The lovely flash fiction trio of Laura James, Miranda Kate and Rebekah Postupak have come up with a fantastic idea to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of #DarkFairyQueen Anna Meade – they’re creating an ebook collection of wedding tales penned by all of Anna’s favourite writerly friends. You can read more about the plans here. So without further ado, here is my contribution… 🙂
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- Title: The Proposal
- Author: SJI Holliday
- eBook: Yes
Annabel rubs a gloved hand across the passenger side window and peers out through the small porthole she has made in the glass.
Mikey chuckles as he re-starts the engine. “Quit breathing so hard and you wouldn’t get us so steamed up.”
She pokes him playfully in the ribs. “Where are we anyway? I don’t recognise it.”
The car slides back into the traffic and she hears the gentle tick tick of the indicator as Mikey signals right. “Nearly there.” He lays his big thick hand on her tiny shell of a knee and squeezes it with just the right amount of pressure.
Annabel sighs and stifles a yawn. Mikey wants her to be excited about all this. Excited like he is. It’s ok for him. He’s done it before. She feels so damn scared she can’t think straight. She wonders if anyone has noticed she’s gone. Sure, it’s only been 24 hours, but most folks would think it strange that she just upped and left like that. Even if she hadn’t been in circulation much lately. Not since she’d been hanging out with Mikey. Only one person had said anything about him, but she knew the others thought the same.
He’s bad news, Annabel.
Sure. That was exactly why she was with him.
Damn her life. Eight till seven, six days a week in the mini-mart that sucked the life out of its staff, its customers and even its goddamn food. They’d stopped stocking fresh fruit and veg because folks had stopped buying it. Cans of corn. Packets of powdered mash. Did the neighbourhood kids even know what a real potato looked like?
The car stops again. Mikey turns the key and the Buick makes that slow pip pip pip as the engine cools.
“Ready?” he says.
She leans over and lifts the holdall from the back seat. “As I’ll ever be.”
She pulls a stocking over her head, hands one to Mikey. He takes the guns from the bag. A SIG-Sauer for him, a slightly more glamorous Beretta for her. She smiles at him though the mask and she thinks he smiles back but it’s hard to tell with the distortion. She unclips her seatbelt and finally the adrenaline kicks in. Butterflies flap their wings inside her gut.
“Okay, so you know the drill – do we need to go through it one more time?”
She shakes her head. Wipes the window again; peers out at the buildings outside. Non-descript shops with metal shutters. Anonymous doorways.
Around the corner is Bernstein’s Bank.
“I’ll change your life,” Mikey told her one night, while they sat on her porch sipping cheap beer. “Me and you, baby. Whaddaya say?”
She giggled. “Is that a proposal?”
He dropped to his knees, big crazy grin on his face. “Annabel, my darling… Will you marry me? Will you spend the rest of your life with me? Will you move to Mexico with me, where we can live in the sunshine, away from all this shit and nonsense? Just me and you?”
She grabbed his face and pulled him towards her. His mouth was cold and tasted of beer. “God, yes. Take me away from this, Mikey. I want to live my freakin’ life!”
He pulled back and his eyes turned dark. “There’s just one thing I have to do first baby. Then I’m all yours. Do you trust me?”
“Always,” she said.
Annabel turns in her seat and stares at him once more. “Just this one job, Mikey? That’s what you said… then we’re off… we’ll get married in Cabo?”
“Sure, baby,” he says. “Trust me.”
It’s over before it starts.
How were they to know one of the customers was an FBI agent opening a savings account for his daughter? Mikey is pinned to the floor by the agent’s boot, fight knocked out of him; the SIG kicked far across the room. Behind the counter, the manager holds the phone tight to his ear and nods at the instructions being dictated to him from someone in control.
Annabel is on her knees; hands behind her head. She still has the Beretta stuffed in the top of her jeans, but she won’t use it. She can’t, even if she wanted to. She removed the ammunition when Mikey stopped for gas. After all, he’d said: “We’re not actually gonna shoot anybody.”
The butterflies are still flapping away inside her. I’ve got a life now. Even if it wasn’t quite the one I was expecting. Hell, even a prison wedding’s gotta be more exciting than anything I had before. She shuffles across the floor on her knees, bends down until her face is close to his. She whispers into his ear:
“For better or for worse, baby.”
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Wedding Toast: Good luck, Anna and Michael – hope you have a fabulous wedding and a very happy future together. Love, Susi P.S. #Whozdarkfairynow? (www.sjiholliday.com)
Thanks to Laura, Miranda and Rebekah for all the brilliant organising!
You can read the other entries here: