Flash! Friday # 19

I now pronounce this round of Flash! Friday… CLOSED!!! Many thanks to all participants–writers, readers, and commenters alike. Keep reading & commenting! These bridal tales are now in the capable hands of judge Monica Heffner; check back tomorrow (Saturday afternoon ET) for results.

Welcome to a super special bubbly round of #FlashFridayFic. (Yearning for contest rules?) Many of you already know Fairy Queen Anna Meade, whose glorious wedding is just ’round the corner. To celebrate Said Nuptuals, Laura Jamez, Miranda Boers, and I are throwing the world’s FIRST (maybe), BIGGEST (possibly), and MOST AWESOME (definitely) flash fiction bridal shower. The shower runs from April 8 – 22, and the whole world’s invited. {{Shower guidelines here; Twitter hashtag #DFQWBS.}}

So in honor of the #DFQWBS in honor of the wedding in honor of the Fairy Queen, Flash! Friday Round 19 is wedding themed. Use today’s contest as a chance to write your bridal shower entry if you wish* or just to explore All Things Weddingeth (and yes, of COURSE dragons are welcome! ahhh, the havoc!). Our noble Judge/Justice of the Peace is our own fairylike SVW member and Round 12 winner Monica Heffner.

* NOTE: For inclusion in the bridal shower, you will still need to submit your story according to shower guidelines.

And now (ring the bells!) it’s contest time.

Word limit: 300-500 word story based on the photo prompt.

* How: Post your story here in the comments. Include your word count (300-500 words, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one.

* Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (that’s 4:59am Saturday in London; 1:59pm Saturday in Brisbane, for our darling international dragons)

Winners: will post tomorrow (Saturday)

Prize: A top-of-the-line e-trophy e-dragon e-badge, your own bridesmaid/groomsman’s winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview feature next Wednesday, and YOUR NAME WRITTEN IN THE STARS (or at least shouted across Twitter). NOTE: Winning and non-winning stories alike remain eligible for selection for Monday’s Flash Points. 

* Follow @FlashFridayFic on Twitter for up-to-date news/announcements/dragon wedding prank ideas.  And now for your prompt:

Bride Runaway

Photo courtesy of Taliesin

63 thoughts on “Flash! Friday # 19

  1. @StephenWilds
    Til Death

    It would rain on her wedding day.

    That was the thought that ran through Renee’s mind as she passed the gazebo and the dark clouds gathered in the sky above her, blacking out Washington Park from the sun. It was an absurd thought, compared to everything else that had happened to her and her bride-to-be over the last month. Rain in April should have been expected, but it was the final straw to be stacked on her shattering world.

    She reached the lamppost and let her shoulder crash against it as tears began to stream down her face, beating the rain. A small bit of thunder echoed in the distance as Renee looked down at her white bridal gown, stained by the red wine that her mother had thrown on her. The stain made her cry harder. She wanted to turn this all into anger, being angry would be easier, but right now all she wanted to do was collapse on the grass. Were she not leaned against the old lamppost, she would have.

    As if to signify the new presence, the light atop the post came on with a hard clank and a bright diamond like pattern of light that shown across the ground.
    Renee heard the footsteps across the concrete walkways as the dress shoes clicked. The sound was softer on the grass as her bride approached, dressed in the black and white tuxedo with the dark blue cummerbund and bow-tie.

    “Renee,” she said softly. A hand outstretched to touch her, fingers curling back at the last second to avoid upsetting her further.

    “Go away,” Renee spat out between sobs. “I’ll just hurt you again, April,” she whispered.

    “I believe you.” April nodded at her betrothed’s comment, sliding her small hands into the pockets of the suit that was just a little too big for her. She looked up to the sky as she felt the first drops of the rain.

    There it was—the anger. Renee spun around. The train of her beautiful dress spun over the dark green grass in a spiraling swirl of white as her narrowed eyes cut through the thickening air. The smell of rain and wisteria filled her nose as she took in a sharp breath.

    “I cheated on you! I f****d another woman just to make you jealous,” Renee grabbed April’s jacket and pulled her up, standing higher only due to the expensive heels that had been purchased for that day. Their faces grew closer as April grabbed at Renee’s wrists. “I made sure you found her panties in the dresser, so you’d have no excuse but to leave me, to move on, to get your head on straight before you wind up paying a very fatal price.” She broke out into a full on yell, aggressive in the face of the woman she loved. “So why did you let me marry you!”

    There was a moment of silence as the wind picked up.

    “Because you killed for me.”

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  2. Knout

    She knew it was a bad idea to have the wedding at home in the garden.

    It wasn’t just the infernal rain although that was definitely inconvenient, especially now she thought ruefully as one of her heels got stuck in the mud as she ran back to the house. Damn this dress! Not the best thing to be running in, perhaps she’d have been better off with a trouser suit, given the circumstances. She kept on tripping over the blessed thing as she sprinted and stumbled across the lawn, muddying the hem and tearing it beyond repair.

    Shit. Was that dog shit she just stepped in? Oh well, that was just perfect; way to top off the day!

    Finally she got fed up with stumbling, slid her shoes off one at a time and dropped them as she forwent all attempt at retaining the last shred of her dignity and fairly loped up the garden path, the bottom of her dress by now a completely sodden, mud-caked shabby mess. If she made it to the house, found what she needed and ran back quickly enough, then perhaps Uncle Yevgeniy wouldn’t make too much of a mess; she would have to hurry though. When he had one of his turns, there was no telling the amount of havoc he could cause.

    The guests must have been utterly horrified when Uncle Yevgeniy had emerged, staggering up the aisle in his tattered and filthy evening suit to give his favourite niece away, his little Praskoviya. First thing he’d done when he reached the chapel was let out what for him was a mighty bellow – what people heard was an drunken moan – and spread his arms out wide, then made his shambling way towards the bride and groom with all the haste he could muster.

    Still, that was the risk when you had your wedding at home. She knew that, she had been told about some of the relatives that might hear of her wedding and that they would want to attend. There again, she thought that they’d feel left out if she’d had the wedding at a church in town, rather than at home. Most of her female relatives had their weddings at home.

