**** Note to you all: I lurv you guys TOO much, which is why it pains me when I post CRAP like this . . . however, this story had to be told, no matter how badly I'm doing it, just to prove the point of the semi-decent post below. So, forgive this. Please. *****
We weren’t supposed to be there.
We had made plans to go to a bar downtown.
Hang out, meet investment bankers, get free drinks, dance.
Watch our guy friends hit on women out of their league.
Wilson was supposed to be at home.
First year of medical school.
“Honey, I can’t come. I really have to study. You have no idea how hard this is.”
“But it’s FRIDAY! You have all weekend to study.”
“I just can’t. Really. I’m going to be stuck in a book all night.”
We call Kade.
Wilson’s best friend, my soon-to-be roommate.
“We’re going to Pour House, wanna join?”
“Nah, I’m meeting some brothers and going to Grumpys. You sure you’re going to Pour House?”
No one thought the question was weird at the time.
“Yeah, pretty sure. Why?”
“In case Grumpys is lame, we’ll come meet you guys.”
We can blame it on/thank DJ.
“Screw Pour House, let’s go to Electric Cowboy.”
“That club where the mechanical bull is in the corner??? Are you crazy?? We’re not going there. It’s all low-lifes and white trash.”
“Whatever. 75 cent well-drinks and bottle beers til midnight.”
Trouble starts at the door.
I’m kissing Barry on the cheek.
Part time college student, part time bouncer, full time great guy.
“Hey! I didn’t know you worked here.”
“Four nights a week, gorgeous. I can’t believe you guys are here! I just saw Wilson and Kade, too! You meeting them?”
I thank God that the music and crowd are loud enough that you can’t hear anyone talking unless you’re right on top of them.
“Wait. What? Wilson’s here? Are you sure?”
“He’s over by the third bar, you can’t miss him.”
“He’s not supposed to be here.”
“I’ll let you know in a little bit.”
Wilson’s fiancee is my best friend.
Wing-woman for the night.
If she sees him here she will go ape-shit.
Especially if he’s with another girl.
Which is likely.
CeCe wouldn’t believe me, but I’d told her for months that I thought he was cheating.
“Show me proof.”
“How am I supposed to get you proof?? I can just tell you what I’ve heard and how I think he’s acting.”
“Show me something and I’ll believe you. Otherwise, no dice.”
I started carrying a camera with me everywhere.
But I never caught him.
It wasn’t hard to find Wilson.
6'5" is easy to spot in a sea of heads.
But he didn’t see us coming.
I warned DJ that something was up.
He went ahead of us.
Kade saw me first and sidled up to me.
“Thought you were with the brothers going to Grumpys.”
“Cover story for Wilson.”
It wasn’t a question.
“You didn’t tell me!”
“I couldn’t. We’ve been tight since high school. I had to keep his secrets.”
“Who’s he with?”
“No one you know.”
“Does he know we’re here?”
“Not yet. Uh oh. He just spotted Deej.”
Kade took off.
“Cece, let’s go get a drink.”
“The line at the bar is awful long. Let’s just con some cute guys into getting them for us.”
She’s showing off her flirt smile, Ms. Diamond Lakes 2002, and wiggling her butt in her tight black skirt and fuck-me-boots. She looks like Snow White gone bad. She’s still my physical ideal. Screw Angelina, this girl’s the IT girl.
“Nah, let’s do it ourselves. That bartender over there is hottie. Work your stuff and we’ll get them for free.”
“I’m an engaged woman!”
Not for long, I think to myself.
“Flirting’s not cheating, particularly in the name of free drinks. Come on!”
He comes up behind her and covers her eyes.
“Oh my God! What are you doing here?? I thought you had to study!”
“Decided to surprise you.”
Liar, liar, pants-on-fire.
Kade walks up with a tall drink of water in tow.
She’s obviously confused.
She reaches for Wilson’s hand.
Kade pushes me between the girl and Wilson.
“Hi, I’m Meghan. What’s up?”
CeCe’s starting to wise up.
“Who’s the girl?”
Kade looks confused.
“I’m Melody. Who are you?”
The girl looks defiant.
“Wilson’s fiancee: Cece.”
Melody’s eyes flash red.
Kade grabs her hand.
“Let’s go dance.”
For whatever reason, she lets him pull her to the dance floor.
Glaring back at us all the while.
Cece’s not completely stupid.
“What was that??”
Wilson’s still playing the game.
“What was what?”
“You’re lying to me, she’s not with Kade, she’s with you.”
“No, she’s not.”
“How did you know we were going to be here?”
