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The Wedding Pawn

Categories: Creative Writing Prompts Tags: creative writing exercises, creative writing prompts, writing prompt.

You are about to get married at the wedding ceremony of your dreams. Absolutely everything has gone perfectly, until the best man says that he pawned the ring a couple of days ago. Write this scene.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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207 Responses to The Wedding Pawn

  1. Chuckles2013 says:

    Uh, okay.

    My fiancé seems to not have found out about this yet. There she is, still being the most beautiful angel of my life, helping me greet the aunts and uncles, some of whom we’ve never even met before. I turn back to my best man. I wasn’t sure whether I was seeing remorse in his eyes or a reflection of fire in mine.

    “Uh, let me think about this –“

    “Listen, I know you’re very mad at me, but I really needed the money for –“
    Excuses, excuses.

    “—and I really didn’t anticipate that my partner would leave just like that, and now I don’t even know what to do with –“
    You can go sell your start-up in, say, the next five minutes and get my ring back.

    “Let me think about this.”

    A kid got out of her seat. I sat down and buried my face in my hands, completely ignorant of whether the seat was already warmed by the little girl, and whether I can barely squeeze myself into that little seat. Perhaps thinking about this wasn’t the best idea. Perhaps I should just smile at him, tell him it’s okay, and never speak to him again after this wedding.

    Perhaps I should not. Having been my roommate since college, he has helped me learn to discipline myself to clean my room, be conscious of girls’ feelings and thoughts, and share with others whenever there’s a need. He has even introduced me to his colleague, who will soon become my wife. Or at least I thought so before he finally decided to pull me aside and tell me the truth. Nevertheless, I don’t know which other beautiful path I’d be on without his help. Perhaps I should not blame him. But is that what helping others is all about? Is helping out just a long term emotional investment that pays interest at times of downturn and recession? “I help, therefore I deserve”?

    Perhaps I’m still missing something here. Perhaps I’m missing something not about him, but about myself. Perhaps I’ve almost forgotten the times when I poked fun at him in front of our friends for the sake of making myself look ‘more’ like a ‘humorous’, ‘popular’ person. Perhaps I’ve overlooked the times when I failed to clean up the sink for him to use. Perhaps I’ve avoided the memories when I joked about his choice of girlfriends, deluding myself as the ultimate matchmaker, a walking fortune-cookie, giving countless useless advices. Yes, I have, indeed, missed a lot about myself.

    I looked upward at him, who wasn’t looking at me anymore. Perhaps he’s pondering whether to untie and retie his shoelace, just to fill up the awk –

    “I’ve decided. It’s okay. And don’t worry, it’s not awkward. Nothing’s awkward unless we make it awkward, and I don’t plan to do so, and I don’t suppose I can allow you to do so. It’s fine. I understand that your sister was in dire need of medical treatment after the plane crash. And startups are never easy, not even for Jobs. I’ll sort out something with her, I’m sure she’ll can come up with something.”

    Later that day, my wife looked particularly beautiful and bright with her grandmother’s ring.

  2. m__m says:

    “What do you mean its gone?!” I said, shocked.

    “I don’t know what could have happened to it,” he explained, “I had it locked in the safe all night!”

    The groomsmen had enjoyed a night of drinking and debauchery the night before, but Sam had insisted that the hotel room was secure, and that he had double-checked to make sure the safe was locked before they left for the bars.

    “The only other person who knows the combination is Chris.” He said.

    “Why would you give Chris the combination, Samuel?” I said, slapping my forehead in disbelief. Chris was Sam’s best friend, and best man. He was also my nemesis, having openly hated me for the duration of our courtship. I never quite understood his contempt for me, but suffice it to say, after years of attempting to make peace with no success, the feeling was mutual.

    “He needed to store some cash,” his face contorted, “He had an awful lot of cash, actually.” Sam’s composure faltered as he strained to recall other relevant details from the previous night.

    “You’re sure the ring in the safe was mine, indefinitely?” I speculated.
    “I’m pretty sure it was…” Sam said, sounding less sure of his memory than before. Beads of sweat emerged at his hairline, and his eyes met mine in a moment of sickening realization.
    “You mean to tell me that you gave Chris, of all people, the combination to the safe that held the most important artifact of our relationship, because he needed to store an unusually large sum of cash?” I asked sardonically. “You’ve got to be kidding.”
    “Now listen,” he said, defensively wagging a finger in my face, “I know you guys have never gotten along, but Chris is my closest friend and he would never betray me!”
    “Oh, you’re so sure about that?” I raised my eyebrows. “Are you as sure about that as you were about seeing the ring in the safe?”

    Sam left the room and I sat on the hotel bedspread, with my head in my hands and wept. In my misery, I wondered why Chris would want to ruin his best friend’s wedding. Between the sobs, I managed to make out a light tapping sound coming from the adjoining room.

    “What do you want?” I shouted. When the door opened, I gasped to see that it was Chris. In his hands, he offered the tiny velvet box to me as he dropped down to one knee.

    “I know you must despise me, Charlotte.” He began, “and you’re going to hate me even more after I say this.” His eyes were wet and his voice constricted as he uttered the last words I ever expected to hear from him.
    “I’m in love with you.”

    He opened the box to reveal a gorgeous diamond ring, twice the size of the one on my left hand.

    “You should know, I only pawned it to buy this for you.”

  3. lovetowrite97 says:

    “Look, Tom, you’re not gonna understand – ”

    “I don’t care!” I lunged forward and pinned him against the wall, gripping him tightly by the shoulders. “I need to know.”

    “Ok, ok, just – just let me go.”

    I gripped him even more firmly and stared at him hard in the eye. I was breathing heavily, and furious thoughts were swirling around in my mind. He looked back at me with a pleading gaze, and I saw beads of sweat forming on his frantic face.

    I released him, and Daniel exhaled sharply. He closed his eyes and leaned back against the wall, pulling a handkerchief out of his pocket to wipe his sweaty face. He took several deep breaths and swallowed hard before speaking.

    “Julia was kidnapped last Tuesday.”

    I stared at him, taken aback.

    He wiped his face again, this time more profusely. “The ransom was $10,000.” He looked up, his eyes full of pain. “I needed the money.”

    “And so you just decided to pawn the ring?!” I exploded. Daniel swallowed nervously as I began pacing around the empty conference room. “You should have told me! I would have helped you get her back.”

    “I wouldn’t have let you.”

    I looked up at him in shock, and Daniel averted his gaze as he realized what he had said.

    “You haven’t forgotten what happened at the bar two months ago, have you?”

    Memories of that night flooded over me, and I turned away.

    “Scott was getting the crap beaten out of him, and you tried to intervene. Both of you landed up in the hospital. Marie was so scared that night I called her.”

    I closed my eyes.

    “I’m sorry, Tom, but it was the week before your wedding, and I don’t know how I would have ever explained it to Marie if you did anything rash. It was for your own good.”

    I stared at the floor silently for a long time.

    “Did – did you get Julia back?” I asked, my voice sounding gruffer than usual.

    Daniel nodded and gave a tired sigh. “Three days ago. She’s been having trouble sleeping, but that’s not much of a surprise for a six-year-old.” He looked up at me. “Marion’s helping her dress and get ready to come. They’ll be here in an hour.”

    I nodded.

    “Look, I’m sorry,” he said again. “Just give me some time, and I’ll get it back for you.”

    I nodded again. “Don’t worry about it. As long as Julia’s ok.”

    I walked up to him, and after a brief moment of hesitation, gave him a pat on the shoulder.

    “I’ll tell Marie,” I said.

  4. stray_gryphon says:

    Twelve hours from now, I will either be the happiest being on the face of three worlds, or I’ll be in a home for the abnormally gifted ( i.e. a nut house for crazy people). It’s 07:30 AM. I flew in to the temple grounds forty-eight minutes ago, filled with excitement and happily anticipating my impending marriage to the love of my life, Kessi. Exactly fifteen seconds ago, Jordan gave me a slap on the shoulder and did a hatchet job on my perfectly planned wedding day.

    What do I tell this perfectly servicable facsimile of a “best man” and “best friend” as he stands before me, smiling sheepishly, while all my dreams of a peaceful and simple marriage ceremony mutates into something I would wish on my worst enemy’s grandmother (may she shed her skin every hour).

    “You did what?!” I screech, horrified.
    The scent of fear never fails to make me hungry. Right now Jordan’s bleeding enough ammonia tinged panic that I’m begining to drool. My hackles have gone up and he knows he’s really stepped in it this.

    “Why are you so pissed, Tyr? You were complaining so much at your bachelor party that you didn’t think the ring really captured the essence of her spirit, that I decided to help you out. So I traded it for the dross to get you a better one,” he explained, holding out the new ring for my inspection. His hand is shaking ever so slightly. Good. He should be frightened.

    Now, I have to admit, it is an exquisite piece of work. My people have always had a fondness for gems and an appreciation for jewelry. The band is three delicately woven ropes of white gold inset with three beautiful flower shaped diamonds. The heart of each diamond flickers with green and gold flames, like those seen in my sweetheart’s eyes when she is stirred by some intense emotion. Gentleness, and fire. It’s exactly her.
    I heave a defeated sigh and give myself a good rousing shake to relieve my tension. I drop my head, close my eyes, and force my hackles to settle. “Really, dude. With as long as we’ve been friends, you should have known I say stupid things when I’m drunk out of my skull! That ring has been in her family for generations. Come on.,” I say, gently grasping his shoulders in my talons to turn him around. “We’ve got to get it back! Losing it is a deal breaker.”

    Now, while I would survive the royal roasting her dragoness of a mother would give me (fireproofing comes with the metallic ‘feathers’ and ‘fur’ we gryphons are born with), my more delicate friend would be ash. Not to mention that my scaly bride-to-be would not be happy if her mom rendered me sterile by killing the other half of my soul. Jordan may sometimes be a gibbon’s backside, but my pair-mate’s heart is in the right place.

  5. JustAPerson says:

    Just my luck, I tell myself as I get in the car. My dress is dirty and my best friend is going to jail. Long story short, my best friend decided to steal a ring and Lord knows how he managed to do it, all I can worry now is getting to him and bailing him out.
    My husband walks toward the car; I roll down my window and yell, “It’s okay, I’ll handle it, you just go and make sure everyone’s all right.”
    He raises his eyebrow, “Are you sure?”
    I nod, “Yeah, I’ll be fine.”
    He nods. “Okay, go on ahead.”
    I backed the car out and sped away towards the police station. I can’t stop thinking; Why? Why would he choose this day out of all days to ruin my life? Why not Taco Tuesday…oh yeah he loves Taco Tuesday.
    A whole storm of useless thoughts cram my head, as if somehow these will help me decipher the events leading up to this. I’m so lost in my thoughts that I almost hit a poor woman crossing the street.
    “Sorry!” I yell as I hit the brakes.
    “Watch where you’re going!”
    Great, I almost joined my best friend in jail. I drive as fast as I can, but stay focused on the road. I finally arrive and run out of the parking lot like a lunatic in a fashionably torn dress. I come bursting through the doors.
    “Wh-wh-where is he?” I gasp.
    “If you could wait for a moment m-”
    I point my finger at the man behind the desk, “I just had my day ruined and not just any day, a day that is supposed to be special and meaningful, a day that every girl dreams about and I have been waiting my entire life for this day, so I am not going to wait another second. Tell me where he is,”
    He looks at my finger and quickly grabs the phone, Ahem, there is a woman here, who is looking for someone you just brought in.”
    He looks at me, “Mhmm, okay, got it, great, thanks,” he hangs up the phone.
    “Well?” I ask.
    He nods his head to the left; I turn and see my best friend there. I run up and hug him, “Oh, what the hell were you thinking?”
    He hugs me back, “Don’t worry.”
    I push him away and stare at him, “Worry? What do you mean don’t worry? You robbed a jewelry store and you- you…”
    He smiles, “Yep, but it was from my own store.”
    “What.”
    He grins even more, “I stole it from my own shop and didn’t tell anyone about it. One of my employees finally noticed and called the cops. I wore a hoodie so they couldn’t see who I was specifically, unfortunately I slipped up and dropped my little reminder I wrote about your wedding.”
    “Why? Why would you do this?” I almost beg for an answer.
    “Cmon, let’s go outside to talk.”
    He grabs my hand and pulls me outside. I open my mouth to speak, but he leans in and kisses me. It shocks me; I felt so lightheaded. I lean in and kiss him back before I realization hit me. I push him away and slap him.
    He seems just as shocked by the slap as the kiss.
    “What are you doing?” I yelled.
    “Ouch, that hurt.”
    “Well there’s going to be more unless you tell me why you decided to make a move on your MARRIED BEST FRIEND,” I shout.
    “I just can’t watch you marry the wrong man,” he says.
    “What? I’m marrying the right man! Don’t tell me that I’m…that…that I’m…” I look down at my torn dress.
    I wonder if he was right; I haven’t even gone on a real romantic date with my husband, this wedding wasn’t set up by him. Only his parent wanted this and my best friend went to the trouble of stealing for me…still…
    I meet his eyes, “What would you know about loving the right person anyways?” I march away from him and run towards my car. I turn on the ignition and started to back the car up, but he blocked my way. I rolled down my window, “I’m going back to my husband and you have no right to stop me!”
    He runs up to my window, “Wait just one moment,” he gets down and one knee and pulls out another ring, “Will you marry me?”
    “Wha-What? At a time like this? Are you kidding me?” I sputter.
    “Would you?”
    I don’t answer.
    He looks at me with pleading eyes, “Please, I just need an answer.”
    “Maybe.”
    I sped away too quickly for him to stop me this time, but I think I caught a tiny glimpse of hope in his eyes.
    I stop at a red light. Just perfect, now I have two husbands. I groan and slam my head on the car horn.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      You’ve written a very romantic story. The kiss tells everything the reader needs to know. It sets the tone of your story and it’s very well written. The only question I have is about the torn and dirty wedding dress? A little more emphasis on the cause of the torn dress might be helpful.

      Was there an argument between the new bride and husband or did she trip and fall when she heard about her best friend being arrested? This item is a very important “set key” to her motives. The ending is perfect, don’t mess with it. Leave the reader to complete the story as he wishes to. A great job on the writing.

  6. laurenallen10 says:

    “You are supposed to be my best man. What do you mean you pawned the ring off?” Michael exclaimed. “This is the wedding my soon to be wife has always dreamed of and now I don’t even have a ring!”

    The best man, Lance, began to realize what he had done. “I knew you were going to be mad, but you have to believe me. It was a mistake! I took the ring to get cleaned, just like you asked me. My friend said he was the best guy around to get a ring cleaned!” Lance explained. “How would I know that he really owned a pawn shop and pawned it off, Michael?”

    “Maybe you should have checked the place out. This friend of yours seems to be pretty sketchy anyways. He’s probably the one who got the money from pawning it! I gave you one job, Lance! Just ONE job! And you managed to ruin it,” Michael screamed.

    Michael’s adrenaline began pumping. He had no idea what he was going to do. How would he ever explain to Kayla that he didn’t have the ring anymore? There is no way she would go through with marrying him! She has warned him too many times about Lance, and maybe she was right all of this time. Michael continued to space out trying to figure out what his next move would be.

    “Okay,” Michael finally began, “The only thing I can do is tell Kayla. There is nothing else I can do. Maybe she will be furious, but maybe she will understand that it’s not my fault!”

    “I’m so sorry,” Lance began, “I really didn’t mean to…”

    “Save it, buddy,” said Michael angrily, “Let’s see how Kayla reacts first and figure out how we are going to explain to everyone where the ring is.”

    Lance ducked his head and followed Michael out of the groom’s party room and headed to find Kayla. He knew he had a lot of explaining to do.

  7. whitwhatup says:

    “What?   YOU LOST THE RING, Jimbo?” I screamed loud enough to have my idiot brother look me in the eyes.  I immediately asked, although I knew, “was it drugs, J?  Please tell me it wasn’t…”
    His blank eyes told me more than I wanted, so I straightened his bow tie, and kissed him on the forehead saying, “I forgive you.  Everything’s gonna be all right.”  Just as I had said a million times before.  To my daddy, to Jimbo; hell, even to my momma a few rare occasions; but not to my fiancé. My husband in only 2 hours.

    The wedding was beautiful. Not only were the stars brightly dancing to my DJ’s random music mix, but the gritty, humid blanket lifted as my bridal procession began. My drunk parents were an afterthought; and I proudly focused on my bright and promising future. I never once looked down at my naked left finger, obsolete from the wedded bliss surrounding me. In fact, I never looked back at the life I was so ready to escape.

    That night, drunk with giddiness mixed with champagne, I lovingly watched Frank routinely take his vitamins, brush his teeth, and feed the dogs before untying his bow tie. I remember falling asleep in disbelief that a girl like me could land a man like him.

    I woke up as sun pierced into our Bridal Suite window. I giggled when i realized I was wrapped with a white tulle mess that was still clung to my body. Rolling over, i knocked a black leather box trimmed with gold and a note:

    Kathleen,
    This is yours, but I’m not.
    Best, George.
    3 lines, 9 words, and exactly one prick to turn my world upside down. For months, my days were filled with nothingness: the paralysis and inability to crawl out of bed was my miserable existence for what seemed forever. Summer came, after a long, cold winter and my spirits lifted as the sun beamed proudly.

    From that moment forward, I lived by a motto

    God,
    This isn’t mine, but I’m yours.
    Best, Kathleen

    She was happy. Content. Funny how things work out, right?

  8. lovetowrite97 says:

    Hello, everyone! I am a new member of this website, and I thought I should introduce myself. I am presently a high school student who loves to write, and it is my dream to publish something one day. While I excel at personal and essay writing, creative writing is not my forte, so I welcome any comments and constructive criticism about anything I post.

    Thanks, and I hope you enjoy this piece!

    *****

    “Look, Tom, you’re not gonna understand – ”

    “I don’t care!” I lunged forward and pinned him against the wall, gripping him tightly by the shoulders. “I need to know.”

    “Ok, ok, just – just let me go.”

    I gripped him even more firmly and stared at him hard in the eye. I was breathing heavily, and furious thoughts were swirling around in my mind. He looked back at me with a pleading gaze, and I saw beads of sweat forming on his frantic face.

