March 12, 2017

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Conspiracy Sham

“Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!” Molly shrieked as she flew down the hall in just her socks and a bathrobe. “Anyone who might be in the bathroom, please quickly exit the premises, because I am running late for the wedding!” Skidding to a stop in front of the bathroom door, she groaned upon seeing it closed. Another groan when, after trying the knob, she discovered it locked as well. Molly pounded both fists on the door in a sporadic pattern. “I told Kimmy I would be there an hour before it started so I could get warmed up, but its—” she paused to look at her watch. Eek! “It’s already ten minutes till then and I am not going to make it! I should probably start getting warmed up while I’m getting ready.” Right then and there, she cleared her throat and started singing her scales.

Molly’s roommate swung open the door, leaning against the doorframe, her arms crossed nonchalantly over her chest. “You know, I’m like ninety percent sure that Kimmy’s going through with a sham wedding.”

Trying to get past her roommate, Molly ducked and dodged and swerved, panting in between scales, “She’s still my best friend, Jo, and I told her I’d be there.”

Jo easily held the stick thin Molly back. “Have you met her fiancé, Mol? He’s got the thickest accent I’ve ever heard. There’s no way he’s legal.” Molly fought back. “I bet she’s doing this as a favor for him. Kimmy is just that kind of girl. Betcha she’s already fallen head over heels for the guy, though. She’s always had a major thing for foreign guys with accents.”

Molly pressed her back against Jo’s chest, pushing against her, trying to force her to step back inside the bathroom. Her precious time was ticking by faster than she could count. “I. Don’t. Care, Jo.” She heaved a heavy, breathless sigh as she shoved against Jo again. “A promise is a promise.” Unable to move Jo, Molly turned abruptly to face her, gesticulating as she spoke. “Kimmy is my best friend. We’ve known each other since kindergarten. We’ve had this plan since high school. When she got married, I would sing at her wedding, because that’s what I do, Jo. I sing. And I keep my promises. So please for the love of God, move!” Molly’s already rather shrill voice lifted in pitch, becoming more of a screech than an actual word.

Jo stepped back out of the bathroom, hands lifted above her head. “Alright already! I just don’t believe this thing is real. But if you want to, please, go right on ahead and sing at this wedding. Just don’t be disappointed or surprised when it turns out that I told you so.” Her annoying nonchalant attitude not once changing, Jo stalked off towards her bedroom.

Every step of her preparation process, Molly kept muttering under her breath, “Jo is wrong. It’s totally real. Why would Kimmy go through with a fake wedding? That’s just stupid. She wouldn’t do that. Kimmy wouldn’t do that. She’s smart. She’s smarter than I am and I’m pretty smart. Only someone stupid—well, or maybe desperate—would go through with a fake wedding knowingly. Kimmy isn’t stupid. And she certainly isn’t desperate. She’s the prettiest girl I know. Her hair and… and her eyes… and… Why couldn’t I be more like Kimmy? Everyone loves her.”

Molly stared at her reflection in the mirror, her limp, wet hair falling to her shoulders, her dark eyes a little too large for her face, water hanging from the tip of her aquiline nose, her dress looking too big on her tiny frame. Pulling her hair back into a simple ponytail, she sighed, “Sorry, Kim, but this’ll just have to do until I can spend some time making myself look presentable.”

When Molly finally arrived at the church, Kimmy paced the length of the dressing room waiting for her. As she spotted Molly’s face through the window as she passed, Kimmy flew outside and threw herself at Molly. “Molly, I thought for sure you had died! Why didn’t you call? Why are you late? Why do you look like that? Molly, you look awful. Are you sick? Did something happen? Oh, Molly, please tell me you’re okay!”

Molly laughed it off, a strained sound. “I just lost track of time. You know me, silly old Molly,” she giggled, shrugging, her shoulders almost touching her ears. “But don’t worry, Kimmy! I warmed up on the way over so my voice is nice and ready for your wedding. I’ll just get set up and practice a little bit and then I’ll fix my hair.”

“And maybe put on some makeup!” Kimmy called after Molly as she entered the church.

As Molly approached the front of the little building, she ran into Kimmy’s fiancé. “Oh, hello!” she greeted him, Jo’s comment popping up in her mind once again. It’s probably a sham wedding. Molly forced a smile onto her face. She wasn’t going to be the one to ruin this day for them. “Everything looks absolutely beautiful! Thank you for asking me to be the singer. It’s such an honor! Kimmy and I have talked about this day for years and I can’t believe it’s finally happening! You two will be absolutely perfect together!”

He grinned at her, all his teeth shining bright white. “Thank you for agreeing. Kimmy says you sing beautifully. I cannot wait to hear.” And with those words, he disappeared.

Molly started to set up her things at the front of the church. Her music stand. Her sheet music. Her guitar. All the while, she hummed under her breath, going down the list of songs she had prepared for the ceremony and starting on the handful Kimmy had asked her to sing for the reception as well.

And still, all she could think about were Jo’s words. I bet she’s doing this as a favor to him. Molly shook her head to rid herself of the thought, forcing herself to sing the songs out loud. Unfortunately, she knew the songs by heart. There’s no way he’s legal. The thoughts kept coming up in her mind. That guy has the thickest accent I’ve ever heard. She could almost see the words float before her eyes. Sham. Wedding. Legal.

“Kimmy, areyousureyourfiancéislegal?” Molly shouted, her words slurring together in her haste.

Kimmy’s horrified face peaked around the corner. “Molly! Of course he is. What makes you say…” Her words disappeared as it clicked in her mind, laughter bubbling up inside her. The sound broke the tension, ringing from the rafters like wedding bells. “Jo put the idea in your head, didn’t she?”

Molly looked sheepishly from her toes to Kimmy’s face. “Yes…”

“Molly, he’s Jo’s brother. And how long has Jo been in the country?”

Molly felt her cheeks turn red. “Since birth.”

“And what country is Jo a citizen of?”

“This one.” Molly simply wanted to disappear. To vanish off the face of the earth.

“You’re so gullible, Mol!” Kimmy chortled. “It’s adorable!”

Molly hid herself in the bathroom until the start of the ceremony. When she finally came out and stood in her spot, Jo sat in front of her, the biggest grin she’d ever seen plastered on her face, a different kind of I-told-you-so.

***

Prompt: This story involves a perky musician, a church, a wedding, and a conspiracy.

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