All he ever dreamed of was to have a family of his own, and he saw the possibility when she came along. He grew happier and happier the closer they got to their wedding day.
However, he had never expected to feel what he felt once he met her sister. As he looked at her in her bridesmaid dress, he was reminded of how special she was to him, and he knew he had to do the right thing.
Malcolm met Denise at a charity event in Houston, Texas. She’d been among the organizing committee, and he was one of the guests.
Needing to catch a breath from the hassle and bustle of the event, Malcolm stepped away from the main hall. He had no idea what was waiting for him.
A few steps from the event and Malcolm bumped into a beautiful lady. Her doe eyes were hazel in color, and her cheekbones were high.
She had a slim build, with the most captivating stare Malcolm had ever seen. But if her stare made him stop in his tracks, her smile made him step back.
“Her smile made my heart jump,” Malcolm shared with a sly smile, recalling the moment. He knew then that the woman before him, whoever she was, had snared his mind, body, and soul.
“I have never believed in fated ones before, but as random as it was, that meeting worked well to turn my views on the matter. I knew I had to see her again.”
Malcolm asked Denise for her number; before the two knew it, they were going on their first date. But the journey there would be a challenging one for Malcolm.
Even on the date, he realized that the woman sitting across the table from him seemed to be in distress. He couldn’t help but ask if she was all right.
Malcolm asked Denise if she was okay, noting she seemed lost in her head. He also confessed that he felt like she was trying to turn him down when he invited her out.
She kept quiet for a few minutes, making Malcolm fear he’d pushed too far. He was about to speak when she pushed her seat out and stood.
“I want to show you something,” Denise said. She really liked the man before her. He was sweet and considerate, funny and hardworking. And she couldn’t deny that he wasn’t bad on the eye either.
But how often had she liked a person, going out on dates, before they met her sister Mara and everything crumbled down? She wouldn’t repeat her mistakes this time round.
“What about our reservation?” Malcolm asked, alarmed that Denise wanted them to leave. But despite the worry on his face, he quickly came over to her side, pulling her coat up her shoulders and walking her to the reception, where they canceled their dinner and walked out.
Denise called a cab, which took them straight to her home. But instead of letting Malcolm in, she stopped at the large house and stared at it.
“What are we doing here?” Malcolm asked, unsure of what was happening. He could see that Denise was trying to form words to relay what was happening.
He reached for her hand and said, “Whatever it is, I won’t leave. I promise you.” Denise turned to him with glossy eyes. What she did next left him stumped.
Denise hugged Malcolm tightly, catching him off guard. But he wrapped his arms around her and held on until her ragged breaths settled into gentle sobs.
“What is it?” he asked when Denise was comfortable enough to speak. She didn’t talk at first, still sobbing as the night went on. But after a few minutes, she finally spoke.
“It’s my sister,” Denise whispered. “She’s sick, has been sick for a few weeks now, and I don’t know what to do.” “Is she inside?” Malcolm asked.
Was this the reason Denise seemed distant before? Was she unsure of how he would react? Taking her hand, Malcolm repeated what he’d said earlier, “I won’t leave you.”
Denise smiled at his words. “I know we don’t know each other,” Malcolm continued. “But do you mind if I meet her?”
Denise looked at him for a few minutes. Was he serious? He was shocking her with his responses. But if anything were to happen between them, he would have to meet Mara first. She was her everything. “I don’t mind,” she said.
Malcolm followed Denise into her house, finding that, true to her word, her little sister Mara was sick and in bed. He learned that she’d fallen under the weather as summer ended and never really bounced back.
She was asleep when Denise brought him to see her, so he didn’t interact with her that night. But their relationship would blossom into something he never thought possible.
Denise seemed a little at ease after letting Malcolm meet Mara. She apologized for ruining the night and asked how he felt about making some snacks at home and watching a movie in the living room.
Malcolm agreed even before the words were out of Denise’s mouth. He had always been a homebody, choosing to stay inside instead of going out.
The pair would have a splendid night, watching all the great Westerns, which were Denise’s favorites. They also watched a few of Malcolm’s favorite romcoms.
The spark that had been there when they first met came crashing through the door as a roaring fire. Malcolm knew he’d found the love of his life. He had no idea what he was stepping into.
By morning, Malcolm had decided he wanted Denise to be his. The night had shown him just how much they had in common.
