky and unfaithful to my daughter.
He will do no such thing, claiming he loved Una.
I have no doubt that outside the sight of even myself, he may be dabbling with the feelings of other women.
I broached Ursula about the times I had witnessed a touch from Carey to her cheek being to forward, or his proximity to her too close to be brotherly.
"What is going on, Ursula? Are you encouraging his behavior? Do you love him?" I asked her, when the two of us went out one morning to her small garden.
She stood up from her weeding, shoulders back and chin high. "Father, I hate him," she declared. "He seeks me out to tease me and pester me, nothing more. Una shouldn't be marrying him and I've tried to talk to her but she won't hear of it."
I sighed, my chest feeling tight, "I am going to throttle the man."
"He is just a bully, father. Don't do something rash, he's just saying pointless dribble and it's more of an annoyance than anything else."
"What about Una, has he bullied her?"
Ursula seemed to think on this, "On the contrary, Papa, I have seen him be very good to her. I think that is why it is so hard for Una to see him the way we do. Do you think he really loves her as he claims to?"
I shook my head, "I wish I knew - I honestly can't believe he has the capacity to truly love. But I will talk with Una, she must be told what's going on."
"If she were to believe anyone in this house, it'd be you, Papa." Ursula replied, bending back to tend her garden. I noticed her hands trembled a little. Somehow, our conversation had shaken her bravery. This was of concern to me, but I said nothing.
The following day, a week before her wedding, I found Una painting in the family room. She smiled brightly at me when I entered, her hazel eyes glittering with that special light that only brides have.
"Good morning!" she chirped.
" 'Morning, Una." I felt uncommon nervousness, that tightness in my chest returning. I eyed her latest creation, a vase of white calla lilies. They were bright and promising, much like her own hope in her future, no doubt. I hated to bring up the subject that pressed on me. A pain in my chest made me pause, I pressed a hand there as if to staunch the ache.
Una placed her her paints down hastily and hurried over to me, her arm on my shoulder, "Daddy, are you okay?"
"Heartburn, it's just heartburn," I explained, excusing the pain away despite it still burning in my chest. "I need to speak to you," I took a deep breath and made an effort to look like nothing was wrong, though I felt otherwise.
"What is it?" she looked genuinely concerned, her eyes, so like mine, dimming a little with concern.
I took her hand from my shoulder and led her over to the nearby sofa. We sat down but I kept hold of her hand. Her engagement ring, though a little plain, glittered mutedly.
"I must be honest with you, Una. My words may scare you. First, my time is short. I fear I won't be here much longer. This change in the air is heralding my end."
Una's brows furrowed, "Daddy, what are you talking about?"
She didn't sense the change, or maybe I was loosing my wits a bit.
"Una, you can't marry Carey. I can see he won't make you as happy as you deserve to be. He has been making advances on your sister, something she hasn't been encouraging. He has made it clear to me that he has no interest in being faithful to you -"
Una interrupted me, she pulled her hand away from mine. "You can't talk like that, you can't say your 'time is short' and that you're not going to be here much longer. You're fine. And Carey loves me, if you could see the way he looks at me, how gently he holds me, you'd know it. You're just sad because I'm growing up and may not live here much longer."
"What?" I felt like my heart stopped.
"We're talking of getting a place of our own after the wedding. We want to start our own family."
"Give children time, Una. Don't rush into motherhood before you get a chance to settle in to married life." I warned her.
"Please don't preach to me Daddy, you made worse mistakes." she snapped.
That smarted, and I thought of what to say. "I've made my mistakes, yes, Una. I moved in with your mother after finding she was pregnant with you and that turned out to be a major fault. I played around too much in my younger days. But my mistakes aren't the point, Una. I want you to not make one now. Don't marry him, please, don't marry him." I begged.
She must have heard the desperation in my voice because she took my hand, kissed my cheek. "I'm sorry. You and Delia and Ursula are both telling me what to do, I feel like I've lost control of my life. I want to marry him, Daddy. If he's a mistake then I'm willing to take the risk. I love him."
I could see the determination in the set of her shoulders, the glint in her eyes. She would not be moved. And with everyone telling her to not marry him, it had probably pushed her to be more certain of her choice.
I could not tell her she was wrong. She had made the decision long ago.
Now her wedding day has come, the guests have arrived and the merrymaking begun. Just after sunset, the vows were exchanged, the rings placed on waiting fingers. The deed was done.
This, I know, is my last entry.