Substitute Bride

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“Are you okay, honey? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost.”

Kathryn started as she realized the flight attendant was speaking to her. “What?” she sputtered. “Um, oh, yes, thank you.”

The flight attendant cocked her head. “Are you sure?” she asked. “Can I get you something to drink?”

Kathryn shook her head, but then changed her mind. “Water. No – gin and tonic, please.”

The stewardess nodded, and began making her drink. As she did, Kathryn found herself frowning. Are you sure about that? she wondered to herself. Didn’t you have enough chaos with alcohol last night?

Perhaps that was true, but dammit she needed a drink right now. She looked at her watch. Ten o’clock in the morning. Fuck it, she thought. Who made up that five o’clock rule anyway? It wasn’t like she had gotten any sleep anyway.

All she wanted to do was sleep. She was so tired, so exhausted, so… ashamed. She wanted to close her eyes and put the events of the past fifteen hours behind her.

“Behind me,” she muttered to herself. The double entendre stuck on her lips with a bittersweet flavor.

“I’m sorry?” the stewardess asked, handing Kathryn her drink.

Kathryn shook her head. “Nothing, sorry,” she said, taking the cup. “Just mumbling to myself.”

The flight attendant’s lips came up in a practiced, plastic smile, and she moved on. Kathryn was free once again to trudge through her own thoughts.

The drink tasted terrible. Don’t complain, she didn’t even charge you for it, her inner Jiminy Cricket scolded her. It’s the most guilt-free thing you’ve had in your mouth today.

It wasn’t my fault! another voice protested, but that voice sounded weak and unconvincing. It wasn’t… I… I’m sure of it…

She struggled with the thought and her memories, hoping that she could find some kernel of evidence that perhaps she was, indeed, innocent. At the same time, she dreaded additional introspection and reliving the shame.

She’s going to kill you when she finds out, Kathryn thought, changing internal tracks. You’ve destroyed not only your relationship with your best friend, but her brand new marriage as well.

She took another sip. Yep, it was awful, not like the heavenly ones she had been drinking in the dressing room the day before.

Kathryn sighed. She realized that she had been drinking for nearly an entire day, straight. Then again, the mother of the bride could always make you want to turn to drink, regardless of what time it was.

Mrs. Davis, Kathryn sighed to herself. She desperately wanted to blame someone, and Rachel’s mother was as good of a candidate as any. If only you hadn’t been such a bitch, none of this would have happened.

She knew it wasn’t an excuse, even if it might have been true on some warped level. The woman had a way of taking the best-laid plans and turning them completely inside-out.

The plan had been to join the bride to help her prepare for the ceremony. At the time, Kathryn and Denise, the other bridesmaid, had no idea of the hornet’s nest they were walking into.

Excited about the big day, they had greeted the bride with an enthusiastic “Woo!” scream, but Rachel was too distracted to be bothered with any of that.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” she said, sourly. “Woo. Now get your skinny asses in here!”

They entered the resort suite, a gigantic three-bedroom monstrosity that currently had absolutely no surface uncovered.

“Holy shit, Rachel,” Denise said, awestruck. “Were you robbed?”

“Ha, ha, very funny,” Rachel said. “You have no idea how badly I’ve been needing you.”

Denise turned to Kathryn. “I thought we were early?”

Kathryn shrugged. Then they heard it.

“Raaaa-chel?” The screech was unmistakeable. Rachel ground her teeth and closed her eyes. Silently she moved her lips as she counted to ten. The tension was so obvious she looked as if every muscle in her body was on the verge of locking up.

“Yes, mom?” She said the word as if it poisoned her to speak it aloud.

“I swear, I have no idea why you decided to go with this pattern,” her mother said, entering the room looking through the copious folds of Rachel’s wedding dress to hold up the deep cut blouse portion. “When I got married, this type of thing just wasn’t done. I mean, there is absolutely no reason to be naked at your own — oh hello girls!”

“Hello Mrs. Davis,” Kathryn and Denise intoned. Mrs. Davis smiled pleasantly at the practiced and time-worn tradition.

“Anyway, really,” Mrs. Davis said, turning to her daughter. “This kind of thing is totally inappropriate.”

Rachel began counting again.

“Uh oh,” Kathryn muttered to the side. “I know that look.” Denise nodded.

Mrs. Davis held the dress out in front of her, shaking it in front of Rachel as if to prove a point. “When I got married,” she repeated, “this kind of dress made a statement that we didn’t want to make.”

