Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Surf or Turf

The rest of summer sailed by smoothly.  Sarah and Maddie had both moved back in to our apartment.  Maddie and I were working hard through two or three-a-days in our respective sports.  There wasn't a lot of hanging out time except on weekends.  We usually both crashed early at night and didn't see each other until the evening right before bed.  Sarah had picked up a waitressing job for extra money, so we all had opposite schedules until classes started again.

It was three weeks after Elena's wedding, and only one more full week until classes started.  I was feeling anxious for the arrival of everyone else, which I knew would be happening later on this next week.  Anxious because along with all of my friends would come Luke and Victoria.  I hadn't heard anything from either of them in months.  But I also hadn't heard that Luke was either kicked off the basketball team or out of school.  I had considered trying to prove to Victoria that Luke was the asshole in this situation.  But decided against it.  I hadn't deleted the pictures off of my phone, though, because I wanted the physical proof should I run in to her face to face.

Since it was Saturday night, I was stretched out on our living room floor, covered in a quilt and relaxing.  Sundays were the only days we didn't practice right now, so I was staying up extra late.  I looked at the clock on the wall and saw it was 9:13 p.m.  I smiled to myself, realizing how lame I sounded stating I was staying up extra late.  But that smile quickly dissipated into a yawn.  Sad.

I was watching Olympus Has Fallen on Netflix, and snacking on some popcorn.  Maddie was out with the boyfriend, and Sarah was working.  I was super sucked in to the movie when I heard the tone of my text message notification resonate.  I hit "pause" and grabbed my phone to check it.  It was Elena.

Check your email.

That was it.  I raised an eyebrow curiously and opened up my laptop, also on the floor next to me.  I frowned thoughtfully, trying to figure out which email she meant.  From the time I was 16 and allowed to have my first email count until now, I had created multiples.  Hotmail, Yahoo, gmail, and now my UNL account.  They all served different purposes, obviously.  Hotmail was personal, yahoo was for playing games, gmail was for my phone, and UNL for school.  I doubted Elena remembered, if she even knew, what any of my email address were except my UNL account.  I quickly opened a browser and logged in, revealing several new emails, all school related except for one.  The email was from a couple days ago, and an email address I didn't recognize:

I double clicked on it to bring it up and read:


I hope you don't mind, I got your email address from Elena.  I didn't want to come across as too forward, but realized that after accidentally spilling your drink all over myself, and then dancing with you, I never asked you for your number.  So I thought it would be less intrusive to email you instead.  Of course, writing that now sounds a little ridiculous.  

Anyhow, Elena told me you've been really busy and have early mornings for tennis practices, so I didn't want to pressure you with finding time to chat on the phone, and texting is so short and impersonal.  But I would like to get to know you, and am hoping you would be up for that.

I believe Elena told me that classes start up for you all again August 25th, and that usually your schedule is more manageable then.  I considered waiting until then and calling you, but I couldn't.  So how about a game of three questions?  It's my email version of twenty questions so we can get to know each other a little bit before I call you on the 25th.

Favorite movie?
Dream vacation?
Surf or turf type of girl?

Your turn,


I grinned cheesily, ecstatic that he had sought Elena out to contact me.  And rolled my eyes at his emailing me, but felt grateful (and thought it cute) that he actually hadn't called.  I hate talking on the phone.  It's so awkward.  I think reading expressions is so valuable when conversating with someone.

After Elena was back from her honeymoon, I may or may not have ranted and raved about how gorgeous and fun Chase was.  I silently sent up a prayer that Elena didn't repeat everything I said and quickly texted Elena back:  You're the best!  And she responded right back with a winky emoji.  Then I wrote Chase.


Thank you writing me!  I do think there's a lost romanticism to letter/email writing.  And, you aren't being too forward.  I really enjoyed talking to you... and your moves to Dancing Queen.  I was secretly hoping I would run in to you again someday so you could teach me.

I have been busy.  We've had 3-a-days, starting at 6 a.m. and the last one getting over at about 4:30 p.m.  I've been exhausted and going to bed early.  Once classes start, we only have practices once a day, except when we have matches, then we obviously don't practice.  And we aren't practicing Sundays, which is why I'm up so late.  (If you consider 9:25 late!)

So on to your questions.

