"Bridal Party"

She woke wondering if it was real.  She used the pad of her thumb on her left hand to feel for the solid cool of the band and there it was.  Slowly, she lifted her hand and saw it.  Her lovely new engagement ring...the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen and she smiled.  A genuine, huge, lovely smile. 

He stirred next to her and she  watched him sleep.  Loving the way his face was expressionless. Picturing him as a sleeping child.  Fighting the urge to kiss him.

"I'm engaged." she thought.  "I'm engaged to the man I love...who loves me."

And she snuggled up close to him as his arm reached behind him protectively, "You okay Bey?"  he said sleepily.

"Mmmhmmmmm..." she smiled into the back of his neck.

And she drifted back to sleep.

Two months later a date was set and it was time to look for a dress.  She knew exactly how she wanted to look on her wedding day and had a few appointments set up today to find the perfect dress.  She looked down at her ringing phone.  It was him.  Her love, her life.


"You ready?"

"Yes.  As ready as I'll ever be. I guess." she sighed.

"Come on Olivia...your mother and sister can't be that bad."

"One would think."

"Well, just remember you're going to pick out your wedding dress and don't let them bring you down.  I"m glad Kelly is going with you too.  She'll help."

"She's no match for them.  They get on her nerves so bad she usually just sits and stares at them."

"Well," he said, "be thankful she's coming as a witness then in case you need to cut one of them."

"That's what best friends are for...alibies."

"I'll check in with you later.  Call me if you need me."

"I will.  Thanks.  I love you."

"Love you too.  Be careful."

And then...she was out the door dressed in a pretty white dress with large turquoise flowers on it.  She wore a ballet flat with a coordinating bag.  Her hair was pulled back elegantly into a low ponytail.

It didn't take her long to get to West Broadway and she pulled up and saw her mother and sister standing in front of the door.  They could be sisters at this point.  Her sister looked just like her mother same build, coloring, everything.  Olivia looked like her father, or, more importantly, her father's mother.  Grandma Diane.

"There you are, Bey!" her mother trilled.  "We've been here forever!"

"Um...mom...we've only been here for 5 minutes." said her sister Linda.

"Five minutes standing in the heat."

"You could have gone in if you wanted to."

Her mother looked at her sister oddly.  Linda's face was sharp.  Showing the same kind of wear Olivia's usually showed when dealing with their mother.

Olivia kissed her sister and her mother.  Held the door open for them and walked in.

They were greeted by a dark haired woman wearing a pale pink pantsuit and a jeweled eyeglass holder necklace.  She led them to a pair of sofas and put her glasses on smiling brightly waiting patiently as the seated themselves. 

"So...tell me how you see yourself on your wedding day?"  She smiled the biggest pageant smile Olivia had ever seen.  Her breaking out into the pageant wave would not have been out of place. 

The question was directed to her sister.

"She's not the bride.  I am."

"Oh...OH!" she said...a little too brightly.

Just then Kelly breezed in and sat next to her.  Her mother's lip tightened.

"Sorry I'm late."

"No problem.  We're just getting started."

"So...how do YOU see yourself on your wedding day?"

And she wasted  no time since she's dreamed of her wedding day as long as she can remember.

"I'd like a princess cut with a train.  Strapless.  Ivory colored with beading and a long, beautiful train."

She stopped, smiling.  Kelly reached over and squeezed her hand grinning a huge grin and making a girly squealing sound.  Her mother looked down at her hands.

"Well, that certainly sounds like a dress fit for a princess' big day.  May I ask what size are you looking at?"

"A 22."

"Okay...let me get some books out so you may find something you'd like us to order."

"You don't have anything she can try on?" asked Linda.

"No.  I don't think we have anything that meets her description in the store for her to try on."

"Well, what do you have?"  said Kelly.

"I don't believe we have anything, but we can order whatever you'd like to try on and it should be here in a week from our warehouse in Texas."

"So you don't have anything in her size, not her description."

"Well...yes.  We don't normally keep those sizes in the store."

"So all I can do is look at books today?"

"I'm sorry.  We normally just keep average sized samples in the store.  Had we been aware when you made the appointment we could have had some things brought in for you.  If you pick something in the book we probably have it in the store so you may see it and get a good feel for it and then we can order it."

Her sister stood up.  "C'mon, let's get out of here."

She started stalking to the door.  They got up and followed her as she held the door open for them.  When they got outside her sister said, "Hold on, I think I dropped something."  and returned inside the store.

In a small voice Olivia shared that she was sorry she'd wasted their time as this would probably be the norm at the other three boutiques as well.  Her mother didn't say anything.  Kelly linked arms through hers.  Tightly.

Her sister walked out of the store with a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes. 

"C'mon Olivia and Kelly...we're going to have lunch."  Her eyes flicked over her mother disgustedly, "Mother...we'll see you later."

She linked arms through Olivia's free one and they walked into the parking lot.

Their mother STILL didn't say a word.

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