“How long do brazzers you think this has been going on?” Denise whispered.

Rachel immediately started her counting over again.

“About twenty-five years,” Kathryn whispered back. “Mrs. Davis…” she called, trying to get the older woman’s attention.

“I mean, really,” Mrs. Davis said, holding open the straps that would cover the bride’s breasts. “What kind of statement does this make? I’ll tell you what kind: the wrong kind.”

“Mrs. Davis…” Kathryn said again. Denise took a step back.

Rachel’s mother was, as usual, in her own world. She had a point to make and, as she had always done, felt that it was crucial that she get that point across so that her only daughter could reap the benefit of her wisdom. “You know, Rachel,” she said, thoughtfully. “That other dress – you know, the one with the cute bow in the front – would have been so much better. At least it would have been appropriate. After all, what kind of ideas will this give David?”

At the mention of her fiancé’s name, Rachel’s eyes snapped open, all attempts to count down her anger abandoned. “Maybe he’ll get the idea to whip it out right there and come all over my fucking tits in front of everybody!” Rachel screamed.

Everything stopped. Then Mrs. Davis gasped in horror. “Rachel!” She raised a hand to her mouth, completely shocked by Rachel’s language and tone of voice.

“Houston, we have liftoff,” Denise mumbled to herself.

Kathryn, uncertain of what to do, raised her hands up to diffuse the situation. Rachel had never, ever talked back to her mother, let alone in this fashion.

Rachel apparently wasn’t done, however. “Maybe, maybe,” she shrieked, taking a threatening step forward, “he’ll get the idea that his wife-to-be isn’t a shriveled up prune of a hag with the Sahara desert for a cunt!”

Mrs. Davis took two steps backwards as if she were physically struck. Instantly Kathryn and Denise were in motion. Kathryn moved to Mrs. Davis and began gathering the dress out of the stunned woman’s arms. Her mother was opening and closing her mouth like a freshly caught mackerel.

“Well, I never!” she finally managed to gasp out.

Denise reached Rachel and moved in front of her, preventing her from taking any more steps towards her mother. “Yes, we know, we know!” she shouted, hysteria beginning to set in. “Maybe if you did once in a while Daddy wouldn’t be so high strung all the time!”

“Mrs. Davis,” Kathryn said quietly. “You know, as the maid of honor I think I probably should take it from here.”

The woman blinked, and looked at her. “I, I was only trying to help,” she stammered.

“Help?” Rachel yelled. “Help!? I’m getting married in three fucking hours, Mom! You think you’re helping me? By criticizing my dress?”

Kathryn never took her eyes from Mrs. Davis’. “Pre-wedding jitters,” she explained. Mrs. Davis nodded, dumbly.

“I’m not changing my dress three hours before the wedding, Mother!” Rachel yelled. Denise was physically holding her back now.

Kathryn had removed the dress completely by this point from Mrs. Davis’ arms, and had brought her over to the door. “You know,” Kathryn said, as if she just remembered something. “I just remembered. “I don’t think anyone has told the ring-bearer and the flower-girl exactly what they have to do yet.”

Mrs. Davis seemed to snap back with a purpose. “Why not?” she asked. “Oh dear, that has to be done!”

She turned and hurried out the door that Kathryn held open for her. Rachel called after her, “And I’m definitely not changing it to that dress with the giant bow on the front. No one wants to wear a wedding dress that makes their tits look like they just won the Kentucky-fucking-Derby!”

Kathryn shut the door as fast as she could.

Rachel stood there for a moment, breathing hard as if she had just moved a mountain. She took a final, deep breath, and said through gritted teeth, “I need a drink. Who’s with me?”

Minutes later, Kathryn had her perfect gin and tonic, while Rachel and Denise had opted for a straight shot of vodka. Denise raised her shot glass, and the other girls followed suit. “To…” she began, but couldn’t think of anything.

Kathryn smirked. “The Kentucky-fucking-Derby,” she said. All three of them had to settle down for more than ten minutes before any of them were capable of drinking anything.

“Wow, Rachel,” Denise said, putting down her empty shot glass. “I’ve never heard you talk to your mom like that before.”

Rachel poured herself another shot. “I never have talked to her like that before,” she said. “But something just snapped, ya know?”

