I sat at the dressing table in the changing room of the church where Daddy delivered his Sunday morning fire-and-brimstone sermons. I swore the flames of Hell nipped at my toes right then.
Perspiration glistened along my hairline. The lace around the high-neck collar of my wedding dress mocked me. The beaded bodice squeezed my waist like a spent tube of toothpaste.
A brushfire of rumors had swept through town. Some figured I asked for trouble and got it. Others whispered that I should lie in my made bed. They didn’t see a seventeen-year-old girl whose ‘no’ was ignored by the police chief’s son. No one pitied the girl whose wicked heart would surely lead her to eternal damnation.
I wouldn’t have chosen mid-July for a wedding in rural Missouri (some pronounce it ‘misery’ for a reason,) but I surrendered my right to choose after I sneaked out to the party in old man Sherman’s barn on Memorial Day.
“Hey, it’s almost time. Nervous?” Deanna’s hands rested on my shoulders.
Deanna’s my best friend. She had to know, but seemed oblivious to the scandal.
“Gramma says butterflies are normal,” Deanna said.
“I need to see Bradley,” I blurted.
She gasped. “Sweetie, it’s bad luck to see the groom before the wedding.”
It’s worse luck not to. “Please. It’s important.”
Deanna sighed. “Fine.”
Several minutes later, the heavy click of footsteps grew louder. In the mirror, I relished the moment when Bradley’s stupid grin faded and his steps halted.
“Y-you have a handgun?” He stared at the piece on the dressing table.
“So I do.”
“Are you expecting trouble?” He raised his hands.
I shrugged. “If I were, I’d use a shotgun.”
I palmed the Bobcat and swiveled the chair to face him. I didn’t know what to say. Daddy always said actions speak louder than words, anyway.
I couldn’t tell Bradley my idea of a shotgun wedding differed from his. I placed my finger on the trigger.
He’d figure it out soon enough.
This story was written for the Trifecta writing challenge. This week, we were asked to write a 33 to 333 word response (mine barely makes the cut at 333 words) using the third definition of “heart” as noted below:
HEART (noun) – (3) personality, disposition <a cold heart>
If you want to submit your own entry, check out Trifecta’s site for the guidelines by clicking on the Tricycle picture.
A second note about this piece: Thanks to my writing class friend, Tim, who supplied the shotgun idea by giving me the following lines to use:
“Why are you carrying a handgun? Are you expecting trouble?”
“Nope. If I were EXPECTING trouble, I’d be carrying a rifle or shotgun.”