"TW:" This story involves death, marriage, and abuse.
May 1st, 1992
Rita was crying her heart out on the sidewalk in front of her home in Hamilton place.
Her friend Bunny was sitting next to her with her arms around her shoulder. She was shushing her gently and rubbing her arms soothingly, trying her best to make Rita feel better.
“I’m going to miss him so m-m-much!” Rita hiccupped into her bent knees.
“I know sweetie, I know” Bunny soothed, holding tears behind her own eyes as well.
The sun was shining brightly, and Bunny wished Rita could have broken down somewhere a little more private. People walked by the house sitting on the city block fairly regularly. Thankfully they were left in peace besides a few funny or pitying looks until a couple of boys started down the street.
Or men, Bunny supposed. They were about the same age as Rita and herself by the looks of them. Just out of their teens and into adulthood for the most part.
They were giving them looks as they walked down the street and Bunny hoped they kept walking. Alas, her hopes were ignored.
They had been talking as they were walking, and the closer they came to the girls the more the guys started to giggle. Bunny scrunched up her face a bit and tensed her shoulders. Ready for one of them to make a dumb comment.
One of the boys, the shortest of them, making up for the height difference with his mop of fluffy hair stopped.
“Geeze, why’re you crying? Did your dog die or something?” He called towards the girls and the rest of the guys slowed to watch him interact with them.
Bunny’s eyes widened at the moron in front of her. She shot to her feet and met the guy in a second flat. A high slap sounded as she smacked the guy’s bare shoulder.
His eyes widened and he stepped back from the furious Bunny rubbing his tingling skin with a wounded look on his face. The guys now snorted their laughter.
“Nice job Cormac!” One of them scoffed.
Bunny wasn’t sure which one as she had turned back to Rita to check on the poor girl.
Rita had stumbled to her feet. Her blue eyes were red and puffy, her pale face even whiter than snow and her gold hair fell wildly about her grief-streaked face.
“Lucky!” She wailed tearfully and dashed back inside her house. Likely to go and cry into her pillow some more.
Bunny threw up her hands in exasperation and twirled around to face the boys again.
“Nice going Dummy!” She shot at the guy called Cormac, “Her dog did just die you idiot!!”
“Woah, dude! So much for trying to make her laugh.” A guy with longish brown hair said shaking his head at Cormac. “Dead dog so not working for you man.”
“Well, how was I supposed to know?!” Cormac asked.
“Cormac, you are so not going to marry that girl now.” Chuckled the guy standing slightly behind him.
Cormac flushed bright pink and punched his friend in the arm.
“Shut up Jimmy!” He hissed at him.
Bunny was confused at this point. The three boys were acting like she wasn’t there but the fourth, Cormac seemed all to aware. He shot a pointed look at her and then whispered something to the guy with thin wired glasses.
That guy turned his attention to Bunny and the rest followed suit.
“Hey, sorry about that. I’m Artie, this is Cormac, Jimmy, and Noah.” He introduced them to her with a charming grin. “I’m really sorry about upsetting your friend, is she okay?”
“Did she seem okay?” Bunny asked him with a leveled stare.
“No, not really. I thought a joke might lighten her up…” Cormac said staring off at the house Rita had disappeared into.
“Turned out to be a right bad one too!” Jimmy snorted.
“You guys go to that Church off Central right?” Noah asked, “I’ve Seen you around.”
“Yeah, Rita’s dad is one of the pastors there. But now I have to go fix your dumb comment so, see ya.” Bunny replied as she pursed her lips and squinted her eyes at the group.
Cormac grimaced “Sorry.”
May 3rd, 1992
The next time Bunny saw Cormac it was at Rita’s family church on Sunday morning. Bunny and Rita were at the front of the Church on the jutted-out landing that acted as a stage.
Rita was rosining the bow of her violin while Bunny was absently plucking at the violin’s strings. She did this despite Rita’s vengeful glances and quick snipes to leave the instrument alone. She couldn’t help but enjoy the glares. It was very amusing.
Bunny saw a head of fluffy hair in the corner of her eye. Just where the double doors opened past the last row of pews. Her face scrunched in a flair of annoyance at the thought of it being that guy from the other day. Cory or something along those lines.
She turned her head to check if she was right and to her dismay, she was, indeed, right.
He stood at the doors looking in at them. No, looking in at…
Bunny squinted her eyes and focused on his line of sight. He was watching Rita.