    I released him, and Daniel exhaled sharply. He closed his eyes and leaned back against the wall, pulling a handkerchief out of his pocket to wipe his sweaty face. He took several deep breaths and swallowed hard before speaking.

    “Julia was kidnapped last Tuesday.”

    I stared at him, taken aback.

    He wiped his face again, this time more profusely. “The ransom was $10,000.” He looked up, and there was pain in his eyes. “I needed the money.”

    “And so you just decided to pawn the ring?!” I exploded. Daniel swallowed nervously as I began pacing around the empty conference room. “You should have told me! I would have helped you get her back.”

    “I wouldn’t have let you.”

    I looked up at him in shock, and Daniel averted his gaze as he realized what he had said.

    “You haven’t forgotten what happened at the bar two months ago, have you?”

    Memories of that night flooded over me, and I turned away.

    “Scott was getting the crap beaten out of him, and you tried to intervene. Both of you landed up in the hospital. Marie was so scared that night I called her.”

    I closed my eyes.

    “I’m sorry, Tom, but it was the week before your wedding, and I don’t know how I would have ever explained it to Marie if you did anything rash. It was for your own good.”

    I stared at the floor silently for a long time.

    “Did – did you get Julia back?” I asked, my voice sounding gruffer than usual.

    Daniel nodded. “Three days ago. She’s been having trouble sleeping, but that’s not much of a surprise for a six-year-old.” He looked up at me. “Marion’s helping her dress and get ready to come. They’ll be here in an hour.”

    I nodded.

    “Look, I’m sorry,” he continued. “Just give me some time, and I’ll get it back for you.”

    I nodded again. “Don’t worry about it. As long as Julia’s ok.”

    I walked up to him, and after a brief moment of hesitation, gave him a pat on the shoulder.

    “I’ll tell Marie,” I said.

  9. GypsySue says:

    ” You did what ? ” Hank spat through gritted teeth, so the guest couldn’t see his sudden anger and dismay.
    He looked at his bride to be …. and knew his best man’s words where over heard. She was slightly pale, her hands shook, the bouquet was had rumpled leaves where her fingers squashed the tender rose leaves

    Frank looked at his two best friends in the world, sweat started to dripped down his temples. ” I had no choice.” he whispered. ” It was that or have my power shut off.. I asked my family but nothing. It’s twenty degrees out. I can’t let the kids freeze.”

    Hank looked at his future bride, and saw he compassion run through her face and demeanor. His anger diminished just as fast as his anger rose. He knew Frank had lost his job, although his best friend didn’t know that he knew. He also was aware of Frank’s pride, and knew Frank would never come willingly to ask for help.

    Hank and Anna looked at each other, and both took out a spare ring at the same time. That’s the thing the two had in common. They were always prepared for the unexpected.. and today they both had that feeling that some thing was going to go wrong.

    Loud laughter from the front of the church rang through the church as the bride and groom laughed until they’re bellies ached. Frank gave a sigh of relief, ” I knew I could count on you two… damn my pride..”

    The reverend looked between the three of them… smiled and continued before God to pronounce them
    ” Man and wife.”

  10. Renan Moises says:

    Hi everyone.

    I am new here and I am trying to post a story but it just don’t get posted. If my story is bigger than 500 words, won’t it be posted?

    Thank you so much!

    • lailakuz says:

      The same thing happened to me and I also thought it was word count until l realized it wasn’t because there were stories over 500 words here. So, I just tried posting it another time and it worked. Good Luck!

  11. Renan Moises says:

    By the window Louise could see the garden and how it had been prepared for the ceremony. Everything seemed to be in its right place and she felt proud. She always wanted that situation but could never imagine it was going to become such a huge wedding.

    A large area of green lawn, which in ordinary days was just a space where the dogs exercised today had huge flower pots – the size of a person – at the end of each cherry wooded bank. A ruby color carpet was laying from the entrance lawn until just before the tent meticulously produced with golden grass, white silk and marble floors. It was a princess wedding.

    She was so focused on her thoughts she barely listened to the door apening.

    “Louise…” a flustered voice yelled.

    “Pablo…” The best man closed the door and took a deep breath. “I was expecting the make up artist…”

    “I told him you were late and asked him to come in fifteen minutes. Now listen…” Calmed down, he walked until very close to her.

    “One of these days, at Jenny’s dinner, I think, you and Ardo were talking about an aunt of his, Agustine. Ardo said she was very very rich but very unscrupulous. I did not pay much attention to this table talk but the woman just reached me at the bar a couple of hours ago.”

    Louise was aprehensive. What was that Pablo story now? She continued listening while Pablo drove himself to that point of the windows where the whole wedding could be seem.

    “Agustine asked me to follow her to the library room. I did not understant why at first but she could have a message from Ardo and I went.” Pablo was a great story-teller, he could easily transport the audience – Louise, in this case – to the scene by using only words and his facial expressions. “Inside the library things turned out differently…”

    - I am Agustine. You certainly have already heard Eduardo or one of his adorable sisters talking about me – Her presence was indoubtly imponent, arrogant and yet natural. – What is your name, my son?

    - Pablo, ma’am. I am pleased to meet you.

    - Yes, Pablo, you are. I’ve heard you are Eduardo’s Best Man today so I guess you are the one holding the wedding ring at the altar. Am I right? – Pablo had the impression she was thinking he was stupid because of the slowlyness of her spoke.

    - Yes, ma’am. I am carrying the ring to the altar.

    - Eduardo’s mother commented it is the most exquisite jewelery piece a bride would ever have dreamed of. I am a curisous woman, Pablo – She laughed the laugh of the arrongant riches and then held one of her arms straight in Pablo’s direction – Can I see it?

    The answer could not be differente from a yes once she was already prepered to receive the ring. Pablo wondered what was the whole point of that. She certainly was not only curisous. Otherwise there would not be necessity of entenring a room totally by themselves. Pablo pretended a smile and gave her the black velvety box containing the ring.

    The box was opened and a mix of wonder and jelousy took the woman’s face. Pablo remembered the whole conversation between Ardo and Louise about Agustine. She was indeed a special aunt.

    - It is beautiful, son. Eduardo has really put an effort in this one. – And acting as natural as ever she continued: I give you two million dollars for this beauty here, Pablo, what do you think?

    He pretended misunderstanding, even though he’d understood quite well. She was proposing to buy the ring for an absurd price. “Sor-Sorry?”.

    “You sold” Louise yelled but then lowered the voice – “You sold the ring?!”

    “I couldn’t answer her promptly so I asked her ten minutes to think about it”. He continued. She left the room for a cocktail and two million things – he laughed – came to my mind. First I thought about giving her… the fake ring.

    “But then I realized that the value of the ring in the jewelry market was 500,000 dollars. Selling the true one to her was not a bad deal. Furthermore she showed herself as an ambitious intelligent woman. Anytime she could find out she paid two million per a piece of glass and I would be destroyed… And we would be destroied. So, yes, I sold the ring! And she left the state a minute after signing the check”.

    Louise wondered if Pablo’s attitude was a good idea, but there was nothing to think: two million things proved it was a great idea! They had had such a difficult time seeking for some jeweler discret enought to make a perfect copy of that monstruous diamond and now, sooner than they expected, there was the reward.

    “Now I see jealousy is a unique formula to make prices rise” – he laughed, but she was too thoughtful to listen.

    “Two million dollars! That is excellent!” – whispered Louise finally. “Now I have much more than the amount of money I needed to keep playing the whole of the poor-rich-orphan…”

    “So in the moment the priest asks for the ring I will give Eduardo the fake one”.

    Louise could not be happier. She was about to enter one of the richest clans of Canada and now she had the money she needed to continue pretending she was wealthy until the moment she would inherit solo all the billions of her fiancé.

    “Perfect” she said while glancing one more time at the beautifully sun illuminated garden.

    By the time her father-in-law held her arms in front of the red carpet, the spring sunlit was reaching the tent and also Eduardo’s head. He smiled honestly because of his love. She couldn’t avoid smiling as well because of his gold.

    The musicians started to play Mendelssohn’s wedding march as they entered the corridor. She looked around and to the people. In the second row saw a dozen of Ardo’s old rich aunts but no sign of Agustine. One of them, Martina, married with her father-in-law’s late brother, was carrying a dog instead of a husband. A creepy though came across her mind – ruining for a second her ambitious smile – questioning her if the dog-lady would be her in the future. “What a terrible song” she thought.

    Twenty minutes after, Louise held hands with Eduardo in front of the crowd and the priest asked the best man for the ring.

    Pablo smiled weird and perfectly played his whole acting as the innocent gawky guy that was responsible for gaining Ardo’s friendship and confidence three years ago.

    - Here it is.

    Ardo opened the box, carefully took the fake ring out and gave back Pablo the empty box. Then once more he turned to Louise. Stared at her beautiful dark eyes and lifted her hands to the perfect height…

    Ardo was so happy that was trembling a little. A little enough to drop the ring off his hands…

    The glassy ring was now falling and turning in the air straight to the marble rocky floor of the tent as slice of a buttered bread falls to the kitchen’s floor. Who would Murphy be against today?

    END OF CHAPTER

  12. smallster21 says:

    TWO CARAT SLITHERING SNAIL RING

    Armod glared at Kelsig’s hand, wanting to take his wand and turn his best man into a porta-john, so the wedding guests could shit on him all night. “You want me to pretend that thing is the wedding ring?” Armod pointed at the snail slithering across Kelsig’s palm.

    “Well, it’s either that, or the cockroach on the floor.” Kelsig’s frizzy, long mane hadn’t seen a comb in ten years, and his bloodshot eyes pulsated with the remnants of bourbon.

    Armod had left his boho-wizard days after meeting Grace, and his hair now rested smoothly against his neck. “I don’t even know what to say.”

    “Your welcome? If it wasn’t for me, the Grimkel brothers would still be holding Darby hostage. I needed money to pay the ransom. The ring was all I had. Again. You. Are. Welcome. I saved the ring bearer.”

    Darby, the English bulldog, lay at their feet. The skin around his ankles was exposed—where the kidnappers had taped his legs together.

    “Why did they kidnap Darby in the first place!”

    “The why isn’t important. And, don’t have a heenie. I’ll fix this snail right up. Grace is a human, she won’t know the difference.”

    “My family will see past the glamour,” Armod growled. “What if they burst out laughing in the middle of the ceremony?”

    “Should I send out a memo?”

    “You’re the worst best-man ever.”

    ***

    Armod grasped the snail tight in his palms, his eyes casting nervous glances to the wizard-filled pews. Aunt Disa was already chuckling. As a soothsayer, she probably envisioned the last-minute ring-swap.

    He slid the snail onto Grace’s finger, which twitched slightly from the trail of invisible goo.

    “It’s beautiful,” Grace gasped. Overcome with joy, she was unable to contain her squeal, “It’s 2 carats, isn’t it?” The snail smiled, exposing its pearly whites. As Grace held her hand close to admire the diamond, the snail reached forward, puckered its lips, and kissed her on the nose. Startled, Grace stepped backward, tripping over a floral arrangement. Her feet flew over her head, and she tumbled down the steps, landing in the aisle.

    The humans gasped at the, covering their mouths in horror. All the wizards, however—trying to be polite up until this point—released their pent-up giggles.

    Grace pushed Armod away as he attempted to pick her up. “Something isn’t right! What did you put on my finger?

    Armod peered down at the snail. It was bobbing its head up and down, a look of triumph on its face.

    “Rings are inanimate objects, therefore, they don’t give slobbery kisses,” Grace spat.

    “I’m sorry. I just wanted to give you the best darling. I couldn’t afford a big, swanky ring.” Armod lowered his shoulders in defeat, looking at her like a sad, lonely puppy. “It’s only 1 carat, and the slobbery kiss is a side effect of the magnification spell.”

    Grace’s eyes softened and she kissed him. “Honey, you are all that matters. So, just get rid of the spell.”

    Armod waved his hand over the ring, muttering an incantation under his breath.

    From the front pew, his mother clicked her disapproving tongue as Armod led Grace back up the altar.

    The one-carat diamond ring—gleaming within the humans’ eyes—frowned, for its head was much smaller. The snail blew its tongue at Armod, shooting saliva onto Grace’s knuckles, which she absentmindedly rubbed off.

  13. fotogrllt says:

    “You did what? You got to be kidding! You’re a damn drunk and a loser!” Susan screamed at Jeff.
    “I’m sorry”. Jeff cried back.
    “Where did you pawn the ring at?” Susan’s fiancé John shouted at Jeff in an angry voice.
    “Quick Time Pawn”. Jeff said quietly.
    “Well, let’s go. You better be praying it’s still there or I am going to beat the crap out of you”. John said in a angry tone of voice.
    “It was only a couple days ago, so it should still be there”. Jeff said.
    “It better be you S.O.B!” Susan yelled. “I can’t believe you let this drunken moron be the best man. I knew he was a drunk from the first time I met him. Get him out of my sight before I shoot him! Damn nations, everything was going perfectly until this bozo brain screw things up!” Susan yelled as she threw her arms up in the air. “Oh John, you know that this idiot is no longer your best man. I’m going to have Brian, my sister’s husband, as your best man”.
    “Yes dear. That fine. I will be back with the ring”. John said as he and Jeff headed to the door.
    “It better be for that drunken fools sake or I will be calling the police to have him arrested!” she shouted as the door shut.
    Susan then looked up the pawn shop number on her cell phone.
    “Quick Time Pawn”. A gruff man’s voice answered.
    “Yes my name is Susan and my fiancé and his stupid friend is on their way to get back my engagement ring the stupid friend sold to your store the other day”.
    “What is the friend’s name?”
    “Jeff Smith”.
    “Hold on”. Then an advertisement for the pawn store began playing. Susan impatiently waited for what seemed an eternity for the gruff man to return to the phone.
    “We still got it. You want me to set it aside?” The gruff man asked abruptly.
    “Yes, please!” she replied thinking what a redundant question.
    “Okay, will do. Thanks for calling”. The man said then hung up.
    “Praise the Lord”. Susan than dialed John’s number.
    “The pawn shop still has it”. Susan said with relief in her voice.
    “Good. Were gonna stop at Jeff’s apartment so he can give me back the money and his tux. Then were going to get the ring. Then I will dropping Jeff back off at his apartment for the last time”. John said tersely.
    “Okay dear. I will be waiting for you here. I am so glad that this is going to turn out alright. I am calming down. I am going to let you go so you can drive and get home safe. I gotta call my sister and tell her about the change of plans. See you when you get home”. Susan said.
    “Okay. Love you!” John said then hung up.
    “Oh the joys of marriage”. Susan mumbled as she dialed her sister’s number.

  14. stray_gryphon says:

    Twelve hours from now, I will either be the happiest being on the face of three worlds, or I’ll be in a home for the abnormally gifted (i.e. a nut house for crazy people). It’s 07:37 AM. We flew in to the temple grounds forty-eight minutes ago, filled with excitement and happily anticipating the day’s ceremony. Exactly fifteen seconds ago, Jordan gives me a slap on the shoulder and does a hatchet job on my perfect wedding day plans. What do I tell this perfectly servicable facsimile of a “best man” and “best friend” as he stands before me, smiling sheepishly, while all my dreams of a peaceful and simple marriage ceremony mutates into something I would wish on my worst enemy’s grandmother (may she shed her skin every hour).
    “You did what?!” I screech.
    The scent of fear never fails to make me hungry. And right now Jordan’s bleeding enough ammonia tinged panic that I’m beginning to drool. My hackles have gone up and he knows he’s really stepped in it this time.
    “You were complaining at your bachelor party that you didn’t think the ring really captured the essence of her spirit, so I traded it for the dross to get you a better one,” he explained, holding out the new ring for my inspection. His hand is shaking ever so slightly.
    Now, I have to admit, it is an exquisite piece of work. My people have always had a fondness for gems and an appreciation for jewelry. The band is three delicately woven ropes of white gold inset with three beautiful flower shaped diamonds. The heart of each diamond flickers with green and gold flames, like those seen in my sweetheart’s eyes when she is stirred by some intense emotion. Gentleness, and fire. It’s exactly her.
    I heave a defeated sigh and give myself a good rousing shake to relieve my tension. I drop my head, close my eyes, and force my hackles to settle. “Dude. With as long as we’ve been friends, you should have known I say stupid things when I’m drunk out of my skull. That ring has been in her family for generations. Come on,” I say, gently grasping his shoulders in my talons to turn him around, “We have to go get it back. Losing it is a deal breaker!”
    Now, while I would survive the royal roasting her dragoness of a mother would give me (fireproofing comes with the metallic ‘feathers’ and ‘fur’ we gryphons are born with), my more delicate human friend would be ash. And my scaly bride-to-be would not be happy if her mom rendered me sterile by killing the other half of my soul. Jordan may sometimes be a gibbon’s backside, but my pair-mate’s heart is in the right place.

  15. stray_gryphon says:

    Twelve hours from now, I will either be the happiest being on the face of three worlds, or I’ll be in a home for the abnormally gifted (i.e. a nut house for crazy people). It’s 07:37 AM. We flew into the temple grounds forty-eight minutes ago, filled with excitement and happily anticipating the day’s ceremony. Exactly fifteen seconds ago, Jordan gives me a slap on the shoulder and does a hatchet job on my perfect wedding day plans. What do I tell this perfectly servicable facsimile of a “best man” and “best friend” as he stands before me, smiling sheepishly, while all my dreams of a peaceful and simple marriage ceremony mutates into something I would wish on my worst enemy’s grandmother (may she shed her skin every hour).

    “You did what?!” I screech.

         The scent of fear never fails to make me hungry. And right now Jordan’s bleeding enough ammonia tinged panic that I’m beginning to drool. My hackles have gone up and he knows he’s really stepped in it this time.

         “You were complaining at your bachelor party that you didn’t think the ring really captured the essence of her spirit, so I traded it for the dross to get you a better one,” he explained, holding out the new ring for my inspection. His hand is shaking ever so slightly.

