Chapter 1 : Of Itchy Bridesmaids Dresses and Embarrasing Exposés
| ||Rating: Mature||Chapter Reviews: 42|
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You ever get that feeling?
Yeah, that sinking, oppressive feeling in your stomach when you realize that something horrible is about to happen? When your palms start sweating like an athlete who just ran a marathon, your heart starts beating 13987656789 times a minute and you feel like you’re going to pass out at any second.
Yeah, that’s what I feel like now.
My. Strapless. Dress. Is. Slipping.
What the frick.
It was slowly but surely inching its way down my chest, sliding down against my will. The lace was extra itchy, chafing my skin. I’d tug it up, but both my hands were occupied, one holding a small bouquet of lilies and the other a velvety ring box. Tugging at my dress would be rather improper anyway, as I was making my way up the aisle behind my father and Soon-To-Be-Stepbitch, Shauna Wellington. Then again, if I delayed tugging it any further, it just might slide down and fully expose myself.
To tug or not to tug, that is the question.
Concentrating on putting on foot in front of the other, I painstakingly tottered in the cream heels Shauna had insisted I wear. Trust me, I wouldn’t have worn heels if it were up to me. Because of some sadistic star I was born under, I was annoyingly clumsy. I could trip over a small crack in the pavement or stumble while in a queue and cause a domino effect if I could. One misstep and I could be eating carpet.
Which, if you think about it, would definitely make my dress slip.
I sighed. Loudly.
I detest weddings.
What might a girl who detests weddings be doing at one, you might ask. Answer? Shauna made me do it. Having makeup caked onto my face and wearing shockingly itchy bridesmaids dresses is not my idea of a particularly good time. To be honest, I’d rather read the entire A History of Magic textbook than be in this dastardly situation.
God, this aisle is quite long, isn’t it? I focused my attention on the carpeted floor and concentrated on Shauna’s veil trailing behind her elegantly. I peered closely, only to discover that her train was collecting quite a bit of dust underneath the hem.
Hmm. One misplaced step of my five-inch heels, and I could dig it into her hem and send her flying. Should I? My feet tingle irresistibly but I restrained myself. That would be just too mean.
Shauna’s perfectly coifed head turned slightly to the right to give me a death glare. I pretended not to see by twisting oh-so-slightly to the left. Unfortunately, this made my dress slip a little more.
We eventually reached the celebrant, an eccentric old lady wearing colorful robes and holding this pendulum-swishy-thingy. It actually looked kind of cool.
‘Humphrey Jones and Shauna Wellington. These two…’ the celebrant droned on, and I tuned her out. Instead, I discreetly looked at everyone else through the corner of my eye.
Shauna swished her head slightly, and me standing about three feet behind her got a full whiff of her overly powerful perfume. Her hair was glossy and perfectly coiffed, with a small lily tucked behind her ear. Shauna had told me to curl and dye my hair blonde too, a notion I did not respond very warmly to.
But my memory could be failing me. Who knows? Needless to say, Shauna did not take that comment very well.
Don’t get me wrong, I tried my very hardest to stop or at the very least stall (she might die a sudden and horrific freak death, who knows?) the wedding but alas, it was not to be. Instead, my dad gave me a talking to, saying that there was no way he would be breaking off his engagement to Shauna, and that I should just accept the truth. I tried my best to scare Shauna away, though. Spiders and various worms were involved. Don’t ask.
So, here I am, standing behind my dad’s wife number five.
I do love my dad, but he just marries the wrong women. Wife number three was the worst - it was like living in a boarding school of something, being in the same house as her. No television for more than an hour, no sleeping later than nine thirty, no using magic in the house, wands must be collected before seven… on and on. Wife number two (can’t remember them all by their names) lasted the longest, for about two and a half years. She was okay, except for the fact that she seemed to think kids thrived on their own (I was just five) and she tried to teach me how to cook whole meals, how to do my own laundry etc.). Wife number four only lasted three months.
The dress inched lower. I groaned. What a challenge I was in for. To tug up a horrible bridesmaids dress with no free hands. Especially since I wasn’t wearing a bra. Maybe if I bend forward enough I could sort of fasten it between my teeth and pull it up…
Just when I’m thinking of trying it out, Shauna nudged me with her body elbows, hissing, ‘The rings!’
I gave a start, reached out my hands to give her the rings, and that’s when it happened.
It seemed as though I had stretched too far, and the dress finally gave way, sliding down. I didn’t notice at first, but when I felt a little chilly I looked down and said,
They said they didn’t see anything. I can tell they’re all lying, though.
‘Are you sure?’ I asked for the gazillionth time. ‘You sure I didn’t show that much?’
God, how embarrassing. My cheeks were still burning from the thought.
‘I’m bloody serious, no one was concentrating on you anyway.’ Aunt Alice reassured me, grinning from ear to ear. ‘They’ve all seen your baby pictures with you stark naked. We’re all family. Which reminds me, remember the one when you were ten and you were gripping your-’
I gave her a scowl. ‘I remember, no need to remind me. I thought I burned it?’
