Here Comes the Groom

A Fiction Series

Episode One

here-comes-the-groom

 

* * * *

Saturday, 15th July

I actually like weddings. Really, I do. But this particular one left a sour taste in my mouth. And I’m not just saying that because I took medication that morning.

I winced and squirmed in my seat. I was still trying to figure out what exactly I was doing there. Although I had already checked off a mental list of priorities I had made up on my way to the church that morning; I felt like there was still something I was missing. The list looked like this:

Priority One: To see the groom’s face (did he have the nerve to smile or dare to be happy?)

Priority Two: Check out Beauty’s wedding dress and general look. (Like, what kind of parents name their daughter Beauty; I ask? Whose idea was it? I almost wanted to say “Beauty weds The Beast” but I’ve decided I shall save that joke for a better day when I’m in the mood).

Priority Three: To try to look blasé at the whole sham, like “hey, look at me everyone! Siji dumped me for a girl with a cheesy name like ‘Beauty’ but I can care less as I sip martini or whatever they serve at the reception.”

Priority Four: Eat at the reception.

Priority Five: See if any of the bridesmaids was more gorgeous than the bride herself (I would get a kick from that).

Priority Six: Did the purple and fuscia pink theme colours for the wedding really work? (I hated uniform dressings for any event and had donned all black out of spite and an obvious need to make a statement).

Priority Seven: To finally get a chance to wear my new black Chanel dress I got at a discount at the City Mall (it did well on my figure).

All, except priority four had been checked off.

Siji looked happy to the boot and I could feel my anger rising with a vengeance despite all my attempts to stifle it.

Beauty’s wedding dress was incredibly lovely, I grudgingly admitted; a delicate ball gown with bateau neckline covered by a see-through lace. Her make-up was minimal in a way that accentuated her exotic features and I felt my stomach roil with jealousy.

I wasn’t sure if my ‘blasé’ look was working though, but I was trying. At least I had shown up and I hadn’t broken down in tears, so I was good.

Hands-down, none of the bridesmaids looked better than the bride. Beauty was easily the most beautiful woman in the room (besides me, of course).

The purple and fuscia pink was icky-ish. It made the wedding have a touch of tackiness and I felt a little warmth spread on my inside at this small, irrational defeat of my enemies.

And I looked A-mazing in my long, black, mermaid Channel dress with plunging neckline. I had caught a reflection of myself on my way, in a store window beside the church and almost did a double-take like, “He-lloo! Who is this nice piece of chocolate cake?”

I smiled.

“Yeah, I’m really happy for them too,” the man beside me broke into my thoughts. He was looking intently at my face and must have seen me when I smiled. He had a lean, dull-looking face. The only thing that stood out on his visage was his thick, dark brows and wide mouth curved in a smile.

I frowned, “I’m not happy for them,” I said in a low, bitter tone.

His brows shot up and he paused for a while as if unsure what to make of my strange honesty.

“Why?”

“None of your business. Please scoot, you’re suffocating me,” I said and turned to watch the procession. I didn’t take a second look to see what my words had done to those eyebrows.

He should have them plucked or give me some, then maybe I wouldn’t have to spend hours drawing them for myself.

The minister was reciting the vows to the couple and he looked thoroughly bored. I understood;  I would probably be bored out of my mind too if I had to do this every weekend.

His voice droned on and his words tumbled over each other like he couldn’t wait to get the whole thing done with. His unsmiling face was buried in the book in his hands from which he read the vows. Even when he paused for the obligatory replies from the couple and then the congregation, he never looked up.

Then, I wondered, for no reason at all, what it would take to make him look up. And that was probably where the whole idea started to form in my head. Or maybe it had been there all along; ever since Siji left me for Beauty because he had ‘found the one’. He actually said that.

I snorted.

I hadn’t seen it coming. Yes, we had our problems like every other couple but there had been no signs. Our conversations were still deep and easy as before. He still called me on Monday mornings because he knows how much I hate Mondays. We still spent hours texting and calling. He still smiled with glittering eyes when he saw me.

And then, out of nowhere, he looked me in the eyes, smiled and said – listen to this – “I have found the one.”

