Deleted Chapter #1

Original Chapter One of Little White Lies

Little White Lies by R.C. MatthewsMadalyn escaped to her apartment after dumping Charles and had a heart-to-heart with her sister Jeanine. As this chapter provided background to the love story, it was deleted in favor of starting the book on the cruise ship so the heroine could meet the hero by the end of chapter one.)

I’m going to HELL!

It was the first thought that crossed Madalyn Russell’s mind when she closed the door to her apartment, leaning her back against it. She let out a deep sigh. Holy shit! Had she really just walked out on her own wedding? A hesitant smile spread across her face. Surely she shouldn’t be smiling or feeling such; how could she describe what she felt? Relief?

She had abandoned a church with over nine hundred family and guests. Not to mention wasted thousands of dollars and, even worse, probably alienated the man who had been her lover and friend for the past six years of her life. What had she been thinking! To be honest, she couldn’t think. Oh, but she could feel!

There was no denying she felt elated, as if the huge proverbial weight had been lifted off her shoulders. Until she stood at the altar ready to recite her vows, she hadn’t realized the extent of her internal struggle in the last few months. It had become clear this was more than just pre-wedding jitters. Madalyn was sure she should have felt guilty or ashamed but all she felt was free!

Looking around her apartment, she considered staying with her back against the door to block anyone from entering and forcing her to deal with the reality of the situation. It probably wouldn’t work anyway. She decided the best course of action was to take baby steps. Get changed. Have a stiff drink. She could use one.

Madalyn removed her high heeled shoes, not wanting to mark her beautiful bamboo flooring. She strode past the kitchen, down the short hallway and into the bedroom where she struggled out of her wedding dress, laying it down gently on her king-sized bed. She exchanged the exquisite gown for a pair of worn out jeans and her favorite t-shirt hiding in the back of her closet; old, soft and comfortable. Charles hated these jeans. But he was not there to object. She shook her head and chuckled. It had only been 30 minutes since she ran out of the church yet she felt in control of her life again.

Walking into the bathroom, she began pulling baby’s breath and roses from her hair when the sound of persistent pounding at her door froze her in her spot. Crap. Please go away. She approached the door slowly, her heart beat gaining tempo with each step, willing it not to be Charles. Not yet. Although convinced she had made the right decision, she wasn’t ready to explain what had happened. She wasn’t even sure if she could explain it to herself.

The pounding at the door continued; whoever was out there wasn’t giving up. Madalyn braced herself then leaned in to take a peek through the peep hole. Throwing open the door, she rushed into her sister’s arms.

“Oh, Jeanine,” she cried. Seeing her sister opened the dam and a tidal wave of emotion crashed down on her. All at once she felt overwhelmed, elated, scared, relieved, guilty; so many feelings!

Jeanine wrapped her arms around Madalyn. “I thought you could use some support. Come on. Let’s go inside. I’ll make us some strong coffee.”

“I was thinking of something a bit stronger than coffee,” Madalyn said with a weak smile.

“Were you now?” Jeanine said and held out her arm. “Here, twist.”

Leave it to her sister to lighten the mood. Madalyn closed the door and followed Jeanine into the kitchen, plopping down on a chair at the table.

“Are you disappointed in me, Jeanine?” she asked catching her lower lip in her teeth; her palms sweaty. Being 10 years older, Jeanine had always been the person Madalyn looked to for advice. Squirming in her seat she waited for Jeanine’s response.

“Disappointed?” Jeanine looked at Madalyn with furrowed brows. “Why would you think that? Quite the opposite; I’m proud of you. What you did today took an incredible amount of courage.”Jeanine reached into the kitchen cabinet for some wine glasses and perused the wine rack. “Was it bad timing?” She paused and looked at Madalyn squarely in the face. “Absolutely!” She selected a bottle and started working the cork out. “Was it the wrong decision?” Jeanine asked shaking her head. “I don’t think so. I was never convinced you should’ve gotten married in the first place.”

What? Madalyn’s mouth dropped open and she started at her sister.

“Madalyn, don’t look at me like that,” she said. “I’m not supposed to make decisions for you. You’re a big girl and we both know you would’ve been pissed-off if I had told you not to marry him.” Pushing a glass of Merlot at Madalyn, Jeanine paused and asked, “So what changed your mind about marrying Charlie?”

