I’m Reposting this story as today’s Word of the Day is Groom
She’d had her doubts from the beginning.
Henry had seemed to be the one. At least he had at first.
Henry was the same age as her, they were both approaching their thirtieth birthday which they planned to celebrate together as part of their honeymoon in Barbados.
They had been together for seven years and had been introduced through mutual friends. He had a high position at the Bank. Not quite on the board but not far removed.
Apparently, he was a bit of a financial whizz-kid.
He was just over six-foot-tall and when she’d first met him he had a big mop of brown hair, which had now retreated to the fringes of his head.
His bright blue eyes were the same as they always had been. They always seemed amused. Sometimes she felt they were laughing at her somehow.
He’d played rugby and polo when she’d first met him, but now played golf every Thursday afternoon and most Sunday’s. She’d had to fight hard to ensure that they didn’t have their honeymoon at a golf resort, which had been Henry’s preference. Actually, to say she had to fight wasn’t at all fair to Henry. Once she had pointed out that she did not enjoy golf and didn’t want golf to be part of their honeymoon in any shape or form, he did accept it. He just hadn’t realised that she did not feel the same way about his beloved sport.
She’d had her doubts from the beginning because from the beginning there had been someone else. Steve.
Steve was actually Henry’s cousin and one of his best friends. He was slightly taller than Henry, slightly beefier and he still played rugby and didn’t seem to like golf that much at all.
Steve had similar blue eyes to Henry but didn’t seem to have that same mocking look about them. He also had dark hair, almost black. The typical Tall, dark and handsome guy.
She’d met them both at the same party but whereas everyone had said how great Henry was, people had warned her off Steve. “Oh, he’s a bit of a Ladies man he is. Best be wary of that one dear”. Somehow that seemed to just add spice to the mix.
Over the years she had seen Steve quite a bit, he’d often been staying at Henry’s parents’ large house in Hampstead when she’d been invited down for the weekend.
One year they had all spent Christmas together, Her and Henry, Henry’s sister Abigail and his parents. Two weeks together in a large rented house in Cornwall.
It was then that the real affair started. She and Steve had had the house to themselves, the others had all gone for a long walk along the front, but she hadn’t fancied it. Steve initially had joined the others but had doubled back. She had hoped he would. It was brutal lust but she had enjoyed every minute of it. She supposed she should have been ashamed, but somehow, she wasn’t at all. Of course, that was only the first time. There had been many times since then, until Steve was given a job, by the same bank that Henry worked for, strangely enough, to run their branch in northern Spain. Apparently, he spoke Spanish fluently and was just the man they were looking for. She remembered cursing fate at the time. That had been six months ago.
She had been very discrete about the whole thing. No one suspected a thing. She was sure of that. Henry’s Mother, who was Steve’s Aunt, would have definitely changed her attitude, she was devoted to her son and her usual rather gushy friendliness would have been replaced by frosty coldness or outright aggression if she suspected anything at all.
Her future father-in-law had said something odd to her once. About faithfulness and loyalty being the best attributes in a wife.
There was only one person she had confided with. Her sister. She had told her, because somehow, she had noticed something. Strange how some people are so perceptive. Her sister was not considered bright or academic like her. She had been the one who had gone to university to study photography and had started her own successful photography business while her younger sister was always considered a little slow. She was introverted and shy but had obviously noticed something and had challenged her about it. It had actually seemed quite a relief to tell somebody about it. Sarah hadn’t made much of a fuss. Which had surprised her because she had always been a little miss goody two shoes and was always running off to tell tales about her to Daddy. She did tell her what she was doing was wrong and actually asked her what she thought of Henry’s feelings in the matter. She’d said she didn’t really care what Henry thought, what he didn’t know wasn’t going to hurt him any.
She had thought a lot about this wedding for some time, whether she really wanted to go through with it. Then not long ago, two things happened that made her decide that marrying Henry was actually the best move she could make. Firstly, Henry was appointed as a junior member of the board. One of the youngest in the bank’s history, So Henry had told her. This meant a huge increase in his salary plus quite a few perks, like some company shares and also free membership of one of the more prestigious golf clubs in London. That was nice for Henry, but she wasn’t exactly dreading the lifestyle she could lead. She could sell her business and live like a queen.
The other factor in her decision was receiving an e-mail from Steve. She had kept in touch with Steve over e-mail as she’d hoped that when he next came back to England they could arrange to meet. Steve’s e-mail was quite brisk. He’d met a lovely Senorita called Conchita and they were getting married and he’d hoped she’d be very pleased for them both.
Henry had invited Steve and his new wife to their wedding. She’d made sure they were seated at the back though.
Anyway, today was the day. Her mother and sister were helping her with her make-up and getting into the Swarovski crystal wedding gown. The morning passed very quickly as people fussed over her. In next to no time she was seated in the Rolls Royce next to her father who looked at her with moist eyes. If only he knew what she felt inside. The cold emptiness.
Then she arrived at the church and her father was walking her down the aisle to the sound of Wagner’s Bridal March. There was Henry, her Groom, at the altar, wearing his smart and expensive morning suit with the lilac waistcoat. He looked at her apprehensively. His eyes lacked that amused glint they usually contained.
The Vicar began. “Dearly Beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God to join together Henry Michael Rainsford and Laura Samantha Simmonds in holy matrimony. Into this holy estate, these two persons present now come to be joined. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together – let them speak now or forever hold their peace.”
Henry then turned to her and spoke. “Actually, I do. I am sorry Laura but I can’t go through with this. It is a total sham. You don’t love me and now I am pretty sure you never have and certainly never will. I loved you very dearly and for that reason, I have hoped you would eventually fall in love with me. I know all about you and Steve but I hoped that by sending him away you would then fall in love with me. I know now that this is not the case.
With that, he turned and walked away down the aisle.
Her sister actually ran after him and they left the church together.
She could feel the embarrassment rise up in her. The blush coming into her cheeks.
And she stood there, ‘the Blushing bride’, Only she wasn’t going to be a bride after all.
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 19/March/2018
via Daily Prompt: Blush