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Drama Fiction Sad

I poured my cup of coffee, mindlessly scrolling through my phone, another week gone with nothing to do.  

I put my head in my hands and sighed dramatically.

“You ok, Mrs. Collins?” Marta, the housekeeper, asked as she dusted the nine thousand dollar grandfather clock. 

Nine grand on a clock. Reason number three hundred and twenty-seven we were opposites.

“Yes, Marta, I’m fine. Thank you.” I forced a smile. “And please, call me Juliet.”

She smiled and nodded, but we both knew she never would. She took her job far too seriously to address me informally. It made me feel ridiculous, she was at least forty years older than me. I should be calling her Mrs. Green, not the other way around.

I took my phone and coffee to the patio outside. I watched the man-made waterfall crash into the quiet pool, becoming one, over and over again until it gave me anxiety. 

My phone dinged a text from Leah, the party planner. “We’re on the way.”

Already? It’s not even nine yet.  

           Tonight was our second anniversary. Of course, we couldn’t have a quiet dinner only an obnoxious party would do for Daniel. I used to love how social he was, admiring his talent for small talk and light conversation. Skills I never quite mastered. 

But I realized a few months in that’s all he’s good at; pointless chit-chat

And making money.

Which was the single reason my mother “encouraged” me to marry him. I know, I know; it’s terrible, she’s terrible, I’m terrible. 

But I was so damn tired of pulling double shifts, my feet aching to the point of tears, my hands cramping as I poured another Gin martini. Coming home to that tiny apartment, sharing a blow-up mattress with my little sister. Laying out the money my mother and I worked tirelessly for, counting it two times, then three, hoping by the fourth we would magically have enough. Pleading with our landlord yet again to please give us another few days, let me work one more shift, and then I promise, I’ll have your money. 

Taking a three-minute shower, cutting my legs as I hastily shaved, because once that fourth minute hit it would be several hours before the water was hot again.

And then Daniel walked into my life two and a half years ago. Daniel never knew how miserable a partially deflated air mattress was or what Ramen Noodles tasted like. Or how degrading it was to ask your ten-year-old sister to borrow money from her piggy bank, so we could have heat that month. 

Daniel only knew a first-class life of Spanish beaches and Switzerland skiing.

He walked into the bar that day, laughing with his middle-aged, rich friends, dressed in Armani suits, smelling like Hugo Boss, and asked me for a drink. He didn’t hit on me the first two times, just tipped a hundred bucks, making my night, then left. But that third day, he left two hundred dollars, and his phone number.   

           I often wish I never told my mother about Daniel.  

“Juliet, this man has given you four hundred dollars the past three days! What’s the harm in texting him? Make sure he’s not married, then see where it goes.”

“But… he’s old. Like forty old.” 

When you’re twenty-two, forty is ancient.

       She scoffed. “That is not old! You want to marry Blake from upstairs? I see how you two smile at each other. He’s a part-time dishwasher, with cockroaches as roommates!”

“You were a dishwasher once,” I said quietly.

“And look where I am!” She motioned to the pan on the floor, catching water as it dripped from the ceiling. “If we have the opportunity to move up in the world, we would be foolish not to take it. I married for love and look where that got me. Find out if he’s married, then use your charms. Be happy and look pretty, Juliet. Men like that.”   

I looked over at my sister, sleeping in her ratty gloves, hat, and jacket. I took out my phone and texted Daniel.

He wasn’t married but needed to be. He spent his younger years partying and making money. Before he knew it, he was forty-two, wanting a wife and needing a son, to take over the business one day. I fit his exact requirements; quiet, polite, young, and pretty. We were nothing but a marriage of convenience. 

And that’s exactly what I told my mom as I was getting ready to walk down the aisle. 

“And what’s wrong with that, Juliet?”

I sighed. “We’re just too different.”

“Your grandparents were as opposite as a couple could be. Fifty-one years later, they are still happy.” 

“I was supposed to marry for love,” I whispered, knowing good and well my fate was sealed.

“You know what we are supposed to do? Take care of our family, Juliet, that’s what. And that’s exactly what I’ve done for twenty-five years. I never complained when I got two hours of sleep, when my toes were sticking out of my shoes, or when I had to go to bed dirty because my daughters used all the hot water. And you’re complaining while you wear a twelve thousand-dollar wedding dress! Get yourself together. I only wish I had been so lucky.” She walked to the other side of the four thousand-a-night suite and continued to get ready. 

