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She couldn’t take her eyes off her reflection – she was mesmerized, but not in a good way. When a girl dreams of this day, she hoped and prayed to look amazing in this white dress, to feel like a princess on this one special day. All she felt like doing right now was burning the dress.

She knew she looked like death warmed over – she hadn’t slept a wink last night and she knew it wasn’t because of excitement or anticipation of today. Roy had been out getting so drunk that he still reeked of beer this morning when they passed each other coming and going. She was leaving to get her hair done, he was coming to pass out of a few hours and take shower. The women at the salon had mooned over her and a couple of times, she contemplated strangling the hairdresser with the curling iron cord.

She had kicked everyone out about a half hour ago, not being able to stand the chit chat. She could see the tears building in her eyes again and she took a deep breath, doing her best to not ruin the makeup her mother had paid for. She didn’t even tear her eyes away from the mirror when she heard a knock on the door. “Come in” she said quietly.

Ryan poked his head in, smiling at her. “Hi.” She tried to smile, but after a moment, she just quit pretending. “Hey.”

“You look beautiful” he said, noticing that her expression was far from being one of an excited bride.

“What’s up?” she said, trying to pretend that they were at the office instead of standing in a back room at her family’s church.

“I… ummm… I was asked to deliver this.” He held out a small box to her, wrapped in white paper with a beautiful purple bow on top.

She took it from him and fingered the package. “Who…” She didn’t need to finish the question as she looked at him, looking down at his shoes. “Oh.”

“Yeah, he uhh… dropped off at my place last night since he was heading out real early this morning, so… he wanted to make sure that I gave it to you personally, though. That was his only instruction.”

She nodded and slowly unwrapped the bow and paper from around the box. She opened the box and found a beautiful sterling silver jewelry box inside with a small card. She pulled the card out and opened it.

Pam,
In spite of what you may think, I do wish only the best for you. I’m not coming back – got a promotion, so I’ll be in Stamford when I return. I hope you have all the love and happiness you ever wanted. Best wishes on your new life.
Love,
Jim

She pulled out the box and saw he had had it engraved – with her married name. She dropped the box on the floor and clamped her hands over her mouth.

Ryan took a step toward her. “Pam?”

“I’m going to be sick” she said as she turned on her heel and ran to the small bathroom.

+++

Ryan kept bouncing his leg up and down. He looked at his watch for the millionth time in the last five minutes. He had tried to calm Pam down as she lay on the floor in that small bathroom, but he doesn’t think she heard him. The only words she said to him were “get out” and that was about 20 minutes ago. The wedding should have started by now and people were starting to murmur.

“Do you think something’s wrong?” Kelly whispered to him.

“I don’t know, but…” With that, the music started. The bridesmaids made their way down the aisle and the music changed. The wedding march started and the back doors opened, reveling Pam and her dad. As she walked down the aisle, Ryan noticed that she looked scared beyond belief. As she came down the aisle, she locked eyes with him. That’s when she stopped. Her dad took a step forward and looked at her when she didn’t move with him. “Pam?” he said to her, but she stared at Ryan.

Ryan could see it in her eyes. He shook his head slightly, begging her silently, but it was too late. “I can’t do this” she said to him. She dropped her dad’s arm and her bouquet as she turned and ran out of the church.

“Oh my God” he said, dropping his head, as everyone around him started talking.

TBC…

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