        Now, I have to admit, it is an exquisite piece of work. My people have always had a fondness for gems and an appreciation for jewelry. The band is three delicately woven ropes of white gold inset with three beautiful flower shaped diamonds. The heart of each diamond flickers with green and gold flames, like those seen in my sweetheart’s eyes when she is stirred by some intense emotion. Gentleness, and fire. It’s exactly her.
         I heave a defeated, long suffering sigh, then give myself a good rousing shake to relieve some of my tension. I drop my head, close my eyes, and force my hackles to settle. “Dude. With as long as we’ve been friends, you should have known I say stupid things when I’m drunk out of my skull. That ring has been in her family for generations. Come on,” I say, gently grasping his shoulders in my talons to turn him around, “We have to go get it back. Losing it is a deal breaker!”

    Now, while I would survive the royal roasting her dragoness of a mother would give me (fireproofing comes with the metallic ‘feathers’ and ‘fur’ we gryphons are born with), my more delicate friend would be ash. And my scaly bride-to-be would not be happy if her mom rendered me sterile by killing the other half of my soul. Jordan may sometimes be a gibbon’s backside, but my pair-mate’s heart is in the right place.

  16. Heart2Heart says:

    Guests and parents are seated in pews. Their eyes look to the back of the church. The fragrance of lilies of the valley and orange blossoms fill the building. Candles glow as do my maid of honor and bridesmaids, who are poised to walk. Everything is as I dreamed – almost.
    I look to the front of the church and Garrett is there. He is wringing his hands and his eyes are searching everywhere but in the direction of the aisle I will be walking down. The groomsmen in grey are lined up – but where is Josh, our best man? Is Garrett unsettled because of Josh? I never should have agreed that Josh be best man.
    The first note of the Wedding March emanates from the organ and I hear “Pssst”. Marsha, one of nine bridesmaids, forges the first step in the procession, unaware that life is going off course.
    Garrett is looking in my direction now. I know something is very wrong.
    Josh grabs my hand and pulls me aside. “Nat, you look beautiful”. He strokes my hair and lifts my veil and kisses me on the lips.
    “Josh, what are you doing? You need to be up there beside Garrett”.
    “I love you, Natalie. I’ve been a fool.”
    “My God, Josh, are you crazy? What are you doing? You wait until now to tell me you love me?”
    “I always have loved you. You can’t marry Garrett and if you do, I can’t watch. I pawned the ring he bought, it wasn’t good enough. You deserve better. Marry me, Nat. I know you love me. Marry me now.”
    Josh hands me the ring box. I don’t open it.
    Brook, my maid of honor, looks back at me and I tell her to wait a second. The other girls are staggered down the aisle.
    “Does Garrett know what you are doing? Does he?”
    “Yes, he knows. He wants whatever will make you happy”.
    “Turn around, Josh”. I let go of his hand.
    I nudge Brook to begin the walk down the aisle.
    I place the veil over my face and I walk toward the man who knows what love is. Garrett is smiling now and his eyes reflect the candlelight. I have never felt more beautiful.

    • Pattypans says:

      “…and I walk toward the man who knows what love is.” Wise girl. I really like your story, Heart.

      Doesn’t it just kill you to see characters in stories (usually women) make romantic choices that you know are only going to hurt them in the end, because they can’t recognize who really loves them? And characters of both sexes who haven’t yet learned how to love, and end up hurting those who love them? I don’t mean I don’t like the stories; I mean it pains me to see the pain they suffer or will go suffer, and/or cause others to suffer.

      Scarlett O’Hara didn’t even realize that Rhett truly loved her until page 1014 or so, of 1017 pages, and by then it was too late. And even then it was the dying Melanie who opened her eyes to the fact! She suddenly realized she loved him too (maybe I should say she wanted him; she was probably still too selfish to truly love), but too late. Sigh.

      • Cindy_The_Great says:

        That was such a good story. I’m glad she made the right choice in the end. I couldn’t stand josh, and the thought of how he could do that to his friend. It really got a reaction out of me. Loved it

        • Kerry Charlton says:

          One at the podium of the church and another in reserve. What more could a girl ask for? I really liked your story and the double twist at the end.

    • Talking about hedging your bets! Nicely played.

  17. Howler says:

    There were no words to describe the moment. The silence was deafening and each time I looked into his eyes, past the tears was my hand around his throat.
    It was already bad luck for the groom to see the bride and now–
    “You pawned the ring!” I screamed so loud that I didn’t even recognize my own voice.
    My father quickly shut the door.
    “Honey, please, Evan will get the ring back. Right son?” My father asked nervously looking at Evan who stood dumb founded.
    “Evan!” My father nudged his arm.
    He straightened up, wiping his tears like a child would do after being chastised.
    I turned around, facing a mirror that showed my hair pinned up with curls falling around my face and the dress that I made with my bare hands. It took me exactly three months to make and I knew Evan would love it. I had fantasized about him ripping it off with his teeth, but now those teeth stuttered and stammered with each word he spoke. I had stopped listening and was no longer fantasizing about Evan on our honeymoon because there would be no honeymoon.
    “Baby, I’ll get the ring back, I just didn’t want you to panic!” Evan said, hesitantly taking a step forward and as his hand touched my arm, I saw my hand grabbing his throat through one of my visions again. However, I never moved from the mirror, watching as he so carefully caressed my arm trying to make me feel better.
    “I promise.” He assured me once more, but the problem with his promise was I’ve heard it all before. Evan cheated twice and forced me to take him back each time and so I did. Then when he finally got the courage to ask me to marry him and be the best man I knew he could be – he sells the ring.
    “Why did you do it?” I asked softly, turning around where I then saw him. My heart pounded as all eyes turned to Steven as well. My bridesmaids were in just as much shock as I was.
    One of my friends mouthed ‘what is he doing here?’
    Evan turned around too. It was his best man.
    “Ebony,” Steven called my name, walking towards me in an all black Armani suit and white tie, he held a black box in his hand. Evan who stood by my side looked between the both of us before greeting his friend.
    “See, baby, I told you I would get the ring back!”
    I didn’t take my eyes away from Steven and as Evan continued to talk to himself and my father who was just as proud and relieved, I watched Steven. He towered over me and opened the little black box as Evan once did, proposing to me by placing a ring in one of my bagels that I choked on, but this was nothing like it. My heart fluttered and as I saw the ring – it wasn’t Evans.

  18. Cin5456 says:

    Legacy

    “Sarah, I can’t tell Todd. You gotta tell him for me.”

    “Tell him what?”

    “I don’t have the ring.”

    “What? Did you leave it at home?” I screamed at him. “Go get it! There’s enough time!”

    “I can’t.” Phil took a handkerchief from his back pocket to wipe his sweaty face. “I hocked it.”

    The room spun like gravity had stopped working. I collapsed on the floor. Phil left while I cried.

    That ring was the most precious thing in the world to me. Aunt Toni said it was the ring my father almost gave my mother before he went to war, but his unit shipped out before he could return to Chicago. He didn’t know my mother was pregnant. When my mother heard he was gone forever she went into labor. Mom died giving birth to me.

    I called Todd before Lily and I left.

    When we reached the church, Todd’s mother was waiting for me. Lily put me into her care, and returned to the apartment for my makeup. My face was blotched with mascara.

    Mrs. Franklin put an arm around me to escort me inside. I could hardly see the steps of the church through the tears. She sat me down in the choir‘s dressing room and dabbed at my cheeks with her handkerchief.

    “Honey, don’t worry.”

    “But it’s gone.”

    “But we know where he sold it. Todd knows the place. It’s right next to the bar where Phil drinks on Fridays.”

    “Damn, him. Why would Phil make him the best man?”

    “He chose Phil because he saved Todd from drowning when they were twelve. He walked out on a frozen lake and threw a rope to Todd after he fell through the ice, then tied it to a tree before he ran back and got help.”

    “Oh.” I wiped my tears. I was still angry, but more heartsick than anything else. “Still, Phil’s drinking was bound to be a problem.”

    A deep voice came from the doorway. “He didn’t spend the money on drinking.” Todd’s father was peaking around the partially open door. “Can I come in?” I was already dressed, so Mrs. Franklin nodded. “Phil hocked the ring because his dog got hit by a car and needed surgery. He had some savings, but not enough. Dear, don’t hate Phil. He was desperate. You know how much he loves that dog.”

    Mr. Franklin continued, “We’re prepared for this. I lost Elizabeth’s ring before our wedding. My father bought us a replacement. After the honeymoon we found her ring under the seat in my car. That’s the one she wears, but I still have the other. I gave it to Todd. Tomorrow, as soon as that pawn shop opens I’ll get your ring back. Todd told me how important it is to you.”

    I spent several minutes hugging my Mr. and Mrs. Franklin, the best in-laws a bride could wish for. Soon, for the first time, I would have parents.

  19. Barouches says:

    This one just wouldn’t go away, so I let it be born. Cheers!
    ________________________________________________________

    I was aghast, those were Pete’s legs sticking out from under the front of the Camry. Darla slammed the door with gusto, but managed to capture the train of her dress in it, which only further infuriated her. She reopened the driver door, yanked out the train, and slammed it harder this time, then stormed to the front of the car. As she did, she unleashed a blue cloud of profanity that ended with something like “hock my damn weddin’ ring!” At first, all I could do was point to the legs, then I gained control of my voice.

    “Darla. That’s your brother. Your brother is under the car!”

    “Step-brother, and that is where he’s gonna stay until he gits me that ring!” She roared, then lifted her shirting, and kicked the bottom of Pete’s left shoe.

    “But Darla, I think he’s dead!”

    About then, the rest of the guests arrived upon the scene. Darla’s step-mother, who had witnessed the initial eruption at the altar, saw the shoes and tux pants of her son protruding from the undercarriage of the Camry, and swooned. Darla’s dad and Uncle Phil grabbed her under the arms as she did, inadvertently pulling her top up to reveal her ample gelatinous mid-section.

    ‘Can’t unsee that.’ I thought to myself and returned my attention to the body under the Camry.

    She’s gonna get twenty-five to life, and I don’t think I’m hanging around to see how this plays out.

    “Darla, we can’t complete this wedding, I think…” Click, click, clack, click, clack, click, click.

    I knew the sound of revolver hammers being pulled back when I heard it. I raised my hands and cautiously turned around. Every one of Darla’s male relatives had their firearms trained on me.

    “I thought we agreed, no guns.” I protested ever so carefully.

    “It’s Texas, we do guns. Get over it.” She said as she shrugged.

    “Boy, I’m in my Sunday best, and I believe I came here to see my little pumpkin get married.” Leveled her father. He motioned toward the church with his revolver, making it clear it was time for me to get a move on.

    “So whada ya say sexy?” Darla said, running her hands through my chest hairs, pulling at them in a teasing manner. She had jarred me out of my horrific daydream with a jolt.

    “What?” I said, still a bit disoriented.

    “So whada ya say? You met my parents tonight, so how about we take this relationship to the next level.” She said, garnering a deep level of sultry to her voice.

    “Yeah, um. About that…” I stammered as she smiled alluringly, assuming that she was about to get her way.

    “I was thinking that we should start seeing other people.”

  20. Cindy_The_Great says:

    Adam stared blankly at himself in the mirror thinking of all the places his life had led him to up to this very moment. Now, straightening his tie, he was about to seal the deal. he would marry his princess and put the past behind him. A past that somehow irrevocably always caught up to him, but not this time. He was finally happy, or at least as happy as he could be given the cards he had been dealt with before he met Denise. She was everything a man could want; beautiful, loving, and most of all loyal. A trait that Adam was counting on the most.

    His piercing blue eyes darted up from his tie into the mirror as he heard someone approach. It was his best man and closest friend Nigel. Normally Nigel was the calmer of the two at times of distress, and seeing that Adam was the one getting hitched, he immediately became worried when he saw Nigel’s face.

    “Something’s wrong. What is it?”,asked Adam

    Nigel closed the door behind him quickly, and stared at Adam with a crazed look in his eyes

    “What is it man?”,Adam insisted.

    “I pawned it Adam. I pawned the ring”

    Glazing at Nigel in the mirror, Adam sneered through gritted teeth “Why the hell would you do that? YOU ARE GOING TO RUIN EVERYTHING!

    “I had to. It links us to that night”

    Adam turned in disbelief. “What, how….. how is that even possible?”

    “Before we dumped that girl’s body in the river…. I took her ring. You told me to find you and Denise something nice, so I thought that was the perfect opportunity. I mean she was dead… and she was going to go down with it anyway. You know she was rich, I mean, I didn’t think they would find her body, so I thought what the hell, I just….”

    “Nigel, why didn’t you tell me this? All this time we had her ring? I said something nice, not one from those bodies. Look, we’re aleady in deep with the number of women we killed already. We don’t need anything linking us to their murders. That’s why we wear disguises genius, and go for the girls not from around here right? They don’t know the area, and they don’t know us. If we’re going keep up this little hobby, I need you fucking focused, got it?

    “Yea man…yea..I got it”

    “Plus, why do you think im marrying Denise? She’s crazy about me, she would do anything for me, which would include not testifying against me in court if something ever happened. I know I could always use her as an alibi. Don’t screw up the plan. You married Bianca last year, now its my turn. You did the right thing pawning that damn ring, just don’t do some shit like that again. Plus Denise is filthy rich, we”ll have all the money we want in no time. All we have to do is plan how we’re gonna get rid of her, then the money is ours. Now how do i look?”

    “You look ready.”

    Adam turned back to the mirror, studying his handsome face, forcing his expression from rigid to a rehearsed smile.

    “As ready as I’ll ever be. Let’s get out of here. I don’t want to keep my bride waiting.”

    ———-–—-–————

    Denise couldn’t bear the thought of what she overheard. Her fiancé and his best friend were murderers. And she unknowingly was about to marry him. Hiding behind one of the many extravagant flower arrangements, she watched as they walked down the long spiral staircase and greeted their friends. She knew that she would have to find the pawn shop and retrieve the ring as proof of their involvement in the murder of that missing girl at the lake. She couldn’t move however from the shock of it all. She didnt know what was worse, that her fiancé was a killer and planning to eventually kill her too, or that she had just found out she was pregnant with his child.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      I like your story, it flows easily. One read and you’ll got it all. Nice job on that. What a terrible mess Denise finds herself in with an impossible problem. What a choice you’ve left her with. I’d like to read your solution to this. After all, you’ve created it, now you need to resolve it. The monkey’s back to you. Kerry

    • don potter says:

      These are the dumbest society killers I’ve ever encountered. While Nigel may be the calmer of the two murderers he is also the dumber one. Denise may be right in there with them on the stupidity scale, because I can’t imagine Adam showing any smarts when he was wooing her.

      • Pattypans says:

        Don, sad to say, there are psychopaths (or are they sociopaths?) who can really put on a good show, and be terribly charming, yet be very cruel, wicked people. Adam must be one of those. A woman who falls for one might be stupid, as you say, or lacking in intuition or discernment, or so hungry for love that she thinks that it’s real love a man like that has for her and falls for it–and him–perhaps while fighting against/silencing/ignoring her inner voice’s warnings (or other people’s warnings) and hoping against hope that she’s wrong. In this case, since he’s made it clear he intends to kill her too, the choice is actually easy to make (thought the course of action will be hard to decide on.)

        • don potter says:

          Okay, I’ll go with you and give Denise a pass due to Adam’s charm. I still contend that these guys are too dumb to get away with murder.

          • Cindy_The_Great says:

            I really appreciate the feedback from all of you. How can I do better? And Don, I’m guessing you didn’t like it?

            Thanks everyone. Your honest opinions are most appreciated.

          • Cin5456 says:

            Cindy, keep in mind that when a ring is hocked it becomes available for the cops to find, and store videos point to who hocked it. Better to have him sell it on the black market to a fence. Then the ring isn’t traceable. That is, unless you want the cops to be able to discover the dead girl’s ring and be led back to these two killers.

    • don potter says:

      It wasn’t the story I didn’t like it was the two guys. Of course, there’s no rule that says I have to like them. They creeped me out to the point where I want them caught and disposed of, immediately if not sooner. I refer to them as dumb because they have done everything possible to get caught. Maybe another prompt down the road will allow you to revisit your story and share it with us.

    • smallster21 says:

      I liked your idea of making the groom and his best man serial killers, which was a nice contrast to the setting—a wedding, which has a light and happy tone.

      On a critiquing note, Adam’s thoughts in the beginning aren’t cohesive with what he says to Nigel in regards to his feelings about Denise. In the beginning, Adam thinks of her as ‘his princess’ then later tells Nigel they will plan to get rid of her, so they can have her money.

      I liked how you switched viewpoints to end the story. I thought it was fitting, and it didn’t make me miss a beat. I think Denise overhearing the conversation immediately increased the tension of the story.

      I do agree with don potter on Nigel’s abilities as a masterful murderer. Adam, however, was clueless to his partner’s actions in regards to the ring, so he’s not at fault. I actually like Nigel’s mishap with the ring. I think it adds to his character and gives us insight to his personality.

    • Dumb-ass rich folk. Well written and great dialog.

  21. blanderson says:

    “He did what?”

    “He pawned it. Like sold it at a pawn shop.”

    My sister, who would share this news with the bride to be, considered the statement.

    “Can you get it back?”

    “I don’t know.”

    The ring was an elegant piece that had been in the family for generations, surely fetching $10,000 when sold properly. My brother—the best man—got $500 for it. It wasn’t the first time he screwed up, and most certainly not the last.

    My sister said, “I’ll take care of Rachel. You figure out how to get that thing back.”

    It was 9 a.m., or t-minus four hours until the wedding. My brother, who had alerted me of the news via text, was MIA, so I wasn’t even certain where he’d pawned it. He was no longer responding to texts.

    I called area pawn shops, with each claiming they’d not seen such a ring. The truth was that the ring was clearly so much more valuable than the purchase price that they had no motivation to tell me the truth.

    Without any leads and being short on time, I called my future father-in-law for advice. He was not a rich man, but he was undoubtedly a good man.

    “Well, Chris,” he began in reaction to the news. “What is it about the ring that is so special to you and Rachel?”

    “With one exception, my family has had generations of divorce. My great, great grandparents were married for 58 years; theirs was really the only one that lasted.”

    Though we were just talking on the phone, I could almost feel his comforting hand squeezing my shoulder.

    “Well, son,” he responded. “There is only one thing you should do?”

    “What’s that?”

    “Text your brother and make sure he comes to the wedding.”

