THE WEDDING FAIRY
Art by Richard Mandrachio
First Published on line by Aurora Wolf Dec. 1, 2010
Aurora Wolf Anthology III
Print Copyright 2011
Aurora of the Sun
The tiny creature’s sheer veined wings flickered in the arc of sunlight reflected in the mounted hand mirror. She turned from side to side as if to check that her wings sat tidily on her shoulders, while her creamy-white legs dangled below. Her soft, curly silver hair floated about her shoulders as she hovered like a hummingbird at a particularly sweet blossom. Hanging suspended in air, the fairy’s dainty feet, shod in black ballet slippers, twisted this way and that as if in pirouette.
Satisfied with her appearance, the Wedding Fairy, whose name was Allera, flitted down to the surface of the dressing table. She landed gracefully on the glass and tugged at the bottom of her pink shorts. She wore an impossibly small pink and white dotted bra, and Debbie’s eyes widened as she took in the fairy’s Dolly Parton-like bosoms—comparably sized, of course.
It was almost impossible to see the spark of self-righteous anger in the fairy’s brilliant blue eyes as she turned to Debbie, but her miniscule fists resting on her Barbie-sized waist left no doubt that she was peeved.
“You’re not ready yet,” she declared. Her voice was barely audible when she didn’t shout, but there was never any doubt as to the nuances in it. She was frustrated, aggravated—in a word, angry.
“No,” Debbie said, lowering her head, “but almost. Just a little blush and mascara, and I can slip into my shoes as we leave. Have I forgotten anything?”
Allera shook her head but caught a glimpse of magenta as she turned back to the bride. The wedding colors were mauve and cream, and there definitely shouldn’t be any magenta in the dressing room. Thinking one of the guests had gotten lost, she turned quickly but there was no one there. She shrugged her tiny pink shoulders and motioned Debbie toward the door.
As the bride left the dressing room, Allera recalled how different things had been when the fairies first arrived on this world. Secretly watching the human ceremonies, including weddings, funerals, graduations, and so on, they had found that if a fairy watched over the proceedings, things tended to go well; if no fairy was at hand, things often went awry. They were definitely needed. Fairies taught humans that entering a reverent state of focus during these rituals allowed Universal energies to manifest and bring positive results. For instance, if there was no fairy at a bar mitzvah, the young man might be embarrassed and unable to recite the traditional chant. If a fairy presided over a funeral, the flowers stayed fresh and it didn’t rain.
After a while, humans and fairies had come to an agreement that each fairy should have the responsibility to oversee certain types of ceremonies. It became common for the fairy to be involved in the planning and performance of that ceremony, though they rarely wished to be acknowledged.
Donora, the Birthday Fairy, slipped back out of sight, worried that Allera had seen her in her magenta gown. She had splurged on the bright-colored dress, knowing it was unlikely she’d be wearing it to any of her birthday parties—for those selfish seven- and eight-year-olds who only wanted presents and cake—but she hoped to become a Wedding Fairy herself. This would make a very good outfit to wear at her first wedding.
Donora had known Allera for several years now and was envious of her success as a Wedding Fairy. She was also, she had to admit, jealous of Allera’s beauty. Donora was short and lumpy, and her hair was not so much golden as bronze, all of which contributed to her assignment to birthday parties. But she knew that, with a promotion and the excitement of weddings to plan, she could get herself a makeover and look much better.
The Fairy Chief had admitted to her that there were no current Wedding Fairy positions, which meant she would just have to be a Birthday Fairy until some Wedding Fairy got tired of the work. Donora worried that would never happen. The Fairy Chief was prejudiced against her, Donora thought, because of her looks; Allera was so much prettier, though as far as Donora could see, Allera really wasn’t that great at her job.
Donora had decided to sabotage Allera’s wedding. She knew the Fairy Chief was in the audience and Donora might have a faint chance if Allera’s wedding went badly. It was pretty easy whispering into the shell-pink ear of the bride’s sister, Candi, her maid of honor, that the groom might be interested in her, and to sort of magically propel him into the sanctuary just as Candi entered from the outside. When they gently collided, one thing led to another. And Donora couldn’t help putting a few minor obstacles in the path of the lazy, slow-moving best man.
Her conscience pricked her for just a moment, but it was so important to move up to Wedding Fairy that Donora ignored what she knew was right, just for the moment; she would be a good Wedding Fairy, after all, and that was what counted.
Allera was upset because the bride’s mother had spent so much time picking at every detail of Debbie’s ensemble. If they didn’t start the ceremony soon, it would be a black mark against her. Her first! As she waited glumly for the bride to finish dressing, Allera thought about the Fairy Chief in the audience. Right now she was incognito on the flowered hat of the mother of the groom, but she would undoubtedly check on all aspects of the ceremony. Each Fairy Chief was responsible to oversee a dozen or more fairies as they conducted their ceremonies, and providing whatever assistance they might need. Allera prided herself on never having asked for help.
When her bride was finally ready, Allera took one last look at her and let her slip into her kitten-heeled slides. As Debbie opened the dressing room door, Allera fluttered beside her into the vestibule and up to the stained glass windows on the doors leading into the church to take one last check that all was well. The bride’s father opened the door a smidgen and the fairy flitted over the guests’ heads, toward the organist.
