It was a picture perfect day for a wedding. Aynsley basked in the sunshine before getting in her car. It was the morning of her favorite niece’s wedding. Having no children of her own, she poured her life into Bethany. It was a proud day for Aynsley. She wanted to make sure everything was perfect. She even spent weeks looking for a gown to wear that would match the wedding party.
Aynsley knew she looked fabulous.
Her cell phone played ‘I’m So Excited’ by the Pointer Sisters. It was Angie, her sister.
“What a beautiful day for a wedding,” answered Aynsley.
“Ayns, the florist forgot corsages for two of the groomsmen. It’s an absolute disaster.” Angie sounded frantic.
“No worries, Ang. I’ll stop by a florist on the way.”
“We’ve already called around. Everybody’s closed. It’ll look stupid if half the groomsmen have corsages and the others don’t. I can’t take this today. I just can’t.”
“What about the grocery stores? I’m sure we could figure something out,” said Aynsley.
“I forgot about that. Ayns, could you pick some up? You remember what they look like, right? White rose with greenery and a touch of baby’s breath. You remember, right?”
Aynsley laughed. “I was there when Beth picked them out. I’ll make sure they’re so close you’ll never know the difference.”
“Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.”
“I’ll be there in half an hour. How does Beth look?”
The grocery store was chaotic. The good weather brought out all the crazies. Aynsley stayed focused. She wove her way through slow moving shoppers, danced around mothers with hyper children and landed in the floral department. It was an oasis of calm in a torrent of coupon clippers.
A pleasant looking lady in a green apron and a name tag that read ‘Marg’ stood behind the counter. Using her eidetic memory Aynsley and Marg recreated the corsage. A moment of panic seized her. Aynsley quickly checked the contents of her clutch. It only had enough room to her carry driver’s license, car keys, a twenty dollar bill and make-up for last minute touch-ups.
“How much will this cost?” Aynsley asked.
“Let’s see. Two of them with tax will be… $12.45.”
Aynsley breathed a sigh of relief. She carried her sister’s salvation to the express line. She stood between a man with ten cans of beefaroni and a woman with twelve cases of water. She looked up at the express line sign. It read ‘8 items or less’.
Despite the alarming number of obviously illiterate express shoppers, the line moved quickly. This was due mainly to the skilled yet disinterested teenaged cashier. Aynsley reached the cashier and presented her corsages and the twenty dollar bill.
“I can’t take this twenty,” said the cashier. She sighed as she spoke.
“It’s fake, see?” The cashier held up the bill. “It’s missing the metallic strip and it has no watermark. It’s counterfeit.”
Aynsley felt her face turn warm. She looked down the line of waiting express customers. None of them made eye contact.
“It’s all I have. I need these for my niece’s wedding. It’s an emergency,” pleaded Aynsley.
“What d’ya want me to do? It’s a fake 20. If you don’t have any other way to pay, please move on.”
“Wait, no. Can’t you, just, do me a favor? I mean, it’s my favorite niece’s wedding.”
“Wait here,” said the cashier. She walked away and spoke to a man Aynsley assumed to be the store manager. He was a balding middle aged man in a tie.
“Sorry about this. I don’t know how this happened,” Aynsley said to the people in line behind her. They still refused to make eye contact.
After a couple of minutes, the cashier, the manager and a security guard returned to the express line.
“Ma’am, would you come with us, please?” said the balding man in the tie.
“Really, I can’t. My niece is getting married today. I need to be there.”
“This will only take a minute, please.” This time the bald man cracked a smile. His brown teeth didn’t inspire confidence.
Reluctantly, Aynsley followed them to the offices. They were met by two police officers. Aynsley didn’t make it to the wedding. The groomsmen walked down the aisle without their corsages. Worst of all, Aynsley experienced first hand what if felt like to be strip searched.
Bethany repeatedly said she forgave Aunt Aynsley, but Anysley was never quite convinced.