The Wedding.

Submitted into Contest #43 in response to: Write a story about transformation.... view prompt



Nicola slowly opened her eyes, her head felt fuzzy and the room was spinning. Suddenly she remembered … her stomach knotted and the familiar sick feeling returned. She sat up slowly, she could not go on like this, her eyes were sore and tight from all the crying the night before. She looked around the bedroom, it was a mess, used mascara covered tissues over the floor, empty wine bottles, chocolate wrappers, wet towels and discarded clothing everywhere.

Hauling herself to her feet Nicola caught a look at herself in the full-length mirror; she was shocked at what she saw. Quickly she pulled her Tee shirt off and looked at her naked body closely for the first time in years. She had really let herself go, she grabbed at the fat on her stomach, it hung heavy in white fleshy folds, her thighs drooped and the dimpled cellulite covered skin was pasty and stretched. She leaned in closer to look at her face, her chin was now double with a heavy fat pocket sagging underneath her jaw. Her eyes were bloodshot and her laughter lines (not that she had done any of that recently) were heavy and pronounced. Her hair was scraggy and between styles and colours.

“No wonder he left me.” she thought bitterly. Nicola was forty eight years old and had been married since she was twenty. Her husband was two years older than she and they had a son Freddie and a daughter Rachel who was going to be married in six months time. Her and Simon had been excitedly helping plan everything, (they had saved for years to give Rachel her dream wedding) well she had been excitedly planning; it seemed that Simon had been excited by something totally different.

Nicola turned the shower on and stepped inside thinking about Simon and his new woman made her want to physically wash the thoughts from her body.

The signs were there looking back Nicola thought “Why had she missed them?” Simon had joined a gym near his workplace and was refusing the heavy desserts Nicola always served after their evening meal. That had been her favourite part of the day, devouring an oozing jam roly poly with warm creamy custard, it hadn’t mattered that Simon was no longer sharing them with her, all the more for her to enjoy. No wonder she had put on so much weight she thought as she rubbed the flannel over her chunky, goose fleshed upper arms.

Simon had bought new aftershave and trendier clothing. Nicola remembered teasing him “Nearly fifty, here’s the start of the male menopause; you will be buying a sports car next”. He had laughed it off. Nicola thought back to the first time he had mentioned Marion, the new woman in work, she’d had them all in stiches apparently, very witty, a great fit for the office. Unfortunately she had not noticed the way his eyes lit up and the little secret smiled that played on his lips when he mentioned her like he had his own private joke. It seemed the joke was on her Nicola thought bitterly. Simon and the thirty two year old Marion had apparently fallen head over heels in love and he had wasted no time in moving into her two bed apartment overlooking the marina.

The children had taken it surprisingly well, her son had said “These things happen, Life goes on”. Well life may go on for Simon and the “Witty” Marion but for Nicola everything had ended. She put on a show in public of course pretending everything was normal but when she got home and locked the door she was a sobbing drunken mess.

What made it worse was the thought of Rachel’s wedding, all eyes would be on Simon and Marion, funny, witty thirty two year old Marion looking stunning with the new look Simon. All their friends and family would be there, either feeling sorry for her or worse still thinking that Simon had done well for himself trading her in for a glamourous, entertaining younger model. The thought sickened her to her stomach.

Out of the shower and pulling on her jeans Rachel gave up the struggle, she couldn’t do the zip up, her blouse gapped between the buttons. She needed to do something and fast. After changing into some old sweat pants and a Tee shirt Rachel rummaged through her stationary drawer for a new notebook. There was something very satisfying about writing for the first time in a new note book. “A fresh start.” she wrote and underlined it. Six months until the wedding she wrote and put a large circle around it. She started writing a list.

1 Lose weight.

2 Get hair coloured and styled.

3 Tone up body – join gym??

4 Get Botox – Maybe?

5 Grow nails, get manicure.

It was Saturday morning she had no excuse plus she was already in exercise clothing (of sorts). She got in the car and headed to the gym.

At the gym she saw the posters for personal trainers. “That might suit me better”. She thought. “If I make an appointment with someone I will have to turn up, also they are used to dealing with overweight people like me, no time like the present”. She approached the man in the green company Tee shirt and black tracksuit bottoms. “Hi I am looking to get some personal training”. She said nervously to Mike (His name was visible on his badge) “Well you have come to the right person, I’m ready when you are”. Nicola was a little taken aback she thought she would have to book an appointment for a few days’ time, so she could get prepared for this. She could feel the panic rising in her chest. “Take a seat” he ordered “I will just take some details”. After having her blood pressure monitored (slightly High), her weight checked (she was mortified), her height measured (5 foot 5)  some health questions answered, she was ready to go.

Although Mike worked her hard he was considerate and funny and it wasn’t half as bad as she was expecting. She booked in another session for three days later.

