Chapter Two: The Wedding Dress

Chapter Two: The Wedding Dress

A Chapter by Lonnie Paul Johnson

Zack is compel by his father to help his soon to be step-mother with the planning of the wedding.


Vivian graduated at the end of the school year and was accepted into college with a basketball scholarship.  During the summer she worked part time at a local burger joint and continuing going out with her boyfriend, Jack.  Zackary is happy that Vivian is back in his life, but just friends.  They communicated only by texting and emailing, he would occasionally visit her place of employment to buy a burger so he can see a glimpse of her. But his time wasn’t idle dreaming about Vivian, he worked at his father’s dealership doing odd jobs.  He is also preparing for the major summer event Paul his father, marriage ceremony to the youthful minister Joann. 


A few weeks earlier, he and his sister were shocked to learn that he was dating Joann.   Before that announcement could sink in he declared with joy they are going to get married.  She is young enough to be his daughter, which raised a few eyebrows.  Zackary was surprise by Betty his mother reaction of the upcoming nuptials getting intoxicated and crying.  He remembers the arguing and shouting, she is expressing to her friends how she hated him, “what did I saw in him in the first place,” she would say.   “That no good…” (Sometimes there are few choice curst words that come after that statement) and the word that sum it all up “MEN!”



Paul is sparing no expense for his second wedding, leasing a fleet of limo and having a 5 star hotel catering the reception, a well-known pastry chef is making the huge wedding cake.  The ceremony will be held at Joann church, City of God a mega church; he commission local singers and bands performing during and after the service.  Paul wanted to show Joann and the world how much he loves her. 


But Zackary notes this important project date approaching keeps picturing in his mind a plastic picture frame.  It’s located on his mother’s dresser behind other framed photos of the family, it’s the only snapshot of Betty and Paul on their wedding day. 


The photo was taken over twenty years ago, the color is fading slightly.  The lighting in the picture is poor, showing a skinny Betty dress in a basic peach suit and Paul wearing a black suit that did not fit him.  His mother told him the story many times about that snapshot, they were high school sweethearts and wanting to get married.  He just started a job at the car dealership as a car detailer making minimum wage.  They did not have the money to have a fancy wedding, but she would not shack up with him (living together without being married) so they went to the Justice of The Peace.  Betty mother put together at her home a party to celebrate their marriage and SNAP! the photo was taken with a 35mm instamatic camera.


He has always wondered why his mother kept the picture visible even after the divorce.  That cheap frame with that picture had a permanent spot on her dresser.  The photo gave hope to Zackary that by some kind of miracle the family could be put back together.  But Paul huge wedding looming all hope for that is gone.  For Zackary imagination that photo has become a relic of a lost city never to be found no matter how hard you search for it.


Alice, Zackary sister, kept her promise, refusing to be part of the wedding, “I do not plan to wear an ugly bridesmaid dress for that gold digging, fake minister skank…” she rants using expletives, but she will attend the service for her daddy’s sake.  Zackary agreed to be his father’s best man at the wedding ceremony. 


Paul worked long hours as a sales manager at the car dealership, making him not available to be with his young fiancée planning the ceremony.  He recruited his son to stand in his place accompanying Joann from store to designer boutiques. 


At first he felt weird going around town with his soon to be step-mother, but she did not look like a woman almost 30 years old, the shape of her body and the style of her hair with the freshness of her face she appeared to many as a young adult.  Stepping inside retail stores the clerks assume they are the young couple getting married, she would have to correct them each time.  Zackary anticipated back of his mind that Joann would be like most brides planning their wedding totally focus on getting what they want.  It did not matter if you have to hurt feelings or be rude, it was all about the mission.  But to his surprise Joann is pleasant and thoughtful of others around her and gracious to the clerks helping her. 


She is patience with her bridesmaids trying to choose the right dress they all can agree, some wanted a dress to be like a gown, other like it to be short above the knee, show more skin and off the shoulder.  Joann took it in stride, which took days to resolve, she even has tolerance with Paul when she calls and tell what progress she making and he has not fully paying attention.

Joann doesn’t get upset or is visibly frustrated about anything, Zackary is amaze.  She would take Zackary for meals thank him for accompanying her so she would not be lone running errands for this wedding. 


