Morning came quicker than I would have liked and I heard a soft knock on the door. I moved over to it, answered it and smiled as the Nanny looked back at me. I rubbed my hands together and laughed. “Alright, it is time for a quick rundown on my children. I really hope you are good at remembering names. I know you can tell that Laura is pregnant, you really need to stay on top of her when it comes to her vitamins and school. She does her schooling online for at least four hours each day. Aleria is a picky eater and will tell you she only wants hotdogs. Please make sure that she eats veggies before you hand over the hotdog or you won’t get her to eat anything else. Reese and Christian love sweets, but don’t give in unless they do what they are told. I know you have the schedule of each child’s activities, but today you are going to have to sit and watch Reese’s rehearsal for the school play. He is excited about it so you have to make sure you cheer loud for him once practice is over. Celeste, Charles and Scott go to daycare across town, they have to be picked up no later than 4:45. The daycare closes at five, but to make it to the play rehearsal on time you have to pick them up early.”
As she wrote it all down I started to smile. “Favorite foods and the house rules are already on the fridge along with allergies and so is a number to reach me at if you need reinforcements and Laura just isn’t cutting it.” I smiled for a second. “I think that covers everything, by the way this morning is eggs and bacon, I have to go take a shower so I can go. Remember to call me if you need anything.”
She nodded and went to the fridge to grab out what she would need. I giggled to myself as I moved to the bathroom and started the shower and took down my hair. I looked at myself in the mirror and sighed. I hadn’t had a chance to work out or anything since we moved and it was starting to show. I had a bit of pudge starting on my stomach and promised myself I would make time to fix it. After I got out of the shower I went to the closet and pulled out my favorite sweat pants and t-shirt. If I was going into wardrobe, I didn’t see a point in making an effort.
I walked back to the kitchen and saw the Nanny hard at work making breakfast for the kids. I tapped her on the shoulder and gestured for her keys as I held mine up for her. “Have a good day and call me if they start to act up. I will set them straight for you.”
She nodded and handed me her keys. “Have fun today and don’t work too hard.” I giggled and walked out the door. The drive to the studio was soothing and by the time I walked in the door I had a smile on my face. I greeted the woman behind the desk and moved over to wardrobe where I heard high pitched giggles. I rolled my eyes before I opened the door. Once it opened I saw five very beautiful woman staring back at me and all of a sudden I felt self conscious. I moved over to the empty station and giggled as a gay man clapped.
“Finally a blank canvas to turn into a masterpiece, those barbie dolls over there thought they were perfect so I left them alone, but you my dear have a natural beauty that I am going to play off of.” He turned me away from the mirror and looked at me wickedly. “You have to have some kind of trust in me if you didn’t complain about me turning you from the mirror hun.”
I laughed. “Eh you can’t make me look any worse than I already feel. Since the move I haven’t had any time to work out and the kids are just running me ragged.”
He looked at me for a moment with his eyebrow raised. “My dear you are too young to have children, let alone one child. My goodness how young did you get married, fifteen?”
I laughed. “How old do you think I am hun?”
He sized me up for a moment before he answered. “You can’t be older than twenty three. I mean your skin is beautiful, your complexion flawless and I would pay to have your beautiful hair.”
I laughed hard then. “Wow, thank you so much for making me feel better about myself. I am not even close to twenty three though. Add ten years and seven kids worth of stress and try again though.”
He looked at me shocked, as did the other women in the room. One of them came over to me and put her hand on my shoulder. “I hope I look like you when I am thirty three. Of course I only have my beauty to rely on, no one thought to make me smart.”
I looked at her sadly. “No one thought to make me smart either, I did it myself and I am still doing it. I am going to college, working two jobs, raising seven kids with an eighth on the way. Before you ask, no I am not pregnant, my fifteen year old daughter is. She is doing her schooling online so she doesn’t miss out on her education.”
They all looked at me in awe and I started to blush. The makeup artist continued his work and I sat quietly, lost in my own world until two of the other girls came over to me.
“How do you do it? I mean I work one job and try to go to school and it is killing me. I don’t know how I would handle two jobs, seven kids, hormones and school. It must help that your husband is around right?”
I sighed and looked down. “He isn’t around. He died a few months ago overseas. It has been me and the kids for about six months now.” Both of the beautiful young blondes sat down and started to chat with me as my hair was finished and my outfit brought out to me. I eyed my new gay friend for a minute. “You have got to be kidding me. You go put that dress up right now and come out with something better. I don’t do dresses. I just might do a long skirt and a comfortable top, that is if you are lucky.”
He smiled at me and nodded his head. He came out with a flowing brown skirt and a white tank, strappy sandals and beautiful wooden jewelry. I nodded and started to put it on. While I was adding the last of my accessories the director came in and handed me a card with an address on it. I nodded and headed for the “Wedding.” When I got to the beautiful resort I sat down at a table as I was directed, met the person who staged this whole thing and shared a good laugh with him. He asked me if I was uncomfortable getting undressed just to embarrass his sex staved marine friends, I giggled and shook my head.
