This was the story I entered into Mad Roses and Oopsy Daisies competition, and I was very surprised when it won! I hope you enjoy it :D
Violet sat in front of the mirror, her eyes closed and her hair being pulled and twisted. “Mum, that hurts.”
“Come on, dearie. It’s not every day you get married. Now, stop wriggling.”
Violet rolled her eyes and ruffled her dress in her hands. The white material crinkled and bulged. It was the wedding dress she had always dreamed of - a flowing one, with lace decorating the chest and long sleeves that covered her arms. It was perfect, but it didn’t feel right. It felt as though it were made for someone else, someone stronger, more powerful. She had thought of telling Mum, but she couldn’t. She had tried so hard to make it everything perfect, everything exquisite, and anyway, it was too late for her to speak up now. The wedding was in an hour.
“There.” Her mum’s voice rung through the bathroom, sweet and bubbling with pride. Violet opened her eyes and smiled. Her hair perched on top of her head, red curls curving around her cheekbones, framing her thin face. A silver headband was perched on her head. It was decorated with roses and love hearts, woven in with slips of metal so fine Violet could barely see them. It was so pretty...too pretty for a girl like her. She smiled weakly. “Thanks mum, it’s perfect.”
Her mum smiled and wrapped her arms around Violet’s shoulders. “Oh my baby’s growing up.” She sniffed back a tear. “Anyway, you’ve got everything I think. Something old - well, that’s your great grandmother’s garter...something new...hmm...well, that could be your new headband...I only got it for you yesterday. Something borrowed, well that’s Catherine’s little bag. Something blue...do we have that?”
Violet shook her head. “I don’t think so, Mum. I mean, there’s blue trimming on my garter, but that comes under something old, so it doesn’t count, does it?”
Her mum shook her head. “Oh, no, dearie that won’t do at all. I’ll just go see if I can find something. What could I get? You’ve already got the bag, the shoes, the garter...” She bit her lip and fiddled with a curl of
Violet’s hair. “I wonder...the bouquet? I could nip down to the flower shop and get a blue flower! Will that do, princess?”
Violet shrugged. “Whatever, mum. You decide.” Her voice was weak and inside, her stomach writhed and twisted, folding in on itself with fear and nervousness.
“Yes, I think that’ll do.” Her mum shrugged on her jacket and walked to the door, her hand skimming over the button, rapidly doing them up. “You’ll be ok while I’m away, won’t you? You’ve been so quiet for the last few hours.”
Violet turned away from the mirror and stood up. She plastered a smile on her face. “I’m fine, mum. I’ll be alright.” She curved her hand round the door handle and opened the door. “On you go, mum. I’ll be waiting here, alright?”
Her mum smiled and pecked her cheek. “Ok, love. I’ll be back soon. Oh, my baby...” She sniffed and, stepping out the door, she was gone.
Violet turned back around, facing the inside of the bathroom. It was small and cramped, the silver and blue tiles cracked and weathered after years of use. Despite that, it was spotless - no sign of mould or dust anywhere. The floor gleamed and the bath looked brand new. Violet sat on the edge of it and sighed. Her mum had tried so hard with this wedding. It would kill her if she didn’t go through with it. She had to do it. She had to.
Violet buried her head in her chest and sniffed back tears that were welling behind her eyes. This couldn’t be happening. She - getting married? It wasn’t meant to happen. She had spent the whole of her childhood being told she was going to be single for the rest of her life, that she would live alone with ten cats until she died. She knew it wasn’t true, but she hadn’t expected love to blossom this early. And she certainly hadn’t expected a wedding. She shouldn’t be marrying, not yet...especially not to a man like Stephen...
Violet glanced up and leapt to her feet. “Stephen? Is that you?” She took a faltering step forward and peered out into the bedroom. It was him. Stephen was standing just beyond the bed, wearing his brand new tux. He looked stunning. His face was glowing and his teeth sparkled in the sunlight coming in from the window. His short brown hair had been spiked up. Violet forced down a shudder, and her stomach cramped painfully.
“There you are! I’ve been looking everywhere for you!” Stephen grinned and walked towards Violet. He enveloped her in a hug, but Violet pushed him away, her legs shaking beneath her.
“The groom isn’t meant to see the bride before the wedding.”
Stephen crossed his arms across his chest. “Violet, you know I don’t care about that superstitious stuff.”
“Well I do, so tough.” She pointed at the door, her hand quivering. “Out.”
Stephen’s face darkened. “What’s gotten into you?”
Violet knew she had gone too far. Her heart went wild in her chest and her palms started to sweat. She tried to smile and took a step towards him, pressing her skinny arms on his chest. “I’m just nervous, that’s all.”
Stephen hugged her again. She could smell his cologne. “There’s no need to be, honey. You know I love you.”
He squeezed tighter and Violet could feel her collar bone creak and the flesh bruise underneath. She squirmed, and Stephen held her tighter. “Relax, honey. I don’t want to have to teach you another lesson.”
“Y-you’re hurting me...not on our wedding day, Stephen...please...”
Stephen loosened his grip and leaned backwards. He was smiling, a wide broad beam. His ‘I always know what’s right for you’ face. “Not on our wedding day? I think you’re forgetting who’s the boss around her, Vi.” He nodded and turned back towards the door. “Tonight, we need to talk. Settle some things about authority and whatnot. Now that we’re going to be living together, there needs to be some rules. No backchat, for instance. Ok, sweetie?”
Violet nodded, trying to calm her erratic heart. “Yes, Stephen.”
He smiled and turned towards the door again. “I’ll be seeing you soon, Violet. And remember...be a good girl.”
His eyes glinted darkly and he stepped out the room, leaving Violet shaking and quivering in his wake.
Violet collapsed onto the bed and burst into tears. She couldn’t do this. Not with him. She had to leave, to get far away from here. She couldn’t marry him. But she wasn’t allowed to leave. Stephen had told her last night. If she left, he would find her. If he got angry when she asked him to leave a room, she dreaded to think what he would be like if she left.
Violet sniffed and hiccupped back some tears. It was ridiculous, the whole thing. When she had met Stephen, he had seemed so charming, so nice. He had taken her by the hand and made her love him, tempting her with wine and flowers and chocolate. And now, he was a monster. She had heard stories, but it had taken her a while to figure out what was going on. She sniffed back a tear and stood up, smoothing out her dress. She had to be pretty for her mum. And Stephen, of course. If she wasn’t beautiful...
Violet shuffled further up the bed and waited for her mum to come back in. The seconds ticked by like hours, and her head was filled with doubt and speeches that begged for mercy. The wedding rhyme skipped around in her head. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
Violet paused and lifted up the sleeve of her dress. She looked at the pale skin that was constantly hidden underneath long sleeves and jumpers. It was mottled black and purple with angry bruises. The ones from last night were still in the first stages, and she could clearly make out the rounded curve of Stephen’s finger on her skin. It was bright and azure against her skin, a dark blue colour against the thousand blacks and yellows. Violet rolled down her sleeve and squeezed back a tear. Closing her eyes didn’t help - she could still see the blue bruises, feel them welling up on her shoulders, flowers blossoming into a bouquet.
“Something old, something new, something borrowed...something blue.”