“A play?” I asked Ms. Erin after church.
“Not just any play but a Nativity Play for your mother’s wedding,” Ms. Erin said. “I know that your mother loves Christmas and I just thought that it would be a nice little surprise.”
“I like it,” I said. “And I’ll think my mother will be pleased.”
“Great!” Ms. Erin shouted. “We’ll have auditions Wednesday night after we audition for the Easter play and I’ll email the parents about it and tell them to keep this a secret.”
“What a secret?” Momma asked walking up.
“Oh I was just asking Natalie some questions about my wedding,” Ms. Erin smiled.
“See you tomorrow afternoon,” Momma smiled at Ms. Erin. Ms. Erin winked at me and walked away.
“It’s snowing!” Megan squealed looking out the window later that day.
“NO! NO! NO!” Momma shouted running to the window.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. “We’ve seen a lot of snow since we moved here.”
“It can’t be snowing!” Momma cried. “My wedding is in two weeks! It’s a SPRING wedding not a WINTER wedding!”
“Calm down, Riley,” Aunt Clarisse said. “It’s just a light dusting. The snow will melt soon.”
“Well it better!” Momma cried. She stormed up the steps.
“What’s up with Momma?” I asked.
“Just pre-wedding jitters,” Aunt Clarisse shrugged. “She’s going to get more and more frazzled in the weeks to come. Her previous wedding was probably a lot simpler. Did she and your father elope?”
“I don’t think so,” I said. “My father just took her to England for their wedding.”
“Huh?” Aunt Clarisse asked.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said. “I’ve been reading my father’s journals and I’m up to their wedding.”
“I wish I could have met your father,” Aunt Clarisse said. She walked away looking sad.
The doorbell rang and Grandma Shirley answered it.
“Who are you?” I heard Grandma Shirley snap.
“Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin,” A deep British voice asked. “You wouldn’t happen to be Donna Edwards the lady who runs the Sunshine B&B?”
“You insult me!” Grandma Shirley cried. “I’m Shirley Walters!”
“You can’t be,” A woman’s voice with a British accent asked. I walked towards the door to find an old looking man and middle-aged/older looking blonde haired lady.
“You’re nothing like your daughter!” The man shouted.
“Tell me something I don’t know,” Grandma Shirley said leaning on the door.
“And who are you?” The woman asked.
It took me a second to answer. What should I call myself? These people were clearly my grandparents. Would they be offended it I used my new name?
“Natalie Matthews,” I decided on. Grandma and Grandpa Baldwin smiled.
“Then you must be our granddaughter,” Grandma Baldwin said. “Where’s your mother?”
“Crying because it’s snowing,” I said. Grandma and Grandpa Baldwin laughed.
“Mom! Dad!” Momma cried running down the steps. She gave Grandma and Grandpa Baldwin a hug. Grandma Shirley scowled. She slammed the door shut leaving Grandma and Grandpa Baldwin along with Momma out on the porch in the snow.
Momma opened the door and looked at Grandma Shirley.
“Whoops, the um doorknob slipped through my fingers,” Grandma Shirley lied.
Grandma and Grandpa Baldwin raised their eyebrows at her and walked into the B&B.
Only two weeks and five days to go.
“The dresses are purely ugly.”
Of course Grandma Shirley just said that to be contrary.
Jaci and Mrs. Stewart sighed. I personally thought my dress looked beautiful except for the bow though.
“Mrs. Stewart, the dress are lovely,” Momma said giving Mrs. Stewart a hug. “Thank you Jaci and Mrs. Stewart.”
Sean looks like she wants to disappear. The bridesmaids’ dresses don’t have sleeves. Sean had bunch of scares on her arms and some spilling from her chest. Mrs. Rivers ran over to her and hugged her.
“The dresses are very pretty,” Grandma Baldwin said laying on the British charm. “The hems are very very good.”
Mrs. Stewart smirked at Grandma Shirley, and Grandma Shirley scowled.
“Now go try on your dress!” Abby squealed at Momma. Momma walked into the temporary dressing room and five minutes later walked out of the dressing room.
Grandma Shirley opened her mouth but Aunt Clarisse opened her mouth and talked faster than I ever heard somebody talk in my life.
“Huh?” Momma asked. Everyone else had a confused look on their face but they didn’t say anything.
“I said the dress looks beautiful!” Aunt Clarisse shouted walking towards Momma. “It’s exactly the dress you always said you’d marry Steve in.”
“I know,” Momma said. Her face was bursting with joy. “Jaci and Mrs. Stewart got it perfect. I love it!”
“We were happy to do it,” Jaci said. Mrs. Stewart nodded her head. Tears streamed down Momma’s face. Then the tears turned into sobs.
“Riley, what’s wrong?” Mrs. Rivers asked walking over to Momma.
“I have the strangest feeling,” Momma cried. “It’s almost like I’m burying Alexander again.”
Grandma Baldwin gave Momma a hug. Grandma Shirley ran (and in Mrs. Stewart’s sewing room there is no room for running especially with all the girls that were in here) to Momma’s side and embraced her in an awkward hug.
“Mother, you’re choking me,” Momma said. Grandma Baldwin let go probably thinking that would help. Grandma Shirley just hugged Momma tighter.
“Mother, get off of me!” Momma shouted. Her tone was quick, short, and unforgiving. I sensed hurt in it also. Grandma Shirley did not seem surprised by Momma’s voice. She snorted.
“You were always begging for me to hug you and when I did you didn’t want me to touch you,” Grandma Shirley said with such hatred and hurt that I almost cried. “At least that hasn’t changed about you.”
“Nothing’s changed about you,” Momma snapped. “You didn’t seem to get the message I had been sending out for all of my life until I went to high school. You didn’t sense the desire I had to please my mother. To be loved my mother. And even when you seemed to at least grasp a little of that you still pushed me to side. You hugged Clarisse, John, and Cael with all the love in the world but you hugged me like you wished I’d never been born. You just gave me that same cold hug just now. The hug was always too late. I had been begging and begging for you to help me and you’d hug me just after everything had gone wrong. The hug was never sincere. You just hugged me to put on a show. You just hugged me to make it look like you were a good mother. What did I ever do you to? I tried to please you. Papa was always proud of me but you never were. For a time Cael and John were proud of me. Always talking about how I had great expectations and how I was going to be some big name lawyer someday. When Clarisse was little she’d go around telling people that she was Riley Walters’ little sister. But when it came to you. You didn’t even have a picture of me on your desk!”
Momma ran out the door with tears flowing like a river. Grandma Shirley stood there looking surprised but not shocked. Her eyes were trying to focus on the wall but you could still see that there were tears in her eyes. But there was no sense of remorse in her eyes though and that hurt me. Aunt Clarisse, after she got over her shock, walked out the door to go search for Momma. I quickly followed.
I managed to walk out the door just in time to see Mr. Stewart push my mother into the road and be semi-hit by an oncoming car.