The Pocket Watch

By: Ceci Giltenan

The Pocket Watch Chronicles


Chapter 1

The wedding was exactly as Maggie Mitchell had dreamed it would be ever since the moment in high school when she realized she loved Elliott Danvers. It was a breathtakingly beautiful June afternoon. Frothy peonies in varying shades of pink adorned the church. A classical guitarist played Pachelbel’s Canon in D as the wedding party processed.

The flower girl, clearly awed that all eyes were on her, made her way down the aisle with a shy smile on her face. She actually remembered to drop a few petals along the way. The bridesmaid’s dresses, simple and chic, were the most beautiful shade of periwinkle imaginable, somewhere between lavender and blue.

The wedding gown was perfection.

When the last bridesmaid reached the altar, the guitarist switched to Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. Elliott turned and looked down the aisle. He was devastatingly handsome in his tux. Tall, slender, with thick blond hair and twinkling blue eyes, he appeared awestruck, but only for a moment. As soon as he recovered, his face split into a wide grin and he winked.

Yes, this was exactly the wedding Maggie had always imagined, with one exception. In all of her dreams, she was the bride and that wink was for her.

Elliott was a year older than her and they had known each other forever. He lived across the street and, growing up, they spent practically every waking minute together. As children, Elliott had been her best friend. When they grew older, after she let him steal the first kiss, he was her boyfriend. Her first kiss, her first dance, her first real date, were all with Elliott. By the time they were in high school together, they were inseparable. Maggie’s younger sister Paige even referred to Elliott as “Maggie’s husband”.

Elliott graduated from high school a year before Maggie. He went to Georgetown University to study computer science but assured her they wouldn’t be apart long.

“You apply for early action to the nursing department. Your grades and test scores are great. You won’t have any problem getting in.”

Just as he had predicted, the early action letter came in December. She remembered wanting to tell him in person but she had been so excited, it took every bit of will power she possessed to keep from texting him the news. The day he was due home for winter break, she stayed glued to the window all evening, watching for his car. When she saw it, she ran down the stairs and out the door almost before he had turned the engine off.

“I’m in, I’m in!” she squealed, waving the letter at him.

He lifted her into his arms and spun her around. “That’s brilliant, sweetheart, I knew you’d get in. It’ll be great.”

And it would have been, but Maggie didn’t go to Georgetown that fall. Eventually Elliott fell in love with another girl and his new love, Amanda, was the beautiful bride now.

What on earth had possessed Maggie to subject herself to this torture?

Well the answer to that was easy.

Elliott.

When the invitation came, she had managed to ignore it for quite a while. After all, it had been addressed to Dr. Edward Mitchell and family so she figured her dad should be the one to decline. Maggie had acidulously avoided all of the Danvers. When she did happen to see one of them in passing, she smiled, waved and called some version of “I’m running late. I’ll see you later.” But one evening she had been unable to elude Elliott. He must have been lying in wait for her to come home from work, because as soon as she got out of the car, he was there.

“Hey Mags, it’s good to see you. You haven’t been around much recently.”

“I guess I haven’t been. I’ve been taking a few extra shifts.”

“That explains the dark circles under your eyes. You drive yourself too hard, Maggie. You always have.”

She forced a smile. “Maybe. Look Elliott, I’m tired and it’s been a long day so…I’ll see you later, okay?”

“Yeah, you should get some rest. But, I was just wondering…Mom said she hasn’t gotten an RSVP from you all yet.”

“Oh.” God what could she say? She definitely couldn’t say what was on the tip of her tongue, I have no intention of watching the man I love marry someone else. She settled for “Uh…Dad must have misplaced the invitation. You know how scattered he can be. I’ll ask him to let her know…the next time I see him.”

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