The Shortcut

by Celeste

Stupid shortcut. Why did I listen to him? Jenna thinks as she huffs to an intersection. She stops to hitch up the lacy front of her ridiculous gown.

Suddenly another red-faced woman in a lacy white gown comes jogging up the other street.

Margie! Jenna bunches her skirt in one hand and pounds around the corner. Margie’s eyes bulge as she sees Jenna suddenly dart out ahead of her.

How did she-? But before Margie can finish her thought, the race is over.

“The winning bride-to-be everybody!” The emcee leads Jenna up the platform, her face shining with sweat and triumph. The other girls look disappointed but Margie glares up at the stage.

“And now let’s recap all the wonderful prizes she won today!”

Margie kicks at an empty soda cup on the ground; She doesn’t want to hear about the trip to Fiji that she and Trey wouldn’t be taking. The cup hits someone’s shoe.

“Sorry,” she says when he turns.

“Wait, do I know you?” She asks.

“Probably from around here.” He points to where it says Bridal Battles on his uniform.

Later, Margie is at her car when she sees Jenna kissing some guy. No, wait. Not some guy. The guy from the audience.

And it comes back to Margie how she knows him.

He helped Jenna up when she fell! The fall that had supposedly put Jenna in last place. Until she wasn’t.

“Cheaters!” They jump apart at the sound of Margie’s voice.

“I saw you two. From over there.” Margie points to the van blocking her car from view.

“I also took a few pictures. I could send them to your future hubby. He works at this hotel, right?”

The guy looks scared, but Jenna looks furious.

“What do you want?”

“You’re gonna come with me and tell Bridal Battles you cheated.” Margie waves the phone at her. “Or I can just show them- and your fiance.”

Stupid shortcut, Jenna thinks as she follows Margie out of the parking lot.

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