Madalyn took an unlady-like gulp of wine, not bothering to enjoy the fruity bouquet; at the moment she was more interested in the alcoholic effect. It had been a long time since she had called her ex-fiancé Charlie. Actually, ever since they moved to Chicago and his mother insisted his name is Charles. What changed her mind? Good question.

“Charles,” Madalyn started and then rolling her eyes she changed course. “Charlie changed my mind, or rather his actions did. Did you notice he paused just before our vows to look at his mother?” Madalyn said in disgust. “I don’t think he did it intentionally. It’s more like a trained response, the way he seeks her permission in everything he does.”

“Do you think?” Jeanine said. “Tell me something I didn’t already know.”

Madalyn gave her sister a sour look while grabbing her wine glass for another gulp. Jeanine threw up her hands in surrender. “As much as I didn’t want to believe it, Charles is a Mama’s boy. Maybe I’ve always known this, but held onto a dream that his love for me was stronger.”

Jeanine sipped her wine and nodded her head. It felt good for Madalyn to think out loud without being judged. She could always count on her sister for that. Jeanine was her sounding board.

“You know, I thought when it really mattered he’d stand up for us and what we wanted in our lives,” Madalyn said. Her thoughts didn’t feel so mottled anymore. “The sad truth is that I’m not enough for Charlie. Everything became crystal clear in that one moment when he turned to his mother before our vows. It felt to me like he was asking for her final approval before taking the plunge.” Her shoulders tensed just thinking about it. “Our wedding day, and especially the moment of our vows, should’ve belonged to us,” Madalyn spat. “He will always be under his mother’s control. And that’s not how I envision my life.”

Madalyn wondered if Charlie would ever find a woman that he valued more than his mother. Ouch! Could it be that he just wasn’t that into her? She drained the Merlot from her glass letting the warmth of the alcohol spread through her as she mulled that thought over. The effect of the wine took the edge off and she relaxed. Without saying a word, Jeanine refilled her glass.

“How do you feel about what happened?” Jeanine asked.

Madalyn paused, trying to come to terms with her feelings. She was embarrassed to admit them; even to her sister. “Mostly I feel bad because I think I should feel devastated; but I’m not. Is that horrible?” Madalyn watched her sister’s reaction. She hadn’t winced – that was a good sign.

“Charlie and I have both changed so much since moving to Chicago. He’s headed down a path I don’t want to follow and I’m finally acknowledging that to myself. I was going through the motions – doing what I thought was right. I don’t even know who I am and what I want anymore.”

Jeanine snorted at that admission. “You’re always so confined by what’s right and what’s wrong,” she said poking Madalyn in the arm. “I’m sure it’s what makes you a successful attorney. But seriously, don’t you think you took the preacher’s sermons way too literally?”

How many times had Madalyn heard that from Jeanine?

“Maybe,” Madalyn replied shrugging her shoulders. “What’s wrong with wanting to live my life under certain guiding principles?”

“Nothing,” Jeanine said. “But you don’t use the concepts of right and wrong as guiding principles; you use them as a strict roadmap! There are so many paths you can take in life,” she said. “There are side streets, Madalyn. Try venturing off the map for once! Take the dirt road. You might find the scenic views are stunning; well worth the potholes you have to avoid to get there.”

“Maybe I came to that conclusion on my own,” Madalyn replied. “The past few years have been about driving the paved road; gaining social status and developing relationships so Charlie can get ahead in his career. I don’t want a life so full of formalities! I want to play cards over beer, have movie nights, and go dancing at discos.”

Jeanine reached over the table and grabbed Madalyn’s hand. “I’m glad you realized your true feelings in time.”

Madalyn scoffed and drained the wine from her glass. “Not soon enough. We spent thousands on our wedding.”

“There’s always a bright side. You saved thousands you would’ve spent on a divorce.”

Madalyn cocked her brow, too exhausted from the events of the evening to respond to that sobering comment.

“Madalyn, go hit the sack before you fall off your chair. I’ll stay in the guest room and we can talk more tomorrow.”

Madalyn stared at her empty glass; she knew her sister was right. She needed sleep. It had been an emotionally draining day. Madalyn hugged her sister and walked to her bedroom, changing into her teddy bear pajamas; she was reminded of her childhood teddy, Miles. She felt comforted wearing them now. Madalyn lie in her bed, head fuzzy with the effects of the wine; she drifted off into a deep sleep.


