Gary was sprawled on the couch watching the NIT finals on the television when his cell went off. He glanced at the caller ID and saw that it was Roxie and he hesitated for a moment before finally taking the call.
"Hey, Rox," he said pleasantly.
"Can you come meet me at The Bullpen?" She asked, her voice somewhat high pitched and perhaps a tad slurry.
"Did somebody die?" He asked.
"No, nothing like that," she groaned.
"I'm watching basketball," he informed his friend.
"Yeah, it's on all fourteen screens here," Roxie grumbled. "You can watch it with me."
"It gets noisy and distracting there," he complained.
"Tough shit," Roxie growled. "This is important. Get your ass down here."
"Okay," Gary sighed, knowing there was no point in arguing with his stubborn friend. "Give me a few minutes."
When he arrived at the popular local sports tavern, Gary found Roxie sitting at the bar with a glass of wine in front of her staring blankly at one of the television screens with the basketball on. She was dressed in skin tight jeans and a yellow tee shirt, her black hair pulled back in a ponytail. There was a white envelope on the bar in front of her.
"What's up?" Gary asked, signaling the bartender Jimmy for a beer as he took a seat on the stool next to her.
Roxie took a long sip from her wine glass. "Did you get one of these in the mail today?" She asked, sliding the envelope in front of him.
Gary glanced at the envelope and saw that it was a wedding invitation. "Oh no," he groaned.
"Oh yes," she growled.
He slid the fancy invitation out of the envelope and glanced at it. "So" he said, raising his eyebrow. "It's official. Your ex-boyfriend is marrying my ex-girlfriend."
"What kind of asshole invites his ex to his wedding?" Roxie wanted to know.
'Let's face it," Gary laughed. "Jamison R. Danvers The Third is so self-absorbedly full of himself and narcissistic that he probably figured you'd be flattered to be included," Gary laughed.
"Well, I'm not," she moaned. "Stupid bastard."
Gary studied his friend for a moment. "Why are you so upset?"
"I'm not," she lied.
"Jesus, you're not still pining over that asshole are you?"
"I just don't understand why he broke up with me," Roxie complained.
"Are we still stuck on that?" Gary moaned.
"Yes," she admitted. "I've never been the dumpee before."
"You were pretty good as the dumper," Gary smirked.
"Shut up," she warned.
"Hell, he did you a favor," Gary assured her. "You should be grateful."
"What does he see in Madison?" Roxie wanted to know.
"Probably that she's just as shallow and egotistical as he is," Gary theorized.
Roxie gave her friend a curious look. "Don't you care that your ex is getting married?"
"I'm just glad that I'm not the one marrying her!" Gary laughed.
"That's not very nice," Roxie frowned.
"Rox, Madison and I broke up what...three years ago?" Gary asked. "I moved on. It was college. We had a good time but I don't think she ever saw me as her life partner."
"What was the point of being together then?" Roxie wondered.
"The sex, of course," Gary shrugged.
"You pig," Roxie protested.
"Hey, that's what she wanted out of the deal," Gary said defensively. "I was just glad to be with someone of her stature and popularity. It definitely helped my image on campus."
"I thought Jamison was going to be my life partner," Roxie sighed. "God, I was crazy about him."
"You two were all wrong for each other," Gary said.
"No we weren't," Roxie pouted.
"His name is Jamison R. Danvers The Third," Gary pointed out. "You're Roxie Carter."
"Names don't mean anything," she claimed.
"He's a third year law student, you dropped out of Green College junior year."
"I thought I was going to be his wife," Roxie sighed. "I didn't need a degree for that."
"You work as a waitress at Denny's and live with your mother," Gary reminded her. "He's going to be living in some half million dollar house somewhere."
"So you're saying it's all about status?" Roxie complained.
"For people like Jamison R. Danvers The Third and Miss Madison Albright of The Boston Albrights, of course," Gary answered, taking a long sip from his beer while eyeing the basketball game on the multiple screens. "You and me are from working class families in Hillsboro," he said. "Madison grew up in upscale Boston with a well-connected politician father and Jamison R. Danvers The Third is about to become the third generation Danvers in the prestigious law firm of Kieras, Loweinstein and Danvers, Attorneys at Law. You didn't honestly believe he was going to marry a waitress from Hillsboro did you?"
"I thought love mattered," Roxie sighed despondently.
Gary shook his head with sadness. "For you and me, maybe," he agreed. "Not for those two. It's more about trust funds and mergers. I'm sure that's how they see their marriage. A merger."
"Boy, aren't you cynical?" Roxie complained.