My favorite movie is White House Down.  And/or Lion King.  And/or 300.  It depends on my mood :)
My dream vacation would probably be Brazil.  I've been there once before, but have been itching to go back ever since.  It's beautiful, and warm, and exotic.
And I'm definitely a turf girl, if you're referring to food.  I LOVE steak.  Definitely in my top 7 favorite foods.  I do like surf, but prefer turf.  If you're referring to physical location, I prefer surf.  I love the ocean.  It's majestic and powerful, and all-consuming.

I feel like your third question was kind of a cheater question, because you got 2 in 1, since I didn't know which you meant!

Favorite color?
Fastest speed you've ever driven?

Tag!  You're it!


I only had to rewrite it about 14 times.  But I read it over and felt satisfied with my response, and clicked send.  Butterflies already started forming in my stomach, anticipating his reply.

I closed my laptop and rolled onto my side and hit play on the remote. Although I was watching Gerard Butler run around like a BAMF on-screen, Chase was running around my mind.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wedding Bliss

The Wedding Ceremony Uniting
Elena Barker
Jeff Mosier
Saturday, July 26, 2014

I perused the program for Elena's wedding, smiling to myself, and trying not to tear up prematurely.  We were all in the back of church in the choir room.  It was 10 minutes until the start time, and we were all making finishing touches on make-up and bobby-pinning any loose tendrils of hair that had come unruly.  Elena looked stunning in her strapless fishtail gown.  She was radiant, and literally appeared as if she was glowing.  The photographer was taking pictures of her from behind, looking out of a ceiling to floor stained glass window.  It was serene and calming. 

The wedding planner knocked on the door and let herself in right after, announcing that it was time to get lined up at the doors of the sanctuary before walking in for the processional.  All of the guys were already lined up by Jeff up front, so we were walking down individually.

The ceremony was beautiful, and the pastor injected humor at all of the appropriate times.  I took a moment, while the pastor was speaking, to sneak a glance out to the guests.  I saw a lot of our mutual friends from growing up, but also from college.  I also saw extended family of Elena's that I had met before.  But there were also a lot of people that I had never met:  Jeff's family, friend's of his from before college, and colleague's of all of their parents'.  My gaze rested on my family.  I saw my mom and dad, and sitting next to them were Tom and Mary.  I had to suppress an eye roll seeing that he brought her along.  Since the dinner at my parents' house, we hadn't seen Miriam, and Tom had avoided all of my phone calls to him.  I glanced to the other side of my parents and saw Ben and Gloria (Zach's parents).  Elena had told me she was extending an invitation to their family.  We had all grown up together, so it only made sense.  I didn't see Zach.  I assumed that he probably didn't come home for the summer from Arizona.  The few times I had gone to my parents' house, I hadn't seen any sign of him or his car.

I refocused on the ceremony.  There were laughs, there were tears.  We- myself and the other bridesmaids- all had Kleenex wrapped around the stem of our bouquets, so we could wipe away the tears.  They came in quite useful.

After the ceremony, we filed out with joy and entered the limo that took us to take pictures while the guests arrived to the site of the reception.  I was looking forward to the celebration that was about to occur.  Dancing, drinking, and bliss.

It was a dinner that was served, and the options had originally been salmon, chicken, or filet.  I honestly hadn't paid close attention to the first two, since I'm a steak and potatoes girl.  As soon as my eyes flickered over the word "filet" on the invitation, I had stopped reading.  That was all I needed.

Dinner was delicious.  Unfortunately, I didn't eat all of it, because the dress was already perfectly fitted, and tight (and had corset-like boning in it), so it didn't leave me with much breathing room, let alone bloating.  Plus due to the open bar, I knew the night was going to be long and thanks to an open bar, wanted to save plenty of room for alcohol. 

After the first dance ("When I Fall in Love" by Nat King Cole; perfect and timeless for their classy and formal, black-tie wedding), Sarah found me and grabbed my hand, dragging me to the dance floor, after making a pit stop by the head table to kick off our shoes.  After Love Shack, Dancing Queen, and Hey Ya!, Sarah and I needed refills.  We went to the bar and asked for vodka and coke for me, and red wine for Sarah.  While waiting, a male approached the bar.  He was handsomely dressed in a classic tuxedo complete with a bow tie.  I not-so-subtly looked him up and down from his perfectly styled blonde hair down to his (what appeared to be) Calvin Klein patent dress shoes.  I smiled in appreciation and turned fully to face him.  I felt Sarah nudge me in the back and whisper in my ear, a little too loudly, "Don't forget our deal!"