    With that and a simple gold band that I picked up at a local jeweler, I wedded Rachel before friends and family, including my brother whom I loved.

    Despite the absence of this heirloom, Rachel and I lasted. We lasted, of course, not because of a symbol we shared with my great, great grandparents, but because of emulating their example of loving one another as best as we could. And the owner of the first pawn shop that I had called sold the ring for a cool $8,800 at auction, where he blew through the proceeds on stereo equipment, gambling and booze. I’d say I got the better of the deal.

  22. peetaweet says:

    The gray skies have cleared overnight, leaving the morning clear and hopeful. I’m in the parlor room of the plantation house with my groomsman, a haggard bunch that I hope is not as hung-over as they look.
    I’m fiddling with my cufflinks when I hear a swift rapt on the door.

    “Paul, where’s Jake?” It’s Jane, the wedding planner, wearing a headset so she could stay in constant contact with her minions.

    “I don’t know.”

    “Have you tried calling again?”

    I shrug. Jane twirls around, barking into her headset, something about the flowers. I start to close the door when the photographer hustles over.

    “Alright guys, you ready for some pictures?”

    “Uh, can you give us just a minute? “

    Chris, in his boxer shorts, black socks, and button up shirt waltzes over to the door, Corona in hand. It’s 11:02 AM.

    “Cheese!” The photographer decides to give us a minute.

    We’re dressed and ready by 11:18. Jane has made two more trips to the parlor to inquire about the best man, who is MIA. She decides that pictures will have to be taken without him. We trot out to the large columned porch, where we strike our best poses. Chris has located the only single bridesmaid and is laying the groundwork for the reception.

    It’s 11:30 and I’m starting to worry. Kickoff is set for 12 and most of our guest have arrived under blue skies and a slight breeze. I spot my future father in law, Dr. James Clifton and his wife Mary with the bridesmaids, most likely discussing my missing groomsman.

    “He’s here.”

    Jake brushes past Jane’s rapid fire questioning, motioning for me to follow. We enter the parlor room, closing the door.

    “What’s going on man?”

    He paces, turning to the mantel and running a shaky hand through his hair. The music starts outside.
    “Jake, just relax. What’s going on?”

    He turns around, extending a trembling silver pistol to my forehead.

    “It’s funny what you can get for a platinum wedding band these days.” I watch his finger knead the trigger. We both jump at the voice behind the door.

    “Guys, let’s go.”

    “Jake, please.” My hands are up, ready to catch a bullet.

    “You sleep with my wife and everything is supposed to just go away now that you’re getting married?”

    “Jake, it was two years ago. It was wrong and stupid…”

    I’m on the floor, my ears throbbing as Jenny’s father kneels over me securing a tourniquet around my right shoulder. The music has stopped, everything is muted. Jake is surrounded by groomsmen in the corner. I can see some swelling under his right eye.

    I turn to find Jenny. Her golden curls dangle over my face, tickling my nose as she hovers over me. Her face silhouetted by the high noon sun.

    “I’m so sorry.” I manage before suddenly the pain rattles my limbs. If feels like my collar bone is being slowly ripped out of my flesh. Jenny is gone. My eyes meet the doctor’s, he offers a rakish smile. There will be no wedding, ever.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      What a mess, [not your story; it's well written] but the groom’s on the floor with a blown out shoulder, the bride’s deserted him in disgust and the bride’s father is butchering the hole in his shoulder, while the best man will be tried for murder. There are any characters left in the story. Tension ran all through your story to a great conclusion. Really good writing.

    • don potter says:

      My take away from this is to never trust a man whose wife you slept with to do the right thing. Or, did he do the right thing?

    • smallster21 says:

      This was very vivid, descriptive, and it kept my attention. Overall, the story was good. I have two suggestions to consider should you revise. It started out light and humorous, then morphed into gloom and sadness, so I’m not sure how I feel about the tone in the beginning. Maybe the conflict needs to be foreshadowed at the beginning to smooth it out. Also, I’d ditch the first sentence, besides being a weather opener, it doesn’t flow with the second sentence.

    • I found that the tone of the story darkened a little too much from the start. I like dark stories so I’d tighten up the start. Take that with a grain of salt tho.

  23. Jiayo says:

    Hey, sorry that this is so long. I am eager to hear any feedback, regardless of its direction. Thank you for your time if you choose to read!
    ——————————–
    The Ring

    To Jayce the chiming of the church bells and the cheerful laughter felt more like the toll of his death knell, accompanied by the screams of those who were next in line. He didn’t know what his brother would do when given the news. He expected the obvious flash of rage which would strike anyone who was told what Jayce had to tell, but he didn’t know if Mike would forgive him. Ever. It was for Mike’s good though, although he could never know why. He could never know what their mother really was.

    He walked down the hall to the men’s dressing room where his blond, well-off brother would be straightening out his tie, polishing his shoes until they reflected the entire world, and making sure he smelled damn fine for his woman. Jayce would have to ruin all of that. He stood outside of the door for a second, gathering his thoughts, and trying to stretch out the little bit of courage he had left. Was it worth it? It was. Who knows what the ring would do if left unchecked.

    “Hey Mike,” Jayce said as he opened the door, “I have to tell you something.”

    “Hey man, it’s going to have to wait. They’re almost ready.”

    “It can’t wait.” This gave Mike a pause. His brother was generally patient and thoughtful, not the type to force something at a bad time.

    “What’s up? Is something wrong?”

    “Yeah. I… I sold your ring.”

    Mike gave a little chuckle, thinking his brother was attempting a joke, but his smile slowly broke down, like a cookie forgotten in a glass of milk, when Jayce wouldn’t raise his eyes. “You what?” asked Mike. His voice was low and weak; the tone that always accompanies a confused mind and precedes a storm of anger and frustration.

    “I pawned it.”

    “Why the heck would you pawn my wedding ring? That’s insane!”

    “I needed money.”

    “Why!? You’ve been doing fine! This is my WEDDING ring, not some random piece of metal. What am I going to tell Crystal? She’ll be devastated. What am I going to tell everyone who is out there, right now, sitting in their damn seats, waiting for me to put the ring that I don’t have on her finger?”

    “I can’t tell you why and I don’t know what you’re going to do about it. I’m sorry.” Jayce walked out of the room, leaving his stunned and devastated brother behind. Jayce felt weak, scared, sorry, depressed. He felt like Satan himself could rise from the ground in front of him, and Jayce would be the one everyone should hate. Except for Satan maybe. Hell, he might even be impressed.

    Mike then burst out of the dressing room to force Jayce to go to whatever dirt-filled pawn shop he had sold the ring at and make him get it back. Jayce was gone though. Mike starred in disbelief, ran through the halls, but Jayce was gone. There was no way Jayce could have made his way out of the building that fast, even if he had ran as fast as his bony, weak legs could take him. Mike collapsed against a wall and tore his fingers through his hair. What the hell was going on! What on earth am I going to do!

    ——————————————————————-

    Jayce stood on the cliff’s edge, staring down into the valley in which the brother’s mother had been buried. He rolled the ring in his sweaty palms. He would bury the cursed thing with her. He would bury the ring that she had sold her terrible soul for, and which she had used to cause nothing but malicious mayhem. It had eaten away at her, destroyed her, turned her into some disgusting monster. Mike had thought she was breaking down, something psychological. But Jayce had seen too much, and he knew the truth.
    Today Jayce had ruined his brother’s wedding, but saved his brother’s bride.

    • Pattypans says:

      Jiayo, you gave the prompt an interesting direction. I think your response could use a bit of tightening, especially the first paragraph, and some proofreading. And one thing puzzles me: First you said “their mother”, making it sound as though they had the same mother; later Jayce is thinking about “his brother’s mother”, making it sound as though she wasn’t Jayce’s mother also.

      I think the idea of the last line ties it together very well.

      • calicocat88 says:

        Wonderful comparisons, “…his smile slowly broke down, like a cookie forgotten in a glass of milk.” Very nice ;) I like the whole dark feel to this. You created a world here that seems to involve all kinds of twists and turns and betrayal. The reader also can get lost with the MC. Jayce seems to be a guy that I’d want to follow and see what happens to him next. Good job :)

    • Cindy_The_Great says:

      Excellent. The beginning sentence, which is the most important to draw a reader in, did just that. I’m highly impressed and wow, the direction it took was phenomenal. Like the reader below me said, I would do some proofreading, as I also was confused by the same wording you chose. Other than that, awesome.

    • Barouches says:

      Your style has a very nice flow (I didn’t have to re-read paragraphs over to figure out what was going on) and the sentences were structurely nicely, not ackwardly. Besides the mother mix-up the only thing that I found to be an issue is that tension was built, but not resolved. Though 500 words allows for only a snapshot in time (and we don’t have the time to describe EVERY detail surrounding the event) it should be a snapshot of significance. In this instance no questions have been answered which left me feeling a bit frustrated as the reader. :-)

    • A lot of great ideas here. It’s a great draft. With another pass to tight it up,it’d be stellar.

  24. KrZama says:

    My mind was reeling as I stared up at him with disbelief. We had avoided all conversation for months, and I had intended to keep it that way. Any attempt he made was easily ignored. It was my wedding. Erik may have insisted on allowing him to be the best man, but that didn’t mean I had to take the time to listen to him. Every excuse I could muster to avoid him was utilized.

    “What do you mean?”

    My voice was smaller than I had intended. I wanted to yell at him, but perhaps I was too stunned. He had pawned the ring, and decided to corner me twenty minutes before the ceremony to let me know. I stared at him, trying to work up the anger to smack him, but the look in his eyes quelled my rage. He took my hand into his own, and I inhaled a deep breath. The touch was unwarranted, and its effect unwanted.

    “I love you,” he said simply.

    My eyes met his, and his somber expression bore through my soul. “You left me,” I reminded him, tugging my hand back. Sanity returned as the feeling faded from my body, and my resolve hardened. “It’s been two years, Ben. And you choose to have those conversation today?”

    “I’ve been trying to tell you for months now! You’ve been blowing me off though,” he accused, his brow furrowed. “This was the only way I could get your attention for more than ten seconds.”

    I bit my lower lip, glaring up at him. “Okay, Ben. You want my attention? You have it. I’ll give you twenty seconds to tell me how you’re going to fix this!” I spat, glad to see my temper had finally decided to join the conversation.

    He glared back at me though. “I’m done trying to talk to you!” he exclaimed, stepping uncomfortably close.

    My eyes went wide, and I threw my hands up in protest immediately. It was too late though. He held me close, and I was helpless against his lips. The excitement tearing through my body almost overtook me, but I managed to push against his chest in protest. When he didn’t budge, they settled in place and defeat consumed me. My heart was pounding faster than it had in years, and as much as I wanted to deny it, the charge between us was tangible. I found myself opening my mouth to him, and it only took a second before he eagerly accepted my invitation. My mind was screaming for me to stop this, but the electricity flowing through me couldn’t be ignored as I kissed him back.

    When he finally pulled back, I was stunned. Disappointed, even. His eyes were dancing victoriously as they met mine, and I had no words to offer him. I was paralyzed under his gaze, just like I had been the day we met.

    “Don’t marry him,” he whispered, his eyes pleading as they met mine.

  25. JR MacBeth says:

    “Grandmother? Why do we use the Golden Cord in our handfastings?”

    “And why do you ask, my sweet bird? What are you thinking about?”

    “My grandmother, you know that my time comes soon. I must know.”

    “Your Elram is the foreigner here, he must respect our traditions. You know this. Would you want your father to know what you are thinking about?”

    “Please, Mam’erah, please tell me. Elram has said that our handfastings are wicked, and that the Golden Cord symbolizes the Great Serpent. Of course, I told him it was not true, but I could not truthfully tell him that I knew this because I have no mother, and the Secret has not been given unto me.”

    “Be silent! I have been your mother, and it will be I who will give you the Secret, but how can I, when you are not yet properly betrothed?”

    “My Mam’erah, forgive me. You have been a good mother to me. But I can not wait for proper betrothal.” The young woman took in a deep breath. “I am with child.”

    “Oh my Goddess! Forgive us Holy Mother!”

    “Please Mam’erah, please don’t be angry with me. I have loved Elram four long years, and I could no longer deny him.”

    “Precia, my dearest child! You are not some commoner! You are the King’s daughter. May Holy Goddess damn Elram and all his kind for doing this to you!”

    “Mam’erah, please! I need your help.”

    “And what can I do?”

    “Tell me the Secret so that I may give noble answer to Elram’s charge.”

    “And how will this undo the child now living within you?”

    “My Mam’erah, I well know that I can change nothing, but Goddess willing, I will be–leaving the People.”

    “And you shall go to Elram’s country, there to live, not as a princess, but as–”

    “As a citizen, Mam’erah. That is what they call all persons there, both male, and female.”

    “And what of your father?”

    “Father? He is not worthy of the name! Look Mam’erah”, she lifted her sleeve, “Elram has given me the holy embracelet of his tribe.”

    “You have hidden it well, my dear. And you will wear it the rest of your life! But you could not endure one minute wrapped in the Golden Cord, could you?”

    “Mam’erah? Tell me! Is the Cord symbolic of a dedication to the Great Serpent, or is it not?”

    The old woman turned away. “What does it matter anymore?”

    “It matters to me! It is a betrayal of Holy Goddess!”

    “You know nothing! The Golden Serpent is the true supreme deity! If you had waited, I could have explained it all, but you could not wait, and now it is too late!”

    “No Mam’erah, not yet. Elram’s groom-brother has sold our matching embracelet. To an old crone, he said. It is you then, is it not?”

    The old woman smiled. “You and Elram will take me with you then?”

    The girl embraced her grandmother. “I would never leave you.”

  26. smallPencil says:

    My fiance had huge breasts. This was the best. I stood there in my tux (pressed with lots of starch – lots, I made the peon at the cleaners put three big X’s by the check box – I was in a cardboard box of fitted tailor and shiny black). God’s man to my left. My bros behind. Huge breasts, I was about to lock up forever – staring me down. Then I hear a “psst”. Right in my year. Like the damned serpent of Eden. Violate.

    So I said, “What?!”

    “I pawned The Ring.”

    “I’ll beat your f****** a**”, I said. The Good Shepherd shot me a look. “Not you,” I said.

    “I didn’t say I pawned YOUR ring. I said I pawned The Ring. The One Ring to Rule Them All.”

    “What? Are you seriously having a breakdown right before I land the best rack this side of The Mississippi? Seriously?!”

    “Okay. Turn round and look.”

    “Not allowed.”

    “Just look.”

    I did. He was gone. Empty space stood between me and my half-brother Roy and his cleft cheek from Iraq. And that empty space was breathing Spirmented breath on my neck. No s***. I could hear my best man breathing.

    He said, the blank space said, “If I’m having a breakdown. Then so are you.”

    My mind went up the creek. Through a haze, like a fog of war and the mists of Avalon, I passively watched my half-bro’s face. It was distorted. He’d almost been killed by a five year old suicide bomber who’d approached his sergeant pleading for water, and HE was scared. Terrified. Even his freckles were white. Then the noise made it to my ears. The room vibrated with voices. Low, distraught voices.

    Have you ever been in spot like this? I don’t mean the stupid wedding. Forget that. Forget everything I had going up till then. I mean the sight, the not-a-sight. You don’t act like you always thought. Its not like being caught in a tornado or witnessing a gruesome car wreck or even staring down the barrel of a gun. It really isn’t. I made out some of the words. “Help.” A lot of people called for help. Usually in squeaks. Some demanded. But what I heard the most was cries of the end. Everyone at MY OWN wedding. My family – most of them anyway – they were crying, shouting, screaming, that the end of the world had come.

    And, in some way, it had.

    • don potter says:

      Is that what a breakdown feels like? You made it all too real for me. Frightening!

    • Cin5456 says:

      I’m confused. If The Ring was pawned, how could the best man be wearing it to turn invisible? What are the guests screaming about, the fact that the best man disappeared, or that the groom is talking to thin air? Or is something else going on? If this is genuinely a breakdown, than what is the “not-a-sight” supposed to be? I liked the premise, but didn’t understand the scene.

    • This was…. strange. I kinda liked it but no have no idea why. Lol.

  27. jen says:

    I look over my shoulder at the gathered society of Beaufort; too puritanical to approve of the wedding but two-faced enough to attend. Every man in the congregation wants to be where I’m going to be tonight.

    I notice the Boy isn’t here, not unexpected, but disappointing. Crawled off somewhere to weep over his Momma some more. No doubt disapproving of his Old Man and the ‘indecent’ haste with which I moved on. Jeez his Momma had been dying for the last five years; it was relief not grief when it finally happened.
    What a contrast little Betsy is to his Momma, maybe that’s what’s really eating him. And today, what a day! No stern father-in-law who can’t meet my eye, sulking at the condition of his girl. Instead Betsy’s fat little butcher Pa can’t do enough to welcome me and my money into his family. And Betsy fresh, flawless, young; not scrubbed clean and carting that bump which forced my hand. No life of drudgery for Betsy, no making do, or making ends meet. The new Mrs Eskridge would only be required to look pretty and tend to my needs; the house staff will take care of everything else. Just as well, looking pretty the only thing the little girl is any good for.
    I look over at my prize, fresh crimped blonde curls, makeup done how I like it and . . . What’s that twinkling at her ears? I didn’t buy her those diamond earrings. Well come the honeymoon I’ll get her some better ones, if she’s a good girl.
    ‘The rings’ prompts the reverend. I turn to Ruthers, my best man. He smiles and hands me. . .
    ‘What’s this?’ I hiss, looking at the small funfair plastic ring he placed in my hand.
    ‘The ring’ he murmurs.
    ‘Where’s the real one?’ I ask. He pats my shoulder and turns me away from the gawking congregation.
    ‘Be in Scotty’s front window by now’ he drawls, looking right into my eyes.
    ‘You pawned my ring!’ I exclaim. I felt the blood heat up in my temples and behind my eyes.
    ‘Promised your Boy I wouldn’t let his Momma’s ring end up on the finger of your latest whore’ Ruther’s said. ‘The one I gave you is more fitting’.
    I looked into his eyes; I knew he wasn’t pulling my leg. I took stock of myself; remembered I was up here in front of the good people of Beaufort.
    ‘The money, what have you done with it?’ I said in an undertone.
    Ruther’s gentle laugh was an assault on my ears.
    ‘Scotty had a real nice pair of diamond earrings so I thought I’d buy myself a little time with the future Mrs Eskridge’.

