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Too Good to be True

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Perfect. That was the only word she could think of to describe it. Absolutely perfect. The flowers, the music, the way everyone beamed at her as she slowly made her way down the thickly carpeted aisle. As the strains of Pachelbel's Canon faded, she met her groom at the altar. Bashful at first, she summoned the courage to look into his deep blue eyes, but they were briefly cast downward at his watch. She suppressed a frown and turned to the front.

The whirlwind of preparation was but a blur in her memory. The weeks of planning, the organizing, the stress. But he'd been there with her every step of the way, assuring her that everything would go just as she wished. It truly would be the storybook wedding she had dreamed of since she was a girl. It would only last so long, so she had vowed to make the most of every single moment.

The ceremony was over quickly, and then she and the groom were whisked away in a shiny white limousine to the grand hall where the reception would take place. Barely able to contain her excitement, she breathlessly turned to share her emotion with him. He did not meet her gaze.

Upon entering the cavernous hall, elegantly decorated with white streamers and pink roses, she was greeted with thunderous applause from all her guests as she basked in the attention completely focused on her. The newlyweds made their way to the round table which held the towering cake she'd chosen.

She had decided to cut the cake first as it had always been her favorite part of the many weddings she'd attended. Her tuxedo-clad groom passed a small piece of the pastry between her lips. She closed her mouth and then her eyes, allowing the frosting to melt upon her warm tongue. The sweetness was cloying, a narcotic to her brain. For a moment, she visualized herself staying just this way forever, tasting sweet life while keeping her eyes closed to the harsh world in which she lived. The groom grabbed her hand and pulled her behind him, jolting her out of her reverie.
A Tail of Time
A Tail of Time
by Shirley Malone

Allowing herself to be swept onto the dance floor, she couldn't resist glancing down at her flowing gown as it swished and swirled around her. She had spared no expense, and it showed. The soft candlelight from the tables where the guests sat, watching the pair glide around the parquet floor, glimmered on the pearly silk of her gown and was reflected in the sequins covering her bodice. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the dizzying sensation of twirling beneath her partner's strong arms.

They came together once more, their bodies not quite touching, and suddenly she heard a soft ringing somewhere in the distance. It was the chime of a clock, announcing the midnight hour. Her breath caught in her throat. It couldn't be over so soon, not yet, not now.

As the guests left their places and unceremoniously filed out the door, the groom stepped back from her, dropping her hand to her side, and confirmed the time on his watch. He looked at her, his eyes filled with pity, making her turn her face away. She couldn't bear to see him look at her the way everyone had looked at her throughout her life. Slowly, dragging her feet in hopes of making the magic last just a moment longer, she walked to the head table where her small, beaded purse sat on a chair. Without a word, she opened it, removed the check and handed it to the groom, not daring to meet his eyes. He gingerly accepted it and cleared his throat as though he was about to speak.

Finally, she felt him move away from her and heard a soft click as the door closed behind him.

Perfect. Just perfect. She sank to the floor and cried.

M. D. Hauser is a freelance writer from Texas currently living in Madrid, Spain.

Also in Song and Story:
A Perfect Day in an Upside Down Universe
Of Dreams and Dancers    The Roster   
Bones    By the Sword

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