I Do – Prologue

February 14th, 1963

Looking in the mirror, her breathing became heavy and her heart beat increased. But Carolina had never felt happier. She looked at her reflection and grinned. She looked beautiful. For the first time in her life she felt she deserved what was about to happen. Carolina Haines felt like she’d waited years for this day to arrive; though in reality it had only a few months. She had spent the last few months counting down the days, looking at the big red circle on the calendar.

And now the day had finally arrived and Carolina was stood in a small room in the church doing her final preparations before she went and married the guy whom she loved dearly. She had made sure that everything was perfect for the wedding, ensuring that the flowers and decorations had arrived hours before to be set up. She had rang the church a few days before the wedding to make sure that it had definitely been booked and that the catering would be set up in time. She had been reassured that everything was in place and that everything would be as she requested when she arrived on the day.

Carolina was nearly forty and was finally ready to settle down and start a family, something she had wanted for many years but never had the chance to, and she wanted to make sure that everything was perfect for when the day came along. Carolina’s best friend, Shauna, entered the room and asked if she was ready to become Mrs Ronald Haroldson. Carolina assured she was and took a deep breath, trying to shake the nerves away. She knew some people didn’t agree with the marriage, although she was unsure why, they had been together for a while and they loved each other. Ronald was the ideal guy for her and was definitely the best guy she had dated, especially in the last few years. But she and Ronald loved each other and that was all that mattered to her. That she would be spending her life with someone whom she loved and who loved her back unconditionally.

Carolina wished her father could see her, to be there to walk her down the aisle, but he had passed away when she had been very young – she could scarcely remember him, although she held a picture of them together in her wallet from her fifth birthday. It had been taken at the beach and Carolina was stood beside a sandcastle, a large smile plastered on her face whilst her father has his arms wrapped around his waist. Although her mother was alive she was unwell and was unable to attend the wedding, but she had contacted Carolina to wish her luck and to apologise that she did not have enough strength to attend the wedding. Carolina could never be upset at her mother, she had not been well over the past couple of months and Carolina would not make her leave the house unless there was a necessity to. Her mother had given her a vintage butterfly hair clip that she had worn at her wedding and Carolina now wore it in her hair.

Carolina had both her parents in her heart that day, and knew her father would be with her as she took this step in her life. And she had promised her mother that plenty of pictures would be taken. She took one final look in the mirror and smoothed down her dress and took a deep breath. This would be the last time she would see herself as a single woman, after this she would be one half of a whole, a part of puzzle. She would no longer be alone. She smiled and looked over at her best friend. “Let’s do this.” Shauna followed behind Carolina and closed the door behind them.

As Carolina walked slowly down the aisle her heart began to beat a little faster and she could feel herself beginning to sweat through the dress. She tried to take her mind off it, she wasn’t going to allow her nerves to get the better of her. This was the day she had waited for since she was a child, the day she had been planned for as long as she could remember. This was the day in which she was the centre of attention, hearing the gasps and whispers from her friends and family as they looked at her walking down the aisle towards Ronald Haroldson, her true love.

Ronald and Carolina had met three years previously and there was an instant connection between them. It hadn’t taken them long to fall in love and move in together and just after their third anniversary and she hadn’t hesitated in saying yes. She had spent months preparing for the day, ensuring the venue was correct and that flowers and the cake had been ordered. The dress had taken her a while to find but once she had it, she knew it was the dress for her. After a few alterations she was wearing the dress of her dreams and was about to bond herself with the man of her dreams.

Her eyes glanced around the room slowly as she made her way to the front and she noticed how beautiful it had been more. It was more than she imagined, more than she expected. There was a large canopy which was the main attraction which was covered in white and peach roses. White material draped around the room and white and peach covers adorned the chairs. A red runner ran from the door to the altar and was dressed with rose petals. She was approaching the altar when she felt herself becoming weaker and light headed.

Her body started shivering and she had chills but she was still sweating. Her stomach knotted and she struggled to keep herself from being sick, she had only eaten a salad a few hours before the wedding. The lights started to become bright and she could feel herself getting dizzy. She tried to shake the feeling off, putting it down to nerves. She suddenly became weak and had to hold onto a chair for support.

“Baby, are you alright?” She heard the panic in her fiancées voice as rushed to her side and pulled her close to him, holding her as her body shook. In the background the guests panicked and tried to find a telephone to call an ambulance. Her body started to convulse violently and she started to foam at the mouth. She tried to speak but she couldn’t get any words out. Her stomach became tighter and she felt a shooting pain throughout. She was slipping away from the world; she could feel the darkness consuming her. The voices around her became quieter and the images became blurred as she was pulled away from the living.

She didn’t know what was happening to her, didn’t know why this had happened. She had been so careful to not eat anything, to not touch or drink anything that she didn’t know. Her thoughts were jumbled and all she could think was she wouldn’t be able to get married and she would be leaving Ronald on his own. She wished she was able to tell him she was sorry; sorry she would not be becoming his wife. She looked over at him but he was just an outline, a blur.. As her body began to fail her, she heard a silent whisper in her ear as she felt arms wrapped around her tightly.

“I knew I’d get you.” The voice was familiar but cruel. A tone of voice she hadn’t heard before. She could vaguely make out Ronald’s shape if she squinted.

“That money is mine.” Ronald had done this to her, he had taken her life, so he could get

the money from her life insurance. The last thing she saw before she slipped away was his grinning face.

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