Fiction Friday | A Not-So-Happy Story of Love

For this week’s Fiction Friday, I used a prompt that asked us to write something we don’t normally write. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic. I usually write stuff that ends happily. However, today I didn’t. Today’s prompt asked me to write something about two people that doesn’t end well–that they do not end up together.

I have to admit, I just wrote this, and I’m depressed now. It’s like I want to go back and and change the ending, but I’m not allowing myself to. This time I’m allowing the characters who have been married for a while to not have a happy ending.

I don’t like it, but I hope you do.

The Wedding | 722 words

Megan could only see part of the back of Cecilia’s head. Therefore, she could only catch glimpses of half of the veil she helped construct. She was seated in the seventh pew of the church—an expansive, old-fashioned Catholic church with wooden pews, dim lighting, and shiny tiled floors that sparkled. Every noise, whether it was a cough, someone clearing his throat, or a child’s laughter, bounced off the massiveness of the cathedral ceiling. Unfortunately, the large man in front of her blocked her view of the altar. She gave up trying, and glanced at the Stations of the Cross, surveying them one by one, as they were positioned at each stained-glass window around the perimeter of the structure. The priest’s voice fluttered upward, enveloped by the beams, the archways, and the light. She felt the guilt churning, lurking deep within her. She sat five inches from Paul.

They by-passed the receiving line that gathered after the ceremony, and got in Paul’s new BMW. They were only there together because Cecelia and Evan asked them to be there. Evan was Paul’s best friend; Cecelia was hers, and had been for years. Since they’d left the house, not a word had passed between them. She’d gotten used to the silence, to only hearing her own thoughts as she rattled around in the quiet house. It’s amazing how much anger you can store up inside of you—and keep inside of you, she thought. Sometimes she wanted to scream; at other times she wanted to cry. She ran out of words. There were none left to say.

At the reception, they were seated at the same table, as few others knew the status of their crumbling—or rather exhausted—relationship. Nevertheless, today wasn’t about them, and they both did their best to smile and nod when talking to Cecelia and Evan’s guests. At no point in the evening did they look each other in the eyes. Why would they? Their eyes were nothing but empty, cold, and pathetic; they dripped with disgust. The rumble of conversation in the reception hall became dwarfed by the music as the band began to play.

Megan watched Cecelia move around the room with grace and fluidity. Was it only eight years ago that she had beamed the way Cecelia beamed now? Had she once been that happy? It was hard to fathom. Had he once looked at her with love and affection, with respect and admiration? Had they not promised…

He touched her hand, and she jumped.

“Dance?” Paul asked.

“You’re joking,” she said. He was looking at her in the eyes. She looked back.

“No,” he said, taking off his jacket and placing it on the back of the chair.

The expression that he’d worn on his face for the past few months, one mostly of frustration, gave way to a foreign expression she hadn’t quite seen before. She realized he had placed his hand back on hers, and they both got up from the table, his hand holding hers tightly now. They walked to the dance floor and crept toward the middle where many other happier couples were enjoying the music.

She couldn’t remember the last time she’d touched him, and yet they’d lived under the same roof for years, and even during these last months when she slept in the guest room, she hadn’t come closer than two feet from him.

Megan felt his hand lightly touch her back, and then he pressed her closer. She could smell his cologne, something she hadn’t smelled on his body in…months?

Their bodies moved together in sync, the band’s music forcing them both to remember to step, sway, and turn. At one point, he took her hand and twirled her. They both laughed. She hated him. Detested him.

Cecelia caught a glimpse of Megan and Paul dancing and smiled. It was her wedding day, after all, and this pleased her.

When the song was over, people clapped for the band. Not Paul. Paul grabbed Megan’s hand, brought it to his lips, and kissed it. She saw tears in his eyes. She felt a lump build in her throat.

“I did what Cecelia and Paul asked,” he said. “But saying goodbye here and this way might be easiest,” he said.

She did not reply. She stared at him, and he back at her.

He went to the table and grabbed his jacket off of the chair. She watched him walk toward the double doors. He stopped just as he reached them and paused. She caught herself holding her breath.

Then his hand touched the handle, and he was gone.

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