[A/N] :) Hi. Kind of fluff-n-stuff (with David/Mary Margaret) with a big fat glob of angst.
Crack in the Mirror
You are cordially invited to celebrate
the wedding of:
Mary Margaret Blanchard
On Saturday afternoon
December the 4th
at Destiny Church, 2630 Parker Avenue
followed by a reception
I covered my mouth with a hand to prevent a sob and stared at the invitation with blurred vision. It had barely been a month since David left me, and now he was already getting married to another woman?
It hurt a lot.
I couldn't remember how long we'd been married (ten years? twenty?) and I knew that he had been in a coma longer than that. But to ditch what we had—a ten years' worth culmination of a relationship—was like rubbing salt on my still-fresh wound.
I set the invitation down on the coffee table and didn't try to stop the tears that started dribbling down my cheeks.
Why had they decided to invite me, the embittered ex-wife, when they knew I still hadn't gotten over David? Mary Margaret's idea, probably. That woman was just too sweet for her own good. I grabbed the nearest couch pillow and buried my face in it, holding back a wail.
A sharp rap on the door broke me out of my haze. I wanted to remain on the couch crying like an idiot—wanted to tell the person to go away and leave me the hell alone—but I sighed, put the pillow back in its proper place and tried to wipe away my tears.
I padded to the door, sniffling, and pulled it open. Regina Mills and her adorable little son were standing on the doorstep. Henry, I think his name was, beamed and bounced forward, giving me an unexpected hug around my waist.
I stared down at him, wide-eyed and unsure of how to react. "Henry," scolded Regina softly, reaching for his hand, "that's not how we greet those we're going to visit, okay? You say hello, not hug them."
Henry pulled away from me and gave me a sheepish smile. "Oh. Sorry. Hi, Mrs. Nolan," he said.
"It's Miss O'Reilly now," I managed. "Hey, Regina. Come on in."
"Kathyrn," said Regina, holding up a basket of apples and stepping inside. She gave me a critical look and released her son's hand. "What are you doing in your pajamas?"
"Oh," I said, feebly wracking my brain for an excuse, "I was just . . . I had a really bad migraine and decided to take a day off."
She didn't look convinced, but turned around and headed for the kitchen anyway. I breathed a sigh of relief and went to the kitchen as well, heading for the fridge. "Can I get you anything? Water? Hot chocolate? Ben & Jerry's ice cream?"
"Why would we want ice cream in the middle of winter?" asked Henry. "It's, like, freezing outside."
"Henry," said Regina, forcing a smile, "be polite. Tell her what you want."
"Hot chocolate, please, Miss O'Reilly," piped Henry, knitting his fingers together and staring at the empty walls with confusion. I'd taken down all the pictures with David in them, so the walls were bare and badly in need of redecoration.
I shrugged and took out the milk to start on the hot chocolate. "I don't mind. So, Regina, how have you been?"
"Oh, fine enough," she dismissed, setting the basket of apples down on the table. "Miss Swan is proving quite a hindrance as sheriff, however."
I made a noise of disapproval and turned around. After a few moments, Regina told Henry to go find something to do outside of the kitchen, and that she needed to talk with me in private.
My heart sank when she demanded in a quiet hiss, "Kathryn, what on earth is this?"
I bit my lip and turned around, hugging myself. "A wedding invitation," I murmured. A new wave of tears hit me and I closed my eyes to keep them from falling. Regina would not be seeing me cry over it today.
"David is getting remarried already?"
"Oh, Kathryn." She set the invitation down on the counter and walked around the island, taking my hands in hers. "Believe me when I say that you deserve happiness much more than that Mary Margaret."
"But she's so nice—"
"Appearances can be deceiving," said Regina, her upper lip curling slightly. Before I could question her behavior, she smiled. "Are you going to go?"
I swallowed the lump in my throat and shook my head. "I . . . don't know. Probably not. No."
