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"Dearly beloved," began Reverend Brenner, "we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony; which is an honorable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocence, signifying unto us the mystical union that is between Christ and His Church."

As the words were spoken, Charlie could feel her knees buckle a little beneath her. Taking a few deep breaths, she tried to calm down. When this didn't help, Charlie slowly realized that the weakness wasn't due to overexcitement.

"Marriage," continued the Reverend, "was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one should have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore, if any many can show any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace."

No one expected someone to speak up, so when someone did, a gasp of surprise shuddered through the congregation!

A man at the back of the church suddenly screamed something at the top of lungs, and was promptly tackled to the ground by three police officers. Apparently, the individual had broken through the security outside, which consisted of several police officers, for this was a high profile wedding. Kevin had been designated as one of Adam's groomsmen, just so he could remain near enough to his client to protect her. Ever vigilant, he maintained a careful watch on Charlie as the doors were once again closed and secured.

Reverend Brenner cleared his throat and resumed where he had left off before being interrupted.

"I require and charge you both," he said, addressing the couple standing before him, "as you will answer at the dreadful day of judgment when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment, why you may not be lawfully joined together in matrimony, you do now confess it."

Charlie hoped she didn't look as badly as she was feeling. Her throat felt scratchy, and in desperate need of a few good coughs. The only thing that sustained her were the loving gazes from Adam, and the pressure of his hand on hers.

"Adam," asked the Reverend, "will you have this woman to be your wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep yourself only for her, so long as you both shall live?"

Charlie felt herself wilt a little, but quickly gathered her strength again. Adam noticed this and his face became alarmed.

"Are you all right?" he whispered under his breath.

"Will you have this woman to be your wedded wife?" repeated Reverend Brenner, not seeing what had happened, for his eyes had been on the small book he had been reading from.

A murmur went through the congregation, for it looked as if Adam were having second thoughts.

"I'm all right," whispered Charlie. "Answer the question."

"I will," replied Adam, sensing for the first time that Charlie was feeling more unwell than he had been told by Shirley.

"Charlotte," continued the Reverend, "will you have this man to be your wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you obey him, and serve him, love, honor, and keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep yourself only for him, so long as you both shall live?"

"I will," answered Charlie, gripping Adam's hand tightly.

"Take her right hand and repeat after me," instructed Reverend Brenner.

"I Adam," repeated the groom, "take you Charlotte for my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance."

Adam slipped a delicate gold band onto Charlie's finger, fitting it beside the sparkling engagement ring that adorned her ring finger.
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