“It was that moment as we sat under the stars together. The crickets chirping and the breeze blowing my direction. That I realized I loved you. The world seemed to stop for a second in time, everything frozen in place. And then it came crashing down again. We would never work. You loved her. My best friend. I sat with you the rest of night wishing it didn’t have to end, so we didn’t have to return to reality. So you wouldn’t remember your feelings for her. And maybe it was selfish of me at the time, but I wanted you all to myself.” I admit to him, his colorful eyes stare into mine a hopeless curiosity drowning in his iris.
Maybe it was a bad idea coming back to this damn town in the first place.
Wait, you don’t know what I’m talking about do you? I’ll just take you back to where it all began.
I unlock the door to my comfortably small New York City apartment. The bottom of my feet burning from the time spent walking in mile high heels. I close the heavy chunk of wood behind me, making sure to lock it before unloading the mail from my purse. I skim through each one, electric bill, rent, water bill, wedding invitation, heating-I stare at the return address on the wedding invitation. Jackson, Alabama. My hand hovers over the envelope. Who would be inviting me to their wedding? I haven’t talked to any of those people since Ma died three years ago. I tear open the paper. Inside lies a white piece of parchment. I pull it out to read the words scrawled on it in gold lettering.
You are formally invited to Beckett and Wilma’s wedding on July 6th 2017, at the Christian church of God in Jackson, Alabama.
Why the hell would either of them want me there? I grab my phone to dial the number listed under R.S.V.P. I put in the digits one by one, still wondering what I wish to accomplish by this. I listen to the phone ring, hoping it just goes to voicemail.
“Hello?” Someone asks.
“Yes Hello. I just wanted to R.S.V.P for Wilma and Beckett’s wedding.” I state, I look down at the envelope.
“Would you mind telling me who this is darling?”
“Oh Mary Ann Richardson.” I respond as I mentally slap myself.
“I have you written down. Thank you for a R.S.V.P.” she hangs up. I shake my head at myself. What am I doing? That wedding is in eight weeks. I can’t believe they’d do this to me.
+ + +
“Honey you’re telling me you gave an R.S.V.P for a wedding that’s being held for your ex-best friend and the cowboy hunk you fell in love with?” John asks he takes a sip from his Starbucks latte.
“Yes. I don’t know why.” I answer, I down the rest of my coffee.
“I would not want to be in your shoes right now.” He says, his eyes watching my every move.
“That’s it.” I pause to look at him “You’re my plus one.”
“Mary, you’re not really my type sweetie.” John teases, I laugh with him.
“Just pretend I’m a guy.” I respond, he shakes his head at me.
“Still prefer blondes.” He whispers as I toss my empty cup in a trash can. “Oh by the way, have you finished those sketches that are due today?”
“You know John you are possibly the worst assistant.” I tease, he rolls his eyes playfully “Yes I did.”
“Oh thank goodness, I don’t know what I’d do if I had to be Kerry’s assistant.” He puts his hand around his neck and pretends to strangle himself.
“Oh whatever you drama queen.”
“I don’t appreciate your sass, peasant.” John tips his chin up as we enter the large skyscraper. I follow him to the elevator. “You know, what if you get to that town in the middle of now where and the hot cowboy realizes he loved you the whole time?”
“Please, if he loved me he would’ve stopped me from leaving in the first place.” I pause “Besides that was a long time ago.”
“Honey, true love waits.” John assures me “If it’s meant to be it’s meant to be.” The elevator arrives, we wait for everyone to get off.
“You with that soul mate crap again?” I ask “You know I don’t believe in that”
“Don’t have to believe in it for it to be true. Like Santa.” We get into the elevator along with a few other people.
“I think you’re forgetting Santa isn’t real.” I answer, I lean forward to press floor five.
“Ouch, I think I felt my heart break a little.”
“You don’t have a heart.” We stop at floor two.
“Touché” the elevator begins to move again.
“Maybe they felt they had to invite me. I mean I guess I’m the reason they’re together anyways.”
“You mean you set lover boy and busty blonde up?” John asks, he turns to give me a look.
