A/N: Another flash fiction! (Though this one was almost a short story)
There were few things Riley detested quite as much as the myth of Happily Ever After.
The idea that if only you met a man, your soul mate so to speak, your life would instantly become perfect and you would have nothing else to wish for. Well, perhaps a couple of children. Perfect copies of your perfect man. And because they were so perfect and he was so perfect, your life would be perfect as well. A little world of rainbows and sunshine.
The mere thought of it made her want to hurl.
Which was probably why a bridal shop hadn’t been her first choice as a job opportunity.
But it was 2009 and in the midst of the economic crisis you took what you could get. Even if you hated weddings, and your job was to tell a bride twenty times a day that she looked like a ‘real-life princess’. You had to pay the bills somehow or another.
Today’s bride was one of the worst ones. From the very first glance, Riley had detested her. She was dressed almost entirely in light rose and beige for one thing, not to mention that she was wearing completely insensible shoes. But worst of all was the sappy expression on her face, which only worsened whenever she talked about her fiancée.
“He’s just so perfect,” she told Riley in a dreamy voice. A sentence Riley had heard a dozen times before. A day. “So kind and attentive. Who would have known I would ever be so lucky as to find a man like that?”
“He sounds great,” Riley said, fighting the urge to roll her eyes. Personally she could think of quite a few things she would rather have than an attentive boyfriend. Adventures was at the top of the list. She wanted to travel. See the world. She had yet to attend a bonfire in Thailand or stroll down the streets of Osaka in a kimono, but she knew that one day she was going to do both of those things, and a hundred more. She wanted to swim with the dolphins in Egypt and soak in the hot springs of Iceland. Who needed a man when you could get two dozen adventures instead? No, Light Rose could keep her perfect groom for all that Riley cared.
“Can you believe that every Sunday he still brings me breakfast in bed?”
“How nice,” Riley answered automatically, inwardly recoiling. Of course Light Rose was the type to sleep in. Riley had never seen the point. She wanted to seize the day, get as much out of it as possible. Sleeping in was a waste of time.
“And when I’m sad he orders Chinese and we’ll sit and watch comedies together until I laugh. Isn’t he the greatest?”
“How sweet.” One day Riley was going to eat Chinese food in China. Perhaps she’d even guest star in a comedy show herself one day. Who knew?
“We can sit for hours discussing the books we’ve read. He’s so smart!”
Who wanted to read about life, when it was right there for the picking; waiting to be lived?
“He actually proposed through a fortune cookie! Can you believe it?! Isn’t that just the sweetest thing ever?”
It really wasn’t. If a guy wanted to marry you, couldn’t he at least just ask you straight out?
“He certainly seems like something,” Riley told the girl, trying to keep the annoyance out of her voice. Judging from this girl’s choices so far – which had included a lot of hand stitched lace – she had more than enough money, unlike Riley, who had to work in this shop of hellish sunshine just to pay the bills. Why weren’t Light Rose out there having adventures? Was she that weak that she needed a man in order to feel that she was complete? So weak that she thought herself less of a human if she didn’t have a man in her life?
“He’s just the best guy I’ve ever met,” Light Rose chatted on. “The way he looks at me! It’s like… like he hasn’t eaten in days and I’m the last piece of chocolate cake, you know? I just can’t believe I’m so lucky that he loves me!”
Okay, this was getting ridiculous. “Maybe he’s the lucky one,” Riley commented, while inwardly thinking that he really wasn’t.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, for having you love him.”
Light Rose grinned. “Oh, he thinks so. He tells me all the time. But honestly,” she added and suddenly there was something far more confidential in her tone. “I’m the lucky one. He makes me believe in myself. He makes me feel like I can do all the stuff I’ve never thought I could. He gives me the courage to try new things. He’s… he’s my adventure, you know?”
Adventure. Riley looked into Light Rose’s wide, brown eyes; shining with naive joy. Perhaps adventures was really what Light Rose was going for after all.
She just had quite a different way of getting them.