Read Three Weddings and a Dress Online

Authors: Mary Martinez

Tags: #General Fiction

Three Weddings and a Dress (5 page)

BOOK: Three Weddings and a Dress
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Was foot traffic always this dense? Or was it just her urgency that made it seem so?

Almost there, she could see The Top of the Rock Observation deck, well not literally. However, she was close enough to see the building.
 

Fanny was not a patient person. If Cecelia was too late, she’d miss her.

Only one minute passed the appointment time, she pulled the double glass door open of Java Cup. Fanny sat in a corner booth, Cecelia’s favorite low fat vanilla latte waiting.

God bless her.

She slid onto the opposite chair. Not wanting to waste time with chit-chat. “What do I need to do?”

“It’s not hard, except it won’t be done by the wedding.” Fanny slid a paper across the table to her.

“What’s this?”

“The petition, it’s straight forward. I filled out everything or as much as I could.”

Cecelia read the document over and frowned. Fanny had answered question number ten: of
grounds for application as
“not fulfilling the marriage contract”.

When she didn’t appear to marry Chandler she needed to change her name, not her first, just her surname. She wanted a fresh start without any connection to the Wilson firm.

Even the daughter of the great Broderick Wilson couldn’t defy him without consequences.

Then she came to number eleven. She had the right per the Civil Rights Law §64-a, to request exemption for publishing her intent because her life was in danger. Technically hers wasn’t.

“You’re trying to decide if your life is in danger?” Fanny sipped her green tea frap. “No one can
make
you marry Chandler. You’re just getting your affairs in order so you won’t have your bank accounts frozen.”

“You don’t think my father would do whatever it took to stop me? Even lock me in my room until the wedding?” Cecelia smiled at Fanny’s exaggerated shiver.

“Being locked in your room and forced down the aisle? I don’t believe we can say that’s
life-threatening
.” Another sip of her frap, then Fanny asked, “Do you even call him ‘Dad’?”

“Broderick? Are you nuts? And at work, it has to be Mr. Wilson.”

“You’re fuckin’ with me, Cecie.” Fanny laughed as if it were a joke.

Cecelia didn’t laugh. It wasn’t funny. “No, I’m not. I am not allowed to address him differently than any other employee. I’m not even a partner. Can you even imagine? He’s not a father to me, he never has been. Fanny, if he can stop me, he will.”

“Shit. No, I can’t imagine how it must be for you. My Dad is great. We’re very close. I’m sorry you don’t have the same.” Fanny took a moment to enjoy a bite of bagel before she continued. “You know, I have no idea why I’m surprised, I shouldn’t be. I’ve heard of the great and powerful Broderick Wilson and not just from you.” Fanny glanced around the shop, as if spies were everywhere.

“If I file these papers today how long do you think it would be before they are published?”

Fanny set her briefcase on the table, riffled through it to find the file. After she’d studied it for a few moments she returned her attention to Cecelia.

“When you file they set the hearing date which can be anywhere from one to four weeks. Wish we could file in Brooklyn; they have the hearing on the same day you file. Sorry it doesn’t say anything about a timeline for public notification.”

Cecelia took her time, sipping her latte letting her mind process the situation. Then decided she might as well use Fanny to brainstorm. “A name change is inevitable, not mandatory though. It’s not going to be complete before D-day anyway. Should I file after?”

Fanny wiggled in her chair a bit. “Are you positive he’d see it in the paper?”

“Every page is either read or at least scanned. I can’t guarantee he won’t see it.”

“Can you file the day before? It shouldn’t take too long. The form is done and you pay a fee and have a hearing date set.”

Cecelia pulled out her appointment book, opened to Friday. “Luckily I’ve been clearing my calendar for the wedding. My day is fairly free until the rehearsal dinner.”

“Good. Cross out the publication part then and sign it, I’ll meet you Friday morning. What time?”

“Say nine o’clock at the courthouse? Unless something changes with some of our other arrangements, I’ll have Skye meet us.”

“Skye is over the bank change, right?”

“Yes. Thank you, Fanny. I know you’re busy and probably have a million things to do.”

“Hey, what are friends for? I’ll take this with me and bring it Friday.” Fanny threw the paper in her case and stood.

Cecelia followed her example, gave her a brief hug then trailed her out of the coffee shop.

What to do next? She glanced at her watch. Joy was in charge of setting up appointments to see apartments. She hadn’t called yet.

That didn’t matter. She wanted to throw back her head and squeal. Let her exhilaration bounce off the buildings and spread through the mundane. Part one of her five-part plan was in motion and she could barely contain the excitement.

Chandler, to be fair, would not have tried to manage her. Maybe they could have been friends.

She wasn’t going to marry him to find out.

The most important thing now, her father didn’t control her life. She did.

Dear Diary;

Things work in Mysterious Ways

Today I met Carla. After my bride left, loneliness crept over my silk and constricted my bodice. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to me.