When she got home Nicola took a black refuse bag and opened up her cupboards she threw chocolate, crisps, biscuits, cakes all into the bag. She was on a strict diet there was no way she was going to show herself up at this wedding. She knew people would say “Poor Nicola, her husband leaving her for someone else after twenty years.” that was inevitable but if they could add “doesn’t she look fabulous though” things would not be all bad.

One month in and Nicola has stuck rigidly to her diet and fitness sessions, her clothes were all starting to feel looser and she was delighted to get on the scales and see the weight actually coming down. Having the wedding to aim for gave her something to focus on. Whenever she felt like crying or screaming, she would remind herself of the wedding and how good it would be to look fabulous.

It was Friday night and Nicola was at a loss, she was not quite used to the emptiness of the house yet and not quite ready to go out with friends. She didn’t want to go through all the painful details, whether there had been signs or how she was coping. She got out her laptop and decided to spend an hour on social media, she liked especially to look on her daughter`s Facebook page, see what she had been up to. Looking at the wedding ideas she always posted generally cheered her up. Suddenly Nicola froze, a wave of nausea rose, her daughter had posted a picture of herself having a meal in a lovely restaurant. Her daughter, her fiancé, her son, his girlfriend, their dad and Marion, yes Marion! All of them were smiling happily into the camera. Nicola felt devastated, she knew they had to meet eventually and she expected her son to be a bit insensitive but not her daughter. She had not even told her that they were going to meet. She looked at the time the picture was posted, thirty-seven minutes ago. They were probably still there laughing and drinking together. Nicola felt totally betrayed as if another woman had swooped in and taken her family, the family she had nurtured and cared for, for over twenty years. She had been replaced by a younger, thinner, funnier model. She was no longer needed.

Nicola could not prevent the tears falling; she opened a bottle of wine and rang for a pizza. An hour later and the pizza was totally demolished, the wine bottle empty and Nicola was thoroughly disgusted with herself. She was not hurting anyone but herself with this attitude, she vowed to work harder tomorrow. She was not giving up now.

A month to go and Nicola was over her friend Judy’s house. “You look great.” Judy greeted her warmly “How much weight have you lost now?” “Two and a half stone” Nicola replied proudly. “I need to do something with my hair now”. Nicola twirled a lock of faded lank hair around her finger. “Carlos is really good, expensive, but good, worth it for the wedding”. The two women became lost in wedding talk until Nicola`s phone pinged, she glanced at the screen, it was her daughter with the message “Marion is wearing lilac to the wedding, she wanted me to tell you so that you don’t clash on the day”.

Nicola read the text to Judy “That cheeky cow.” Judy retorted. “If I was you I would wear head to toe lilac”. “Remember she is much younger and thinner than me, she’s bound to look much better.” Nicola moaned. “Why don’t you text back my plus one will be wearing navy” Judy dared. “I won’t get anyone to come with me, Who would want me?” “Don’t be daft” Judy chided “Anyone would be lucky to have you, that idiot of a husband of yours didn’t know how lucky he was. Imagine his face if you walked in with a six foot two toy boy”. Nicola laughed but something struck a chord. She would feel better with a handsome man on her arm; she wouldn’t get the pity stares then.

One week to go and Nicola barely recognised her body in the mirror, although not perfect, the rolls of white fat had gone and her skin looked much flatter and firmer. Her hair was shinny with a lovely new cut and colour and she had appointments booked for eyebrow shape, eyelash tint, waxing, manicure and pedicure. Her outfit and shoes were bought and ready in her wardrobe. The only thing missing was a man. Suddenly Nicola had a wicked thought that made her smile from ear to ear. What about an escort, no one need know. Before she had time to change her mind she dialled the number of the agency. “I’d like an escort for a wedding”. Nicola blurted out. The lady at the agency could not have been nicer and Nicola found herself telling her all about her husband and his new Marion. After a fifteen-minute conversation, Nicola had decided on a Six foot, thirty five year old with dark hair and eyes. “Any other requests?” the lady at the agency asked “Oh yes, can he wear a lilac shirt please?” Nicola chuckled to herself as she replaced the receiver.

The day of the wedding dawned and Nicola felt a mixture of emotions, she had worked towards this day for six whole months. She had not seen her husband in all this time and had never met the charming Marion. She felt ready for the fight, metaphorically of course, she was not going to do anything that would spoil her daughter’s big day. She was also feeling very nervous about seeing friends and family again and how they would react to her. She hoped the escort would prevent the “poor Nicola” looks in her direction.

Bang on time the escort Alexandro arrived, he was gorgeous in a beautifully tailored suit with a lilac shirt and tie; she allowed herself a smug smile at the colour. His eyes were dark chocolate and his hair thick with a textured fringe. He towered above her but she had not put her heels on yet. “Come in, Come in.” she gestured.

