As long as he could remember, their families had been friends, living near each other, vacationing together, attending the same church and schools. He and their youngest daughter were only months apart in age, and it was a running joke with the adults that they would one day marry.
Still, no one was as surprised as them, when they did fall in love and become engaged.
In the months leading to their wedding, the women of the community gathered to help her craft her trousseau. The grand piece would be a quilt made for their marriage bed.
Listening to the hen talk of the elder ladies, she was inundated with horror stories of their wedding nights, of husbands more concerned with their own base needs and never their wives.
At the same time, the men were building the couple’s new home, outfitting it with handmade furniture meant to last generations. They were filling the bridegroom’s head with their own tall tales.
They saw little of each other during those long weeks, never alone, always with a chaperone. He began to sense a reluctance from her, a shyness easily mistaken for misgivings and perhaps a change of heart.
A fortnight before their wedding, their home was finished, the trappings and decorations in place, ready for them to make the house their home. He saw their marriage quilt for the first time. Saw the care and skill she took to make this beautiful duvet for their first night together. Still he feared that she was not glad for their pending union.
Where she once greeted him with a tender embrace, she now fairly cringed at his touch. Barely speaking, answering his questions with few words, or merely a shrug. He was not surprised when she slipped a note into his pocket the day before their ceremony, asking him to meet her at her father’s cornfield that night.
Fearing the worst, that she intended to break their engagement, he arrived at the appointed rendezvous with a heavy heart. He found the marker she mentioned in her note, and stood at the edge of the field, wanting but not wanting to find her.
Her list of cryptic directions crumpled in his pocket, he followed her ribbon trail into the cornfield, weaving among the stalks. As the satin slipped through his fingers, he realized it was the same she used to piece together their marriage quilt.
Dread filled him as he imagined her recent distractions as more than typical bridal jitters.
He dropped to his knees at the edge of the clearing.
There she lay atop their quilt. Her ecclesiastic skin bathed in the pearlescent light of a full moon, wearing only a smile.
Still on his knees, he crawled into her arms as she helped tug off his shirt.
For Story Dam, an online writing community offering weekly and monthly writing prompts. This week’s theme is: …what is waiting for the full moon. Extra points for mixing mystery with romance.
The ending of this piece was written almost a year ago. I always wanted to rework and expand it, and this was the perfect opportunity.