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Flowers seemed strange to me—other than I can't see, hear, touch, taste or smell—humans have a rather unnatural love of them. By beheading and uprooting them from the very grounds they called home, then sticking them onto glass vase with scarce rations to survive, the torture was unbearable. The undead vanity of plants was an obsession of humans, an obsession taken to an outstanding degree on their special day.
"Are these the ones?" asked Mrs. Lockwood.
"Yes, Mother," a small girl replied, holding a large bouquet of lilies; orange petals with black and blue spots.
"And you won't lose them?"
"And I'm warning you—"
The girl cuts her off, "Yes, Mother."
"I am talking!"
"—'and I'm warning you Ash—" Ash began, shaking from holding the heavy bouquet, "if you show your face anywhere during the ceremony, you'll be sleeping in the streets by tomorrow along with your inheritance,"
Hamish, her mother's lap dog, gruffed.
Mrs. Lockwood went red, "Don't think of talking to me in that tone; you wouldn't last a day out there."
"Would I really?" Ash gave a hard glare, "Mother..." over-enunciating every consonant.
"I told you, you are staying inside," Her mother ripped the flowers out from Ash's tired hands and huffed.
Her mother never liked Ash behaving in that way. In fact, Maria didn't like Ash at all. A wife of an old hillside estate was honestly happy with just one child. She didn't expect the Lockwood family of such prestige should waste time on commoner nonsense. Common things—such as children—were nothing but trouble, in her opinion. Maria had planned to keep that sense, but that didn't stop the universe to have a little 'fun'.
Her mother muttered under her breath, "What a cheek. You slimy little—"
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
Loud knocks hit the door, "Maria..." A soft voice called, "They're ready," Mr. Lockwood entered inside. Hewitt Lockwood was a strong man; shoulders of a bull with the head of a ten-month-old baby. He also had a strange level of tolerance for his wife while also distaste her. It was probably Hamish's uncanny ability to water his flowers and leave fresh deposits in his slippers.
Mrs. Lockwood's mouth snapped shut, throwing a harsh glare to her daughter. Her shoes clicked as she walked out of the room in a huff. She despised everything about Ash; Ash knew that.
Ash sighed as she stared at herself in the mirror; she couldn't have picked a worse outfit. The dress she was wearing was far too long, a dark shade of green, and made her skin pure white. Her fringe—after missing too many haircuts—covered the top half of her harsh eyes while the rest of her inky black hair rolled over her shoulders like a dead octopus. With her black Panama hat and boots, she looked nothing like a bridesmaid. Yet she couldn't defy her sister's persistence.
It's not that Ash didn't have any fancy dresses, it's just none of them would ever fit her. All her clothes belonged to her late uncle Gavin, who lived in the attic before he disappeared. Now the attic's hers, thus the clothes were too, among other things.
Mr. Lockwood cut in Ash's thoughts, "Ash—I..." He wished to say something but nothing would do.
"Don't apologise, it's only been thirteen years," sighed Ash. Her father's face drooped to a sorrowful stare as she raked her hair into a tight bun. "I'd say give her twenty before she treats me like a human."
"Ash!" he called, but no answer. She propped her hat on her head and marched out the door and followed the woman carrying the gigantic bundle of ditch-lilies.
Ash couldn't blame her parents for the nervousness; Soleil's wedding had to be perfect. The church buzzed with excited chatter and children ran between the tables in a horrible nature game of kick and punch, ripping the white roses that stringed the rows of seats. The vicar already had two shots brandy and his drool dripped onto the podium. To top it off, Soleil's lifelong friends ruined the bathroom, now the toilets smelt like orange juice and vinegar.
Everything payed for, the lights, the flowers, even the band who arrived two hours early.
As the groom entered, applause spread across the room and began shaking his hand or patting his back. He was a man of high respect. That man was Edgar Guillen, the childhood boyfriend and soon-to-be husband. He grabbed the hand of the first girl and gently pecked on the top of her wrist before he strutted over to the altar. His lilac suit reflected a light of rouge at the vicar's face.
Their marriage was inevitable, Edgar and Soleil's, from the time they were born they were inseparable. Friends of friends since birth, their mothers tried everything to make the centre of the other's universe. Their love for one another radiated from them, touching the lives of everyone they knew. Through sicknesses and family tragedies, they supported one another even in the rough times. And now, they had an eternity to spread their whole lives together.
If that last paragraph made your face cringe back into your lower intestines, you would understand Ash's displeasure of the whole arrangement. Not that she didn't care for Soleil, but being only thirteen, love wasn't a fixation in hers.
Brushing off the icky feeling, Ash squished past the crowd of relatives, dodging the ladies' heels from stabbing her feet and stood along the pathway outside. Her mother was standing there too, the flowers laying down beside her, beads of sweat dripping from her forehead as the air pierced through her judgments. 'Where is she?' Mrs. Lockwood thought, 'She can't back out now.' The sound of hooves clopped from the street, splitting the silence as a lone stallion romped up the road. Behind it was a large orange carriage, blown up like a balloon and embroidered with green and gold vines.