The characters in this story are fictitious but the plot was inspired by a real life story.
It was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, every bride in her white expects to sleep with a smile on her face but for Madison Peters; her wedding day would remain the worst day of her existence.
It started out as every normal wedding day, if there’s a word like normal in the bride’s vocabulary. The anxiety was building as Madison was caught between the feeling of joy and that of uncertainty. She loved Josh but she couldn’t shake off that fear, the one that teases her decision to walk down the aisle with the man she has been in love with for the past 2 years.
Her gown was perfect; the train filled with smiling faces all looking happy for her and a few even envious. She could hear the music and knew that it was time, she was breathless and almost asked her dad to take her back home at that moment when he leaned towards her and asked, “Are you ready, dear?” Instead she smiled and nodded, she couldn’t manage a sound just then. She leaned heavily on his arm as the walk began.
At first all she could see were the smiling faces, the lovely flowers; she couldn’t deny that it was indeed a fairytale wedding. Then she saw him, Josh; her knight in shining armor, the one she loved despite his many imperfections and she knew without a doubt that she had made the right decision. She felt the last trickle of doubt slip away as she stared into his eyes, eyes saying so much more than words could ever convey. He loved her and that she knew would never change.
Two hours later, Madison was a wife with her husband firmly by her side. She couldn’t stop the silly smile on her face no matter how hard she tried. It was perfect. The reception was to be in two parts; the first would include family, friends, extended families and colleagues but later on in the night they would sneak off to their favorite pub; Loco’s, the place they first met with their closest friends and spend the night dancing, drunk and completely happy.
Every now and then, Josh would lean in and whisper into her ear, “I love you, Mrs. Peters”. He couldn’t stop calling her that and she couldn’t stop giggling like an annoying schoolgirl experiencing her first crush. They danced, laughed, made jokes and finally it was time to move to the next phase of the day.
It was a bit tearful saying goodbye to her parents, even though they were just going to be two hours away from each other. Her dad stared into her eyes and told her how proud he was, he also handed her two tickets-his wedding gift to the couple, a two week vacation in Hawaii; the plane would leave 8 a.m. the next day. It wasn’t exactly a surprise since she knew about it already thanks to her mother who can’t keep a secret to save her life; still she was beyond ecstatic at the gesture. He had promised to take care of the honey moon and from the ‘timetable’ attached to the tickets; she could see that he had proved his words once again.
They took two cars to the pub, she wanted to get out of her gown first before heading into the bar so when the guys which included, Josh, his best-man, Ken and Gary, his longtime friend went in; the girls stayed back in the car to help her change. Her best friend, Karen couldn’t be her maid of honor because of the bump in her tummy which she constantly complained of yet would never consider an abortion so her sister, Gina heartily filled the position. With the two of them fussing over the pins in her hair, Madison had a feeling that the night was going to be longer than she expected (She had no idea just how long). Seeing that it took them almost 20 minutes to get her hair down, Madison abandoned the idea of changing into another gown. A good thing she went for a straight gown not the ball gown her mother wanted.
The minute Madison entered the pub she knew something had changed. Josh still looked happy to see her but she could also see the strain in his eyes, at first she attributed it to the drinks. They had had quite a number of those. But Gary looked even worse and couldn’t even pretend to be in a gay mood anymore. She hated to, she didn’t want anything to ruin the night but she had to, so Madison asked, “Are you guys alright?” no response. She tried harder, “Don’t tell me y’all are getting drunk on me?”
At that moment, things went from bad to worse. Josh asked for the bill and Gary sarcastically stated out loud that Josh was trying to be the bigger man, “an admirable feat but one that has come years later”.
Three weeks later, Madison still cannot remember who threw the first punch. All she knew was that what started out as a night with friends ended with two of those friends engaged in a fist fight; but how she wished that was indeed the end. It got chaotic, people were shouting, Madison was crying. It wasn’t supposed to be this way that was all the thought running through her mind. The bartender picked his bat and threatened to hit them if they didn’t leave but the men were too engrossed in beating the other man harder, they simply ignored him. Well, at first. Not for the hundredth time, Madison wondered if things would have been a whole lot different if they had stayed in the bar.
She tried to separate them but Gary pushed her which only fueled Josh’s angered and subsequently, the fight. By this time they were very close to the big glass window, someone pushed and next thing that happened was that the two men fell through the glass. They didn’t stay still, each kept trying to stand and throw out another punch while calling the other foul names. “Ken, Ken, Ken, do something,” Madison screamed. Karen kept asking Ken what happened, always the psychologist, knowing the cause to her would make preventing the inevitable possible.
What happened next would haunt them all for the rest of their lives. Minutes later when the police questioned them, they will all say the same thing. They will all say that the first thing they saw was Josh going down with Gary standing over him with a glass dripping with blood. Gary had stabbed Josh with a piece of the broken glass window. The screams began; Madison ran over to her husband, blood kept gushing out of his neck. She wasn’t a doctor, she was just a banker but it didn’t take a doctor to see that Josh was dying.
Two hours later, the doctor confirmed it. Josh was dead. It was 11:59pm. Gary was in jail. Madison was in her soiled white wedding dress. She was also a widow. It was her wedding day. But tomorrow, she would have to begin funeral preparations. It was her wedding day.
Later, Ken would tell her that the fight started after Josh revealed his plans to split the firm that he and Gary owned together saying that he had already gotten a buyer for his part of the business. Obviously, there had been bad blood between them few years back in which Gary had take a chunk of the company’s finances into his personal account without the knowledge of Josh until later own. Gary felt betrayed. He thought they had settled that matter.
By Bunmi Obanawu