Just a Little White Lie
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Just a Little White Lie
by Lynnette Hallberg
(Excerpt)

A single daisy bloomed between the curb and the sidewalk, its cheerful yellow-and-white head bobbing in the Gulf breeze. Hiking up her bridal gown’s skirt, Lucinda Darling stomped on the flower with her white satin stiletto.

“He loves me not, he loves me not, he loves me not.” She ground the flower farther into the dirt with each love me not.

The front door of the church flew open. Organ music drifted out, a prelude to the wedding march. Donald Kimball, hair disheveled, tux jacket and shirt unbuttoned, his shirttail hanging out, stood on the top step. “Lucinda, listen!”

“No! You listen to me. Come one step closer, and your head’s going the way of this daisy.”

“Donald?” Rebecca Hirsch stepped out into the sunshine. “You said—”

“Go back inside,” he growled.

“But—”

“And while you’re in there, you might want to fix your dress.” Lucinda narrowed her eyes. “It’s inside-out.”

The door opened again, and her father joined the duo on the stairs, where garlands of white ribbon and pink roses twined around wrought-iron railings and fluttered in the breeze. “What’s going on here?”

“That’s a question you might want to direct to my ex-fiancé.”

“Ex?” The question exploded from both her snake-in-the-grass groom and her father.

“Look here, you two,” her dad said. “I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m telling you right now, you’d best think about what you’re doing. This isn’t the time to get your nose in the air, either of you. You’ve got a church full of people waiting to see you tie the knot—along with a battalion from the media. Before you do something you can’t undo, you’d better consider the consequences.”

“Consider the consequences? Oh, that’s rich, Dad. Two months ago you walked down the aisle—for the fourth time! With a woman named Peaches, for heaven’s sake. A woman three years younger than me.”

“That has nothing to do with what’s happening right now.”

“You’re right.” Furious, Lucinda gathered the full organza skirt of her wedding gown in one hand. “This is about my ex banging his ex—in the church—on our wedding day!”

“Always the drama queen,” Donald sneered. “This little snit-fit—”

“Snit-fit? You want to see a snit-fit?” She snatched up a wood chip from the mulch by her foot and sent it winging toward his head.

He ducked, and it hit the church door with a thud. A second chunk caught him on the shoulder. A flash exploded from somewhere off to her right.

“We don’t have anything to say to each other, Donald.”

“What’s that mean?” Fear shone in his eyes.

“It means I’m done here.”

“Done? But we’re getting married in—” He twisted his wrist, checked his watch. “Less than five minutes.”

“In your dreams, Romeo.”

“You can’t call off the wedding. Your father—”

Nina, her best friend and maid of honor, popped her head out the door. “Lucinda! Come on, it’s time. You shouldn’t be out here. Especially not with Donald. It’s bad luck.” Then she took in the scene and stopped.

Lucinda could only imagine. An ashen-faced bride and a groom with lipstick on his face. Lipstick that matched another woman’s, not the bride’s. And it was the other woman who had her hands all over the groom.

 


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