After an interminable number of photographs: bride and groom; group shots; with family and without; the entire wedding party; the reception was in full swing. Cake eaten, speeches made, it was time for the dancing. The band had set up beside the swimming pool and the guests made their way to the dance floor. But first there was one more ritual in a ritual filled day, the tossing of the bouquet.
It seemed the bride didn’t know her own strength. What should have been a gentle toss became a mighty throw. With her back to the crowd of wedding guests she hurled the bouquet over her shoulder, high into the air. Splash! What had originally been a presentation bouquet now lay floating in the pool. The roses floated there, bright in the sunshine, their red colour contrasting with the blue of the water. Slowly they drifted apart, separating into two loose bunches. There was a lighthearted struggle as a group of female guests vied for the pool-net to fish the remains of the bouquet from the pool. The bouquet had started out with twelve red roses but two hadn’t made it as far as the water. Unnoticed, one guest bent to pick up the two roses that lay at the side of the pool. She lifted the flowers to her nose and savoured their perfume, a faint smile flitted across her face. She stood up and walked over to the best man. He bent towards her in greeting and she whispered into his ear, ‘Here’s to this time next year.’ Her lips brushed his cheek. He reddened. She walked away, he returned to his wife.
She mused about whether it was unlucky to gather only part of the bouquet, a part picked up off of the ground, at that. No matter, if everything went as planned, she’d be married in a year’s time. Gaining the bouquet, or at least a part of it, had been a bonus. That small action in itself reassured her she was on the right path.
He watched her from across the patio. Was she making a genuine play for him? He glanced at his wife, cold and unforgiving, with rarely a kind word to say to him. After two loveless years he could be forgiven for yearning after something more. He looked back at the pool. The tussling over the pool net was long over. A small group of women stood giggling over a soggy handful of roses, the remaining flowers floated out of their reach. He strode over to the pool and took up the net, with his superior reach he was able to snag the rest of the flowers.
With the balance of the roses dripping from his hand he, made his way to the woman who had approached him earlier. Offering her the remains of the sodden bouquet it was his turn to whisper in her ear, ‘Why wait until next year?’
Written in response to the Creative Writing Ink November 6th writing prompt competition