Alexandro turned out to be a lovely sensitive person. He was well educated and setting up his own IT business, using the money from the escort work to secure premises. Nicola filled him in on her circumstances and he listened attentively. When she had finished he gave her a hug, “Keep your head up, we will have a fantastic day I promise.” 

Arriving at the church Nicola felt her stomach knot with fear, people were standing around in groups, beautiful colours in skirts and dresses caught her eye. She adjusted her own smart navy shift dress nervously. Alexandro draped his arm around her waist and gave her a gentle squeeze, “Smile it’s your daughter’s wedding”. Nicola took a deep breath and forced a smile on her face. “Hi Jennie, How are you? Yes lovely day for it, see you inside”. That was not too bad Nicola thought, Jennie was one of her neighbours. Nicola could not fail to notice that Jennie was unable to take her eyes off Alexandro.

They took their seats in the church; Nicola tried hard to stay facing the front. She was not ready to see Marion yet. She studied the beautiful stained glass window and the way the light was refracted through it. Hushed whispers echoed around the church suddenly punctuated by the sound of the organ playing the bridle march. Nicola rose quickly to her feet, her daughter was radiant, she looked beautiful smiling all over her face, the dress was exquisite and the veil reflected the light sending crystal sunbeams dancing around the church. She glanced at her husband, proudly arm in arm with his daughter, nodding at family and friends, as he made eye contact with Nicola she could see his expression register surprise, then he glanced towards Alexandro and his eyebrows raised, he looked away quickly.

The day passed in a blur and Nicola could actually say she enjoyed herself; even meeting Marion had not been that bad. Especially when she had heard her say to Simon “She’s not at all like you described, she’s not frumpy and overweight, she looks really good for her age… and her new man wow, he is really handsome.” Nicola turned back just in time to see the sour expression on Simon`s face, she stifled a giggle.

During the evening buffet, Nicola started talking to Tim, a neighbour. His wife had left him three years ago and he had been alone since. “You have given me hope Nicola, you have been so brave, you have picked yourself back up and got on with your life. I feel I have rather fallen apart. I thought I would be married for life this is the last thing I was expecting”. Nicola had always liked Tim, he was kind and considerate, his wife had always seemed irritated as if she didn’t have time for people. “Maybe we could meet for a coffee. I’d love to chat with you, we have both been through the same thing and we have always got on well.” Tim asked shyly. Nicola was about to agree when Alexandro arrived carrying her drink and kissing her cheek. “Oh, maybe your busy with other things at the moment, I shouldn’t have asked.” Tim hastily added.

Alexandro had been the perfect gentleman, getting her drinks and food, dancing with her, never taking his eyes off her like she was the most special woman in the room. It made her realise what she had been missing all these years with Simon. Their marriage had been over a long time ago, she had just been in denial.

All too soon the night was over. “Wait here a minute Alexandro, I just need to say goodbye to someone”. Nicola made her way towards Tim who was getting ready to leave, shaking hands with friends. “Tim.” Nicola tapped him gently. “Oh hi Nicola” he smiled broadly. “About that coffee I’d love to meet up”. “Oh great” Tim glanced towards Alexandro who was waiting and watching Nicola from a distance. “What about him? Won’t he mind?”. “Actually,” Nicola paused “I don’t think I will be seeing him again after tonight, he’s not really my type”. “Oh, great.” Tim replied startled “I `ll give you a call.” Nicola smiled and turned to walk away. “Nicola” Tim called her back. “Let him down gently won’t you, anyone can see he` s totally besotted with you”. 

May 26, 2020 12:12

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Haruko Otonashi
05:11 Jun 04, 2020

Great story! My only complaint is about how some of the dialogue is not given a new paragraph for each line. Doing so makes the dialogue a lot easier to go through. But other than that, I can't say anything else. Keep up with the good work!


Marsha Webb
10:05 Jun 04, 2020

Thanks for the feedback, I know I should give the dialogue a new line, I keep forgetting in my rush to type it up, thanks for the reminder, it’s something I should put on my checklist.


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Vrishni Maharaj
15:36 Jun 02, 2020

Engaging read!


Marsha Webb
21:02 Jun 02, 2020

Thank you, I’m glad you liked it.


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Sandeep T
12:15 May 28, 2020

Haha that last sentence is everything . Lemme give a honest review. The starting sentence seemed repeated and I was thinking it's a generic story, the theme ofcourse is which I think you completely understand. But you owned it your way . Miss Nicola, guess I can call her Miss again since she's divorced now haha, she got me engaged in it quickly nonetheless ✌ Nice read.


Marsha Webb
12:38 May 28, 2020

Many thanks for your feedback, it made me smile.


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