'you grew up and you sparkled, but why don't you care?'
- X -
A Shared Bottle
- X -
When in desperation: seek any form of alcohol.
Luckily, for the maid of honour, a bottle of champagne gleamed attractively before her.
She reached out for it, emptying the last drop of champagne into her glass. She took note that she'd have to flitch another bottle from the closest table when she needed another drink. Stocking up on alcohol was her main priority that night - especially if she wanted to survive it. All she desired was to get back to her apartment, wrap a thick blanket around herself and hug her knees until it was all over.
But she obviously couldn't do that.
Her eager eyes darted around the venue, hunting for a new bottle. Women in cocktail dresses of almost every colour of the rainbow paraded around the function, accompanied with men in tuxes and fixed ties. Unlike most of her friends that were at the function, she was one of the few people that remained single. With her glass practically drained, she needed to find new target to keep her sane.
She didn't care that the venue was beautiful, dripping in wealth and ceremonial decorations. To the maid of honour, the fake-gold chandeliers were blinding and the blood-red roses twined in ivy gave her the unwanted urge to throw up. It was too bad that roses and ivy were the theme of the night, draping from the ceilings, adding a flare to the tables and scattering the varnished floors into a magical mess.
It had been her idea, of course. And the thought of that disgusted her.
Oh, how she really needed to get out of there.
As she pressed her lips on the edge of her glass, she savoured the last drop of flat champagne and ran her tongue over her glossed lips. She wanted to cry.
"Easy on the liquor, tiger." A smooth voice spoke over the silky instrumental jazz.
She had been so distracted for the need of alcohol that it had taken her a while to realise that the person was actually speaking to her. The maid of honour sniffed, sending him a disapproving look.
"You drink more than I do, Jonathan."
The best man had scooted his way past both his seat and the groom's so that he was sitting on the bride's once vacant throne. He leaned towards the maid honour, allowing her to get a good whiff of his aftershave and spicy cologne.
Automatically, the maid of honour shuffled away from him, regaining back her personal space. After she had sent the dismissing signal, one would assume that the best one would take the hint and not move closer.
Nonetheless, Jonathan wasn't like anybody else. Instead, he slid an arm around the back of her seat and easily complimented, "You look good tonight."
She didn't know if he was fooling around or not.
The maid of honour had dressed up for her role, she know she looked great. Everybody did. However, she didn't feel great. If anything, her facial expression gave everything away. It appeared as if she was attending not a wedding, but a funeral.
"Stop joking. Behave yourself." She bristled through pursed lips. "It's their wedding. Can't you be proper for once?"
"But I am," Jonathan insisted, straightening his tie. "I'm wearing a tux."
In some sense, she knew that he was right because seeing Jonathan wearing a tux was a big deal.
She had half-expected Jonathan to rock up in his favourite board shorts and flip-flops. She wouldn't have been surprised if he had sauntered into the venue topless. The groom must have pleaded or blackmailed him into wearing something decent for that 'special' day.
The maid of honour glanced at the gift pile, searching for two bizarre over-sized presents to stick out. Everybody that knew Jonathan would have thought that Jonathan's ideal gift for the newlyweds would have been two matching surfboards. Fortunately that night there were no signs of him wearing his customary floral-patterned shorts or any surfboard-shaped presents in sight.
"If I were you, I'd lay off anymore drinks," Jonathan advised. "You drank that whole bottle on your own."
"You're tipsy," Jonathan stated, eyebrow arched.
"I am not." She emphasised the latter word, attempting her best to sound convincing. To a certain extent, it was true. The maid of honour was not tipsy...yet.
She knew that if she were to stand up at that moment, she would be fighting a terrible head spin. She couldn't risk standing up in front of him and making an idiot out of herself. As much as she wanted to stalk away from him, she literally couldn't. And, if she were to, she didn't want to give Jonathan the satisfaction of being correct from her tripping over her own two feet. Her night bad enough as it was.
"Don't get mad at me when I say 'I told you so' when you begin slurring your speech to the bride."
"I won't." She snapped. "And any bet you haven't written anything down."
"Well, I don't need to," Jonathan said, confidently. "I've recited it."
"Really now?" The maid of honour said, finding it hard to believe.
Jonathan writing and reciting a speech? That surely was something. Jonathan hadn't even taken his end-of-year exams back when they were in high school, as picking up a pen had been one of Jonathan's weaknesses. If it hadn't been for his previous typed-up assignments that had given him good marks, he would have failed high school.
She dared him, "Would you give me sneak peek of your speech then?"
"No. It'll be a surprise," Jonathan said, smirking. "That's because I'm going to wing it."
The maid of honour chortled, "Ah, I should have known..."
She was about to talk more to Jonathan, but someone had nudged her on the hip. She winced, rubbing her side and gazed at the person who had been sitting on her other side.