"Just realistic," Gary shrugged. "Let the jerk go, Roxie."
"Why did he date me in the first place if he wasn't interested in me long term?" She asked angrily.
"You're a nice person," Gary offered. "He had a good time with you. But that's all it was. A good time. When it came time to get serious about his future, you were toast."
Roxie sighed with defeat as she stared at the invitation still sitting on the bar. "And he invites me to his wedding," she groaned.
"Don't even send it back," Gary advised.
"I'll have to buy a dress," Roxie realized.
"For what?" Gary frowned. "You're not actually going to go are you!?"
"He invited me," Roxie reasoned. "It would be polite and proper to go."
"It would be stupid and insane to go," Gary countered. "Don't degrade yourself like that!"
Roxie sucked in her breath. "It would be rude and disrespectful not to show up," she argued.
"Show up for what?" Gary asked. "To torture yourself?"
"Even if I'm just some low class low life from the flats of Hillsboro, I should show some class and go," she said.
"Nothing good can possibly come out of you going," Gary told her. "
"I wish it was some cruel joke or prank," she admitted. "I'd rather get run over by a bus than receive this in the mail. My heart's been ripped out all over again."
"That's why you throw that stupid invitation away," Gary said. "You don't respond and you certainly don't show up."
"Don't worry, I won't do anything stupid, like kill the bride," Roxie assured him with a sly smirk on her face.
"You'll get drunk and make a scene," Gary predicted, remembering some of her past episodes when she drank too much.
"I just can't believe he's actually getting married," Roxie said bitterly.
"Accept it and move on," Gary advised.
"We were so great together!" Roxie covered her face with her hands and groaned.
"Were," Gary agreed, motioning to Jimmy the Barkeep for another beer.
"Shit, Roxie growled. "I've barely even talked to him since we broke up and now he's inviting me to his wedding? Is that a mixed message or what?"
"I'd say it's a sick and perverted message,' Gary replied.
Roxie finished her wine deep in thought. "He's always going to be the one who got away," she lamented. "I kept hoping maybe someday we'd get back together."
"Forget it," Gary advised. "It's not happening."
"This is depressing as hell," Roxie sighed.
"You'll get over it," Gary predicted.
Roxie turned her head and raised an eyebrow. "You think you're so smart," she complained, crossing her arms in a snit.
"All I'm saying is; that this is a blessing for you," Gary argued. "You can finally move on. You've been stuck in a rut for three years waiting for a guy who's never coming back."
"That's kind of harsh, Gary," Roxie complained.
"You know I'm right," Gary replied.
"Maybe," she shrugged reluctantly, signaling for another glass of wine.
"Maybe you've had enough," Gary suggested, gesturing toward her empty wine glass.
"Don't worry about me," Roxie replied knowingly.
"Oh, but I always do," he teased.
"Listen, just because I got way to drunk for my own good sophomore year in high school and nearly fell off the Blue County Bridge isn't a reason for you to be all freaked out about me all the time whenever I drink," Roxie complained.
"We've been friends forever," Gary reminded her. "I've seen you in your worse moments."
"This isn't one of them," Roxie insisted.
"It could be," Gary warned.
"So, are you going to go with me or what?" Roxie wanted to know.
"Where?" Gary asked with confusion.
"Duh – hello?" Roxie groaned, holding up the invitation.
"You're not really going are you?"
She nodded her head affirmatively. "You coming with me?"
"You said you were over Madison," Roxie remarked. "What's the big deal?"
Gary buried his forehead in the palm of his hand and groaned. "This is a mistake."
"We'll have fun," Roxie predicted. "We always do when we're together."
"Except when you go crazy," Gary said.
She smirked. "It's what I do best!"
"Promise me you won't kill or maim anybody."
Roxie laughed as she slipped the small RSVP Card from the envelope, wrote a small "2" in the 'number of guests' line and then signed her name next to the "Will Attend' check box.
"Oh, God," Gary groaned. "This is going to be a disaster."
"Saturday, June 20th," Roxie told him. "Mark your calendar."
"The Saturday of Doom," Gary said.
Every time Gary saw Roxie after that she would say 'June 20th' as a reminder at some point in the conversation. They went to a couple of movies together and the Opening Day of Amateur Serguci League Baseball at Beano Field. Gary was busy as a young reporter and occasional columnist for the Greenville News and Dispatch, renting a small apartment in downtown Hillsboro which Roxie helped interior decorate.
Roxie worked her shifts at the Greenville Denny's and occasionally Gary stopped by the house where she grew up to hang out with her on a Saturday night. He hadn't dated much since Madison ended it and he and Roxie sort of used each other as surrogate dates in a platonic way when they weren't seeing other people. It had been like that since 8th grade and they were as familiar and comfortable with one another as Frick and Frack.
