©2020 by Lisa Alex Gray

Updated: Feb 25


When I walked inside the house, after my night out with Stanley, my mother was waiting for me.


I got the impression, by the items I saw on the coffee table, my engagement news was no surprise to her. Clearly Stanley’s mother, Florence, had been in communication with her about Stanley’s plans.


There were two things laying on the coffee table, one was an ad for Barb’s Wedding Boutique and the other was an ad for Cake Creations, a local bakery.


Before I even had a chance to share my story about my night with Stanley, my mother began firing off the plans she had for my wedding, so far.


I don’t think she took a breath for ten minutes, “…and, tomorrow we have an appointment at Barb’s Wedding boutique at 10 am …and this Tuesday you and I are meeting at Cake Creations for a cake tasting".


I finally was able to interrupt her when she paused for a deep inhale, “Mother, I think Stanley might want to be involved in the cake tasting too.” Hmm, I wonder if he even likes cake?


This is weird, I’m discussing tasting my wedding cake like I'm picking up clothes from the dry cleaners. Which I surely am not. I’m tasting wedding cakes for my wedding because… I’M GETTING MARRIED!


My brain begins to spin, as my mother rambles off more plans until nausea rises in my stomach. So tell her I have to use the bathroom and head for the stairs, as her voice drones on without me.


I just need a few minutes of quiet to take all of this in.“I’m going to take a bath,” I call downstairs to my mother interrupting her distant mumbling.


“But, Ruby, I have more plans that we need to go over,” my mother’s voice suddenly amplifies causing me to peer over the railing. She’s now standing at the bottom of the stairs with her right foot perched on the first step.


I quickly head for the bathroom and shut the door behind me, as the sound of her voice closes in. Then I walk to the tub and turn the faucet on full blast, drowning her out completely.


Quiet.


I sit on the toilet watching the tub fill as I run through the night’s events. I can’t believe what’s happened. A month ago, I’d never had a boyfriend — and now I’m engaged!?


I begin to undress as I contemplate my life over the last three weeks. Then, I lower myself into the warm water and turn the faucet off. I can hear my mother’s voice coming from the kitchen below. It sounds like she’s on the phone, no doubt talking to Florence, planning out the remaining details of my wedding.


MY wedding…my wedding to Stanley.


Gulp. Hmm, what was that? Why do I suddenly feel queasy again? My heartbeat begins to pick up, but not in a joyful way, more like a panicky way.


Which really made no sense. How could I NOT be full of joy? Getting married was what I dreamed about… and moving away from her, I think as I hear her mumbles from beneath me.

Starting my life, really.


So what was wrong? The feeling kept picking at me causing my throat to tighten. Is it Stanley? I mean maybe he isn’t who I’ve fantasized about marrying, but how many Mr. Darcy’s are actually walking around in real life these days. And, as mother always reminded me, “that’s all fantasy” which is why she says I shouldn’t read so many of those romance books — it just fills my head with nonsense.


I swirl the bubbles around in the water with my washcloth as I think about my feelings toward Stanley. Was it love? I wasn’t sure, but it didn’t feel like love… at least not yet.


I think for a few minutes… I bet once we get married, I’ll fall in love with him. I just didn’t know Stanley well enough yet.


At least I knew he was already in love with me.


I figured that out the other night while I was lying awake in bed unable to sleep. I realized, he wouldn’t be asking me out repeatedly if he wasn’t in love with me— I think the falling in love process is different for guys — due to the fact they don’t read as many romance books as women.


But what about that kiss in the car earlier tonight? That really fell flat. It definitely wasn’t what I imagined kissing to be like. But he probably was nervous, I know I was. Plus, he’s just super polite and well-mannered (which is actually very Mr. Darcy like when you think about it).


I hold my breath and sink under the surface of the tub water — silence — until my mother begins rapping on the door, “Ruby are you almost done in there we have some things we need to discuss, hurry up, dear” she sings sweetly in a high pitched voice.


Dear? That’s a new one. I don’t think she’s ever called me dear before?


“I’ll be right out,” I respond as I rise from the tub annoyed by my mother’s interruption.


The important thing to stay focused on right now is — I’m getting married…and finally moving out of here.


A smile rises on my face at the thought and I quickly finish drying off, throw on my robe, and head down the hall to my mother’s bedroom.



The following weeks are crazy, between work and my mother’s wedding planning.


I end up choosing my wedding dress on my first visit to Barb’s Boutique. It isn’t exactly what I would have picked out, but my mother begins to tear up when I walk out in it, and even talks about how happy my father would have been to see me in it, so let’s just say — decision over.


I‘m beginning to see the wedding as a way for my mother and me to finally make amends.


Which, thankfully, means my life will be getting a lot easier.


And the wedding dress really isn’t that bad, it’s just a bit gaudier than I would’ve liked. There are big ivory roses all over the skirt and the sleeves are large and puffy making me look like a football player, and when I move the skirt swings from side to side like a big bell.


But my mother’s happy, so this is my dress.


Some of the other wedding plans have gone a bit more to my liking.


Stanley ended up choosing our wedding cake flavors, carrot cake and red velvet, which were also my favorites, another sign we’re meant to be together.


Well, I did like the almond-flavored cake more, it was amazing, but he was right in choosing the red velvet. And even though carrot cake always reminds me of holiday fruit cake, ugh, the incredible coincidence is that I grow carrots in my garden, which just shows how in sync we are.


I even relayed my latest observations about how Stanley and I were growing closer to Eveey at work the other day, but she didn’t seem very impressed.


She said, “Sounds like he bulldozed right over you and what you wanted”. But I think it’s hard for others to understand the inner workings of a couple. Or at least that’s what I read in a Self Magazine article I saw while stocking magazines at work the other day.


The point is, “I” knew what it meant when Stanley did things like, pick out our cake or accompany me to choose our wedding flowers.


In fact, Stanley became so involved in how we decorated for the wedding, between him and Edward’s creativity (Edward was the florist) the outcome was amazing.


My bouquet has alabaster garden roses, lily of the valley, and white and soft blue hydrangeas; and the flowers are tied with soft lavender and periwinkle velvet ribbons.


The arrangement looks like something out of Martha Stewart Magazine.


That day at the Florist was really something, we ended up spending hours there as Stanley and Edward contemplated designs for the buttoners, table arrangements, and flowers for the church.


But I knew it would be worth it and it was nice to see Stanley so involved in the decision-making process (that’s love for you).


I mean what guy would spend that kind of time on flowers if it wasn’t for him wanting me to have a perfect day?


My mother was right. I was lucky to have him and his sweet intentions warmed me to him more every day. I was probably going to start falling in love with him even before the wedding. Which was only — TWO WEEKS AWAY.


It was hard to believe six weeks had flown by that fast. When my mother told me she’d booked the Holiday Inn Garden Room for our reception for two months from the date of our engagement, I thought she was crazy.


But it was all coming together, and in two more weeks, I would begin my new life as Stanley’s wife….I would become Mrs. Ruby Foster.


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