  28. Barouches says:

    The periodic whoosh of the ventilator was the only sound that drowned out the ticks coming from the clock. The blinds were open, but the overcast day afforded little light into the sterile room; besides, at this moment I preferred to sit with the lights off.

    The stiff plastic chair usually started to hurt my back after about half an hour, and that time had passed a while ago when Kevin’s brother had been visiting. Kevin’s brother, I chuckled to myself. The ogre had been best man at our wedding and had pawned the ring the day before the ceremony, but he hadn’t said anything until the minister had asked for it.

    Whoosh.

    I sat contemplating my ring, the replacement that Kevin had gotten for me. I spun it slowly around on my finger a few times, and watched the diamonds sparkle despite the low light. Every aspect of the wedding had gone seamlessly, until the ring, which left me to wonder sometimes if the incident served as a warning, a bad omen of sorts. Those times had been few, but on the rare occasion that they did occur, the foreboding those thoughts brought scared me to the core.

    Whoosh.

    I’d had little time to consider that since Kevin’s accident. Too much to handle, too much distress, too many people to communicate with, but now I was becoming an ol’ hand at this coma patient thing. Now all I had was time to consider. I cupped my hand upon the top of his head and ran my fingers through his hair. He didn’t respond. He hadn’t responded for months.

    Whoosh.

    Again the diamonds captured the slightest fragment of light and danced it upon the band. When he had placed on my finger at the jeweler’s it had meant so many things, but mostly it represented a future. My heart had wrapped itself around the future it had promised, and would sometimes forge ahead to explore the possibilities of what that future might hold. What would we name our children? What homes might we build together? Promises that we might sit on the porch together watching our grandchildren one day. He had tantalized me with promises, only to take them back on a freeway one afternoon.

    Whoosh.

    I stood up and gently twisted my ring off and held it before me to watch the light dance one more time. It was incredible how it used even the slightest fragment of light to create beauty. I wasn’t nearly so skilled. Reaching down I pulled his fingers back, and placed it in his palm, then closed his fingers over it tightly again. The first rumbles of the incoming storm gently vibrated the window as I bent over and kissed his forehead.

    “I am so sorry. I can’t …” Then my throat clinched as if on a clod of mud, but my thought continued in my mind. …do this anymore.

    • DMelde says:

      Nice heartfelt story. I liked the ring symbolism and I thought this was very well done. Good job.

    • don potter says:

      The ability to love is life’s greatest gift. Material things are simply the icing on the cake. Your story reminded of this basic truth. Thank you.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        It’s heart-breaking to see a loved one, clinging to a life that leads to nothingness until the final whoosh and you sit there praying, wondering what the future holds for both of you, yet I feel your MC experiences a moment of breakdown and after a while, she goes back,sits by his side, her heart beating in rhythm to the ventilater, takes the ring back from the palm of his hand, placing it on her finger and sits there until there is no whoosh.

        Great story, your descriptive thoughts instill in the reader , her hopelessness, but also her courage to continue. Beautifully written, Thank you,

    • What a heartbreaking write. Kleenex! Kleenex, stat!

  29. TOMMY COLLECTS
    ================

    Tommy Andolini was a brute. That simple fact, coupled with an adversarial disposition, made him well-suited to his profession. In truth, he loved his job. Working for the Gambones had its rewards for a guy like Tommy. Any chance to work out his aggressions was a good day. Today was going to be a great day.

    You see, Tommy hated the Irish. No reason. Maybe it was their tendency for sarcasm. Maybe it was just that he didn’t like gingers. What’s important was that an Irishman named Marty O’Brien liked to gamble. It didn’t matter if it was ponies or sports. He’d gamble on the weather if there were any takers. Poor Marty’s problems were two-fold. One is that he wasn’t very good at picking winners. The other is that he wouldn’t, or couldn’t, stop.

    So, it was little surprise that Tommy caught up with Marty exactly where he expected. There was the miserable slob, perched on a stool at Harry’s on 4th, nursing a beer and watching the Bills lose again. He was dressed in a wrinkled tux. Peanut shell remnants scattered about the bar as he reached in his jacket for his ever-thinning wallet.

    Tommy chuckled to himself as he passed by the window and approached the door. Pathetic, he thought. He knew Marty’s big brother quite well. Mikey was a working man. Construction was his game, but he eked out a side-hustle collecting the neighborhood dues. To say that Tommy wasn’t fond of him would be generous. He tolerated him as a means to an end. If lining the pockets of one paddy meant he didn’t have to wallow in the rest of them, so be it.

    But Mikey’s brother was a bona fide screw-up, plain and simple. He could protect his little brother from a lot of things, but how can you protect someone from themselves?

    “What’s the deal with the tux?” Said Tommy. The large man clamped his gloved hand on Marty’s shoulder. He squeezed, hard.

    “It’s my brother’s wedding. Mikey and Erin are finally getting hitched in a couple of hours. I’m supposed to be the ‘Best Man’. What a joke.”

    Anxious to move this drama along, Tommy let that last slide. He knew Erin from her pop’s grocery. She was a sweet girl, always treated him nice and smiled a lot. Mikey was a luck man. He swept the thoughts aside. There was a job to do. “Where’s Mister Gambone’s money, Marty?” He gleefully waited for the response while he felt the muscles in his shoulders and arms flex and twitch in anticipation. Oh yeah, he was going to enjoy this.

    “I had it, Tommy. I really did. It was just that the game was on and I had a few minutes to kill.”

    Tommy stared at the floor so Marty couldn’t see him grin. “How much is left?”

    “Nothing.” said Marty very quietly. He knew this wasn’t going to go well.

    Tommy had his pre-altercation speech all ready. This was a welcome ritual for him. It was ‘go time’.

    Wait a minute, thought Tommy. How’d this loser get a hold of three large to squander in the first place? Then it dawned on him.

    “Marty, where is the ring? Who’d you pawn it off to?” Tommy was getting angry, but not in the professional way that he started out with five minutes ago.

    “Salvatore’s.”

    “Does your brother know yet?”

    “No. I was thinking about splitting.”

    “You know I’d find your cowardly ass, right?”

    Marty bowed his head. It was this small and shameful gesture that clicked something in Tommy Andolini’s mind. It might have been his heart or indigestion from the cold slice of pie he had for breakfast. The Gambones’ enforcer saw a bigger picture. Not for Marty or even Mikey. Erin deserved better. Straight-up.

    “Let’s go, Marty.”

    “Where?”

    “Salvatore’s, dim-wit. To get the ring back.”

    • swatchcat says:

      Thank you so much, I hoped someone had it in them to get away from the damned wedding. This was perfect loved the bookie gangster angle. Thought to go there and worked on it but kids distracted me and did this weeks poem prompt instead. Now must try other approach. Loved it

    • don potter says:

      What a pleasant change of pace. Having grown up in an Italian-Irish neighborhood, you took me back many years. Poor Marty will be servicing the debt for a long time.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      A breath of fresh air, Doug. With a name of Kerry Brian, I certainly relate to the Irish. Your writing style is crisp, realistic and you can turn a story in directions easily. This one’s a keeper.

    • DMelde says:

      Great story. You kept the story moving, and provided a strong background to give it a full hearty feel. That’s not easy to do, and you did it with style. A pleasure to read.

    • smallster21 says:

      Love your descriptions as always :) You create a clear picture of the characters and setting very, and I thought the voice and tone suited the tale perfectly.

  30. DMelde says:

    Gigi was supposed to get married today, but there she was, standing in the hot afternoon sun, in the middle of a barren field. She was wearing a white wedding dress, and the white color amplified her already considerable girth, making her look even bigger than she actually was. Her protruding lower jaw was fixed in a teeth clinching grimace, and the combination of prominent jaw line and expanded girth, gave her the appearance of an unlikely union between a lowland gorilla, and a great white whale. She threw shovels down at the feet of her fiancé and his best man. They looked at Gigi with growing fear in their eyes. She returned their look with a cold smile and, leveling the gun in their direction, she said-
    “Dig.”
    “Gigi, sweetheart, I can tell you’re upset.” her fiancé said soothingly. “Can’t we, at least, talk about this?”
    “You knew how important today was for me, Jim.” Gigi roared. “Your best man, I can’t even say his name, made a fatal mistake when he pawned my ring. Now you’re both going to pay.”
    “His name is Morgan, sweetheart.” Jim responded. “He made an honest mistake. He thought it was his mom’s old ring, didn’t you Morgan.”
    “That’s right Gigi. I can still get your ring back in time for the-“
    Gigi closed her eyes and fired the gun. The bullet hit the ground at Jim’s feet.
    “You’re both out of time. Now dig.”
    Gigi couldn’t believe how dense men were. While they dug she had time to think about all of the conversations she had with Jim about their wedding. She had planned and planned and planned, to the smallest detail, every single moment of her special day. She read wedding books, and watched wedding shows, to make sure everything was perfect. Jim was with her when she watched the TV show Bridezilla. She remembered explaining to him how sympathetic she was to the plight of those poor brides when their plans were ruined, and how right they were to be so upset. Why couldn’t he understand what a wedding day meant to a woman?
    The digging was slow going. The ground was hard-baked in the hot sun, and the two men had barely dug down a foot in the past hour. Gigi was tired of waiting. The holes were barely big enough for a man to lie down in, but they would have to do. She ordered both men out of the holes.
    “Turn around and face the hole.” she growled.
    Gigi stepped up behind Morgan, put the gun against the back of his head, and then she pulled the trigger. Crimson sprayed the dull brown earth. She moved over behind Jim.
    “I love you Gigi.” Jim managed to stutter. “I’m sorry.”
    “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Gigi reminded him. She thought he already knew that since they had watched the movie “Love Story” together not that long ago.
    Gigi fired two shots. All, then, were quiet.

    • swatchcat says:

      Nothing like a woman scorned. Bridezilla to the hilt. I liked this quite a bit. Loved the lines about “lowland gorilla and whale”.

    • don potter says:

      I thought she might have a change of heart, but you drove right through that notion. Good story. Shouldn’t he last line read ‘All, then, was quiet.’

    • she closed her eyes and fired the gun?!? wow. nice write, dmelde

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Men sometimes forget to be careful how they treat a woman. Not only the one you love and marry but all women, grandmothers, tiny tots, teens and especially brides-to-be. While only a few will take drastic steps like your story, some might think it; some might forgive. Man is not intelligent enough to know what any woman might do, so be careful out there.

        Don’t go by Arthur’s guidelines when he sings about his future bride in Camelot.
        “How To Handle a Woman.” Great storytelling.

    • smallster21 says:

      Disturbing. It made me feel all icky…which is the point :)

  31. Renan Moises says:

    Hello guys, a newbie here! I hope you like my story and please, do not get too angry with my grammatical errors as english is not my native language: I’m from Brazil. Abraços!

    ——————————————————————————

    By the window Louise could see the garden and how it had been prepared for the ceremony. Everything seemed to be in its right place and she felt proud. She always wanted that situation but could never imagine it was going to become such a huge wedding.

    A large area of green lawn, which in ordinary days was just a space where the dogs exercised today had huge flower pots – the size of a person – at the end of each cherry wooded bank. A ruby color carpet was laying from the entrance lawn until just before the tent meticulously produced with golden grass, white silk and marble floors.

    Someone knocked the room’s door interrupting her wonder if the weather would be too hot by the time of the marriage. She was expecting the person supposed to help her with the make up but instead Pablo, the best man, entered the room. His breathing was fast and flustered.

    “Pablo, I was expecting the makeup artist…”

    “I said him you were a late and he was meant to come back in fifteen minutes” interrupted Pablo.

    He looked straight through her eyes making her a little desperate. Was Eduardo giving up the marriage?…

    “Pablo…”

    “Louise, listen, I just came back from a meeting with Agustine, Eduardo’s aunt. I was drinking a glass of Scotch by the bar when she came to me and asked me to follow her. At first I thought she had a message from Ardo’s but the thing turned out different.”

    Louise wondered where did he want to go with that story – “What is the point, Pablo?”

    “Listen…” – continued him – “We had not totally entered the library room yet and she went straight to the subject. Told me she listened to a conversation between me and Eduardo three days ago when he told me he had bought the most exquisite wedding ring any bride would have ever dreamed of. She was curious about the ring and knowing that as the best man I was supposed to carry the ring to the altar she asked if she could see it.”

    He was throwing the words off his mouth so fast; Louise was confused if she understood everything.

    “So I took the black velvety box from my pocket and showed her. By the time I opened the box her face showed an expression that seemed to mix wonder and jealousy.”

    He made a dramatic pause. Louise was now more curious than ever.

    “‘Two million dollars for this beauty, my dear, what do you think?’.”

    “What? Wha-…” Was it possible that Louise was understanding it right?

    “I never thought a single diamond could worth that much, Louise.”

    Louise was listening, listening, listening and then speaking:

    “You sold” She yelled but then lowered the voice – “You sold the ring?!”

    “No. – Another of Pablo’s dramatic pause.

    “Well… I couldn’t answer her promptly so I asked her ten minutes to think about it”. He continued. “After she left the room two million things came to my mind. First I thought about giving her… the fake ring.

    “But then it occurred to me that the value of the ring in the jewelry market is 500,000 dollars so selling her certainly was not a bad deal and furthermore she is an ambitious intelligent woman and if she found out she was paying two million per a piece of glass, I would be destroyed… and consequently you as well. So, yes, I sold the ring!”

    Louise was now thinking if Pablo’s attitude was a good idea, but there was nothing to think: it was a great idea!

    “Now I see jealousy is a unique variable to make prices rise” – he laughed, but she was too thoughtful to listen.

    “Two million dollars! That is excellent!”- she whispered finally. “Now I have much more than the amount of money I needed to keep playing the whole of poor-rich-orphan…”

    “So in the moment the priest asks for the ring I will give Eduardo the fake one”.

    “But Agustine will be there. She will see him giving me a ring. She may think that you sold her a fake one and cause a scene”.

    “She won’t”- answered Pablo. “She left the estate a minute after giving me the check”.

    Louise could not be happier. She was about to enter one of the richest clans of Croatia and now she had the money she needed to continue pretending she was a billionaire until the moment she would inherit solo all the billions of her fiancé.

    “Perfect” she said while glancing one more time at the beautifully sun illuminated garden.

    —————————————————————————

    By the time her father-in-law held her arms in front of the red carpet, the spring sunlit was reaching the tent and also Eduardo’s head. He smiled honestly because of his love. She couldn’t avoid smiling as well because of his gold.

    The musicians started to play as they entered the corridor. She looked around and to the people. In the second row saw a dozen of Ardo’s old rich aunts and one of them – Martina, married with her father-in-law’s late brother – was carrying a dog instead of a husband. A creepy though came across her mind – ruining for a second her ambitious smile – questioning her if the dog-lady would be her in the future.

    Twenty minutes after, holding hands with Eduardo, the priest asked the best man for the ring.

    Pablo smiled weird and perfectly played his whole acting as the innocent gawky guy that was responsible for gaining Ardo’s friendship and confidence three years ago.

    - Here it is.

    Ardo opened the box, carefully took the fake ring out of it and gave back to Pablo the empty box. Then once more he turned to Luiza, stared at her beautiful caramel eyes while lifting her hands to the perfect height…

    Ardo was so happy that was trembling a little. A little enough to drop the ring off his hands…

    The glassy ring was now falling to the marble rocky floor of the tent as slice of a buttered bread falls to the kitchen’s floor. Who would Murphy be against today?

    ======== END OF CHAPTER ========

  32. calicocat88 says:

    Okay, I admit, I should be stoned for posting abnormally long stories each week. It’s a problem. I intend to get help. Also, I’m not sure, but I feel insecure about this one story particularly :/ I don’t know.

    The bullet sank into the preacher’s forehead. Will flinched as a spray of blood splattered his face. The preacher’s body seemed to crumple to the ground like a hunk of loose skin; a steady stream of blood wetting the delicate hem of Charlie’s wedding dress. The small clearing in the woods behind the church was silent. Even the birds and squirrels vanished. Everything was extremely still and none of the guests, still in shock, seemed to move until Charlie screamed.

    “Get down!” Will shouted. Suddenly, the immobilization was broken. The woods had erupted into massive turmoil. Gun shots were firing everywhere, people falling over each other trying to reach some kind of cover they wouldn’t find. Charlie couldn’t move. Her eyes were plastered on the bodies wrapped in panic and then suddenly jerked down by metal plunging into their flesh. The entire wooded floor was being showered in dark red pandemonium.

    Will had Charlie by the waist, pulling her to the ground and positioning himself over her. Averman was kneeling on the ground beside them, his head ducking every now and then as he dodged a stray bullet.

    “The guy at the pawn shop,” Averman said, breathlessly. “It had to be him.”

    “Now’s not the time for your bullshit, Averman!” Charlie hissed from underneath Will. She struggled to move, but he had her pinned. He had already forgotten the damn rings.

    Will looked up, his eyes wide with disbelief. “You hacked them, didn’t you, you stupid bastard? What the hell is wrong with you?”

    “I had no choice,” Averman strained his eyes, trying to convey a double meaning. Will wasn’t picking up. “The Tracker…he had to be the guy working in the shop. I swear I had no idea.”

    Charlie jammed her knee into Will’s ribs. “Get off me!”

    Will grabbed her arm and jerked her back against him. “Averman, you were supposed to send the rings to Kenji to get them checked.”

    “He was being controlled,” Charlie clawed viciously at Will’s face, but he caught at her hand.

    “Find Dante and get back here before whoever wants us dead decides to introduce himself,” Will said to Averman. “I’ll deal with you later.”

    “If we make it out alive,” Charlie spat.

    Averman nodded and glanced down meaningfully at Charlie, “I’m sorry,” before he dashed out into the turmoil.

    Charlie was still shaking from the panic. After everything she’d seen over the past years with Will Hunter watching people die before her eyes shouldn’t have that much of an effect on her anymore. It never got easier.