Gary was comatose compared to Roxie who could be outspoken and out of control (especially when she drank). Madison had definitely been the peak of Gary's dating career and while the relationship was semi-fake and plastic it felt good to be seen in the company of such a beautiful and popular young woman even if they didn't have much in common other than a great sex life.
It was Roxie who Gary could talk to and tease, goof off with and bare his soul when necessary and Gary was the one person Roxie sought out when she was going through hard times, whether it was her father's illness and eventual death, her dog being hit by a car, or the never-ending saga of Jamison R. Danvers The Third.
Roxie and Gary were often joined at the hip even when they dated others. The two friends both ended up at Green College although Roxie tended to party too much and chase after Jamison and she became bored and disinterested in her college pursuits which is why she dropped out junior year (she was about to flunk out anyway).
Although Madison was a huge time and energy investment, Gary did well at Green and he graduated with his BA in Journalism, happy to be hired by the Greenville News and Dispatch so he could stay in the area where most of his family and friends were. He knew Roxie wasn't very happy with her life so he tried to be a good friend and be there for her even as he focused on his own career.
Gary knew the wedding was a bad idea and he kept hoping Roxie would change her mind about going as the ceremony date grew closer but she remained adamant about attending, buying a beautiful dress she couldn't afford just for the occasion. Whenever Gary tried to talk Roxie out of the idea she would become annoyed and defensive so he finally gave up, resigning himself to the reality that he was going to watch his ex-girlfriend marry his best friend's ex-boyfriend.
The wedding was taking place at a Five-Star Hotel in downtown Boston – Roxie and Gary couldn't afford one room let alone two so they agreed to share a room to save money. When the day of the wedding arrived, Gary figured he'd make the best of it – a road trip to a swank hotel wasn't a bad way to spend the weekend so he stopped sweating the load about being a foolish wedding crasher and he tried to focus on having a good time. Roxie was surprisingly subdued during the two hour ride and Gary knew it was because she had come to terms with the finality of the day – her ex-boyfriend was marrying another woman.
It wasn't until they arrived at the plush hotel and the valet drove off in Gary's eight year old Toyota and the bellhop took their beat up luggage into the stunningly beautiful lobby that the enormity of the situation finally struck Roxie.
"We don't belong here," she groaned as they stepped into the attractive lobby with granite counter tops, marbled floors and exquisite furniture.
"It's a little late now, Rox," Gary said, resisting the urge to say 'I told you so'.
"Jesus, what are we doing here?" Roxie bemoaned, starting to panic.
"Relax," Gary urged as he walked her to the check in counter. "Let's just enjoy the fantasy."
Five minutes later, Roxie and Gary were in their fourth floor suite – an attractive, comfortable, luxurious room with a grand view of the Charles River and Roxie sat on the double queen bed in a frump.
"I never would have fit in, would I?" She realized, glancing around the room.
"And this is the cheap room," Gary laughed. "I imagine the bride to be is getting ready in one of the executive suites."
"Jamieson must have taken me for a twit," Roxie sighed. "Some small town hillbilly."
"Stop," Gary urged, sitting on the bed next to her and patting her thigh. "He liked you, of that I'm sure."
"He still dumped me," she pouted.
"We're from a different universe," Gary acknowledged. "But that doesn't make us bad people."
"I wish I never met him," Roxie sighed. "I feel sort of used – a convenience while he went to college."
"I'm sure part of it was Jamison feeling his freedom and independence being away from home," Gary theorized. "He probably wanted to break the mold of his upper crust upbringing. He found you to be refreshing, different and fun and there's nothing wrong with that."
"I was a complete and total fool to think I could compete with the likes of Madison Albright," Roxie grumbled.
"How do you think I feel?" Gary shrugged. "I was just keeping her occupied until Jamieson R. Danvers The Third made his move."
"I thought you two already broke up when Jamison became interested," Roxie frowned.
"I have a feeling Madison and Jamison hooked up long before she dumped me."
"Ew, gross," Roxie said with a shiver. But then she looked incredibly sad. "Of course, that means he was cheating on me even before he had the gonads to break it off too." She realized. "We were both dupes, weren't we?"
"Let's just enjoy the view," Gary smiled, glancing out the window.
"What am I doing here?" Roxie groaned. "I never should have come! You were right all along. The guy is an asshole."
"He invited you because he cares about you," Gary assured her. "He wanted to share his moment with you as homage to your past together."