The sun was streaming through her bedroom window. She must have forgotten to close the shades she thought, burying her head under her pillow. What day was it? She tried to remember while opening her eyes and peeking at her alarm clock. Oh, right she was supposed to be leaving for her honeymoon…in exactly six hours. Not wanting to dwell on that thought, Madalyn got up and went into the kitchen in search of her sister.

The rich aroma of French vanilla coffee permeated the air. Yawning and stretching, she entered the kitchen and found Jeanine cooking at the stove, her short spiky blond hair in disarray. Jeanine was such an early bird.The daily newspaper was waiting for Madalyn at the door. She flipped through the pages reading the headlines when her jaw dropped wide open. She should’ve known the story would make the news.

“Veronica was always fond of an appearance in the society pages,” she said, throwing the Chicago Tribune down in front of her sister. Madalyn poured a cup of coffee and took a seat at the kitchen table as Jeanine placed a plate of scrambled eggs with cheese in front of her, fresh off the stove. It was one of her favorites.

Jeanine looked skeptical while she perused the article – Dumped at the Altar – Chicago’s Hottest Bachelor Back on the Market. She took a sip of her coffee and looked up from the article, thoughtful for a moment.

“Ver-ron-i-ca,” Jeanine said, drawing out each syllable in a haughty voice. “I’ve always thought that name suited Charlie’s mother. It screams ‘bitch’ with every syllable. She won’t appreciate her son’s embarrassment splattered all over the paper.”

Madalyn raised a brow and waited for the words to resonate.

“Or would she?” Jeanine spat out. “The news could generate sympathy from the readers making it good for business. Heck, I bet she’s celebrating her success! I can see her sniggering to her high society friends that she succeeded in breaking you two up.” “You know she wasn’t on board with your marriage, right?” she continued looking at Madalyn over the top of the newspaper. “I mean, how dare her perfect son stoop so low and marry the likes of you,” she mocked in the snooty voice, “born and raised by a middle class family from Detroit. Scandalous! Charles Brooks was destined for far better!”

Her sister could be so dramatic! Madalyn giggled at her imitation of Veronica’s haughty voice. It was spot on.

“Life’s not fair, Madalyn. You’re going to be made out to be the bitch when in reality she is!”

“Don’t you think that’s taking sisterly love a bit far, Jeanine?” Madalyn said running her fingers through her shoulder-length brown hair and leaning back in the chair. “I did abandon him at the altar with nearly a thousand guests and no explanation. I’m mortified every time I think about it.”

She raised her hand to wipe away the lone tear running down her cheek. “How could I have let it get this far? Charlie’s mother may be a bitch, but he didn’t deserve what I did to him.”

“You’re right,” Jeanine said, “but that doesn’t make Charlie completely innocent in what happened.” Jeanine reached for her coffee, took several sips and drummed her fingers on the glass top table. “Why did it take you so long to admit that it was over?”

“You know me better than anyone, Jeanine. I guess I thought I could fix it,” Madalyn replied. “In the past six months I’ve been dropping hints to Charlie about how intrusive his mother can be. You know how Veronica directs almost every aspect of his life; where he should live; how to decorate his home; even his clothing. The list is endless.” She shuddered then pulled her legs up to her chest, resting her feet on the seat of the black leather chair.“I used to get so irritated when she’d show up at his apartment unannounced …and often. I mean, seriously, the woman needs to get a life.”

“That’s the point,” Jeanine replied. “Charles is her life. What else does she have to live for?” Jeanine was right of course.

“Well, no matter how I phrased it, I couldn’t sway him. He took it all in stride and rarely complained about her. Not to mention that he defends her at every turn. Maybe he gave up long ago and finds it easier to acquiesce than to argue. Lord knows the woman can be persistent.”

The intercom buzzed, interrupting them. Madalyn turned wide-eyed to Jeanine while she walked over to answer it. She looked at her watch; it had been one hour since she had woken up this morning. Charles hadn’t called. Maybe the moment of reckoning had arrived?

“Hello,” she said pressing the intercom button.

“There’s a delivery for you, Miss Russell. Can I send it up?”

“Yes, of course,” she replied to security.