    In fact, many of them were buried here, in the family grounds. The cemetery was right next to the garden in fact; Praskoviya had enjoyed playing there amongst the headstones and flowers as a child in the summer holidays with her cousins.

    This was not so convenient now, she mused, as she dashed into the house to retrieve the ancient knout that was needed to drive Uncle Yevgeniy back into his place of rest.

    Word count: 445
    @imaginator20

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  3. I knew it was the coward’s way out. I should have faced him. Them.
    I was tomorrow’s headlines.
    They might even arrest me. Who knows?

    They’d say I hadn’t truly loved him. They’d speculate. Spin what they didn’t know.
    But I had loved him. I just didn’t love him now.

    Did he have to change so much?
    Maybe I did have commitment issues like Wanda said. She said it was from the moment he had started showing commitment that I had switched off.
    She was right about the timing.
    But there was no trace in his eyes anymore of the man he’d been. I knew. I had searched and time was running out. I had to get away from this, from him, from them. I wasn’t what they wanted me to be.

    The mystery was gone. I know that happens in all marriages but not before the wedding. He was all New Man.
    I wanted the old one back. That slab of a man who was strong and awkward. That guy who stumbled over his words but it made them mean more. I didn’t want outpourings of honey words and hours filled with birdsong. I wanted the spark back.

    That was the problem with fairy tales.
    They were page-turners. No engagement: straight to wedding.
    One kiss and wedding invitations had been delivered by tiny golden birds to every household in the land; a dress crafted by one hundred blind mice had appeared overnight.
    That was just his style.
    God knows what kind of powdered, pastel coloured getup he’d be prancing around in.
    The palace gleamed and sparkled from its turrets to its champagne cellars.
    Prestigious guests arrived in carriages by the hour. How did they get here so fast?

    I needed to get away. He would have understood. I didn’t want to be wife to a pampered prince: I wanted back The Beast!

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  4. Unfortunately, I won’t be writing today or some of next week most likely. Just found out my Uncle John passed away {not unexpectedly, but still} last night, so I will be getting ready and going to TX tomorrow. Best of luck to all you dragons today and always.

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  5. @love8rockets

    Forever?

    The rain didn’t matter.
    It was supposed to be good luck on your wedding day.
    But Amanda ran and ran because her life depended on it. Everyday she beat the ideas from her head about the forever choice she was about to make.
    Forever–how long was that anyway?
    There was no time but now. Amanda kept going, kept running toward the river where she knew Max would be working on his boat. Max, who always let Amanda make her own choices, knew she loved him, and only him all those years. Since they were children, since the first candy apple was given and eaten in unison.

    Amanda knew she couldn’t marry Mr. Klofter and become Mrs. Klofter –forever.
    But with Max, Amanda knew they stood the test of time. She and Max were together forever already. Max knew the moment Amada’s thoughts shifted from topic—the moment her heart dropped into sadness, the moment a contradictory thought was stifled. She was most herself with him.

    It wasn’t too late. Amanda thought. She’ll catch Max before he leaves, her heart of all hearts. She didn’t believe Max when he said she was the only one for him.
    She’d taken on too many years of her father’s conditioning. But not anymore—she was free! Running over mounds of soggy lawn and then piles of twigs and pebbles, threatening to throw her to the ground with one wrong step. There was no time to slow, if she could just get to the river, just beyond the trees.

    “Max!” she yelled louder than her voice has towered before. She yelled his name again.

    Mr. Winters was on the dock. Max’s boat—gone.

    “Where’s Maxwell?”

    “I’m sorry, Amanda. I told him to shuffle off and stop crying. He sailed away an hour ago.”

    “Gone?”

    Amanda dropped into the mud, pushing the white tulle and silk into the dark tears of rain which welded up around her. Birds hidden came near, filling the air with their songs while Amanda’s wails were woven into their echoes and into the crying sky.

    Like

  6. My Big, Fat, Over-the-Top Wedding

    “I got your message.”
    “I’ll make it quick. I don’t want anyone to see us.”
    “Yeah, you know what they’ll say.”
    “Look, I can’t do this.”
    “Thank god!”
    “You agree?”
    “Of course. I mean, it’s been obvious all along. I was just waiting for you to come to your senses.”
    “I was just waiting for you to say something.”
    They laughed, let their foreheads touch.
    “You look amazing.”
    “I look like a cow in a white prom dress.”
    “All brides are beautiful.”
    “Yeah, well, what do we do? We can’t go through with this, this travesty.”
    “Can you live with the aftermath? The recriminations? The scorn of two families?”
    “Look, all I want is you.”
    “It’s the same for me about you.”
    They sighed and held each other.
    “Whatever we do, it’s got to be soon.”
    “Yeah, I hear that clock ticking. Let me think a minute.”
    “Could you make it half a minute?”
    “That’s what I love about you. Straight to the chase. Okay, how does this sound? I’ll slip away, claim I got a call from a client. You know that back door from the caterer’s kitchen?”
    “The one that leads to the lawn with the gazebo?”
    “Yeah. Give me ten minutes, then you make some excuse, like touching up your lipstick or something, then you haul ass across the lawn, past the gazebo, to the path. Where it hits the road, I’ll be there with my car.”
    “Are you sure?”
    “More sure than I have been of anything. How about you?”
    “I’ll be there.”
    A quick, stolen kiss, and they parted.
    As she dashed across the grass in her heels, for god’s sake, she expected to hear someone yell, “Stop,” but she made it, and there he was, the love of her life, waiting just where he said he’d be. She gathered up her dress and scrambled into the car.
    Breathless, they stared at each other a moment then grinned.
    “We did it!”
    “Yeah, we did. So, what now?”
    “Vegas or Atlantic City?”
    “Atlantic City. It’s closer, and I am so ready to be your wife.”
    “Mmm, just what I wanted to hear. Let’s go.”
    They held hands as he sped off.
    “We shouldn’t text them until we’re far enough away they can’t stop us.”
    “I was thinking at the wedding chapel door would be good.”
    “Who do you think will be more pissed—your family or mine?”
    “Pissed? The bride and groom run away from the six-figure wedding of the century our parents have dreamed of since we announced our engagement—someone will have a stroke. I mean, who knew a mother of the bride could be such a bridezilla?”
    “And my father? You’d have thought we were uniting two kingdoms or some such.”
    The bride’s cell phone began to vibrate, the buzzing loud in the car.
    “Well, I guess they’ve figured it out.”
    “Yep, it’s my mother.” Her finger hit “Ignore” on the phone.
    “No second thoughts?”
    “Absolutely none. Step on it!”