I gave a slight shrug and waited for mystery man to get closer.  I figured, no harm in flirting.  If anything, I might snag myself someone to slow dance with.  He placed his forearms on the bar, and made eye contact with the bartender.  He let the bartender know he wanted a gin and tonic.  I quickly glanced at his all-important left hand ring finger, and saw it empty.  I took him in for a moment longer, realizing how good looking he really was.  Then I felt like a creeper, and turned back to face the bar again.  "Why haven't you said anything?" Sarah asked.

I looked at her and quietly responded, "I don't know what to say!  I don't even know how to flirt anymore!"

She rolled her eyes at me and slurred, "Aleah, you are the queen of being unknowingly flirtatious.  Just open your mouth.  I'm sure the words will just naturally flow."

I giggled, realizing just how tipsy we both were after hearing her speak.  We had drank several drinks already by this time.  Her mini pep-talk (plus the alcohol that was slowly working its magic) gave me a new found courage.  Before I could make my move, the bartender came over with the three glasses, setting them in front of their proper owners.  I grabbed my drink and turned to say something just as mystery man was reaching past me to put a dollar in the tip container.  Our arms collided, sending my drink cascading down his tux, and the glass dropping to the floor and shattering.  I cringed, and looked up guiltily at the man, through my eyelashes.

Quickly I jumped to action, gushing apologies and grabbing cocktail napkins off the bar counter to dab at the wetness on his tux.  A few of the workers came over and started cleaning up the spilled fluid and broken glass on the floor.

"Oh my gosh, I'm so so sorry.  I'm so clumsy.  Me and this alcohol, I should really be more aware of my surroundings and what I'm doing," I stumbled over my words, feeling sorry and embarrassed. 

I looked at him and he was smiling down at me.  He took a handful of napkins off the counter, too, and said, "It's okay.  It is completely my fault.  I should've been more patient and waited for you and your friend to leave so I didn't have to reach behind you.  Let's go over here," he said motioning behind him, "so we can get out of the way so they can get all the glass."

"I may need to wait a minute," I told him, lifting up the bottom of the dress to reveal that I was barefoot.  "I don't want to get glass in my foot.  That'd really put a damper on my dance-offs!" He chuckled.

"Let me help you out."  He set his drink on the bar and took a step over to me, swiftly picked me up in a cradle hold, and walked me a few yards away where we were sure it was clear of glass and set me down.

"My knight in shining armor," I sang, while clasping my hands in front of me and batting my eyelashes.

His smile disappeared, and he bowed his head seriously.  "At your service, my lady.  And what may I fetch you from the watering hole, now that thy drink hath disappeared?"  He looked back up at me, his eyes twinkling.

"Vodka and coke, please, sir."

He strode back up to the bar, and I watched him closely.  He made me smile.  I liked that.

He returned with his drink and my new one.  I set it on the table that was close by and picked up more napkins and started wiping at the jacket.  Not that I could see any liquid, since his tux was black, but I was still hoping to soak up any liquid.  And maybe to be close to him.  "You don't need to do that," he quickly said.

"I feel so bad.  At least can I help with your dry cleaning fee?"

"Oh it's a rental.  Don't worry about it."

"Well, is there anything I can do to make it up to you?  Buy you another drink?"  Hug?  Massage?  Or take you away to a private island and let you have your way with me?

"If anything, I should be making it up to you!  I was the one who slammed my arm into yours."

I stepped up my boldness then.  "How about a dance?  I mean... unless you have a girlfriend or anything," I quickly retracted.  Awkward, Aleah.

He grinned at me, "No."

I raised an eyebrow at him, and he quickly realized what he said.  "I meant, no girlfriend.  And yes, I guess a dance will make us even."

The rest of the night flew by, between dancing, drinking and checking out the mystery man.  I did learn that he is 23, a tax accountant, and Jeff's cousin.  Why Elena never told me that Jeff was related to a greek god, I didn't know.  Apparently, he also loves dancing, though.  So one dance turned into two, which turned into six. 

