by super sleuth
A hurricane almost destroys Carla's wedding and almost causes her to lose her life.
|"Who are you? You look familiar, you have my cool blue eyes, and yet they are sad. Why are you sad?
"Carla, Carla are you in there? Your guests
are waiting, Carla answer me. If you're in there, answer me, PLEASE."
Startled by the intrusion, Carla blinks her eyes and realizes where she is.
"I'll be right out daddy, I have to fix my
"Alright honey hurry up. Everyone is waiting."
Gazing at her reflection in the cold surface of the mirror she realizes, no amount of make-up was going to change how she felt.
"Why bother, you're just a shell of what you once were. Without him, you're...nothing."
Patting her eyes dry, a sigh escapes herlips, it is a sound of resignation she has recently become very familiar with.
"This was supposed to be the happiest day of my life, but how can I be happy when every time I turn my back Greg disappears? Why is it that Angel, my Maid-of-Honor, my confidant, my best friend in all the world, also disappears? What are they up to? Where do they go? I know he loves me...I think he loves me? He wouldn't have asked me to marry him if he didn't love me, would he? Then why is he with her and not me? Calm down Carla there has to be a good reason."
Taking a deep breath, Carla raises her head up high, exhales, and take another deep breath.
"There that's better." she says to her reflection.
Looking in the mirror she straightens her veil, smooths out her wedding gown, and smiles.
"OK Carla, you can do this. I Just hope this false mask you're wearing fools everyone...including me"
Carla's knees feel weak as she exits the bridal chamber and her body starts trembling. A cold chill consumes her and she clutches at her throat.
"I must have given myself a sore throat from crying so much. Damn them both for hurting me like this." As Carla's anger wells up inside,
she heads toward the ball room.
The band was playing the Electric Slide as she enter the ball room. Everyone was laughing and dancing, and she could hear the clink of their glasses. The busboys were clearing dishes off the tables, and the bartenders were serving drinks to her guests.
"I sure could use a cold beer right now, my throat feels so hot and sore, but, I can't waste another minute, I must find him." She thinks to herself, as she looks around the crowded room.
Entering the reception hall her eyes search the vast expanse of the beautifully decorated room, hoping to see the face of the only person that matters...Greg.
Off in the distance a muffled clap of thunder can be heard. The weatherman said Hurricane Karla was approaching the east coast shoreline, and that the eye of the hurricane would pass over New York City around 8:30 PM. Although it's still daylight, the storm clouds have turned day into night.
"This has become the worst day of my life. First Hurricane Karla is outside spoiling my wedding, then Greg tells me our honeymoon to Hawaii will have to be postponed because of the storm. Now he's off some where fooling around with Angel. What's one more disappointment in the life of Carla Reynolds, correction...Carla Maxwell, my life is filled with disappointments, and Greg turned out to be my biggest disappointment," she anguishes, as the lights flicker again.
Mr Reynolds had previously made arrangements for all their guests to spend the night here at the Ritz-Carlton. He wanted to make sure everyone would be safe and not have to drive home in the hurricane. He booked the rooms in advance for everyone, he knew the storm was coming and wanted everyone to be able to stay and enjoy his daughter's wedding.
"I'm glad everyone is having a good time, too bad I'm not enjoying it."
Suddenly, the lights flicker off, the room is bathed in darkness, except for the lit candles on each table. The hotel employees start scurrying around for more candles. Carla hears everyone in the Grand Ball Room murmuring about the storm. The hurricane has become the new topic of conversation. The band had stopped playing and was putting away their instruments. The hotel employees placed candles strategically around the room, on tables in the hallways, and in the powder rooms so the guest won't have to fumble around in the dark.
The band had prepared for the storm in advance. Not wanting to risk damaging their sensitive electronic equipment as a result of a power surge or a lightning strike, they brought replacement instruments with them. No one seemed to notice or even care if the music has a different sound. The laughter, the dancing, and the music continued as planned. As long as the drinks flowed freely everyone seemed happy, everyone...except Carla.
When the band started up again, it had a much different sound. It had the soothing sound of long ago. A sound that caresses the soul and eases the spirit. A sound that was warm and inviting befitting the ambiance of the candle lit room. It was pure sound, a soft romantic sound, the way music was meant to be played.
Carla thought about the lovely music that makes you want to hold and caress the person you love. "And where is my love? Why isn't he caressing and holding me as we dance to the wonderful soothing music? This should be our dance, a dance
of marital bliss, a dance celebrating our love for each other. Where are you Greg?"
