I smoothed the ruched white fabric over my hips and sucked in a breath; the dress was crazy tight around my chest, which did wonders for my cleavage, but left me unable to draw a full breath.
“I can’t really breathe,” I said, once again attempting to fully expand my lungs.
“It’s only for, like, an hour,” Annie said. “Soon as the service is over, you can change into your party dress for the reception.”
“Yeah, I guess,” I said. “Who breathes on their wedding day, anyway?” I joked.
Lisa, another of my three bridesmaids, put the finishing touches on my hair, tucking a few strands into bobby pins and leaving a few strands loose around my face. “My wedding dress was so tight I nearly passed out during the service,” she said. “Not breathing on your wedding day is a time-honored tradition.”
“Well…fuck that tradition,” I said. “I like breathing. Breathing is nice.”
Annie was in front of me, touching up my makeup. “That cleavage is nice. Looking hot on your wedding day is also nice. Breathing? Meh, it’s overrated.”
I tried another breath, feeling my breasts swell against the constraining material. My head spun, and I was glad I was sitting down. I was just dizzy from nerves, that’s all. I was nervous, that much was true. But I also legitimately couldn’t breathe. I was scared out of my mind. I loved Michael, I really, really did. I loved him. I was ready to get married. I was ready to become Dru Connolly-Morrison. Mrs. Michael Morrison. Dru Morrison.
God, none of those sound right.
But Michael insisted I take his name, even if it was hyphenated. “I’m traditional that way,” he had grumbled.
I liked my name, though, and I didn’t want to change it. Dru Connolly: it had a ring to it. It was a strong name and, more importantly, it was my name.
Breathing was becoming harder and harder with every passing moment—or maybe it was just the fact that I was close to hyperventilating. I tried to slow my breathing down, but my lungs didn’t seem to be getting the message.
“I need to see Michael,” I said.
He always had a way of calming me down when I started panicking and overthinking things. He’d kiss me and hold me and tell me it would be okay and, somehow, things always worked out. Not always how I wanted them to, or how I expected them to, but…they worked out.
This wedding would work out, and the marriage would, too.
But…I wanted more than just for my marriage to WORK OUT. I wanted it to be amazing.
Annie and Lisa exchanged glances. “Um…well...you know it’s bad luck for him to see you in your dress.”
“I’ll cover up or something. Can you just go get him?”
Another glance between the two ladies.
“It’s just nerves, hon,” Lisa said.
Annie zipped her makeup bag closed. “Just take lots of shallow breaths and focus on walking down the aisle. You’ll be fine.”
I looked from Annie to Lisa and back, feeling, perhaps unfairly, like they were hiding something, or avoiding. Something. I wasn’t close to either woman, since they were the significant others of Michael’s best friends, Nate and Eric—Lisa was Nate’s wife, and Annie was Eric’s girlfriend. There was one more groomsman, Tony, Michael’s cousin, and one more bridesmaid, Tawny, one of Lisa’s friends, added just to keep the sides even; I’d barely met Tawny, and didn’t really care for her all that much, but you couldn’t have two bridesmaids and three groomsmen, right?
I sighed. “I just need a few minutes alone, I guess.”
“Sure,” Annie said. “We’ll go help Tawny with the flowers.”
I frowned. “Help Tawny with the flowers? I had the flowers professionally arranged, and I checked them myself this morning.”
Lisa hesitated, and licked her lips. “I…she’s just double checking. You know, just…to be sure everything is golden.”
I honestly didn’t care what Tawny was doing, so I just shrugged. “Whatever. I just need a minute. Thanks, ladies.”
“Sure thing, Dru,” Lisa said, and then she and Annie were out the door, finger-waving at my dad as they passed him.
I really didn’t have any girlfriends of my own, not anyone I truly liked or trusted. I didn’t trust anyone but my dad.
And Michael. I trusted Michael.
Michael was amazing.
Handsome, successful, kind. Worked in marketing for Amazon. No beer belly, had all his hair, went to the gym two or three days a week, and could last longer than five minutes in bed. What wasn’t to love?
I had to see Michael. If I saw him, all my doubts would be erased.