Sarah and I had come together.  And when there were minimal people left, and we had sent Jeff and Elena off to enjoy their wedding night, Sarah informed me she was ready to leave.  We were both quite intoxicated, and decided to cab it back our apartment.  She called while I told my dancing partner we were taking off.  Drunk me threw my body at him, wrapping my arms around his neck.  I whisper shouted in his ear that we were leaving, but that I'd had a blast with him, and he was a sexy dancer.  And yes, I said sexy.  Too drunk to care, but not drunk enough to forget.

He didn't say anything, and I started walking away, but felt him grab my arm lightly.  I turned to face him and he stuck out his hand, grinning cheesily at me.  I reached out and shook it, and he said, "By the way, I'm Chase."


He pulled me in for another hug and I felt like I was going to melt in the strength of his arms. We then went our separate ways.

As I was shutting the cab door, and sleepily resting my head against the back of my seat, I realized that we didn't exchange numbers.  I sighed, disappointed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Posting Ramblings

So I was going to put a new post up tonight, and I apologize in advance for letting you all down.

I received some sweet, encouraging messages on my post last night, and it kind of gave me the push to ditch my schedule.  Only momentarily.

I don't dish a ton of details on here about my up-to-date personal life, but I'm going to share a little bit, because it might explain why I'm losing the schedule for a bit.  (Don't worry, I'll try to bring one back, but it's going to be a few weeks to a couple of months.)  And no, this doesn't mean I'm going on hiatus, because I'm not.  I will still be posting, just not on a consistent schedule.  And I'm going to try to get 2 posts out a week.  However, don't expect one until next week, probably on Tuesday (8/19).  Maybe I'll surprise you guys and put one up sometime this weekend, but please don't expect it, because I don't want to disappoint.

So anyway, here goes:

I work for child protective services in one of these great states.  And I found very very recently that I'm going to be moving to a different location (which I wanted in order to be closer to family).  Anyhow, due to the time consumption (and often times mentally/emotionally draining-ness) of my work on any normal day, now I have a deadline that I need to have investigations done, in order to move.  So, I've been working late, and often times on my weekends or after hours.  So I've been exhausted.  But, good news/bad news:  GN I'm going on vacation starting tomorrow.. BN I'm not taking my laptop so I won't be writing.

Basically, what I'm trying to explain is that I'm going to be swamped with work, moving, and traveling.  Because I failed to mention that in the process of this move, I will be temporarily staying with family in the new place until SO finds a new job where we are moving to.  So every weekend I will be traveling with our baby back to where we currently reside to see him and all of our fur family.  And this will happen for several weeks to a couple of months.  Which is why I'm not giving any sort of guarantee, promise, or timeline for a future posting schedule, or how many posts a week.  Ok, one promise.  I solemnly promise to post at least once a week so you all know I haven't forgotten to continue my story because I do love writing.

Thanks for understanding, and also for reading the small glimpse into my current life.

<3 Aleah

Saturday, August 9, 2014


I wrinkled my nose as I took a long sip of the red wine my mom had served.  I'm not much of a wine drinker, but when I do, I definitely prefer white and not dry.  Superficial pleasantries had been exchanged and we were all lounging around the table snacking on the food in front of us, and sipping wine.  Well, everyone except for Miriam and Tom.  Only one of them because they're not legally allowed to.  I snickered, causing my mom to give me an odd look.

I refocused on the conversation taking place.  My father was asking Miriam what kind of work she does, obviously realizing they didn't meet in high school.

"I don't," she said, matter-of-factly.  As if we should have already known that.

I rolled my eyes.  She didn't elaborate so my mom gave her a quizzical look and asked, "Oh, are you in school then?"

"No," Miriam replied, taking a sip of her water.  Her blunt rudeness made me want to chuck the cracker in my hand at her face.  I withheld, only because I didn't want to receive the eye from my mother.  I swear it sends death waves by sonar.  Not only did my parents deserve to be respected, my brother deserved someone who was nice.  Or at least someone who had a personality that was more diverse than a snail's.

"I see," my father replied, though he just looked tired and worn.  Why did Tom have to bring her along to this?

Miriam seemed more interested in her water and staring at imaginary happenings right above everyone's heads than to converse.  We're Tom's family for Pete's sake!  Whoever Pete is.  I could feel my anger bubbling right beneath the surface of my tongue.  I have several different levels of anger.  This bout was right there at my top level.

I guess that they had no intention of bringing up their impending nuptials, either.  That was definitely not a topic I wanted to spring on my parents, so I was still going to wait to confront Tom about that at a different time.