"That's not what you said before," Roxie pouted. "You said he was a condescending egomaniac."
"Let's just pretend we're somebody important and enjoy the fake fantasy," Gary suggested.
"But we're really nobody's, aren't we?" Roxie wanted to know.
"Look, the ceremony doesn't start until five," Gary told her. "Let's go take a walk."
"Maybe we should walk back to Hillsboro," Roxie grumbled. "We shouldn't be here."
"Boston belongs to everybody," Gary said.
So they went for a long walk along the river on a glorious early summer afternoon. It felt good to be out of Hillsboro for a change of scenery and although Gary knew Roxie was fixated on the wedding just a few hours away they enjoyed the walk, stopping by a small mall to window watch and share a large frozen lemonade.
"I did dump a lot of guys in high school, didn't I?" Roxie asked as they sat on a bench along the river sharing the dessert.
"Nobody had the audacity to dump you until Jamison R. Danvers The Third came along," Gary said.
"There's a difference between dumping in high school and getting dumped in college," Roxie remarked. "High school is goofy and silly and relationships are about as deep as a coffee cup saucer but when you're in college you're seriously thinking about your future and you take your relationships much more seriously, thinking they may actually lead to something."
"I've only had three girlfriends my entire life," Gary realized. "Madison was the last but she was the least serious for me. I knew it was temporary from the first day. I was much more charmed, smitten and committed to Brenda and Kylie in high school."
"Guess none of it matters now," Roxie sighed. "Neither of us are with anybody."
"We still have each other," Gary grinned.
"Jesus, it's pathetic enough we're going to our exes wedding but now I realize that it's even more pathetic that we came together. A friend's pity date," Roxie groaned. "Jamison and Madison are really going to laugh at us."
"Do you think I care about what those two think?" Gary asked.
"Aren't we just a couple of swells?" Roxie moaned.
(That was an inside joke from a Judy Garland-Fred Astaire movie they watched together years ago – in the dance number, Fred and Judy were dressed up as a couple of hobos. Roxie described their friendship as "a movie musical mismatch" and she was always quoting song lyrics and dialogue from various movies to define their friendship.)
"Come on, Judy," Gary smiled. "Time to head back to the hotel and put on your Cinderella dress."
"Only I don't get the Prince," she said knowingly.
Gary took her hand and helped her to her feet. Part of him wondered why she never saw him as a potential Prince but he accepted the reality that Roxie was his best buddy and good pal – "a pal with tits" Madison once said when she grew annoyed that Roxie always seemed to be around. The foursome went out together a lot and Gary was certain that helped grease the skids for Miss Madison Daisy Albright of Boston and Jamison R. Danvers III to realize that they were with the wrong people and that they belonged together.
"Why don't you just sleep with Roxie and be done with it?" was one of the last things Madison said to him, a comment that deeply offended Gary at the time but now that he was walking along the Charles River his hand still holding Roxie's Gary began to wonder if there was anything to Madison's theory that he had been secretly in love with Roxie all along which was he hardly batted an eye when Madison announced they were through.
"You really don't give a shit, do you?" an amused Madison asked when she delivered the pronouncement that it was over between them.
"Not really," Gary professed, knowing there was nothing of substance but the sex between them anyway.
That was Madison's legacy (with him) as far as Gary was concerned. She was great in bed and she worked magic on his confidence and technique. She was very sensual and sexual and she loved spontaneous sex. Gary had been much more guarded and restrained in his sexual appetite – he never really slept with Brenda (although they had sex in the backseat of the car a few times) and Kylie was borderline frigid with a confessional full of hang ups, insecurities and guilt so their limited sex life had been strained and stressed. Madison was liberated and uninhibited – willing and often wanting to have sex anywhere, anytime and Gary missed that aspect of their relationship now that he wasn't with anybody.
Sometimes Gary fantasized about asking Roxie if she was willing to be a sex buddy surrogate when they weren't dating other people but he didn't want to offend her, violate her trust, or ruin their friendship so he kept his secret desires and fantasies to himself and he valued their friendship as it had always been. So he held her hand as they walked back to hotel and he wondered if Roxie would be able to maintain her composure once the ceremony started.
They returned to the room to get ready for the ceremony. Gary was still concerned about how Roxie might react when they arrived at the service. She had been known in the past to be a hot head, opinionated, out spoken and slightly out of control, especially when she drank. Gary was afraid she might make a scene, embarrass the newlyweds, or act like a complete and total lunatic and he would be forced to drag her kicking and screaming from the reception before Security was called!
