Johnathan bounced his heels off of the metal box he was sitting on.
He had forgotten his lunch again, but he was still there. He would have
been sitting on the edge of the roof of the business building except it had
occurred to someone to inform him that he would look like a jumper if he
did. Johnathan did not really need to stir up that much trouble.
How anyone could want to jump after seeing the view, he could not
understand The city seemed to go on forever, majestically stretching
construction of steel and glass. Bungy jumping might be fun, but Johnathan
did not think he could get permission for something like that. He was
already on thin ice with his boss as it was, but that was nothing new.
He was not even supposed to be up there, but no one had told him,
personally, not to be. Of course, nobody knew he came up there, but that
was not important. Only one other person knew about Johnathan's little
hiding spot, and that was his buddy Tasos, who worked in a law firm a
couple floors below where Johnathan worked. Tasos normally joined him for
lunch, in less he had a meeting or something. Johnathan did not mind
eating alone. It gave him a chance to get unwounded and calm down.
He would not be alone that day, however, as Tasos came bounding up
onto the roof. Johnathan smiled and waved over at his friend.
Tasos jogged over to him with a broadening grin on his face. "Guess what!"
Johnathan grinned a little more lively, coming out of his reverie.
"What's up? Did you get that case?"
"No, no, no," Tasos replied, shaking his head. "I'm getting married!"
"I'm. Getting. Married." Tasos said slowly, pronouncing every word
carefully and with obvious glee.
"Ta who?" Johnathan asked dumbly, not quiet reregistering the
information. "To Nicole?"
"Yes to Nicole, you idiot!" Tasos exclaimed amidst his delighted
laughter. "I'm surprised she didn't tell you. didn't you see her this
"Didn't get a chance." Johnathan muttered shaking his head. "And
she said yes?"
"Well of course she said yes!" Tasos exclaimed with a touch of
indignation. He was in too good of a mood to be very upset, however.
"What do you think she'd say?"
"I don't know." Johnathan answered uneasily. His best friends were
getting married. It had been weird enough when they had been dating, but
now they were getting married. "Damn," he muttered. "Marriage."
"Isn't it great?" Tasos asked as he started to pace back and forth
in a thoughtful way.
"Yeah, I guess so." Johnathan answered as he stared at his hand. He
supposed it really was. Nicole was probably more excited, though most
likely not by much. Tasos had always viewed marriage as essential to
happiness, that he was not complete till he had his own little family like
something out of a 50's movie. Johnathan had stood by his mother through
two divorces. He had a slightly different view on domestic life. Still,
they must both be happy...
"I already told my parents." Tasos was saying more to himself than
to anyone else. "My mother's already making plans. You'll be my best man
of course. Nicole's trying to figure out who she's going to have as her
Johnathan smiled. "I'm honored." He commented.
Tasos paused and smiled over at him. "Hey!" Who else would I
Johnathan made a face. "Does that mean I'm going to have to wear a
tux, with a tie and all that?"
"Ah," Tasos said in mocked sympathy. "For once in your life you'll
have to be an adult. How you managed to land that job of yours, then
actually keep it! I'll never understand it!"
Johnathan grinned mischievously. "Can I wear a bright green one?"
Tasos furrowed his brow. "Green what?" He asked cautiously.
"A green tux, of course!"
Tasos rolled his eyes. "Oh yes, Nicole would just love that!"
"Oh come on," Johnathan said thoughtfully. "I think she'd find it
"No way Johnny boy." Tasos said as resolution. Johnathan glared
over at him for the nick name, but did not interrupt him. "I want this to
be perfect!" Tasos explained.
"Are you sure you're ready for this?" Johnathan asked hesitantly.
He was back to studying his hands.
"Of course I am!" Tasos answered immediately. "Why wouldn't I be?"
He paused for a moment. "Do you think she's not ready?"
Johnathan snorted. "Out of the two of you, she's the one who's ready."
Tasos did not look so sure. He stared at the horizon for a moment
then shook his head. "You're my best man, Johnathan. You shouldn't be
talking me out of this."
"I'm sorry." Johnathan replied, truly regretting having said
something. "I just wanted to make sure you guys are happy."
"We are!" Tasos said excitedly. He hopped up to sit next to Johnathan.
"You should have seen the way I purposed! I had everything right! Just
like in a movie!"
"Come on man, you can't do this!" Johnathan shouted through the
door. "God!" He exclaimed, rubbing his face wearily as he leaned against
the bathroom door. It had long passed become an uncomfortable position.
Johnathan pulled back the sleeve of his tuxedo and glanced at his sport's
watch. "Damn it, Tasos! Now we're late! Nicole is going to kill me for
not getting you to the church on time! Jesus man, you're the groom!
You're not supposed to be late!" Johnathan unclipped his bow-tie and threw
it across the narrow hall in frustration. It bounced back at him.
Johnathan then sighed and loosened the collar of his no long crisp
white shirt. As best man it was his duty to make sure the groom was ready
to go come Sunday morning. Well, morning had come and he still had not
gotten Tasos out of the bathroom. This was not the time for cold feet and
Tasos had a bad case of it. He had locked himself in the bathroom and
would not even talk to Johnathan.
