The bride was a vision in black silk, but it was not of her own design. Like everything else since she had written to the Addams family regarding their advertisement, it had been provided to her by her bridegroom. The fact that he was generous was the only thing she knew about him- that, and the fact that he had needed to advertise for a bride to begin with. He knew that she was the last surviving member of the Frump coven, and that she possessed no dowry. Upon these foundations they would build their new lives.
Ever so slowly, Morticia peeled the petals off the roses in her bouquet, leaving only the thorns behind.
The walk to the altar gave Morticia plenty of time to take in her surroundings- the dark chapel walls, the stained glass depicting gods rising from the depths or scenes of pandemonium and destruction- as well as the fact that there were very few family members in attendance. She supposed that made sense; she had no family of her own, and why should Lord Addams’ clan join to welcome a bride they did not know, whose groom did not love her? It would have been foolish to pretend at joy on such an occasion. She was lucky for the luxuries that had been provided to her, under the circumstances.
When she reached the altar, she was consumed by a feeling of loneliness she had not known since her mother died. She felt as if it was another woman standing in her place, murmuring vows to a stranger, and she was simply watching the entire charade from afar. She hardly registered the voice saying they were now man and wife, and only her groom’s hand lifting her veil brought her back to her body.
It was then that Morticia finally saw her bridegroom, unobstructed and fully illuminated. At last she could see the cruel lines in his face, the cold gleam in his eyes, the immaculately groomed mustache atop a sensual mouth- and a long, jagged scar that stretched from the eye to the chin. She had only seen such a scar in illustrations, but the red lines were unmistakable: it was the mark of an abomination who had been touched by a holy weapon.
Morticia threw herself into his arms with a ferocity she had not known she was capable of. The holy scar burned at her cheek as she touched it, and she fell into a swoon.
My husband! she thought before it all went dark.
Morticia awoke in a sumptuous bed as a thunder storm raged outside. She still felt warm where she had touched the abomination’s mark, and felt at ease for the first time since she had arrived at the Addams household. Not at ease- thrilled. Where once she had been resigned about her impending wedding, now she could hardly stand to wait for her groom to join her in the marital bed!
And yet he did not come for her. Morticia lay on the bed in the master bedroom for over an hour without being visited, her heart sinking with every passing minute. Did he not want her, after all this fuss? Finally, when she could take it no longer, she picked up the candelabra by the side of the bed, pushed open the doors and strode out into the grand hallway of the Addams home. There were doors upon doors, many crusted over with spiderwebs and dust, but finally she found one that was slightly ajar.
She strode towards it, and when she pushed it open she found her husband standing in a hall of ornate and cruel-looking portraits. They all bore a significant family resemblance.
“Lord Addams?” No, she was his wife. Surely that entitled her to use his given name. “Gomez?”
He only nodded in acknowledgement.
“Aren’t you coming to ravish your bride? I shall feel quite cheated if you do not.”
He said nothing.
“Or I could ravish you instead,” she offered. “I believe that love thrives best when it is spiced with variety.”
This managed to bring a smile to the stern lord’s handsome face. The scar seemed to glow by the light of the candelabra, an impression that only increased as she came closer to him.
“I did not know…” Gomez Addams furrowed his brow. “I did not know you would be so charming. This complicates matters.”
“But why?” Morticia asked.
“Because Addams marriages have a poor history for happiness. I suppose I should not have tried to keep it a secret from you- you deserve to know the truth. Come, I shall show you.”
He turned and gestured to the portraits behind him, one after another. There was a weary quality to his voice as he spoke.
“Gloriana Addams- slain by a lustful admirer shortly after her wedding, prompting her husband to destroy himself in his quest for revenge. Prospero Addams- slain by the young bride he abducted, and mourned by none. Christabelle and Tristan Addams- greatly in love when they wed, jealousy over the family riches led to them poisoning each other at the same dinner. Caligula Addams- no one knows which of his lovers killed him, as there are simply too many suspects. I could go on.”
Every painting was exquisitely beautiful, wonderfully hideous or, more often, a strange combination of both.
“Now you see, my lovely witch, why I advertised for a stranger I would not love. I am sorry. You seem a fine woman, and though we shall bear each other no affection, I shall see that your life is always one of comfort.”
“But I do not want a life of comfort! I could not live one even if it was offered to me. It is not the way I am.” Morticia reached out and stroked the cruel scar on his face. “I wish to suffer darkness alongside you, if that is the fate of your family! It has always been thus with mine. Can’t you see that, mon cher ?”
She had not meant to use the term of endearment, but already she had started to think of her husband as her love. He grasped her hand ever so tightly- deliciously so- and pulled her close to him, so close she could feel every breath he took.
“If what we wanted was what mattered, cara mia , you would be in the greatest peril. The things I would do to you...the torments I would visit upon your exquisite flesh...you would be very frightened indeed.”
Before she could protest that all those things sounded exactly like her cup of tea, Gomez kissed Morticia fiercely, pulling back on her hair as he did so. When he pulled away at last, he seemed to be studying her. She felt like a strange and deadly specimen he had discovered, and could not help preening just a little bit.
“You are a witch indeed. Your hair smells of belladonna and white oleander, your kisses intoxicate me. You embrace a man scarred with a holy weapon-
“And I intend to inflict a few more scars if only he’ll let me.”
His hands reached around her body, and before she knew it Morticia found herself being carried out the door and down the hall. She kicked and screamed a bit to add to the drama of the situation, but when he at last pushed open a dark oak door to reveal a torture chamber, she could no longer contain a rapturous smile.
“Very well, if you wish us to love one another. We shall both live to regret this, cara mia .”
“I should certainly hope so, mon cher . Let us challenge a bit of family history tonight. I defy us not to be happy!”
Morticia reached out her arms to help him strap her into the chains on the wall, knowing she had come home at last with her new husband. And to think when she’d answered the advertisement, she’d meant to murder him!