Authors: Mary Martinez
Tags: #General Fiction
Three Weddings and a Dress
Copyright @ 2012 Mary Martinez
This book is a work of fiction. While references may be made to actual places or events, the Names, characters, incidents, and locations within are from the author’s imagination and are not a resemblance to actual living or dead persons, businesses, or events. Any similarity is coincidental.
Published by Canyonland Press
This book is licensed to the original purchase only. Duplication or distribution via any means is illegal and a violation of International Copyright Law, subject to criminal prosecution and upon conviction, fines and/or imprisonment. The book cannot be legally loaned or given to others. No part of this book can be shared or reproduced without the express permission of the publisher.
ABOUT THE BOOK YOU HAVE PURCHASED:
Your non-refundable purchase of this book allows you to only ONE LEGAL copy for your own personal reading on your own personal computer or device. You do not have resell or distribution rights without the prior written permission of both the publisher and the copyright owner of this book. This book cannot be copied in any format, sold, or otherwise transferred from your computer to another through upload to a file sharing peer to peer program, for free or for a fee, or as a prize in any contest.
Such action is illegal and in violation of the U.S. Copyright Law. Distribution of this e-book, in whole or in part, online, offline, in print or in any way or any other method currently known or yet to be invented, is forbidden. If you do not want this book anymore, you must delete it from your
WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Released in the United States of America
Cover artist: Rae Monet
To all of my friends and family who support me every day.
I’m finished. With gentle fingers, Heidi stitched the final bead to my over-lace. My silken satin trembled at the knowledge. From that moment on, I would be known as—Bella, a
Heidi by Design
Brides came from all over the world to the Manhattan show room to see Heidi’s designs. Tomorrow I would be showcased center stage draped over the coveted black headless dress mannequin.
It would be my day.
What would my bride be like? Would she be gentle and soft like Heidi? Would she be feisty and brash like the office manager who gave orders to one and all?
“Okay, my girl.” Heidi’s voice whispered softly over my Alencon lace causing a shiver to ripple my ribbons. “Are you ready for tomorrow?”
I’d been nervous since she first took her scissors to the heavy smooth fabric with the high sheen. Oh my, was I ready?
The satin that now lay perfect under the flawless ivory lace, shot with silk ribbons. I wished I could have answered with a resounding ‘yes.’
She carefully carried me, yards of material that comprised my chapel train, draped over her arm. When she reached the raised pedestal with the coveted fabric mannequin, she held me high and let my satin slither over until I clung to it.
Any girl wearing me, Bella, would be the most beautiful bride in the world.
Heidi stepped back and clapped her hands. “Girls, this is Bella. Tomorrow is her day.” She waltzed around the room, as was her way, touching some of my sisters reverently on the sleeve or the train. Heidi’s love shimmered over all of us.
“Remember always, each of you have your soul mate. Your perfect match, just like your bride has her perfect match. When the three of you come together, it will be magical. You will all live happily ever after.”
Heidi clapped her hands again, this time in glee. She loved when she finished a creation.
“Just like in a fairy tale, I’m so lucky!” She walked to the door with her finger on the light switch and glanced back at us. “All of you are special, remember that.”
Darkness descended. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock the sounds of time marching toward the hour when the salon would open made it seem to take forever. Anticipation ruffled my lace and crinkled over my bolero.
Finally, light filtered through the window as the sun climbed over the towering buildings of Manhattan. Heidi’s staff prepared for the day with their morning ritual. I had witnessed this several times during my creation. This would be my first experience from the showroom. The smell of coffee beans brewing in the pot tickled my beads.
Then it was time. The lights came on. Heidi tapped her hands to her sides. “Everyone ready?”
A chorus of the assistants’ ‘yeses’ drifted over the salon as our designer twisted the lock with a click.
The OPEN sign blazed on.
The bell tinkled above the door heralding the first customer. My fabric clutched to the dress dummy as I waited in expectation. A young woman trailed two older women into the salon. The mother of the bride, and the mother of the groom, I presumed. Those two definitely looked happy.
Dark hair flowed down the slim woman’s back who strolled around the salon studying the elegant displays. Then she swung around, her attention full on me.
