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Animal Instincts (Chapter Twenty)

Beware of the scrumptious treat lying in the open, waiting to be eaten. A Tigress knows that traps can abound, sometimes invisible, but there all the same.

August 22

Dear Wedding Journal,

Jonathan surprised me with you today. I hate you, and I'm never writing in you again. Just wanted you to know that.

August 23

Dear Wedding Journal,

Fine, I'll give you a try. But don't expect me to gush on and on about my feelings. I do that enough in my own head, and I'm already sick of myself. This morning I reserved the church, paid for the flowers and all that crap. The Tattler reporters followed me around, snapping pictures of me. Out in the open this time. They didn't try to hide. One of them, a balding guy with yellow teeth, called me the future Mrs. Royce Powell and I kicked him in the balls. Not my fault, I promise you. I heard the name and just freaked out. Thankfully Royce is out of town, so he hasn't witnessed my behavior.

August 24

Dear Wedding Journal,

I bought a dress today. It's pretty. Very plain, very simple. No ugly bows or itchy lace. It's formfitting, ankle-length, with thin straps that crisscross in back. Oh, and it's a gorgeous ivory. Let's face it. Royce returned from his trip (early!) and rocked me like a porn star, so I can hardly wear white. I just hope I don't throw up in it. My stomach is hurting all the time now, and I can barely eat. Nerves or baby?

August 27

Dear Wedding Journal,

I had nightmares all night about Royce seeing me walk down the aisle and realizing he's making a terrible mistake. In the dream, he flips me off and runs screaming from the church. And when I woke up, I started hearing voices in my head. Not schizophrenic voices, mind you- I'm crazy but not that whacked-out. All of my fears about marriage and infidelity and abandonment are clamoring to be heard and they won't shut up.

September 1

Dear Wedding Journal,

It's been a few days since we last spoke. Or wrote. Or whatever. I haven't been able to concentrate. Those voices… They're saying to leave Royce and get away now, before it's too late. Linda's party is only a few days away. That means my wedding is only a few days away. What the hell am I going to do? Women are still sending Royce wife applications. They are still showing up at the Powell building. What if one of them entices him?

September 12

Dear Wedding Journal,

I think Royce realized there's something wrong with me because he's been telling me he loves me a thousand times a day. I was even starting to relax-a little-until he took me to his parents' house for dinner. I've never met two people more in need of a divorce. They bickered and fought all evening. Royce said that's how they express their love. I don't believe him. I mean, please. You tell me if you feel the love from this conversation (written word for word as I remember it):

Linda: Elliot, be a dear and get me another drink.

Elliot: Get it yourself.

Linda: Get up and fix me a drink, you lazy man.

Elliot: Woman, don't push me on this. I've finally gotten comfortable.

Linda: (sugary sweet smile) I'll push you only when you're standing on a bridge.

Elliot: If I were standing on a bridge and saw you coming, you wouldn't have to push me. I'd jump. See? Does that sound "loving" to you? Really, the man had worn a shirt with If You See My Wife Coming, Shoot Me printed on the front. What if Royce and I end up- Wait. Royce is coming down the hall. I hear him whistling. I better go.

September 12 (two hours later)

Dear Wedding Journal,

I just had two amazing orgasms so I have nothing more to complain about tonight. Thankfully my fears have been quiet. I just might be okay with this wedding thing. In fact, I'm not talking to you for a while. I think you're screwing with my head.

September 16

Dear Wedding Journal,

Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod. I'm totally freaking out. Tomorrow is Linda Powell's birthday party. I spent today decorating the hotel and finishing up the last-minute details, so my worries have nothing to do with that. It's just, well… the day after her party is my wedding. My. Wedding. Do you hear me? Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod. My fears have come back full force and won't shut up. What the hell was I thinking, saying yes to marriage? Ohmygod, I'm going to be sick.

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