Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans: Not Gonna Fit

I’m fat. I’m fatter than fat. I’ve gained nine pounds since Mitchell proposed, and with the camera already fabled to add ten, I’ll be nineteen pounds heavier in all my wedding photos. Not to mention I won’t fit in my dress!

I should call Renee and tell her I’m not coming. But then, how would that look? The bride a no show to her own dress fitting. I was supposed to be there an hour ago, but Mitchell, he was so patient, attentive, smooth, gentle deliberate. He made love to me with such care, never rushing, always giving me exactly what I needed first, which satisfied him beyond a quick orgasm, just to hear me exhale and lie back, having had my fill.

God, I love that man. Who cares if I never put on the dress, as long as I’m at that altar Christmas day to say, “I do,” now and forever.

I wish he was still here as I stand naked on the scale, wet from the shower, and touch myself. As much as he wanted to stay and spend this day lost underneath the sheets, he had to get home—which in eight days will be our home, he reminded me—he needed to straighten things up for his family, who would be coming down to stay with him until the wedding, supposedly to make sure we don’t consummate too soon.

I laugh at this. If only they knew. I can already feel his seed germinating inside me. It makes me want him even more. I suck in my stomach and look down at the digital number displayed on the screen between my two big toes. Is there any way I can get this down between now and Christmas? Not with a bridal shower and rehearsal dinner still to come. Oh! And the cake tasting with the caterer! I completely forgot! They’ll definitely have to sew me into my dress after that—I can’t rely on a single bite to make my decision. Mitchell will just have to go by himself. I can trust him to choose the right cake. He remembers I’m allergic to strawberries, right?

My skin has managed to dry without a towel. I step off the scale with a sigh, conclude that it’s just lying to me. After this morning’s “workout,” I should have lost something. Sex burns calories, they say. And since I only had eggs for breakfast—the bacon burnt to a crisp—I should see some results.

But I can’t hide the fact that my stomach is looking fuller than usual, and the added girth isn’t fat that I can pinch, but solid and firm, bloated. Water weight, maybe? I pull my jeans over my hips. It’s a snug fit and my sides spill out over the top. I’ll have to stick to the stairs for the rest of this week. And avoid the carbs, which means no bread, no pasta. That’ll be hard with Renee planning the menus for all our wedding events. She doesn’t believe a meal’s balanced unless it has at least two starches— beans and rice, beans and potatoes, two kinds of potatoes, mac and cheese and potatoes. Did I mention potatoes?

But I remember that I also put on extra pounds just before my period starts. It’s close to that time, right? Though, I thought it was due to come last week. As long as it’s not next Saturday, because Mitchell and I have plans.

When I walk through the doors of Marinette’s Parisian Bridal Shop, I think Renee’s head just might literally explode. Her face as red as the quarter Cherokee blood she claims runs through her veins.

“Where the heck have you been!” As mad as she is, she still doesn’t curse. I have to admire that. I’m not always able to stay in character, but then she wouldn’t be setting a good example for Bryan if she couldn’t bite her own tongue.

“I’m sorry,” I say. “I lost track of time.”

“Doing what?” Rita asks. I’m surprised to see her here, that she actually beat me, and that she looks half-way decent before noon. Her skin is glowing, actually glowing, not dark and burnt from all the weed she smokes. This fast is doing her good. The teal blue jumpsuit she wears, accessorized with a large fuzzy white wool shawl, reminds me of freshly fallen snow. Her hair even seems to be sprinkled with a dusting of something white and sparkly. And is that makeup she’s wearing? The blue eyeshadow she repeatedly tells me is so middle school whenever I wear it? What has gotten into her? Or should I say, who?

“The next wedding party will be here in ten minutes. The coffee is cold. The macaroons are hard. Your mom and I called you twenty times. Where were you?” Renee is saying, practically shouting, almost crying.