“Well,” she thought to herself. “I’ll just have to keep an eye on that.”
July 1st 1992
“Well! Are you going to say anything?!” Rita cried, the English lilt in her voice coming out stronger as she waited for Bunny’s response.
Bunny opened her mouth, then closed it, then opened it again.
“Is this a joke?” She whispered to her friend.
Bunny and Rita were sitting on the patio outside their local Tim Horton’s. They both had iced coffee’s sitting in front of them. Rita had a ginger snap cookie and Bunny had a cruller. Both were abandoned in favor of Rita’s left hand that held a glittering diamond set into a silver band.
“No! Cormac asked yesterday! Can you believe it?!” Rita gushed as she wiggled her long musical fingers.
“Rita! He stopped you from playing your violin!” Bunny exclaimed heartily. “You love playing, how could you marry this guy!”
“Oh Bunny, you know how guys are. Sometimes you just have to deal with some things.” Rita said shrugging her shoulders. “Besides, I haven’t really been feeling up to playing anyway. So why would I get upset about it?”
“But Rita, what about when you’re feeling better? You can’t be serious about this!” She fought.
“I am serious, Cormac asked me, and I said yes. And you know my family is happy about it. Why wouldn’t I?” Rita said leaning back on her side of the bench.
“Besides,” She continued, “I’m twenty-two, which in my family is old to be getting married. I’m sick of the jabs about being an old maid. And really, I could use getting away from my parents. They’re stifling!”
“Then go on vacation! Don’t get married!” Bunny said waving her hands in a flying gesture. “Get on a plane and go girl! Go!”
“Oh!” Rita said sitting up, new excitement coloring her cheeks. “We are going on a trip, down to Texas. I feel like it’ll be really great for our relationship!”
Bunny slumped as Rita spoke about the upcoming trip. She felt a little dumb about what happened. She couldn’t believe it. Rita and Cormac. They’d been dating for less than a month. Now they were getting engaged. Getting married.
June 8th, 1992
Rita was walking down the street in Dallas Texas. Cormac was back in a music store around the corner. He was looking at the drums and Rita had made her exit quickly. Cormac wasn’t a fan of how things were going while she was inside.
The clerk in the shop had started asking Cormac some technical questions about music after Cormac had boasted about being a “real” musician. When Rita had been able to answer those questions and he hadn’t, well. If looks could kill.
A shiver went through her, and she shook her head to push the thought out of her mind. She was in Texas; she was on vacation. The sun was shining, and everything was great. Everything was wonderful!
She passed by a boutique and saw something white in the display window. She stopped to take a better look at what caught her eye. It was a dress, not just any dress but a wedding dress.
She looked it over in the window thinking about how she was soon to be married herself. She checked the price tag out of curiosity and her eyes nearly bugged out of her head. This dress was half the price of the one’s she’d been looking at back home.
“Now that” She thought, “Is something Cormac could appreciate.”
She entered the boutique and was immediately welcomed by the associate.
“Hello, welcome to Alice Boutiques! What can I do for you?” Said the bubbly voice of the girl working the front of the store.
Rita smiled, “Hi, I was wondering if I could try on that dress in the Window.”
“Of course! The wedding dress?” The lady checked.
“The wedding dress.” She confirmed.
August 12th, 1992
Rita stood in the full-length mirror that was held up by the closet door. She was in the hotel room where the wedding reception was taking place. Just down the hall the ballroom was still being prepared.
The Church across the street was already ready for the ceremony to take place. Balloons were tied to the Churches display sign which read, “Welcome to the Celebration of marriage between Cormac and Rita” in simple black block letters.
Cars already filled the parking lot and the bridesmaids had already come and gotten their makeup done. Rita had asked for a few minutes alone as she waited for her mother and father to come up to see her. They were going to escort her to the Church and her father was to walk her down the isle.
She looked at her reflection contemplatively. She wore her wedding dress perfectly. The shoulders of her dress were puffed and ruffled, full of lace and wonderful beading. It fell past her feet to drape lightly on the ground with a small train following each step she took. Her veil was placed in her long gold tresses and her bangs curled over her forehead. Her makeup was perfect, her lips painted red and blue eyes popping with black liner. She felt beautiful, she looked beautiful.
The door opened behind her, and she saw her parents enter from the reflection in the mirror. She turned to smile at them. Her mother was tearing up.