My doorbell chimed, interrupting my thoughts.

“I’ll get it, Mrs. Collins.” Marta hollered.

Please, call me Juliet. 

Was my name the reason I was unlucky in love?

Leah, her assistant, and thirty other strangers walked into my house, barking orders at everyone but me. No one told me what to do anymore. No one called me Juliet anymore. 

“Hello, Mrs. Collins. How are you?” Juliet! It’s Juliet!

“Hi, Leah, thanks for coming.” 

“Your stylist sent your dress with me. Mr. Collins picked it out.” She unzipped a black bag, revealing a red lace Valentino dress, with crystals and pearls. 

Wow.

“It’s breathtaking.” I reached out and ran my fingers across it.

“No!” Leah jumped back. “Sorry, Mrs. Collins, it’s just very expensive. People wearing gloves will put it on you.” She fake smiled at me.

“Gloves?”

“Yes. Gloves. It’s on loan from Valentino’s collection.” She said like I was an idiot.

“Do I have to wear gloves?”

“No, but you won’t be able to eat or drink. Which will be fine, you will be far too busy entertaining. Make sure to get something in your stomach before seven.”

“Oh…” 

“But nothing too big, the dress barely fits your measurements. Maybe take a few water pills before tonight, ok?”

I sighed. “Do I have to wear this dress? I have so many in my closet…”

“Yes, Mr. Collins, insisted you wear this one. It’s very expensive.” She said matter of fact like it was completely normal for a husband to insist his wife wear a dress she can’t eat in.

“Ok.” I learned to stop protesting years ago. Daniel, or my mother, always got their way.

“Hello, hello!” My mother walked in, her Louboutin’s clacking. “Juliet, why is your hair like this? Good grief, you look a mess. And in front of all these people.” She looked down, frowning at my slippers. My mother and I went from one and the same to completely different after Daniel entered our lives.

“It is my house…and it’s nine in the morning.”

She ignored me.

“Where is Haily? She needs to wash your hair.”

“I can wash my own hair, mom. I told her to be here this afternoon.”

“Nonsense. Your hair looks better when the curls have time to relax. Your hair needs to be curled by noon at the latest. I’ll call her.” She pulled out her phone.

“How do you have Haily’s number?”

She ignored me again. “Hi, Haily, can you wash Juliet’s hair? I would like it curled before noon. It looks much better when the curls are relaxed. Her hair holds so well, and I don’t want her looking like Shirley Temple.

“Mom…” 

“Mrs. Collins, where would you like the ice sculpture?”

“Ice sculpture?”

“Yes ma’am, of two hearts. Your husband ordered it.” Seriously? How embarrassing. 

“Uh…I don’t care, wherever you think best.”

“Mrs. Collins, what is the valet’s number? We need them here earlier than planned.” A stressed-out brunette asked me.

           “Oh, umm…I don’t know.”

“Mrs. Collins, the caterers called. I’m afraid it’s bad news. A fridge went out. There won’t be enough crabcakes.” He looked like he was about to cry.

I swallowed a laugh.

“Mrs. Collins, here are the water pills, two now, two at noon, two at four.” Leah shoved six giant blue pills in my hand.

“Juliet, Haily’s on her way. Now go shower your body before she gets here and starts on your hair.” My mom walked off, then spun back around. “And don’t wash your hair. She does it much better than you.”

           A shower would give me a chance to be alone.

           “I’m going to shower,” I announced, walking off before someone asked me another fucking question. 

I warmed up the water and hopped in. Only recently had I broken the habit of racing through my shower.

It was only a few years ago I was one of the workers downstairs, setting up fancy parties for New York’s elite. I remember the last party I worked. Before this new life began. 

I passed out appetizers on fancy trays, while Blake was on dish duty. The party was winding down when he grabbed a bottle of champagne and convinced me to take a late-night swim in their pool.

“Blake, no! We will get caught.” I said, praying he would insist again, so I could feel good about protesting at least once.

“Come on, Juliet, everyone’s inside, it’s a fancy dinner party. They won’t even know.”

“Ok, let’s go.” I kissed him, grabbed his hand and we snuck out. We stripped down to underwear, chugged the champagne, and splashed in the pool.

