November 7, 2008 Leave a comment
The gold ring on her finger felt heavy and dead as she glanced down at it for the first time since it had been slipped on an hour ago. Until now she hadn’t had the guts to look it, examine it, think about it. She kept waiting for it to get warm, for the metal to take on at least a little heat from her body after being on her skin for nearly sixty minutes, but it still felt as icy as it had when it had first slid into place. Her finger looked like a strangers finger rather than the one she’d looked at for the past twenty-nine years. It ended in the same long, well shaped and manicured nail, was still the same small configuration of tiny bones and firm tanned skin, but it looked different…detached from the rest of her by the heavy golden band.
While her hand was freezing, the rest of her was overheated and clammy beneath the layers of white and pearls. The dress had been designed by her mother and created by one of the most famous wedding dress designers in the world, and had been the most beautiful item in the entire ceremony, which was just what her mother had had in mind: an amazing dress to prevent the viewers from noticing the bride’s pale face and empty sapphire eyes. Her long thin arms felt weak and useless beneath the weight of the material, her knees shaky and clumsy where they were hidden away by the hooped skirt. She wondered vaguely if she was going to pass out. It would be a day of firsts if that happened – her first marriage, her first faint, her first life-altering, unchangeable mistake.
Her mother was standing next to the priest and her father. Her white hair was pristine and obedient, as was everything else in her life – not a single molecule out of place beneath her demanding hands. Her face, carefully devoid of too much expression as well as any hint of a wrinkle, was turned away from her daughter and tilted expectantly toward her husband, who was in a deep conversation with the priest. His own hair, silvered at the tips of jet black wings that feathered away from the rugged, handsome face, looked as perfectly kept and unobtrusive as it did every other day, but beneath it, his fiery green eyes and lowered brows suggested he was unhappy about whatever they were discussing. Sara had no clue what could be upsetting him on this day, the day he’d planned and prodded for for two years now, until she saw him throw an annoyed expression down at her mother. Ah, so that was it; he couldn’t very well ignore her as he would on any other day, not with the priest and the guests still watching. She was using the opportunity to the fullest, no doubt; her arm was twined in a death grip around his, fair golden skin bright against the black tuxedo jacket. She was determined to put aside her own disgust and normal ignorance of her mate to put on the appearance that she worked so hard to promote – the perfect family with the perfect daughter, and, now, the perfect marriage.
Involuntarily, Sara’s eyes strayed toward where Edward, her brand new husband, stood. He was in the center of a crowd of people, which, again, was his usual habit; it seemed that no one in her world was going to break with their normal routines, despite that fact that her future had just been decided on the whim of three people and the finality of a priest’s proclamation. There was to be no changing for any of them, after all; Edward was giving up nothing and gaining the convenience of a wife, and her mother had scored the coup of the century, marrying off her only child and securing her financial status in one fell swoop. Even her father wouldn’t be bothered or hindered in any way by the fact that his daughter was moving across the country and starting a new life. What did it matter, when he so rarely saw her anyway? And of course, his newly cemented relationship with Edward’s family, one of the wealthiest in the world and especially on the West coast, wouldn’t hurt in the least. It was, in fact, the only reason he’d allowed his wife to convince him to approve of the marriage. He’d rather not deal with his daughter or her life at all, but in this instance there’d been every reason to make a decision and stick to it.
Everyone was occupied except her. She was sitting alone at the wedding party’s table, nursing a flute of champagne and watching the dancing party swirl by beneath the raised dais. She had sent her bridesmaids – high school friends she hadn’t been close to in years, cousins she rarely saw, and her husband’s twin sisters – to enjoy the night in any way they so chose. They would have stayed with her out of a sense of duty, not out of true desire, and she wasn’t in the mood to deal with any of them. What she really wanted to do was leave the reception and find a warm bed to curl up and disappear into, but that seemed highly unlikely, at least not for the next several hours. Her mother would be traumatized by the scandal, her father annoyed with the disruption, and her husband, if he noticed at all, would wonder yet again why he’d married someone who couldn’t enjoy a simple party in her own honor.
The thing was, she didn’t feel honored in the least, and the marriage was barely an hour old and she was already regretting it. It would be much easier to escape into sleep than deal with reality.