We were together at a park in the city because he had called me to “discuss something very important.” Of course, I had thought he just wanted to discuss one of those “deep conversations” we did so much. He liked things like that. But after he said this, I felt my heart do a fast jiggle to an upbeat Jamie Grace song. He was going to pop the question!

Oh, the beauty of naivety.

“Yeah?” I said tilting my head and trying my best to look serious and thoughtful when I wanted to begin a tap dance.

“Yes and I thought I should tell you.”

I frowned. “O…kay? So, who is she?” I asked teasingly, playing along as I tingled inside waiting for him to say my name.

“Beauty.”

* * * *

“If there be anyone here who has any reason why Beauty and Siji should not be wedded in holy matrimony, please signify now or forever hold your peace,” the Minister announced with his head still buried in his little book.

The room was silent, with the only sound coming from the street outside the sanctuary.

The minister continued, “If there is no….”

“I object.”

A female voice rang out loud and clear above the man’s drone, cutting him off. There were gasps and murmurs and I watched with satisfaction as the minister’s head snapped up, looking through the many faces in the assembly.

“Who said that?”

I stepped out. As I slowly glided down the aisle, I could feel the bulging eyes digging into my suddenly sweaty skin. I deliberately allowed my body twist in a delicate saunter that accentuated my figure in the black dress. The staccato of my heels rose above the murmurs that broke out.

Beauty and Siji had turned to look at me. Their faces were etched in shock. The bewilderment filled their faces and left no room for any other emotion. Siji’s mouth hung open, then closed and opened again. Beauty’s eyes were dilated in a look of pure terror now.

It was like a movie.

I heard someone cough and looked to see Tara, my friend making faces at me. She was a bridesmaid and so was seated in front, right beside the aisle. I kept walking and when I made to move past her row, she grabbed my dress by the hip, pulling me aside and making me stagger on my four-inch heels. She seemed to be the only one not too frozen in shock to do anything.

“What are you doing, Deborah? Have you lost your mind?” she said through gritted teeth as I struggled out of her grasp. She pronounced my name “Day-bo-ra” and not, “Deb-rah” and I knew she was truly pissed.

“I’m fine. Let go of me.” I finally loosened her grip and walked the remaining length to the altar.

The Minister had closed his little book and was muttering something I didn’t hear.

Looks like I’ve given him something his little book didn’t write about.

I stopped in front of the couple with the minister’s head bobbing behind them. I looked up and saw the altar was even more magnificent from here than the back. My heart was beating wildly in my chest and I snuck a look at the congregation behind me. I was greeted by a sea of eyes and all of a sudden I wanted to run. I wanted to find the nearest rock around and hide till everyone in the room could swear they hadn’t seen the whole scene. But one look at the terror and shock on Beauty and Siji’s faces gave me a fresh bout of confidence and smugness.

“Errm…young lady. Why do you err, not want…these two to be joined in err…Holy matrimony?” the Minister stuttered in a squeaky voice now.

I looked at him and blinked. My mind was blank. I was so caught up in the whole drama of breaking the wedding’s tandem that I had not bothered to think up a reasonable speech. What was I going to say?

Siji dumped me for this woman who claimed to be my friend, which is cruel.

Or.

I just wanted to test the reaction if someone objected, I’ve always imagined how it’ll be, you know. Ha ha. Besides, Minister, you looked bored and I thought I should be kind enough to entertain you.

But I didn’t say any of that, instead I turned to the minister and said, “It’s a long story.”

Other pastors had left their seats to walk up to us and one of them, a lanky man with a chockful of grey hair glared at me. “This had better be good.” He turned to the officiating minister, “Reverend Bilogha, let’s move to the office. And three of you, come.” He led the way as I walked like a convict between him and the reverend with Beauty and Siji leading the rear.

As we walked through a corridor, the congregation burst into commotion and the choir tried to distract them with music.

I tried not to look at Beauty and Siji again as we stepped into the air conditioned office. Without waiting for me to sit, the tall minister turned to me with that ever-present scowl.

“Explain yourself. Fast.”

I kept my eyes on a spot above the window, anything to avoid the hurt in Beauty’s eyes, as I narrated my story.

* * * *

Image via: pixabay

Side Note:

Yup. You got it. A new series 🙂

Call your friends to tag along and subscribe if you haven’t. As usual, expect the next episode on Friday.

Grace!

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