“Not necessarily” I respond “They were my two closest friends and I thought it’d be nice if they were friends.”
“And she stole him from you?”
“You can’t steal something that wasn’t yours in the first place John.” We get off at the fifth floor.
“Have you not seen you? Trust me he was yours.”
“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” I ask, we pass the desk in the main lobby.
“No, not really.” I reach my office. “Just so you know I’m not going out there to break up the wedding, just to see some old friends.”
“Mhm” John answers, he sits down at his desk.
I shake it off before entering my office. I sit down at my desk, the blinds all closed. I don’t particularly like feeling like I’m in a fish bowl. It’s bad enough you can nearly hear through the thin glass. I rummage through my bag until I find the sketches. Kerry is going to be in here any minute now demanding to see them. She’s probably hoping I didn’t do them.
Sure enough the door swings open. I look up at the leggy beach blonde. She crosses her arms over her double-d chest. John swears they’re fake.
“Hello Kerry, what a pleasure it is to see you.” I greet, she rolls her eyes at me.
“Get along with it. Where are the sketches?” She asks, she holds out her hand demanding me to give them to her. I gladly present her with the whole folder. She doesn’t say thank you, only marches out.
My eyes wander to the picture on my desk. A woman in her mid-forties, back when I was a teenager. Her hair is salt and pepper, she refused to dye it. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that she was taken away from me. A daughter stripped of her mother. And now I have to go back. Impulsively I pick up the phone on my desk.
“John?” I ask, he answers immediately.
“Is it too late to cancel?”
“I’m making you go to that wedding, whether you like it or not.”
“No but’s” he puts the phone down before I can continue to argue with him. Looks like I’m going to that damn wedding.
I sit in my office waiting for the sketches to be approved, as they always are. I skim through ticket prices online for Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. Of course we’ll be flying first class. I haven’t flown second class since I left, thank goodness for that. I swipe a strand of chocolate brown hair out of my face impatiently. You love her don’t you?...Yes. I push the memory from my mind, not wanting a complete replay of my first heart break.
“Mary?” John asks, he stands in the doorway “Uh hello I’ve been calling your name for like a year already. Its lunch time and I am dying for a chicken wrap from the café.” I glance at my cluttered desk.
“Right. Okay just give me a second.” I answer as I close my laptop and grab my bag.
“Well hurry up we don’t have all day. I can feel my stomach digesting itself.” John complains, he holds his finger up “Oh but John, you have mucus in your stomach which prevents it from that.” He says for me.
“You didn’t know I was going to say that.” I argue. I walk with him to the main lobby.
“So you’re saying you weren’t?” He raises his eyebrow at me quizzically.
“No” I get on the elevator after a group of people exit.
“So tell me about the cowboy hunk.” He smiles ear to ear.
“Beckett, John. His name is Beckett.” I pause “I don’t know I guess he’s cute.”
“Hair color, eye color?” John asks, the elevator stops to unload.
“Blonde, blue and green.” I respond, John glares at me.
“Teal?” He questions “You mean teal?”
“No he has one blue eye and one green eye.” I explain, he stares at me with a strange look of awe.
“He sounds hot.” I roll my eyes.
“You’ll see in a couple of weeks.” I sigh “Wilma is gorgeous though. Blonde, double-d, she’s tall, has a big butt.”
“Hon’, she sounds like the type of girl for a one night stand, not marriage.” John states, he leads me outside to walk down the street.
“Well apparently Beckett didn’t think so.” I answer “Besides she was my best friend at one point.”
“No best friend would ever steal a guy they knew their friend was in love with.” John shrugs “I’m just saying.”
“I guess you’re right.” We cross the road “I just don’t get why they would invite me. I haven’t talked to either of them in three years.”
“Ever think any of them miss you? Maybe cowboy.” John raises his eyebrows suggestively.
“John!” I playfully swat his arm. “You’re horrible. You need to stop reading all of those romance novels.” He grins with deep satisfaction of his dirty mind.
“I happen to like a creative imagination thank you very much.”
Author Notes: I'd love ratings and opinions for the first part of this story.