‘That’s what you think. Besides, even if people did see your bosom - and I’m not saying that they did - there’d be nothing to see, anyway.’
‘For your information, I’m fully developed up there. Full English breakfast, and all that.’ I smiled weakly.
I’d already asked ten people, and all of them told me they didn’t even know my dress had dropped to my waist until I started shrieking like Grandpa Elmer singing in the shower.
‘You don’t look very happy.’ Aunt Alice observed, leaning back on her chair. Both of us had decided to forgo the dancing - what everyone was doing right now - and sit down quietly in a corner. My clumsy gene was hereditary - enough said.
‘Three guesses why,’ I grumbled.
‘Oh, who knows? Maybe Sandy-’
‘Shauna.’ I corrected automatically.
‘-Sandy, Shauna, whatever it is. She might be nice.’
I stared at her incredulously.
‘Okay, right, fine, so what if she turns out to be a horrid hag? Your dad certainly has a tendency to pick the worst of the bunch.’ Aunt Alice flicked back her long, straggly purple hair. Both of us simultaneously turned to glance at Shauna, who was currently dancing with my dad. He was doing those tip-the-woman-over type things and it looked terribly uncomfortable. She, of course, was giggling her sycophantic head off. Her low-cut neckline was revealing quite a bit of chest, though.
‘Eughh.’ Aunt Alice grimaced. Aunt Alice is quite possibly the only sane person in my entire family. Erm, she has purple hair and wears vials of pig’s blood around her neck, so I’m not sure how sane she is. But compared to the rest of my family she’s utterly normal.
‘Too right.’ I agreed readily.
‘What, is there like two hundred people here tonight?’ I asked after a brief moment of companionable silence. It was so crowded in Grandpa Elmer’s ballroom (where my dad and Stepbitch had decided to hold their wedding) that everyone was jostling each other like two tits in a Wonderbra. You could barely turn around without knocking some poor soul’s champagne glass over.
‘Your Grandma Ingrid decided to invite the entire wizarding world over. As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough holding your son’s fifth wedding. I swear, everyone who’s anyone is here.’
‘Huh. You know, when I get married, I won’t have any of this fancy wedding nonsense.’ I absent-mindedly started twirling a stray strand of my hairspray-caked hair around my fingers. ‘I’ll just invite you and a couple of other people and I’ll wear a rubbish bag as a wedding dress.’
‘Fantastic.’ Aunt Alice chuckled. ‘Uh oh, Grandma Geenie is on her warpath,’ Aunt Alice muttered. ‘See you in a bit - she isn’t very happy with me.’
Before I could protest, she disappeared, melting into the chattering crowd. I plucked a champagne glass from a floating tray, fishing out an olive before taking a small sip.
Grandma Geenie, a huge woman wearing a peachy silk dress and a lacy pashmina, strode over, grinning in a rather scary fashion.
‘Verity!’ Grandma Geenie admonished, shocked. ‘Alcohol for a girl your age!’ she snatched it out of my hands, removed her fake teeth in one swift motion and downed the whole glass. I nearly gagged.
See, Grandma Geenie isn’t like most grannies. Like those grannies who bake you cookies and knit you ugly jumpers with pictures of sheep and rubber ducks on them and smell like baby powder or hair gel or something equally dodgy. My grandma is a chain smoker. She only just discovered cigarettes a few years ago, when one of my aunt’s Muggle husbands introduced one to her. She hasn’t stopped smoking since, no matter how many times I try to convince her that smoking is BAD.
She also likes wearing clothes that people in their 20s normally wear. This is very embarrassing. You don’t know what embarrassment is until your grandma insists to take you to Diagon Alley in a spaghetti strap mini dress with polka dots all over it. Grandma Geenie also can’t stand bananas. Don’t know why. Show her a banana and she’ll go nuts. To top it all off, she’s obsessed with collecting Dumbledore memorabilia. You also don’t know what creepy is until you walk into her house and find thousands upon thousands of Dumbledores staring genially back at you. Being with my grandma has a lot of firsts.
Not in a good way, though. If Shauna Wellington and all the other wives had met my entire family properly before marrying my dad they’d know what a mess they were marrying into.
Before saying anything else, Grandma Geenie swooped in and gripped both my cheeks with her rough, sandy hands. ‘What a cutie you are!’
I wonder if calling a sixteen-year-old, fully grown teenager is acceptable. Why is it that everyone over the age of thirty feels compelled to pinch cheeks? Is it an old people thing?
I forced a smile, ‘Hello Grandma.’
‘Smile, child! You look as though someone just got Avada Kedavra-ed.’ she said cheerily, plonking her large derriere beside me.
‘Yeah, well.’ I replied succinctly, resting my chin on my hand and sighing for the umpteenth time that night. ‘It’s getting rather suffocating, actually.’
‘Oh dear.’ Grandma Geenie didn’t look sorry at all. ‘Want to bum a ciggie?’ she proffered a small cigarette from her hidden pockets. ‘Works like a charm.’
