Iris sidled down the hallway until she could see all of the people moving about, smiling, dancing, eating and celebrating. Her parents were dancing together, smiling innocently into each other’s eyes. Her father looked up, laughing at something her mother had said. She followed Clarisse’s frantic search for Riley to a dark corner where Riley was talking to one of her business associates. A stunning redhead from England. Martine Wickman. They looked like they were having a very deep, interesting conversation.
Clarisse tapped her son on the shoulder and motioned back towards where Iris still stood in the shadows. Riley looked confused but hurried towards her, completely unaware that she knew his secret. He gave her a crooked half smile as he took her cold hand in his.
“You’re missing your own party Iris. Mom said you looked upset and wanted to talk to me. What’s up? We’ve got to get a move on if we’re going to make it to the airport in time,” he said glancing at his watch.
She studied his beautiful face and just now noticed how bored he looked. His curly, artfully arranged wavy dark blond hair always gave him such a carefree look as if he’d just come from a day at the beach. But that wasn’t it at all. He was bored to death and he was at his own wedding reception. Now, she could understand why.
“I want a divorce,” she said softly and watched curiously to see if he would be shocked or upset. She had always been so attracted to his calm, cool unruffled personality. But now she knew that wasn’t it at all. He was just completely detached. At least from her
Riley sighed and leaned up against the wall. He crossed his arms across his chest and finally looked her in the eyes. “What? Just because I was flirting a little bit with Martine? Oh please. Can we put a hold on the possessive wife act until we’re back from our honeymoon?”
Iris glanced over his shoulder at Martine who had joined a circle of friends laughing and talking but her eyes were glued to Riley’s back. It dawned on Iris that just because she now knew about two women Riley had relationships with didn’t mean they were the only two.
“I’ve just been talking to Cherish. Gorgeous blond. You two are so close, she was a little sad that she hadn’t gotten an invitation to your wedding,” she said, finally gaining Riley’s complete attention. He stood up stiffly and whipped his head around looking for her.
“You just missed her,” she said noticing the sudden color on Riley’s cheeks. She’d finally cracked his boredom.
Riley cleared his throat and automatically glanced over his shoulder at the party going on behind him. “I can explain everything, I promise. Let’s just get through this and then we’ll talk. Okay? Don’t ruin this for our families Iris. You know how long my mom’s wanted us to get married. If you throw a little temper tantrum and ruin our reception you’ll break her heart. Just put a big smile on, let’s go cut the cake and then we’ll get out of here. Just you and me. We’ll work through this I promise. And just for the record, Cherish is a liar. She’s been after me from the first day I met her. You know how girls like her are. I promise you, I’ve been completely faithful to you,” he said looking her square in the eyes.
Iris felt like throwing up. “I might actually have believed you, except for the text messages she showed me. Also, you might want to watch your back. I hear Germaine’s not very happy with you either.”
Riley’s mouth went slack as she walked past him and through the laughing crowds of people calling out congratulations and patting her on the back. She walked up to the stage where the band was and reached for the microphone as if it had just been waiting for her. As everyone quieted down, she ignored the beautiful center pieces and flowers she had picked out, the cake she had helped design and the hundreds of people who had come to celebrate her marriage to the man of her dreams. She ignored everything and everybody except for her mom and dad. They smiled at her expectantly. She had lived her whole life trying so hard not to disappoint them. Trying so hard to make them proud. She sighed as she felt the last piece of her heart shatter and fall to the bottom of her toes. The tears began to slip gently down her cheeks as she lifted her chin up.
“Can I have everyone’s attention please?”