The woman was dressed in an identical satin dress that the maid of honour wore. Though the maid of honour hated to admit it, the bridesmaid who had drawn her attention was the most beautiful amongst all the bridesmaids. The bridesmaid had her golden hair immaculately fixed up into a braided bun, with white irises attached around it the bun in an elegant manner. Although the bridesmaid was younger the maid of honour, she could tell that the bridesmaid had inherited the bride's beauty.
In other words, the bridesmaid that she conveniently had to sit down next to was the bride's sister.
"Tell that idiot to go back to his seat." The bride's sister scoffed.
While the bridesmaid had inherited the bride's beauty, she hadn't taken any good personality traits off her. The maid of honour had never clicked with the younger female because of her attitude problems. It had gotten worse when the bride had picked her over the sister.
"Hurry up and tell him to get off the seat. They'll be here any minute now."
"Fine." The maid of honour responded. "I will, Erin."
The main table that they were seated on was on a higher platform. Because of this, the maid of honour could see that most of the wandering and socialising guests had finally returned to their seats. She heard the musical notes gradually simmer down, as the pianist pushed onto one of the pedals from the grand piano.
Erin did have a point. They were preparing to bring in the newly married couple.
The maid of honour turned back to Jonathan who still remained seated on the bride's throne. "You need to get back to your seat now."
"That's too bad. I liked sitting next to you."
"Change your seat before Erin bites my head off." She ordered. Jonathan was the only person, other than herself, that knew that Erin was upset over the bride choosing her as the maid of honour. She had accidentally let it slip to him when they were having one of their regular arguments.
Jonathan remarked. "True, but that's before you bite my head off."
She jabbed her heel into his foot, causing him to yelp. Jonathan gasped, returning to his allocated seat that was only a couple of seats away from her. He waved his hands frantically at her. "I get it, I get it!"
Once Jonathan was, thankfully, away from her the maid of honour absorbed the atmosphere around her. She could feel the change of energy in the venue. It was almost suffocating and it made her feel oddly queasy. Her chest tightened, dreading everything that had happened and what was to happen.
God, she needed another drink.
The chandelier bulbs dimmed, making the candles in the function to glow, eliciting a series of giggles and mutters of excitement. It was like watching the bride march down the aisle of the church again, only this time it was darker. At least, with the candles burning and the lights not shining, nobody would notice the maid of honour frowning.
From the speakers, a song began to play. A melody that startled her.
She recognised the song. It had been the song that she had requested the DJ to play at her year twelve formal; the same song that the DJ had coincidentally played when Lance Murphy locked lips with her best friend for the first time. And now, ironically, it was now their wedding theme song. The maid of honour held in a bitter laugh. Having been dubbed the maid of honour was already one thing, but playing that song had even been more ironic.
The doors opened.
And there their figures were, emerging from the white smoke that gradually dispitated. The bride and groom were linked arm in arm as they walked down the aisle of rose petals, leading towards the main table.
Guests applauded as they walked past, standing up and cheering for the newly wedded couple.
The flower girl, like at the church, held the end of the bride's gown, crumpling the fabric into a bundle as she followed the queen of the night.
From where the maid of honour sat, she adored how the bride's hair was let down and styled to curl gracefully at the ends. The bride usually had her hair up, so it was pleasant seeing it down. It suited her. The strapless cream wedding dress fitted her figure nicely too, resting in the right places to accent her curves. The maid of honour remembered being with the bride as she had brooded over each single dress. And, after much contemplation, the bride selected the dress she was attired in - the dress that made her look beyond gorgeous - the dress that the maid of honour had chosen for her.
She wanted to cry.
How was it fair? She was so happy for her best friend, but she was also envious too. Why had her the maid of honour have witness the person she loved, fall in love with her best friend? And now they were married.
Had the maid of honour committed a sin in her past life? Why did she have deal with this? Why did it hurt so much?
Still, the maid of honour held her head up high. She balled her hands into fists as she breathed in and out, trying her best not to hyperventilate. She'd be happy for them...even if it did hurt.
The pain that she felt at that moment reminded her of the time when Lance and her best friend had declared that they were dating. At that time, the maid of honour didn't know how to react. She wore a tight smile, hoping that with each year it would get better - that she would get over Lance. But she didn't. It had gotten worse.
Why did she love him?
The nightmare had become her reality.
Velvety instrumental jazz swept over the venue once the married couple had taken their seat.
When the entrées were served, the maid of honour gazed grimly at her plate. She sighed, stabbing into the ravioli with her fork. Perhaps stabbing things would make her feel better. The maid of honour stuffed the piece of pasta into her mouth, but she couldn't concentrate on her food because from the corner of her eye she could see the constant flirting going on between the newlyweds. She wanted to avoid them, but how could she when she was sitting next to them?
The maid of honour stabbed at another pasta piece.
"What are you doing?" The bride's sister whispered, "You're going to squirt that red bolognaise sauce onto her wedding gown!"