"But you need to show them that you're the stronger person. You need to give them a message—let them know that David didn't affect you at all. He's too much of a bastard for you to pine over, dear."
"He's not a bastard," I said, staring at my shaking hands. "He's kind, and sweet, and has a sense of morals and justice. He's practically any girl's dream Prince Charming—"
"And he ran off with a younger, prettier schoolteacher, didn't?"
I reached up to touch my face. "I'm not that horrible-looking, you know."
"Oh, Kathryn, that's not what I—look. All I'm saying is that you should show David that you're over him. Nothing screams 'still-pining ex-wife' than not attending the wedding."
"Are you saying I should be happy for the woman who took my husband away from me?" I blurted, raising my voice and turning around. Regina seemed shocked. I noticed Henry sit up on the couch slightly. "When I didn't even have time to get to know him again?"
Regina frowned. "I was just . . . never mind. It's your choice, dear. But if you do go, know that I will be there to support you. It's what friends do, right?"
I turned back around and started fussing over the hot chocolate, choosing not to reply to her.
I already knew I was going to his wedding.
Mary Margaret looked stunning in her billowing white wedding dress as Sean Herman walked her down the aisle. The look on David's face when he saw her almost made me break down then and there.
He hadn't had that expression when we'd gotten married.
When David visibly mouthed "I love you" to his beautiful bride, Regina's hand squeezed mine. Her face hadn't been anything but furious this whole wedding and she refused to tell me why.
I stared at David's face, noting his every expression, every time his eyes lit up at something Mary Margaret whispered to him. The event sped by, and somehow I focused in at the most inopportune time.
"If anyone objects to this union, speak now or forever hold your peace," boomed the preacher.
David's eyes locked with mine and I started when I saw an emotion in his gaze that I hadn't seen before today—anxiety. I could almost hear him pleading with me to not stand up and make a fuss.
Regina glanced at me and made a move to get up. I grabbed her arm and shook my head. He deserved happiness. Regina clenched her jaw but passed off her move as simply straightening up.
The preacher glanced around, beaming, and continued on. I zoned out again until Regina pinched me. They were making their vows.
"And do you, Mary Margaret, take David as your lawfully wedded husband, in sickness and in health, through poorer, through richer, for all eternity?"
Mary Margaret grinned. "I do."
Do you, David, take Kathryn as your lawfully wedding wife, to love and to treasure for your entire life?
I blinked away the tears and Mary Margaret's actions suddenly made me focus in on her. It was a small movement, but at where I was sitting, it was like a spot of white on an all-black canvas. Her head moved a little and she started staring at the doors like someone would burst through them and crash the wedding.
Nothing happened. I saw her breathe a small sigh of relief—why I had absolutely no idea—and she turned back to David. They kissed and I abruptly felt like a trucker had just run me over.
My throat went dry. It took all my willpower not to get up and run out of the church sobbing. It was like watching his wedding had ripped open my still-vulnerable heart and made it bleed again.
I wet my lips and closed my eyes. After a few more moments, cheering and strident applause filled the church. My hands slowly started clapping on their own and I felt a tear slip down my cheek.
Coming here had been a huge mistake.
Mary Margaret and David ran out of the church, hand in hand and positively beaming. I briefly wondered if he had seemed so happy after our wedding, and recalled with shock that I couldn't remember.
Actually, the whole wedding was blurry.
I stifled a gasp and covered my mouth with my hands. How could I be so upset about this wedding when I couldn't even remember mine?
Regina patted my back and whispered, "You don't need to go to the reception, you know."
I wiped at my eyes and sat up, suddenly determined. David had to remember something. I would confront him at the reception.
I sat at a table while oldies songs bounced around from hidden speakers. They had probably been chosen by Mary Margaret; I knew my once-husband never listened to that sort of stuff.
David and Mary Margaret were dancing with each other, both glowing. I stared down at my cocktail miserably, swirling it with my finger. There had been positively no openings to talk to David. He was either greeting guests or dancing. And I had yet to be greeted—an hour since the start of the reception.