“Thank you Zack for being the perfect gentleman and so patience with me,” said Joann in her silky smooth voice with a sparkling smile making Zackary feel like a 10 foot tall boy scout very proud. 


He enjoyed going out with Joann getting everything together for her big day, but he did not express his feeling with his father and especially with his mother or sister.  He kept it hidden only showing an attitude of unemotional duty to his father doing the obligations as best man.  The wedding project is coming together smoothly.  The next thing is choosing the wedding dress that should be easy Zackary thought.  Just pick up a white gown off the rack, get it fitted, a simple process.


Three hours, 180 minutes, yes Zackary counted as four women are trying to decide the right dress for Joann at this elegant wedding dress shop.  Bonnie the maid of honor, Joann best friend, Mrs. Harper is playing the role of mother of the bride, she is the First Lady of the church.  For Joann Mrs. Harper is as close to family she has in town.  The saleswoman, a mature, slim frame perfect posture person tries to direct these women in choosing the right dress with very little success. 


Zackary is baffled, why they cannot grab a white something and go.  The length of time in the dress shop has turned this joyous event of three women from two different generations coming together in celebration of womanhood and ushering into the next phase of life to a war of wills.  “You don’t have to be afraid to show a more skin and those attractive shoulders.  Their nothing wrong showing the world a strong and beautiful woman,” express Bonnie.


“Look!  True beauty is on the inside not external things, this outfit must reflex that you respect the significance of the moment.  Something a little more traditional is always best,” answered Mrs. Harper


Joann put on a dress that hugs the body and is strapless giving her a sexy elegant hourglass look.  “Yeah girl, that what I’m talking about,” cheered Bonnie, Joann glance at Mrs. Harper as she is shaking her head disapproving.  She came out the dressing room wearing another dress that cover her shoulders and arms in an ornamented lace, a modest V cut, fitted her frame to the waist then it flair out in a perfect loop on to the floor.  The dress has rolls and rolls of fabric and lace,


“Mmmmm, that look real smart, very pretty,” said Mrs. Harper inspect the outfit, Joann eyes pointed to Bonnie she yarn with a disappointed smirk.    Soon Joann is weary of trying on dresses after dresses.  It’s not a simple garment getting in and out, each time the saleslady goes back in the dressing rooms, assisting her in unbutton, zips up and adjust so she can view it right.


The last dress Joann came out on to be viewed she thought it was cute, but her companion hated it and express their opinions loudly, even the saleslady quietly disapproves of that dress.  Frustrated after trying on so many dresses and not finding one that they all can agree on, she is at the point of picking anything and then go home.  Turning away from her friend desperate and emotionally drained wanting to cry.  ‘Picking a wedding dress shouldn’t be this hard,’ she thought, then she notice Zackary sitting on the sofa, head laying on the armrest watching them, very bored.


“Zack,” he lifts his head up as Joann spoke to him, “what’s your opinion?”


Sitting up straight he did not know how to answer, “Ulmm, ulmm,” he stammers shock that he is drawn into this situation. 


“Oh he don’t know; He just kid, I’ve bet been asleep the whole time; Leave him alone, we don’t have time for this,” Her friend clamored, Joann raised a hand to quiet the ladies as she jester for Zackary to come to her.  She took him by the hand, leading him to the rack of dresses.


“You saw every dress I put on?”  He nodded yes, “tell me which one did you like, we are stuck here and I wanted another opinion like a man’s viewpoint.”  Joann know how to make a person feel good about himself, Zackary knew he can give his opinion confidently without getting his head bitten off.


“Well I like the first dress.” 


Bonnie and Mrs. Harper glance at each other, shaking their heads smirking, but Joann walked over to the rack to examine the dress again as Zackary explained, “The style is an old world classic look, I think it’s make you appear tall and slim, your shoulders are covered but the arm is free.  I think it’s the best of both worlds and if you decide to keep the dress and years later desire to renew your vows I think it’s a good chance that you will be fatter, not so skinny.”


“Opps, no he didn’t say that!”; “Yes he did!” 


Zackary pause, Bonnie and Mrs. Harper are chuckling, “the dress is forgiving and the best of all it can be a family memento one day your daughter can wear it on her wedding day.”


