Why Jolie put up such a fuss about marryin’ that fine boy Stuart is beyond me. He’s so handsome and so successful, every girl in town had her cap set for him, but Stuart wanted my baby. Can’t imagine why. After all, she’s goin’ on twenty-four and she’s not exactly from a good old Southern family like Stuart.
Look at her standin’ there all pretty in my mama’s lace, all that jet sparklin’ and Stuart holdin’ onto her hand so that tears o’ joy are runnin’ down her face.
I knew she’d get happy about marryin’ Stuart. She may be headstrong on most things—like goin’ to college, for Pete’s sake!—but I knew she’d agree with me and her daddy that this weddin’g would be the best thing for her.
I’m so proud o’ my girl, marryin’ Stuart.
Oh, that man—so thoughtful to give Jolie’s hand just a little extra squeeze and lean down to whisper in her ear. I know he’ll be a fine husband for my daughter. Why, I’ll have grandkids in no time to spoil and do for.
Still don’t know why she didn’t want to marry Stuart. Oh, well. I suppose it don’t matter. After all, she finally came around.
It’s for the best.
* * * * *
“Remember what I told you.”
“How can I forget?”
Gritted smiles fooled the crowd.
The masses are asses, Jolie Turnbull thought as her fiance’s hand painfully squeezed hers.
“I told you to stop crying.”
“You’re hurting me.”
“Really?” he purred and Jolie shuddered.
Crystal flutes clinked with a cheerful musical lilt. White Christmas lights covered the ten foot tall Douglas fir in the corner. The pin boughs spiralled down the staircase bannister. Candle sconces cast a soft glow up the carved plaster walls in vague ovals. Expensively dressed men and women mixed and mingled, laughed and joked, obligingly bestowing congratulations upon the happy couple. Champagne flowed, but not from an ice sculpture or some other monstrosity that Jolie’s mother would have liked. Oh, no.
This was not the club house at a trailer park.
This was the Beauchamp plantation, the home of Alabama’s most successful attorney and aspiring politician. And it was going to be receiving a new bride, whether she liked it or not.
“We had a deal.”
Jolie said nothing.
“You will be the perfect politician’s wife or your father will die.”
And as Jolie looked across the room to see her father’s unhappy countenance, she knew she was staring into a lifetime of misery.
©1995 Moriah Jovan