"What exactly do you do, then?" I asked with flat affect, appearing complete disinterested in whatever she was about to say.  I could see my mom attempting to give me the eye in my peripheral vision, but I pretended I had blinders on.

Miriam sighed heavily.  It appeared she thought we were wasting her time.  "I research," she breathed, shrugging her shoulders.

Ben and Gloria had appeared amused or uncomfortable, at varying stages of the conversation.  At this point, Gloria spoke up.  "Oh, that sounds interesting!  What kind of research do you do, and whom for?"

Miriam glanced at her out of the corner of her eye, look again at one of the nonexistent spots above my mom's head and said, "I research things that interest me."

A spring of giggles erupted from me, quickly enough that I couldn't stop them, and long enough that I received glares from Tom and my mother.  My dad actually looked as if he was holding back a smile himself.  Ben and Gloria were both looking at Miriam with raised eyebrows, as if she were some mythical creature that shouldn't exist.

Ben, Gloria, and my parents started conversing with just themselves about some event that was happening at church the upcoming weekend, leaving Tom, Miriam, and myself to our own devices.  Miriam was picking at her unnaturally long fingernails, Tom was playing some game on his phone, and I was trying to decide if I should risk speaking to either of them, since I felt like I wasn't going to be able to have a mature, adult conversation.  More or less because I was annoyed and really just wanted to mastermind a plan to make Miriam disappear from Tom's life.

I decided to be the bigger person, though.  "So, Miriam," I began, as she looked at me condescendingly, "how did you two meet?"

They exchanged a glance before Tom finally opened his mouth and answered for her.  "We met at a church thing."

"Really?  I don't remember seeing you there..." I trailed off, hoping for some sort of elaboration.  When I didn't get one, I continued.  "So, since you two are apparently serious, what kinds of things do you do for fun?  You seem to have a lot in common!" Like not talking.

Miriam almost seemed to light up at this.  Almost.  "We like RPG's."

"Excuse me?"  I didn't know what the hell she was talking about.

She sighed, and started talking louder and slower than she previously was, like I couldn't hear or understand her.  "You know, role-playing games?"

I internally gagged.  "Oh, um, wow."  I uncomfortably looked at my parents, still consumed with their own conversation, thankfully.  "I really don't want, or need," I emphasized, "to know about that part of your lives."

My brother actually guffawed at this.  Miriam's eyes widened.  She hissed at me, "Are you stupid?"

I looked at her in disbelief.  Before I could stand up and dump my wine on her, my brother said, "Aleah.  Video games."

I blushed, embarrassed.  I felt like that was something I should know, seeing as how my brother was a video game pro, and I used to play a lot of games (like Mario Kart, best game ever) when I was younger.  But I just don't know all the terminology, I guess.

I quickly recovered, though.  Looking at Miriam I asked, "Aren't you a little too... girlie to be playing video games a lot?"  I think she and my brother both knew what I really wanted to say.

But, if she knew what I really wanted to say, she didn't let it show on her face.  "Oh no, not at all.  I love playing games.  Plus, your brother and I have so much fun.  Our favorite to play..." She droned on for awhile.  I had finally discovered the button that makes that woman talk.  It was the most animated she had been the whole time she had been there.  And I was completely uninterested in what she had to say.  I managed to force myself to listen to the last sentence.  "And our characters are in love."

I kept my face neutral.  I really couldn't believe this was a conversation that I was having with her.  I nodded enthusiastically, and subsequently excused myself to the bathroom.

I sat on the toilet (lid) for about 20 minutes, only playing games on my phone.  I sighed and stood up and went back out to the veranda.  Miriam and Tom were gone.  I sat back down, and asked my mom where they had gone.  She said they left.  Then she added that she would discuss "that situation" with me later.  I internally fist pumped that maybe my mom saw what I did.

Towards the end of the get together, before Gloria and Ben left, my father told us all about what the doctor's had been telling him.  Apparently they saw some shrinking of the tumor, and my dad was responding well to treatment.  They were giving him several weeks break, before starting some treatment again.  Another cycle would be starting in a month, to give his body a rest.  But since he was handling it well, they wanted to keep going.  Apparently surgery was going to be a last resort option.  My father gave us a smile that was genuinely full of hope, and we gave a toast in honor of my father.