“To surprise us, how did you know we were going to be here?”
“Deej told Kade where you guys were going.”
“Bullshit, I heard him talk to Kade. He told him Pour House. You were here before we even came here, weren’t you?”
“Deej text-mailed Kade when you guys changed plans.”
Smooth operator, but not smooth enough.
Before any of us can react, Cece has taken off the 1.5 carat flawless diamond and raised her hand above her head.
“Tell me the damn truth! You’re cheating!”
“I love you.”
Cece’s had it.
She tosses the ten grand platinum solitaire into the middle of the dance floor.
“You crazy bitch!”
Wilson dives for the sea of moving people.
I’m in shock.
Cece’s in tears.
Kade wanders back to us, as confused as I am.
“Helping Wilson look for the ring.”
“She thinks if she finds it, he’ll give it to her - since his engagement with Cece is obviously off.”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
Cece looks a bit shell shocked.
Bradshaw shoves a drink in her hand.
Before you can say boo, the drink is gone.
Stephen hands her another.
Drinks are coming at us from no where.
Within ten minutes, she’s plastered.
“Come on C, let’s go home.”
“Why do you want to stay here?”
“I’m going to dance. Fuck him. I was way out of his league anyway. Who does he think he is? There are tons of guys here who would die to be with me. I’m going to find two or three of them and let them show me a good time.”
Kade’s not well-schooled in the ways of women.
“Hell yeah, C, that’s a plan!”
She bursts out crying.
She’s running for the bathroom before I can react.
DJ grabs my arm.
“Let her go. She needs some time.”
When she comes back, she’s with Wilson.
He’s holding her up.
It’s evident she’s drunk to the point of passing out.
I grab her.
“Come on C, let’s get you home.”
She raises her head a bit and smiles wanly.
Wilson jerks my arm away.
“She’s going with me. You guys go back to Conway.”
“Bullshit. She’s not going anywhere with you. She’s coming with us.”
“This isn’t your business, Meghan.”
“Bite my ass, Wilson.”
DJ and Bradshaw each grab one of my shoulders.
“Meg, let him take her. They’ve got some stuff they need to work out.”
It’s then that I notice the ring.
It’s back on her finger.
“What the hell, C?? Why’s that on your hand??? How the hell’d he even find it???”
Wilson lunges at me.
Kade, DJ, Bradshaw and Stephen are in front of me before I can blink.
“You touch her and you won’t walk out of here.”
“Tell her to mind her own damn business.”
The bouncers show up.
Barry has an arm at my waist, his mouth to my ear.
“What’s going on?”
“Cece caught Wilson cheating.”
“Oh shit. Who am I throwing out?”
“By the end, I’m sure it will be all of us.”
“Where should I start so that doesn’t happen.”
The bouncers escort Wilson to the door.
Cece’s trailing behind him.
I can’t talk her into staying with us.
“He’s my husband.”
“Not yet, not EVER if I have anything to say about it.”
“Let me handle it.”
She’s slurring so badly, I have to guess at the words.
I get blind, stupid drunk.
By 4 AM, my liver is crying.
I drank the whole bar trying to forget what my best friend was going through.
Birdie has to stop the car 4 times for the guys and I to take turns vomiting on the side of the road.
None of us can process what’s happened.
I stumble into bed thinking: “She’s seen me do this, why would she put herself through it?”
There’s a loud knock on the bedroom door.
I roll to look at the clock.
Cece opens the door without prompting.
She crawls into bed with me and starts talking.
“I know what you think. I know where you’re coming from. But this is different. He just got scared.”
“How long has he been scared?”
“He says he just met her.”
“Kade says he’s been with her for months. The nights you’re not at the condo, she is.”
“I believe Wilson.”
“Of course you do.”
“You’re just being this way because of Jeff. Why can’t you believe any guy is different?”
“They are different. But not this one. Not Wilson.”
“He’s one of your best friends.”
“Which is how I know that he’s not different. He’s JUST LIKE Jeff. I thought he could change for you, but he can’t. He’s proven that. Walk away.”
“There’s too much already done. We’ve spent too much on the wedding. Most of it is non-refundable. What would my parents say? What about the rest of my family? The sorority? My friends? I can’t back out. He just got scared. I can’t throw away my life. It’s all planned out. And goddamnit Meg, I love him. I love the son of a bitch.”
I can’t think of anything else to say.
She’s not listening.
She can hear me, but she’s not listening.
I just hug her and we both cry.
We cry until we can’t cry anymore.
Then we cry some more.
The heart wants what it wants.