The following fanfiction was written by TheLastLynx. Here’s the link to the original source: https://archiveofourown.org/works/13722819/chapters/31526457
“Mirrors are the basis of beauty,
Give rise to self love or self pity”
Blue Öyster Cult, Mirrors
The wedding day had arrived and Robin was glad for the frantic action of last–minute preparations that kept her mind busy and distracted. For those surrounding her, the morning flew by in a haze of exhilaration – and sometimes panic – while she stood there, patiently, absent–mindedly, doing exactly what she was told to do by Linda, the hairdresser, the makeup artist, the florist. Even though she had not shed another tear since her few private moments alone at the service station, Robin felt completely and utterly spent, unable to muster enough strength to fake the face of the happy flushed bride.
There was about an hour left until the service. The florist had just applied the finishing touches to the coronet in her hair and finally granted Robin a look in the mirror. For the first time all morning, Robin studied her reflection. Looking back at her was an unfamiliar, beautifully painted face; red–gold wavy hair crowned by white roses of Yorkshire framed the delicate features. But this was not what Robin saw. Instead, she stared – shocked – at the strangely familiar, haunted expression. It made her uncomfortable; the image of an inadvertent memory, slowly forming at the back of her head, creeping into her consciousness. Robin saw the image of a haunted bride, a bride showing an expression of grief and loss and loneliness unlike any other face Robin had – until this very instant – ever seen before; sent to Strike on a morning that felt like ages ago, as a taunting reminder that now, after sixteen years together, he and the sad woman were irrevocably separate people.
Robin turned away. She could not stand to see herself like this, to compare herself to Strike’s ex, to detect the same haunted expression of profound sadness, the same loss that she was so desperately trying to forget. And all shared sorrow notwithstanding, Robin was still forced to admit that she did not, could never compare to the beautiful woman in the picture, to Charlotte Campbell–Ross. She had, after all, never been that close to Cormoran. But, just like Charlotte, the connection she had felt with the detective, was now broken, irretrievably impaired; she, too, had to live with the memories of a devastating loss etched onto her features, traces of a lost – and, in her case, never fulfilled – love. She, too, had to continue with a husband that she, ultimately, did not want.
“Robin, dear, are you feeling alright?”
Linda, who had seen the florist off, had returned to notice that Robin’s spirits – while she had never shown the excitement for wedding preparations that most brides–to–be exhibited – had reached a new low. This was surely more than mere wedding jitters. It seemed almost impossible, but her already distraught daughter appeared to be more distressed with every minute that her grand entrance into the church moved closer.
“Are you sure you want to do this? There’s no shame in calling it off, you know,” she tried to reassure Robin once again, hoping to make her see that it was not worth making such a fundamental commitment if she didn’t really want to. Linda did not have a good feeling about her daughter marrying Matthew. Although she had known him since he had been a teenager and she knew he could be a sweet boy if he cared to be, she had also witnessed his growing tendency to be domineering. So, she had watched, with some concern that Robin, generally a person eager to please and longing for a harmonic home, had been increasingly tagging along with Matthew, instead of making her own life’s choices. Only in recent months, after her move to London, had she tentatively begun to actively shape her own life. And she was not at all pleased by the suspicion that it was exactly this development that had been the cause for so much conflict between the couple.
She had tried to say as much when they’d gone to Harrogate on Friday to buy new shoes. The fact alone that Robin had obviously not spent the return money on new bridal shoes was enough for Linda to suspect that something was wrong; together with what she knew to be insincere excitement for her own wedding, Linda was convinced that Cormoran was somehow at the core of her daughter’s distress. She just was unsure about the extent of the problem – but it seemed so very unlikely that their professional falling–out could be the cause for all this. Yet, each of her tactful attempts to get to the bottom of this were blocked by a stubborn Robin.
“It’s nowt… I’m perfectly fine… just feeling a bit funny, that’s all. But I guess that’s normal, considering…”
Standing up, determined not to look one bit like the image of the desperate bride that haunted her memory, the spectre that had looked out of the mirror, Robin changed the subject and asked for her bouquet. Linda hurried away to get the flowers out of the fridge and Robin stooped to slide on the pair of cream–coloured shoes they had bought yesterday. In her mind rose another unwanted memory – Strike’s reaction to that vision of a bride in agony.
“Just delete it.”