Cruel Infidelity

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The official wedding ceremony takes place above a funeral home. There’s a gaudy alter in the front of the room decorated with fake white and pink roses. She decides that if there are any pictures, she’ll apply a black and white filter, but she crosses her fingers that there won’t be.

Andrew’s mother and father are the only two in attendance, sitting in the front row. His mother gives her what she believes is a disapproving and judgmental look over, before resting her eyes on the portly, short-haired blonde woman who will be officiating the marriage. His father is unreadable, his face a blank slate.

If Rachel’s father found out her wedding was being officiated by a woman he’d blow a gasket. He’s already upset enough that she won’t have a temple sealing in the LDS church due to Andrew’s refusal to convert.

“And do you, Rachel, take Andrew as your lawfully wedded husband?”

Her heart skips a beat. She steals a glance at his parents, his mother holds her iPhone in front of her face, taking video she presumes. “I do,” she manages through her closing throat.

“Then I now pronounce you, man and wife. You may kiss your bride.”

He dips his head toward her. She reciprocates a small peck, unnerved by the intimacy in front of his parents.

Her parents should have been here, she thinks. Even for this.

The windshield wipers slash at the falling rain almost violently. It dumps from the sky like a thunderous waterfall. Rachel can’t help but imagine the wipers as two black arms waving wildly back and forth while at a KISS concert.

There’s a faint sound of music playing from the car’s speakers, barely audible over Andrew’s obnoxious custom exhaust.

“I’ll miss you,” she says solemnly, breaking the silence between them.

Andrew shifts down a gear, taking the exit to Seattle-Tacoma international airport. “You won’t have to wait long,” he reassures. “I’ll mail you a copy of the marriage certificate so you can get a head start changing your name on everything.”

“Thanks...” she trails.

Despite getting everything she thought she wanted, she can’t ignore the knot forming in the pit of her stomach. It’s too late now, she thinks. Besides, how would she explain her sudden change of heart to her parents? They’re fiercely religious, and her father had been the one to push her to accept Andrew into her life in the first place. “What’s wrong with you?” he’d asked her when she initially refused his presence in the delivery room. “This man clearly loves you and wants to be apart of your life. What sort of example are you trying to set for our granddaughter?

He and her mother wouldn’t have accepted Victra if not for the promise of a wedding. A bastard for a grandchild was unthinkable.

The circumstances weren’t ideal, but at least they could explain the sin away with relative ease.

Where would she go anyway? She already messed everything up with Jen, the one and only person who had her back.

If she were to annul the entire thing and break the news to her parents, would they still let her live there? She shakes her head. They’d be humiliated, and she’d be responsible.

“I’ll call you,” Andrew says, pulling her out of her thoughts.

She peers out the window, watching as people flood in and out of the airport’s front entrance.

He pops the trunk. “Do you need help, or do you think you can manage it?” he asks, looking at her expectantly.

“I can handle it,” she says, rushed. This is not how she imagined her time with Andrew ending.

She yanks her luggage up and pulls down. Her suitcase hits the wet ground with a thud. She pulls the hood of her coat over her head and extends the handle from the carrier. She rolls it to the sidewalk, glancing back at him. Hoping for some type of acknowledgment—a good-bye. Instead she watches while he drives away.

Fighting back the tears, she pushes through the glass doors and trudges toward the check-in counter.

The only thing left to look forward to now was holding her baby in her arms again.

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