"I'll be leaving tomorrow morning, Harry. I have a wedding I'll be attending and working as well." I don't bring my eyes up from my plate as I continue to push my food around. The silence in the room is deafening and I hear myself sigh softly. Marriage to Harry was like this, constant non communication and constant bickering, but not all of it was bad. While I may have checked out of this marriage, he is a great father to Debbie, our only child, our daughter and I would never separate them, even if I no longer loved him.
"Yeah?", Harry finally responds after he's finished eating and I stand to collect our plates. A small urge comes over me throw back a sarcastic reply but I hold back, for the sake of not starting an unnecessary argument and walk towards the sink. I place the dishes down and lean on the counter with my back towards Harry.
"Yes, a steady client of mine at the salon is getting married and hired me to style the bridal party", I finally turn to Harry and I see I have his full attention, eyebrows raised, eyes focused on mine but no intensity in them.
"Ok, just don't fall for some tall, good looking blokes marriage proposal", he says smirking and I give him a serious look in turn. He stands up, pushes his chair in, walks over to me and lightly kisses me on the cheek.
"Have fun, I'll make sure Debbies good", it's all he says before turning on his heels, walking out of the kitchen and going up the stairs. I turn around and scoff, 'have fun', I haven't been to a wedding since my own, 17 years ago. The thought of being around all that intense love was, to say the least, overwhelming. I use to think I loved Harry but with each passing year, in our marriage, I felt deprived of that intense feeling of desire for another person.
I push off of the sink and head upstairs and begin preparing the necessary items I'll need for tomorrow.
Satisfied and prepared, I take a long hot shower to relax and slip into bed. Rolling over onto my side I see the photos on my bedside table. One was of Debbie taken on her 13 the birthday, she looks blissful, I smile at the fond memory and unconditional love I feel for my daughter. The other is of Harry and I, on our wedding day and I feel a disconnection in my emotions. I don't love Harry and no matter how much I force myself, I never will, I wonder if I ever did.
I roll over and take in Harrys sleeping form. Getting pregnant at 18, I gave him my life and he gave his, but neither of us are happy in this marriage, we both know it.
My thoughts are interrupted when I feel Harrys hand on my thigh. I push his hand away and roll over to turn the light off and shut my eyes. He tries once again, hand trailing up the back of my thigh.
"Stop Harry, I have to be up early tomorrow", I hear him sigh and roll over, back facing mine. It's not that I didn't want to have sex, I just didn't want it with Harry. It was always boring and quick, never time consuming, never filled with raw emotion. So I repressed those desires for it, a long time ago.
At work, conversations with the ladies were sometimes raunchy and over detailed. Stories from random encounters to handcuffs and whips. I normally tune them out but on some occasions, I get hot under the collar and try to hide a burning red blush. I've accepted the fact that I'm missing out on alot, in the ways of love and sex but was always comfortable with the fact that I had the unconditional love of my daughter, the only happiness in my life. The fact that she was leaving for university this fall, frightened me, she's never been away from me in 17 years. I feel myself drifting further into sleep until my thoughts are no longer running.
I wake to the sound of my alarm blaring. I reach over for my phone and shut the alarm off before reaching over to wake Harry, finding the spot cold and empty. I lift my head and look around the room, only to be met with Harrys absence.
"Harry?", I call out and hear no response. I stand up and walk to the window, peeking through the blinds, seeing an empty spot in the driveway next to my car.
I furrow my eyebrows and walk back to grab my phone before heading downstairs.
I look down at the time and see its 6:15, far too early for Harry to be awake and out the house for work. Upon finding the kitchen and living room empty, I call his cellphone, only to be met by a voicemail. I send him a text before heading upstairs to take a shower.
Drying my hair off, I hear a car door slamming outside of our bedroom window. I walk out and see Harry walking through the front door and coming up the stairs,
"Where have you been?" I whisper, desperate not to wake Debbie this early.
"I got an alert on my phone from the alarm system at work, I went to make sure everything was ok", he replies walking past me to the bedroom. I would've normally believed him but my senses caught something different, the faint smell of perfume on him.
I turn on my heels and return to the bedroom, eyeing Harry in the mirror, as I pull on a nice black, fitting pantsuit. My thoughts running rampant about what I just caught, anger rising in me. I push it to the back of my mind and grab my bag full of tools and head out to my car. I turn the engine and take one last look at our bedroom window, scoffing in disgust, before backing up and pulling off.