As the glasses clinked, I smiled, feeling hope for the first time since I first heard his prognosis.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Welcome Home

After work on Monday I headed to my parents house for a "welcome home" dinner for my father.  It wasn't going to be a big ordeal.  My mom had given me a heads up of the guest list, which included myself, my brother, and Ben and Gloria (Zach's parents).  Since my brother's mystery girlfriend (or fiancee?) was MIA, and I hadn't met her, I was curious to see if he would bring her along.

As I was driving up our extended driveway, I saw Ben and Gloria walking the front walk to the door.  They turned when they heard my car, and paused, smiling and waving.  I hopped out and briskly walked over to them opening my arms.  Gloria enveloped me into a hug first, telling me how long my hair was getting and I looked fabulous and she missed me.  I returned the sentiments (minus her hair length).  I squeezed her tightly, truly missing her.  Ben spoke up, asking when his turn was and chuckling.  I switched over to Ben, giving him a strong hug, too.  He pulled back, leaving his hands on my shoulder and seriously said, "You know that son of mine misses you."  And he raised an eyebrow at me, as if questioning why that would be.

I smiled sheepishly and told him to tell Zach hi for me the next time he spoke with him.  He put his arm around me and we walked into the house together.  My mom was sitting in a chair and came rushing over, greeting me with a kiss on the forehead, and then moved on to Ben and Gloria.  I peered around my mother to see my father lounged on a deep leather chair with his feet propped up on a stool.

I started walking towards him, a smile breaking onto my face while taking in his appearance.  Tears came to my eyes because of how much I had missed him and how happy I was to see him.  He was usually dressed immaculately, but today he was lounging in sweat pants and a t-shirt with thick fuzzy socks on his feet.  My dad had lost weight and his arms seemed skinnier, and he had dark circles under his eyes.  His once thick and groomed hair: gone.  He seemed unusually pale, but when his eyes rested on me, they brightened, and a wide smile broke across his face.

"Oh, daddy, I'm so happy to see you," I choked out.

He teased, "But you're crying."  Physically he may be stripped of health, but it would never take his sense of humor.

I leaned down and gingerly embraced him, "Tears of joy, of course."  And we laughed together, genuine hearty laughs.  "But it looks like you need to eat!"

He sighed.  "You don't even understand how disappointing it is that chemo ruined my appetite."  My father and I both love food.  We didn't eat to nourish, we ate to enjoy.

"That is terrible!" I said, truly meaning it.  I sat down on the arm of the chair and lowered my voice and asked, "But how are you doing?"

He reached over and grabbed my hand with one of his, and squeezed weakly.  "I'm okay.  Really."

"Dad, I mean, what do the doctors know now?"

"We'll talk about it later."  He raised his voice then and spoke past me, "Ben, Gloria, thank you for gracing us with your presence!"

They laughed and began speaking back and forth.  I wandered into the kitchen to find my mother who had disappeared, presumably to cook.  She was pouring glasses of wine.  "Hey mom, is Tom going to be here?"

"Yeah," she glanced up at me and looked back down at the glasses.  "He went to pick up Miriam."  So that's her name.

"His girlfriend?"  I felt nervous, then.

"Yes.  And Aleah?  Tom mentioned to me that you met Miriam.  I guess she told him you were quite rude to her."  She looked up at me disapprovingly.  "I'm really disappointed in your manners.  We raised you better than that."

"Oh my gosh mom, I can't even believe you're believing that..." I paused, searching for the right word.  "That woman," I spat out, as if being a woman was the equivalent of having the bubonic plague and swine flu combined, "over me."

"Aleah," she snapped at me.  She also gave me the eye.  Whenever mom gave the eye to my brother or I, it was like an immediate trump card of "say another word and your hide is mine."

I quickly shut my mouth, on the verge of another protest.  I tried another tactic.  I innocently asked, "Have you met Miriam?"

"No, but Tom really seems to like her a lot."  She had moved on to cutting up chunks of cheese into slices, and was placing them on a plate.  "Please try to be inclusive of her."  I could tell by the tone of her voice that it was a demand, not a request.