This was such a huge mistake. Regina had promptly been kicked out when the couple discovered her because she hadn't been invited, so I had no one to talk to. I was left in a dark corner, feeling wretched and totally alone.
Just as I made up my mind to leave, someone plopped down in the seat next to me. "Kathryn!" greeted Mary Margaret cheerfully, her whole face flushed pink.
"Mary Margaret," I whispered, forcing a smile. "Congratulations."
Her face softened and she changed seats, sitting down next to me. "I'm really glad you came, Kathryn. You know, it was David's idea to invite you."
I started. "What?"
"Yep. He . . . felt a little guilty, I suppose you could say."
I closed my eyes. My heart was bleeding again. "I didn't know he was having an affair until he showed me the divorce papers. He never told me anything was wrong. I thought—I thought—" Sobs suddenly seized me and I covered my face with my hands.
"I still love him, Mary Margaret. So much. What do you have that I don't? When he's with you, he's practically glowing. He—he never looked like that with me. What am I doing wrong?"
"Oh, nothing, Kathryn, you're perfect. He just . . . oh, I don't know how to say it." Mary Margaret started rubbing my back in slow circles, which didn't make me feel any better. As soon as I looked up, she handed me a handkerchief without a word. While I was blowing my nose, she smiled. "You know," she admitted, biting her lip, "I got the strangest sense of déjà vu after the vows."
I sat up and stared at her, trying to keep the tears at bay. "You did? How? You've never been married before."
That made her laugh. "I know! And that's why it was so weird. I thought someone was going to burst through the doors of the church and ruin everything. Isn't it strange?"
I stared at her. "Yes. What, did you think some vengeful woman would come in and swear her revenge on you for marrying my husband?"
Mary Margaret pulled away. "He's my husband now," she said quietly, fisting her hands in the lace tablecloth. I emitted a shuddering sigh.
"I . . . I know. The divorce papers prove it. I'm sorry, Mary Margaret. That was crass. I didn't mean to put a damper on your wedding day."
She didn't say anything. That made me feel even worse. I gave her the handkerchief back and stood up, grabbing my purse and quickly walking away.
I was almost at the door when someone caught up for me. "Kathryn!" called David. My stomach started knotting itself and I slowly turned around, forcing a smile. He smiled sheepishly and rubbed the back of his neck. "Um, leaving already?"
"I don't think anyone will miss me," I replied, swallowing the lump in my throat. He looked so handsome in his black-and-silver suit it almost hurt.
His eyes turned sad. "You look really pretty today. I didn't expect you to dress up. Hell, I didn't expect you to show up."
I hadn't either. "People are full of surprises," I replied.
He blinked and smiled. "Thank you for coming, Kathryn. It means a lot to me."
"I'm sure it does," I managed, tears welling up in my eyes. I knew him well enough to know that he was lying. He only invited me out of a sense of duty. He was too polite to ignore me. Respectable, influential, moderately wealthy and polite. Any woman's dream Prince Charming.
He turned to go and I stepped forward, seizing my chance. "Hey, David, I've been meaning to ask you something. About our wedding . . . do you remember any of it?"
He pursed his lips. Our wedding was clearly not something he wanted talk about. "Yeah, of course. Why wouldn't I?"
"What was my dress like? What was the flavor of the wedding cake?"
His eyes became cloudy and he frowned. "I . . . I don't know."
Disappointment filled me. "Yeah. I expected as much." I forced a smile and stood on my tiptoes to give him a peck on the cheek. "Congrats, David. You two . . . you two belong together."
A brilliant smile lit up his face and he grabbed my hands. "Oh, Kathryn, we're so happy together. I feel like—like she's the one. You know what I mean?"
I nodded. Then my façade broke and my face crumpled. "I still love you, David," I whispered, staring up at him with glassy eyes. His eyes grew wide, but he didn't respond. I wiped at my eyes and turned, leaving the reception hall and heading into the snowstorm outside.