I put my hands on her shoulders and shake her back into reality. “Renee, breathe. I’m the one getting married here. I can’t have you freaking out on me.”

“Never mind that,” Renee says, waving her arms around her head as if swatting away flies. “Now I have to find your mom. She’s trying to buy another dress last minute, and we’ve got to get you in yours before they kick us out.” She rushes off to the back of the store, disappears behind the fitting room curtains.

When we’re alone, Rita turns to me, folds her arms over her chest. Looking down on me—she has me beat by five or so inches—she says with a smirk, “So what were you really doing?”

“What do you mean?”

“Tash, you’re glowing, girl.”

“I could say the same about you.”

“Ok. You don’t want to tell me.” She shrugs, doesn’t acknowledge that I’ve noticed a difference in her too. She picks up a blue macaroon from the snack tray. It breaks apart and crumbles around her lips as she sinks her teeth into it. Chewing with her mouth full she says, “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were pregnant.”

My stomach drops in my gut.

“Tash, today!” I hear Renee yell. “We still have to see the caterer!”

God, I hope this dress fits.

—Nortina


Part of Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans
——
Previous: Snowflakes Have Always Been Blue
Next: Welcome to the Club

Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans: Before the Wedding

You rise and turn your back to me. I so desperately want to see your face, to cradle it in my palms as you lie on top of me, fill me with your love, your gray eyes piercing in the darkness, glimpsing into my soul, watching my insides blossom, but you turn your back to me.

I never knew a man, who wanted nothing more than to make me his wife forever, could in turn, make me feel so dirty.

“This is wrong,” you say. “We should’ve waited.”

But we’ve waited long enough. For six years, I’ve endured hand holding, side-shoulder hugs, pecks on the cheek and forehead, a couple on the mouth if it’s Valentine’s Day, but never enough to make my inner thighs tingle. Always falling just short of making me want you the way I want to want you, need you the way I need to need you. To grasp you between my legs and bloom for you, the way I imagine Rachel did for Jacob after fourteen years . . . of waiting.

“You can’t use that against me,” you say, and the painful look in your eyes is reminiscent of the way the corners of your eyes slanted at a sharp angle when you poured all of your spirit into me, and I am again desperate to touch you, to feel you.

“What about the five love languages?” I say to you. “You remember the sermon. How important it is to know which is your partner’s.” Mine—physical touch.

“That’s for marriage.”

But we are married! Right here, in this bed, we wed in spirit, and you cleaved to me the way a husband should, the way I want you to again. Forget your vow of celibacy and sin for me just this once, and then again. God will forgive us for jumping the broom three weeks too soon. Because that’s what He does. Because His unconditional love is worth more than what you show me tonight.

“Maybe you should go.”

“But, baby, it’s cold outside,” and I wish the roles were reversed, and you were the one singing the song to me as we held each other by the fireplace, only our skin and the flames before us to keep us warm.

But you’re already pulling up your pants and tossing me my sweater, not bothering to help me into my clothes the way you so quickly got me out of them—slowly, savoring what you will surely miss until our scheduled wedding night, if that is still a possibility.

“Call me when you get home,” you say at the door, and a gust of wind blasts me in my face, freezes the tears fresh on my tender cheeks. You won’t walk me to my car. Too tempting to kiss me. You know I won’t settle for the forehead. I’ll clasp your face in my hands, pull your lips down to mine, slip my tongue in between, beckon you toward the garage where I know there’s an empty table, clear of the Christmas decorations you hung the day after Thanksgiving, ready to receive our naked bodies as we consummate our betrothal for a second time tonight.

But I am in my car alone, and the air is taking too long to turn warm, and the steering wheel feels like ice touching my fingers, and you are already safe inside—the door closed and locked—before I back out of the driveway.