    497 words sans title
    @unspywriter

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  7. What I Was Running Toward

    I don’t think the photographer was supposed to take that picture of me running across the lawn. Certainly I wasn’t aware that I was being photographed at that moment, although it probably goes without saying that every bride should act as if she is being constantly photographed. That’s what wedding photographers are paid to do.

    I can’t remember the specific reason I was running, but I remember the general one. I was running because it was fun to run in the big dress. I knew it wasn’t what brides usually do, and I’m a little sad that this is the moment the photographer caught. Two seconds later, he would have got my shoes flying off my feet and knocking the lens of his camera. (No one scolds the bride, but he did mutter, “Oh hell.”) I think the shoes flying toward his lens would have been the more insightful photo, but insightful isn’t the main goal of wedding photos.

    I love this photo because I know what I was running toward. It’s bittersweet that it wasn’t my future husband. I was running toward my mother, the one who had insisted on the big dress because I was the only daughter she could afford to buy one for. It was my mother, too, who had reserved the garden as the perfect place for my wedding, and my mother who had known those silly shoes were not going to stay on my feet the whole day. I can’t say my ex-husband ever knew me to the level my mother knew me.

    So there I am, running back to my mother and away from my groom. Ten years later we repeated the whole scene, but no one bothered to take pictures of that.

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  8. Crossing Over

    “So, you are certain you want to walk down the aisle by yourself?”
    “Yes, Amy, I already told it to you a thousand times.”
    “Well, just as long as you are sure.”
    She turned around and left to attend to the flower arrangements. I am alone for the first time today. The bridesmaids are still fussing with the dresses inside. Cherishing this brief solitude, I look around and examine the arrangements. I had asked to be surrounded by jasmine bouquets. Jasmines are my absolute favorite flowers. Henry sometimes complains about my obsession with them because they wilt so quickly. It is about savoring the life’s little moments, I tell him. Jasmines represent my idea of living life to the fullest, I say.

    We have been planning this day for a long time. Henry’s parents are as excited as we are about the wedding. It makes me happy, but it also reminds me that I don’t have my family to share this special day. My mom, may she rest in peace, would have been so proud of me watching me walk down the aisle. My eyes well up. I feel her kind eyes watching me and pleading for something. I think about my dad. Henry had implored me to have my dad present for the ceremony, but I had refused adamantly. He does not understand my reluctance. It is complicated, I keep telling him.

    My eyes scan the grounds, taking in the perfect vistas. At the far end of the lawn, I spot Henry’s parents walking towards the podium. Henry walks to greet them. They hug each other and then the ceremonial group hug. Henry is part of something bigger than him, he matters. I ache all over. I feel disconnected. I stand there bound in a spell. My eyes and nose are moist. I sniff. The wafting sweet smell of jasmines enters my senses. I am in the sunny backyard of my childhood home. The wall is covered with Jasmine bushes. The blossoms shine like diamonds in the sun. dad picks a large bloom and hands it to my mom. The grateful smile on her face is priceless. I need them here, now. If not both, then at least my dad.

    I am not day dreaming, and I am nowhere near the wedding bouquets. The fragrance is coming from across the retaining wall. I know my dad is waiting for me outside the gate with the jasmine bouquet. I take off like a wind to cross over the wall; to welcome him to my big day.

    Pratibha
    @needanidplease
    428 words

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  9. Put On A Happy Face

    I scuttled across the hospital grounds, hitching my wedding dress up to my knees. I was just checking on everything, they didn’t need to shoo me away from guests that were arriving.

    “Stephanie! Wait!” Someone cried from behind me. I turned to see Joel, a cousin by marriage, waving his hand in the air and running my way.

    I paused and turned back, “Joel, I’m not supposed to be seen. I need to get inside.”

    “Can I walk with you for a moment then? I think you’ve been ripped off.” He held up his stone in front of me. “Your Blessing Stones haven’t been Blessed!”

    Oh, no! “How do you know?” My heart started beating so loudly that I almost couldn’t hear his answer.

    “I’m in training.” He smiled, proud, then scowled at the stone in his hand, “And these aren’t Blessed. I’m sure of it.” He looked so concerned, so offended on my behalf.

    How could I tell him that I already knew? I grabbed his arm and dragged him behind the gazebo, “You can’t tell anyone!”

    “What? But you paid…” The dawning light of understanding crept upon his face. “You didn’t. Why? The Blessings won’t mean anything.”

    “We couldn’t afford it!” I looked around frantically to be sure no one heard that. “Joel, listen, we’ve been on the docket since we got engaged six months ago, but we have another six months before our names come up and Ethan just doesn’t have that long!”

    “Not six months? But surely there was someone who would Bless the stones given your circumstance…”

    “No! We won’t be someone’s charity case. The doctor bills have taken every penny and the WordSmiths say that the amount of Power needed to rush the job would cost a whole lot more than we had even before Ethan got sick.”

    “You at least Blessed your seed, right?”

    I looked aside and bit my bottom lip. I could feel the heat of tears pooling in my eyes. Our seed. The acorn that would grow to signify our marriage in truth. Everyone would know it wasn’t Blessed when it didn’t grow immediately.

    “No.” He whispered, horrified. “If the Words of Power aren’t spoken over your seed, he won’t be able to pull from your strength… He’ll never make it.”