    “Come on,” Will began dragging her deeper into the woods, her wedding dress, an elaborate princess ball gown with tulle skirting snagged at branches and rocks. Her hair was falling from its bun and hung in her face in loose brown curls. She threw herself on the ground when Will didn’t let her go.

    “He’s telling the truth!” she screamed as Will fought to pick her back up. His face was all business, not her Will at all. He was transforming into the machine.

    “I have to get you out of here,” he said through his teeth. “Whoever this is, they’re here for you. Thanks to Averman, I can promise you that. Now come on!”

    Charlie closed her eyes and focused all her energy on Will. She felt the release as the power slipped from her body and built an invisible wall between herself and her fiancé. Will swore and she opened her eyes to see him standing furiously beside her, yet unable to touch her. It wasn’t until his pupils began to dilate that she felt afraid.

    “Will, no,” she said. The invisible barrier began to quiver and Will barely focused his energy on the thing separating them. He was more powerful than she was. Charlie knew that. But he had to know. “Listen to me, please! Averman didn’t betray you—he…he was being controlled. By someone else, you have to believe me.”

    “This isn’t X-Men or one of your fantasy worlds,” Will said, and the wall flickered.

    “I’m not in my own world,” she could feel herself draining. It was taking everything out of her to fight him this way and he was going to win. “Averman is our friend. If anyone knows about being forced to do something you don’t want to do it’s me!”

    The wall silently shattered and Will was heaving Charlie over his shoulder.

    “You’re wrong,” she screamed. “You’re—“

    The words weren’t out of her mouth when behind them a beautiful dark woman walked out from the trees. Something about her fine controlled features was familiar.

    “Will…” she whispered, barely conscious enough to believe if what she was seeing was real.

    “Women like to think that a man will always be faithful,” said the woman, “Even through death.”

    Will’s body jerked then stiffened. Slowly, he put Charlie down and turned both of them to face the woman. Charlie grabbed for his hand, but he moved it away.

    “It’s been a long time William,” she said, and flicked her short black hair behind her ears. “You said you would never stop looking for me. Liar.”

    “Zoe,” Will said, and Charlie felt like someone had punched her in the gut.

    It was her. The one. The girl that had been the entire reason for Will’s revenge, who had supposedly been murdered for his enticement. Zoe was the one Will had given his heart to, the girl who he had loved. And she was still alive.

    The girl he had killed so many people for because she was supposed to be dead…

    Charlie took in three slow breaths before she sent her energy to Dante, wherever the hell he was. He would sense her. Averman had to still be looking for him, if he wasn’t already dead. It took too much to kill Leslie Averman. He was like a roach.

    “Is this her?” Zoe sounded like she wanted to spit on Charlie’s face. “She’s the one everyone has been after? The girl who killed my family?”

    “Wolff was evil,” Charlie said. “You’re mother possessed me.”

    “How are you alive?” Will was deadly still. “I saw you die.”

    “I know how powerful you are, Will,” Zoe said. “I can’t believe you still hang around with your pathetic friends. Averman’s just a human and Dante can’t even protect himself.”

    “You’re no different,” Charlie said. “I don’t know what you think you can do that’s so threatening.” Just that quick Charlie could sense the air around Zoe begin to change. She was something else…Wolff had done something to her, his own niece. Somehow Charlie doubted that Zoe mutated into a fairy princess.

    “I’m going to kill her, William,” Zoe said. “I’m sure you’ll try to stop me. I know you. But you won’t kill me. Not over her. You’re too weak. You’re even letting people die for her now. I’m willing to kill whoever gets in the way if it means getting rid of that freak.”

    More screams erupted from the clearing and Charlie caught sight of a flash of red hair in the trees behind Zoe.

    “I died the day I lost you,” Will said. “I killed for you. I fought and lost everything for you.”

    Zoe’s body began to tremble, her skin took on an oddly translucent glow that sent shudders down Charlie’s back. Zoe wasn’t joking. She was going to kill her.

    “At least I have the balls to finish what I started,” Zoe said, and raised her hands towards Charlie and Will. Charlie focused the little bit energy she had on the tree beside Zoe. She could bring it down if Will could—

    There was loud gun shot and then Zoe’s head was unrecognizable. She no longer had a face, her skull assaulted from behind had a massive whole from the back to the front. Her body thudded to the ground and Charlie cried out with relief.

    A few feet behind Zoe’s body were Averman and Dante.

    Averman raised his rifle and kissed it. “I never did like chicks with balls.”

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      Don’t have any doubts about this story. While reading it, my body shivered from the danger, the attention to descriptive detail and the force. There’s enough tension in your story to support a bridge. Keep them coming, I’ll try to keep my cool, reading them.

    • don potter says:

      Now that’s a love story.

    • nicely done! I don’t care one bit about the length. this is one damn fine story, calicocat88.

    • DMelde says:

      Great story. What a great imagination you have.

    • smallster21 says:

      I will volunteer to stone you…with stones of awesomeness :) Captured my attention right from the first sentence. I’m not a huge fan of dump trucks releasing descriptions, exposition, etc. in the opening. I like action that grabs me right away. You executed this very well.

      However, I do wish I had been able to understand more about what was happening. I could sense the overall conflict and relationship dynamics here, but didn’t know why they existed or what type of beings Charlie, Will and Zoe were. Of course, the story behind this scene is backstory, which you’d be able to introduce in a longer piece, but I think there is room to work some of it in here by considering different viewpoints.

      I would play with Will’s viewpoint, maybe even Zoe’s. Being able to get into Will’s mind might provide the reader with more insight into what is going on. By the end of the story, I still didn’t know who was firing at the wedding guests and why. I’m assuming Zoe’s minions?

      This really is very imaginative, and I loved the tension you created. You have material here you can definitely take to the next level. I loved reading this! :)

      Just a note on grammar/style: I had to read some sentences a few times, because the pronouns became confusing. For example: “Will…” she whispered, barely conscious enough to believe is what she was seeing was real.” I would insert Charlie for the first ‘she’ pronoun, because in the sentence before you introduce the dark woman, then shift focus back to Charlie without specifying she is talking, which could be confusing. Also, when you mentioned Wolff the first time, I assumed this to be Zoe’s mother. “Wolff was evil,’ Charlie said. ‘You’re mother possessed me.” Then, later you mention Zoe is Wolff’s niece. So, on a revision, I’d focus on clarifying pronouns.

  33. sarainmontana says:

    Never tried one of these prompts before, but this was fun. Here it goes:

    What do you mean you pawned the wedding ring?” I stared at Robert, disbelieving. He shifted from foot to foot and looked away.

    “I just can’t let you go through with it, sis,” he said. He swallowed hard. “Ok I should have told you a few days ago. I’ve been meaning to tell you. I just couldn’t do it. This is all wrong.” He waved his hand around vaguely, pointing over at the door that led from this room into the hall where my wedding guests were being escorted to their seats. His hand flailed about helplessly for a second, then waved in my general direction.

    “What, you don’t like the decor? The hall we chose? My outfit?” I knew this isn’t what he meant but I didn’t want to give him any help at this stage. Why did I ever listen to my mother and agree to make him my best man? I though about Jenny, waiting in the next room, assuming this wedding would still happen.

    “No. You know it’s wrong. You should be marrying a man. You should be marrying Tom. He was such a good guy. You know we still go fishing together. I saw him last week. He still loves you.”

    Ugh. Tom. We could have been best friends. How I regretted letting him fall for me! I wish I had known myself better back then, so I could have put a firm hand out and stopped him before it was too late.

    “If you didn’t want to be part of my wedding you should have just said so and stepped away.”

    “I know. I just couldn’t think of how to do it. This seemed best. I’m sorry you’re upset, but I know this is the right thing.” He pushed a handful of bills into my hand. “Please, use this save yourself from this mistake.” He turned and walked away.

    I leaned against the wall and studied the money. So, not only would Jenny be crushed about our wedding, but I lost my brother, too. Why did he have to cling to that religious faith I had shed like bad dandruff? Why could he not see my happiness and joy?

    Did he really think this last minute trick would force me to walk away from myself, from who I am?

    “It won’t work,” I whispered to the bills in my hand.

    ***
    I stood at the front of the hall, the Justice of the Peace behind my right shoulder. Jenny looked beautiful. Her best friend strode a few feet in front of her. We had tried our best to have all the expected roles here, despite the disapproval of family. The space beside me felt empty without my brother. The grief will fade, I told myself.

    I fingered the ring in my pocket as she approached. Maybe it wasn’t what we planned, but it would work. A $100 bill, carefully creased, folded, twisted, and formed into a wedding ring.

    • don potter says:

      “Why did he have to cling to that religious faith I had shed like bad dandruff?” Never thought I’d hear one’s disgust with religion put that way.

      • swatchcat says:

        The only thing that makes a line like that not quite as offensive is the remote rationalization that this is “fiction” and no reasonable real person would be so senceless to blatenly be so inconsiderate about ones religious beliefs. Yes, the brother was careless to pawn the ring but it is no different then some type of intervention. The gay couple still got their peice of paper and the brother resolved after one last try to just walk away. Insults are nothing, but a decent writer that can affect readers like this is pretty good (or are they). Fair job, some flow issues, welcome to the forum.

    • sarainmontana, this was a fun read. I stumbled a bit in spots. I think if you read this aloud, you’d pick up the little issues.

    • DMelde says:

      I liked this story. I thought the emotions of the groom made this story good. I could feel her stress, hurt, love, and disdain. Well done.

  34. DocHoliday says:

    Go ahead, critique me. Tell me how awful I am. How badly I put words together. Tell me I suck. To give up. I can take it. Or shower me with praise. Adoration. Love. I’m pretty good either way just as long as you tell me what does and doesn’t work (for you) and why.

  35. DocHoliday says:

    Everyone had come. I couldn’t believe this was happening, but I was getting married. Like, I vowed to never get married. I had all but given up on the whole romantic thing, but that was before I met her. A club in The City. The pumping, pounding, primal music beating our eardrums senseless. The drugs beating our minds senseless. She was beautiful. Red hair, green eyes and a model’s smile. And she was smart. And funny. And charming.
    We didn’t talk. Not at first. But as four am fast approached, I found myself in need of a cigarette. I made the motions of lighting and smoking one, then pointed to the door. She nodded and we both went outside to gun a couple sticks. We talked. Joked. Laughed. Shared cigarettes, booze and the occasional hit of something fun. And it set in motion a chain of events leading up to that day.
    See that day was to be a special day. A very special day. It was supposed to be my wedding day. It should have been perfect. Catholic Church? Check. Catholic priest? Check. Band? Check. Friends and family? Check and check. Lots of wine, whiskey and beer? Check, check and check. And it was just perfect. Until my best man came up to me with a troubling, cunty look on his face.
    “What’s with the look?” He didn’t say anything. Just shifted around all guilty-like. “What. What happened?” I knew this man better than I knew anyone else. He was hiding something from me. I could tell.
    “I…nothing. It’s nothing.”
    “Really. Then why are you giving me that shifty, cunty look?”
    “I’m not…?”
    “Like hell you’re not. I can tell these things. We’re bros, bro! Come on, don’t fuck with me.”
    “All right. Just promise you won’t be mad?”
    “No promises. Just tell me, OK?”
    “OK.” He took a deep breath. “Here goes nothing.” Big sigh. “I…” a pause. “I kinda…” another pause. “You see…”
    “Spit it out man! What did you do?”
    “I hawked your wedding rings.” he blurted out in a rush. All one word. No spaces. No breaths.
    “You what?” I was pissed. Obviously.
    “You mad, bro?” Wrong thing. Something you should know about me: I always have a handgun on me. Always. What could I do? I had it concealed beneath my jacket and took the time to just whip it out.
    “Say hello to my little friend,” I said with a wry grin, pulling the trigger four times. I hit him twice in the head, once in the neck and once more in the throat. So, Your Honor, you have to understand, this was my wedding. I was supposed to get married and it was supposed to be perfect and he ruined it. He sold my wedding band, and her wedding ring and I just had to do it. What would you do in my situation?

    • don potter says:

      You have two stories here. The first does not tie in with the second unless the MC was so drunk, so loaded, so into the music the redhead and himself that he snapped when bad news disrupted his fantasy. The MC is not someone I’d want to marry my daughter, with or without a ring.

    • DocHoliday, I like your voice and tone as a storyteller. However, this piece is missing a big chunk in the middle to have it make sense. Consider reworking it without the word limit constraint.

    • DMelde says:

      Why was the groom like that? Why did he live outside the norms of society and feel that killing was the solution to his situation? Explaining that in the beginning would make the ending more believable and give some foreboding and tension to the story. Having said that, I agree there are two stories here. Both stories are good, but not necessarily together. Fun to read all the same. I like a little mayhem from time to time…

  36. AnandG says:

    Got carried away and went too long, almost doubled the word count, but intended at having a complete story. I am sure there are many creepy errors in the writing: maybe POV or grammar and punctuation, what and what not. Please comment and enlighten me of the mistakes because it is from your guidance, I tend to learn and improve.

    Heart of Gold

    Five years passed, yet I still remember. Memories of a friend’s wedding are still afresh in my mind. It was the incident that influenced few lives. Springbok, South Africa. This was where I met Josh, Bonnie: his fiancée, and their friend Peter. All three of them know each other and had a good understanding among them.

    Josh and Bonnie were about to get married in two weeks. Everything was going according to the plan. They did not want to take any chances, for it was the long awaited ceremony of their dreams. It’s the day that would bind them together. It was the day that would turn the boyfriend and girlfriend into husband and wife. Of course, Peter was to play the important part: The best man. He was to present the wedding ring to Josh. Josh always used to say that he had spent almost his entire two year savings to buy the ring. He knew it was expensive, but it was meant for the day, and for the rest of his life. The very thought that he would marry Bonnie would make him lost in another world. He used to say that it is marriage that would turn people into a family. Live-in relationships never satisfy the life that a marriage can. Maybe that is one of the reason that marriages are still made, since ages.

    Josh and Bonnie were busy with plans, while Peter had to go to get the ring from Kimberly.

    “Peter, please come back soon. I would kill you if you are late”, Bonnie said.

    “Don’t worry”, Peter said with a smile implying that he would not miss the wedding. He took his knapsack and left.

    The wedding day has finally come. Josh was looking elegant enough in his black suit. Bonnie was looking ever beautiful in her wedding gown; flowers in her hand, which were competing, yet falling short of their beauty in front of the Bonnie’s radiance. The church hall was decorated with flowers. People arrived. Josh and Bonnie were at the altar, in front of the pastor who was ready to get them married. Organ was being played in the background. Everything was as planned, but the best man. Peter did not arrive yet. Josh was getting nervous.

    “Honey, where is Peter?” Bonnie asked

    “I wonder if I know”, Josh said.

    “Why he always had to be late?”

    “He must be on his way. Just give him a call”, I said to Josh.

    Josh tried to call Peter on his phone, but he was out of reach. Two minutes later, Peter rushed in.

    “I am very sorry”, Peter said, “Josh, could you come aside?”

    “Josh, listen to what I say and please do not yell. I am hoping that you and Bonnie would understand me”, Peter requested.

    “I do not have the ring Josh”, Peter broke the news.

    “What?” Josh yelled in shock, “Are you gone crazy? You know what it is meant for. Now, please don’t tell me that you lost it somewhere. I am tired of your habit of losing things.”

    “Josh I had to pawn your ring”, Peter said in a calm tone.

    “Pawn?” Josh was now yelling over the top, “You pawned my ring, my wedding ring? This is heights!”

    Bonnie was dumbstruck. People were watching and conversing among themselves in astonishment.

    “Josh, there is no point in shouting now. Listen completely to Peter first and then let’s decide on what to do”, I said.

    “Josh, I know the importance of the ring and this day, but at that instance, nothing seemed important to me. I was on the way to Springbok from Kimberly and I found a person lying in a state of heart stroke. No one was around. I took him to the nearest hospital, but I realized that I do not have enough money with me, so I had to pawn your ring to get him admitted. I did not think about your wedding at that time. Saving a life seemed much more important to me. Later, I tried to borrow money from whoever I know in Kimberly, to buy you another ring, but none helped me. I returned helpless Josh, in a hope that you would understand me. I am sorry”, Peter told.

    “You know what Peter? I never believed that you would tell a lie lie. And even now I believe that you are telling the truth” Josh said.

    “Marriages are made in heaven, but not the ring. It is just a customary for the event. Bonnie, would you mind if I get married to you but do not wear you a ring today?”

    “Diamonds are a women’s best friend Josh, but who needs them today when I have a husband of my dreams.” Bonnie said.

    “You are such a beautiful heart Bonnie. Pastor, could you have us married without the ring, is it possible?”

    “You three are the jewels in a rough: a kind-hearted friend who saved a life, a man who understands his friend, and a woman who loves her husband and respects his decision. Who needs a ring anyway? I am now about to pronounce the man and woman as husband and wife, without a ring. Does anyone have any objection?” the pastor said.
    “I object”, a voice is heard from the entrance door. A person walked in; a well-dressed man indeed.

    Peter was in shock to see him, for it was the same man whom Peter had helped.

    “Boy, you saved my life and how can I not be grateful to you. I have a few words to say. Pastor, may I take the dais?”

    “I was a businessman all my life, a cruel businessman. Never had mercy on anyone. And so turned out my business partner too. He left me to death when I had this stroke, thinking of taking over my business after my death. It was when Peter, who was nobody, absolutely nobody to me, had saved my life. I was lucky enough that I had quickly recovered from the effect of stroke and now I am here. Here is the ring Peter.”

    “Thank you very much sir. But this is not the ring that I pawned.” Peter said.

    “Son, I am Carl McMillan of McMillan Diamonds Inc. I cannot give you a more expensive ring than this”

    “Good Heavens! This is a rare diamond worth a billion Rand in market”, the pastor uttered in astonishment.

    Josh and Bonnie were married; of course the ring was there at last, though it was not the one that Josh had saved his earnings upon, but a much better one.

    “This is for you Peter. Read it after I leave and call me tomorrow morning”, Carl said.

