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Chapter 1: Beauty
Disclaimer: Anything you recognise belongs to someone much wiser than I.
Soft murmuring rises and falls in gentle undulations. Distinct voices are cast aside, for each is a part of a higher calling. Each is a part of the harmony that swells and fills the gathering. The chime of intermittent laughter and the jingle of the cutlery against the china accents the melody.
Tomorrow is the day – the day she had been dreaming of since she was old enough to dream such dreams. Small and freckled, she had stood in a pair of her mother’s heels. Bright-eyed and eager, she had carefully pinned a cloth napkin to head. Smiling and toothless, she had grasped his hands in hers. When we grow up she had said. When we grow up he had replied.
A hand on her leg abruptly serves as a reminder – a reminder that she is no longer small and freckled. She is no longer bright-eyed and eager. She is no longer smiling and toothless. No. She is grown and he is not here, Ayden Wood is.
“Molly,” Ayden’s voice is hushed; his words meant only for her. “Sweetheart, what’s the matter?” He brushes a curl from her face. “I’m sorry Victoire is late. I’m sure she’ll be here soon. And you know that she will be there tomorrow. That’s what really counts.”
A half-hearted smile suppresses the sardonic laughter that wells up inside her. She knows her behavior is inappropriate and plants an apologetic kiss on Ayden’s lips.
“Of course she will be.”
Her voice is deceptively confident. She does not mention that she cares not if her eldest cousin is present. She does not mention that she is angry with herself for thinking of him on the eve of her marriage – that she is angry with him for making her draw comparisons between Ayden and him.
He had never been hers though she had been his. It had been a warm summer night. She had been crying. He had been kind and had sat down beside her beneath the stars. She had been naïve and infatuated with him. Comforting hands had become hesitant explorers. Untouched skin had become new territory to be claimed. The quiet summer air had become a symphony of sharp breaths and sighs. This night had played on repeat until, like all seasons, the summer had ended. I love you she had said. You’ll find somebody who loves you too he had said.
Find somebody who loves her she did. And tomorrow Ayden would marry her because he loved her.
She places her petite hand over Ayden’s much broader hand and squeezes. Ayden smiles warmly, pulling her close to himself. She is at a loss for words. Time slithers by at a painfully slow pace.
The monotony is broken when a chair pulls out from the seat next to her. To her great surprise, Victoire sits down in it. Her face is alight; her smile is wide.
“Molly,” Victoire’s voice can barely contain the excitement. “Mols, you’ll never believe why I am late. Well, go on. Make a guess.”
She doesn’t guess. She knows that Victoire will surely tell her the reason for her tardiness.
“Teddy and I eloped this afternoon. He said that he couldn’t stand not being mine for a second longer.” Victoire’s smile threatens to split her face into two pieces.
“Victoire, that’s wonderful.” Ayden squeezes the willowy blonde’s shoulder. “Isn’t that great, Molly?”
She does not answer.
“Here, look at the photographs.” Victoire hands her an envelope of pictures.
She forces a smile and takes the pictures. Flipping through them, she can come to only one conclusion. Victoire was the living image of a beautiful bride.
“Would you two excuse me for a moment? I need to use the loo.” She rises from her seat and hurries away from the glowing new bride. She passes the door to the women’s room and continues outside.
The silence on the porch fills her ears – a sharp dichotomy to the harmony that fills the party hall. He is the only other person on the porch, as she knew he would be. His new bride had left him outside while she had gone inside to spread their news.
Before her thoughts catch up with her actions, she is pressed up against him. His breath warm on her face.
“Bloody hell, Molly.” He tries to step back away from her, but is met by the wall. He looks at her face carefully. “We can’t do this anymore. I’m a married man now You’ll be a married woman this time tomorrow, Ayden’s beautiful bride.”
She smiles eerily up at him before gently nipping his bottom lip.
“Not every bride is beautiful, Teddy.” She runs her hands down his torso, letting them rest on his belt. “You made sure of that two years ago.”
His lips crash down onto hers.
Her mind races.
She will walk down the aisle when the morning dawns, but she will not be beautiful. In the white gown she had chosen, it will be nearly impossible to hide the gaping, red wound where her heart once pumped.
As his passion consumes her, the congestion in her mind is reduced to only one thought.
Perhaps she should have chosen red.
A/N: So this was a dark little fic. I originally intened to write a comedy for the sentance that I was assigned. This is where my muses took me. I'd love to hear your feedback. What'd you think? Also, a huge thankyou to Rachel (PenguinWillReignSupreme) for helping me work this out. She is the queen of Molly II.