Fran looked at herself in the mirror, she felt a brief twist of nausea in her stomach, but it faded quickly. She took a deep breath, she could do this, it was easy. Her dress was long and flowing, her hair twisted upwards in an elegant bun. She picked up the veil and carefully placed it over her face, a fine mist of white settling over her. She picked up the bouquet of flowers and moved towards the door. Outside she could hear people murmuring. In a moment, the music would start and her life would end.
She stepped into the centre of the aisle and began the slow, steady walk. She tried not to look at the pews as she passed, filled with row after row of strangers. In front of her were the people of the bridal party, those women whom she didn’t know, the men that she had only met hours before. It was supposed to be a happy day, one with laughter and love, but not for her. For her it was empty, cold. She had no family and no friends were welcome here. She had no one to walk her down the aisle, her father having abandoned her as a child. Her husband to be refused to allow anyone else to do it. He refused to allow her friends to be here, they would ruin the day he claimed. She agreed. It made things easier for her when she agreed. Her face was calm, pale. She wouldn’t cry or shout. She’d stand there with him and say her vows.
The ceremony happened in a blur, she remembered speaking, but not what she had said. She remembered a brief kiss, dry and passionless. Then, they were in a car, his hand gripping her knee tightly as he informed her of what was expected of her now.
The meal was short, she didn’t eat much, she feared what would happen if she tried. They cut the cake with minimal fuss, then, she sat at the head table, alone but for the single glass of wine she was allowed consume. She looked at them all, drinking and dancing. No one looked at her. Not one.
When it was over he stumbled back to her, eyes shining and his breath stinking. She supported him as they went to the room. Tomorrow they were to go on their honeymoon. She still didn’t know where they were going, he had packed for her. In the room he collapsed onto the bed, half-heartedly pawing at her breasts before passing out. She let out a sigh of relief.
She stood in the large shower, allowing the water to cleanse her. She was better off really. He was rich, he was powerful. It didn’t matter that they didn’t love each other. It didn’t matter that he was fucking everyone else. No, what really mattered was appearances. Soon she’d have to have his children, at least two.
When she stepped from the shower, she started to dry herself quickly, before the cold could set in. He was still passed out on the bed. She sat on one of the chairs, facing him. Did she really want her life to be like this forever? She was trapped, there was no way out, no one to help her. But maybe she could help herself. She looked out at the balcony. It wasn’t too high off the ground. Someone could climb down it easily. She could run. She wouldn’t get far, but she could do it. They’d drag her back though, toss her down at his feet. She’d never be allowed out, never have freedom. She pressed one hand against her belly. Did she really want to raise a child with this man? She used to think having a child would be wonderful, but now she wished that she wouldn’t be able to conceive. She started to shiver. She couldn’t stay here, like this. She had to do something. Anything. She stood from the chair and went to the balcony, there, she stood, eyes closed, breathing in the air. It really wouldn’t be difficult for someone to climb up here. It would be a very simple matter. She looked back at her sleeping husband. She couldn’t live with him, wouldn’t live with him. She went back into the room.
The switchblade was small, no one knew about it, no one but her. She had found it lying on the ground years ago and she had picked it up out of idle curiosity. From there it had made its way into a drawer, forgotten and dusty. She had found it again two weeks ago, when she was packing up her things for their removal. It had been a simple matter to slip it into her pocket. Since then it had never left her side, she never admitted to herself why she kept it with her at all times, but she always knew where it was. Could she really do this? She tried to steady her shaking hands, there was no choice. They were making her do this. It wasn’t a bad thing really, he was an awful man, she was doing the world a favour.
She stood over him, wondering how best to do it. It needed to be quick, but she couldn’t get blood on her. She glanced at the clock. There was still time. She could be quick about this. She went into the bathroom and turned the shower on, then she returned to the bedroom. Fran held the blade over her sleeping husband and with one swift motion she cut his throat, the blade parting flesh easily. She had pressed down hard, hard as she could. His eyes opened, confusion and shock filling them, she could feel blood over her, hot and sticky. He struggled briefly then lay still. She ran to the shower and quickly washed, making sure there was no blood on herself. She glanced at the floor, checking for any blood spots. Then she stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around herself. She held the blade in front of her, choosing the angle carefully, then she brought the blade down on her arm, clenching her teeth together to stop herself from crying out. She looked at her arm for a second, blood flowing freely from the wound. Fran took a deep breath, then, she started to scream.