    It was a letter that made Peter’s fortune. Half of Carl’s profits, and properties were given to Peter.
    .
    I do not know what happened later as I left South Africa. I thought Peter must’ve become a filthy rich tycoon, but when I stepped in after five years in South Africa, I saw there were many charitable hospitals, which were run by Peter’s trusts. For sure, Peter never used the money he inherited from Carl for his own benefits. He was a heart of gold.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      A very sweet and inspiring story. Also easy to read. A suggestion for you. Study each sentence, you won’t bother your story. Look for words and phrases that might be eliminated. When I first started writing, I thought every word was precious. They aren’t with the exception of Lincoln’s. Gettysburg Address

      You have to repeat this process. I’ve done it a dozen times to tighten a story. It’s fun to edit what you’ve written. Remember, each word should add to the story.

    • don potter says:

      I believe the story would be an easier read and better told if you lose what you don’t need, and show rather than tell.

    • I agree with Kerry and Don. You should have a bias for showing over telling. You do indeed have tense issues, especially in the first couple of descriptive paragraphs. This is otherwise a very enjoyable read.

  37. Kerry Charlton says:

    SHOULDER TO SHOULDER

    ‘Our wedding plans had been perfect until this happened,’ Warren thought as he stood in the alcove of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York. From the foyer, he heard his future father-in-law, Alastor Demopoulos shouting on his cell phone,

    “What do you mean you won’t search for my daughter? She’s an hour late for her own wedding.”

    Bridesmaids, the maid of honor and the groomsmen paced nerviously in the reception area. Warren joined them.

    ‘Where in hell was Stephanie and why hadn’t Douglas showed up?’ he thought. ‘Strange that his bride-to-be and his best man had disappeared, or was it?’

    He had seen the looks between the two and noticed how Stephanie had placed her left hand on Douglas’ knee under the rehearsal dinner table last night. His train of thought broke as Alastor accused him,

    “What did you do to my daughter last night?”

    “Nothing,” Warren answered. “I left her with you and went home last night.”

    Entrance doors to the church swung open. No bride or best man stood there, only a messenger boy. He asked,

    “Is Warren Christopher here?”

    Warren’s thoughts flashed to a movie scene as he read the note. Alastor reached for it but he pushed Alastor’s arm away. Warren entered the church sanctuary. Music ceased, all guest’s eyes rivited on him as he walked to the front of the church and climbed the steps of the podium. He felt a strange sense of relief as he spoke,

    “I want to thank all of you for coming this evening,” he said. “Unfortunately, there won’t be a wedding tonight.”

    When the chatter settled down, he continued,

    “My best man, if you can call him that, hocked the diamond wedding ring I had bought for Stephanie. The two of them have boarded a plane for Paris to spend every penny of it.”

    Alastor Demopoulos hurried down the aisle, yelling to the top of his lungs,

    “I don’t believe a word of this. Warren’s made this whole story up to embarrass our family.”

    ‘Getting one Greek mad is not a pleasant thought,’ Warren mused. “But to stir up a dynasty of them, is a living nightmare.’

    Alastor stood reading his daughter’s note after Warren had handed it to him and spoke to the wedding guests,

    “Apparently it’s true,” he said. “But it won’t stop the reception. We expect all of you at the Waldorf in thirty minutes.”

    Warren and his non-existent father-in-law stood shoulder to shoulder and watched the dance floor, filled with the wedding party, swaying to Sergio Mendez and the Brazil 66.

    “You know Warren,” Alastor said, “my youngest daughter, Alasia, hasn’t talked about anyone else but you since she first saw you.”

    “Excure for a moment,” Warren said. “I see my highschool steady, walking toward me on the dance floor.”

    Their eyes met, his pulse quicked. He put his arms around Dawn and held her, oblivious to the couples dancing around them.

    “I received your wedding invitation in the mail last week,” Dawn said. “Inside was a note from your fiance.”

    “What did she say?”

    “That I had to go to your wedding. She knew you were still in love with me.”

    “Smart girl,” Warren said, and he kissed her.

    • don potter says:

      Plot twist followed by a twist, another twist, and yet a final twist. Your tale changed direction more often than a wide receiver trying to get free on a broken play. My story took place in the MC’s mind while yours was a dramatic reality. Great job.

    • This is a great dialog-driven piece, Kerry. It flowed well and was very fun with its twists and turns.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you Doug. I’ve walked five daughters down the aisle. Anything can and usually does happen at weddings, especially the under-current stories.

    • DMelde says:

      Great story. This was a fun read with its twists and turns. Very well done.

    • smallster21 says:

      Great introduction of conflict. The tension kept me reading, wanting to know what happened to the bride and best man. The conclusion–as much as my heart melted and despite the smile that crept across my face– felt a bit out of place, like it was forced somehow. Of course, with a longer story this could be resolved by introducing all the characters beforehand as you build up to the ending. Really enjoyed reading this :)

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you smallster. 500 is really hard with this many characters but you’re right on cue. I needed a line or two in the beginning to introduce Dawn, his lost highschool love. As always, I look forward to your comments. Where have you been?

        • smallster21 says:

          Awww, you noticed I was missing :) Just been busy. I wish I could say I was busy editing a final draft of one of my WIPs and talking with an agent, but no :( Lol, it was the annual garden party, 4th of July festivities, being a dutiful community member by helping…mostly making sure the beer truck was empty. Also into last minute cramming for the BEC section of the CPA exam coming up in two weeks. And, my sister just returned from Doha, so we’ve been catching up. Haven’t seen her in a year! She was over there teaching. Busy, busy, busy. Thanks for asking :)

  38. JustAPerson says:

    I straightened my tie and check myself in the mirror. I tell myself, “Okay I got this no need to worry, everything’s perfect, now just need to get up and put on a show.”
    My best man walks into the room. I

  39. thebaseballman2003 says:

    “James, would you mind running that by me again?”
    “Eric, you told me that you wouldn’t be angry.”
    “Angry? Whose angry?”
    “Eric…”
    “Why would I be angry at the guy, the same guy that has been my best friend ever since middle school and the best man at my wedding, decided to take it upon himself to take the wedding ring that I saved up a hell of a lot of money for and decided to pawn it?”
    “I have a good reason for why I did it?”
    “Oh, you have a good reason for why you did it? As long as you have a good reason for it, then it makes everything the fuck okay! You must’ve had a good reason for crashing my car on New Year’s Eve. You must’ve had a good reason for lying to George about what happened to his pet hamster, Lenny! You must’ve had a good reason for telling Shirley’s dad about her and I getting a little too drunk and having sex in his marital bed!
    “Hey, I had a little too much to drink that night!”
    “What fucking reason did you have to take that ring to a pawn shop a couple of days before…”
    “She’s been cheating on you with Rick.”
    “What?”
    “She’s been cheating on you with Rick.”
    “You’re unbelievable you know that. I know you’ve never like Shirley but you went too fucking far with what you did. How dare you talk about the woman I’m about to marry that way. I thought you were my friend…”
    “I am your friend. Last night, I saw the two of them fooling around in the hotel bar and then they went back to his room.”
    “Get out.”
    “What?”
    “Get out! You’re no longer my best man and you’re no longer my best friend!”
    “How can you say that after everything we’ve been through? If you really don’t believe me, why don’t you take a look at my phone? I recorded the whole damn thing. Take it. It’s a video file marked as “Two-Timing Skank.”
    Eric took the phone from James and found the video. He selected it and pressed Play. Eric thought it was going to be some bullshit by James to get him to dump Shirley but then he saw it. They were grabbing, caressing and fondling each other all over the place. Then it cut to the two of them on one of the hotel floors giving each other a little more than a friendly kiss on the check goodnight. Eric couldn’t believe what he saw. The woman he was going to spend the rest of his life with was cheating on him and having a damn good time doing it. He sat in the chair and realized that everything he thought he knew about Shirley was nothing more than a bunch of lies and deceptions.
    “Eric, I don’t know what to say.”
    “I do. You’re still no longer the best man but you’re still my best friend and you did the right thing.”

  40. Schrodingers cat says:

    My Best Man

    Thank you Lord for this being such a super day. Chuckling I think, about the flower girl crying when she found out they had torn the petals off of the flowers she would throw.

    My fiancée is putting the finishing touch on what ever they do just before a wedding, I am with my friends, just waiting to be called before the minister.
    Craig paces the floor.

    “I thought I was the one who was supposed to be nervous.”

    Craig takes a few more paces and does a double take, turning toward me, lifting a hand, and begin to speak when he stops and turns back to take a few more paces.
    I sit there puzzled when he stops with his back to me and shakes his head, lifts his arm and motions me, I follow him through a door into an adjoining room. He closes the door behind me, with his shoulders drooping, and head hung. “Dude, I don’t know how to tell you this, but……(with a long pause, and heavy sigh, looks up at me) someone stole your ring.” His face bright red.

    “WHAT!”

    “Some little girly I hooked up with swiped the ring. I’m real sorry man, she must have thought I was married or something when she found it, got mad and, well.”

    I cut him off “Some GIRLY, SOME GIRLY, MAN, WHAT THE HELL. You wait until moments before my wedding to spring this on me. Why the hell didn’t you call me as soon as it happened?”

    “Well, I thought I could get it back! At least I tried, I went to the pawn shop and.”

    Eyeing him intensely “I never thought I couldn’t count on you. Now what do I do.” I look at him with so much anger, my eyes start to water. I storm out slamming the door behind me.” Now I pace, wondering how to fix this. What happens if there are no rings to exchange?
    I so want to take all my frustrations out on my friend, but I don’t have time for that now. I sit cross-legged in the center of the room, and wait for the roof to fall down and crush me.

    “What’s wrong Chris?”
    “Nothing! Everything! Just go away please!”

    5 minutes later, no such luck, I survive, at least until our vows.
    Dad walks in, sits down beside me. “You having second thoughts? It’s only normal to feel like that.”

    “It’s not that dad, I….I don’t have any rings to exchange.”

    “Is that all.” he slips his ring off and hands it to me. “I’ll get your mother’s ring to you, but they need you out there now bud.

    “Dad, would you be my best man?”

    His expression is both surprise, and happiness. “Sure, if you need me to.”

    I hand him the ring. “Thanks dad, I’ll meet you up front shortly.”

  41. mariagavila says:

    Thanks in advance for comments and criticism…

    “You did what?!” I heard myself yelling to our best man, Karlo. This coming from someone who had never said anything with an exclamation point attached to it. My almost husband stared at me while trying to detach his bottom lip from the floor.
    “Calm down, honey,” he said.. or something like that. I’m not really sure. My brain was to a volcanic boiling point so I couldn’t comprehend clearly. All I know is he took my hands before they squeezed Karlo’s life out of him. This couldn’t be happening. Everything had been so perfect. Nothing ever went out of whack for me, I made sure of that.
    The next thing I knew I was locked in a bathroom while my “still fiancé” talked to Karlo.

    “What happened?” he asked in a civilized manner.
    “I’m sorry, bro., but I really needed the money.”
    “And that’s all you could think to pawn? What about your Nintendo 360?”
    “Now you’re crazy. Why would I do something like that? Then what would I do on the weekends?”
    “Are you for real? That ring cost me a fortune and it was to seal my marriage, how could you not see the importance of that? I thought you were my friend.”
    “I am your friend, that’s why I did what I did.”
    “What do you mean? I’m confused.”
    “Well you remember the night of Jennie’s bachelorette party…”
    George only nodded. He’d had a party of his own, but that was besides the point.
    “I happened to hear you say that your deposit for the honeymoon didn’t go through… So the next day I went to the pawn shop, pawned the ring and made your deposit. Here are your tickets, man. Have fun in Tahiti.”

    George walked into the bathroom to tell me what Karlo had done. He handed me the tickets and we walked back down the aisle towards the preacher to finish our vows. Around the tickets was a ribbon that George used to tie around my finger, which would later be replaced by my ring when we returned from the honeymoon. Needless to say, I will forever love our best man for saving the day in the way he thought best.

    • Pattypans says:

      Cute twist about the ribbon standing in place of the ring!

      And now, since you asked, I’ll make two comments of constructive criticism:

      1. About these sentences: “’You did what?!”’ I heard myself yelling to our best man, Karlo. This coming from someone who had never said anything with an exclamation point attached to it.”

      Instead of “I heard myself yelling”, why not just say, “I yelled”? It’s more direct and to the point, and the extra words really don’t add anything. Also, it seems unrealistic that someone had never (implies never at any time in his/her life!) ‘said anything with an exclamation point attached to it.’ How about, “…coming from someone who rarerly/almost never/very seldom said anything with an explanation point attached to it.”

      2. There is an abrupt POV shift after this sentence: “The next thing I knew I was locked in a bathroom while my “still fiancé” talked to Karlo.” How could the first-person narrator know all this about a conversation two other people held when that narrator was in a different room? (Unless he/she overheard it, but that’s not made clear here.)

      I also want to say that if English is not your mother tongue (just a wild guess from your name), my hat is off to you! I know several languages, but I couldn’t write half as well in any of them (other than my mother tongue) as you have written here! And if English is your mother tongue, please, please do not take offense. As I said, I’m just guessing from your name.

      • mariagavila says:

        Thanks pattypans.. I did catch that abrupt change in POV so I tried to explain it with my first sentence in the following paragraph. I guess I should of put that in before the conversation though. Thanks for that.
        And yes English is not my mother tongue, Spanish is… and I appreciate your words of encouragement. No offense taken.

    • I like the twist, Maria. Some minor issues. it looks like pattypans caught them for you.

  42. Mickirose72 says:

    At the altar Taylor felt like a beautiful princess, her silvery blonde hair had delicate white roses cascading down her hair interweaving between her loose braids that emptied out to a river full of long, awe-inspiring locks. As the Priest asked the Best Man for the rings to finally join Taylor and Tim in holy matrimony, Tim stared at Taylor, his deep brown eyes lighting Taylor’s face with a warm glow. Their moment was interrupted by Trace, Tim’s Best Man, nudging his shoulder.
    “So, when we pawned the rings off a few days ago, I might’ve forgotten to pay the bill,” Trace cringed waiting for the blow.
    Infuriated Taylor screamed, “You did what!” Taylor’s before, angelic appearance, was now that of a feral raccoon. Being a perfectionist, all Taylor had ever wanted was to have the perfect wedding; and now that had been crushed.
    “Sweetheart, Trace needed the money, he was in a bind. Please, we don’t want to make a scene in front of our guests,” Tim pleaded with Taylor, gesturing to the huge crowd that gathered to see them wed.
    With one pristine gloved hand Taylor smoothed the skirt of her dress and picked away a slightly more crumpled lily from her bouquet and said, “Sometimes things get out of control, I underst-“
    “If you call being high on the Mary Jane a bind, I don’t want to ever get out,” joked Trace nudging the groom. “Isn’t that right Timmy?”
    The crowd gasped. Even the Priest looked mortified. Taylor had streams of black mascara bubbling from her eyes.
    “Baby, I can explain,” Timothy said, reaching for his bride-to-be’s wrists, “You don’t understand.”
    “I don’t understand that my Fiancé’ is a druggie? What will happen next, our home will be searched for drug cartels,” Taylors voice rose until peaking at a shriek. “I’m done Timothy,” she said as she threw down her flowers and stomped down the aisle. Pulling the pins out her hair, Taylor sent roses flying in the wind.
    Tim caught one; his heart was heavy at the sight of his true love stomp angrily away from him. He loved her, but he knew it was no use to chase after her. Once Taylor was gone, she was gone forever.
    Clambering into her convertible, Taylor grabbed her car keys out of her glove compartment and began to clumsily twist her house key off the chain. Strolling up to the car, Tim chuckled to himself. Taylor always had a hard time being convincing. With everything she did, something always seemed to go wrong. Like now, getting flustered because the key couldn’t come around fast enough.
    “I could help you, you know,” Tim offered hanging over the passenger side door.
    “I can do it myself, thank you,” said Taylor flatly. Finally, the key came free; she chucked the key at Tim saying, “I hope you and Mary Jane are happy together!” With that the Drama Queen gunned the engine and drove off.

  43. Amy says:

    “That is the third time Sarah has run by the doorway in the last twenty minutes. What is she doing? She should be in here, standing still and keeping me from freaking out!”

    “Just breathe, Carly. It’s probably nothing. Maybe Uncle Rick passed out on the front steps or something.”

    Just breathe. I would if my dress would let me, I thought. The day had begun so peacefully; spa time with the girls, sipping tea while we hung the last of the lanterns in the reception room, mom and I sharing a hug and wishing dad could have been here to walk me down the aisle. She had given my hand a squeeze and told me he was here in spirit. I, of course, promised myself that I wouldn’t cry because I didn’t want to smudge the look that took an hour to plaster on my face; it only took a few hours into the day and I was a sobbing mess, Sarah in tow with the box of Kleenex. Aside from my emotional outpouring, everything was going smoothly.

    I hiked up the massive skirt on my dress and tiptoed to the doorway, glancing out into the hall. My mom was huddled at the door with Dan, the best man, and Tyler. Even though we had agreed not to see each other before the ceremony, I couldn’t help staring at him now. He sure did clean up well. Our eyes met and he set out toward me down the hall. This can’t be good, I thought.

    “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen,” he said when he reached the doorway.

    “You aren’t supposed to be seeing me at all!” I replied. “What’s going on?”

    “Don’t panic. There’s a small hiccup.”

    “What kind of hiccup?”

    “The kind where Dan accidently lost the ring.”

    “What do you mean he lost it?”

    “Well, he actually pawned it, but either way it’s gone. But don’t worry, we’re getting a new one,” he added.

    I just stared at him for a moment. Leave it to Dan, the wildcard, to add some drama to the situation. The room felt like some kind of vacuum; like all the air whooshed past me and out the door and I was left to shrivel like an ugly mushroom.

    “Babe, please don’t freak out. No matter what happens today, we’re getting married. I would marry you in a shack with no dress, no tux, no flowers, no rings, and no people. Nothing. All we need is you and me. Ok?”

    He took my head in his hands and kissed my forehead. I still couldn’t breathe, but he was right.

    Walking down the aisle with my brother on my arm, I saw the picture of dad at the front of the room and forgot all about the ring. I just wanted him there with me. I wish I had more Kleenex, but there was no way I could fit anything else in that dress.

    When the pastor got to the part about the ring, the groomsmen all looked from one to the next and I heard Dan clear his throat and nod to the back of the room. I turned to see a man in army fatigues walking up to the alter with a small box in his hand. When he was close enough to see his face under the hat, I recognized his kind blue eyes and toothy smile. I dropped my flowers and ran, full skirt and all, to meet him. My dad always did know how to save the day.

