With her dark glasses firmly in place, she opened the door to the Mayfield Inn. She was prepared for Mrs. Mayfield’s questioning eye, but it was a non-issue. Mrs. Mayfield was not working behind the desk. It seems after 20 years the owner had decided to take some much deserved time off. She had hired someone Bethany had never seen. That worked in Bethany’s favor. There was nothing to hide. Bethany had made the reservation using a fake name and paid in cash when she registered.
Bethany didn’t anticipate being in Somerston very long. When she got to her room she opened her solitary suitcase. Along with the clothes she had a photo album. It had been an impulse to bring it. She wasn’t even sure why she still owned it. Once she looked at it in the suitcase, the feelings that she had had upon seeing Christopher made more sense. She did still feel love for him.
The album was of her wedding day - memorabilia that should have been destroyed years ago. As she opened it, the first page was her wedding invitation. She remembered the day that she and her mother finally came to an agreement on what it should look like.
Bethany smiled when she thought of her mom, particularly at that moment. They both gave a little. But compromise is what it about. She got to have everything in lowercase and her mother got the design she thought both elegant and modern.
As Bethany turned the page, the photos were nothing new. She had seen them all before - professional shots, as well as, candids from that glorious day. There was no rain, only sunshine and beauty. The September air was perfect. Dusk with a breeze, candlelight and every white flower available. The gardens at Ocean Point had never been more beautiful. There was no expense spared. Her parents gave her the wedding of her dreams. Maybe even of theirs. Christopher was her love and life. Her white knight. And as cliché as it might sound, he was ever the charming prince. Loving, caring, handsome, with a beautiful smile, and arms made for holding her. She found herself smiling, lost in the moment. She had to focus on her reason for being there. She stopped smiling, closed the album and her eyes, and then took a deep breath.
She placed the album back in the suitcase making sure to place it under her clothes so as to keep the sentiment in her heart from longing to see it again. To regain her focus, she opened a small case and took out the vile of clear liquid. As she looked at it, her lips formed another smile. This time she thought the smile was appropriate.
She didn’t want to waste another second. It seemed like as good a time as any to put her plan into motion. There was no need for her driver. She was perfectly capable of driving to Ocean Point. Besides, this was her quest, her journey. She needed to take it by herself. She got behind the wheel and gripped it. She found that her nerves were much less prevalent than when she first arrived in Somerston. There was a sense of calm and peace about her. She started the car and pulled out of the parking lot of the inn and drove toward the water and her destination.
Bethany knew exactly where to park so the car would go unnoticed. She had been keeping up with the news in Somerston for years. The annual Peony Ball was being held that night. The hosts lived next door to Christopher and Ivy. It would be easy to slip into the line of party guests waiting to have the valet park their cars.
When she arrived at the valet stand, she was asked to present her invitation. Undeterred, she began to search through her bag for it. She knew it didn’t exist, but they didn’t. She could hear the orchestra playing inside, a beautiful song she couldn’t quite place, but knew she had heard before. Just then, a gentleman gave her a claim ticket and jumped into her car and drove it away. No one seemed to be paying much attention to her or the fact that she hadn’t produced an invitation. Bethany wondered silently if the staff had been informed that the rich don’t like to be kept waiting. She walked away while a melancholy horn from the orchestra played As Time Goes By in the background. She finally recognized the tune. She thought to herself that time had gone by, but tonight was now.
The first part of her plan had gone almost exactly as she’d pictured it. She hoped that Christopher and Ivy had already arrived at the party. She knew they would be invited. It was inevitable. The scandal of their marriage had long died away and their money had ingratiated them right back into the society that once shunned them.
Some things never changed. Christopher only left the lights of the gate on when he was not home. Everyone in Somerston knew that. He wasn’t the cleverest of men. She smirked a little at his ridiculous ability to be so predictable. She slipped through the side door of the gate and made her way up the driveway toward the side of the house. He felt secure enough behind his large gates that his grounds went unpatrolled. If she knew Christopher, and she already knew that she did, the door off of the side garden would be unlocked. It had always been unlocked. Knowing him so well was going to make this easier than she thought.
She eased open the door. The room was black and empty of people. As she stepped inside and closed the door she found herself engulfed in the blackness - blackness as dark as she presumed her revenge-filled soul to be. The layout wasn’t exactly as she remembered it, which made sense to her. It had been 10 years after all. She bumped into a table and nearly toppled the lamp. She stifled the need to scream, but couldn’t stifle the curse word that passed her lips. As she was readjusting the lamp, a light came on under the door across the room. They weren’t gone yet. She froze for a moment, unable to breathe. She heard the door opening and saw more light filling the room as the opening got larger. The outline of the person opening the door was Christopher. She was sure of it. She wished there was a penny to see and pick up from the floor because right now she needed luck to find a way out of this situation or everything she had planned would be over before it started…
©2010 Michael Rohrer