Kathryn and Denise nodded in agreement. “I mean, she’s been at me all day!” Rachel continued in exasperation. “I thought that I was going to have the morning to sort everything out. I mean, I had given her some errands to run and thought she’d be out of the way.”

“What cuckold porno happened?” Kathryn asked.

Rachel took another shot, before Denise took the bottle. “You know exactly what happened, Kat,” she said. There was exhaustion in her voice. “She ‘delegated’ everything to my father so that she could ‘help’ me get ready.” She made continuous air quotes with her fingers.

“Yeah,” Denise said. “We kind of got that impression.”

They stood for a moment without saying anything,

“‘Shriveled up prune?'” Denise said.

“‘Sahara desert of a cunt?'” Kathryn echoed.

Then at the same time, all three of them squealed, “Well I never!'” and fell into another bout of uncontrollable laughter.

“Oh my god, Rachel,” Kathryn said, looking at her glass. “This is the best I’ve ever tasted!”

“I know, right?” Rachel agreed, lifting her own drink in a salute. “Today, my friends, we get only the good stuff!”

“I thought you were going to get the good stuff after the reception,” Denise said, a mischievous twinkle in her eyes.

“Oh, no, Denise,” Rachel replied, coyly. “That’s when I get the great stuff.”

All three women giggled wildly. “A toast, then!” Kathryn proposed, lifting her glass in the air. “To the wedding night great stuff!”

“Hear, hear!” Rachel chimed in. Suddenly, her face went white. “My veil! Where’s the veil?”

She turned out of the room and began tearing around the hotel suite looking for her veil.

“You know,” Denise said to Kathryn. “I was a bit hesitant when you suggested giving her something to drink before she was even dressed. But you’re right, she’s definitely calmer.”

Rachel raced past the open door. “My veil! My veil!”

Kathryn looked at Denise. “Oh, without a doubt.” There was a loud crash in the other room. “She’s much better now.”

Rachel swung into view from behind the doorframe. “Come on,” she wailed. “I can’t find my veil. Where’s my beautiful veil?”

Denise opened her mouth to say something, but Rachel turned back into the main living suite again, the white lace of the veil on top of her head swooshing behind her. Denise closed her mouth.

“Should have thought of this sooner,” she commented.

“The wedding will be ruined!” came a hysterical cry from the other room.

“Whatever made you think of getting her a drink to calm her nerves?” Denise deadpanned. “It’s been such an uneventful day.”

The next two hours went smoothly. The shots, as well as the company, greatly improved Rachel’s mood. Finally it was time to admire their handiwork.

“So…?” Rachel said, shifting her weight from side to side.

Rachel’s dress, despite the disapproving criticism from her mother, was stunning. The design that her mother had been so upset about cast Rachel’s breasts in a truly flattering light. Two lightly embroidered, diamond-shaped pieces draped around the front swells of her breasts, leaving enough skin showing down her side to easily see the curves of her flesh from the side. The backless dress showed off Rachel’s truly flawless body, a well-toned back that she had diligently exercised for months leading up to the wedding.

Such dedication to her workout regimen paid off in front, too. The neckline itself dropped below her navel, framing it and the navel piercing as if it were in a jewelry case. Her flat stomach held a feminine softness to it that any woman would envy, and any man would find intoxicating. A built-in corset kept the plunging neckline from expanding and revealing too much. Tiny black silk laces threaded up either side, keeping the silken fabric in place, no matter how Rachel turned her body.

It should not have worked, but it did. It struck an unorthodox balance between class, glamour, and unrepentant sex appeal.

“Fuck me,” Kathryn said, and meant it.

“Right now?” Rachel giggled. “Why Kathryn, people will talk!” She covered her mouth with her hand in mock shyness.

Kathryn raised an eyebrow. “Hell, if I had a dick I’d whip it out right now and come all over your tits!”

Rachel smiled. “Actually,” she said, her voice turning strangely earnest. “That part was kind of true. This dress makes me feel kind of sexy, and I know David would want to do it.”

She giggled again, and then her face grew slightly more serious. “Besides, I had to make sure that you didn’t show me up. Again.”

Even though her tone was joking, it was easy to see Rachel was trying to hide real pain behind the expression. As spectacular as Rachel’s choice of dress was, and as gifted as she had been with her ideal body shape, she had always harbored a latent envy of Kathryn’s oversized breasts. Having been friends long before puberty hit either one of them, Kathryn’s early blossoming had the unfortunate effect of leaving Rachel and Denise feeling like they needed to “catch up,” but ultimately unable to do so. Long after Denise, and czech porno then Rachel, reached their natural sizes, Kathryn seemed to continue growing, even though her body maintained a petite frame.