    “Do you think we don’t know that?” I practically growled, rage and hopelessness streaming down my cheeks. “He could die, waiting, tomorrow. Or we could marry today and hope that the Words have meaning and purpose outside of the Blessing.”

    Joel took a deep breath, “No. I can do it.”

    “Do what?”

    “Give me your seed. I’ll Bless it.”

    “You’re still in training.”

    “I know how. I’ve been saving Power for a while now for when I open my business. I have enough,
    I think.” He touched his hand to the locket beneath his shirt.

    “I can’t repay that-”

    “You’re worth it. Ethan is worth it. Consider it a wedding gift.” He glanced at his watch, “Stall the wedding.”

    500 words (I wanted more…)
    (I also used some pictures from Anna’s Pintrest board for inspiration.)
    @lissajean7

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  10. Title: If we go out, this is our future

    “Hey!”
    Mika was trying to whisper to me and she was being really obvious about it. It was bad enough that she insisted on coming to Mom’s wedding; now everyone thinks she’s my date. If anyone met her before today, it wouldn’t even be a thought. Now she’s just ANOTHER reason I’m in a cold sweat in a sea of amethyst dresses and ties.
    “What?”
    “You think we can sneak out of here? I’m completely willing to hotwire a car.”
    “Hey, YOU wanted to come. You can’t complain now, miss “I’m going to paint my nails for this.”
    “That was before I knew your family was crazy!”
    “Says she who had to be talked out of bringing their iguana. And less we forget that family reunion you brought me to…”
    “Touché. But your family’s still nuts.”
    My uncle was half asleep, but when he snapped awake, we held hands and watched the altar with stepford smiles – at least until he fell back asleep.
    “You want to know why they’re nuts – especially today? Because this is her fourth wedding!”
    “That’s not really a good reason –“
    “– in TWO YEARS!”
    Mika’s mouth dropped, and I politely closed it for her before one of the many mosquitoes decided to make a meal out of her tongue.
    “These things ALWAYS go wrong and everyone tries their best to get out of it. I was trying to do the same – BUT NO! You had to burst in and go “Oh my god! Martin, can I go with you to this wedding?”
    “I just wanted to go to a wedding that wasn’t at City Hall! And I didn’t expect to almost get called in to be a bridesmaid.”
    “I guess you’re family now.”
    “Shut up!”
    A clamor at the front got our attention. My cousin, the ring bearer, was presenting the ring and his hair was starting to rise – he knows what happens around this point because he got the same chill that went down my neck when Mom’s hands started to shake.
    “Were you serious about hotwiring a car?”
    “What changed your mind?”
    “Every time the wedding bombed, Mom’s hands shook before picking up the ring. She would then run away and we’d spend three days looking for her.”
    “Seriously?”
    “Yeah, and someone always got injured trying to stop her – or there’s fire.”
    “Fire?”
    “The second one had tiki torches. The altar almost exploded.”
    “So when do we go?”
    “As soon as she runs past us. It’ll look like we’re trying to stop her.”
    “So sneaky! Remind me why haven’t we gone out again?”
    “Because crazy runs in BOTH our families and this might happen to us down the line?”
    “Oh yeah, that’s right. Get ready; she’s starting to bail!”

    457 words – @JSHyena

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  11. Okay, this is not what I meant when I said I would have liked a real bridal shower! The tiny droplets were crystalizing on her dress before seeping into the fabric as Amy rushed to the little gazebo that had been the reason she had finally been talked into using this hall. On the plus side, nothing was getting through the shellacked casing that held her hair in place. Her mother would be pleased.

    She desperately wanted to slump onto a bench, but they were all covered with dusty rivulets and she was wearing, well, white. Amy closed her eyes and silently counted the pitter-patter. A flash startled her out of the strained attempt at meditation. Her eyes and lips snapped open, ready to admonish the wayward photographer, with a righteous indignity learned at the hands of her mother.

    “Beautiful,” Charlie grinned, taking another photo.

    She melted under the crooked smile that never failed to fix everything. “You’re not supposed to see me before the wedding,” Amy pointed out, lips twisting wryly to the side.

    “Oh, is it bad luck?” He stepped closer, still smiling. She tilted her face up, and he obliged her with a soft kiss. “What are you doing out here?” Charlie asked finally.

    “Enjoying the beautiful day, obviously.” She twisted away from him, crossing the small gazebo. “It’s not fair, suits can survive the rain much better than wedding gowns.”

    He came to stand beside her. “Do you care?”

    “No, but they do. Remind me why we’re doing this?”

    He looped his free arm around her waist, squeezing gently. She switched her glance from the rain-splattered plants to his still smiling face. “Because your parents insisted. And they bought as an amazing honeymoon trip as a bribe.” His smile slipped into a heated glance. “You look beautiful, even with those raindrops on your face that look like tears.”

    She swatted at his chest lightly. Charlie was an artistic photographer, and his photos were absolutely stunning, which didn’t mean she liked being his occasional model.

    “I love you,” Charlie said, reminding her that, despite this fiasco-farce of a wedding, at least by tonight, they would be married.

    “I love you, too.” She would have leaned in for another kiss, but her mother’s shrill voice somehow managed to echo across the open lawn.

    “Amalia!” She was barreling toward the gazebo with an entourage of umbrellas.

    “Ready to share one of the most intimate moments of our lives with five-hundred people?” Charlie murmured by her ear.

    Amy crinkled her nose. Think Paris, she chanted silently. “Ready as I’ll ever be.”

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  12. Worst Fears

    When they had chosen the park to take pictures in, it had seemed like a good idea. But now as Anabelle hiked across the grass; she reconsidered her plan. She was worried about her dress, her shoes, just her everything. As she continued towards the gazebo, she sighed again. The area was beautiful, but she was sure she was going to get a stain on her gown or slip and fall and ruin it completely.

    “Anabelle!” her sister-in-law called and she turned to see where the other girl was. “We’re over here!”

    “I need a break,” Anabelle called back. “I’m going over by the reservoir to take a look.”

    “Do you want me to come with you?” Dave, her new husband, started towards her.

