Sunday(ish) Story: Messenger in a Bottle

In case anybody is new around here, we used to do Sunday Stories on TTAC, which were works of fiction loosely based on automotive stuff. This is like that, but without the cars. It’s a fictional story. Please don’t get confused. Gracias—Bark

“I should not be doing this,” Kate thought to herself.

There was not one good reason why Kate was in Chicago on this particular day. Not one. And yet, as she let a second glass of champagne pass through her thin lips, every cell of her slender body was full of the same sort of jittery excitement she felt on her wedding day.

Well, not her first wedding day. Definitely not that day. That day had been a $50,000 mistake that Kate had been ambushed by, a day that had been set into motion by expectations and the need to do what was right and good. And although she felt as beautiful as she had ever felt on the outside, her soul felt like a thorough fraud. Here was a man, as good as anybody had the right to expect to be with, and she knew that she didn’t love him. So, no, she hadn’t felt excitement that day.

Come to think of it, she hadn’t felt it on her second wedding day either. Eager to erase the error of her first catastrophic pairing, Kate had allowed her father to throw an even bigger, more absurdly extravagant fete. It had been featured in the local society magazine, for God’s sake. She had cut a statuesque figure on that day, her athletic frame snugly contained within the lace flowers of her five-figure dress.

It was white, of course, because when everybody knows that your first marriage ended thanks to your infidelity, you buy the whitest goddamned dress you can find, even if every time you look at it, the floral designs seem to rearrange themselves neatly into an “A” in your mind. So while the day had been beautiful, the wedding that little girls don’t dream of, but women approaching thirty sure as hell do, she had felt…fraudulent. Damn. There was that feeling again. Because she didn’t love him. But when you blow up your marriage because you got caught fucking the neighbor, well, you have to marry the neighbor to save any sort of dignity your parents have assigned to you.

So maybe, she thought, this is what a wedding day should feel like. But as Kate sat at a table near the bar at the J. Parker on the roof of the Lincoln Hotel, she poured white sparkling wine down her gullet like it was her bachelorette party, not her wedding day. Because he was coming.

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