MORE OF SOMETHING MORE,
a story about a salesman trying to establish himself,
a CEO scheming to buy out his father's influenceand the woman important to each
Atom Green sketched a circle around the lawn filling with wedding guests. With blazer, expensive grass-wet shoes and baseball cap, he looked like a hybrid worker-guest, which allowed him to stroll without challenge about the dais and arbor. All the while thoughts of Helen and Slade quickened his pulse and caused his teeth to clench.
He became fixated on the arbor that stood eight feet high. He had watched as workers laced its bare metal skeleton with willow limbs then festooned the arch with purple and white hyacinth, creating something tribal and elemental that stretched for and was framed by the sky. When positioned to the east, he could see the surging marine-green ocean through the portal; looking uphill from the west, the earth clad in bladed green. It was unity of sky, sea, earth and -- fire, the human spirit represented by bride and groom. But the nightmare was Slade pulling Helen through to lock her in a future dominated by him. Real, symbolic or just imagined, he had to save her.
As two p.m. approached, ushers helped the celebrants to their seats in the semi-circle of chairs, behind which two tents on either side of an inlaid wooden path served as staging points for the wedding party. When the groom entered, Atom had to restrain himself from staring at his erstwhile peer and competitor, Dave Forester.
Anticipation grew, reflected in rising chatter. A priest in purple vestments stood waiting to begin. Atom crept closer, pinballing behind scattered people watching from the lawn. He recognized some in the audience, like his former sales manager Jeremy Port, the chairman and others, and was ready to flinch if recognized. Meanwhile, the scheduled starting time came and went and the impatient crowd seemed to urge the ceremony on. Then he heard something like a group exhalation as a procession of about a dozen followers led by the CEO descended from the mansion. His straining eyes looked for Helen then spotted her, hidden behind Slade. Only on their passing did he get a clear view. She looked straight ahead and did not see him, affording him an intimate peek at her absorbed, beautiful face.
The group settled in the front row, as Slade mounted the dais to stand beside the perplexed priest. He gazed over the assembly like a conqueror, then said “Begin,” and took the seat beside Helen.
Wanting to be in her line of vision, Atom positioned himself beyond and to the left of the arbor. He removed his cap and ran his fingers through his dark hair and stood defiantly revealed. She looked forward though not far enough, it seemed.
The bridal parties entered and deployed to their positions and then the bride and groom completed the set. Under the brilliant sun --gleaming white dresses, crisp suits, sharp creases and beaming smiles all around.
Finally, the groom kissed the bride to loud applause and then led her through the arbor and back onto the dais. They posed for pictures while the assembly disbanded, some lingering and others heading toward the mansion. Atom moved swiftly to where she was standing, and reached out to take her hand. “Helen,” he implored.
Her eyes seemed to acknowledge him though her face showed no affect. He pulled her hand and she followed him up the sloping lawn. Looking over his shoulder once and then again he could not see a pursuit, though felt vulnerable crossing the wide expanse. He thought of ducking indoors, but didn’t want to see anybody, so headed for the side of the building near the service entrance. When they turned the corner, he stopped and looked squarely at her open yet unseeing eyes. “Say something! What’s wrong?”
Without warning, Slade pushed him aside and lifted her like a doll, her arms swaying limply. He kissed her full on the mouth. “She wants to be with me,” he sneered. Atom rushed him, but felt a tug on the collar and then pain in the back of the head—
I'll be taking a break to participate in National Novel Writing Month, so the next chapter will be posted by December 31..
The characters and events in this story are fictitious and do not represent any living person or real event.