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  • Susan Cornford

Five, Four, Three, Two...

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

So, here you are on your wedding day, finally, and now everything is going to go according to plan for you. Isn’t it?

Five, Four, Three, Two...

The Five, Four, Three, Two…

The countdown to the wedding had begun. The bridesmaids were shuffling their posies and, across the church, the organist flipped through well-worn pages of sheet music to The Wedding March. Jason ran a quick finger around the inside of his shirt collar but it did not oblige him by getting any looser. This was a mistake; he had known it was a mistake since last night’s rehearsal dinner. That was when Matthew had first shown him a picture of his mother, Jay, who had died in a car accident.

It was just serendipity that Matthew and his daughter had ever met, being stuck together in an elevator for four hours. She had been on the way to a dental appointment and he was meeting a business associate to discuss a delayed production schedule. Those first four hours had turned, a whirlwind romance later, into this mistake that had the potential for landslide consequences.

Finally taking his courage in both hands, he brushed aside the bride’s veil and whispered in her ear, “You can’t marry Matthew; he’s your half-brother.”

* * *

The countdown to the wedding had… Rebecca looked fondly up at her father as he tried to loosen his shirt collar. They had always been in synch, even though she was an adopted child, so she knew he was uneasy about something. She hoped it was just that the wedding expenses had snowballed. Still it was only once that she would marry her dream love, whom she might never have met if she had not been late for her dental appointment. Now Dad was fiddling with her veil; he leaned over and whispered in her ear just as the organist’s fingers released a burst of sound. She smiled brightly up at him, “Off we go!” and they stepped forward.

* * *

The countdown to the wedding…. Matthew took a deep breath and turned as the music swelled; he saw the first of the bridesmaid’s posies loom into sight through the church door. This was the moment he’d waited for.

It had started when he was cleaning out his mother’s things after she had passed away. No one had known who the beautiful, young woman in the picture was, but he’d finally traced her because of the sign she was standing beside. She was one of the chefs at La Petite Fleur. Then he had managed to “run into her” in the elevator that day, which was made even better when it got stuck with just the two of them in it. Now Rebecca and Jason were headed down the aisle toward him at last. He just wished that his Mom were here to see them too.

* * *

The countdown… Jennifer, known as Jay in recent years, beamed proudly at her son Matthew in his wedding suit; she would not have missed his wedding to the beautiful Rebecca for anything.

It had seemed so obvious all those years ago. She had been very young and Jason’s wife couldn’t have children. Ann was willing to forgive the affair if they could keep the little girl and bring her up. Jennifer had agreed and then moved away. Eventually she had married Peter, whose wife had died in childbirth, so she thought of Matthew almost as her own child.

Six months ago she had run into her old lover who couldn’t resist showing her the picture he’d cut out of a gourmet magazine. They agreed that “their girl” had turned out really well and Jason kindly allowed Jennifer to keep it. Then there had been the fatal car crash.

But now she could see that poor, dear Jason was looking very worried as they moved closer to the altar. Hovering slightly in the air next to his ear, she whispered, “It’s okay, Matthew’s not my biological son.”

Susan Cornford

By Susan Cornford

Twitter: @susankaye123

Susan Cornford is a retired public servant, living in Perth, Western Australia. She has had pieces published or forthcoming in 42 Stories Anthology, 50-Word Stories, CarpeArte Journal, Cloudbank, Drabblez, Drunk Monkeys, Fewer Than 500, Flora Fiction Website, Medusa's Laugh, Mental Papercuts, Moonchild Magazine, Selcouth Station, Subtle Fiction and The Gambler.

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