Weddings were trite affairs. They trotted out the same threadbare traditions in new awful colors. Sooner or later the awful music, cheap food, and cloying sentiments blended together in one chiffon and lace wrapped mess.
One particular shade always stayed the same though. The white dress, this one classic and slim, its virginal hem now muddy and grass stained from the zealously watered ceremony lawn. Paige sipped her table wine and admitted that the bride did look lovely in her boring white dress. Everyone else admitted it too, loudly and repeatedly. Paige nodded to each simpering comment, trying to keep her expression from going as sour as the wine she was drinking.
The endless barrage of speeches only served to turn the groom more pale, as his mother, best friend, and new family all served to remind exactly how fun he’d been before he’d met the woman currently sharing his undercooked steak. Paige smirked at poor guy, who was actually rather good looking, and went to get another drink. Her path led her near the couple’s table and she sent the groom a slow, heavy lidded look as she walked by.
Between the shimmering dress, focused lights, and heavy makeup the bride was beginning to look a bit shiny. She sagged in her father’s arms during the patriarchal vestige dance, and hastily returned to her seat afterwards with a flurry of tittering bridesmaids. Once slumped into her chair she downed her champagne, trying to stave of a sudden fit of wheezing. The matching women around her were undecided on what to do, some pulling towards the bathroom, while others kept her sitting. One simply blotted ineffectually at the bride’s sweaty face with her wrap.
Paige realized she was being followed into the hall once she’d made it through the line and ordered another sour chardonnay. When she turned, glass in hand, the groom was standing there watching her.
“Hi.” He said. Being the groom he had to smile at the people who passed them and their congratulations, but his focus was on Paige. “How do you know Emily?”
“I’m one of the the cousins’ girlfriends.” Paige sipped her new glass, meeting his eyes with a purse of her lips. “Congrats by the way, it was a beautiful ceremony.” She drawled, waiting for him to step aside. He didn’t.
“Then how do you know my dad?” The groom asked. “He’s been watching you all night and pretending not to.”
Paige shrugged, feeling a slight stomach pinch of alarm. This wasn’t the first client of hers that couldn’t keep their cool. Inside the reception hall the sound of loud hacking finally rose above the music. The groom didn’t notice and pressed. “Did he ask you to do….something?”
Well her job was done, no harm now. Paige waived her hand almost dismissively. “He said you weren’t as psyched about marital bliss as everyone else here, something about her family, you, problems.”
Behind them the reception hall music cut off abruptly, and the sound of a lot of people yelling incoherently built up. Paige took a step away as the groom whipped around to the sound.
He looked back at her just as she was turning to the country club foyer and the exit where her car waited outside. Paige smiled at him again. “Looks like you’re off the hook buddy. Call me.” She blew him a kiss, checked the metal vial was still safety hidden in her clutch and walked out the front door.
The groom was torn, half between catching the strange girl implying horrible things, and the horrible things going on behind him in the reception hall. He gave up, the doors were already swinging shut behind the stranger, and raced back to his wife.