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Long ago a girl pledged her heart to a man. He was valiant and good; far too honorable for her she knew. She accepted his offer, not really believing he would follow through. As the years passed he grew more handsome, stronger, greater, and the realization of her shortcomings grew even stronger.

She broke her promise turning to a lover more her equal. He had nothing to offer her but pain, and that is what she believed she had earned through all her failures. So she danced with him unrestrained, and began the decent in attempt to earn his love. She sacrificed the part of her that was good, and compromised her expectations to make him love her. All he ever gave her was rejection.

Her fiancé never gave up hope. Through the years he shadowed her while giving her space to live her life. He protected her many times, but she was never aware of his presence. She was far too distracted chasing acceptance. He watched over her while she slept alone in the unsafe places her lover abandoned her to dance with other women. He kept sending her letters throughout the years. She didn’t read them fearing more rejection. She tucked them away wishing she hadn’t chosen this path.

Then the day came when her lover demanded all of her. He wanted power over her, but she thought it might earn his commitment. Her fiancé stood outside the door telling her he still loved her. She yelled, “Go away. I will never be good enough for you.” He was silent. There was nothing more he could do to convince her of his love, because she would not believe it. She took the silence to mean he had left, and chose to give herself away.

The fiancé waited for her outside the doors of destruction she had locked from the inside. The lover left when he had taken everything she had to give. She had spent all her beauty. She had no will, hope or dignity. Regret crushed her like a blanket, and she cried wishing she could take back the last few moments. She finally fell asleep from emotional exhaustion.

The next morning she woke in the dingy hotel, an instant reminder of her abandonment. In the smoky mirror she saw the reflection of roses with a letter beside them. Her heart flickered with hope. She dragged herself to the dresser to read the note. She recognized the handwriting from her youth. She read, “I love you as much as I did when we first met. I still want you as my wife. All these years have hurt me watching you suffer needlessly. Now that your lover is gone, will you come back to me?”

Tears stung her eyes as love warmed her heart. She put herself together the best she could, and rushed to find the man of her dreams. She unlocked the door shocked to find him waiting outside with a ring. Torn between excitement and shame she cried, “Yes, I want you. I always have, but I know you cannot possibly still want me.” He replied, “Nothing has changed for me. I am still committed to you. I have been faithful to show you my love. All these years I watched over you. I took you home when you were passed out. I covered you when you slept in the cold. I protected you when you stayed alone.”

She could no longer deny his love for her after all he had done to prove it time and time again. She wanted to run away with him and elope to spare him from the embarrassment of taking her as his wife. He insisted on showing the world his love and devotion to her.

The day of the wedding arrived. She dressed herself in an old gown, off white to match her reputation. Nervously she paced still unsure he would not change his mind about her. There was a knock on the door of her dressing room. Her heart sunk. Certain that bad news awaited her on the other side. Reluctantly she opened the door to find the most beautiful wedding gown she had ever seen. It was the brightest white, and covered with diamonds. Would she dare wear it when everyone knew about her past?

There was a note attached. “There is one condition to this marriage. You must put on this beautiful gown I bought you. In doing so you leave everything from your past behind. Today I will give you my name, and with it a new identity. I am redeeming you from your former life. You are mine. You will no longer hold your head in shame. You are my bride. I am enough for you. And you are enough in me.”

She took off her old gown, and put on the new one. She looked in the mirror stunned at her beauty. Showered with love, she went out to show the world her new identity.

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