The Wedding Bells Part 5 (Flash Fiction Chain #6)

The beautiful photograph above serves as a photo prompt for Flash Fiction Chain #6 hosted by Jithin of Photrablogger. In this chain, many authors from around the world and from different time zones participate, writing consecutive parts in a beautifully orchestrated story telling.

Anna Brighton- a 32 year old CEO that owns and runs a publishing company

Alex Burns – well established author, Anna’s ex-boyfriend, Toby Blackwell’s cousin

Melissa Doyle – the bride, Anna’s dear friend

Toby Blackwell – co-owns the Blackwell estate, Alexis’ cousin

(Supporting characters)

Jenny- Anna’s secretary

Adam – Owner of Adam and Eve’s

Harrison – Melissa’s fiance.

This is part 5. To read the previous four wonderful parts, click the links below:

PART 1 by Sona

PART 2 by Yinglan

PART 3 by Priceless Joy

PART 4 by Frenesthetist

PART 5 is mine:

Oh, the hen party! The stripping “policeman” was a fabulous dancer. The “police van” took them to a private venue and the women all gave Melissa gifts. She opened them and there were shouts of laughter!

“Look at her blush!” as Melissa held up a scanty see through short neglige.

“Model, model!” shouted the women, as Melissa covered her mouth laughing.

“Here, I’ll do that,” said the dancer, and he strutted around in the filmy top. He stayed in his thong and Melissa would not let him model the very naughty underwear. “Oh!” she said, “I thought I couldn’t be embarassed!” They were quite lacy, see through and absent the crotch.

“This one!” said Anna. Melissa tore off the shiny wrapping and ribbon. It was a black box, with a screen. It was a camera, but how odd. “No download?” said Melissa, looking at Anna.

“No download,” nodded Anna. “You can take pictures but only view them in the camera. It destroys the chip if someone tries to open it.”

“Oh!” said Melissa.

“So….,” Anna grinned, “Your husband and you can take pictures with no fear that anyone else will see them.”

Melissa laughed. “You win. That is the naughtiest present of all.”

And the party continued…

It was nearly dawn, with just the faintest lightening in the east, when the “police van” returned Melissa and Anna to the estate. Jenny and the others were driven to their homes or hotels as well.

Anna helped Melissa to her bed. Melissa was nearly asleep on her feet, though she had stopped drinking some hours ago. Anna was happy that no one had partied until they were sick. Melissa flopped face down on her bed and kicked off her shoes. “Night!” Anna thought Melissa was already asleep.

Anna  was glad that they had a day to rest and get ready for the wedding tomorrow. She started back to her room, but she was not quite sleepy.   She wanted to walk a little. It was a bit lighter. “Surely the gardens are safe,” she thought. Her room had doors onto a patio, and she slipped outside.

The sky was lighter, with turquoise fading up into blue black, and a few small clouds that were tinged at the bottom with gold. The house was dark and quiet. The gardens smelled of roses. She stepped onto the path very quietly.

She wandered a little. She could smell the flowers almost before she could see them. Gardenias. Fresia. More roses. The grass was dewy and it was still just barely cool.


She stopped. A noise. She was frightened for a moment and stood very still. Someone else. She heard quiet footsteps, ahead. Moving away. And then she heard bells. Bells, high and sweet.

She slipped her shoes off and picked them up. She tiptoed forward, quiet as a mouse, and looked around the next rosebush.

It was Alex. He was on his knees. He was humming. And when he moved, she heard the bells.

She watched and he turned. He held a small paper cone, with ribbons and small bells at the end of the ribbons. He placed a forget-me-not among the miniature roses and ferns in the cone. Then he smiled and walked very quietly towards the house.

Anna was intrigued. She followed, quiet, quiet, freezing when he stopped.

She followed him into the house and up the stairs. She felt like a spy or someone watching a romance. Who were the flowers for?

He stopped a little ways from a bedroom door. He wrote something on the cone, but she couldn’t see what. He placed the cone carefully on the floor a bit in front of the bedroom door and then he backed towards her. Anna slipped back behind a long curtain, peeping out. Now he was standing, peering at the door.

They waited. Anna tried to breathe very quietly.

After 20-30 minutes, there were noises in the room. The door opened. A small girl in bright pink pajamas came out, rubbing one eye. She stopped with her fist against her eye, staring at the cone of flowers. She swooped forward and studied the writing. She swept the cone up, hugged it with the small bells ringing and rushed back in her room. “Mama! Mama! Look! They know I am the flower girl!”

