As a little girl, Ruby had dreamed about her wedding day.
In the midst of the ugliness and fear that had filled her world, she would imagine that someday everything would change. She’d pictured it happening the same way it had for Cinderella—the white horse and carriage, the prince, the castle so lovely and enchanted and the entire town celebrating.
What she saw in front of her was even more beautiful than a fairy tale like that. Because it was real. From her place on the top tier of the ranch’s back patio, she gazed out on the powdered mountain peaks glowing in the soft pink light of the setting sun. She saw the evergreens—their branches laden with last night’s snowfall—sheltering the perimeter of the beautiful stone patio below, where all of her favorite people in the world had gathered near the wooden arch Sawyer had built himself.
Tiki torches lined the edges, adding to the glow of warmth and happiness, despite forty-degree temperatures. They’d known it would be cold, so they’d decided to keep the ceremony short, but she could stand up here for hours, watching their few bundled guests mingle in hushed excitement—Sawyer’s parents; Elsie and Thomas, who had agreed to marry them; a couple of the ranch hands and guides; a whole crew of Sawyer’s colleagues, dressed in their starched uniforms.
The harpist they’d hired started to play, delicate notes floating on the calm mountain breeze. As if on cue, the door to the pool house north of the patio opened and Sawyer emerged, looking so tall and strong, so handsome in a crisp white shirt and pressed khakis. The groomsmen followed him—Bryce and Ben and Isaac—all of them tugging on their bow ties as though they were being strangled.
Ruby couldn’t help but laugh. At least she hadn’t made them wear tuxes. They probably would’ve staged a revolt.
“Ready?” Paige asked, bouncing up and down like she couldn’t wait anymore.
Ruby reached over and grabbed Brookie’s hand. They were going to walk down the aisle together, but they had to go last.
“After you.” Ruby stepped aside so Paige and Avery and Julia could start the parade. They moved down the center of the crowd in a slow processional, even Paige, which was a miracle given how fast that woman usually liked to go.
“Mom?” Brookie tugged on the skirt of her dress.
She leaned down. “What is it, sweet girl?”
“I’m so nervous,” her daughter whispered. “There’s a lot of people down there.”
She knelt. “Don’t focus on the people, honey.” She smoothed Brookie’s lovely hair. “This is about you and Dad and me. That’s all. Focus on the three of us. On our family.”
Sara lives and plays in Colorado with her saint of a husband and two young sons.
the book that started Ruby and Sawyer’s Love Story