Doing the Right ThingBy: Elizabeth Lennox
“Spill it, woman! Why are you marrying a man you don’t love?” Becca demanded. The soft sounds of Christmas music played in the background of the beautiful hotel in the heart of New Orleans as the other hotel guests bustled around them, eager to get to their destination.
Tallia and Jane nodded in agreement, the three of them staring at the fourth member of their group. The four of them had been friends since their freshman year in college. Years later, they were all here in New Orleans, ready to celebrate Lillian’s wedding. It had always been Lillian’s dream to be married close to Christmas, loving the festive decorations as well as the extravagance of New Orleans.
But now, everything was falling apart. As they sat in the gorgeous hotel situated in the famous French Quarter, Lillian’s mouth opened and closed, but she wasn’t sure what to say. In the end, her whole body sort of…deflated.
“I messed up,” she whispered and covered her powder blue eyes with her hands. Humiliation, anger, frustration, and an increasing sense of panic consumed her. She’d been losing sleep, hadn’t been eating and now, only a few days before her wedding, she was losing weight. That wasn’t normally a problem, but her mother had chosen a wedding dress worth almost one hundred thousand dollars, an obscene amount to be spent on one dress, which meant that losing or gaining weight was forbidden.
Lifting her head again, she looked at the three ladies that were staring back at her and knew that she’d have to tell them the truth. The four of them had been through so much over the years…college, starting their careers, and all the annoying boyfriends and bosses. They even met up for long weekends and vacations, catching up on each other’s lives. So, these ladies knew each other better than they sometimes knew themselves.
“How?” Tallia asked, placing her hand on Lillian’s arm. “What in the world could induce you to marry a man when you’re obviously not in love with him?”
Lillian lifted her head and sniffed delicately. She wasn’t surprised that Tallia had figured out what was bothering her. The woman always figured things out quickly. Taking a deep breath, she patted the tears under her eyes, trying to control her emotions. Shaking her head, she finally admitted the truth. “I got angry.”
The three of them stared blankly at her, not understanding. “Honey, you never get angry,” Jane commented.
She smiled, but shook her head. “I do when George Walker is around.” She looked at her friends and knew that she needed to explain everything. “Here’s the thing, on my twenty-fifth birthday, I will inherit controlling interest in the Sousier hedge fund. It’s worth about three hundred million dollars. On my wedding day, I will also inherit approximately twenty million dollars, which will be mine completely.”
She looked at her friends, waiting for their judgment. During college, Lillian hadn’t had a huge living expense account. She’d struggled right along with the others and actually enjoyed the challenge of surviving on a budget, even though she hadn’t needed to. She knew that hadn’t been the case for her friends. So, she waited for their judgment.
So, when all they said was, “Okay, so you’re rich,” Lillian was ashamed. She should have known better. These three women were amazing and didn’t judge. They simply accepted life for what it was; complicated, messy, and sometimes glorious.
“And dull,” Tallia teased. When the others gave her a look, she shrugged. “Seriously? She’ll be managing a hedge fund? How boring is that?”
Jane and Becca mumbled words of disagreement, but Lillian laughed.
“She’s right,” Lillian agreed. “It is boring. And what’s more, I’ve been trying to learn the business for the past two years.” She looked up through her lashes at her friends, feeling the burning sting of humiliation heat her cheeks. “That’s where George comes in.”
“Who is George?” Jane asked gently. Of the four, Jane was the most gentle. As a school teacher, she believed in the goodness of everyone, had faith that each of her students would eventually find their passion. That also applied to her friends, neighbors and family. She believed that there was a passion inside of everyone, each person just needed to find it and explore.