I'm late. It's not exactly surprising since I'm rarely on time to anything, but this particular circumstance isn't my fault. I swear! Indie sent Noogie and me a text this morning, insisting we meet her at a little cafe.
Noogie is my best friend and other half, Natalie. She earned the nickname, Noogie, when my older brother––who’s secretly in love with her by the way––gave her a noogie in front of a bunch of hot guys in high school to prove that he looks at her like a little sister. Dumbass. Anyway...Indie’s text was adamant that Noogie and I meet her for brunch. It's a good thing I love that girl, though, because I did not have time for this today.
It's been a few months since Natalie and I moved to New York, and fate led us to a cute little bakery called, Get Baked. That’s when we met Indie, the third amigo to our little trio. Yup. She’s my boss. Her tiny shop is where we found our calling in life as worker bees in Indie's bakery hive.
Natalie and I were getting our nails done at a cute little salon on 8th Avenue when the message came through. We hightailed it onto the subway––after tipping our nail technicians––and are finally entering a fancy, schmancy restaurant named, Charmant.
Don't get me wrong, the food is good, but the warm decor holds memories I'd prefer to forget. Memories of an enemy disguised as a friend. Memories of a womanizer in a gentleman's attire. Memories of the best night of my life...followed by the worst morning possible.
Releasing a sigh of defeat, I scan the familiar surroundings while Natalie informs the hostess that we’re here to meet someone.
Noogie grabs my arm, shaking me from my morose thoughts, and we follow the hostess through the dining area to our table. By some miracle, we're led to a table outside, and I count my blessings as I take in the foreign environment.
Anything to keep me from remembering him.
"Hey, guys!" Indie greets us from her seated position at the high-top table. The hustle and bustle of New York City is nothing more than a gentle hum here on the terrace. Twinkling lights are strung along the railing, with potted plants placed in the corners. The decor is almost enough to transport you to a little town in France, and I grudgingly admit to myself that the place still has charm, even though Weiner tainted it all those nights ago.
"Hey!" I respond, rushing over and throwing my arms around her.
She returns the gesture, squeezing me tightly and chuckling lightly.
"I'm so glad you could make it!" Indie continues as Natalie and I take our seats.
"Of course we made it! Who turns down Sunday brunch?" Natalie teases as she unfolds the white linen napkin, placing it in her lap.
“She’s got a point,” I agree before doing a little shimmy in my chair. "Now, bring on the mimosas!"
We all laugh in unison as the waiter hands us our menus. After eyeing the options, I decide on a big-ass omelette with extra cheese and hash browns on the side.
I’m hungry. So sue me.
Once the waiter leaves, Natalie and I return our attention to Indie.
"So...what's up?" I ask bluntly.
"Umm…." Indie pauses as a Cheshire grin practically splits her face in two. "I have news."
I quirk my brow in response. "And?"
"And..." she adds a dramatic pause before continuing, "I'm getting married!"
There’s a split second when Noogie and I are stunned speechless before squealing commences. It finally occurs to me why the hostess placed us outside. She could tell we were going to be a rowdy crew, and we just proved her right.
Indie met a guy a few months ago, and they’ve had a whirlwind of a relationship. Their engagement is insanely abrupt, but I can’t blame her for wanting to tie Rhett down. The guy’s a catch, through and through. And so is Indie. Rhett’s smart enough to listen to Miss Beyoncé and put a ring on it.
"I cannot believe you're getting married!" I announce as Natalie nods her head in agreement.
We both lean across the table and sandwich Indie in a congratulatory bear hug that would make a grizzly jealous.
"Wait." Natalie stops abruptly then pulls away and stares at Indie intensely.
"Yes?" Indie asks, trying to keep herself from smiling at Natalie's crazy antics. That girl could make a mob boss tremble in his Armani suit. "I am going to be your maid of honor, right? 'Cause we both know I'm your favorite."
I shove Natalie playfully in the shoulder before arguing, "Whatever! We both know I'm the fun one! Who would you want to plan your bachelorette party? Me?" I point to my chest. "Or Miss Nun over there, who's never even seen a penis?"
Natalie had been taking a sip of her mimosa when I started presenting my case, and the orange juice spews from her nostrils by the time “penis” rolls off my tongue. I throw my head back in laughter as the sticky liquid drips down her chin.
"Sophie!" she screams, grabbing the linen napkin and dabbing at her face. Her cheeks are a soft pink color, which is saying something considering her naturally olive skin tone. It usually hides her embarrassment quite nicely.
I, on the other hand, am as pale as a ghost and can be seen blushing from a mile away.
"What?" I shrug, feigning innocence. "It's the truth!"