    • This is a very touching story. :)

    • don potter says:

      Now I want to know the father’s story.

    • Barouches says:

      Very sweet, heartfelt story. I’m going to be critical for a moment (as I am when watching any show or movie). In real life I would have expected for the father to appear earlier so that he could walk her down the aisle. She would have still been surprised, just earlier in the story so that the true magnitude of the joy of having her father walk her down the aisle could be realized. Sorry, this is my nature and why I hesitate to comment many times; I like folks to be proud of their work.

      • Pattypans says:

        Barouches, I welcome constructive criticism on mine!

        • Barouches says:

          As do I Pattypans :-) I try not to be nit-picky, or deflate anyone cause it takes courage to submit a work. However, at the same time, I believe it is a disservice to anyone truly trying to identify weakness within their work that they need to improve, especially if submissions to mags or publishers are being turned down, and no reason is given.

          • Pattypans says:

            Barouches, I think you may have misunderstood my intention when I wrote that I welcome constructive criticism. I was absolutely not implying that your critique here was not constructive. I was shamelessly hinting that I wouldn’t mind a bit if you (or anyones else) commented on my response.

    • Pattypans says:

      Amy, imho this is a lovely, well-written story. And what a good surprise ending! I had assumed her father was dead. Kudos!

      • swatchcat says:

        When I finally got to the ending, I could see another episode to the YouTube videos of military surprise homecomings. Nicely played. Touching but, it was a little wordy getting to the good part.

    • Pattypans says:

      Also, Amy, I love the idea in this line: “Babe, please don’t freak out. No matter what happens today, we’re getting married. I would marry you in a shack with no dress, no tux, no flowers, no rings, and no people. Nothing. All we need is you and me. Ok?” That’s the way it ought to be!

    • *sniff* something in my eye, dammit. Nice write as always, Amy.

    • DMelde says:

      Great story Amy. Very touching…damn, why do I always cry at weddings.

    • JR MacBeth says:

      Beautiful.

    • smallster21 says:

      Oh my gosh! How friggin’ cute!

      • Amy says:

        Thanks for all comments, guys. I appreciate criticism just as much as praise, so thank you. This was an attempt at a cute and charming story that flopped. I just wanted to try something different from the usual suspense and scary/mystery type I seem to write all the time. I’m not all that proud of it, so I guess I shouldn’t have posted it, but I appreciate the comments.

  44. [it ran long, but I couldn't help it, it was such a fun prompt!]

    “Bad luck to see the bride!” Carla screamed out as she dove behind the changing screen.

    “Too late for that,” Maya replied, but chuckled at the duality of the statement.

    Carla thought for a moment before sticking her head out from behind the screen. She first gave a happy sigh and smiled as her eyes fell on Maya’s dress, but then shook her head and pulled herself back to the moment. “What do you mean ‘too late’?”

    “I mean I need you to come out here and sit down,” Maya said pulling her out from her hiding place and sitting her down firmly in an overstuffed chair. “Now listen, I have good news and I have bad news…”

    “You’re backing out on me, aren’t you,” Carla said, already prepared for the worst.

    “Don’t be daft,” Maya said and kissed her forehead. “But we don’t have rings.”

    Carla blinked a few times as her mind turned those words over. Then she set her jaw and folded her arms. “What do you mean we don’t have rings? I’ve seen them, we bought them together!”

    “Yes… and… a few days ago, Jason pawned them at-” Maya caught Carla around her waist as she stood up, eyes focused on the fire axe beside the emergency exit. “No no no! Wait, let me explain!”

    “Explain, what’s there to-” Carla narrowed her eyes. “You knew about this, didn’t you?”

    “Look, I asked him to, but-”

    “HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?” Carla screamed.

    Maya wrapped her arms around her, speaking softly. “Carla, they’re just rings, they’re just symbols.”

    “Yes, symbols of our marriage!” Carla wiggled out of Maya’s arms. “What are we going to do when we’re told to exchange rings? Stand there exchanging significant glances and tell her to get on with it? God, Maya!”

    Maya sighed. “Okay, look, I know I should have told you earlier, I was hoping we’d have them back by now.”

    Carla wiped at her eyes, trying desperately not to smear her makeup. “Dare I even ask what the good news is, then?”

    “Actually…” Maya laughed nervously. “That wasn’t the bad news.”

    Carla gaped. “There’s something worse?”

    “Yeah, see, about that. The bad news was supposed to be we hocked the rings to bail your dad out and then he’d get them back out, right? Well, now the good news is your dad is out, but the bad news is he skipped town, so…”

    “He isn’t walking me down the aisle,” Carla finished, sinking back into the chair, tears dripping down her cheeks now.

    “But hey, I have these.” Maya held up two rings.

    Carla took one and looked at it. “Those are from quarter machines, aren’t they?”

    “Maybe, but look, no one will know from a distance, will they?” Maya took Carla’s hand and tried her best to smile, wiping her fiancé’s tears away. “We’ll slip these on and in a few weeks we’ll get the real ones back and-”

    “And my dad isn’t coming to my wedding.”

    Just then the door flew open and in came Carla’s father, looking like – well, frankly, looking like he’d just been on the run from police for three days. Jason was close behind him.

    “Daddy?!”

    “George?”

    Carla stammered for words. “But I thought you-”

    “Hey, honey! I’m sorry I’m late,” her father said. Carla jumped up to hug him but he demurred. “Don’t want to get that dress dirty, not with what we paid for it. Look, you know I wouldn’t miss this day for anything.”

    “Oh, Daddy!” Carla was outright crying now, and making no effort to control it.

    “Maya, these are for you,” he said, holding out his hand. Into her palm dropped two perfect diamond rings. “Sorry for all this.”

    “Thank you, George.” They shook hands.

    “Alright, look, I’m going to get cleaned up.”

    “I love you, Daddy!” Carla said, taking her father’s hands.

    He smiled and kissed her cheek. “I love you, too.”

    Jason gave his arm a tug. “Come on, old man. Leave Sis to clean up her face, we need to be in place in five!”

    The two men left to get George presentable. Maya helped fix Carla’s makeup, and in five minutes, everyone was ready to go. Just before Maya left to take her place at the end of the aisle, Carla kissed her softly and said, “This… this is why I love you so much.”

    “I know, sweetie,” Maya replied. “Now come on, we’ll have to bail my mom out after the ceremony.”

  45. I watched as David whispered frantically with Josh. “So, uh, is there a problem?” I was still cheerful. The wedding had gone too well so far to go wrong now.
    David was frowning. “It seems that Josh pawned the ring,” he whispered.
    “Oh, ha ha. Come on, what’s happening?”
    “Really, he pawned the ring.”
    Still convinced it was some ludicrous joke, I replied, “Now, why on earth would he do a thing like that?”
    “It seems he needed money.”
    “Really, where’s the ring? Josh wouldn’t do something like that even if he DID need money, which I don’t believe.”
    The expression on David’s face hadn’t changed. “I’m not joking.”
    Behind us our friends and family were starting to get restless. All of sudden it dawned on me that he was telling the truth. He wasn’t joking.
    “He did WHAT?!” I nearly screamed, fighting to keep a level voice.
    There were murmurs behind and my seven-year-old nephew whispered something to my brother.
    “Anthea,” David soothed, “Relax.”
    “Relax!” I spat back, “The whole wedding! Ruined utterly!”
    “Calm down,” David replied coolly, “We’ll figure something out.”
    Another retort died on my tongue. That was possible. But what was there to figure out? How we could tell the patiently exasperated minister to just skip the rings for the moment? It occurred to me that people would only notice if I made a big fuss. They were staring already. Maybe Josh had another cheaper ring that he had picked up so the WHOLE day wasn’t ruined.
    “Okay,” I sighed, “What do you suggest we do?”
    David and Josh laughed suddenly and before I knew what was happening an exquisite ring of white gold and ruby was placed on my finger. Watching my startled expression, David laughed again and mouthed, “I’ll explain later.”

    “And so… you’ve got some explaining to do.” The crimson light of sunset flooded the windows of our new house as I held David’s hand and looked at him eagerly.
    David smiled at me. “It was a test.”
    “Huh?”
    “I know you have trouble controlling your temper. That’s what we’ve been working on. But if you could control yourself in that situation I know you can control yourself in any other situation.”
    I must confess I gaped. “So that whole thing… just to see if I had learned a little self-control?”
    He shrugged. “Admittedly risky, but I love you and want you to have every chance of learning to be perfect. If you can be more so.” He pecked me on my check.
    I stared coldly for a moment but then I burst out into a lighthearted giggle. “Oh, you!” For the sake of younger audiences, I will now end the scene.

  46. JRSimmang says:

    The mirror in the Groom’s room was reflecting all my insecurities: my chubby cheeks, my pot belly, my short arms. Phoebe was marrying a monster.
    “Dude, stop doing that to yourself.” Hal was my best friend, had been for years. “I can’t tell you’re judging yourself. Stop!”
    “I can’t help it. I got lucky, right? Phoebe’s way out of my league?”
    “No. She’s just what you need.”
    I smiled as Hal propped my up. He smiled deeply. “Now, on to this amazing wedding! Look out that window, brother. You’ve got flowers, you’ve got the breeze. You’ve got a 78 degree sunset.”
    “You know what? You’re right. I’ve got everything.” I brought him into a hug. “Thanks, man. You’ve always been there for me.”
    Then, he whispered in my ear. “I pawned the ring.”
    “Ha! Good one.”
    He stood back and looked me directly in the eyes. “I. Pawned. The. Ring.”
    I wasn’t sure I could comprehend what was coming out of Hal’s mouth. “You, huh?”
    “The ring. Hear me out.”
    “You SOLD my ring?”
    “Hang on, D, I’ve got a reason.”
    “YOU’VE got a REASON? I hope to God-” I stopped myself short. Hal. My best friend. He has never done anything to hurt me. “Are you in love with me?”
    “What? No.” He chuckled. “No.”
    “Then what the hell man?”
    Hal sucked in a deep breath. “What do you know about your grandfather?”
    “Which one?”
    “The one on your mom’s side.”
    “Grandpa Hannibal? Not much. He did leave my brother a grandfather clock, which broke. Colin said some weird shit happened afterward.”
    “Yeah. Colin got the switch. You got the key.”
    The look on my face must have spoken for itself.
    Hal opened his mouth to speak, then closed it. Then reopened it. “Remember back in the 4th grade when Gil Halbrook tried to smash your nose?”
    “Yeah.” I wasn’t sure whether to take the bait. “You stepped in when he pushed me to the ground.”
    “Also, remember back when we were juniors and you got into that car wreck.”
    I had to think back. “Right, you pulled me from… the… car.” I must have done something right, because Hal’s face softened.
    “That’s right, Hal.”
    “You… what are you?”
    “Your protector. Your grandfather Hannibal was an amazing man. His blood is your blood. The ring that I pawned, and here’s the money by the way,” he reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet, “is going to be replaced with this one.” He produced the money and the new ring, which looked just like the last one. “This will keep her under control.”
    “Wait, my protector?” The minister poked his head into the waiting room.
    “Okay Dylan, ready to get married?”
    I looked to Hal, my eyebrows scrunched together.
    He turned to the minister. “He’s ready.”

  47. Pattypans says:

    Oops. Does my story not make sense, due to the groom finding out before the ceremony about the pawned ring? Is it unrealistic that he would have asked for it while he was getting dressed? I’m a little off the grid on some of those details…Please tell me!

  48. Pattypans says:

    “Jake, I’m in no mood for stupid jokes. Can’t you see I’m already nervous? Just give me the ring.”

    If I’d been looking at Jake’s face instead of pulling on my tuxedo pants, I probably would have realized by then that he wasn’t joking. I found out soon enough that he meant it. He really had pawned the exquisite ring I was supposed to put on Jennifer’s finger in 20 minutes, in front of a church full her society-page-frequenting family from out East, many of whom would be seeing me for the first time as I stood at the altar and watched Jennifer approach it on the arm of Nelson Bluestone, federal judge from Connecticut. My soon-to-be father in law, who already disliked me, convinced I was a loser who would make his only daughter unhappy.

    When Jake failed to make a witty comeback, I looked up. His uncharacteristic silence and the look on his face convinced me it was no jest.

    Civil words failed me. Uncivil words failed me. My heart almost failed me.

    My mind went blank. Then questions painted themselves in bold black letters on the blank: Why would my lifelong friend do such a thing to me when so much was at stake? What was I going to do now? How could I begin my life as an almost-member of the Bluestone clan in total ignominy?

    I wasn’t worried about Jennifer. With her utter simplicity and unshakable calm, she could handle this. She wouldn’t care if I gave her a ring from a box of Cracker Jacks. She loved me.

    She loved her family, too—well, some of them, anyway—but she didn’t care what they thought of her or of me. Her fierce independence had enabled her to successfully navigate a stifling maze of expectations her family tried to impose on her from childhood for the sake of their own social standing. Sometimes I wondered how her fiery streak would play out in our married lives, but since I loved her with every bone in my body, I figured it would all work out.

    Jake broke the tense silence. “Man, I’m really sorry. I’ll explain it later. But don’t worry. I got you this so you’ve got something for the ceremony.” He produced a simple, ultra-thin gold band. No diamonds, no engraving. Not worthy of a Bluestone.

    I still couldn’t speak without exploding, so he continued. “Look, Brad, you’ve got every right to be furious with me. And I am sorry. But this is the best I could do. I promise you I’ll make it up to you some day.” He handed me the box.

    I reasoned with myself. I was marrying the woman I loved, not her family. She’d be okay. There wasn’t time to remedy the situation anyway. Why be any more nervous than I already was before I found out about the pawned ring?

    I tried to look confident and strode to my place at the altar.

    • don potter says:

      I felt Brad’s pain but would liked to know why he pawned the ring. With all the build up, the last sentence let me down.

      • Pattypans says:

        I know what you mean about Jake’s reasons, Don, but (partly due to the word limit) I chose to concentrate on Brad’s reaction to the crisis, rather than Jake’s reasons for pawning the ring. Jennifer’s personality, and the depth of Brad and Jennifer’s relationship, are why Brad came back from the brink of freaking out. Jennifer’s family’s attitudes and situation, I hope, supplied the tension of why in spite of Jen’s love, he might have gone over the brink and freaked out anyway.

        Was your letdown double–not knowing why Jake pawned the ring plus something bout the last line? I’d like to understand what about the last line was a letdown, if you have time and the inclination to tell me.

        A big thank you for your feedback! I really appreciate it!

        • swatchcat says:

          The ending was almost anticlimactic. Here your MC is in the throws of thought and reason(a little panic) and then all of a sudden; dum-dum-dumdum, dum-dum, dumdum, have a coke and a smile. Word count is a bitch but flow is better. I liked the feelings brought on by the stigma of entering a higher level of society – love vs. all that. Your first paragraph after the opening line was a mouthful, and felt like it was missing something, the last sentence in it was incomplete.

        • don potter says:

          I get that the reason for pawning the ring is secondary. However, as a mystery writer, I like to wrap up all the details. Swatchcat’s comment addressed my concerns about the ending. It was expected and anticlimactic.

          • Pattypans says:

            Swatchcat and don potter, thank you for the thoughtful feedback. I see your point(s). I realized that last sentence of the second paragraph was not grammatically complete, but figured it worked; perhaps a dash between the last 2 sentences would’ve been better. A bit long, though…

            Anyway, thanks again!

    • I pieced this together with the commentary above and below. All in all, this is a fine write. Edit accordingly.

    • JR MacBeth says:

      Some good writing here Pattypans, in spite of the seemingly abrupt ending others have mentioned. But 500 words is quite challenging. My hat is off to all those who try to honor the word limit. Good job.

      • Pattypans says:

        Thank you very much, JR. I did try to give the ending context and have it make sense via Brad’s thoughts in the paragraph right before the ending sentence. But judging from the consensus of those who commented, I guess it didn’t work so well, or wasn’t enough, or something. Thanks also for the nod to keeping to the word limit.

    • smallster21 says:

      I agree with the others on the anti-climatic ending. I see where you wanted to focus on the MC’s emotions, which warmed my heart, but I think the story could be stronger by making the MC’s reaction in the beginning more outrageous. I would also pump up the middle with Jake revealing his reasons for pawning off the ring, then transition into the MC’s inner monologue on resolving his feelings. Maybe Jake’s reason for pawning the ring could be the catalyst for the MC resolving his feelings. Feel free to go over the word limit by one or two hundred words; it won’t cut your story off. I’ve never seen anyone complain, because sometimes it’s necessary in order to be able to provide you with adequate advice on your story, style, etc.

  49. don potter says:

    “May I have the ring, please,” the minister said as he pushed the white satin pillow in my direction.
    “Give me the ring, Brian,” I whispered to my long-time friend and best man.
    There was a pause.
    “Err, ‘Houston we have a problem,’” he replied
    “What do you mean? Did you forget to bring the ring?”
    “Well, no.”
    “Then let me have it.” My whisper got louder.
    “Can’t. I hocked it.”
    “You what?”
    “Pawned it a couple of days ago.”
    “Why?”
    “Needed the money.”
    “You could have come to me if you were short on cash.”
    “No I couldn’t. You see, Amy, you and I have been friends since kindergarten, and I always thought she would end up marrying me; but you asked her first.”
    “This can’t be happening. Tell me it’s a weird joke or something.”
    “It’s no joke. I told her the whole story last night at the rehearsal dinner and she’s all for us taking the ring money and running away. So move over and let us consummate the deal. That way the day won’t be a total loss.”
    His words swirled around in mind for what seemed to be an eternity. Then, I realized my premonition that something might go wrong was only a feeling and not a fact. Brian had handed me the ring, but I froze – afraid if I was doing the right thing, afraid if the marriage would last, and afraid if Amy loved me as much as I loved her.
    The pause ended when Brian nudged me and broke my momentary lapse.
    I quickly placed the ring on the pillow and glanced over at Amy. She looked back at me in a way that said, “This is so right for us.”
    Brian whispered to me as the minister offered a blessing over the ring, “I can’t express how happy I am for you two. Hope we remain friends forever.”

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