I waited for the magical zing. The one Heidi had promised my soul mate would cause to go through me.
Disappointment tightened the edging along my neckline. This bride-to-be was not my soul mate. Her expression was downright sour. I wanted to crinkle up and hide. Her interest in me held as her long legged strides brought her to the pedestal.
The happily chirping older ladies followed in her wake. I tried to keep my focus on the bride, as the three circled like running stitches around a hem. By then the young woman was behind me.
“This dress will do. Attendant, take it to a dressing room for me.” If it weren’t for the sarcasm dripping from her tone, I would have thought her voice quite pleasant.
No, this was one fed-up bride-to-be. I wanted nothing to do with her. My under silk cringed.
“My dear, Cecelia, don’t you want to look around a little more first?” The taller of the trailers responded.
“No, Mother I do not. I have things to do today, let’s get this mockery over.” The tap, tap, tap of her toe echoed her impatience as she waited for Darlee, Heidi’s assistant, to remove my fabric from the dress model.
“Cecelia, I know you’re busy at the firm but Chandler can handle things for a little while.” The lady with hair the color of ugly yellow thread frowned in Cecelia’s direction. If I hadn’t been occupied with Darlee, my silk lining would have quaked. “You know my son wants you to have only the best.”
“Mother Evans…” Cecelia sneered, one-degree cooler in her response. “Heidi by Design
Cecelia followed Darlee into gallery five, my satin cradled and protected in her arms. I could tell she was afraid to let me anywhere near the angry woman.
I marveled that Cecelia didn’t rip her clothes as she tore them from her body in order to try me on. Darlee helped guide my satin down over her shoulders, draping elegantly around her hips. Cecelia turned to regard herself in the mirror.
Her body stilled, and moisture glistened in her eyes. The tight, angry lines smoothed around her forehead and mouth. Her carriage softened when she saw herself with me draped over her body.
Disappointment hammered my bodice. I fit her as if I’d been made for her. Perfection. Calm slid over my lace. Yet I felt nothing. Where was the magic?
I wondered what was going to happen to me?
The door swung open, I saw the reflection of mother Evans and the bride’s mother. Skidding to a halt, they gasped in unison.
“Beautiful, it’s the perfect dress. I should have known you’d pick the right one the first time,” her mother said.
Frustration gripped me at the intrusion.
Cecelia’s body stiffened. Her face scrunched, again, into a scowl. Heat rippled over her skin singing my silk, so intense I feared spontaneous combustion.
“I…” her chest expanded, as she inhaled to the point my bodice seams were in jeopardy of splitting open. “Do not care what I look like.”
I could see Darlee behind the bride. She was in the process of pinning the back of me. At Cecelia’s movement, the assistant’s eyes widened and her finger rose to her mouth. She must have stuck herself with a pin. Darlee was a pro though and I knew not a drop of blood would mar my silky fabric. If I could have talked, I would have told her how proud I was of her.
Because these three ladies, if you could call them that, were scaring the bejesus out of me.
Cecelia Wilson took a deep breath as she gazed at herself in the mirror. Bella, Heidi named all of her creations, was exquisite and under happier circumstances she would have loved the dress on sight.
Bella represented everything right with the world, which emphasized everything wrong with hers. Starting with the fact, she had to marry a man she didn’t love. Not to mention her family loved the law firm more than their own daughter. Her parents didn’t give a rat’s ass about her happiness. If she took the time, she was sure there would be much more she could add to the list.
The sooner she got this charade over with, the better.
Good God, it wasn’t the dark ages. Marriage contracts and everything that went along with them had gone out of style over a century ago. Her parents couldn’t legally force her to marry.
If it weren’t for the contract.
Both families had signed the document. She’d researched the wording until her eyes had crossed with fatigue. Unfortunately, the text was legally binding. If she didn’t marry Chandler, they would both lose their inheritance and be fired from the firm. Cecelia wouldn’t put it past her father to have her blackballed from every reputable firm where she would try to find employment.
she chose not to honor the contract, that is.
At the thought, a band tightened around her chest. If she were the only one to suffer the consequences, it would be a lot easier to make a decision.