That's fitting, Alice thought, wanting to get this appointment with the devil over with as quickly as she could.
“Good morning, Isabelle!” her mother chimed in a sparkling voice, approaching her with arms outstretched, ready to embrace her. Isabelle responded with a superficial hug, barely touching Ruthanne.
“Morning....” she said lamely.
Alice and Isabelle nodded their mutual greetings to each other, sizing up their opponent and exchanging a subtle challenge to one another as their eyes met.
There is no way you are going to win this, Isabelle, thought Alice, as they remained stationary, letting Ruthanne take the lead entering the shop.
But a sudden intense look from Isabelle seemed to challenge her, saying, Bring it, wench!
The bridal shop was decorated elegantly with ice blue French toile wallpaper and life-size iron dress forms, with the romantic background music found in old black and white films. There were two large crystal chandeliers dripping on opposite ends of the store, each centered over a semi-circle of full-length mirrors, just waiting to exhibit the bride in all her glory.
Alice heard her mother catch her breath as they entered the store.
“Isn’t this glorious?” she gasped.
“Hmmm, lovely,” Isabelle responded, her voice and demeanor screaming boredom.
“Why, I don’t even know where to start looking,” Ruthanne continued.
Just then a sleek looking woman in an ice blue pantsuit approached us. She did not have a name tag, but it was apparent she belonged with the store.
“You must be the McGoverns,” she said silkily. She spoke in a hushed tone, making her voice sound throaty and sexy. “My name is Celeste. I will be assisting you today.”
She then began to interview the prospective brides, asking them about where they would be married and what type of a gown they were looking for.
“I want a simple church wedding. It will be small and informal, so I was thinking a simple A-line dress would be best, one that covers my shoulders,” Alice answered. Celeste listened attentively but before she could respond, was distracted by Isabelle’s mocking snicker, who was standing by one of the dress forms.
Isabelle dropped the lacey skirt distastefully and said, without even looking up at the others, “Sounds lovely.”
“Ahem,” Alice continued, deciding it was better to soldier on than to give in this easily. “I was thinking some lace detailing on the bodice and sleeves would be pretty, and not too overwhelming.”
“Yes, we mustn’t overwhelm your guests with anything that is fashionable. Much better to bore them to death,” Isabelle remarked, issuing an exaggerated yawn.
“I think I have a few dresses that would fit your description beautifully, and I also have a few ideas of my own for dresses that would look amazing on you,” Celeste piped in quickly, looking nervously at Isabelle, still wandering around the shop, fingering and sneering at all the gowns on display.
Alice nodded at Celeste, but her face was starting to turn a deep shade of magenta. She was trying to ignore the attitude oozing from Isabelle, but it was getting harder and harder to keep her cool.
Next up was Ruthanne. “This is a second marriage for both of us, and I am not exactly a spring chicken anymore,” she started, laughing nervously, trying to ignore Isabelle’s stifled snort of laughter. “I was thinking a lovely sheath dress and jacket would be quite appropriate for me.”
“Are you thinking of going with white, or another soft color?” Celeste asked; her sleek blond hair bobbing as she spoke.
“I would still love to wear white,” Ruthanne replied.
“Are you sure you want white?” Isabelle inquired, looking pointedly at Ruthanne as she spoke.
“Well, yes of course,” she stammered.
“I don’t think home wreckers should be allowed to wear white. Period,” Isabelle sneered.
“A….what?” Ruthanne looked baffled, and more than a little embarrassed.
“I’m going to start pulling some dresses, ladies,” Celeste interjected, leaving in a hurry.
“You heard me. You’re nothing but a home-wrecking gold-digger looking for your next easy pickings!” Isabelle continued, pointing her finger into Ruthanne’s chest.
“I have no idea what you are talking about, Isabelle,” she said, her eyes welling up with tears. “I truly don’t. I have known your father for a long time, but I didn’t meet him until after he was already divorced.”
“It’s women like you that drive men like him away from their families!” Isabelle nearly yelled.
“Come on, Isabelle, you know this isn’t fair,” Alice tried to interfere, concerned over her mother’s emotional state. Her patience was just about gone. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I know exactly what I’m talking about!” Isabelle screamed, her face twisting in ugly anger. “My father destroyed every dream I had of a happy family when he divorced my mother! Now you think you can flounce right in and take her place?”
“Honey, I think no such thing. I just hope that you and I can be friends,” Ruthanne spoke softly, reaching out to Isabelle with her hand outstretched. “Maybe it will take a little time, but please just give it a chance.”
Isabelle swatted Ruthanne’s hand away, like it was an insult for her to even consider the peace offering.
That was it for Alice. The surge of anger and the need for retribution could no longer be ignored. Before Isabelle even knew what hit her, Alice had taken a flying leap at her, a snarling scream escaping her lips. Dress forms and gowns were at once in the air as the two women fell, rolling across the showroom floor like a pair of brawling street cats.
Check back tomorrow to find out how the fight ends!