"Yeah, but you don't need to go blabbering about it during brunch!!" She grabs my freshly-made mimosa from in front of me then continues her little rant. "You ruined my drink, Soph, so I get yours!" And with that, she downs the whole thing in a few gulps, leaving me to pout at my loss of bubbly beverage.
Indie watches the entire interaction with light amusement. In fact, she's practically glowing from happiness, and I couldn't be more excited for her.
Indie had been in a looong relationship with a butthead named Anthony, before she finally met Rhett. He swept her off her feet and showed her what true love really is. If anyone deserves a fairy tale, it's her.
"I was actually going to ask both of you to be my maids of honor, but your banter is pretty entertaining. Maybe I should let you two duke it out." Indie leans back in her chair then crosses her arms over her chest. Her face is painted with amusement.
Noogie and I look at each other, silently communicating a truce between us, before informing Indie that we'd both be honored to be her maids of honor.
"Good! I was hoping you'd say that...'cause we have a lot of work to do, and not a lot of time to do it!" Indie replies cryptically.
My eyes narrow in suspicion.
"What do you mean, not a lot of time?"
She picks up her flute glass and takes a long sip of her mimosa. "Umm...one week?"
Natalie and I exchange shocked glances before turning back to the bride-to-be. "I'm sorry, can you repeat that?" we ask in unison.
Indie chuckles awkwardly before clearing her throat. "Umm...one week?" she repeats while playing with the butter knife on the white linen tablecloth.
"Dude!" Natalie and I shout. "How in the world are we going to plan a wedding in one freaking week? Aren't venues booked out for years in New York?" Natalie asks, trying to be the voice of reason.
"Maybe. But we're not getting married in New York." She places her lips between her teeth, like she’s afraid we might strangle her. Her indigo eyes bounce between both of us, trying to gauge our reaction.
"Are you pregnant?" I blurt out. Why in the world would she rush her wedding like this? I mean, come on. It only happens once. Doesn't she want an epic wedding with her dream photographer, and her dream caterer, and her dream wedding dress?
One week? It isn't possible.
Thankfully, Indie doesn't take offense to my word vomit and pats my hand on the table like a loving grandmother would. "No, I'm not pregnant," she states patiently. "Rhett and I are just really excited to start our lives together. We both know what it's like to waste our time, and we don't want to do that. You might think we're crazy." She chuckles after stating the obvious. "Hell, pretty sure everyone will think we're crazy. But...we want this. We want this bad. So, will you guys help me achieve the impossible? Will you help me plan a flawless wedding in less than a week? Will you fulfill your duties as maids of honor and help me get shit done?" She stares at Natalie and me like we're magicians, and I know I have no choice but to agree to her insane timeline.
And people think I'm the crazy one.
"Fiiiine. When do we start? And where are you getting married?”
She smiles wistfully. “In the Maldives. It’s a destination wedding, and it’s freaking gorgeous!”
“Where the hell is the Maldives? And what about Harry?” I inquire, mentioning Rhett’s dog, who I’m pretty much convinced brought the two of them together.
Indie pouts in response. “The Maldives is in the Indian ocean, kinda by India, and Harry has to stay home. Julio is going to watch him and also cover for me at Get Baked, because he’s a real-life superhero.”
“Phew!” I wipe pretend sweat off my forehead dramatically. “That’s good, at least. I thought I needed to talk to my boss to see if I could get the time off on such short notice.”
Indie playfully sticks her tongue out at me. “Good thing your boss is amazing.”
“That’s still really short notice, though! Are other people having any issues squeezing a destination wedding into their schedule?”
Indie grimaces slightly. “Only Laney, Rhett’s little sister. We’re super bummed, but she’s doing a study abroad and won’t be able to make it. Oh, and his dad. But he wasn’t invited anyway.”
“Ouch,” Natalie pipes up.
Indie shrugs like it isn’t that big of a deal. “Meh. Some relationships aren’t worth salvaging, as terrible as that is to say out loud. But Rhett isn’t hurt over it or anything, so neither am I. Laney, on the other hand….”
I lean into Indie’s side to playfully nudge her before saying, “I’m sure you can Facetime the ceremony! Then it’ll be like she’s really there!”
Indie’s face lights up like a kid on Christmas morning. “That’s a brilliant idea, Soph! Thank you!”
She pulls out her phone, and her fingers fly across her screen as she sends my suggestion to Rhett for approval. Less than a minute later, she gives us a beaming smile.
“Well, now that we’ve figured that out, let’s see how many other solutions you guys have up your sleeves, shall we?” She dives into all the things that need to be figured out, and we get to work, one problem at a time.