After we had finished introductions guests had started to arrive and I saw six men in dress blues. My heart was in my chest and I was scared that I couldn’t move. He brought them over to the six of us that sat at the tables and I thought I was going to cry. He introduced each of the women to their date and saved me for last. As he walked over to me he smiled. “Parker this is Sid an old friend of mine from the ad agency. Do you think you could do me the favor of escorting her, her date backed out last minute.”
He looked at me and nodded dumbly and it was at that moment that I never did look to see what the makeup artist had done. I started to feel self conscious as he put out his hand to help me out of my chair. I smiled at him and giggled as he tilted his head to the side like a lost puppy.
“Hi, I’m Sidonie, Sid for short. Thank you so much for escorting me, it is torture coming to a wedding alone.”
He nodded dumbly again, a silly stupid smile across his face. He escorted me to my seat and sat down beside me. His hand didn’t leave mine at all and I wondered if it showed, the conflicting emotions that I felt. Pride for our men in the service, sadness at the loss of my husband, mischievous about the joke, yet I kept a perfect poker face. After the ceremony we moved into the clubhouse down the way a bit, Parker’s hand still in mine as we moved leisurely down the lane. He talked to me animatedly about the things he had seen, the places he had been and stupid things he had done with his friends. I didn’t notice that a grin had spread onto my face until the sound of pinging glass broke me out of my euphoria.
“I would like to thank everyone for coming today and before the speeches I would like to say a few things. First off Mike, Sarah I know you guys are excited to be Married, but this wasn’t your real wedding.” The bride and groom looked confused and I looked down. “Don’t get me wrong I hope that tonight you have the best sex, but I want to call six beautiful woman and their dates up here. So girls if you could bring those eyesores up here, I would appreciate it.”
I grabbed Parker’s hand and pulled him with me, lifting my skirt in my hand to be able to see the uneven ground beneath my feet. I smile at him and felt the fight give way as he followed me like a lovesick puppy. As we reached the stage I let go of his hand and stood in front of him.
“Now see Mike agreed to go along with this so let me get him up here.” I heard running footsteps behind me but watched Parker the whole time. He took a step forward, but I put my hand out and stopped him, shook my finger at him and placed my hands on my hips.
“Ladies, I know you have a surprise for our wonderful Marines, so why don’t you show them what it is.” I nodded my head and pulled my shirt over my head, untied my skirt and stood stark naked in front of Parker. He turned beet red and moved towards me as to either ravish me or cover me, but I had a surprise up my sleeve. As his hand reached for me I grasped his arm, pulled it behind him and wrapped my leg around his body. David, the accomplice smiled at me. “Now now Parker, careful she is dangerous. I figured after you embarrassed the hell out of Mike and I, well we would get retribution.” All six guys were red faced and shaking. I could feel the pulse in Parker’s wrist and it radiated through my hand.
I got close to him so only he could hear. “Are you going to be a good boy now or do I have to keep you restrained.” He shook his head and I let go of him gently. He looked at the other five and they ganged up on David and Mike. I started to laugh as Sarah handed me a tank dress.
“I figured that would get them in trouble, but they have been friend’s all their lives. The guys thought it would be funny last time to tie them naked to a flag pole and leave them there all day. So parading around something that those boys can’t have is more than enough to drive them over the edge.”
I put my hand over my mouth to stifle a giggle. “One time the guys in my husband’s platoon sabotaged our date and ended up hanging him upside down from the back of the truck. To get even my husband put itching powder in their uniforms. Trust me I know how it goes, been on the receiving end of it a few times.” My face fell, I put up my finger for her to hold on and I ran to the bathroom as the tears streamed down my face. I felt the pain of his loss a thousand times over as I curled up in a ball on the floor. The two girls I spoke with earlier came rushing in and held me tightly as I cried, the pain more than I could bare.
“It’s alright Sid, mourning isn’t a bad thing. I bet you haven’t had much time to do it, trying to stay strong for those kids of yours.” I shook my head at her, tears still blurring my vision as I felt strong arms around me and the smell of cologne and starch. I lost myself in it, remembered the smell of that cologne from earlier.
The director came over to me and held me tightly as I tried so hard to compose myself. I started to feel trapped and I didn’t like it. I tried to move away only to feel those strong arms go around me once again. I grasped tightly and ripped myself away running for the parking lot. My lungs burned from under use and my legs started to shake. I felt myself fall, the hard concrete digging into my knees. Chastity and Grace came over to me and pulled me close.
“Breathe Sid, everything will be okay. I know it is painful now, but you have so much to be thankful for.” I fell into their arms and cried until I fell asleep, my world had finally collapsed and I had no idea how to pick myself back up.