"I won't." The maid of honour answered, through her mouth full of pasta.
"You're disgusting. Keep your mouth shut."
She retaliated back. "When you keep yours."
The maid of honour had tried to remain calm and polite the whole time, but she was reaching her limit. Sitting next to the bride's sister was a mistake because she was slowly losing her patience.
"They make a happy couple. It's strange," Erin said, thoughtfully, playing around with a different tactic to get under the maid of honour's skin. The bridesmaid edged closer towards her, "I always thought that Lance had always liked you."
It had caught her off guard, but the maid of honour gave a stiff smile. "He didn't. If Lance had, it would me getting married, don't you think?"
"Are you meant to be joking or are you serious?" Erin questioned, thin eyebrows furrowed, confused that the maid of honour was actually playing along with her witless ramblings.
The maid of honour bit her bottom lip before she said anything too cruel. "Just sarcasm, Erin. Only sarcasm."
"So, what are you pretty ladies talking about?" The bride tilted her head towards us, beaming a pearly-white smile.
Great. The bride and groom had finally stopped indulging themselves with each other.
"If it's about men, I suggest you go find yourself a guy here tonight. Both of you single ladies should talk to Jonathan's cousins. They're fine looking, if I do say so myself."
"Not healthy for you to say since you're now married."
Erin wrinkled her nose, adding, "No thanks."
The maid of honour had to agree with the bride's sister on that one. The bride had attempted many times to set her up with Timothy Murphy countless of times, but she had always made lame excuses to avoid him - partly because Timothy wasn't the guy that she liked, but his cousin.
"Congratulations, Ivy." The maid of honour said. She enveloped her best friend into a tight hug, while trying not to smudge the bride's makeup.
"I'm just so glad that you're my maid of honour-"
Erin chose the right time to exchange words with another bridesmaid. Yes, the maid of honour had been right - Erin was still sore that she hadn't been picked.
"If you hadn't been here for, I wouldn't have known what to do!"
"You'd still marry Lance." The maid of honour instantly quipped back, continuing to smile stiffly.
"Of course!" The bride laughed, fanning herself. "But you helped organise the wedding and this...this place is fantastic! The ivies and the roses. You're so creative."
"I try." The maid of honour replied, shrugging. However, she was no longer looking at the bride, but at the empty champagne bottle that stood there, mocking her.
"You know I love you. You're my best friend in the whole entire world," Ivy said. "Though, I have to say...you seem a bit off colour, or is that your foundation? What's wrong?"
"Fine. I'm fine." The maid of honour muttered through gritted teeth. "It's nothing."
Of course she was lying.
How could she be okay with this?
"You don't look fine-"
"Ivy, trust me. I'm fine." She assured her.
"IVY!" The maid of honour glared, but immediately her face changed. Oh, how she mentally wanted to slap herself for that. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean for that to happen. You know how my temper gets..."
"Don't worry about it." The bride gushed, "I'm just so happy that you're here with me to celebrate this special day. Thank you."
The maid of honour smile, giving the bride a brief hug. "You're my best friend. I would never miss your wedding."
Even though she had wanted to…
Suddenly, there was a repetitive loud tinkling of glasses. The sound had started from the other side of the main table. The maid of honour looked down at the men's side of the table, already guessing that it had been Jonathan's idea. Her guess was confirmed when she watched Jonathan stand up on his chair, making a show as he tapped his knife against his glass, encouraging the rest of the guests to clink their silverware against their own glasses. In seconds, the venue was filled with rowdy whooping, cheering and tinkling of glasses. It was like Jonathan was instructing an orchestra of hooligans.
Jonathan yelled, "Kiss her, you son of a -"
And Lance did.
More whooping and applauses erupted from their guests. When the noise settled, Jonathan tapped at the mic, taking his cue to commence his speech.
He glanced at Lance with a grin, speaking into the mic. "Hey bud. How's it goin'?"
Lance chuckled, holding a glass at the best man with a good old natured salute.
"Well, I've known this asshol-I mean, guy ever since elementary, so I was bound to be his bridesmaid - I mean his best man, you see."
Jonathan was already messing up his words. Clearly, the maid of honour hadn't been the only one drinking. Jonathan tended to curse excessively when he had a bit too much liquor in his system. The damn hypocrite.
"I remember the first time he looked up a girl's skirt and the first time he got laid-"
Erin coughed loudly, causing the maid of honour to roll her eyes. At least Jonathan was making an effort making the ceremony endurable with his drunk openness.
"So, what I mean to say is that Lance is a great guy. He really is!" Jonathan said, as if he were trying to tell himself that. Maybe the maid of honour was misreading him because she actually heard a bit of doubt in his tone. "And now he's settling down...with such a lovely girl. Come to think of it, I used to hate Ivy-Rose, you know? Don't take it personally Ivy-Rose. You're a fantastic person, but at that time I hated you because you stole my best friend. But eventually, I got around it. The more I got to know her...I fell in love with her too. No hard feelings, man?"
