"You did what?" Mandy spun around and speared her roommate with a furious glare.
"I'm sorry. Really I am!" Karla pleaded her case as the tears began to well up in her eyes. "You've been using that chipped, worn out old teacup to hold your rings for ages. Never once did I think about it having sentimental value. I thought I was doing something nice for you, getting you this silver box for your rings and donating the cup. Please, forgive me!"
Seeing the devastation in Karla's eyes, Mandy's anger began to subside. "I appreciate the silver box, Karla, but that cup was a priceless heirloom . . . well, priceless to me, anyway." She then turned, made her way out of her bedroom and headed down the hall toward the front door.
"Where are you going?"
"The rummage sale doesn't start for another hour. I am hoping I can explain what happened and they will let me look for it."
Ten minutes later, Mandy made her way up the sidewalk toward the church's gymnasium. She stepped onto the porch at the same time as their song director, Landon.
"Good morning, Mandy."
"I was watching you come up the walk. You appear to be a woman on a mission."
"I guess you could say that." Mandy told Landon what had happened with her treasured cup. "Do you think there is any way I could look for it before the sale begins?"
"Sure, come on in. I will even help you look." He offered a tender smile and began unlocking the gym door.
Knee deep in rummage sale goodies, they looked as though they were searching for buried treasure. They worked quietly and swiftly, but every now and then, Mandy would catch Landon sneaking a peak her way.
Landon was about her age, single and a very good Christian man. He was also extremely good looking which had all the single ladies in church swooning. Mandy had been guilty of being caught up in the daydreams that such a wonderful man could induce, herself. Now, having him watching her caused her to go all light-headed and jelly-legged.
"So, what's so special about this teacup?" Landon asked as he began going through a box of dinnerware.
"It was my great-great-great grandmother's. My grandfather had bought her the whole service when they were married. The cup is all that is left of it. She was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian and married my grandfather to escape the Trail of Tears. Even though it started as a marriage of convenience, they quickly fell in love and had a wonderful life together."
"Wow, what an amazing story. I would actually love to hear more of it."
Mandy realized Landon had stopped working and stood looking at her. Slowly she raised her head to face him. When their eyes met, Mandy felt as though a million fireworks were going off inside of her. Never in her life had she had a man make her feel that way with just a look.
Landon's face began to flush and he gave her a nervous smile and went back to his search for her teacup. Mandy, thankfully, was able to compose herself and did the same. A few minutes later, Landon called out from across the room.
"Is this it?" He asked, holding up the delicate piece.
"My cup!" Mandy exclaimed, as she raced to his side. "Thank you for finding it. How can I ever repay you?"
"I'll tell you what. How about you let me buy you dinner and we'll call it even." He said with a wink and sweet smile.
Flashbulbs lit up the room as the newly married couple stood behind the simple yet elegant wedding cake. Laughter filled the air as they each threatened the other with a bite of the sweet confection. Cake now eaten, the couple reached for their champagne glasses for the customary arms-entwined sip. Just as the glass reaches their lips, a voice cries out.
"Wait!" Karla rushed to Mandy and Landon's side. "Use this instead." She said as she placed the weathered teacup the bride's hand.
Tears filled Mandy's eyes as she turned to look at her husband. Landon smiled and placed a kiss on his wife's cheek. Karla then filled the cup with punch and rejoined the crowd. Tears and cheers flowed as they watched the happy couple each take a sip.