“One day I’ll buy us a house just like this.” He wrapped my legs around his waist.

“With a pool?” I asked.

“Of course.”

“And a butler?” 

“Obviously.” He kissed my forehead.

“He has to have a British accent.”

“Every butler has a British accent.”

“His name has to be Winston.”

“Or Fredrick.”

“No, it has to be, Winston.” I laughed.

“Fine, Winston, the British butler.”

He ran his thumb across my cheek. 

“Juliet, I want to ask you something.”

My eyes lit up.

But the moment was interrupted by lights flashing in our eyes and an angry politician screaming.

“Hey! Get out of my pool!”

“Oh shit, Juliet, run, run!”

Laughing, we hopped out, grabbed our clothes, and took off.

I was certain Blake was going to ask me to be his girlfriend. But now, I’ll never know. I figured if he wanted to, he would’ve found another opportunity.

But he never asked. 

Daniel did. 

And I said yes.

And now I’m here, crying in a sixteen thousand dollar shower, with a house full of people who don’t call me by my name, married to a man I have nothing in common with.  

Daniel finally arrived while my mom was bossing around the gloved old ladies dressing me.

“You look gorgeous.” His eyes ran over my body.

“Thank you.” I smiled and looked down.

“Please leave us.” He instructed everyone, including my mother.

He pulled out a small velvet box from his jacket pocket.

“Happy Anniversary.”

“Thank you, Daniel.” I untied the blue ribbon and opened the box, revealing a diamond bracelet shimmering in the lights.

“It’s beautiful.”

“It’s six carats.”

“Oh, wow. It’s too much.”

“It’s nothing, really. Are you ready? Everyone is waiting.”

“Yes.” No.

As I walked down the spiral staircase, my wealthy husband on one arm, my new bracelet on the other, I thought for the millionth time I was the unluckiest, luckiest girl there ever was.

February 02, 2023 16:38

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11 comments

Ruth Smith
19:55 Sep 10, 2023

Wonderful story! I felt for Juliet. Sometimes its nice to hear your own name.

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Alexey Williams
15:33 Feb 09, 2023

"I watched the man-made waterfall crash into the quiet pool, becoming one, over and over again..." This really has a poignant ring to it and somehow fits the story very well. And the story just gets better from there.

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Kasey Fisher
16:37 Feb 09, 2023

Thank you so much!!!

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Alexey Williams
19:46 Feb 09, 2023

No problem!

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Marty B
22:23 Feb 08, 2023

Oh I hate 'sharing a blow-up mattress'... That made me cringe! Good story, I was hoping something bad, really bad happened to Daniel- Maybe the next chapter - I'm team Blake! ;)

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Kasey Fisher
16:37 Feb 09, 2023

Daniel’s karma is coming!!!! 😉 Thanks for reading!

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Wendy Kaminski
18:46 Feb 05, 2023

Arresting, Kasey. I suspect some readers will "Poor little rich girl" it, just like the Mom would, but having been there-ish, I get it. In my early 20s, I used to wonder why people *wouldn't* marry for money, since you could learn to love anyone. I grew out of that by my 30s, let me tell you. Some great thoughts/lines: - I used to love how social he was, admiring his talent for small talk and light conversation. - It's funny how the things that attract us can also later turn into the biggest repellents. Not even anyone's fault, just kinda h...

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Kasey Fisher
18:59 Feb 08, 2023

Thank you so much! I greatly appreciate your feedback! You are one of the strongest writers here on Reedsy. I've enjoyed all your stories and I'm so glad you like mine.

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Wendy Kaminski
19:04 Feb 08, 2023

Oh gosh, that is very flattering, but I am a fairly new writer, just learning. There are way better ones here than me, I just get a lot of upvotes-in-exchange because I'm sociable and read/vote on a lot of stories. :) Fortunately the judging is done on other parameters, because WOW there are some excellent writers here - though I truly appreciate your kind comment, and am not meaning to minimize it, so thank you very much. :)

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Kasey Fisher
16:39 Feb 09, 2023

I hope you see your writing as we do! I’ve seen other comments about how great you are 😊

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Wendy Kaminski
22:04 Feb 09, 2023

Thank you for passing that on, very much made my day. :)

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