This story is by Izzy Richards and was part of our 2018 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“Last two weeks before the big day!” My future Mother-in-Law was in her happy-hour mood. She playfully shook the glasses and the champagne bottles while coming out the restaurant kitchen doors. She was always in the mood to celebrate. I normally turned down her happy-hour offers but today a glass of champagne before the lunchtime was very much needed.
We both squinted our eyes and made ourselves ready for the pop. But the champagne cork shot out with an unexpected loud bang, it made us startle like two scared rabbits.
“WOW! That was a loud one,” said Elizabeth and we both broke out laughing.
The first glass disappeared in one go. Elizabeth winked and filled up the empty glasses.
My phone buzzed.
“Scarlett…,” she rolled her eyes but gestured to go ahead. I absolutely loved her southern accent. It was fake just like her breasts, butt, nose, cheeks, hair, nails, lashes and her gorgeous figure at sixty-five. She was originally from Seattle, but she reinvented herself in the sixty’s and married the Big Bob Bolton. She once said that “There is not a sexier thing on the face of this earth than a confident woman with a fine southern accent. No man would ever be able to say NO to her”. She was the perfect substitute to take my mams and my Nanas place. I adored her.
“Oh, that’s David,” I squeezed out a smile. He was, again, working late.
I wished I could deny these strange feelings but I think David was having an affair. I desperately wanted to talk about it with someone, but I had no one that I could trust. Elizabeth was amazing but how could I ever have that kind of a conversation with her? It was her son, and we weren’t even married yet. I could only guess that she would want to break off the wedding straight away.
The room started to spin slightly. I felt the cold sweat gather on my forehead.
“Please, fill it up, all the way,” I reached out my empty glass.
It was empty, again, before Elisabeth could even blink the second time.
“Scarlett, are you OK?”
I slowly sat up while sliding my fingers through my hair. “Elizabeth,” I rested my elbows on the white table covers. My heart was racing and my thoughts were flying with speed of light. I had to quickly find a decoy conversation.
“It’s the wedding planning.” It was the first thing that came out.
But, in reality, all I could think of was the wedding contract. I didn’t mind signing it. I just felt like I was losing my dignity. I felt like I was selling my soul to the devil.
I drifted off a little bit I only could see her mouth move in slow motion. I smiled when she did and nodded when it felt like I needed to nod.
I was tearing myself apart. I didn’t want to believe it was “the cold feet” situation. But I couldn’t ignore the weird coincidences and excuses.
“Elizabeth, please, pour another one, full.” I think I smiled.
We sat in the restaurant for another few hours until the kitchen staff was coming in and slowly getting ready to open.
We said our goodbyes and I made my way upstairs to my hotel room.
As the elevator doors closed, I let my head fall against the mirrored wall. I was so tired. The two bottles of champagne we shared took the last strength out of me. David was gone until Friday, so there was no pressure of going home later. I could stay overnight.
After a minute I was standing at my hotel doors. I swiped the key but the doors didn’t open. I was about to swipe it again when I felt my phone vibrating in the bag.
“Hi, Dr. Castor… I’m doing fine, thank you… My test results are in?… Yes, already a month. Just this petite feeling and tiredness… Excuse me?” I nearly fell on the floor. “What? Are you sure? Are you hundred percent sure?… No, those are wonderful, news. It all makes sense now. Thank you! Bye.”
“Now everything is so much more complicated. Well, at least five million dollars will be guaranteed,” I thought out loud. Oh NO! The champagne. If only the doctor had called me earlier. I looked down and touched my belly. Everything started to spin around me. I needed to get into the room fast and lie down.
Out of nowhere, Nana’s words started to echo in my head.
“He will dump you. Mark my words. He will dump you!” She said that about David after our engagement party.
“If that happened to mam doesn’t mean it will happen to me! I am not stupid!” I shouted at her and slammed her car door and left. That was the last time I saw and spoke with Nana. She died in the car accident that evening. Why did I shout? My guilt feeling has been eating me alive ever since that evening one year, two months and eight days ago.
Nana was only worried about me. David’s family was very wealthy and well known all over the country. They owned The Bolton Hotel chain and Big Bob was a passionate real estate investor, he practically owned half of the country and he had his finger in the politics. This new world that I was getting into had so much to offer but, unfortunately, it came with a heavy baggage.
She was against us dating from the very beginning after David and I met on the beauty pageant. He was one of the guest judges. He blew me away with his confidence and great looks, but most importantly – how incredibly wealthy he was. He was exactly who I was looking for but I wasn’t the only one. Already back then I noticed those wondering eyes but I was blinded by the sparkling life they had to offer.
Nana was just trying to protect me so I wouldn’t end up like mam, who got together with the wrong man. He promised to bring down the stars for her but dumped her right after I was born. He turned out to be married and one of the leading man in drug trafficking from South America. Nana said that his wife came once to our house and warned mam to be careful if she would even think about blackmailing my father. Nana said she was scared and promised not to ever want a penny from him, just so they would leave us alone. But weird accidents started to happen with mam after her visit. Nana said she didn’t believe that woman. They killed my mam on my first birthday. Nana was just scared it would happen to me too.
David’s family were not criminals. I will prove her wrong.
I swiped the key against the detector again. The third time was lucky, the doors opened up.
Still feeling quite light headed I made my way through the large suite straight to the bedroom. All I wanted was a nice, relaxing bath.
“Scarlett!” a loud scream froze me in fear. The double bedroom doors slid open an there was my wedding dress on a young woman and my fiance, butt naked, having sex with her.
He pushed the girl away with such force that she flipped over the bed and with a loud bang landed on the floor.
“Scarlett! It’s not what you think!” He gestured wildly and shouted nervously.
“Ouch! Mark! What the hell?” The girl called him Mark.
It was too much. My blood was boiling in a second.
I blacked out.
“Darling, are you OK?” I heard in the distance.
Just like the loud champagne pop, I regained my consciousness. I was standing in the ocean, nearly knees deep with pieces of my wedding dress in my hands.
“What the… ?! How?” I was confused.
“Do you need any help?” the old lady asked again. I turned around, faked a smile and nodded. It was all she needed and she was gone.
The lump in my throat, though, wasn’t going away that easy. I got out of the water and fell in the sand. I got sick. Shivers and cold sweat overtook me again. I cleaned off my mouth and sat up.
“Once a cheater always a cheater.” Nana’s voice was ponding in my head.
I felt cheap and defeated. I didn’t know what to do. Was this shiny life really worth to lose my dignity? I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore.
The sunset was beautiful. But I had no strength to enjoy it. I felt empty.
“I will sell my soul for a better future… for you,” I exhaled heavily, wiped off my tears and hugged my belly.