The Mirror of Marriage

Submitted into Contest #101 in response to: Write a story that involves a reflection in a mirror.... view prompt

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Fiction Romance Happy

I ran up the stairs to my room, desperate to see myself one last time before being married off to Duncan. 

“Annaliese, where are you going?” my mother yelled from the bottom of the stairs.

“I just need a moment alone, mother,” I replied as I quietly closed the bedroom door.

There it was. The gold, intricate trim beholding detailed flowers and leaves. It stood at 6 feet tall with a curve at the top and was flat on the bottom where it rested on the floor. It was one of the most beautiful things my parents have ever gotten me and I was almost ill at the thought of having to leave it behind for my new life. Surely Duncan would get me a new one if I requested, but I did not want to ask anything of Duncan. I barely knew the man.

I stood there and stared at my reflection. Where had the time gone? 18 years of age and I couldn't think of a single thing I had done in my life that was memorable. I played the violin, I painted the rose garden, I read every day, and I was becoming quite good at knitting. 

But none of these things were exciting. 

They were just hobbies. 

I had never been outside of my home, never seen the world. 

“I wish I didn’t have to marry Duncan,” I said to my reflection. 

The ceremony would begin soon and I didn’t have much time.

I gently touched the mirror, my reflection hand meeting my real hand.

And then I fell through.

I struggled to pull myself up from the floor, a different floor than in my bedroom.

My wedding dress was gone, I was now clothed in a beautiful blue and gold gown with puffy sleeves cinched at the waist. The fabric was a material nicer than I had ever worn before.

A knock came at the door.

“My love. Is everything alright?” a man's voice said from the other side.

My love?

“Uh, I’m just getting ready. Everything is fine, dear,” I replied. 

“I’ll see you downstairs for afternoon tea,” he said and then he was gone.

Afternoon tea? It was still morning and I was to be wed soon. 

Had I fallen and bumped my head? Something strange was going on. 

The mirror in front of me was most definitely my beloved mirror, but I was not at my parent’s house. I was in a boudoir off a bedroom.

I walked through the door into the next room and found a gold four-poster bed made up with lavish fabrics and blankets and more pillows than one could ever need. The walls were a deep shade of green and beautiful artworks hung among them. There was a bench placed at the foot of the bed with an ornate fireplace directly across from it. Above the fireplace was a portrait of Duncan and me in our wedding attire. 

We were married and I had missed the ceremony.

I opened the door just a crack to peek into the hallway. There was nobody around that I could see. I slipped out of the bedroom, closing the door behind me quietly so as not to bring any attention to myself. I was in unfamiliar territory and wasn’t sure exactly how to behave.

I began to tiptoe down the stairs, holding the bottom of my oversized dress so as not to trip.

“Good afternoon, M’am.” 

I turned around to find a gentleman dressed in servant’s clothes with his back to me standing in the hallway.

“Good afternoon,” I replied and continued down the stairs.

The sun was setting, creating a light orange glow that filtered in through the windows.

I looked around for the dining room but was caught off guard when a hand gently grabbed my elbow.

“You look splendid, my love.” 

Duncan stuck out his own elbow, gesturing me to take it, which I did.

He quickly took the lead, heading into a beautiful garden full of lush green lawns and geraniums more beautiful than I had ever seen.

“This is lovely,” I said.

“Yes, we do keep quite the garden.”

We kept walking until we reached a gazebo, ivy spilling down from the top and draping the sides.

A gorgeous gold and cream teapot was placed in the middle alongside a 3 tiered platter covered in small treats. Two empty teacups awaited our arrival on either side. 

Duncan proceeded to pull a chair out for me and then took the other seat.

“How is your painting coming along?” he asked as a young woman whom I assumed was another servant poured tea into my cup.

“Thank you,” I said as I took a sip. “Which painting?”

In whatever dimension I had fallen into, it was good to know I still painted.

“Of the garden, my love. The one of the roses.” He took a sip of his tea and gently placed his cup back down.

“Oh, yes. It is going well. Yes.” I took another sip of my tea to avoid having to speak any further. I had no idea what painting he was referring to.

“I’m happy to hear that. You do have such a talent with your paintings. There’s life in your work.” He smiled as he grabbed a small sweet from the middle tier.

“Thank you. That’s very kind of you.” I was sure my cheeks had flushed pink. No one had ever commented on my paintings.

“Did you enjoy our wedding?” I said before I realized what I had asked.

“But of course. Getting to wed you, Annaliese, it was the best day of my life.”

He took my left hand in his and gently kissed it.

“I reveled at the sight of you. To gaze at you on that day was to see an angel.”

“You are a virtuoso at words.” He was still holding my hand and I was certainly blushing now if I was not before.

“You are my muse,” he replied.

Was this what it was like to be Duncan’s wife?

Whatever doubts or fears I had that morning were all now washed far away by a divine cup of tea and an adoring man.

“Shall we take a walk around the garden?” he asked as he began to stand up, coming over to pull my chair out for me.

“I would love that.” I grabbed the bottom of my dress and stood, taking Duncan’s outreached hand.

We walked for a short while through the property, my arm safely wrapped around Duncan’s, admiring the many variations of flowers. Roses, lavender, lilies, and hollyhocks. It was the most pleasant time I had had in a while.

“Tomorrow we shall take the first-class train to London to purchase a new dress for the upcoming ball.”

“Oh,” I replied surprised. A trip to London. I had never been.

“You would look rather lovely in something green I believe. It would complement your red hair.”

He tucked a small curl behind my ear and slowly leaned into me. His lips brushed mine for just a moment and then we were walking again.

“What do you do while I’m painting,” I asked him, curious about his hobbies and interests.

“I enjoy reading a good book,” he replied.

He was a wonderful man, one I couldn’t wait to get to know better.

The evening crept up on us quickly. 

We were getting ready to rest for the night.

I had changed out of my intricate garments into my nightwear and was standing in front of the gold-trimmed mirror again.

“You must be magic,” I said as I gently touched my hand to the mirror.

I was instantly back in my bedroom.

The mirror was in front of me, my wedding dress hugging my body again.

A knock came at the door.

“Annaliese. Is everything alright?” came my mother’s voice from the other side.

“Yes, mother. Everything is perfect. I’ll be right down.”

Duncan and I were married soon after with a beautiful ceremony in my parent’s home. 

After enjoying cake and refreshments with our family and friends we were taken by carriage to another home, one I recognized instantly.

The garden was bursting with flowers of several kinds.

Roses, lavender, lilies, and hollyhocks. 

The lawns were a lush green. 

The sun was beginning to set in the windows.

Duncan stepped out of the carriage first, offering his hand to me.

I stepped down gently onto the gravel and breathed in the fresh air of my new life.

“Welcome home, my love.” 

July 08, 2021 02:46

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4 comments

Chris Wagner
03:54 Jul 18, 2021

I liked how the story talked more about what the protagonist wore than her physical description. People tend to use mirrors to dump a character description, but you wrote a clever twist and had her go through the mirror. Kind of disappointed that the stuff in the mirror happened the same way in real life, but you cut it off at the point where it started, so even that was ok. That's the most criticism I can come up with

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Lauren Rice
16:41 Aug 07, 2021

Thanks for reading!

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Stevie B
11:47 Jul 13, 2021

Lauren, this story made me very happy. Well done and thanks for sharing.

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Lauren Rice
00:21 Jul 14, 2021

Thank you for reading and commenting!

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