    Anabelle waved him off. “No. I just need to breathe for a few minutes. Take the photos with the groomsmen and I’ll be right there.”

    Dave didn’t look convinced, but he allowed Anabelle’s words to persuade him and she continued her wander towards the reservoir. Most of it was fenced off, but there was a section that led down to the water.

    Anabelle considered it for a minute. It had an incline that wasn’t too steep so she figured she was safe enough to clamber down. Before she did though, she looked around. The fence created an ugly background and she really didn’t like it, but the water was a surprisingly clear blue.

    She stared out across the water, considering the idea of having the girls—in their dark red dresses—with the water behind them. It would create a stunning contrast. But she still needed five more minutes away from the chaos of the wedding party.

    With that decision made, she began to pick her way down the incline. She was about halfway down when she realized the bricks were damp and her shoes couldn’t get traction. She turned around, intending to climb back up, when she felt her feet go out from under her.

    Her arms wind milled as she tried to regain her balance, but it was too late. She had just enough time for a short scream before she plunged into the water. She came up sputtering as she heard the others yelling from across the park. Sitting up, Anabelle realized the water wasn’t the deep, but with the angle she had fallen; she was completely soaked.

    And her worst fears were realized. Her dress and her day were ruined.

    Word Count: 408

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  13. “Darla, please. Be reasonable.”

    “I am marrying these shoes!”

    Beatrice stands with her arms at her sides, sad eyes on her daughter. Why today, of all days, why.

    “Darla…”

    “They are reliable.”

    “Darla, you can’t marry shoes.”

    “They listen to me. When I want to speak. Like the Depeche Mode song.”

    Beatrice takes a deep breath, turns, descends the steps of the gazebo. “I’m going to get your father.”

    “Get whoever you want!” yells Darla. “Oh, except that… that….”

    “His name is Maxwell. He’s your groom.”

    “Not today, he’s not. Or any day. I’m marrying these shoes.”

    The hem of Beatrice’s toothpaste-colored mother-of-the-bride gown skiffs over the grass as she stomps toward the house.

    “Darla?” comes a voice from the bushes.

    “You,” says Darla.

    Maxwell climbs over the railing and sits next to his bride. Neither of them say anything for a while.

    “I like your shoes,” says Maxwell.

    “Thank you,” says Darla. “They stand by me. Or, under me, I guess. Or I stand on them. Whatever. They are there for me.”

    “Yes, they are,” says Maxwell. “Can I ask you a question?”

    A window swings open on the back of the house. Second story.

    “Darla Anne!” Father bellows from the window. That’s Father’s way. Summon the problem to his upstairs office, deal with it there. Controlled environment. Wood paneling. A place where things make sense. Order, protocol.

    Darla says nothing.

    “So, can I ask you?” says Maxwell again.

    “Sure,” says Darla. “What do you want?”

    “Well, I was just wondering,” says Maxwell, “with you marrying these shoes and all…”

    He waits a beat or two.

    “I was wondering, could I be your roommate. You, and your shoes, there.”

    “Our roommate?”

    “Yeah, I promise I’ll make coffee every morning, and I won’t leave dishes in the sink. And, I’ll be quiet. Mostly.”

    Silence.

    “What do you think?”

    Darla shifts, a little. The open upstairs window is a square eye, gazing, expectant. Waiting for Darla Anne to answer her summons.

    “Okay,” says Darla finally. “Can we go now?”

    “Go where?” asks Maxwell.

    A grin blooms on Darla’s face. “How about the shoe store?”

    “Playing the field already? You and this pair aren’t even hitched, yet,” says Maxwell.

    “I know, I’ve decided it can be a long engagement,” says Darla.

    Maxwell leans in, and gently touches his forehead to hers. “Okay.”

    The window sits mute as a white dot and black dot retreat across the green lawn and disappear through the gate.

    Darla squeezes Maxwell’s hand. “My shoes and I like you very much,” she says. “Thanks for not marrying me.”

    Maxwell smiles. “Well, you were already taken,” he says. “I’m just happy to be part of the picture.”

    448 words
    @betsystreeter

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  14. Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

    That’s the trouble with time travelling. You get one parameter wrong and you end up at the reception instead of the church. You get two parameters wrong and your time machine arrives weeks before the event… maybe. And if you get three parameters wrong, the bloody doors fall off!
    What’s that about? The bloody doors falling off!
    Think! Think!
    Thank heavens we didn’t get four things wrong and end up in a paradox.
    Oh… I see. You don’t want me to marry Cyrus – wrong place, wrong time, and total fail – logical conclusion and all that. Well that’s a bit selfish, don’t you think?
    But you were okay with him as a companion on our trips, weren’t you? Same as the other guys… and girls… hmmm? You never complained when we had an alien or two onboard did you? No…
    So what’s different now?
    Leave you! Abandon you? I could never do that. And Cyrus wouldn’t ask it. Nor would he want it. Why, he’s almost as addicted to travel as I am.
    Well it’s just that we’ve become close, and we think it would be nice to have a couple of Mini-Mes running around with us.
    Well, that’s what this ceremony thing is all about really, as if you didn’t know. It’s a rite of passage that has to be performed in order to satisfy the in-laws or at least give them a day of celebration to… it’ll be fun.
    Can’t you hear the patter of our Mini-Mes tootsies running around the corridors of our…
    Well of course we wouldn’t have any accidents. We’d put the controls out of their reach… and child-locked.
    It’s no good sulking. I can turn this around you know… and I will.
    Oh yeah, sure. Make it as difficult as you like. I mean, here I am dressed up to the whites without even a spanner. But I can play with time, and you know it.
    For goodness sake! I know it’s only a band of gold after all said and done.
    Yes we both know there’s nothing magical in the gold, even if it is white. But that’s what you don’t understand, see? It’s a… It is… It is a magical thing – not thing – emotion… No! No! Not movement! Not electronic, not mechanical, not physical. It’s… a… feeling, for which there is no receptor, yet we sense it, we share it… It’s called Love.
    Yes, I love you.
    Always have. Always will.
    I know. That’s the sad bit really. Yes. It is only permanent for as long as we both shall live it, and yes, there are so many distractions out there. Of course you’re right; all of time and space can never bind us forever. But we’ll take as much as we can.
    But that’s what bestest friends are for, isn’t it? To pick each other up when they fall.
    You will?
    Thank you.
    Now, let’s get me to the church on time!

