Suddenly Single (Chapter 1)

Book Title: Suddenly Single
Author: Shana Johnson Burton
ISBN-13: 978-1-60162-953-1
ISBN-10: 1-60162-953-2
Publisher: Urban Christian
Contact: jatice@hotmail.com

Chapter 1
His nervous phone call the night before the wedding should have been a warning. But between the beautician threatening to burn her with the curling iron if she didn’t keep her head still, her best friend rattling off the “still-to-do” list, and her mother complaining because her fiancé’s family served fried chicken at the rehearsal dinner instead of having it catered, Vashti Hunter just didn’t detect the worried quiver in his voice. She assumed that Kedrick’s telling her that the last thing that he’d ever want to do is hurt her and his promise to always love her was just his way of reassuring her of his commitment to their pending marriage. Before Vashti could delve any deeper, her mother snatched the telephone out of her hand, informing Kedrick that Vashti would call him back tomorrow and to be on time for the wedding pictures.

The next morning, Vashti thought that it was strange that Kedrick hadn’t called to wish her a happy wedding day, and she was a little unnerved when she couldn’t reach him at home or on his cell phone. Dismissing the apprehension that churned in her stomach, she simply concluded that, like her, he had a lot of errands to run before the wedding and would call her as soon as things settled down.
By noon, she still hadn’t heard from him but remembered that he had relatives flying in from New York that he had to meet at the airport. Vashti was certain that he’d call before the limousine arrived to transport her and her family to the church.

Shortly after two o’clock, Vashti was at the church being primped and primed for wedding pictures, but there was still no sign of Kedrick. She wasn’t worried—everyone knew that Kedrick was an advocate of CP time. Perhaps he was still recovering from his bachelor party. Vashti made a mental note to question him about it later.

By 2:45, everyone rationalized that Kedrick must had gotten the time confused and thought that he had to be at the church by three o’clock, not two, since the wedding wasn’t set to start until four. Twenty minutes later, Vashti sneaked away to call the hospital to see if anyone had come in from having an accident. None of the patients registered matched his name or description. Then she called his friends to see if they’d seen or heard from him. None of them had.

Doubts were starting to creep in, but she was determined to stay positive. Kedrick loved her and that was all that mattered. He would be there—he had to be! Besides, grooms were notorious for having cold feet before the wedding. She eased her mind by recalling her college roommate’s wedding. The groom zoomed in at the last minute after getting over his pre-wedding jitters, and then the two were happily married. It was only a quarter until four; if he came within the next fifteen minutes, no one outside of the family would even know that he’d been late.

Around 4:15, murmurs from restless attendants echoed throughout the sanctuary while the bridesmaids exchanged nervous glances that revealed what everyone was thinking.

By 4:40, Vashti’s mother was hastily drafting a speech to notify the guest that the wedding was being postponed, but Vashti insisted that she wait– Kedrick was going to march through the door at any second.

At 5:00, the Hunter family began apologizing to their family members and friends as they filed out of the church, reassuring them that all gifts would be returned and thanking them for their support.

At 5:30, they found Vashti squatting on the floor in her wedding dress inside of Kedrick’s now empty apartment, drowning in her tears. Her father picked her up and cradled her in his arms the way he used to do when she was a child. Back then, those strong limbs were a comfort to her; now, she resented them for being necessary.

By 6:03, Vashti was back at her house– the one that she was to share with Kedrick– crossing the threshold in her father’s arms instead of her husband’s. Her parents offered to stay with her, but she insisted on being left alone. Walking to her room to crawl into bed and remain there for eternity, Vashti caught a glimpse of her reflection in a mirror. She turned to look at it, wanting to see the future Mrs. Kedrick Wright one last time. She stood there, staring at this woman standing in the exquisite strapless Vera Wang knock-off gown that she practically had to crack a rib to squeeze into. Her tiara veil sparkled as the evening sunlight shone down on it. The beautiful June afternoon seemed to be making a mockery of the torment she was feeling inside.

She looked down at her $400 Jimmy Choo shoes that gave her 5’4 inch frame a much needed boost and at her great-grandmother’s pearl necklace that dangled from her neck. She got one last glance at the flawless nails and the impeccable hairdo, upswept and weaved in for the occasion, her caramel-colored skin that had been buffed and mud-wrapped, and her almond-shaped to eyes to which fake eye lashes had been adhered to plump up her own thin lashes. She took one last look at the woman who was supposed to marry the love of her life, the man that she’d spent the last five years loving and for whom she was willing to sacrifice her size three figure for in order to have his babies, and cried.

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