A young woman discovers the bitterest of betrayals on her wedding day, never imagining how her life would change.
Sunny Haloran was just the luckiest girl, everyone always said so. She was born beautiful, bright, kind-hearted, and rich — the only child of one of Houston’s wealthiest men.
Sunny was loved and admired by some, and deeply envied by many others, but that morning there was no one in the entire state of Texas who’d want to be in her pearly satin shoes.
Sunny tore off the yards of delicate lace of her cathedral-length wedding veil as she dashed down the cathedral steps and screamed: “TAXI!”
She hiked up the long satin skirt over her knees and bounded recklessly into the middle of the street, flinging her bouquet carelessly over her shoulder. Then she brought her fingers to her lips, and let out an ear-splitting whistle.
Seconds later, a yellow cab came to a screeching halt in front of her. She tore open the back door, jumped inside, and screamed: ” ‘Please, drive fast and don’t stop, no matter what!”
Sometimes the people we love are the ones who can hurt us the most.
The driver was used to some crazy stuff, after all, that’s what driving a cab was all about, but he was sure that this was the strangest thing that had ever happened to him.
Nevertheless, he obeyed his new passenger, trod heavily on the accelerator, and within minutes, the huge, imposing bulk of the cathedral was just a rapidly receding smudge in his rearview mirror.
David Carmichael slowed to a more sensible pace and glanced back at his passenger who was now hyperventilating in her wedding dress and mopping up makeup-streaked tears with her gloves.
“Where do you want to go to, lady?” he asked gently.
Sunny stifled a sob. “Anywhere, anywhere where no one knows me!”
David shook his head. “I need an address. Where do you live?”
“No,” cried Sunny, “I can never go back THERE! Ever!”
“Nothing is ever that bad,” David told her gently. He drove to a nearby park and stopped the cab. He turned around in his seat and said to Sunny: “Why don’t you tell me what’s wrong, and maybe I can help you?”
Sunny sniffed. “You’re a cab driver, what can you do?” she asked.
David grinned. “I’ll have you know that cab drivers are like barmen, we hear the most incredible stories — besides, I’m a lawyer,” David said. “Almost a lawyer, I’m just waiting for the results of my bar exams.”
Sunny found herself comforted by David’s kind voice and gentle smile. “This,” she said, “was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. I was going to marry Rory and live happily ever after.”
“Rory?” asked David. “He’s the bridegroom?”
“Yes. He works for daddy, and I’ve known him for years. I thought he loved me…” Sunny shook her head to prevent a fresh flood of tears. “I’m telling you this all wrong. That’s not how it started.”
“It started when Lisa and I — that’s my best friend — when we were 12. We’d plan our weddings to the most handsome men alive, in the most beautiful wedding dresses right here in the cathedral.”
“Then we planned that whoever got married first, the other one would wait until the priest said ‘speak now or forever hold your peace’ and stand up and scream ‘I object!’ like Shrek, you know? And really shock the guests?”
David grinned and nodded. “That sounds like fun at 12, maybe not so funny at 25…”
Sunny nodded. “So, I was standing there looking at Rory, and the priest said: ‘If anyone can show just cause why they may not be lawfully wed, speak now or forever hold your peace,’ and then I heard Lisa’s voice saying ‘I object’ and I started giggling.”
“I couldn’t help it! I turned around and there Lisa was in her bridesmaid’s dress looking grim and dire just like we’d imagined when we were kids — but it turned out she wasn’t joking at all.”
“Lisa looked me in the eye and said: ‘I’m pregnant Sunny, and it’s Rory’s baby. He’s only marrying you for your daddy’s money.’ I laughed, can you believe it? I even turned to Rory to share the joke.”
“I said, ‘Sorry babe, Lisa and I have been planning this since we were 12!’ and then I saw his face and I knew it was all true. He was shaking his head and opening and closing his mouth like a fish. I can’t imagine why I thought he was handsome.”
David sighed. “Love blinds you, you know. I’ve made that mistake too.”
Sunny looked into David’s sympathetic brown eyes. “You have?” she felt oddly comforted. “I can’t go back, I can’t marry him. I can’t face my friends and my family ever again. I’m so ashamed.”
David shook his head. “You have nothing be ashamed of!” he said firmly, “They are the ones who should be ashamed!”
“I’ll be a laughing stock,” Sunny whispered. “A joke!”
“No!” David said firmly, taking her hand. “You’re too lovely to be a joke. People will be shocked, but soon they’ll forget. Something else will come along and this will be old news.”
“No it won’t!” cried Sunny bitterly. “They filmed the whole thing!”
“Well,” David said, in a burst of inspiration. “How about you go out to dinner in your wedding gown at the most famous restaurant in town with the best-looking taxi driver in Houston?”
“Everyone will think you ran away with me, not that you ran away from them…” David said smiling. Sunny started laughing. Yes, that would be a turnabout for the gossips!
She started to feel better. She also noticed that David really was very good-looking, and had the warmest smile. “How about you take me home,” she suggested, “and we have dinner tomorrow night when my eyes aren’t so puffy and my nose isn’t running?” David grinned and agreed.
That night, Sunny sat up talking to her parents and felt a lot better than she’d imagined was possible under the circumstances. The next morning, she was stunned to find Rory sniveling at her door.
“Please, Sunny,” he sobbed. “I couldn’t sleep all night! I’ve realized I really do love you…”
“Too bad,” Sunny said callously before she slammed the door shut in his face. “I’ve moved on Rory, I suggest you do the same!” But moving on from Rory was one thing, Lisa was something else.
Sunny had known Lisa since they were both four years old. She loved Lisa, and she knew her friend would be in financial difficulties. Sunny couldn’t imagine Rory would be there for her.
Lisa’s parents had passed away, she had no one and no money. So Sunny went into her father’s study and had a long talk with him. Later that afternoon, she knocked on Lisa’s door.
When Lisa appeared at the door, Sunny saw hope dawn in her former best friend’s eyes. “Sunny,” she gasped, “Please…”
Sunny shook her head and handed Lisa the $100,000 check her dad had reluctantly given her. “This is so you can have your baby safely,” she said quietly. Lisa gasped and stepped forward to hug her friend.
But Sunny shook her head. “Please don’t. I want you to be safe, but I know now that you were never my friend,” she said, “I’m doing this for the love I had for you for all those years, but there’s nothing left between us, Lisa. Yours was the greater betrayal, you were supposed to be my friend.”
Sunny turned her back and walked away. That evening, she met David for ice cream and they talked until dawn. She had a feeling that she had started a new chapter in her life, and that maybe — just maybe — she’d found her true love.
What can we learn from this story?
- Sometimes the people we love are the ones who can hurt us the most. Sunny never imagined that her best friend and her fiancé could break her heart.
- Envy, jealousy, and greed always lead to disgrace. Lisa and Rory betrayed Sunny and ended up with nothing and no one.
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