Then I heard a loud humming. At first my lace quivered. When the door opened a lady in some kind of uniform entered pushing a vacuum. Heidi had several of these machines to clean up scraps.

At least this was something with which I was familiar.

Carla had on earphones and danced as she cleaned. I was thoroughly entertained. Then she surprised me. After she’d clicked the vacuum off and silence settled over the room she walked up to the hook where I’d been carefully hung.

She looked intently from every angle. I felt more than a little vulnerable. Then she did the most amazing thing, she faced me front and center to address me as if she knew I could understand.

“Miss Bella, you’re bound for disappointment. Miss Cecie isn’t going to marry Chandler Evans. Not that there’s anything wrong with the man, he’s just not her hero.”

Surprise ruffled my ribbons. How the scrap did she know? Sure, my bride hadn’t really said anything, though I’d had plenty of time to consider her odd behavior.
 

Again, as if understanding my question, she answered. “I raised my Cecie to be smarter than that. I’ll bet my right hand she’s got something cooking.”

I couldn’t make much sense of her rambling since I always thought the mother was the person to raise the daughter. I did understand that Carla was speculating. Heidi did this while working on her creations.

Worry raced over my bolero. Would someone else figure out what Cecelia was planning? If so, would they stop her? It didn’t seem Carla would, except my bride’s mother or father may.

Oh, if only I had a way to warn her that her secret wasn’t so secret.

After Carla left, quiet filled the room again. Not for the first time I questioned why Cecelia had settled for me. What was I supposed to do?

Not long after Carla left, Cecelia entered, her face wreathed in smiles.

This was the first time I’d seen her happy. Joy shot through my beads and though she wasn’t my soul mate, I was delighted for her.

Cecelia went to her desk and dropped her case. Her posture straightened and I wondered what had caught her attention. She turned and in her hand, I saw the brochure for Heidi’s designs.

Her gaze rose and she studied me from bolero to train. Dropping the catalogue to the desk, she slowly walked to me. Then Cecie laid her hands on the shoulders of the hanger that anchored me.

“Bella, the brochure says Heidi believes all of her creations are magic.” Her hand gave me a gentle squeeze then she smiled. “It’s true. You have changed my life.”

I was surprised, how had I done that? Heidi said we were only magic with the perfect bride.

Cecelia took a couple of steps back and let herself drop to the edge of her bed. “When I tried you on and saw myself in the mirror, that’s when everything hit me.”

I wanted to ask what hit her, thank goodness she answered.

“I looked like a fairytale bride. But I didn’t have a prince charming.” A tear slipped down her cheek.

My beads tensed. I wanted to use my silk to wipe it. Then she grinned.

“That’s when I knew I had to find my prince charming. I deserve one, don’t I?” She tilted her head at me in question. “I’m not going to become my mother. No one is going to tell me what I want or need. Chandler is being forced as much as I am, and maybe we’d work well together. It’s not what either of us want.”

She jumped up from the bed, grabbed the shoulders of my bolero again, and lifted the hanger off the hook. Wonder of wonders, she danced me around the room.

I felt as light as a feather, and her joy shimmered over my lace. If this is what happiness was, I wanted to stay this way forever.

She dropped to her bed again. With me gathered in her arms, her warmth enveloped me. She rubbed her cheek against the fabric on my bodice. Her excitement raced over me, my ribbons quaked in pleasure.

“Oh, Bella, you deserve to have the chance to bring your bride joy. Neither you nor I deserve to be served up on a Wilson-Evans platter.”

I wasn’t sure exactly what she meant. So I enjoyed the moment of human touch against my satin.

“I promise when this is over I’ll ask Carla to send you to me and I’ll return you to Heidi’s by Design and you’ll have your day.”

Hope radiated over my entire gown.

I’d have my chance to meet my soul mate.

In that moment I truly believed in Heidi’s magic. I was meant to meet Cecelia to show her what she needed to do to grab onto her own happiness.

Chapter Three

Cecelia opened one eye to glare at the offending alarm blaring on her nightstand. Her hand hovered over the snooze button before memory flooded over her. Instead, her finger found the off button and she threw the covers off and raced to the adjoining bathroom.

Eagerness ran down her spine. Today she was meeting Joy to go apartment hunting. Joy would spot her the money for any deposits, if needed, until after the bank account change.

Broderick probably had someone watching the transactions on her account. Damn, her thoughts sounded melodramatic. Unfortunately, they weren’t exaggerated.

Not a dime, that couldn’t be explained away by wedding expenses, could be withdrawn. She could always claim she’d spent money for an expensive gift for her groom. How much money would Broderick overlook as a gift? How much would cause suspicion? Better be safe than sorry.

When was the last time she was this excited? Not when she graduated from law school, because that had been her parents’ dream, not hers.

Why was she trying to find office space with Rae in the afternoon? Did she even want to be an attorney?

Yes. She did love family law and that would be the next step in her career.

Family law was something her father didn’t deem good enough. After all, there was
no
money. When he found out, he’d expect her to fail.

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