—Nortina


Part of Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans:
——
 Next: Time to Decorate the Tree

#ThrowbackThursday Fiction: Harvest Wedding

Happy Throwback Thursday! This story, originally published October 8, 2014, started as journal assignment for a fiction writing course in college. The prompt was, “When I first heard the song . . . ”

At the time, the song I constantly had on repeat was Trey Songz’s “Almost Lose It,” which is about a wedding. Unfortunately, this wedding turned horribly sour. If you ever read or seen the Spanish play, Bodas de sangre, you can guess what happens. Actually, the original title for this story, when I turned it in for class, was “Blood Wedding.”


Harvest Wedding

Saturday afternoon in mid October. The leaves were just beginning to change colors. Beautiful reds, and oranges. With the right wind, they would break from their branches and swirl through the air until they found the right beautiful woman’s head to adorn. I was that woman, and I was walking down the aisle at Mt. Zion AME, about to start a new life with the man of my dreams, Prince Rossario. He truely was a prince; dressed in a crisp, black tux with the burgandy of his vest peeking above his jacket. Our colors were orange and Merlot red, the same as the fall leaves. The perfect harvest wedding.

As I stepped closer to my future husband, I saw the tears in his eyes sparkle. There was a gravitational pull in his gaze and I let it take over my muscular functions and pull me closer to him. I was gliding, not walking, down the aisle.

Everything was as it should be until someone came bursting through the doors behind me. Instantly, everything and everyone froze. Even the wedding song had abruptly stopped with a scratch just as it was reaching its climax. Prince’s glowing face immediately darkened into a look of dread and fear as his eyes grew wide, tore away from mine and moved past me to the dark figure standing behind me. A loud gasp came from the throat of the best man, Johnny, as he turned a disbelieving look in Prince’s direction; his bottom lip quivering.

My heart stopped and my tears that were tears of joy only seconds prior, quickly turned cold and anxious as they sliced a path down my cheeks. I slowly turned around to face the creature that had deliberately stolen the attention of every one of my guests in that sanctuary. To my astonishment, I came to face Constance Applewood, an old friend—really acquaintance—from college who had dated Prince before I came into the picture. She obviously wasn’t invited. I made sure of that. What bride wants her fiancé’s ex-girlfriend at her wedding, slouching in the front row, patiently waiting for her moment to object to the marriage and invoke chaos throughout the church as she pounces on the innocent woman in white, clawing her nails into her flesh, not quite sure if she wants to kill her rival or just scare her away, but indisputably willing to do anything to get her man back?

Prince thought I was being overly dramatic to think that Constance would go through such lengths. He assured me that his and Constance’s relationship wasn’t even a relationship; just two good friends who spent a lot of time together and occasionally had sex once or twice or three times; a faux-relationship that ended once he met me. Of course I had to remind him that less than a week after we started dating, I found “HOMEWRECKER” keyed into the side of my black Toyota Camry.

Seeing Constance stand before me confirmed that I was right not to invite her. Unfortunately, the absence of an invitation didn’t stop her from crashing my wedding. It wasn’t her presence that had shocked me and everyone else in the sanctuary. What inflicted horror into the eyes of the guests, myself, and the wedding party was a wedding dress identical to mine. From the rhinestones that trimmed the bodice to the ruffles of the gown to the design of the lace on the veil to the length of the train behind her, it was all the exact duplicate of mine. The only difference, an unmistakably huge difference, was that here dress was black. Even the bouquet she held in her hands was composed of drooping, brown flowers and weeds. The tears pouring from her eyes caused the murky mascara to run dark veins down her face. She began to shake as her screeching voice wailed, “This wedding is over!” She dropped her bouquet to reveal the shimmering, sharpened blade of a butcher knife.