‘No thanks.’ I replied, fighting a violent and really very unexplainable urge to laugh hysterically.
‘Alrighty then.’ she lit it up and placed it between her chapped, wrinkly lips, grinning toothlessly. ‘Now, tell me, have you decided to go to Hogwarts yet?’
‘Why not? All this home-schooled hogwash. Tutors, private governers… I tell you, if your new stepmother knew better -’ she inhaled deeply. ‘- she’d send you to Hogwarts! Why, I remember my days as a student. I had people courting me left, right and center…’
Huh. And that isn’t hard to believe of grossly exaggerated at all.
Grandma Geenie was picking up steam now, virtually ignoring me and she reminisced.
I slipped away, retrieving another champagne flute as I went. Downing the entire contents of the cold glass, I quickly exited the large ballroom, picking up my skirts as I went. The heavy marble doors were near impossible to open, but I eventually managed and I stumbled through, the overwhelming din of the crowd fading behind me.
I was now in a large, marble hallway, with a simply enormous chandelier draping the ceiling, glittering coldly. I shuddered. I’d always hated Grandpa Elmer’s estate. It just felt so empty. As though a lot of people had passed through but none of them had decided to stay for long. It was unnerving, to say the least.
Urgh, I feel the beginning of a really bad goosebump attack.
Plucking the heels of my poor, tortured feet (there were, indeed, three glistening blisters glaring at me), I winced and made my way across the hallway, wanting to get out.
The moon hung low in the night sky, and there were barely any stars out. It was just depressing, really. Where’s a huge white moon and thousands of stars when you need them?
‘Oy! Get back in!’ a talking miniature goblin squeaked at me, hidden behind a bush. His beady eyes stared malevolently behind his novelty fish rod and red Christmas hat. Grandpa Elmer much preferred Muggle gnomes instead of our standard, shite ugly ones, which is why he enchanted them to talk. They have a tendency to blab on you when they spot you doing something you shouldn’t be doing, which is inconvenient at times. Like now. ‘I’ll tell on you, I will. You’ll get into trouble, you will. Your father’ll be angry, he will. I--’
‘Shut the bloody hell up.’ I hissed, and tiptoed over. I picked him up by his ugly hat (‘Oy! Get off! Get your hands off me!’) and laid him down on the grass face-down, so that all his useless protests were muffled.
‘Cheers.’ I grinned despite myself, and made my way down the winding dirt path that led to a beautiful summerhouse that Grandpa Elmer built himself way back then. It’s paint was peeling and the wood was rotting away in some places but it was still one of my favorite places to haunt when I was younger. The weak moonlight was just enough for me to navigate my way to the summerhouse. A gnarled old willow tree towered over the summerhouse, branches gently drifting over the neatly gabled roof of the summerhouse. It looked so inviting and tranquil.
I was actually feeling pretty darn fairylike, what with my long dress and bare feet and loose hair. That was when an icy cold gust of wind sudden appeared out of nowhere, sweeping my long hair into my face and making me eat a few strands.
I sat cross-legged down on the wooden floor, trying to find a dry spot. I leaned my fatigued head against a wooden beam, inhaling the warm air, feeling increasingly calm and relaxed. God, the wonders of fresh air. I imagined a virtual cliff. Right. Now a crate with the words “Dad’s Wedding To Shauna” on it. I imagine myself pushing the crate off the cliff. Strangely enough, this made me a lot more happier. Strange, that.
I was only feeling so tense because huge crowds just sort of intimidate me. Being home-schooled doesn’t really involve much people, usually just you and your private tutor. It gets lonely in a great big mansion sometimes when you’re an only child, too. But I guess I’m kind of used to it.
Ooh, I hear crickets.
Answer this: why is it that people think marriage solves anything? I ask anyone why they want to get married, and they give me some contrived answer about how “marrying the love of your life makes everything so much better!” or “I want to have a man beside me for my whole life” or even “if I get married at least I’ll have great sex for the rest of my life”. I mean, really! How do they know for sure they’re marrying the right person, anyway? Take my dad, for instance. I can still remember very clearly that he stated : “She’s the real deal, Verity. She’s the woman I want,” before every marriage he’s been in. Fast forward and what do we have? Crash and burn.
Why waste the time to even get married, anyway? It’s not like we have to get married if we want to become socially acceptable or up to everyone’s standards.
It’s mind-boggling, really.
I could feel myself being slowly lulled to sleep as I sat there, my breathing getting slower and slower. My eyelids felt heavier and heavier, and eventually they drooped shut, and I fell asleep, leaving behind this whole confusing haze of inexplicable marriages and psychotic relatives.
THE AUTHOR HOHOHO: Please review. It'll mean so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so (AHA! THE POWER OF COPYING AND PASTING IS IN MY HANDS MUAHAHA) much to me. It's my very first fic here so I'd love to know what you guys think. Even a simple : "me lyk it ;)" will suffice. I'm not picky. :D