Tulla checked her Red Majesty lipstick against the bright glare of the light bulb bouncing off the mirror. She tilted her head to see past the smudges and dust streaked across the glass, hoping she'd produced the advertisement's "petal finish" and "inviting glow" that could warm a man's heart. She snapped the lipstick tube closed and dropped it in her purse perched on the edge of a ceramic sink then brushed a hand over her navy skirt -- again.
"You can breathe, Tulla."
Oh. Tulla closed her eyes, let calming air expand her lungs, then exhaled and opened her eyes slowly. She glanced at her best friend Joan. "Keep reminding me. It still doesn't feel real."
"When Burke slides that shiny ring on your finger, it'll feel real enough."
Tulla sighed and fanned herself with her hand. The one small window of the tiny bathroom in the basement of the church was open, but little air circulated around them. Sunlight streamed in, however, highlighting dancing dust mites. Joan shouldered close to Tulla and leaned in toward the mirror while she clipped heavy, beaded earrings to the lobes of her dainty ears.
She turned to Tulla and smiled. "You look beautiful, sweets. He won't even think twice when he sees you."
"Oh, he's way past thinking twice." She turned back to the mirror and tucked away a dark strand of hair at the nape of her neck.
"Poo. He's over all that."
"I hope so."
Tap, tap, tap. Both women jumped at the three staccato raps on the door.
Tulla's heart fluttered. "Oh, no! Is it time? Joan, hurry, I don't even have my veil on."
Joan leaned her cheek against the women's room door. "Yes?"
"It's Van -- um -- Steven Vandreel. I have something for Tulla."
Joan cracked the door open an inch and blinked through the opening. "You by yourself? Burke can't see the bride you know."
"Uh -- oh, yeah. It's just me. Give this to Tulla, will ya?"
"Oh, sure." Joan grinned and smacked her gum. She reached through the opening and accepted a small folded square of paper. "A love note, huh? Can't wait? Tullie, your lover boy sent you a note." Joan closed the door and waggled her eyebrows.
"What?" Tulla took the two-inch folded square of dull notebook paper and turned toward the light. Burke wasn't much of a love letter kind of guy, but maybe he was just a little bit excited today too. That or he forgot his tie or something. "What's he up to?" She forced a smile at Joan to hide a sudden case of trembling.
Tulla, I need to talk to you. I know I'm not supposed to see you before the wedding, but it can't wait.