She immediately noted that the groom was missing from the altar area so Allera went on a hunt. She found him with the maid of honor inside the sanctuary, where the groom and his best man should have been waiting. Not only was the best man still missing, but the groom’s tie was twisted and he had lipstick on his mouth. The bride’s sister was flushed and sweating, and now the fairy was furious.
“You’re getting married in just a few minutes,” she scolded the groom, “and besides that, you’re marrying her sister! You ought to be ashamed!”
Both culprits bowed their heads guiltily, but the fairy, who had no real authority here, could do little but allow the wedding to continue. Although, she recalled, she did have one little tool left—a minor forgetfulness spell, which would make the groom forget about the maid of honor—should she use it?
She peeked back into the church to confirm that the Fairy Chief was still there, and pondered what to do. If this, her last scheduled wedding, did not go well, she would probably not be promoted to Execution Fairy. And that would be simply awful. It was what Allera had been waiting for, ever since she was assigned to weddings.
It would be so exciting to assist with the prison executions, and she could wear her expensive suits, too. The Execution Fairy was probably the most respected of all the fairies; the ritual associated with carrying out the death sentence for a criminal was extremely solemn and meaningful. It would be just too bad if the Chief was not pleased with her work today. She might have to work on weddings for another ten years if she didn’t succeed in winning this promotion.
Landing on the groom’s shoulder, Allera began to berate him. “What were you thinking, you dolt?” she shrieked, her voice still nearly inaudible but piercing enough to echo in his brain. “Where is the best man?”
She turned to the maid of honor. “You, run around outside the church to the vestibule, to join the bride and your father outside the church doors, where you should be.”
The girl exchanged a brief lustful glance with the groom and then scooted out the door and around the building. Her mauve satin heels sent up tufts of dust as she sped down the path. The fairy gazed out the door for a moment longer and finally saw the best man arriving, tucking in his shirt and huffing as if he’d run all the way from home.
Allera spent a moment scolding them both, and then the best man straightened the groom’s tie and wiped the lipstick off his chin. She shooed them on, and they opened the sanctuary door and went to stand beside the pastor.
The fairy flitted through the church again, smiling gaily at the Fairy Chief as she passed. She slipped through the door to land on the bride’s shoulder, noting with satisfaction that the maid of honor had repaired her lipstick and was no longer flushed. But as she observed the bride’s huge smile and sparkling eyes, it hit her that Debbie’s hopes and dreams were pinned on an unfaithful man. She wondered if she should allow the wedding to go on without at least warning the bride.
Outside the sanctuary, Donora arrived at the door in time to see the maid of honor slip out and dash quickly back to the vestibule, her hair messy and her lipstick smeared. She allowed herself a tiny smile of satisfaction. Allera fluttered like a hummingbird at the narrow opening Candi left when she came through the door, and Donora watched her look out toward the street, hoping she was out of the Wedding Fairy’s line of sight.
Then she saw the best man rushing up the path, tucking his shirt in. Allera gestured for the best man to enter quickly, and then shut the door and Donora was alone again. Her lips pushed together, she frowned. Had it worked? Had she wasted her efforts?
Back in the vestibule, Debbie took a final deep breath and hooked her arm through her father’s. She motioned to her sister to stand at the closed doors. The first few bars of Lohengrin’s Bridal March carried down the aisle to the door. The maid of honor arranged her face in a bright smile, and pushed the doors open.
The Wedding Fairy hovered just above Debbie’s father’s right shoulder, knowing that all eyes would be on the bride. She caught a glimpse of the bride’s sister smirking towards the groom who, thankfully, ignored her, and wondered if she had done enough.
When the pastor’s solemn voice intoned, “If anyone knows why this man and this woman should not be wed, please speak now or forever hold your peace,” the Wedding Fairy turned and flitted swiftly out of the church. She caught a quick glimpse of the Fairy Chief in her plum spring ensemble, now perched beside the candles that illuminated the big Bible.
She flew into the vestibule and saw Donora, hovering at the light switches and weeping. Quite aware that Donora was jealous of her, but happy that this wedding was now successfully concluded and she would be promoted, she took pity on the younger fairy.
“What’s the matter, Donora? Why are you crying?”
“I’m never going to become a Wedding Fairy,” the dumpy Donora gulped. “I tried to sabotage you, Allera, but you’re just too good for me.”
Allera raised her eyebrows and then laughed. “Well, then, good news! This is my last wedding.”
“Your last wedding?” Donora was stunned. “I didn’t know that.”
“Yes, and it’s a good thing, too, because you could have ruined me if you’d only told Debbie about her groom. I was so afraid that the Fairy Chief would find out the groom is already unfaithful to the bride, but she didn’t. And now I’ll be promoted to Execution Fairy and you can have this job.”
“Are you sure?” Allera nodded, and Donora congratulated her. Together the two happy fairies flew out of the church to wait beside the doors. The music swelled and Debbie and her new husband hurried out and into the waiting limousine while their laughing family and friends pelted them with birdseed.
“Becoming an Execution Fairy is far too important to me to take a chance with,” she told Donora. “The bride will just have to make her own good luck from now on.”
HARRIET DARLING lives in Sacramento. She is 77 years old, a retired Executive Assistant, and now spends her time producing stories of all kinds. Her favorite genre is fantasy, but she also writes science fiction and thrillers, mostly for Young Adults.