“Oh, God!” someone screamed from the crown, and suddenly, chaos erupted throughout the church. Everyone swarmed toward the exit doors, unsure of the terror to follow but certain that they weren’t staying behind to find out. Guests were bouncing off of one another, trying to elbow their way through to freedom. Babies could be heard squealing in the background as they were being torn from their mothers’ arms in the midst of the mayhem. Young children were being trampled under the combination of high heels and penny loafers. In the center of all the running, tripping, falling, jumping, flailing of arms, tossing of clutch purses, scratching of pew legs across the floor, tumbling and crashing of flower vases, the epicenter of all the screams and shrieks stood Constance. Her obscure eyes pierced into my soul and it was as if she were pointing the knife right at my heart. It was reminiscent of the cheesy dramatics of a C rated action film, except there were no cameras rolling and no director to scream “CUT!” so that my stunt double could take my place. Oh, how I wished it were that way.

When the pandemonium finally subsided and all that was left in the church were those still frozen at the altar, and Constance and myself—more like yin and yang—standing in the middle aisle, silence engulfed the church once again. The tension in that sanctuary was so thick it could be cut with a knife. Unfortunately, tension was not Constance’s intended target. I dropped my bouquet and ran to the altar to stand next to my groom.

Prince wrapped me in his arms and spoke up to the menacing woman in black. “Constance, have you lost your–”

“Shut up!” she interrupted him. “You don’t get to speak.” She took a few steps closer and everyone scattered to opposite corners of the church. Johnny inched to the door behind Constance, hoping to escape unnoticed. Three of my bridesmaids created a barricade of pews in the far left corner. My parents and future in-laws hugged each other while trembling underneath the organ. Prince and I crouched behind the podium with the reverend. It wasn’t the best place to hide because no sooner than peeking over the edges of the podium did I find Constance hovering over us with the blinding blade in her hand.

Prince held up his hands in surrender. “Constance,” he started. “I get it. You’re upset.”

“I’m upset?” she blurted, in shock of Prince’s little words to her.

Reverend Jacobs stood up and approached Constance. “Sweetheart, give me the knife. We can resolve this in a peaceful manner.”

“Stay back!” she demanded, pointing the knife to his chest. She turned to Prince. “What does she have that I don’t, huh? Is, is her hair prettier than mine? Is she skinnier than me? Does, does she please you better in the bedroom?”

I wanted to correct her by saying that I was a virgin, but images of her carving me with the knife reminded me of the importance of silence.

“What is it?” she continued.

“Constance.”

“What is it!”

“I love her!”

I melted when he spoke those words. I wanted to jump into his arms, kiss him passionately, and profess how much I loved him too. Constance could not succeed in breaking us up or this wedding. I was confident of that. Her behavior, no matter how irrational, would not force him to change his feelings for me. He knew the day he met me—Super Bowl party at Johnny’s house. I was wearing a Richard Sherman jersey and held a hot wing in one hand and an open Bud Light Platinum in the other. He walked right into me and promised me that I would be disappointed and that Peyton Manning would expose Sherman for the mediocre cornerback that he was. By halftime, he was begging me for my number.

“But you don’t love me.” Constance’s voice had softened. She begin to lower the knife.

“Constance, we were never that serious. You gotta know that. When I started dating Alicia, you told me you were fine with it.” Prince held out his hand for the knife. I rose to my feet as gracefully as I could without stepping on my train and inadvertently stumbling into the butcher knife that separated me and Constance. I stood behind Prince, wrapped my arms around his waist and looked at Constance over his shoulder.

“I didn’t think you were gonna marry her!” she said. “I thought . . . I thought . . .” She turned her back to us. “I guess it doesn’t matter now,” she whispered, shrugging her shoulders.

Prince started toward her, but I pulled him back, squeezing his torso with the little strength I had. He turned to the reverend, who stepped to Constance and touched her shoulder. “Sister,” he began.

Constance didn’t turn around. She raised the knife above her head, and before the reverend could snatch it away from her, plunged it into her chest, right into her broken heart. I screamed. My parents and in-laws hidden underneath the organ screamed. My bridesmaids behind the barricade of pews screamed. Johnny has already exited the sanctuary.