Jonathan always would ramble on about things to make everybody happy. In high school, he had even been elected by his peers to become the football captain, but he had stepped down from the role. He preferred not having responsibility and didn't think he suited the position (which he gave to Lance). Being the class clown had been his specialty. He could be a leader, but he chose not to. He liked goofing around too much.
"Ivy-Rose. Ivy-Rose," Jonathan repeated. "With a name like that, how could anyone not love her? She's like a poison that draws everyone in. You either love her or...love her. Ivy, you look after my mate, will you? Lance likes his steak well done, okay?"
The bride nodded with a gentle smile. "Sure."
"Guh, I swore to myself that I wouldn't get all sappy, but I couldn't help myself," Jonathan scratched his head. A few strands of hair separated from the rest of his gelled back hair. "From the time Lance told me he met such a beautiful girl and from the time Lance told me that she was the one - I knew that I was no competition against Miss Ivy-Rose. If I were gay, I'd turn gay for Lance because he's the best man. Well, technically I'm the best man...but he'll be my best man for my wedding one day. I'm not making sense, am I?"
"No," Lance mouthed.
I wasn't the only one who knew that Jonathan had liquor in his system. Lance could see it too and he was amused by it.
"With that being said, may I introduce the lovely maid of honour to do her speech," Jonathan spoke into the microphone, ending his talk as he jumped back onto the ground and took his seat.
There was another round of applause.
The maid of honour groaned. She wasn't prepared to do her speech yet. She was meant to do it in an hour's time, but Jonathan had intentionally screwed up the schedule. If he wanted to play like this, so be it.
She stood up, smoothing her dress before tapping onto the mic.
"Thanks for introducing me, Jonathan Butt-ler Cruise."
She smirked when she heard him snort. When the maid of honour had discovered his middle name, she had often joked made butt jokes as payback for always irritating her.
Her fingers tried to grasp onto the cue cards, but they were fumbling all over the place with her quivering hands. Giving up, she hastily dropped them onto the table. If Jonathan could wing it, perhaps she could.
"I've been stressing all week," the maid of honour started. "I know this is a strange way to start my speech, but it's true. I've been stressing all week trying to get this wedding perfect. And I wondered, what's the point? Why am I bothering to do this-"
…especially when I'm organising a wedding for my best friend and the person I still like-
She gulped. The maid of honour didn't dare say those words. She wasn't that harsh.
"What I mean to say is that...well, there's no point. There's no point organising something so extreme and spectacular when I already know how much my best friend, Ivy-Rose Curtis, and Lance Murphy were and are a match made in heaven. The theme, organising and planning is nothing compared to the love that they share for each other." The maid of honour mumbled. Her throat was getting drier by the second. "When Ivy and I were younger, we'd watch Cinderella. Cinderella was her favourite movie because she had told me that she wanted to have her very own Prince Charming. And, you know what? She did."
"I remember when they first met. I was the one who had introduced them to each other. It was the last year of high school and Mr. Garland assigned Lance to be my Biology partner. Before crashing his house to do our project, we stopped at McDonalds for our junk-food fill. I chose that junk-food hangout because, at that time, Ivy worked there and she never failed to shout us free meals. And that's where they met, eyes gazing at each other over the pair of Oreo McFlurrys. It should have been a McLovin' burger, if you ask me." The maid of honour smiled wryly at her lameness.
Yeah, she had been their matchmaker.
"Ivy's so kind, nice, strong, friendly and talented. And, most of all, she's my best friend. She's the best person I know and I am absolutely thrilled to say that her dream's come true. She's found her Prince Charming in Lance Murphy."
"To the new Mr. and Mrs. Murphy," The maid of honour held up her empty glass, as everyone in the room lifted their drinks to toast the newlyweds.
Everything blurred from there on.
She couldn't really remember anything else. She was pleased with herself that she was doing a good job by not tearing up, but she wondered how long it would last until the waterworks would start.
Moments later the MC announced, "Would Ivy-Rose and Lance Murphy please come down and dance for the first time as a married couple."
The maid of honour leered at how gallantly Lance offered his hand and took Ivy-Rose down the steps that led to the dance floor. As they danced, the maid of honour couldn't help but notice how perfectly well they danced together. She couldn't stand that-
If she was going to continue dwelling the whole night, thinking of regrets, what-ifs and falling into a hole of self-pity...she'd rather do it in the toilets.
So she fled.
"Where are you goin-"
The maid of honour ignored Erin, running as fast as she could on her high heels while trying to maintain her uncoordinated balance.
She passed Jonathan who gave her a concerned glance, but the maid of honour mimicked the action that she was going to vomit. Jonathan seemed to not be pleased about her excuse, calling after her as she staggered down the steps.
She could hear him following.