Alex turned and Anna could see his face. He looked as young as the little girl and just as delighted. He covered his mouth and stepped quietly down the hall.

Anna stood behind her curtain. This Alex, this was one that she didn’t know. When they were children, they knew each other a little. Once they had been playing at a friend’s and had teamed up to make up an elaborate play, with princes and princesses fighting dragons together. But they had rarely played when they were younger. When they had dated, he was so serious and driven and professional, she just felt cold and eventually gave up. He seemed to only care for his writing and his career.

Anna went back to her room, wondering. Was this really Alex? Was he affected by the cupid’s spirit that Melissa had mentioned? Maybe he WAS the household “cupid’s spirit”. Could he really be a romantic inside that tough exterior?

She fell asleep and dreamed of bells and flowers and….

Part 6  written by Sweety

Part 7 written by Itchy Quill

Part 8: written by on Ruth

Part 9: written by Austin

Part 10 : written by Rashmi

Part 11: written by Phaena

Part 12: written by Manvi

Part 13: written by Sona

Part 14: written by Yinglan

Bill Cosby and the Real Men

I do not want to decide if Bill Cosby is guilty. I am not on a jury nor am I his judge. But I do have a question: Where are the men?

Women have come forward. Woman after woman. They were younger than him and he was already famous and on his way. But there were men there too, who worked with him. Why haven’t we heard from them? We have heard from only one man.

Various people say how dare these women come forward after all this time. But back then, I think that if a woman had gone to the police, the attitude may well have been, “You were out with a married man. You can’t prove anything, you slut whore.”

Why do I say this? In my second year of medical school, in 1990, we had a lecture about domestic violence and rape. A day or two later, I was with four people from my class: we were two men and three women.

One of the men said, “If I were a woman who was raped, I would never tell anyone.”

I said, “Oh, I’d be in the emergency room getting a rape kit done for evidence and I’d have his ass in jail immediately.”

Silence. Then he said, “Um. Wow. Can I ask why?”

I explained that I had been sexually abused by a neighbor at seven. Being a bit clueless, I asked my mother about what it meant when a guy rubbed his penis on a girl. She explained sex. I got worried that I was pregnant, I was sure that I was no longer a virgin and I thought it was my fault. And I told my four year old sister never ever to go near him. I think my mother had no idea what was in my head. I had a doctor appointment a few months later and decided that I probably was not pregnant, because surely the doctor would have noticed. I felt guilty and at fault for letting it happen. I was seven. On the school bus to second grade I thought sadly that I was the only girl who was not a virgin.

I was lucky in the I could and did stop it. It was not a family member. I stood up for myself at seven.

I revisited it in college. I heard a program about how rape victims feel and how guilty and at fault they feel. And how they are often treated with suspicion, what were they doing to inflame the man? I was so stunned as they described the feelings that I had at age 7 that I burned the bacon I was cooking.

“So,” I said, “If I walk naked down the street, I am fine with being arrested for indecency. But no one can rape me. That is violence and it is illegal.”

The medical school men continued to look at me. “See?” I said, “I am ok. I think the perception is still that women are “ruined” and destroyed by rape. The numbers of women experiencing rape or domestic violence is one in four.”

“Yes,” said one of the guys, “But I didn’t believe that.”

“Well, we have three women here.” We all looked at the other two. One nodded yes and the other shook her head no.

After the child abuse lecture, the male student came to me. “I thought of you during the lecture. What you said will make me treat women who have been abused differently. Thank you.”

So: where are the men who worked with Cosby? Was this an open secret?

If the women are telling the truth, then the men who worked with Cosby know. I am afraid that the silence means:

They didn’t want to know.
They turned a blind eye.
They tell themselves they can’t prove it.
He was the goose laying the golden egg.
Those girls deserved what they got, he was a married man.

So: Where are the REAL MEN who worked with Bill Cosby? If it is true and they stay silent, they are accomplices. Every single one of them should call their lawyer and say, “I saw evidence that supports what the women are saying. Please contact their lawyers so that I can make a statement.” Or: “I am willing to make a statement that I worked with Bill Cosby for x years and never saw anything suspicious.” Not a statement for the press. A statement that they will stand by in court: that it’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

And think if it had been men being preyed on. Take that as a scenario. Men would have screamed the house down and what’s more they would have been believed. And they would not be accused of leading him on or being whores or being sluts or asked what they were wearing.

Will the Real Men who worked with Bill Cosby please stand up.