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Friday, November 9

Book Excerpt - Groom and Doom

My mom stayed in the room and assisted me, clasping the pearls around my neck.

"Thanks, Mom. Can you please do all the buttons in the back? It's zipped, but I couldn't reach to do the rest.”

“Sure, sweetie. You know, I'm not trying to rush you, but the carriage is supposed to be here soon."

 "Okay, Mom. I just have the skirt and shoes to put on downstairs and I'm almost ready.”

“You look beautiful."

"Oh, you're supposed to say that," I teased, leaning in to embrace her. The flattering pale golden suit she wore felt silky to the touch. My alternate universe self wore a gown six sizes smaller and had such flawless skin she didn't even need much make-up. My current self, in this universe, had to deal with the rounder face and bigger gown size.

Liana appeared like the angel of Greek salads.

 "It's really good. I had some in the kitchen," she said.

Forkfuls kept finding their way into my mouth, and I smiled in agreement. "Hey, can you take down this toast while I dictate?"

 "Sure," she said, opening the tiny silver notepad she brought with her, getting ready to pen her neat, curvy, slanted cursive she had graced so many holiday and birthday cards with over the years.

"I've thought about this so much over the last few weeks. Let's see." I sprinkled some golden shimmery glitter dust across my chest and shoulders, evening it with my hands as I spoke. "Every once in a while I remind Stavros of the Savage Garden song that makes me think of him, with the words, 'I think I dreamed you into life.' But the truth is you are even more than I could have thought to dream. I wanted you and all of our family to know how much I love you and how magical it is to be with you here today. Thank you all for being here, including Sophia."

"That's wonderful," Liana said in approval.

"Do you think I need to add or change anything? Is the part about Sophia okay?"

 "It's perfect." She smiled, the glint of a tear managing not to escape from one of her lids.

After taking the standard getting ready pictures such as my mother helping me put on my veil, my sliding on the something-blue garter, my looking in the mirror to check my appearance, my descent down the stairs, I somehow managed to meet the impatient carriage driver.

I couldn't fathom his anxiousness—didn't he know it was a Greek tradition for the bride to be running late? It was one of the few protocols I uncovered in the quest for Greek wedding information. What a relief it was that I could effortlessly accomplish the expected outcome, even if it was to the dismay of the driver.

Some people have the gift of being able to wear a paper bag and still look good. Marilyn Monroe was photographed in a burlap potato sack for a pin up. This man could have been put into a tuxedo, but somehow still appear sloppy. Today he had on a white button-down shirt and dark blue pants, and non-descript, scuffed loafers. He held the reins in a relaxed slump, his salt and pepper hair short and going every which way.

How surreal to step up into the worn and touched-up white carriage car, a tired white horse at the helm. The horse, carriage, and driver were the unenhanced version before the Disney fairy godmother worked her magic to upgrade them to new and improved. Where was she now?

My father extended his hand, assisting my mother up the step. "Liana, you should come, too." He reached his arm toward her, even though her eyebrows raised and her eyes darted about her. She obediently took his hand and climbed the stair. I was the last but not least addition to the seats, savoring the grip of my father's hand and his gentle force making sure I guided myself and the entire length of the satiny skirt into the carriage, crunching it around me so it would not take up the whole cab.

From the photos I would later view, my uncle sprinted ahead to take shots of what was occurring at the church—the hoisting of the wrought iron candelabra into the interior, the groom poses with siblings, in-laws, and father. The line-up of guys pretending to push Stavros into the church. The feigned annoyance at my delay, staring at watches.

Meanwhile, I waved to Kimberly, who shot flatteringly from the villa window above—an angle that sheds at least ten pounds. Yay, Kimberly! 

Before I knew it we were trotting down the tiny cobblestone street toward the beloved harbor. Passersby in the street threw wrapped small hard candies and waved. I caught some of the candy and tucked it into my purse as a souvenir. This was one of the few moments I welcomed and enjoyed the festive attention; I was the bride being whisked off to the biggest moment of my life.

The ultimate emotional pinnacle is getting to marry the only man I thought about. I did not even consider ever wanting to be with anyone else. Attractive men would pass through my daily life, completely unacknowledged by me. This was it. This was all I ever wanted. This was the state of being I had always dreamed of.

Groom and Doom: A Greek Love Story gives a realistic portrayal of a day that ends up less like the fairytale so many girls dream of and more like a roller coaster ride without the brakes. Angela must listen to her heart when a tarot card reading before the wedding in Crete casts a ray of doubt on her happily-ever-after. She resolves to let her relationship and her destiny take flight. 

And the family drama ensues. Soon after the bride and groom arrive in Greece, they are tormented mentally and emotionally by the groom’s father, Georgius. Tensions rise and Angela’s body reacts to the stress, all while she begins to realize she has absolutely no control over anything related to the ceremony. 

She and Stavros finally escape to Venice for their romantic honeymoon where she is haunted by ridiculous sightings of Georgius, her mind warped by the wedding’s trauma. Angela prays the honeymoon will still be magical enough to keep them together. 

Love is war, one that is complicated by a host of human flaws. The newlyweds duck for cover from an obstinate father-in-law lighting the fuse, as they struggle to avoid their relationship’s complete annihilation.

About the Author:

Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides. An English teacher and adjunct college professor for over thirteen years, she continues to share her enthusiasm for literary arts with her students. She earned a Master's in English literature with a thesis on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

In her spare time, she enjoys delving into her own creative writing, painting, photography and even ghost hunting. Spending time with her family and traveling as often possible are two of her passions. In fact, her world meanderings are often backdrops for her work. Striving to make the world a better place is something dear to her heart.

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