Constance’s body collapsed to the floor. The reverend dropped to his knees. His hands hovered over the end of the knife in her chest, debating if pulling it out would help save her life, or just accelerate her inevitable death. He bowed his head to pray, his hands still hovering over the knife.

Prince broke free of my grasp and ran to the opposite side of Constance. He cupped the back of her head in his palm and repeatedly slapped her check, screaming, “Why? Why would you do this?” When he looked up at me, I could see the tears in his eyes. They didn’t sparkle. They didn’t tug at my heart, draw me to want to be closer to him and his bleeding ex-girlfriend. I backed away, let the weight of my wedding gown press me down to the floor. I heaved loud sobs, and when I saw the first teardrop land on my left hand, void of a wedding band, I knew we had missed our harvest.

—Nortina

Honeymoon Skinny Dip

Even in summer, the water was freezing at night.

“Don’t shrivel up on me.” I slipped out of my bikini bottoms, dangled them above his head.

“Let’s not flash anyone.” He winked and took my hand, drawing me further out to sea.

Wedding Portrait

She curls her shoulders every time he nibbles on her ear, pinches her upper arm. I have to capture it— the love and playfulness of this day. I dab light pink smudges across her high cheek bones with my middle finger. I dip the tip of my brush into the brown and black and trace a line around her collarbone to bring out the sharp curve of her bare shoulders.

Then I see it— how she radiates from head to toe.  By the way they bite each other’s bottom lip, they don’t know it yet, but a woman’s intuition is never wrong. I saturate the canvas in scarlet, lavender, and chartreuse. I darken her complexion, kiss it with the sun using maroon and amber. I deepen his onyx tuxedo. The bright colors accent the ivory in her dress, the light around her abdomen.

“No charge,” I tell them I as present the finished product. “My blessings to you and your new family.”

word count: 162

—Nortina


Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a weekly challenge where you write a story in 100-150 words (give or take 25 words) using the provided photo prompt as inspiration.

wpid-photo-20150921073220157

Lunch Around the World

Jason spreads the quilt underneath the grapevines. It has grown since their wedding night seven years ago, stitched together with the flags of countries and cities they had visited each anniversary, starting with Seville, Spain on their honeymoon.

“Everyone goes to Paris,” he had whispered to her as he kissed the top of her hand. “Let’s take a boat ride along the Guadalquivir, watch the Torre del Oro reflect golden yellow on the river’s surface.”

This year, they decide on a domestic vacation, a picnic in the foothills of North Carolina.

Maya kneels on the Costa Rican flag, places the basket at the center of Japan. Jason pours the wine over Morocco while Maya spreads the toast, Swiss cheese, and jar of jelly across Canada, Chile, and Bermuda.

“Shouldn’t we have grapes too?” Maya asks.

“They’re right above you,” Jason says chuckling. “Pick the ripest muscadine you can find. We’ll bite into it together.”

word count: 154

—Nortina


Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a weekly challenge where you write a story in 100-150 words (give or take 25 words) using the provided photo prompt as inspiration.

Click on the froggy icon to read other stories and add your own!

© Vanessa Rodriguez
© Vanessa Rodriguez

Princess Wedding

The photo prompt for this week’s Friday Fictioneers reminded me of a WIP that for some reason is no longer in progress. I wrote a first chapter about two years ago. Not sure why I never continued. The story had promise. But here’s the funny thing: the genre is romance, and anyone who knows me knows that I completely LOATHE romance novels. Anyway, here’s to picking up where I left off!

hyde-hall-light
© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Check-in was at three. It was well past five. The sweltering Savannah air engulfed Dorothy when she opened the door. It was stagnant, tasted of melted plastic on her tongue.

“Are we close to the ocean? Where’s the breeze?”