"Promise me you'll be on your best behavior," Gary pleaded as Roxie sat on the bed taking her sneakers off after their long afternoon of walking.
Roxie gave Gary a curious look. "Aren't I always?" She smirked.
"No," Gary answered truthfully. "You've been known to be a temperamental non-conformist hot head in the past. I don't think Hillsboro High has yet to recover from your student council president election concession speech!"
She laughed at the memory. "I'll never forget the look on Principal Meatball's face when I said some of that stuff."
"Don't say some of that stuff today," Gary advised. "And don't drink too much."
"What's the matter, you afraid I might dance naked on the table tops or throw wedding cake?"
"Yes," he admitted. "I fear you might not be able to resist the temptation of saying or doing something scandalous or disruptive."
"Don't worry," Roxie said honestly. "I won't give them the satisfaction. I promise I won't act like a Hillsboro Hillbilly!"
"Thank you," Gary said with relief.
Gary watched some of the baseball game on the impressively nice flat screen while Roxie busied herself in the bathroom preparing for the big event. Gary was much less methodical or concerned about his appearance, eventually tossing on his one nice suit in between innings. He almost forgot about Roxie until she finally stepped out of the bathroom ready for the ceremony.
Gary did a double take when he saw how stunningly beautiful Roxie looked, wearing a tight white dress with a flower print that ended just above her tanned knees. She pulled her black hair up in a bun on top of her head and she was wearing just enough makeup to accent her fine facial features and bring out her blue eyes.
"Wow," an impressed Gary remarked, standing from the bed. "You look fabulous!"
"Do you think Jamison R. Danvers The Third will notice?" She smirked.
"He'd be a fool not to," Gary admitted.
"Good," she laughed. "He can realize one final time that he was such a fool to give me up in the name of status, image and mergers."
"Just as long as you don't expect him to leave Madison on the spot," Gary warned.
"I'm over that fantasy," Roxie assured him.
"I hope so," Gary fretted.
"Relax, buddy," Roxie laughed. "I'm not going to go postal. It's all good. I'll behave myself. I'm a big girl now."
Gary escorted Roxie to the Window floor at the top of the hotel where the ceremony was being held. The scenery beyond the window wall was perfect. A small orchestra played music while the wedding guests waited. Roxie and Gary sat in the back of the perfectly aligned rows of comfortable white padded chairs. Gary recognized some of Madison's family members he had met over the years but he tried not to make eye contact. If Roxie noticed some of Jamison's family she didn't overreact.
"They're all dead to me," she jokingly whispered to Gary.
The ceremony began when Jamison R. Danvers The Third entered the room with his best man and three other groomsmen.
"Oh God," Roxie sighed.
Gary had to admit that Jamison Jerkman looked as handsome as ever, even more so decked out in his cheesy purple tux with a white rose stuck to his breast pocket. His white-blond hair was perfectly styled and his dancing brown eyes seemed to glow.
"You okay?" Gary whispered.
"Do I have a choice?" Roxie muttered.
Then the gathered were asked to stand to honor the entrance of the bride. Madison Daisy Albright wore a long white gown, low cut on top to show off her firm chest, narrow at the waist and wide at the floor. Her blond hair was long on her shoulders and she went with a simple thin crown on her head instead of a veil. Gary had to admit that his ex looked impressively great - a true Princess Bride- but he had no loathing, no regrets, no sorrow, no second thoughts, no envy and no jealousy. He would never in a thousand years be able to keep up with her or provide for her, knowing he would be unable to meet her wants and needs and that's why she deserved to be with Jamison R. Danvers The Third and all that he could provide.
"She looks exquisite!" Roxie had to admit.
"Looks aren't everything," Gary replied.
"I fantasized about this for a long time," Roxie told him. "Only I thought I'd be the one up there."
"This isn't the moment when you're going to lose it, is it?" Gary panicked.
"I'm fine, but come on, what woman wouldn't want all this?" Rosie wanted to know.
"This is just show, Rox," Gary said as they watched Madison slowly make her way up the aisle to where the rest of the wedding party was standing at the front of the room by the ceiling size windows. She walked with authority, confidence, amusement and a complete look of contentment. "Make everything look great and feel perfect but that's just all surface stuff," Gary said. "I wouldn't care if I got married in an alleyway if it was the right person."
"You're just jealous," Roxie said.
"The Albrights probably spent three hundred grand on all this and I bet those two are divorced within five years," Gary remarked as the minister told the gathered to take their seats so the official ceremony could begin.
"Shh…keep your cynical thoughts to yourself!" Roxie warned. "Someone might hear you."