As the lights come back on Carla scans the vast expanse of the ball room, she notice Greg in the far corner deep in conversation with...Angel. Their heads are bent close together, laughing.
"I wonder if they're laughing at me?" Carla fumes, as she watches Angel place her left hand caressingly on Greg's cheek, she sees him bend over Angel's shoulder to whisper something in her ear. Angel smiles laughingly up at him, rises from her chair and exits the back door. His eyes trail after her, and a few seconds later he gets up and follows after her, looking anxiously over his shoulder.
"How could he embarrass me like this at our wedding? That two timing snake. Who do they think they are, carrying on behind my back, and making a laughing stock out of me? I'll never be able to face anyone ever again. They're not even trying to hide it. I'll get him, I'll get even with them both."
Like a steaming tea pot, Carla's blood starts to boil. Her nostrils flare as forced air escapes the open portals. Her cool blue eyes are no longer blue. Dark as the night they turn. She feels the rage building up within her, and her cheeks feel the heat of a raging forest fire. The angry storm outside can't compare to the storm brewing within her.
"How apropos to name a disastrous hurricane after me, on this disaster of a wedding day."
Her trembling hands open and close clutching at the skirt of her gown, crushing the delicate satin material in her clenched fingers. The whites of her knuckles, a chain of snow capped mountains amid an ocean of molten lava. Carla's hot arid lips are pressed together in a thin line, tensed and ready to offer a barrage of insults to those two sneaking cheats.
"If I were a dragon I would be breathing fire at them right now. I'd char the flesh off their bones, and leave what's left of their bodies to rot in the hot sun to be picked clean by hungry vultures. Stay calm girl, keep it under control, don't lose it now. Just wander across the room like nothing has happened, you can do it, just a little further, keep that happy face mask in place just a little bit longer. You're almost there. Follow them, but don't let them see you, and don't let anyone else see you either."
Trying desperately to stay calm, Carla approaches the door they exited. Suddenly a booming clap of thunder reverberates the room and everything goes dark again. An eerie glow emanates the outer perimeter of the dance floor, while dark slithering shadows slide in and out of the flickering candlelight. Like moths being drawn to a flame, the shadows drift toward their individual campfires. Clustered around each campfire, story tellers weave their tales of truths, and lies, but mostly...lies.
Carla over hears uncle Cyrus say, "Watch out for Karla, she's ready to explode, at any minute now she will be at her worst. Karla is a volcano ready to erupt, taking down everything in her path."
"How could uncle Cyrus know that? How could he know what I am feeling, what I'm thinking? Am I that transparent? I thought I was safe behind this mask. Oh God, help me! I have to get out of here. I can't let anyone see me this way"
Lifting her gown Carla starts running out the doorway, out into the dim candle lit hall. Carla doesn't even notice that the lights came back on. And as the tears well up in her eyes blinding her, she has no clue as to where she is going, she just knows any place is better than here.
Hearing the ding of the elevator announcing its arrival, Carla races toward the sound, knowing that it is a means of escape. As the elevator door slides open she shoves the exiting passengers out of her way and pushes her way inside. Frantically searching for the correct button she finally presses, L. As the door slides shut she collapses to the floor. Leaning against the back wall Carla weakly pounds her fist upon the shiny cold hard surface of the elevator wall, bruising her tender skin, her pounding, echoing the rhythm of the thunder outside.
Her solitary cell is but a momentary respite from prowling eyes. Feeling temporarily safe, Carla dabs at her tear stained eyes. Her dark mascara smearing the hollow depressions giving her eyes a deathly sinister appearance. Rising to her feet she trips over her veil. Carla tears at it and drops it to the floor.
"No longer will I ever wear a veil over my eyes. I will not be blinded by love anymore," she cries, as her voice echos back at her.
Coughing, Carla covers her mouth with her hand, she starts to gag and expels the remnants of her wedding feast all over her recently discarded veil. Feeling extremely hot, and becoming claustrophobic, Carla repeatedly presses L. Her safe haven has now become a heated tomb she desperately wishes to escape.
As the door slides open, Carla rushes to exit the elevator tripping over her veil, now covered
with the remains of her dinner. Carefully stepping over it, Carla exits and looks around the Lobby, thankfully it is empty. Clutching at her throat, Carla looks for something to quench her thirst. Not seeing anything to drink Carla heads out the main exit. Wiping her nose with the sleeve of her Christian Dior wedding dress, Carla exits the hotel.
