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.”
I love when you do these Trifectas!
Thanks, Suzicate! I appreciate you taking the time to read them 🙂
Now that’s a dramatic ending. Very nice. 🙂
Thanks, Michael. It almost ended with a “bang”. (I know, that was lame…but I couldn’t resist :))
This is amazing writing Janna! Such spunk and wit this character has – and you’ve created such drama and tension through her voice. An exciting, riveting piece, thanks for sharing it 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to read it, GodGirl. I’m glad you enjoyed the story!
Wonderful! This post is amusing.
Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Newwhitebear 🙂
Thanks, Jeanna. I’m glad you liked it!
Good one, Janna! Such a spunky protagonist, such a compelling storyline.
Thanks, Debbie! There was lots more I hand included, but had to trim about 150 words. That’s what I like about these challenges…they make me keep it “to the point” 🙂
Great job Janna!
Thanks for reading, Rebecca!
I hope he likes surprises!
Ha! Me too, Patti. I’ve got a feeling he wont’ care for this one much 🙂
now that is a great ending!
I’m glad you liked the ending. Thanks so much for reading, Carrie!
So much said in so few words. Wow! And Surprise! Surprise! for Bradley.
Yep, Bradley was in for quite a shock. Thanks for reading and sharing your opinion of it, Diane!
I’m confused. Is Bradley = the police chief’s son? The one who didn’t take no for an answer?
Usually a shotgun wedding is the father of the bride holding a shotgun on the groom who did his little girl wrong. But here you seem to be implying that Bradley (the groom) is coercing her to marry him. How/why would he do that?
Or am I just being dense?
I think what’s confusing me is this sentence: “I couldn’t tell Bradley my idea of a shotgun wedding differed from his.”
Does the “his” refer to Bradley? Or the bride’s father?
It’s really all of theirs (the parents and Bradley) but I didn’t think ‘theirs’ worked with the last line, where I wrote ‘He’d figure it out soon enough.” (Pronouns didn’t match.)
I like these word count challenges…sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t 🙂
Yes, Bradley is the police chief’s son. There is pressure from both sides (the police chief and the preacher both want to protect reputations). Bradley goes along with whatever his dad tells him to. Hope this clears up some of the confusion. Thanks for taking the time to point out your issues with the story, Nancy 🙂
Gotcha! She’s smart not to marry a “daddy’s boy.” 😉
Your writing, as always, is crisp and clear (with lots of juicy tidbits tucked in here and there). But I missed the story arch this time. Thanks for the clarification, Janna.
Yep, in this case, the ‘daddy’s boy’ is worse than a mama’s boy 🙂 Wish my brain could’ve figured out a way to get that in the 333-word story…
Powerful write (and you didn’t lose me with the brevity).
Thanks for reading, Annette. I’m glad it made sense even with the cuts 🙂
Wow… did not expect that ending. The dialog was gripping.
Thanks for reading and sharing your reaction, Tara.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve disagreed with Trifecta’s choices for the winners of their contests. Of course, anybody who loves to write should think their stuff is the best, right? Which is a longwinded way of saying (in the immortal words of those dolts of “Wayne’s World”) “I’m not worthy”, and I don’t know what I could come up with to compare. This is a great and funny story. I can’t say you’ll win, but I hope so. Well done.
Thanks for your vote of confidence, TTD. I may not win the challenges, but I sure have fun with the reader interaction 🙂 Thanks for stopping by to check out the story!
This is another well-written story, Janna. You built the suspense and the characters very well.
Thanks for taking time to read it, Imelda. I appreciate it!
I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by to read it, Sanna!
Great job Janna! And he certainly got what he deserved. NO means NO!
Thanks for stopping by to read the story, Tessa. Karma stepped in on this one. (Between the two of us, we’re racking up quite a few dead bodies…in our fiction, that is :))
Yes we are, aren’t we LOL!
This is fantastic – I love that it’s an entire story in and of itself, not just an excerpt. Your opening paragraph is brilliant.
You might have been able to hint at Bradley’s willingness to go along with his father’s wishes by adding a word or two (if you had space – I didn’t count!) to this sentence: “I couldn’t tell Bradley my idea of a shotgun wedding differed from his.” If you changed it to “differed from his father’s,” for example. Actually, “differed from my Daddy’s” could work, too. But it’s a small thing, and I like the piece as is.
You have such a way with fictional storytelling, Janna! Marvelous characterization matched by upbeat tempo that lead to the great twist at the end. Very nice!
You have some great imagery and phrasing in this piece. I loved brushfire of rumors and spent tube of toothpaste. Thanks for linking up with us again this week. We love having you. Please come on back tomorrow for the new prompt.
LOL. Janna! A shotgun wedding!! For some reason I imagined Bradley with a toothy grin and freckles on his face.
That is a funny image, Habibadanyal! I didn’t have an image in mind for him when I wrote this, but I could go with that 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
nice piece of flash fiction. Great drama.
Thanks, Sandra! I appreciate you stopping over to read it 🙂
Wow, this is good! How many young women can relate to this? Waaay too many!
Thanks, Janet. I’m glad you liked the story!
Fall off the chair great!
Thanks, Phil! BTW, I’m not liable for any injuries that may be incurred from reading my blog 🙂