"Since when are you concerned about tactfulness?" An amused Gary asked. "That's your ex-boyfriend about to marry my ex-girlfriend," he reminded her. "I'm waiting for you to charge her like a linebacker."
"I told you I let go of all that," Roxie insisted. "Now quiet and listen to the service."
It was a simple ceremony with lots of smiling and flirting and laughing and teasing. The woman minister had a spiritually uplifting sense of humor and Madison and Jamison exchanged their own vows that sounded like they came from a Hallmark greeting card. It was somewhat cheesy and even goofy but somehow sincere in a Hollywood movie kind of way. And then just like that - it was all over - Jamison was told he could kiss the bride and the minister announced "Mr. and Mrs. Jamison Roosevelt Danvers The Third" to the assembled.
"That wasn't as gruesome as I feared," Roxie admitted as she stood with the rest and applauded the newly married couple.
"Yeah, it was very Barbra Streisand-ish, wasn' it?" Gary said.
"They almost look like they actually care about each other," Roxie noted.
"I don't think Madison ever looked quite like that when she was with me," Gary admitted.
"It's kind of weird to see them both happy with somebody else, isn't it?" Roxie realized.
"Not really," Gary decided. "We should be happy for them, right?"
"I guess," Roxie sighed reluctantly. "Let's put our goofy fake sincere smiles on and go congratulate the bastards."
"Without saying or doing anything stupid," Gary reminded her.
"I'd like to survive this ordeal without being arrested," Roxie said.
The wedding party stood by the windows in a reception line fashion accepting the well wishes of those gathered. Roxie was humming a familiar tune in Gary's ear and then she broke out with a few of the lyrics - it was Emile's lament from South Pacific: "One dream in my heart/One Love to be living for/One love to be living for/This nearly was mine/One girl for my dream/One partner in paradise/This promise of paradise/This nearly was mine!"
Gary nudged her in the side least someone overheard her. It was slightly awkward for Gary to say hello to Madison's parents and the same for Roxie when they reached Mr. and Mrs. Jamison R. Danvers THE SECOND but everybody was gracious, polite and well mannered (much to Gary's relief who half-expected Roxie to be catty or sarcastic.
Then they reached the newlyweds and Roxie kissed her ex-boyfriend on the cheek. "Thanks for inviting me, Jamie," she said warmly.
"I'm glad you could make it!" Jamison R. Danvers The Third grinned.
"You look marvelous," she smiled sounding like a mix between Fernando Lamas and Billy Crystal.
"Thanks," Jamison R. Danvers The Third replied.
"I'm honored to be this fortune to share this special day with you," Roxie said, her voice breaking ever so slightly.
Gary rescued her by shaking Jamison's hand. "Congratulations, Old Chap" he said, delivering an awful James Bond impersonation.
"Thanks," Gary said, accepting the shake. "Glad you could make it. Great to see you here."
Roxie stumbled to Madison who was the last person in the reception line.
"Madison, you look absolutely beautiful," Roxie let her know.
"Thank you very much," Madison replied but she was already looking past Roxie and staring at Gary, clearly surprised to see him present at her wedding.
"Hi, Maddy," Gary said with a bemused grin on his face. "Lovely ceremony."
"Thank you for coming," she said graciously, giving him a long look until he finally kissed her on the cheek.
"Thanks for having us," Gary smiled, taking Roxie by the hand. "We should get moving, don't want to hold up the line," he said with a charming smile. "Enjoy the reception and have a wonderful married life."
Gary left Madison gawking at him as he escorted Roxie across the room.
"You enjoyed that way too much," Roxie observed.
"She could never understand why I wasn't heartbroken and shattered when we broke up," Gary laughed.
"Well, why weren't you?" Roxie wondered. "She's a gorgeous woman."
"I told you," Gary replied. "Looks aren't everything."
"She's rich," Roxie said as they strolled into the second room where the reception was being held.
"Money isn't everything either," Gary said. "I wouldn't be in the newspaper business if it was."
"So, let me get this straight," Roxie said as they took two seats at the table furthest from the head table. "You said the sex was great. You admit she's beautiful. You know she's rich. And you're not upset she dumped you and married my ex-boyfriend?"
"I'm driving an eight year old Corolla," Gary said. "Do you think Madison would be caught dead in anything less than a brand new BMW?"
"Probably not," Roxie admitted.
"Let's just stuff our faces with the free food and enjoy the open bar without causing a riot," Gary grinned. "That's why I came!"
Roxie laughed but rolled her eyes at him. "You're a jerk," she said.
"I know," he grinned.
Each table had bottles of champagne, disposable cameras, lovely flower arrangements and napkins with "Maddy and Jamie" written on them.