    494 words @CliveNewnham

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  15. @Lizzie_Loodles
    words 499
    Here’s my entry for this week’s picture prompt. It’s a rather dark tale so won’t be entering it into the bridal shower; I’ll leave that one for a much happier story of celebration. This story asks the question . . . .how far would you go for the perfect wedding? xx

    A Perfect Wedding

    Angelina looked at the photo. It didn’t look like she was running for her life but it was the best she could do with high heels sinking into sodden grass. She knew this was the last picture taken and if the photographer had survived, he would have captured her scrambling from her shoes to run faster from the slaughter and screams. She remembered how the wet grass felt cold against her feet as she sped into the nearby woods, wishing she had her shoes to protect her soft flesh from the rough forest floor.

    Her dress caught on the protruding branches, snagging and tearing, scratching. But Angelina didn’t stop running. Not until there was no screaming. No sound of crunching. No sound of snarling. Not until a safe distance was between her and the carnage did she slump at the foot of a moss covered trunk.

    Chastising herself first, Angelina couldn’t believe she had been talked into having her wedding in such a public place, like everything was normal and perfect. It wasn’t. Not in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. And now everyone was dead. She gasped. Not everyone was dead; Julian, her fiancé who hadn’t showed. He was somewhere. The thought he had survived warmed her chilled bones. She needed to get to him, even though he hadn’t turned up on his wedding day to marry her. The anger soon dispersed when the attack happened as she fled for her life but now it was creeping back. Thoughts of him abandoning her on their wedding day filled her with rage as she slipped into a restless sleep.

    She wasn’t sure how long she had been asleep but now the forest was pitch and she was stiff with cold and her mouth dry with thirst. A snapping twig told her she wasn’t alone but Angelina couldn’t see anything; all she could do was stay still and hope they couldn’t smell her. A voice whispered her name.

    “Julian” Angelina whispered, not recognising her own hoarse voice.

    “Angelina!” Julian ran towards her and wrapped his arms around her, burying his face in her neck, silent, in each other’s arms for what seemed a long time before Julian helped her up off the floor.

    “You were going to marry me?” Angelina noticed Julian was wearing his wedding suit.

    “Of course. I’m just relieved you got out of there.”

    “You drummed in to me what to do if there was an attack. You said to get outside as soon as possible and run. I did.”

    “Good girl. And now you get to have the perfect wedding you want with no interference from anyone.” His words hung in the air and Angelina knew their families hadn’t made it. A conversation she had dismissed flooded her mind; Julian moaning about losing control of their wedding and questioning how far people would go to have the perfect wedding? “I’d do anything for you baby.”

    The photo lay crumpled on the floor with her wedding ring.

    499

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  16. I can’t believe I believed it. It was the day I had always dreamed of for my wedding. Brilliant blue sky the color of rare naturally blue topaz and puffy white clouds floating by slowly. It was warm enough for comfort but cool enough that absolutely no bugs were bothering anyone. A slight breeze fluttered decorations and my veil. All my friends and family was there…and for once my family was behaving mostly civilized. There hadn’t even been any fights between my soon to be in-laws and my parents. The entire wedding party was on time and dressed properly, the cake and flowers were all set up, the minister was there (and sober). Truly nothing was out of place. Even my dress was fitting as I had hoped it would and I had found the only pair of heeled dress shoes in the universe that did not pinch my feet. I can’t believe I thought it was real.

    Everything was so perfect I only barely noticed when the clouds began to hide the sun. I was blissfully and totally relaxed like some addled schoolgirl with no clue of the realities of the world. I walked down the aisle as the shadows deepened, thinking only that it meant I wouldn’t squint in the photos after the service. I can’t believe I forgot the world. I had eyes only for my soon to be husband as the preacher began the service. Gold flecked green eyes with a pattern so intricate I could study it forever and never memorize it all. The preacher was just beginning the first “Do you take” sentence when my love’s pupil’s dilated and the guests stopped breathing as one. It’s not the sound of a gasp that gets your attention. It’s the split second before when everyone freezes. There is a pause in life itself when everything stops. No one breathes, no one moves, nothing lives for that split moment. I can’t believe I let my guard down. I turned and followed everyone’s gaze upwards to where a dark shape was growing larger with the speed of a missile but no missile had teeth or wings like that. I can’t believe I have to run through the grass in these perfect shoes and a dress. I grabbed my skirt in my hands and was halfway across the lawn by the time the guests began their collective gasp of terror. I can’t believe I left my sword in the car.

    413 words
    @thorns_n_claws

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  17. The Wedding
    Thomas woke up on the morning of his wedding and looked out the bedroom window. He and Elaine hoped this day would be sunny and bright, not cloudy and drizzling as the meteorologists predicted. But no matter. Thomas was going to marry the woman he loved, and despite the gray sky, it was the sunniest day of his life.

    He and Elaine planned to have the ceremony in Rochester Park, in the white gazebo with the green roof and trim — the one everyone in town recognized. The park itself was surrounded by maple trees, and was the perfect setting because that was where they were introduced by friends on the previous Fourth of July. The reception would be held at the country club to which Elaine’s parents belonged. There would be ice sculptures of swans, and a five-tier cake, each tier of which would feature a different design: scrollwork, lacing, drapery, sugar pearls, and sugar roses in a soft pink to match Elaine’s nails, lipstick, and bouquet.

    The bride’s Chanel dress was of white satin with a strap over the left shoulder and attached to the bodice by a bow of the same material. The bodice itself was cinched at the waist, and backless. Thomas had seen a picture of the dress, but couldn’t wait to see Elaine wearing it. It was time.