Johnathan had known this wedding was a bad idea, but how was he
supposed to tell that to his two best friends? He now starting to
seriously regret his lack of courage. Tasos was not the marrying type and
everyone but Tasos and Nicole knew it. Why Nicole said yes still baffled
Johnathan. He had known Nicole for years, even dated her once long ago,
and she had never done something this stupid before.
"God," Johnathan muttered. Talk about being stuck between a rock
and a hard place and it was only getting tighter with each passing minute.
Tasos had continued to go on and on about how wonderful it would be to be
married. That had lasted till about an hour ago. "You know, you have the
worst damn timing in the world!" Johnathan shouted at Tasos. The best man
began to lightly bounce his head against the door, just hard enough to
hurt. Because of that, he barely heard Tasos when he finally decided to
"No, I don't."
'Ah, crap.' Was the first thing to race through Johnathan's mind.
"I don't like the sound of that!" Johnathan yelled as menacingly as he
Suddenly the door was flung open and Johnathan found himself sprawled
on the bathroom's tiled floor, looking up at a rather distressed looking
"You do realize you have a wedding to get to." Johnathan stated in a
last ditch effort to somehow save the day.
Tasos shook his head.
Johnathan spun around and up on to his feet. "Oh, no. You got
yourself into this!"
"And I'm getting myself out of this before I get in too deep." Tasos
said pointedly taking off his suit jacket as if he could discard his
problems as easily.
"You're already in too deep, you idiot!" Johnathan yelled, waving
his arms around dramatically.
"I can't get married." Tasos explained as rationally as he could.
"I'd never make it as a husband, this is me we're talking about here."
Johnathan groaned in frustration, then sat on the edge of the tub in
defeat. "You're damned straight, but now's a bloody hell bad time to
"So, why didn't you tell me before?" Tasos whined as he tried to
pace inside the bathroom.
Johnathan's jaw dropped. "I did tell you that!"
Tasos paused and turned to face his best man. "You have to tell
"Huh? Oh, hell no!" Johnathan exclaimed as he hopped to his feet.
"No way! I'm not tellin' Nicole there's no wedding because her inane
fiancee's backin' out! I'm not going to be with in 50 feet of her when she
hears about his!"
"Johnathan! She'll listen to you!" Tasos explained, trying in vain
to get his frantic friend to calm down. "I just can't marry her. It just
wouldn't work. She doesn't love me! I know it!"
"Why the hell else would she say yes for?" Johnathan shouted back at
"Now listen to me," Tasos glanced down at his watch. "You're
already five minutes late. Just tell her I'm not coming."
"Just tell her you're not coming?" Johnathan repeated, his voice
growing louder. "Just tell her you're not coming? Bloody hell, Tasos, you
know I do like having all of my teeth intact, thank you!"
"She won't hit you, you baby!"
"Like hell she won't! And just who here's the baby?" Johnathan
snapped back, shoving a finger at Tasos's chest.
"I told you why I can't marry her." Tasos said calmly, as if that
made everything all right.
"Oh, what a bunch a bull." The best friend muttered as he was shoved
out of the bathroom door.
"I'm telling you it's true!" Tasos insisted. "Now, go tell her!"
He commanded before shutting the door in his friend's face.
Johnathan stared at the door blankly for a moment before growling
softly and stalking down the hallway. "How the hell did I end up in this
Nicole spotted him the moment he stepped into the hallway. Despite
his best efforts he apparently had not schooled his facial expression well
enough not give away his bad news. He saw her lips move as if to say
something, but he heard no sound. A couple of bride's maids descended upon
him, surrounding him, asking him anxious questions.
Nicole did not move.
She stood on the other side of the hallway, clinging to her bouquet
like a life line. Her bright green eyes focused on him, but it was obvious
she barely noticed him anymore. Her father glared mutely at him from over
her shoulder. He felt like a cad. He cursed himself, Tasos and stupid
weddings all in one breath.
Untangling himself from the girls, he quickly made his way over to
her. He stopped a couple feet away from her, and tried to look her in the
eye, but found he could not. She had been crying already, her eyes red and
puffy, and there were small streaks of mascara on her cheeks that someone
had tried to wipe away.
"Um, Nikki," he began, but he just could not find the words. What
could he say?
Nicole took a deep shuttering breath. "He's not coming." She
Johnathan hung his head. Here he was, surrounded by the bridal
procession, bailing out a weasel.
Nicole flung her bouquet at his feet, causing him to wince, but he
did not look up. He did not dare to, even as he heard the dull thud of her
heels marching down the hall. The mother of the bride hurried passed him,
while the father remained where he was.
Johnathan glanced up in shame at the older man, only to find him
"Leave." Mr. Contos said darkly before spinning on one heel and
following his wife.
Johnathan blinked in surprise, although he really had not known what
else to suspect. "I-" he started quietly, talking to the man's back.
"Please tell her I'm sorry."
