Covetous Spirit Chapter One
Shelly stood at the front door of the church, looked around, and thanked the Lord for blessing them with such a beautiful day for a wedding. Even though it was mid-July, the humidity was low, and the temperature was in the low eighties. The beautiful Carolina blue sky was filled with tiny, fluffy white clouds resembling cotton balls. She couldn?t have arranged for a more perfect day; God had truly blessed. Thank you, Jesus, for sending us such perfect weather. I ask, if it be possible, that You help the rest of the day to go as beautifully as the weather. There were still many things to be completed before the big event, so Shelly roused herself and took off for the church?s bridal room where the rest of the ladies were changing. When she opened the door, she had to smile at the contrast to the scene she had just left. Outside the church, everything was peaceful and lovely; inside the bridal room, everything was in a state of total chaos?clothes were strewn everywhere, ladies and the flower girl were running around trying to find their dresses, shoes, flowers, makeup, etc. ?Shell, get in here and get going! Girl, where have you been? Here I am a nervous wreck, waiting on you to help me, and you pick today to be late! You?re never late!? Nicole demanded as she tugged Shelly over to her personal chaos in one of the corners. ?Oh, Nicole, take a chill pill. I?m only ten minutes late. Tim sent me on a special errand, and it took longer than I expected. But no worries, I?m here now, so let?s get this show going.? ?Tim? You saw Tim? Is he here? How does he look? Is he ready for the guys? pictures?? ?Nicole! Settle down and breathe. Yes, he?s here, and I must say he looks quite handsome in his tux. And yes, the guys are already getting their pictures taken. Now we have forty-five minutes to make you so beautiful that Tim will have a heart attack when he sees you. No more chattering, let?s get to work.? The forty-five minutes flew by as Shelly helped Nicole arrange her hair, veil, and makeup. The finishing touch was to put her dress and shoes on. After they finished, Nicole?s father came in to have some pictures taken with the bride. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer?s disease a few months back, and it had advanced to the point that he was beginning to forget his family members, but when he stepped into the room and saw Nicole in her wedding dress, he stopped and said with tears streaming down his face, ?Look at my baby! Nicole, you look so beautiful and just like your mama on our wedding day. I sure do wish she could see you!? And when he raised her veil and kissed her on the cheek, Shelly looked around and noticed that there wasn?t a dry eye in the room. I?m so glad he?s having one of his good days today! I hope he can stay in this frame of mind until the ceremony ends. Nicole would be so relieved. The wedding director came in and told them that it was time to head upstairs. Shelly helped Nicole and her father up the steps to the front of the church. Once they were in place, Shelly once again sent a quick prayer to heaven asking for everything to go well. Then it was her turn to walk down the aisle. She was impressed with how beautifully the church was decorated. The ladies in Nicole?s Sunday school class had volunteered to decorate for her, and they had done a marvelous job. There were blue, pink, yellow, and purple flower arrangements everywhere to match the bridesmaid?s pastel dresses. At the front of the church stood a very nervous Tim with the pastor, and beside him stood Curly. She had to smile when he winked at her. They had been dating ever since returning from West Virginia four months earlier, but because each of them had such hectic schedules, many of their dates had fallen through. While Nicole and Tim had flown through their courtship, she and Curly planned on taking a much slower approach to their relationship. Shelly found her marked spot and turned to watch Tucker bursting with pride in his tuxedo and ring pillow walk her best friend down the aisle to her future husband. She had to smile at the huge grin on Nicole?s face, and Nicole?s eyes never once left Tim?s face, even though she had to walk slowly to accommodate her father?s shuffle. Mr. Sheldon proudly escorted his daughter to the front, and even remembered his line as he gave his daughter to Tim. After he returned to his seat at the front, Shelly breathed a huge sigh of relief. She and Nicole had spent many nights discussing whether or not he would be capable of giving Nicole away, but Nicole had decided that even if he had a bad day, her dad would have been devastated to be left out. Shelly was thankful that he had remained coherent and capable of doing his part to make Nicole?s day special. As the ceremony progressed, Shelly found herself looking at Curly, who looked so handsome in his black suit. She started daydreaming that it was their wedding and not Nicole?s until one of the other bridesmaids had to nudge her to remind her to give Nicole Tim?s ring. The ceremony and pictures were finally over, and it was time for the reception. Since Nicole didn?t make a huge income as a second grade Christian school teacher, several of the parents of her students had volunteered to make the food for her. It turned out better than if she had hired a catering company. It was finally time for Nicole to throw the bouquet and Tim to throw the garter. Shelly helped round up all of the single men and had to laugh as Curly dove in front of everyone to catch it. When the time came for the bouquet to be thrown, Shelly was distracted by a crying baby, but after bouncing off several different ladies? hands, the bouquet landed right at her feet!
While she and Curly were having their picture taken, she blushed when Curly whispered in her ear, ?I think God is showing us something, Shell!? The limo arrived, but before she could let them leave on their honeymoon, Shelly had one final job to do. She grabbed the microphone and asked for everyone?s attention. Once everyone was quiet, she said, ?Nicole, earlier you fussed at me for being ten minutes late, and I told you that I was late because Tim sent me on a special errand. Well, I need to apologize to both of you because I was really running an errand for you and Tim. You see, we knew that you had planned a simple three-day honeymoon in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, because we all know you are saving up to buy a house. However, Tim?s dad thought, and I agreed, that we wanted to send you on a sevenday cruise to the Caribbean and Mexico! Tim, your father generously paid for the entire cruise, and for all of the other expenses, your friends and coworkers generously chipped in as our wedding gift to you two. I was late because I was getting your summer clothes.? Shelly had to stop because Nicole started shrieking and crying. Nicole then hugged Shelly and Curly and thanked everyone for being such good friends. ?Nicole, you need to hurry. You and Tim go change into some comfortable clothes, and your limo will be waiting at the front. The limo driver is going to stop by both of your places so you can pick up your passports. Hurry so you don?t miss your plane!? After the newlyweds had changed and run through the bird seed, Shelly ran up as they were getting into the limo and gave Nicole one last long hug. ?Go and have a wonderful time! No one deserves it more than you two.? As Shelly and Curly watched the limo pull out with the newlyweds, they had no idea what they had just gotten their friends into.