Isabelle and Johnathan stood at the top of the church steps, arm in arm, while their friends and family called out congratulations. Rice whispered promises against the stone steps, and their carriage stood in the road below, waiting to carry them away.
“We’ll always be together now,” Isabelle said.
“Always and forever.” Jonathan took her hand in his.
He started down the steps, but Isabelle hesitated, wanting to capture this moment of perfect happiness, the blue sky adorned with gentle, white clouds, the sunshine, the church bells ringing high overhead, the feel of her satin gown against her skin, the weight of the skirt and train as it fell in cascades down around her soft leather shoes, the warmth of Jonathan’s hand, everything clear and perfect.
She took a step, and it all changed.
It was almost like waking from a dream. Memories, jumbled memories of a dozen other weddings, more or less the same as this one, crowded into her mind. The scene around her began to dull and shift.
Another step, and Isabelle wasn’t in front of a church anymore, it was only an ordinary sidewalk. No wedding gown, just her regular t-shirt and jeans. It wasn’t 1805 anymore either, but two thousand and something.
She hated this part. The book was over.
“Well, that was…” Jonathan shrugged and checked his watch. He wasn’t Jonathan anymore. He was Cliff, or that had been his name the first time he’d had one. That time they’d met in
Egypt. His dove gray coat and tails
had been replaced by khaki slacks and a polo shirt. The rest of the crowd had
changed too, and were wandering off through the non-descript streets.
“Nice working with you,” most recently Isabelle said. Isabelle, Andrea, Louisa, Trista, Marci, and a dozen other names she’d had. She couldn’t put them all in order anymore. She’d been in a lot more books than Cliff had. He’d been okay, if a little boring. Actually, she was glad they weren’t really married.
Johnathan-Cliff nodded, gave her a friendly smile and a wave, then wandered off into the brownish fog.
She started walking back to her apartment in the city. A poster stapled to a telephone pole caught her eye. “Casting Call,” it said. “For Tahitian Drums (working title). Interested characters please pick up readings at the office.”
“Why not?” said Isabelle-Andrea-Louisa-Trista-Marci-etcetera, and headed for the casting office.