Johnathan whipped his hands off and stood back to examine his work.
He smiled proudly. "Not too shabby, If I may say so myself." He commented
to himself. The pumpkin cut out design did not look nearly as nice as in
the picture, but Johnathan was proud of himself. At least it resembled the
Throwing the towel on to the counter, he picked up the pumpkin and
carried it out to the balcony of his apartment. He had to juggle it a
little to get the door open but he managed to do so without dropping his
Outside, across the corner of his balcony railing, laid a small piece
of ply wood, just big enough to hold his pumpkin. He set it down carefully
and just right so that it could clearly be seen from below. He stepped
back to inspect it. He shook his head then began to readjust it again.
That was much better. Now the carving faced him, just at the right angle
to be seen from the inside.
Pleased with himself, Johnathan went back in and washed his hands.
The mail was lying on the counter, next to the sink. He had grabbed it on
his way up but had been too excited about carving his pumpkin to open it.
Now, after scrubbing his hands clean and drying them off, he began to sort
through it. Three envelopes went into the trash can, while another was
flopped onto the counter. A magazine found it's way on top of the bill.
Finally he held two orange card envelops. Johnathan smiled, opening the
first one. It was from his cousin. She loved to send cards to everyone
for just about anything. As far as he knew, she had done so all of his
life. He was rather proud of himself for remembering to send her one this
year. Granted, it would definitely arrive late, but it would arrive.
After carefully dumping out the confetti, he read the card then set
it on top of his TV. He came back then and picked up the other card. The
return address threw him off for a second until he realized you it must
have been from.
It had been a month since he had last tried to get a hold of Nicole.
She had gone to stay with one of her friends after the disastrous wedding
and had refused to take his calls since then. So why send him a card now?
He opened it up carefully, almost afraid to tear the envelope. It
had been a while since he had last talked to Tasos as well. The other man
had come by after going on his little "vacation". Johnathan had tried to
be civil but he had ended up all but kicking the man out. They talked
every now and then through e-mails, but it had been a while since Johnathan
had written back. It bothered him slightly, that out of the two of his
friends he missed Nicole the most. Must be guilt.
The card was simple. There was a drawing of a teddy bear, dressed up
as a bumble bee on the cover with a pot of honey in his hands. It was not
the type of card Nicole normally sent. She tended to choose humorous ones,
then she would tuck her own jokes inside. Inside this one was typed "Happy
Halloween" then in one corner was written a short message.
It was a short message, straight and to the point. She had found a
new job, and was moving in to her own place. She did not give him her
number. Johnathan sighed and set the card next to his cousin's. After
Halloween, Johnathan tucked it into a book and buried it at the bottom of a
stack of large books. He never forgot which one he put it in.
Johnathan unfolded the e-mail he had printed out once more. He was
sitting on one of the stone benches outside the museum, waiting. It was a
good time to read it again. He was fairly certain he had it memorized by
now. It had been four years since he had last heard from Nicole, and
suddenly he had a wedding invitation in his hands. The second wedding
invitation he had gotten from her.
"It would mean a lot to me if you could be there."
He read it again. He could not grasp, how after so long, and
everything that had happened, that she would want him there. She had not
explained why. Life would have been so much easier if she had.
Soft, pale hands wrapped around his face, covering his eyes. "Guess
Johnathan smiled as he reached up and took one of her hands in his.
"Could it possibly be my lovely Jennifer?" He asked, kissing her hand
Jenn slapped him playfully on the side of his head. "Flirt."
"Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?" Johnathan asked,
raising an eyebrow.
Jennifer moved to stand in front of him. "Well, as long as you only
flirt with me."
"But of course."
Jennifer studied him intently. "Why'd you look so serious, love?"
Johnathan tried to casually tuck the note away. "Nothing."
Jenn put her hands on her hips. "Are you really going to try that
Johnathan managed to chuckle a little. "You remember that wedding I
told you about? The one that did not happen?"
Jennifer sat down next to him with a very worried look on her face.
"Yes," she replied cautiously.
Johnathan sighed. "Well, I just got an e-mail from Nikki, the
bride." Johnathan paused, hoping she understood the significance. She did
not say anything, just waited for him to continued so he assumed that he
understood. "She's getting married, and she wants me to come."
Jenn did not answer immediately. She obviously thought it over then
asked: "Will you go?"
Johnathan rubbed his temples and sighed. "I'm not sure. I mean, I
haven't talk to her for years. why invite me to this, of all things?"
"Maybe that's something you should ask her." Jennifer suggested
quietly as she watched the people walk by.
"So you're saying you think I should go." Johnathan replied.
"Yes, I do."
Johnathan sighed. "I guess if she wants me to come, it's the least I
can do. Do you think she really wants me to come?" Johnathan asked in an
almost hopeful tone that he could get out of it.
"Johnathan." Jenn answered in a warning type of tone.
"Yes, yes, I know." Johnathan managed a weak smile. "Will you go
"Why of course, you big baby!" Jennifer exclaimed as she wrapped her
arms around his shoulders.