The maid of honour locked herself into one of the vacant cubicles. She slumped onto the ground, sobbing. She couldn't fake how low she felt any longer. Her mascara felt runny, but she didn't care. It was too painful to be there. All she wanted to do was escape.
"She's not here...and it couldn't help to at least say her real name too."
"What's up?" He continued, as if she hadn't spoken.
He coldly laughed. "No, you aren't."
"Why are you even in here, Jonathan?" She complained, sulking. "You'd go to all extremes to see me look stupid?"
"Hey, I'm the one inside the female toilets."
"You must think I'm a joke. Laugh it up because I know you think I look funny-"
"I was telling the truth. If you're talking about earlier," he paused, "-you do look good."
She sighed, brushing the tears from her cheeks with the bottom of her dress. The maid of honour pleaded, "I really need my alone time. Jonathan...please?"
"Then it wouldn't be fun."
She warned him, "Jonathan."
"You aren't sick, tiger. I know when you're not telling the truth. It's obvious."
"But I am." The maid of honour huffed, glaring at the polished leather shoes that pointed at her from under the cubicle door.
"You aren't," Jonathan stated. "Because then you'd be belching over the toilet bowl and not bothering to answer back. Heck, you'd even be letting me help by holding your hair up or something-"
"I am sick-"
"Save the act." He chuckled. From under the gap between the door and ground, the maid of honour saw Jonathan's hand holding onto a handkerchief in peace-offering. "Here."
"Who said that I was crying?"
"Your sniffly voice, that's what."
The maid of honour didn't acknowledge that he was right. Instead, she took the handkerchief from him, using it to wipe her eyes and to then blow her nose. "I've got the flu."
"Keep lying to me then," Jonathan let out a strangled sigh.
The maid of honour held onto the handkerchief, staring up at the fancy patterned tiles in the ceiling.
She didn't say a word for a while as she brooded in the silence. It was comforting. No instrumental jazz, no pointless gossiping and socialising, and no sappiness radiating from the newly wedded couple. She hadn't realised how much she had needed the time alone, how much she had craved it the whole day. All the preparations for the wedding day had taken a toll on her, and now it was almost over.
She focused back under the gap of the cubicle, spotting that Jonathan's shoes weren't there, but replaced by black dress pants. He had been sitting there, the whole time, waiting for her to leave when she was ready.
Although she hated to admit it, it was nice that Jonathan had stayed and kept her company.
In a low voice, she broke the quietness. "Why aren't you leaving?"
"I'm helping out a friend in need."
"You're insulting our friendship," Jonathan said.
He let out a yawn and completely changed the topic. "Tiger, don't you remember those days?"
"What days?" She wasn't even surprised that he was talking about something else, accustomed to his sponiety.
Jonathan tapped his foot. "When we graduated from high school. It was summer break and we went on that road trip. You were my partner in crime."
"I was your partner in crime because Lance and Ivy were too occupied making out on the backseat." She pointed out.
"Hey, I wasn't complaining - I was the one driving, you remember? You were always sitting shotgun, wearing that sunflower dress and hanging your legs out the window despite how many times I told you off. It seemed you didn't care if you had your lower limbs chopped off."
"Maybe I was too drunk to realise?" The maid of honour offered.
"Maybe," Jonathan replied. "Drinking is one of your habits - your coping mechanisms."
"I'm a selective alcoholic." She corrected.
"That's because you never could stand them being together."
The maid of honour's blue eyes glared at the door. "I beg your pardon? And what do you mean by that?"
"Come on, tiger. I've always known that you had it for Lance."
"What are you talking about? You've lost me."
Jonathan continued, "It was when they started dating that you went crazy over booze."
"Now you're being ridiculous," She tried to snap, but now her eyes were overflowing with more tears.
Damn, Jonathan knew how to get under her skin. The thought of him knowing all along was humiliating. She didn't want to agree with him, but what was the point? What he said was harsh, but true. It had been a reality she had pretended to avoid so long.
She waited him for to say something insensitive, rebut her and tell her she was wrong...but he, thankfully, didn't.
Abruptly, the cubicle door opened. Jonathan had, somehow, unlatched it. Before the maid of honour could react, Jonathan was kneeling down onto the floor, giving her an embrace. The mere action alone had caused her to weep, uncontrollably, onto his shoulder.
"Does it make me selfish that I like him?"
"A-am I a bad person?" She cried, weakly.
"No," Jonathan sighed. "You're anything but."
He lifted the maid of honour, carrying her out of the cubicle and towards the basin. Jonathan then proceeded to rest her body on top of the cold surface of the marbled table.
Jonathan told her. "I'll be right back. Stay put."
"Where are you goin-"
But she was too late; Jonathan had already left. She breathed out, rubbing her temples. Since the maid of honour wasn't ready to get out of the lavaratories, she opted to stay in the same spot where Jonathan had left her.