Side by side, especially through their teenage years, Kathryn got the boys’ attention, and desperately wanted more ‘normal’-sized breasts. What’s more, whenever she looked in the mirror, their size took over her psyche. She couldn’t see herself as anything more than her breasts, convincing herself that she was actually fat, and risked anorexia frequently as she grew older. It was only after college that she had finally begun to accept herself and her body type.

Rachel, on the other hand, had often made her envy known through back-handed compliments. She said that she knew Kathryn didn’t want the attention, but deep down it was an open secret that she would jump at the chance to exchange places if at all possible.

What’s more, she was sure that there was no exaggeration in Rachel’s words; she had seen the way David looked at her chest. By this age she had gotten used to the reaction from men and women and had learned to roll with it. Now, though, she wondered if Rachel was being more truthful than she intended about her motivation for this much exposure.

“Trust me,” Kathryn said, “everyone’s going to be looking at you today.”

This seemed to please Rachel immensely.

“Oh my god, I forgot to take pictures!” Denise cried, and ran to get her phone.

“By the way,” Kathryn said, suddenly remembering something. “I didn’t know you had a ring-bearer and flower girl. I thought this was going to be a small wedding, only about twenty people or so.”

Rachel raised a finger to her mouth as an evil grin spread across her face. “There aren’t,” she said. “But she left, didn’t she?”

Kathryn nodded, and the two of them laughed. “Oh, that reminds me!” Rachel said. “Don’t forget, David wants you to hit the record button on the video before we go down the aisle.”

Kathryn nodded. “Right,” she agreed.

“We couldn’t afford a videographer, so this is the only way we’ll get a recording of the event,” Rachel continued.

“I know,” Kathryn said.

Rachel paused. “You’re going to remember, right?” she finally said. “You haven’t had too many gin and tonics, have you?”

“Don’t worry about me,” Kathryn protested. “It’s you and those high heels that should be worried after all those shots!”

Rachel exaggerated a wobble of unsteadiness. “Ihm fihn,” she slurred. “I shtopped the… drinking hoursh ago.” She finished with an exaggerated hiccup.

“Rachel!” Denise called from the main living room. “Photographer’s here!”

Rachel looked at Kathryn and they both smiled and did a restrained happy-squeal. “It’s time!”

Rachel leaned in and gave Kathryn a hug. “You’re the bestest friend in the whole wide world,” she said, reciting their incantation from primary school.

“No, you are,” Kathryn said, completing the recitation and hugging her friend back.

“Oooh! Watch the makeup, watch the makeup!”

The next two hours whirled by as the photographer took pictures of every possible combination of the bride and groom, wedding party, and parents of the couple. Despite the budgetary limitations, David had done everything within his power to pull out all the stops for his future bride. He paid such close attention to every excruciating detail that no one would have known that it wasn’t prepared by a professional wedding planner with a budget several times larger.

Kathryn, for her part, floated through the ceremony as if it were her own. Neither she nor Denise had brought escorts, and the groomsmen – all friends of David’s – had brought their own girlfriends. Even so, as she stood next to Rachel, she couldn’t help but feel that some of the radiant splendor of the day had caught her up in the magic as well.

True to her word, Rachel remained steady on her feet, despite confessing a nice alcoholic buzz before walking down the aisle. Kathryn looked at her, wondering when her time would be, and whether she would be next. David was an adorable man, devoted and loving – a true knight in shining armor.

This gave her hope. She and Rachel were so similar in so many ways, similar in looks, similar in personality. They were often confused for sisters, sharing a matching build, height, and blonde hair. In fact, on occasion even Denise would come up behind one of them and accidentally call the wrong name.

If she can find a guy like David , Kathryn thought, maybe I can too.

She thought that she may have even developed a small crush on David. At least, she had definitely developed a crush on the idea of him. She loved the way he adored Rachel, and she found his loyalty and dedication extremely compelling. Plus, he had kind of a quiet, geeky cuteness to him that she often found herself attracted to.

The recessional music started, and she started to drift back to the present. This had been the perfect couple, and the perfect ceremony. It was a picture-perfect moment to be captured for all posterity. It’s too bad that David couldn’t afford a videographer, that would have been —

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