She waited at the door shifting her weight from one leg to the other until the elevator opened and a man approached with a package. She signed on the dotted line and closed the door with her butt while grabbing the small card taped to the side of the package. It contained a very simple message. ‘I guess I knew it was over too. Thank you for being so strong. Sincerely, Charles’.

Madalyn peeked inside the package, releasing the sweet scent of yellow roses artfully arranged in a small glass vase. Charlie always believed in the “message” of flowers. Curious she walked over to the computer, using her favorite search engine. Who knew that yellow roses could hold so many meanings? It was mind boggling.

She perused the list: jealousy, infidelity, friendship, apology, a broken heart, intense emotion, dying love, and extreme betrayal. Ugh. Madalyn didn’t like most of these words. What was she to infer from this list? She looked for the common thread. Simply put, the yellow roses must signify the end to their intimate relationship – whether through friendship or betrayal she wasn’t sure. Her eyes lingered on “extreme betrayal” and her stomach clenched.

Was this all he had to say? Didn’t he want to know where she was coming from? Madalyn knew she was being silly – she ran out on him after all – but somehow she had expected more after six years together. What happened to the grand inquisition? It was sobering to realize Charlie accepted this so well.

Jeanine couldn’t contain her curiosity any longer, “Well?”Madalyn handed her sister the card.“What do you make of it?” Jeanine asked.

“His note says it all. He’s quite gracious, don’t you think? Maybe it means we can remain friends despite the end of our relationship.”

“Don’t beat yourself up, anymore,” Jeanine replied. “Cleary you made the right decision.” She took Madalyn’s hands in hers and they sat in silence, each lost in their own thoughts.“What are you going to do now, Madalyn?”

“I don’t know.” She sat back and shrugged. “I need time to think things through. I dread the thought of going to work on Monday.”

“Why would you do that?” Jeanine said. “You have two weeks off; that’s plenty of time to think things through.” She crossed her legs and leaned back in her chair. “Have you thought about going on the cruise alone?”

“You can’t be serious!” Madalyn blurted out. “That was supposed to be my honeymoon cruise.”

“So? I’m dead serious,” Jeanine replied with her you-need-to-lighten-up look. “Why not go? Everything is already paid for. It’s your chance to get away and make some serious decisions about your life. You’re a pragmatic person. Why waste the money?”

Were those horns sprouting out of Jeanine’s head? Her suggestion was pure evil.

“Go rediscover who you are and what you want in life!” she continued, throwing Madalyn’s words back at her. “Maybe think about moving back to Detroit?” she added.

“There’s no way I can go on the cruise,” Madalyn said. “It would be flat out wrong!”

Madalyn leaned back into her chair; Jeanine looked like she wanted to reach over and slap some sense into her. Madalyn tried to offer a more logical obstacle.“Besides, my luggage is at the Hyatt Regency along with the tickets and passports So even if I did consider it, I can’t go. Half of our guests had reservations there. Charles could be in our room. I’m not entering the lion’s den. No thanks!”

“Come on,” Jeanine prodded. “I can go over and pick up your things. You’ve wanted to go on a cruise your whole life. Go! Do this for yourself.”

Madalyn stared blankly at her sister. Her stomach felt sick just thinking about it.

“For the love of God, Madalyn; I know the way your brain functions. Stop categorizing everything – good, bad, yes, no, black and white! How about learning to say “maybe” and start recognizing the shades of gray in life? Tell little white lies. Better yet, tell the world to screw-off and do what you want!”

Madalyn rolled her eyes. Did she see everything as black and white? Ok, maybe she did. But could she do this? What would people think?

“Stop worrying about what other people will think!” Jeanine said.

Madalyn sighed, shaking her head. Her sister knew her too well. She did need to get away; she wasn’t ready to face anyone else yet. Jeanine had one valid point; it felt like a terrible waste of money. She bit her lower lip, unsure whether or not she had the guts to go alone.

“Can you come with me?” she asked, knowing what her sister’s answer would be.

“Wish I could, Madalyn,” she replied. “You know I have the grand opening of a new bakery next week and Katie leaves for Europe tomorrow. If you do this, you’re going to have to go alone. Come on, you can do this!”

Why did Jeanine always force Madalyn out of her comfort zone?

“Well?” Jeanine asked, her eyes lighting up.

Madalyn capitulated. She couldn’t believe she was agreeing to do this!