She turned around, observing her reflection from the gem-framed mirror. Her mascara wasn't as bad as she had presumed it to be, but her cheeks glistened in tears, appearing pinker than usual. Her black hair had been tied into a fancy bun, but now looked like a messy bird's nest. Her hairdo was giving her migraine for having it up too long. She pulled out the red satin ribbons that held up her do, releasing her hair down in curls.
"Back." Jonathan said.
His hands were behind his back, holding something that she couldn't see from where she sat. In response, the maid of honour sat taller, arching her neck to see what he held behind him.
Before she ended her question, Jonathan revealed two glasses and a bottle of red wine.
"Shiraz." He gave a sly simper. "I had to hassle it from the bartender to get me a whole bottle of this lousy cheap wine."
"Seems like I'm not the only selective alcoholic." She smiled, taking her glass as he poured her the beverage, appreciatively licking her lips at the liquor.
"Seems like it." Jonathan muttered as he swigged his, once full, glass down.
She was grateful he was there. If she was by herself, she'd be thinking more negative thoughts. He kept her mind off things. At times, Jonathan annoyed her like crazy, but he knew how to get her head out of the gutter. He had always been there for her. While the maid of honour was the third wheel in her best friend's relationship, Jonathan gladly became the fourth wheel whenever they went on outings together. Whenever she was feeling down, Jonathan had always been the first to notice...and that night wasn't an exception. Although everybody was having a good time, he still kept an eye on her.
"You can't keep saving me."
"What if I want to?" He asked her, voice softer than usual.
She could feel her cheeks warming up. The maid of honour laughed, "You're a good actor, Jonathan."
"Really now?" He replied, but his tone was still different. Jonathan broke eye contact with her for a brief moment, before staring back at her with his infamous cheeky grin. "You're a great actress, yourself. No one ever knew. I did, of course."
"Can you not bring this up? I already admitted that I liked your best friend and now you're just making it worse." She wasn't pleased with his words.
"I'm not teasing you. I think you're strong. It's admirable."
"What type of strong? Because if it's a manly strong, I'm not going to hold back a slap either."
He shook his head. "Holding your feelings for Lance all this time and not saying anything so you wouldn't sabotage their relationship? To me, that's the definition of being a strong person...and a loyal friend."
"Loyalty gets you nowhere." She flinched. "It just causes you pain. Besides, Ivy is beautiful. I wouldn't have stood a chance next to her."
"There's much more to Ivy than how she looks, just like how there's much more to you than your snappy personality. You're not as horrible as you try to be."
"How pleasant." The maid of honour grumbled.
"I think you're prettier than Ivy."
The maid of honour know how to reply to him. She kept quiet, sipping onto her wine, acting as if she had misheard his compliment. As goofy as Jonathan was, he knew how to be refined and chivalrous whenever he wanted to be.
"I'll get us some more." Jonathan spoke up when the bottle was empty. She watched as he disappeared from her side again.
The maid of honour felt like she was high above the clouds and she was starting to get sleepy. The thought of being found in the women's toilets with her head lolling over the basin wasn't picturesque, but it could be a possibility that night if she didn't get out of the toilets.
She frowned at the thought, pushing herself off the edge of the table. The maid of honour landed on her wobbly feet, determined that she would no longer drink that evening. There was no way she could ruin her best friend's wedding on her own, selfish, accord.
As she tried to walk straight out of the toilets, her body fell onto another person.
She blinked. The maid of honour looked upwards, almost whacking the other body as she half expected to be Jonathan...but it wasn't.
It was the cousin that Ivy had been trying to set her up with: Lance's cousin.
"I'm Timothy." He introduced himself. "You're Ivy's friend, aren't you? That girl that would never agree to go on a blind date with me?"
"That's the girl." The maid of honour gave a dismal response. Although Lance's cousin appeared similar to the groom, he lacked the politeness. Timothy was talking to her, but she could see his feral green eyes lingering on her chest.
"Thanks." The maid of honour said, dryly. The comment was anything but a turn on. "Anyway, I'm going to-"
"Have a dance with me."
She waved him off. "It's okay."
"I insist. It's on me," Timothy flashed a toothy smile, holding her arm tighter than necessary. "Or do you wanna go and get another drink. Would you like some wine?"
The maid of honour declined his offer. "No. It's okay."
"I'm single, you're single. So what do you say?" He pressed on.
"And perhaps hop in bed after that? No. The answer's no. Didn't you hear her the first time? She's not interested." The maid of honour turned around to find Jonathan standing behind her, arms crossed as he glared angrily at Lance's cousin. "Hitting one somebody who can barely stand...you're filth."
"Jonathan." Timothy lifted his eyes from her cleavage, staring at the best man. "Still an asshole, I see."
"Nothing's changed with you either, huh?" Jonathan growled. "Still being a sleaze and trying to score with everybody you see?"
"And how about you? You obviously can't get yourself you've been pining after all these years? You're pretty pathetic, if you ask me."
