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Never the Bride
I look down at my new sandals and my little pink toe nails that look the insides of seashells. My feet are so pretty, and soft, and clean in contrast to the grass they are brushing over as I sit on the swing outside by the lake and wait for our visitors. My white sun dress with blue flowers is blowing in the breeze and I know I look gorgeous. I did my hair myself for this occasion and I have it braided down my back, conservatively I'd say, with a clip that matches my dress. From the corner of my eye I see this ancient BMW pull into the driveway.
I hear my mom yell "Here they come!" and I get up, go inside, and see her rush to the door cooing “oooooh they’re here!” over and over again and Dad is pouring some drinks in the kitchen. Then they are there, standing in the doorway. I hear Stephanie’s voice wander into the home she left six years ago for school, and then I hear Jason. That’s when I make my way to greet my sister and her fiancé.
Stephanie looks ugly as usual. She always looks like an old lady or something. Her hair is short—much shorter than my long, beautiful blonde locks. And she is a lot fatter than me by probably a hundred pounds. She’s got the boobs though, I will give her that. That’s probably why Jason is standing next to her in the doorway and not me.
As for Jason, well, he is just gorgeous. He is really tall, and everyone always says “Oh Stephanie is a lucky girl.” Then they look at me, ask me if I have a boyfriend, and then chuckle and ignore me not even waiting for my response. But tonight, I plan to capture Jason’s heart.
“Jason!” My dad retreats from the kitchen shakes Jason's hand quickly before looking my sister up and down and saying “My little girl, getting married!”
“Honey, let me see the ring!” Mom snatched Stephanie’s hand from Jason just like Stephanie snatched Jason from me. “Darling, look at this beautiful ring!" she says to Dad. Then to me, "Oh, Annie, come look at your sister’s engagement ring!” I stand still. “Don’t be shy!”
It’s pretty, so I say “pretty”. It would look nicer on me.
“Did you say hi to your sister, sweetie?” my mother asks. I hate when she treats me like a child! I think she is still suffering empty nest syndrome from Stephanie’s move out, but I say hi anyway so I don’t stir the pot. I really want to say hi to Jason, but I don’t have much experience with men and I don’t want to say the wrong thing.
“You know Jason, Annie” says Stephanie.
Oh, I know Jason all right. “Hi Jason”. Blood rushes to my face.
“Hey Annie! Long time no see” He's getting closer-- oh my gosh, he is going to hug me! He bends down and wraps those thick tan arms around me, nearly lifting my body from the ground as he injects me with his raw desire for infidelity and a younger woman than my old hag law school sis. He is so warm and his hair tickles the side of my face. He pulls away and his hand lingers on my shoulder a little longer than appropriate, right in front of my parents. I think he’s into me.
Dad informs our guests that he has poured some drinks so we should go sit on the patio and look out on the lake while enjoying our spirits.
I try to sit as close to Jason as possible but stupid Stephanie is always in my way. I end up across from him on the patio though, good enough. He can look right across to me now and realize he picked the wrong sister. I’m prettier anyway. Stephanie has that big nose and hair on her arms. I have a cherubic visage and don’t grow hair anywhere but my head. Jason really should weigh his options a little better.
But apparently in law school, Stephanie is hot stuff. That’s where she and Jason fell in love. I guess I could meet someone as perfect as Jason in law school, but I can’t decide if I want to pursue vocal performance or veterinary science as my career yet.
I hate small talk. Daddy is talking to my man about his future plans, and Stephanie and Mom are just carrying on about this stupid wedding and thumbing through this big dumb binder that Stephanie has been sticking magazine clippings, invoices, and guests lists and stuff like that in. "But mother, Aunt Myrtle is so rude, I can't bare to think of her at the same table as my in-laws!" "Lily of the Valley or Baby's Breath?" Blah Blah Blah. I think Jason sees me getting restless.
Jason holds his champagne glass with such poise, but still in such a manly manner. I would be drinking some fancy beverage myself, but I don’t think I’d handle my liquor too well and now is not the time to mess this up. So I stick my feet up on the table and whip my thick braid towards Mom's glass of red wine that's sitting beside me on the table. It spills on Stephanie's quilted and bedazzled white binder so I say "oops" and Mom takes the binder and runs to the kitchen, followed by Stephanie who is yelling at me and saying curse words that a real lady like me has never even heard before.
With Mom and Stephanie in the kitchen, I know Jason is dying to talk to me. “So, Annie, how have you been?” he leans forward a little when he asks. He wants me.
“Oh, fine.” Fine? Fine!? I need to be more charming than that if I am going to win him over.
“Well, good!” He flashes me that flawless white smile, then returns talking to Dad. I can’t help but stare.
Who knows if I will be able to see Jason before the wedding! If I am breaking this thing up, it’s now or never. Ah, look at his madras shorts and that yellow polo stretched across his chest. He’s beautiful. Stephanie doesn’t deserve him! She’s so mean. I have to do something. I suppose I could just serenade Jason tonight or woo him while Stephanie and Mom are cleaning the binder, but Dad is still here, and I guess it would be nice just to break the news to the family: I am in love with Jason, and Jason, you have picked the wrong sister.
They are back from the kitchen now, and Stephanie looks collected with a deceitful smile...she may be up to something. This is my chance before any other future wedding plans are made.
I have butterflies in my stomach, my hands are clammy, I have never done anything like this before. “Stephanie, about the wedding…”
“Annie, speaking of the wedding, Jason and I were wondering if you would like to be our flower girl.”
Flower girl. How about bride? This is my chance.
“Well, I was thinking more of the bride—“
“Oh, Annie, you’re only seven! You’re too young to be a bride’s maid.”
I looked at Jason, the love of my life, smiling at me from across the patio and I feel crushed. "What do you think?" he asked me. He and Stephanie are holding hands now and I feel dizzy. "And guess what," he went on when I didn't say anything. "My little brother is going to be the ring bearer, maybe you two can be friends." Little brother? That sounds tempting...
"Is he single?"
Port Pirie, ZZ