"Congratulations on not going bonkers," Gary said.
"The evening's young," Roxie teased.
The room filled with the guests who looked for appropriate tables to sit. Gary and Roxie were joined by a teenaged couple - the girl was one of Madison's cousins (Gary had never met her before) and the boy (a mini-version of Jamison) was her date. The other couple was a middle aged married couple, friends of the groom's parents. The six exchanged greetings and told their story, although Gary and Roxie had enough class to say that they went to college with both the bride and groom and not that they had both slept with them!
Gary and Roxie made their way around the multiple buffet tables filled with just about every food imaginable and they made a pit stop at the open bar as well. They made small talk with their table mates while observing the activity and people around the room but because they didn't really know anybody other than the bride and the groom and they weren't about to hang out with them anyway, Gary and Roxie mostly hobnobbed with each other at their table stuffed in the back corner of the room.
"I guess this isn't all that bad," Roxie said when they were done with their multiple trips to the many buffet tables.
"Does this mean no scenes?" Gary asked hopefully.
"I'm not even getting drunk," she said proudly. "Two glasses of champagne and one class of wine. I'm being a good girl."
"Yes you are," an impressed Gary replied.
"So, no huge scene," she vowed. "I don't want to give Jamison R. Danvers The Third the satisfaction."
"Good plan," Gary smiled.
"Besides, I'm having a good time with you!" She laughed, leaning in and kissing him right on the lips and that was unusual between them.
"Wow, that was unexpected," Gary grinned.
"Yeah," Roxie blushed. "I guess I was caught up in the moment."
"But it was very nice too," he assured her.
"You think?" She grinned. "I guess we're falling into the typical stereotypical wedding romance feeling stuff, huh?"
"Maybe it's just not that," Gary replied, giving her a long look.
Roxie bit her lip for a second and then she looked away. "Oh look," she said. "The DJ is setting up."
"That wasn't our first kiss, Rox," Gary reminded her.
"I know," she said. "Under the stairs of the school in eighth grade was our first kiss," she informed him knowingly.
"You remember," He smiled.
"It was raining," she recalled.
"And that time at the Serguci League game," Gary said.
"We were a little older then," she said.
"And of course the prom," Gary smirked.
"I thought Franks was going to beat the shit out of you that night," Roxie laughed.
"I don't know why you went with him anyway," Gary said.
"You were with Kylie," Roxie reminded him. "You shouldn't have kissed me right out there on the dance floor anyway."
"I couldn't help it," Gary grinned. "I was caught up in the moment."
"You were the troublemaker that night," Roxie said.
"Yeah, that was the beginning of the end for Kylie and me," Gary admitted.
"And then Madison came into the picture."
"And Jamison R. Danvers The Third," Gary noted.
"I guess our timing was always off, huh?" Roxie said.
"Well, maybe until now," Gary replied.
"Maybe I should get drunk," Roxie remarked.
"No, don't," Gary requested. "This is nice."
"It's beautiful up here," Roxie said, glancing out the huge windows toward the setting sun in the west.
"And so aren't you," Gary let her know.
They both smiled at one another.
"Are you sure you're not drunk?" Roxie teased.
"Maybe just a little bit punch drunk," he smiled.
She shook her head at with amusement. "Now you're even more pathetic than me!" She decided.
"Come on Rox," Gary said. "This isn't that weird, is it? We've known each other forever. We're comfortable with one another. We know just about everything about each other."
"So we end up going to our exes wedding to figure out that maybe there's something between us?" Roxie asked. "Isn't that rich."
"Wouldn't that be something?" He laughed.
"Yeah, another example of how pathetic we both really are," she grumbled.
Gary gave her a long stare trying to figure out if she was actually interested in pursuing the topic of their conversation or if she was trying to blow him off.
"Stop looking at me like that," she protested. "You always think I'm a ticking time bomb about to blow up whenever somebody says or does something stupid but I'm not really like that."
"I wasn't looking at you like that," he said defensively.
"Well, you're looking at me funny," she said suspiciously.
"Let's not add paranoia to the list of your faults," Gary smirked.
"Now you're talking about yourself," she laughed.
"So, do we just continuing denying our true feelings for each other because we don't want to take a chance or be vulnerable?" Gary asked. "Just pretend like it's always been the same between us?"
"You're nuts," Roxie decided.
"Not like you," he responded.
"You're just caught up in all the romance of the wedding," Roxie said. "I happen to be the person you're with. If Kylie was here you'd probably be behaving the same way. Maybe you're just having Madison remorse."