She never considered having a dress that she could pass down to her children, enthusiastically she wanted to try it on again hurrying to the dressing room as the saleswoman in hot pursuit behind her.  A few minutes later she came back out wearing that dress viewing herself in the four way mirrors.  She saw everything Zackary describe about it, the decision is made she wanted the dress the saleswoman is overjoyed because it the most expensive one on the rack. 

Mrs. Harper and Connie tired and defeated strolled to the sofa to wait for Joann to finish purchasing the gown.  Mrs. Harper sat rubbing her feet sore from standing so long and Bonnie prop herself on the sofa arms somewhat relieved this day is almost over.  Mrs. Harper viewing Zackary standing with hands in pocket grinning as he inspects the store interior of Roman style columns and fancy vases filled with beautiful colored silk flowers with artful mannequins displaying the latest styles of ceremonial outfits.


“Zackary, my boy,” called Mrs. Harper, hearing her he steps closer to her, “I see you with your future step-mother all the time, making me think that you’re the lucky man marrying my girl, do your father ever see her?”  She laughs but is not laughing.


“Oh well guess he sees her on dates and stuff, but you know he work long hours because he the sales manager.”


“Yes I know, but tell me something, what you think about your father marrying Joann?”


“Well, I guess it’s ok it’s what they want to do.”


“No, no, I want to know how you feel about young Joann wedding your father.”


Zackary is at a loss for words, seeing that Mrs. Harper is digging for information, should he tell her that he think it’s weird that this marriage is happening so fast.  His sister, mother and the rest of the family hates her, but he finds himself liking her.  Compare to dad’s previous girlfriends she is very plain in the face and body, but when she speaks her words are kind and uplifting to the heart wanting to hear more.  When she preached the Word of God, it come alive, he is amaze being so young to have so much wisdom and insight.  But the craziest thing is before she came into Paul life he never wanted to go to church, now he is attending it regular he even studying the Word.


“Ulmmm,” Zackary is stalling for words to say that convey nothing, and then he felt a gentle hand touching his arm.


“Sorry folks, I took so long, I had to sign the sales slip get out of that dress and put my clothes back on, then I got a phone call from Amy,” Explain Joann.


“Oh how she doing,” ask Connie very concern.


“Well she is doing her best to stay strong.”


“Poor child,” Mrs. Harper is shaking her head in sadness, “too lose your husband to cancer like that so quickly, that almost too hard to take.”


Joann sigh, “It’s make you appreciate how good we have it when we see a good friend go through sorrow, by the Grace of God that could be us.  Life is a precious gift and we are not guarantee tomorrow, I keep praying for Amy for strength and comfort.  If we live long enough, we too will face grief, I hope the Lord will provide a strong shoulder to cry on a stable hand to lift us up, I hope we all are doing that for Amy.”  Her friends nodded in agreement


“Thank you for helping me, I didn’t mean for this to take so long but you all the best, I need to go home, kick off my shoe and dive into a bubble bath.” Joann smiled, her friend totally agree as they hug and kiss goodbye leaving the shop. 


Entering into her car she sat motionless hands on the steering, wheel staring into space, Zackary notice she had not started the car turning to see what the delay is.  He thought she was tired trying to collect her thoughts.


“I loved Paul,” Said Joann still looking ahead, Zackary ears perk up, “I know it looks strange for a young woman wanting to marry a much older man.  My friends are concerned, I guess if I were them, I would be worried too that I’m not beaning wise.”  She leans back slump in the chair turned her head facing Zackary placing her hand above her chest.  “I know some are saying I’m looking for a father figure or because he makes lots of money that I’m looking for a sugar daddy,” her eyes are closed.  “None of that is true, I truly loved him, but it scares me sometimes if I’m doing the right thing.”


Zackary cleared his throat, “If two people are really in love should they marry?”


Opening her eyes optimistically gazing at Zackary innocently looking at her, sat up in the seat pressing the start button of the car turned on roaring light flashing and beeping. “Yes they should, thank you!” putting the car in gear driving out of the parking lot.


© 2014 Lonnie Paul Johnson

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Added on September 2, 2014
Last Updated on September 2, 2014
Tags: romance, comedy


Lonnie Paul Johnson
Lonnie Paul Johnson

fort Worth, TX

I loved writing stories, when I was young I wrote very simple and crude stories base off of TV shows and movies I seen at the time. An event happen when during that time I believe influence my writin.. more..