Love Letters(2)

By: Geraldine Solon


She was still deep in thought reminiscing about the good old days when he said, “Listen, we should get together sometime. I mean, now that I know where you are, I can pop in.”

“Of course,” she said, then immediately froze. Why did I say that? I’m getting married in four months. I shouldn’t be meeting Josh. But then she told herself to relax. He was just an old friend and there was nothing wrong with hanging out with an old friend. “Sorry about your car.”

“Hey, no sweat,” he said. “Besides, I’m glad it happened. Otherwise, we’d never have met again.”

Chloe’s heart skipped as she said goodbye and drove to work thinking about Josh.





***

She opened the door to Bride’s Only and rushed to the stockroom to try on several gowns. Richard had requested she begin making arrangements for the wedding. Chloe shrugged into a cream colored Vera Wang wedding gown with a fully beaded A-line cut. As she examined herself in the fitting room mirror she replayed the morning’s events. I can’t believe Josh is back in town…

After a few minutes she heard a loud voice and pulled back the curtain to see Nicole standing there. Her best friend was dressed in a black lace top that revealed her toned biceps and skin tight jeans with glimmering four inches high heels. Should she tell her about Josh first, or about Richard’s proposal?

“You’re never going to believe it, Nicole,” Chloe squealed. “After two years, I’m finally engaged!”

“To Richard?” Nicole made a face as she put her purse on the table closest to the fitting room.

Chloe inspected herself in the mirror. For five years, Chloe had managed the shop, and for those same five years she had dreamed of becoming the bride instead of just selling to brides. She turned for a side view of her dress and frowned. Now that her dream was finally coming true, why did Nicole have to spoil it for her? And why did Josh have to show up to confuse the issue?

“Would you quit giving me that look and let me know if a customer comes in?” Chloe said, peering through the half-open velvet fitting room drapes. “Maureen called in sick and Faye has a dental appointment, so this is the only time I can try on gowns. The shop is going to get busy later.”

Like many twenty-four year olds, Chloe Rogers had dreamed of her wedding day for as long as she could remember. As an only child, she would play make-believe using her mother’s clothes as she walked down the hallway of their ranch-style home. She tugged the clasps of the gown. Nicole should be happy for her. She knew if she told Nicole about Josh now it would only make matters worse. In sixth grade, Nicole had been so certain that they were right for each other. She wondered if Nicole would even remember him now.

“How long are you going to take?” Nicole asked, shoving back a lock of silky brown hair that framed her wide-set brown eyes. “I have to go to work.”

“Finding the perfect gown takes time.”

Nicole grinned. “With your legs and that figure? Focus on your assets, Chloe.”

“I want to look perfect for Richard,” Chloe announced, struggling with the zipper.

Nicole clenched her fists. “I don’t know whether I should be happy for you or worried.”

Nicole had been Chloe’s best friend since second grade and would be her maid of honor; so of all people, she should be happy for her.

Chloe put her head through the curtain and frowned at her friend. “Why would you say such a thing?”

“You know how I feel about Richard,” Nicole said, rolling her eyes as Chloe shrugged out of the latest gown and handed it to Nicole, then put on yet another one. “How many more gowns do you need to try?”

“Will you stop complaining, Nic? Most of them make me look fat.”

“How can you say that when all the gowns look perfect on you?” Nicole asked and sighed impatiently. Nicole Simmons was the exact opposite of Chloe, but somehow they had managed to be friends despite their differences. Whereas Chloe had fair skin, long dark curly hair with a widow’s peak, and stood only 5’6” tall, Nicole was six feet tall and a beautiful African American.

“You’re only saying that because you don’t like Richard and don’t want me to get married,” Chloe said, exiting the fitting room. “Now tell me – what do you think?”