As Carla emerges into the waiting arms of the hurricane, the terrifying sounds of the angry storm become magnified a hundred fold. Within seconds, the pelting rain plasters the once beautifully flowing gown to her body, leaving no mystery as to what lies beneath. Her soaked dress is now flapping in the gale force winds like sails searching to fulfill their destiny. Invisible hands snatch at her clothing pulling her onward. She revels in the coolness of the storm, as it soothes the fires burning deep within her body. As if in a trance, she lets the storm pull her into its embrace. Slowly she steps forward, staggering on the slippery steps and stumbling as she descends into the bowels of hell. For it is hell, without Greg. With her arms raised in front of her she cups her hands to collect the cool refreshing nectar. Gulping, and gasping, she chokes on the liquid, unable to swallow.
"Oh, merciful God in Heaven, lift me with your gentle hands and carry me to a place where there is no pain." she prays into the howling wind,
her raspy voice lost, dispersed into the void of the storm, carrying it to an unknown secret place."
Her neatly quaffed up-do, is no longer recognizable, it is ravaged by the wind and rain. Pins once placed strategically, are now dangling precariously, swaying viciously to and fro, ready to fall into the great abyss of the unknown, only to be washed away by the black river flowing, ever flowing toward the eddy, disappearing into the metallic vortex never to be seen again. Tendrils of beautifully placed curls are hanging limply, as droplets of water are trying desperately to hold on to the ends, but each ensuing droplet is pushed off by its successor. The wind whips her hair viciously across her swollen eyes, eyes that are already filled with an ever flowing waterfall of tears.
Exhausted, and unable to withstand being battered by the storm any longer, and not wanting to face her miserable future without Greg, she collapses onto the cold wet hard surface of the sidewalk, in complete surrender to the sinister forces surrounding her.
Staring into the darkened recesses of the night, lit only by the reoccurring flashes, Carla drifts off into a world of illusion. From the cold, rain soaked, wind swept pavement, watery spirits rise above her like vaporous ghosts escaping the confines of their graves. Mesmerized, she watches their snaky twisting dance, and she sways with them to the echoing rhythm of the drums that pound in her temple. Waving their long sensuous arms, they seem to be beckoning for her to join them. Carla reaches out her weakened hand, pleading at them for assistance. As the disco lights flash around her, she begins to shiver from the dank coldness of the wind and rain. The savagery of the storm cripples her body, sapping her of all her strength. Chilled to the bone, her body convulses, from the icy rain.
Suddenly she is lifted upward into its powerful embrace, carried higher by a heavenly angel sent to take her home. As she floats upward, a calmness...a serenity, washes over her nearly lifeless body. The beat, of the gentle rhythmic raindrops hitting the pavement, join with the soft whistling wind, and lull her to sleep.
As the storm abates, and the eye passes over, a clear dark blue sky appears above her, filled with millions of flickering fireflies, waiting to lift her into their warm embrace. The storm calls to her. A familiar voice softly whispers her name, "Carla, Carla, I'm here, I've come for you Carla. Can you hear me?" Opening her eyes she vaguely sees a hazy shadowy form framed by a bright halo of light. "Jesus, is that you? Have you come for me?" she murmurs lovingly. "I'm Ready to go with you," she whispers as her eyes close and her head drops backward toward the pavement. "I need you Carla, don't leave me, I love you...." As the last of the words drift of into nothingness unheard by Carla, a sudden shiver over comes her, a smile appears on her lips as she silently drifts off to a place, where there is...no pain.
As Greg and Angel exit the elevator, they found themselves being shoved aside and knocked to the ground by a crying Carla.
"What the....? Was that Carla?" Greg yells above the clapping thunder.
"I think so," replies Angel. "Greg I think she was crying. Go after her Greg, find out what's wrong. I'll take care of the rest of the arrangements."
"OK, but first I want to see what floor she gets off at." he says.
"It stopped at the Lobby, now why would she go there?" Angel asks.
Not waiting for another elevator, Greg runs to the nearest service stairs. Just as he reaches the door, he is bathed in darkness.
Stumbling in the dark he finally makes it down the stairs and enters the Lobby. Panting, and out of breath, he runs to the Registration Desk and asks the Concierge, "Did you see...a woman...in a wedding dress, and if so...where did she go?" he stammers clutching at his chest.
"She went out the Main Street exit sir," the Concierge answers.
"And you didn't try to stop her?" he yells.
"There's a damned hurricane blowing out there," Greg screams at the Concierge.
