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The Wedding

This place made Veronica feel alive like only one person had ever made her feel alive before. The blood pounding in her ears was more real to her than the wedding march that shattered against the walls pressing in around her, although it was this song that tore viciously at her nerves and pointed every fleeting thought toward a single idea: “run.” Everything in this place was a threat to her. Every person in this room was there to attack, to witness her shake and tremble in the glaring spotlight. The very existence of this situation was torturous, and the bride existed only to see Veronica bleed. The sweating woman’s eyes darted around the room in a panic of their own, but froze at the sight of the single most dangerous and yet most comforting person in the world: the groom. Veronica stopped breathing in a last, desperate attempt to make herself disappear. The bride snaked down the aisle, the preacher spoke, quickening Veronica’s pulse with every word, and then finally the command that had tortured her indecisive nature for days was pronounced: “Speak now, or forever hold your peace.” The words echoed, pounding in Veronica’s throbbing head. For one horrible moment, she thought she could not move. Then, trembling torturously in a more violent way than she had ever thought possible, Veronica rose.
Cara stared down the aisle at the woman rising to her feet, and lost all coherent thought. Her flashing eyes saw that the woman was speaking, but Cara could only hear her own internal screams of injustice splitting her head. Cara tried to smile, to keep her calm façade, but she knew that it was a leer, a disgusting thing betraying the storm ravaging destruction within her. She tore her eyes away from the focus of her emotion, and turned them instead upon the tuxedoed man standing beside her. What she saw in his eyes as he gazed at the woman across the room was enough to make her lose any semblance of control. With a yell like a battle cry, Cara yanked the train of her dress into her arms and ran, slamming the heavy church door behind her.
Kevin, along with everybody else in the room, stared at the door for a long moment. But although there were gasps emanating from every pew, he felt nothing but the warm breeze of the summer’s day, and imagined that it was this breeze that carried away the strain that had been present since his engagement to Cara, since he had lost Veronica. The idea of this marriage had tortured him for months, but every day he had known and hated that he was not a man who could break his word, no matter how harmful the consequences. Now, the decision had been taken out of his hands. He walked down the aisle toward Veronica, floating on a cloud of absent responsibility. When he took her into his arms and kissed her, he saw a soothing, gurgling stream behind his closed eyelids and knew that they both were safe.



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