“Ah, mom don’t you cry cause if you cry then I’ll cry.” Rita pleaded her voice falling into a small sob anyway as she clung to her mother's embrace.
Her mother chuckled lightly pulling away from her, “Sorry, couldn’t help it.” She replied, her voice thick with emotion. She cleared her throat and took a step back to look at her daughter with a small smile.
“Time to go.” Her father said offering his arm to his daughter.
Rita smiled and took her fathers arm, ready to get married.
They crossed the street together. Her mom held the train of her dress so it wouldn’t drag into any muck on the way over. Once they were inside her mom went in and the bridesmaids and groomsmen lined up in front of the door. They were ready for the procession.
The music started.
One by one the couples entered the hall to walk down the isle.
Rita leaned against her father.
“Do you think I’m doing the right thing Daddy?” She asked her father, mindful to keep her voice low so not to be overheard.
“What do you mean?” He asked her.
“Marrying Cormac, do you think it’s the right thing to do. For me?” She answered him feeling unease crawling into her belly. For some reason she’d never thought to ask her father before now. And now, it felt like something she had to ask. Something she needed to know the answer to.
“I can’t answer that for you.” He replied, his tone was light, but his expression was grave.
Rita felt that budding unease flood into her veins at her father’s continence.
Then he began to walk, leading her down the isle.
Her father, the music, the procession, the crowds of people, and the sight of her groom at the end of the isle swept the unease away from her.
Her father gave her away under the eyes of their God and she stood at the altar to be joined in marriage. To become a wife. To gain a husband.
They said their I dos with tears gleaming in their eyes and the eyes of their loved ones. Her cousins watched, her brother, parents, aunts, and uncles. Now joined to Cormac’s loved ones. Brothers, mother, friends, and family were surrounding the newly married couple. As Mister and Misses they clasped each others hands as they left the church.
Large bunches of confetti were thrown over them as they walked down the steps of the Church towards their car. The car that would take them to get their wedding pictures done and then bring them back to party the night away in celebration of their bond.
The car waiting for them was an old impala her father had rescued and restored over the years. Its paint was a little rusted, but Rita’s dad had a passion and knowledge of cars that made the old thing run smoothly. Ribbons were tied to the back and “Just married” was written on the back window in curly white letters.
They got in the car laughing with their friends and family and each other. Rita tucked in her dress with the help of her bridesmaids and Cormac got in the other side with his groomsmen clapping his shoulder. Once they were both safely inside the driver started on their route.
Rita and Cormac were laughing with one another and talking about their families when the driver came to a stop.
“We’re here” The driver claimed as he parked the vehicle.
“Gre- “Rita started and stopped just as suddenly. Her smile dropped as she saw where the driver had taken them.
“Cormac” she said darkly turning towards him.
He looked away from her and got out of the car. He went around the side and opened the door. He leaned in towards her and he whispered in her ear.
“Don’t make a scene.” The words were said softly.
He helped her out of the car and smoothed her dress for her as she looked around with her smile turning into a frown.
A week ago, when they had discussed where to get the pictures done, they had come to this very park. She had hated it. She had even said to Cormac that if she had to get her pictures done here, she wouldn’t marry him. Now here they were. The Park she hated was where they were going to take their pictures.
Cars had pulled up and the wedding party was arriving. The photographer was already there, and the ball was rolling. Cormac grasped her arm and lead her to the photographer.
“Cormac,” She hissed. “You know- “
He turned to look at her. His warm brown eyes seemed to turn black as coal as he looked into her own shocked pale blue eyes.
“Not a word.” He spoke, his hand tightening painfully on her forearm.
Foreboding slinked into her heart as he led her towards their people.
“Dad, do you think I’m doing the right thing? Marrying Cormac?” “I can’t answer that for you” “Is this a joke?!” her own voice floated around her head, then her father’s, then Bunny’s.
Bunny who hadn’t come to the wedding, who hadn’t even spoken to her since she brought home the wedding dress from Texas.
August 13th, 1992
The next day Rita stared down at her pale white arm. A large purple bruise had formed, taking the shape of her husband’s hand. Her own hand fell on her abdomen. Though they had spent only one night with one another she knew. She knew because she could already feel life forming inside her womb.
Staring at the bruise her husbands hand had formed she thought, “He didn't mean to, everything will be okay.”
Little did Rita know that the one bruise on the first day of her marriage would only be the beginning.