Greg turns and races after her, and is buffeted by the ferociousness of the storm as he exits the hotel. Protecting his eyes from the whipping wind and rain, he looks out into the vicious monster keeping him from his one true love. Lashing at him the storm tears at his tuxedo, pushing him back toward the shelter of the hotel, as if trying to keep him from finding her. Like a prisoner in chains he can barely move.
"I won't let you keep her from me," he screams, shaking his fist at the howling wind. "She's mine, I won't let you have her," he yells bravely at the storm.
Suddenly, all is silent. A light drizzle tickles his face. Sleepy stars blink at him from the clear confines of the heavens. At the bottom of the steps he sees what he thinks is a pile of trash, walking toward it he realizes that it is not...trash.
A choking gasp escapes his lips, "No," he cries. Running down the steps, he slips on the wet stones and loses his balance and tumbles down the last few steps. Banging his knee on the hard pavement, he grabs at his knee yells in pain, "Shit."
Crawling over to Carla's lifeless body he raises her upper torso and cradles her head in his water soaked arms. Lifting her head toward his face he whispers, "Carla, Carla, I'm here, I've come for you Carla. Can you hear me?" Carla briefly opens her eyes and says, "Jesus is that you. Have you come for me? I'm ready to go with you now," she says as her eyes close and her head drops toward the pavement, as a serene smile appears upon her lips.
"I need you Carla don't leave me, I love you more than life itself," he cries bending over her and kissing her cold icy lips as he gently wipes away the hair from her face. As Greg lifts her up off the cold, wet hard pavement, her arms dangle limply toward the ground. With tears in his eyes, he carries her carefully in his arms, limping up the wet stone steps into the warmth of the hotel Lobby.
Angel and Carla's father run toward Greg as he enters the Lobby carrying Carla's limp body in his arms.
"Concierge, get some towels and some warm blankets," Mr. Reynolds orders. "We have got to get her warm. Greg, help me get this wet dress off of her, she is ice cold. Angel here is my room card, go get my medical bag, and hurry," he orders. Greg places Carla down on a sofa, while Mr. Reynolds holds her in a sitting position, Greg proceeds to unbutton the back of her gown, his fingers trembling over each button. Slipping the dress off her shoulders and sliding it out from under her, her father then takes off his jacket and covers her nakedness.
When the Concierge returns, with warm dry blankets and towels, Carla's father removes his coat and replaces it with the blankets. Greg proceeds to towel dry her arms and legs hoping to get some warmth back into her body, while her father examines her. "She's burning up, we have to get her fever down. We must get her quickly to her room and into a warm bed."
Angel comes running to Carla's side and hands
Mr. Reynolds his bag. Panting, and out of breath from climbing the ten flights of stairs, she asks,
"She'll be fine she's just passed out." Carla's father tells her. "Angel get me some water please," he asks.
"OK," she replies, and turns to go. A few minutes
later she returns with the water. Just then the lights come back on.
"Carla, Carla honey, it's daddy. Open you're eyes for me baby, I need you to drink something for me. Be a good girl now and drink this for daddy.
Thats it open up." As Carla tries to swallow the Tylenol and water she gags. Holding her chin he raises her face, opens her mouth and looks at her throat with a small flashlight. "It looks like she has a very bad case of strep throat," he tells them. "She won't be traveling anywhere soon. Sorry Greg," he says. "Her vital signs are weak and we must try to get her upstairs. She needs a shot of anti-biotics, I'll give it to her once we get her warm and in bed."
Lifting her up in his strong loving arms, Greg carries her toward the elevator, silently praying the power stays on until they are upstairs.
Back in the Honeymoon Suite, after she is snuggled under the warm covers, and everyone has gone on to other things, Carla begins to wake up. The room is dark except for the occasional flashes of lightning and several flickering candels scattered around the room. Sleeping in a chair next to her bed, is Greg. She remembers how badly he hurt her sneaking off with Angel, and yet, seeing him lying there so peacefully she remembers the love she had for him.
As Carla looks around the room she notices the beautiful palm trees and numerous tropical plants near the window. A beautiful Bird of Paradise sits on the nightstand next to their bed. She knows the room didn't look like this before the wedding. Greg must have done this for her, with Angels help. "What a fool I was," she thinks,
"he really does love me." Then and there she vows never to tell him that she ever doubted his love. She will take that secret to her grave.
Reaching toward him and grasping his hand in hers, she smiles lovingly at him, closes her eyes and drifts peacefully off to sleep.