"It's not that," Gary assured her. "But maybe you're still stuck on Jamison."
"I can't keep holding on to something that isn't there anymore," Roxie sighed.
"That's what I've been saying," Gary said.
The DJ began playing the music.
"Let's dance!" Roxie said. "We can listen to the rich people shaking their jewelry!"
Gary laughed as he followed Roxie out onto the dance floor and that's where they spent most of the rest of the night – with an occasional pee or open bar break. It didn't matter that they didn't really know anybody else and they purposely avoided the bride and groom while they enjoyed their own party. Even when it was announced that Mr. and Mrs. Jamison R. Danvers The Third were leaving their own wedding reception, Gary and Roxie barely stopped long enough to say goodnight and wish the couple all the best of luck.
Madison had another funny look on her face as she her new husband left the room, glancing over her shoulder at Gary one last time. Roxie broke out in a giggle. "I think Madison just realized she's the one who made the mistake," Roxie observed.
"Looks aren't everything," Gary said one more time as he dragged Roxie back onto the dance floor where they remained until the DJ played his last song.
By then, only a handful of folks had lasted until the bewitching hour and Gary gave Roxie an appreciative hug as they walked off the dance floor for the final time.
"I can't remember the last time I had so much fun," Gary said happily.
"Who would have thought we would have this much of a good time at our exes wedding?" Roxie said with amazement. "It's almost as if we've had a curse or spell lifted from our spirits!"
"I'm actually glad I came," Gary admitted sheepishly. "Thanks for bringing me."
She laughed. "You just wanted to see the look on Madison's face."
"Yeah, because I was with you," Gary insisted as they went to their table to get Roxie's purse. "She could never understand that even from the beginning."
"Because I didn't make the grade?" Roxie frowned.
"Because we both didn't make the grade," Gary corrected her.
They said goodnight to the remaining guests and returned to their fourth floor expensive but small hotel room and it was only then that Gary realized that they'd be sharing a bed – unless Roxie made him sleep on the small loveseat by the window.
Roxie sat on the bed and kicked off her shoes. "Do you think the wedding couple are having wedding night honeymoon sex up in the wedding suite?" She asked.
"If I know Madison, they didn't even make it off the elevator," Gary remarked.
"Jamison was never like that," Roxie revealed. "He wasn't the best lover I ever had."
"Uh-oh," Gary said. "That's going to be another reason why the marriage doesn't last," he predicted.
"Their sex lives?" Roxie raised an eyebrow.
"Madison loves sex," Gary reported as he started to undress.
"Jamison could take it or leave it," Roxie said.
"Another example of selling out for money and stature," Gary noted, shaking his head sadly.
"I used to think it was me but then I ran into one of his old girlfriends when he took me home for a weekend," Roxie said. "She was half drunk in the women's room of some club we were at and she told me Jamison was the worse lay she ever had and that was why she broke up with him."
"I guess Madison was willing to give that up for the money," Gary sighed sadly. "She'll probably be having an affair with the gardener within six months."
Roxie stood and wiggled out of her dress which fell to the floor, revealing her lacy half bra and thin lacy panties.
"I haven't had good sex in a real long time, Gary," she said. "You must be pretty good if Madison stayed with you that long."
"It's not all about the sex, Roxie," Gary told her as he stood in his briefs and tee shirt.
"If it's not all about the looks and all about the sex, was is it then?" Roxie wanted to know.
Gary stepped closer to her. "It's about the love," he whispered. "It's about shared interests, common humor, cherished experiences, happy memories, personality chemistry and a long wonderful history together."
"Show me," she said, leaning up and kissing him.
Gary kissed her back and shoved his hands down the back of her lacy panties to feel her warm wonderful buns. "It's also about the dancing," he said.
She laughed happily and began to walk him to the double queen sized bed. "I knew that,' she said. "Now let's have some fantastic wedding sex before I go bonkers."
"Are you sure you're not drunk?" Gary tested.
"Drunk on love," he smiled. "I'm so glad we're wedding crashers," Gary said as he swept her onto the bed, her panties flying off from the force and Roxie burst out with laughter as she tugged down his boxers.
"We'll have no problem out doing those bastards up in the wedding suite!" She proclaimed.
"Hey, they're responsible for finally bringing us together," Gary reminded her as he gave her a loving kiss. "I have no complaints against either of them."
"That's true," Roxie agreed, kissing him warmly. "We crashed their wedding and now look at us!"
"Bare-assed about to have fantastic wedding sex," Gary laughed.
"This is definitely the best wedding I've ever been too," Roxie announced as she began to kiss him happily.