    The bride stepped out of the limo, escorted by her father who held a large black golf umbrella over her. The train of Elaine’s dress dragged across the wet grass and picked up dirt like a mop as she marched up the aisle. Thomas smiled at the vision of beauty coming toward him, despite the day’s weather. As she and her father neared the altar, Elaine dropped her father’s arm, threw her bouquet onto the ground and stepped on it. She ran past the gazebo and towards the trees, screaming because it wasn’t supposed to rain on her wedding day.

    Thomas stood at the altar, and watched as his bride threw herself on the ground and had a tantrum, not unlike a toddler.

    347 words (excluding title)
    Bee @LivingOffScript

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  18. Cold Feet

    Cold feet, that’s all it was. Paula’s feet were so cold she had put on thick wool socks below the flowing skirt of her wedding dress. She plopped on the hotel bed and opened her laptop. Researching the origin of the phrase she discovered a Stephen Crane novella that told a melancholy tale of Maggie, a poverty-stricken prostitute with cold feet, a military reference to frostbite, and a gambling card-player definition of having no money.

    She didn’t see how any of them had transmuted into fear and apprehension. Why today? She had never been more certain of Gregory. She’d loved him from the moment she met him, underwater, on a snorkeling vacation with her girlfriends. So engrossed in the array of color, they’d collided.

    Paula clicked a link, and read the divorce statistics among those admitting to cold feet. She wished she hadn’t done that. Now she had too much knowledge. Chances were higher for divorce. She can’t unlearn pointless trivia. To Paula’s way of thinking admitting to cold feet if your marriage ended in divorce sounded better; like you had common sense, you just ignored it, rather than not having any at all. Statistics can be skewed depending on the ideology of the statistician.

    Her inner nerd was leaking out. That would not end well. Paula had to tamp her back down. Today was a day for a white dress, not a series of numbers, and convoluted theories on the origin of a phrase. A white dress that after today would hang in a closet covered in plastic for twenty, no scratch that, thirty years. No daughter of hers was getting married at twenty. Thirty years from today her daughter, if she had one, would look at the dress and say, “Mother, you’re not serious are you? I can’t wear that.”

    The dress will be moved to a closet in another house. Another thirty years, and her granddaughter, if she had one, would acknowledge how retro and cool the dress was, and ask if she could please wear it, it would save her a fortune. Her granddaughter was the frugal one. Traits skipped a generation. Everyone knew that.

    Having divined the future Paula felt better. Though it was too bad about the ghastly bridesmaid dresses. She should never have relinquished that responsibility to her mother. When she had suggested a simple dress her friends might actually wear to a cocktail party, her mother had played the martyr. That always worked. Paula wished she had added that to her bridal registration: twenty hours with a therapist.

    Paula’s feet would not squeeze into her sandals while clad in wool socks. She took them off, folded them neatly on the bed. Surveying her image in the mirror she thought it would have to do. Opening the door, she hitched up her flowing skirt, and ran across the wet lawn to the gazebo where Gregory, and the daughter they might one day have, were waiting.

    @B4Steph
    492 words

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  19. Good With Ketchup

    Shasta sat on the ground, the remains of a human male on the picnic table in front of him. He reached down with his right arm, and sliced off what was left of a leg, which he dipped into the vat of ketchup before consuming it like a French Fry. “Ummmm. Tasty,” he proclaimed, as he smacked his beak-like lips together.

    I picked up what was left of a tiny female, dipping her top half into the ketchup. “It seems the old saying is true.”

    I used my tongue to lick the ketchup off my face, then I belched, “Excuse me.”

    Shasta started on the other leg of the human. “What old saying?”

    “Something the humans say. Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.”

    Shasta nearly choked on his ketchup covered leg, “That’s a good one!”

    “I thought so when I first heard it.” I finished off the tiny female. She was, in fact, crunchy, and good with ketchup. Not that we’d interrupted the wedding in the park to test the saying. Instead, wedding party was just what we’d needed after our flight across the Atlantic.

    There was a dragon on the rampage in West Virginia, starting fires, burning townships to the ground. His actions were threatening to reveal our presence to the world. The Elders couldn’t allow that, so they sent us to stop the rogue.

    Now you might think a pair of dragons having a wedding party for lunch would be a problem, and would not help us hide our presence from the humans. But, that wasn’t actually the case. Shasta and I would eat all the remains of the dead humans, and leave no trace of our presence. It would be like the humans had just disappeared.

    We hadn’t killed everyone, letting three or four escape. They’d run for their lives, screaming like crazy. The funniest one had been the slightly plump bride. It was so cute to watch the way she jiggled and bounced as she ran for her life in that white wedding dress of hers.

    And of course, the survivors would all tell the same story. “Dragons! Dragons attacked us! They flew from the sky, and killed almost everyone! We’re lucky to be alive!”

    Humans had a way of ignoring such claims, searching for the truth that fit into their understanding of the world. They’d believe it was something everyone ate, or something in the park that caused a mass hallucination. They’d send the survivors to counselors where they’d come to accept the hallucination idea. They’d determine the missing had left the country, and were hiding for some reason.

    Shasta and I finished our meal. The ketchup added just the right zest to the humans, enhancing their flavor. We then cleaned the park, leaving no sign we’d been there.

    “West Virginia, here we come!” Shasta roared as we took to the sky.

    488 Words (Sans title)
    @LurchMunster

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  20. WEDDING SURPRISE
    by Fraser McFraze
    500 words

    “Now just—where the heck—is everybody?” Renée puffed.

    She clambered up into the gazebo, and looked over the garden. It was empty, just like the dining room and the big mural room. Where had everyone GONE? Renée felt a sudden fear. Was it the discussion with Jackie?

    “All this g.d. trouble,” Renée had giggled. “Sometimes I wish it was just me and Robbie, like in high school.” Jackie and Renée had been sipping champagne together, and had nearly a whole glass each. Renée felt a little wild. “Maybe,” she’d said to Jackie, “maybe we should’ve just—eloped!” Jackie had looked shocked, then giggled. Renée giggled too, and then she’d said some pretty strong things about how crazy the wedding planning was, how she hadn’t wanted to invite so many people, and aunts and uncles, and now it had had turned into a big family EVENT, when all she wanted was a small party with friends. Was that selfish? But Jackie was gone.