He didn't follow me. Didn't try to tell me to get back inside, that he loved me too, and that marrying Mary Margaret was just a joke.
I bit my lip and freely allowed tears to stream down my cheeks. The wind battered me, sending snowflakes into my eyes, and the snow was ankle-deep, but I kept walking. Back to the Nolan, now O'Reilly, house. Back to misery, romantic chick flicks and Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
I was a few blocks away from my house when I heard someone scream my name. "Miss O'Reilly! Miss O'Reilly!"
I turned around to make out Henry running toward me. The boy suddenly skidded to a stop in front of me and bent over, his hands on his knees. "Henry?" I said, incredulous. "What are you doing here? Where's your mom?"
"She's catching up to me. Miss O'Reilly, I need to tell you something," he panted.
"Henry? Henry! Young man, you come back here right now!" shouted Regina faintly. She was perhaps a block away from us. I shivered and gestured for Henry to continue.
"Miss—Miss O'Reilly. You'll . . . get your happy ending," he wheezed. "You'll get your happy ending. You just gotta trust me."
I stared at him. No wonder the kid was in therapy.
He's right, a voice whispered inside me. He's right.
"David's married," I told him. "I can't be happy if my husband is married."
Henry frowned. "Mr. Nolan was getting his happy ending," he replied, crossing his arms. "You just need to find yours. Go look for him."
"Him?" I repeated, starting to get annoyed with the boy. Regina was just a few seconds from reaching us.
"Yup." He grinned and reached into his pocket, pulling a wad of paper out of it and handing it to me. I opened the crinkled paper slowly, almost afraid of seeing what was on it. It only had one word.
"Who's Jefferson?" I asked. I had never heard of the name before.
Henry beamed. "He's your happily ever after. You need to find him."
Regina caught up to us then. She took a deep breath and grabbed Henry's hand. "You, young man, are in very big trouble. I told you that we needed to leave Miss O'Reilly in peace. Get to the car. Now."
Henry scurried off. Regina sighed and straightened up. "Kathryn, I'm really sorry about Henry's behavior—"
I waved it off and smiled. "It's fine. He's just a little kid. It didn't bother me at all. Goodnight, Regina."
She nodded. "Goodnight, Kathryn."
I turned and broke into a sprint, suddenly eager to get home. Jefferson. My happy ending. Of course I didn't believe Regina's son, but he did have a point. David and I had been divorced for a month.
It was time for me to get over him.
The bell rang overhead as I walked into Granny's diner. I stepped up to the counter and quietly ordered a small peppermint hot chocolate. I had gotten a job at Modern Fashions a week ago and I had yet to run into anyone named Jefferson.
It probably wasn't smart, believing a ten-year-old about true love and my own happiness, but a sense of peace filled me whenever I thought about Jefferson. A sense of peace which I hadn't had for quite a while. And that knowledge was enough to keep me moving forward.
I grabbed the hot chocolate to go and slid into a booth. The little bell above the door rang and a man stepped inside. We locked gazes.
His eyes widened and he strode over to where I was, sliding into the seat across from me. I was frozen. "Hi," he said gruffly.
I took a small sip of my hot chocolate. "Uh. Hi."
The man was three inches taller than me with dark five o'clock shadow stubble and a scar over his right eye. A cowboy hat was dipped low on his head and he wore a black grinning skull T-shirt. A silver ring glinted on his pinky.
"I'm Jefferson," he said, tipping his hat to me. Then he extended his hand and gave me a rugged smile that made my heart flutter in a way that David's never had. He seemed so familiar, but I was positive I'd never met him before.
He probably wasn't respectable. He probably wasn't polite, or charming, or overly cheerful. My father definitely wouldn't approve. Neither would Regina, or the rest of the important part of this small town.
In other words, he was exactly what I needed.
I smiled, sipped my hot chocolate, and shook his hand. "Hi. I'm Kathryn."