#FinishThatThought – “For Better and Worse” (UPDATE Special Challenge Champion)


I got the Special Challenge Champion Award for this. Official Announcement here

Alissa Leonard has created the “Finish That Thought” Flash Fiction compo, which usually provides an opening line and some ‘special challenge’ words to include, and must be less than 500 words. This week’s compo opening line was “Her mind was seized with a sense of terror so intense she wept.” and the special challenge words were: stiletto, umbrella and gravy.

Here is my story, if you don’t want to see it posted in its original place:

“For Better and Worse”
by Dr. Mike Reddy (@doctormikereddy) [500 words, special challenge accepted]

Her mind was seized with a sense of terror so intense she wept. “I can’t…” she sobbed, “I can’t marry him. Not like this!” As if to emphasise the point she gestured to her fine white gown.

“It’s just nerves,” I soothed, “Ok, it’s a bit tight. You’ve put on a few pounds. That’s all. I was a ‘little’ plump when I got married.”

“More than a lit…” her Father started then decided not to finish the thought. “Sally, you look lovely. And before you ask, no the stiletto heels do not make you look taller than Geoff.”

“I’m TALLER than Geoff! Oh God, it gets worse!” the bride to be burst into tears.

“We’ll done, Bill. Here, take this…” I thrust an umbrella into his unexpecting hands. “…and find somewhere for it!” I shoved him out of the changing room, grabbed some tissues from her handbag and turned to face a despondent daughter.

“What is it?” I asked, mopping tear filled mascara from the girl’s cheeks. A waste of money that make over was. The uncharitable thought only consoled by the fact Sally had insisted she paid for everything herself. Geoff not being ‘financially’ able to contribute. No gravy train of a rich husband for my little girl. Not yet anyway. It was all tied up in trust funds until he had produced an heir.

Sally was too soft, like her father. Sadly, it also meant my ‘mother’s duty’ of meddling had been neatly side-stepped. Not paying for the thing had removed the ‘gratitude’, the one bit of leverage a woman could have used to justify interference. It was deeply frustrating.

Sally took the tissue, folded it, then wiped her face with the fresh side. “It’s because I’m in white, Mother. It’s a sacrilege. I’m not a virgin. I’m carrying Geoff’s baby… That’s why the dress is tight.” She looked up into my eyes with a pathetic search for disapproval. “You must hate me now.”

Now? Why just now? I had only become pregnant to keep her father from leaving me. There were times when I wasn’t sure the bargain had been worth it. Stupid brat wasn’t even his! And he hadn’t been that great a catch after all, since I had inherited far more money from a relative than his entire family had. Thank God for the Pre-Nup! Now it was all about appearances. We both had impeccable reputations to maintain. Pillars of the community, and all that.

“Let me tell you something. You weren’t premature, like your Father believes. I paid a doctor off. I was three months pregnant when I walked down the aisle. And you have an heir. Geoff will be pleased!”

“Three? I thought you had a ‘whirlwind romance?”

“Oh… three… yes. Anyway…”

“Dad… are you hearing this?”

Why was she speaking into the bouquet?

“We got her! Proof of infidelity prior to marriage. The Pre-Nup’s invalid. You can take the bitch to the cleaners. And YOU’RE paying for the wedding.”

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