Arriving at the wedding address, two hours later, I pull up in front and unexpectedly, met by valet parking. I grab my bag before exiting my car and handing the keys off to the attendant, tipping him for his services. I look up at the large building before heading up the stairs to open the door.
I look around and I'm met with an empty hall, I walk looking for someone involved in the wedding. I turn around when I hear a familiar voice shouting in glee. ----- ;)
“I knew it was you Red, no one can rock that color like you! Franky, sporting a huge grin on her face and arms outstretched as she runs towards me. I give her a big hug and she lifts me off the floor. Franky has been a client of mine for years at the salon, also a constant flirt, until Bridget tamed her.
“Congratulations again, Franky”, I say smiling and pulling back from the hug. She looks around and nods in disbelief.
“Thanks Red. I thought I’d never see the day, settling down. She’s amazing, I love her”, I smile at the love on Frankys face as she speaks about Bridget, and I feel slightly envious.
“Let’s go, you have to meet my bridal crew then Bridgets”, she says smiling, “you’ll love this bunch, red.”
Franky opens the door to the bridal suite and I’m met by three women chatting amongst eachother.
“Ladies”, Franky calls out for their attention, “This is Red, she’s gonna be fixing you lousy bitches up for today”, and she gets a series of middle fingers and smiles.
“This is Booms, Doreen and my best man, Allie”, she introduces and I greet wave and smile at each of them. My eyes land on Allie and then look away just as quickly before meeting her eyes again and greeting her. She just smiles and nods in return, the intensity of her gaze causing me to pull my eyes away again.
“Who’s first?”, I ask the room full of women, avoiding the eyes of Frankys best man, Allie. I feel her gaze on me and look in her direction when I hear her speak up first,
“I’ll go first”, she says neutrally but her eyes are once again locked onto mine and I clear my throat lightly before nodding my head, setting my bag down and setting up a station. I turn and see Allie standing closer than deemed necessary and I take a step back.
“Ready for me now?”, she ask and I look around the room and see Franky, watching us through the mirror she was arranging her suit in front of. I look back at Allie and step aside, allowing for her take a seat.
“What’s the look?”, I ask Franky and she shrugs her shoulders, I laugh softly, Franky just wanted to be married already. It made me smile again at their happiness. I look back at Allie through the mirror in front of her and see her gaze once again fixed on me, this time with a soft smile on her lips. I smile back before looking away and running my hands through her long hair.
“What style do you want, Allie? Updo or leave it down?”, I ask seeing her eyes glazing over in thought, before she turns around and ask me to choose.
I look at her wide eyed and make a suggestion, “what’d you think about a cut? I think it will definitely look great on you”, this time I hold her gaze and never look away. She smiles at me and answers with a nod and wink. I smile and get to work.
I grab my extra mirror out of my bag and hold it behind her, so she can get a complete view of her hair. I feel my hands shake in nervousness but it’s calmed when I see her full blown smile for the first time.
“I love it!” I smile wide at her satisfaction.
“You’re really skilled and gifted with those hands, ay?”, she complements and I blush against my own accord, looking down and placing the mirror on the table in front of Allie.
I look back up at her in the mirror and she’s biting her bottom lip before turning around in the chair.
“I know Reds not your real name, mind if I ask what it really is?”, she quirks up an eyebrow in pure interest.
“It’s Bea”, I say calmly. She rises out of the chair and once again steps closer than necessary. Her blue eyes , the most intense I’ve ever seen, looking into me.
“It’s very nice to meet you Bea”, she says simply with a small smile before walking over to whom, Franky introduced, as Booms.
I release the breath I didn’t know I was holding in, turning my back to the room and preparing for the next person. I compose myself and when I turn around, to call for Franky over next, I feel Allie once again studying me.
Franky takes a seat and studies me in the mirror with a smirk on her face,
"What?", I say innocently, grabbing my shears, stealing one last look at Allie, through the mirror, behind me. I smile slightly at her and look back at Franky.
"Oh, nothing", she says with a grin and I allow myself the distraction of what I feel being evoked from inside of me, by this beautiful stranger. I also fight to repress them as well, not recognizing this foreign feeling.