Maurice ignored her, rushing towards the entrance to meet the cool blast of air against his face inside the hotel lobby. Dorothy limped behind, her legs asleep from the five-hour drive. She marveled at the grand chandelier above the rotating doors. The bulbs illuminated brightly, eliminating all hints of glass, appearing as true flames. Still Suzanne, she thought, always a princess.

word count: 100

—Nortina

Click the froggy icon to ready other stories and add your own.

 

Vacancy

“The only residents remaining in the small town of Miners Hill are spirits.” The woman behind the counter spoke softly, and Mica leaned forward to hear.

“Is that supposed to scare us?” Rock rang the dome-shaped bell. It echoed throughout the empty lobby.

“Haven’t you noticed the deserted streets? The constant whisper all over town, but no wind?”

“Look, lady, we just need a room.”

“It’s our honeymoon,” Mica added.

“Really? And you chose this place?”

“She wanted a cross-country trip. See all the places nobody’s ever heard of.” Rock shrugged. “This was on the map.”

“Still? After all these years?” The woman’s fingers felt like the tips of feathers as she dropped a pair of rusted keys into Mica’s hand. The keys were ice cold, and the chill shot up Mica’s arm.

“How much?” Rock asked.

“A wedding gift. Enjoy your stay.” She turned and walked into the office. Her white hair and pastel colored clothing were gone before the door closed.

word count: 150

—Nortina


Mondays Finish the Story: a flash fiction challenge where we provide you with a new photo each week, and the first sentence of a story. Your challenge is to finish the story using 100-150 words, not including the sentence provided.

Click the froggy icon to read other stories and add your own.

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham
© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

 

All the Boys

Arriving at the beach, she reflected on her life.

Her sister always told her she had terrible taste in men. It started in pre-school when she let Tanner Simon look under her skirt during snack time. Then in the third grade while on a field trip to Washington D.C., she snuck Mikey Colombo into her hotel bed while their chaperone smoked on the balcony. For four minutes, they pretended to be husband and wife, naming their children Mikey, Jr. and Connie, Jr. Mikey never took her virginity, though. That came in high school when she had sex with Rico Timmonds in the auditorium underneath the stage while the theatre students rehearsed Romeo and Juliet

Now, as the foam from the waves kisses her feet, her sister swears that her fiancé paid the stripper to suck him off at his bachelor party. Maybe he did. But out of all the boys she’d loved before, he was the only one who said he loved her back.

word count: ~150

—Nortina


This is in response to Mondays Finish the Story: a flash fiction challenge where we provide you with a new photo each week, and the first sentence of a story. Your challenge is to finish the story using 100-150 words, not including the sentence provided.

Click the froggy icon to read other stories and add your own.

2015-05-11-bw-beacham

Sunday Photo Fiction: Until Death . . .

Ross loved his wife more than life itself and didn’t believe anything could separate them or diminish his love. He made that clear at their wedding.

“I, Ross take you Josephine, to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death . . . no, not even death can part us.”

Family and friends in the audience awed at his declaration. Josephine blushed, her rosy cheeks radiating behind her white veil. Even the minister smiled sweetly, putting his hand over his heart.

It was a beautiful ceremony, and everyone believed Ross and Josephine were the perfect, happy couple. But there was something deeply troubling about Ross’ love. He had been married twice before, and previous wives crashed the reception to warn Josephine of his obsession with proving that death would never separate him from his bride. They showed Josephine scars, bruises, permanent rope burns around their necks. Ushers dismissed the battered women, and Josephine intertwine her arm with her husband’s and poured Pinot Noir from a crystal glass down his throat, kissing his red lips as if nothing had disturbed their euphoric day.

That night, Ross slit his bride’s throat. He swooped her into his arms, and carried her to their bed where he consummated their marriage, licking the blood from her neck as if she were still blissfully pouring the Pinot Noir into his mouth.

–Nortina


This is in response to Sunday Photo Fiction: write a story in around 200 words, using the provided photo as inspiration. Click the froggy icon to read other stories and add your own.

until death