Jilted Groom(3)

By: Mia Carson



“When you got back, probably, but you don’t have to tell anyone you’re leaving. Wait ‘til you’re already gone,” he said as he leaned over the pool table. “Then, bam! Call them and give them the news.” The balls cracked together, and two stripes managed to glide easily into their holes. “What are they going to do? Send the cops after you?”

“You’ve met the Eastwoods, right? The crazy parents who planned my life from birth.”

Tommy planted his cue stick on the floor. “Listen, I know you’re loyal to your family. I get it, but there comes a time when you have to figure out who you are without them guiding your every move.”

“I’ve made some decisions for myself,” he argued.

Tommy raised a single eyebrow over his beer. “Oh really? Do tell.”

Edmund thought back over the years and opened his mouth to tell Tommy exactly what he did for himself but clamped his lips shut again. “Damn,” he muttered, resting a hip against the table a he ran a hand over his face.

“Told you,” Tommy said and took another shot. “When we were all being wild and rebelling, you were being the good son, obeying your parents and not partying. You never drank with us, never dated anyone but Jenny. Is she the only woman you’ve ever slept with?”

Edmund gulped his beer in response. Jenny and he had been together since they were eighteen, and they were a perfect match for each other, according to everyone else. Since it was already set in stone, of course they’d fooled around. In the beginning, their sweaty exertions together were exciting and new, but after a few years, they fell into a routine and sex lost its meaning for him. He remained faithful, but he wasn’t an idiot. Rumors abounded of Jenny sleeping around with almost everyone in their circle of high society young men. Edmund never confronted her about it, not wanting to start a fight with the woman he was meant to marry.

A few more patrons of the bar strolled in, greeting the bartenders loudly. None of them appeared to have a care in the world, and Edmund’s desire to be exactly like that strengthened his resolve. He laid down his pool cue with a thwack.

“What are you doing?” Tommy asked, smirking.

“I am taking your advice. Right now,” Edmund announced. His responsibilities at home would have to wait a few days, maybe a few weeks. He retrieved his cell from his pocket and called for a cab. “If anyone asks, I’m with you for the night.”

Tommy lifted his beer in a toast. “Go get ‘em, man!”

“And for your own sake, stay away from my mom,” Edmund warned. Sarah would be a wreck when she realized her son had left, and even more so if she learned Tommy was behind it.

The cab pulled up a few minutes later, and his hands twitching with excitement, Edmund leapt in the back and directed the driver to the church. Still in his tux, minus the jacket, he paid the cabbie, hopped out, and rested his hands on the top of his Mustang.

“What do you say, old girl?” he whispered. “Time for a road trip?”

The old ’66 convertible Mustang glistened in the setting sunlight as he popped open the long door and climbed inside. He slid the key into the ignition, and as the engine purred to life, the thrum of the vehicle let him forget about the wedding that didn’t happen and the embarrassment Jenny had caused him, standing all alone at the altar. Why she had to wait until that moment to decide this wasn’t what she wanted, Edmund would never know, but he was alright with that. He was perfectly alright with never speaking to that woman again.

The Mustang glided onto the interstate, and Edmund rolled down the windows, blared whatever rock was on the radio at the time, and let the wind blow away his cares. He hopped onto Interstate 64 and followed wherever it led before making a decision to head southeast. Night settled in over Kentucky, and after the fifteenth call from his mom, he turned off his cell and tossed it in the back seat. Tommy was right. For a few days, they could deal without him. Excited at his newfound freedom and the adventure awaiting him, Edmund leaned back in his seat and laughed, quietly at first until he let loose and held his arm out the window, hollering like a bat out of hell.

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