    And now everyone else had gone too. From one complaint? Well, she’d had enough of being a good girl—all this trouble and they just leave? “They can all go to H-E-double-hockey-sticks!” she shouted. Her spine tingled with excitement. “And to heck with this stupid marshmallow dress, too!” She twisted her arms and got at the zipper. She could, barely, reach it, but then it wouldn’t go down. “Darn it!” she yelled, and pulled. There was a tiny popping sound, then four more, then a big ripping noise. The big dress just fell off and there she stood in just a lacy brassiere—a little racy, for Robbie’s wedding night—and the stupid blue bloomers her mother had made her wear. Well, heck with those too. Renée dropped them on the grass and headed inside.

    All of the glasses and bottles were lined up neatly on the bar. Renée tugged at one, and it popped right open. She just managed to get her mouth in the spray. “Whooey,” she sputtered. “I’m goin’ to hockey sticks!” She looked around. “Where’s that cake at?” There: up on the big table. Renée took the bottle with her, putting her thumb on top and shaking. This time she sprayed it straight up in the air and stood beneath it, mouth open.

    The cake was up on little pillars, and Renée grabbed a chunk of the top layer and chucked it up in the air too, then took another handful and started to eat the icing. From now on, she was only eating icing, no more cake.

    A silvery bell rang twice, loudly, and Renée spun around. The big mural wall was opening up on wheels!

    “Surpri—!” The roar of her family and friends cut off suddenly.

    A small child giggled, and the minister cleared his throat. Renée looked down at herself, dripping with champagne. A piece of cake slid off her left breast and landed with a slap on her foot.

    Renée belched. “Oh shit,” she said.

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  21. “Cold Feet”
    I loved Robert. Robert supported me, loved me as I was, pushed me to accomplish my goals, understood my OCD and my intense belief in many superstitions (including the renowned philosophy of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”).
    Daily he would help me with my necessary routines: unlock and lock the door precisely seven times in the morning before leaving; chocolate milk is made with one tablespoon of syrup (no more, no less) and nine counter-clockwise stirs; arrange the closet Roy G Biv’s way, according to shades of pink then coral then red then red-orange and so on (T-shirts first followed by sweaters, three-quarter lengths in between, patterned shirts with the dominant color just before the next hue in line)—countless more customs. We made it a checklist we could “to-do” together. Everyone before him left after the fourth stir of the chocolate milk.
    We were a perfect fit.
    Which is why, on the morning of May 5, 2013, I was ready to walk down the aisle between the park benches at Ritter and say “I do”. Robert brought out the best in me, and I brought out the best in him.
    The forecast called for rain: perfect. All unions that began with rain were destined for greatness.
    Getting ready went like all other weddings, I suppose: my girls and I met for coffee early that morning at Java Joint on Fifth and Tenth. Sherry ordered a double-latte espresso (I warned her she would need to pee during the exchange of rings…I was right!), Victoria a hot chocolate (they made them there will milk and chocolate chips…to die for!), and me a simple chamomile with honey and lemon (good for nerves).
    Sherry, my Maid of Honor and best friend since second grade, placed a bracelet on my wrist with the half of a “Best Friends” heart I had given her at eleven: “Your ‘borrowed’,” she said. I fiddled with the engagement ring on my left hand. My “old”: it had been Robert’s mother’s.
    After our “coffees”, the day’s busyness began: beautician, makeup, giggle, gorge-a-brownie-because-it’s-one-o’-clock-and-you-haven’t-eaten-since-seven, regret eating brownie for fear it is stuck in teeth, be asked if nervous about tonight, giggle, be asked if nervous about tripping in the grass,“He’s a great guy”, “I’m so happy for you”, hug, cry, fix makeup because of tears, giggle, admire the new dress in the mirror, take a breath, Canon in D, princess moment, stares, “Wows”, tears, “Do you take this man to”…and then…
    I panicked.
    I raced down the aisle, heart bursting out of my chest: I knew I wasn’t ready. I felt the stares of countless friends, family, I-don’t-know-thems. Fortunately I had left my car unlocked. I groaned as I saw the keys were still in the ignition (how could the OCD Queen possibly have forgotten THAT?). I popped the trunk and took out the pair of blue Converse sneakers, slipping them untied over my feet.
    “I’m ready now!” I exhaled over sweat.
    “Your something blue,” Robert said.
    And then…“I do.”

    @nXgWVteacher–504 Words

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  22. Everyone’s eyes were on her. She had gone out of her way that day to look her best. The white dress, the veil, the once-in-a-lifetime splurge on professional hair and make-up.

    Missy walked down the aisle slowly, every eye fixed on her, cameras and cell phones pointed at her and snapping away. She’d have to check YouTube later to see how many hits she’d got. She grinned from ear to ear, regretting that the veil covered her expensive makeover.

    She also regretted that her father wasn’t there to walk her down the aisle. He’d always told her she’d never find a man to marry her. She wished he could see her in her wedding dress. She wished he could see how happy she was.

    Both the bride’s side and the groom’s side murmured with competing choruses of approval and disapproval. A thousand thoughts ran through her mind. Was the caterer on time? Was there enough champagne? What would happen that night?

    Would she be able to outrun the security guards?

    Missy reached the flowered canopy just as the first of the ushers spotted her. She paused only long enough to face the audience and say “I’d like to thank you all for coming, but I’m afraid I haven’t the time…”

    She turned her back to them, yelled “yippie!” and threw the bouquet over her shoulder. Rethinking her choice of footwear too late, she took off across the lawn, hoping that at least one of the cute groomsmen would give chase.

    Missy didn’t stay for the ceremony, but Tricia and Greg’s wedding was one their small circle of shared friends would not easily forget.

    @USNessie 272 words

    …and the strange thing is, I’m usually far OVER the word count but today I’m under it. Ah, well.

    I’ll do a different, nicer post for the bridal shower lol!

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