"Don't talk to me about pathetic." Jonathan glared. "And leave her out of this."
Timothy gave a sinister chuckle. "You're still too chickenshit to tell her, huh?"
"Tell who what?" The maid of honour arched an eyebrow.
Why hadn't she known about this? Jonathan was usually brutally honest about everything he did and said. For him not to tell her about his secret crush was hurtful.
"Oh, he's been pining for years over you," Timothy filled her in. "He's just too much of a damn pussy to admit it."
Jonathan opened his mouth to say something, but immediately shut it when the maid honour stared at Jonathan, baffled. After Timothy had gotten the last word, he had walked away from them like a free man, leaving the best man and maid of honour together in an awkward silence.
"What was that?" She finally spoke up.
The best man scratched the back of his head, feigning ignorance. "What is what?"
"You know what I'm talking about," The maid of honour said. She jabbed him with her finger. "That."
"Damn it, tiger. Do I really have to say it?" Jonathan asked, but didn't wait for an answer. "It's you-"
"-it's always been you!"
"But that can't be right!" She gasped, taking a step away from him as the words refused to sink in. "You're wrong. You've got to be wrong!"
"You tell me what's wrong! Watching the girl you've liked for so many years drooling over your best friend, or you trying to comfort her all those times when you knew that she was in love with somebody else?" He replied, sharply.
It was a lucky thing that they had been talking next to the staff area, for the guests would have heard their conversation. It would have been the most chatted gossip of the night: the best friend loves best friend's husband, while the best man liked the maid of honour.
For the millionth time that night, the maid of honour fantasised about leaving the wedding.
"Why do you think I was always there for you?" He continued. "It's not always about you! I've been hurting too."
She hissed, "You don't know how it feels-"
"Are you blind?" He cussed out.
The maid of honour spluttered out in disbelief, "But I don't believe you...how can you like me? Hey! Where are you going? Jonathan, wait!"
"Away." He answered her tersely, "I knew this wouldn't have ended well when you found out-"
"No!" She demanded, "Talk to me!"
"Bye," Jonathan said, storming off.
The maid of honour couldn't believe it.
Jonathan had liked her all along?
The idea of that startled her. The best man had been her substitute-of-a-best-friend ever since Ivy and Lance had become an item. Jonathan and the maid of honour would talk for hours at night, complaining about how the world should work to debating whether rock songs were better than hip hop. Jonathan had been there for, celebrated over beer and fried chicken when she had gotten accepted to an accounting firm when Ivy and Lance were on an overseas holiday, to being her plus on whenever they went to parties that she didn't want to attend alone.
And by telling her that she had liked him...he had ruined their friendship.
Or had he? Out of all things Jonathan had kept from her – it had to be that he liked her? Why hadn't he told her earlier?
What made the maid of honour feel even more guilty was the fact that Jonathan had known about her crush on Lance for a while.
It would have hurt.
The maid of honour knew this, she would have understood and, possibly, kept Jonathan at a distance. However, Jonathan had endured her company while she had pined for his best friend. It wasn't fair that she had unintentionally made him suffer, and she hated herself for acting like she did. And, right then, she hated herself more for how she had reacted to Jonathan. The best man had finally confessed to her and she had been cruel about it.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the MC, "And now we present the parents of Ivy-Rose and Lance Murphy to go to the dance floor. We'd also like to invite down the best man to dance with the bride, and the maid of honour to dance with the groom."
The maid of honour cringed, but somehow her feet were able to find the dance floor. Calming her fluttering heart, she held her breath as she advanced towards Lance. The groom handsomely smiled broadly at her, offering his hand while the maid of honour loosely placed a hand on his shoulder.
The maid of honour put her hand on his shoulder, while Lance placed his hand on her hip.
"Hey there, tiger," Lance said, adopting the nickname that Jonathan had titled her. "Enjoying your night?"
"Of course I am. You're finally married," she replied. She felt slightly uncomfortable that the groom's hand was placed on her hip. If she had been dancing with Jonathan, it wouldn't have been comfortable or tense at all.
It would be fun. She bit her lip. What was she thinking? Sh needed to stop thinking about Jonathan.
"Married to your best friend," Lance said, proudly.
The maid of honour smiled and, for the first time that night, it was a true smile.
It wasn't like Lance didn't love Ivy; and it wasn't like Ivy didn't love Lance either. They both genuinely cared about each other and made each other happy. The were two people who the maid of honour held close to her heart. She loved them both, and despite feeling bitter about it...she would learn to accept them. When it came down to it, the maid of honour wanted the best for them.
Lance no longer belonged in the maid of honour's story. It was time to make her own. She had done enough reflecting and dwelling for so long, and seeing that he was finally married meant that it opened a new door. The maid of honour was going to be strong about it. She would make her new story.
"Talking about best friends, I notice that both my best friend and you have been slipping into the women's room quite a lot tonight." The groom's lips quirked upwards, "Should I be concerned?"