After three hours of appetizers, latte refills, and bathroom breaks, we have the itinerary written out, the menu narrowed down, and the invitation finalized. They’re planning a small wedding with only family and close friends, which definitely makes things easier. That being said, there are still the flowers, the dresses, the photographer, the cake, the flights. Oh my goodness––the flights!
Immediately, I whip out my phone and start checking prices. My eyes practically bug out of my head when I see the number.
“Dude! Have you seen the prices of flights?” I squeal when the astronomically high prices flash across the screen. “I hope you’re including a pay raise for this!”
Natalie snorts at my terrible joke before grabbing my phone from my hand and mimicking my initial reaction.
Indie is staring at the screen on her cell with a goofy grin on her face. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know she’s texting Rhett.
I’d be jealous if I weren’t so damn happy for her.
“Yeah?” she answers before tearing her eyes away from the latest message Rhett sent her. She looks like a swooning princess from a Disney movie.
Scratch that. Definitely jealous.
My phone buzzes in my hand, reminding me of my current predicament. “Let me repeat, since you were off in la-la land with Mr. Prince Charming, have you seen the prices of flights? No offense, Indie, but I don’t think many of your wedding party or guests will be able to make it to the wedding if they have to fork out this much cash. I mean, we love you and all, but we love food more.” I wink playfully while still getting my point across.
Indie scoffs at my terrible joke as Natalie shakes her head while grinning from ear to ear. She’s used to my crazy antics.
“Stop worrying, ladies!” Indie bats her hand at me, waving off my reluctance like a pesky fly. “Rhett and I are covering everything.”
I nearly choke on my tongue. “I’m sorry...come again?”
My gaze shifts to Natalie, whose jaw is practically touching the floor. Pretty sure we’re wearing the same look right about now.
“I said…” she speaks slowly, emphasizing her words. “Rhett and I are taking care of the cost. We understand it’s short notice, and that you want to come to support us. We’ve already purchased the tickets and the rooms at the all-inclusive resort, so all you need to do is show up and have a good time.” She winks before scanning another message on her phone. Her face is practically splitting in two with her massive smile.
I get the distinct impression that Rhett’s a smooth talker, and it reminds me of another Weiner I don’t ever want to see again.
As soon as the thought crosses my mind, I pray I’m wrong.
Please. Please. Please.
The blood drains from my face as I work up the nerve to ask Indie the question that I’m dreading the answer to.
“Hey, Indie?” I ask quietly. The soft vulnerability in my tone catches her attention, and she looks up at me with open concern.
I try to swallow past the lump in my throat as the memories bombard me all over again.
“Who’s the best man?” I whisper, as the omelette I’d eaten earlier churns in my stomach.
She bites her lower lip, giving me my answer without uttering a word.
“Dammit!” I mumble to myself.
What the hell am I gonna do now? I can’t see him again!
“Soph….” She pauses before placing her delicate hand on top of mine in silent comfort. I pull it away.
“He’s Rhett’s best friend...” Indie reasons. “I tried to talk him out of it, but….” Her words hang in the air.
“That bastard. Let him come. If I get within a mile radius of him, I’m cutting off his balls. He’d be an idiot to show his face after what he did,” Natalie pipes in as fury radiates off her flawless skin.
Slowly, I release a deep breath.
“Noogie,” I call to her, trying to rein in my best friend from going into beast mode.
It’s funny. Usually, I’m the one with anger issues, and she’s the one keeping me grounded.
Her nostrils flare, but she pauses her rant to hear what I have to say.
“It’s fine,” I reassure her. “He’s just an ass that I’d prefer to leave in the past. That being said, Indie’s right.” I turn my attention to Indie. “He’s Rhett’s best friend, and it wouldn’t be fair to you, or your fiancé, to throw a tizzy fit over a one-night stand gone wrong. I’m going to be the best damn maid-of-honor you two have ever seen. It’ll be fine. Everything will be fine.” I repeat the last sentence under my breath, praying that I’m right.
“Are you sure?” Natalie probes. Her voice is laced with concern as she eyes me from across the table. I feel like I’m being examined under a microscope as my two best friends stare at me from across the table.
I nod once. “Yup. It’s only four days. We can all play nice for that long, right? Piece of cake.”
Natalie groans under her breath before whispering, “Only if you keep the knives away from me.”
Indie and I snort at her dry sense of humor before I place an order of fries. Natalie doesn’t even bat an eye at my weird food choice, considering I recently ate a big-ass omelette. Indie also caught on to my addiction to french fries relatively early in our relationship and continues her agenda without a second glance. I think she’s secretly grateful I didn’t have a meltdown over the fact that the guy I kinda, sorta fell for will be at the wedding. And that I have to play nice with him for a loooong weekend while still keeping my bruised heart intact.