She was an extraordinary woman. She was not only intelligent and witty but beautiful. She also had the best inside jokes about movies and sports. Well, that was until Malcolm finally talked to Mara, her sister.
With Mara, Malcolm couldn’t hold a straight face in conversations. If Denise was funny, Mara deserved a comedy special in one of those extensive streaming services.
Their time together was just as magical as Malcolm’s time with Denise. As the morning came to an end and Denise walked Malcolm out, he knew he’d found his place on this earth.
Denise saw how Malcolm interacted with her sister. She loved that he didn’t act differently because of her medical condition. He didn’t make the situation weird or awkward.
The days turned into weeks, the weeks morphing into months. Even though Malcolm was dating Denise, he couldn’t deny his strong bond with Mara. His relationship with the sisters would follow him to the altar.
Denise and Mara had been inseparable since they were kids. Although they were two years apart in age, everyone could agree that they looked like twins.
Mara had down syndrome, a condition Malcolm didn’t pick up on until days after meeting. Mara was the happiest and most engaging person Malcolm knew despite her illness. Would he cut their bond because of it?
Malcolm’s relationship with Mara was similar to his relationship with Denise on many fundamental levels. Yet it differed in one. He was not romantically involved with Mara.
For Malcolm, a person who grew up a single child with little to no friends, Mara was the perfect sister and best friend. As he went out to buy a ring for Denise, he knew he couldn’t leave his best friend out of the picture.
Malcolm bought the best rings in the jewelry store and asked the sisters to have a candle-lit dinner in their favorite restaurant. Seemingly unaware of what was happening, the sisters agreed to his request, and they all had a wonderful evening.
After their meal, Malcolm invited the sisters to a special place in the city’s park overlooking a lake. He got on his knees and proposed to Denise. As soon as she said yes, he did the unthinkable.
Malcolm proposed to Mara, asking her if she would be his best friend and sister for life. “I can’t begin to imagine a life without you in it,” he confessed.
“You are a kind and beautiful soul, and you bring joy to our lives. Mara O’Conner, will you make me the happiest man by being my best friend and sister forever?”
Mara’s eyes gleamed with tears. Behind her, Denise’s lips parted. The sisters looked at each other before settling on Malcolm. Did they think this was a joke? It was undoubtedly unheard of.
Malcolm stayed on his knee as they shared looks again. Mara’s hand was trembling in his. Her cheeks, like Denise’s, were awash in tears. But would she say yes?
“Yes,” Mara whispered, seemingly unsure at first. Then her lips curved into a beautiful smile, and she yelled her answer. Denise hugged her tight before Malcolm could slip the ring on, and they all embraced against the beautiful lake vista.
The days after that blurred into one, and before the trio knew it, their wedding was around the corner. Would Malcolm break up the engagements before everything got out of control?
As the wedding day loomed closer, Malcolm never felt like he’d done the wrong thing. He’d seen the photos of the sisters when they were young, seeing how inseparable they were.
Denise and Mara did everything together. From birthdays, fairs, and Halloween to first days at school. Who was Malcolm to break that beautiful bond?
A day before the wedding, Malcolm drove down to the parish alone. He still had one more thing he needed to do before the big day.
He spent the afternoon with the priest, and soon after, he was standing on the altar looking at Denise as she walked down the aisle. But something else happened.
After Denise joined him on the altar, the wedding song began playing again. Mara appeared at the door with her dad beside her.
She had the brightest smile on her face, a smile that would get brighter as the day continued. Malcolm and Denise received her, and the next part of this lovely ceremony commenced.
The priest gave a short sermon and soon after called the loved ones to exchange their vows. But instead of taking Denise’s hand, Malcolm reached out for Mara’s.
The congregation melted as he said his vows to her, promising to take care of her, always listen to her jokes, and go fishing. Mara did the same, and the congregation cheered as the priest declared them best friends. But it only got better.
After Malcolm and Denise shared their sweet vows and were officially married, Malcolm took Mara on the first dance. He’d grown up alone with no sibling to make him feel whole.
Now he had the sweetest sister and best friend blissfully dancing with him. He looked at Denise, who was in tears at the head table. She nodded at him, and he knew he’d made her more than happy that day.
The wedding day came to a beautiful close. Malcolm and Denise went on their honeymoon and soon returned home. Of course, they live a stone’s throw away from Mara’s place.
Whenever the young couple can, they go to Mara’s to keep her company. Mara also visits often, and the three are nigh impossible to separate. Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.