"No," The maid of honour giggled.
When Lance had mentioned the best man's name, the maid of honour snuck a glance at the the bride and him dancing together. Was this the same man who had confessed her?
Yes, it was Jonathan.
He hadn't changed. Her perception of remained the same. The maid of honour realised this as she kept watching Jonathan engage in the dance with the bride, holding her as they swayed in a mischievous, yet alluring manner.
How could the maid of honour think of Jonathan as something different when all she could see was Jonathan being, well, Jonathan.
After changing partners, the maid of honour was finally partnered up with the best man. Although she wanted to get away from him, they had been inevitably being forced back together.
Avoiding each other's eyes, they held onto each other and danced.
During rehearsals, the dance instructor had commended them as the best couple. But, as they presently danced together, it was weird - it was different. For the first time ever, Jonathan stood rigidly and, for the maid of honour, his is touch felt oddly like static on her skin.
Minutes had past, and while other people had exchanged partners, they stayed together.
It was then that the maid of honour couldn't stand the tension anymore.
The maid of honour caught onto his chin and dragged his face downwards so that they were looking directly at each other in the eyes. It may not have been the best approach, but she was growing impatient. She didn't like that they were like this.
"Talk to me."
Jonathan gave her a weak smile. "What about?"
"Anything." She replied, "I just don't want us to stop talking like this."
"What if I want to stop talking?"
"Stop acting like an idiot."
He laughed; then she did too. It was funny how quickly they had fallen back into their arguing pattern. The maid of honour had thought that their friendship was doomed, but they were back to where they started. She didn't want to sabotage what they had.
"So, I was wrong. You don't look great; you look sensational," Jonathan muttered, giving a sheepish grin.
"Ha!" The maid of honour exclaimed, "And you think that you can get away from me that easily after you left me completely bewildered."
"You weren't supposed to know," Jonathan said. "I was meant to wait until you got over him."
"I think that you still should have told me earlier." She admitted, "That's what I like about you, you know? You're always upfront and honest about things. It's one of the only good things about you, actually."
"Well, what's the point in that?" Jonathan mumbled. "You already know anyway. The cat's out of the bag."
"What's wrong if I do?" She responded. "I don't want anything to change between us. I don't want there to be a pink elephant in the room whenever we're near each other."
He protested, "But what do you expect? It different now. I told you that I like you it hasn't phased you at all. You're still in love with him, tiger. I know. I don't want you to force yourself to be cordial around me when you know that I like you. I know you'll never see me that way, anyway."
"But feelings can change." She smiled. "What do you think?"
Jonathan stared at her, captivated in the moment. "Are you serious? You're actually thinking about this?"
"Don't get ahead of the-"
And then he took by her surprise. Her eyes widened when Jonathan suddenly held her closer, pressing her body into his. His head bent down and met her lips, tenderly kissing her.
"-game,"The maid of honour ended, exhaling out in utter bewilderment.
"Sorry," Jonathan apologised, but didn't look the least bit apologetic. "I had to take advantage of the moment, seeing that I may have a chance now, you know?"
"B-but," she stammered, still at a loss of words. The best man really knew how to play the game. Was he really going to try and win her over?
"I've been wanting to do that for so long," Jonathan laughed, but his laughter vanished by the clapping from people that surrounded them.
"Finally," Ivy yelled out, while the maid of honour was certain she had heard Lance let out a whoop too.
The maid of honour ignored them, placing her head on Jonathan's shoulder. She could feel her face turning red at the attention the newly wedded couple had given them. The maid of honour couldn't believe that they had witnessed the best man land one on her. As the maid of honour leaned against Jonathan, she could smell his musky cologne hypnotising her.
"Cat got your tongue?" Jonathan asked.
"Shut up." She stopped leaning on him, staring at him again. She dared to ask, "Should we give it a try then?"
Jonathan's smirk broke into a wild smile, the widest smile that the maid of honour had ever seen on him. "Sure."
The maid of honour could have sworn the best man's face went darker than her face when she stood on her tiptoes and planted a kiss on his cheek.
As the music continued to play, they didn't leave the dance floor. They kept dancing.
The maid of honour could not predict what would happen with her and Jonathan, but there was no harm trying.
Only time would tell...
- X -
Last Edited: 23.02.16
(a/n) Draggish, boring, longer than how I had assumed it would be and somewhat sappy – but it needed to be written to get out of my head. It's not as complicated as any of my other stories, so it was a good break to write this piece. I think it's because I was at a wedding and imagined myself if I were in that position. I think I'd be aiming for the champagne too.
I would have loved to make the ending super sappy, but I don't think I'm capable of that much sap because I wanted to be realistic about it too. The protagonist just found out that her confidant likes her…you can't expect her to fall head over heels over him straight away.
Not sure if this will be liked, but I don't really mind. It was fun to write. Thanks to those who have read my second one-shot!