I sighed and joined her in cutting by grabbing the log of summer sausage she had laying there.  We chopped in silence, and added crackers to the spread.  When finished, we took the serving trays of food (which also included fruit plates) out to the veranda on the back of the house, where dad, Ben, and Gloria had moved to.  My mom sat her tray down and then settled into a chair, joining them.  She asked me to get the drinks.  I set the tray I was carrying down on the table they were sitting at and went back into the house to grab the tray with the four glasses of wine, and the glass with ice and a bottle of ginger ale next to it.  I smiled to myself, not lost on the fact that my mom was lumping me with the adults now, by giving me wine.  I knew my dad couldn't drink alcohol and that the ginger ale was for him.  My smile then turned smug, and I snickered thinking that I should add another glass of wine for Miriam.

"Aleah."  I jumped, thinking I was the only one in the house, the glasses and bottle all teetered precariously from my startle response.  I steadied myself and turned my head to see Tom.  Only Tom.

"You never called me back."  Petty, I know.

He shrugged.

"I think we need to talk."

Before he could respond or I could elaborate, in walked Miriam.  Her smile as fake as the day is long.  The same woman from the bridal shop.  I attempted to smile back, but I couldn't force my muscles to move.  She looked even older than what I remembered.  Like possibly early thirties or so.  It probably was due to the fact that she was standing next to Tom with his boyish good looks, and who appeared younger than his 18 years.  She had an entirely inappropriate outfit on.  Pink jeggings and a white button up dress shirt that was tied and knotted in the front to make it a belly shirt, showing off her flat, brownish/orange-ish stomach.  Multiple top buttons were unbuttoned to reveal an ample amount of cleavage.  It looked like it belonged with a naughty Halloween costume, not with an every day outfit to meet the parents of your significant other in the Midwest.

A giggle escaped my mouth, and a smile came easily, then.  "Oh, hello, Miriam."  All I could imagine at that moment, was what my conservative Christian parents' expressions were going to be when she walked in.  To Tom, I said, "I was just about to take the wine out to the veranda where everyone is already seated."  I pointedly looked at Miriam, and sweetly asked, "Would you like a glass?"

Tom looked mortified, clearly aware that she didn't need to be carded.  Miriam narrowed her eyes at me, but quickly recovered.  "Oh, no thank you.  I don't drink alcohol."  She walked towards me until she was within reach and said, "It's bad for your skin.  You should consider drinking less."  Her voice was dripping with feigned concern.

I wanted to slap her, but instead obviously looked over all of her exposed skin and replied, "They say the same about the sun.  Maybe you should consider using sun screen."  I smiled sarcastically at her, and then turned on my heel to head for the veranda.  I could feel Tom's eyes boring holes into the back of my head.

I opened the door and carefully walked in, gleefully announcing to Ben, Gloria, and my parents, "Tom and Miriam have arrived!"

All eyes turned towards the door, and with a feeling of satisfaction, I watched as all of the welcoming smiles on their faces shifted into looks of surprise, disgust, and grimaces, and then back to artificial smiles within seconds.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Time Flies

Whatever Maddie was talking to me about faded off into the distance as I turned my whole body to face this woman.  I cocked my head to the side and slowly started walking towards her.  I know I just didn't hear her reference my brother in the way of an impending marriage.

I vaguely heard Maddie start calling my name, but I put up my pointer finger, to signal I needed a minute.  I walked up behind the woman and the sales lady, who were perusing slips.  Before I could think through what I was doing, I reached out my arm and tapped the woman on the shoulder.  She turned her head to me, raising an eyebrow.  "Can I help you?" she questioned.

"Um, yeah, excuse me.  I think... Sorry, I wasn't trying to eavesdrop, but did I heard you say that you were getting married?"

She laughed strangely, turning fully to face me, and held out her arms.  "Why else would I be in a bridal store?"

I blushed slightly, thinking how ridiculous my question probably sounded.  I quickly recovered and started, "Sorry, let me start over."  I smiled sweetly at her.  "Did I hear correctly that you're marrying a man named Tom?"

She narrowed her eyes slightly at me, and then hesitantly said, "Yes.  I did.  Do you know him?"

"What was his last name again?  I thought it sounded familiar..." I trailed off.


I bristled at the realization of what my brother was about to do.  "I see," I said through clenched teeth.  I took a step back then, and looked this woman up and down.  She was approximately 5' 1" and wearing super high, white, platform flip flops, which brought her up to about 5'5".  I didn't even know they made those after 2005, I thought cattily.  I brought my eyes up her orange-ish fake-tanned legs to her high-waisted, super short, white shorts, which I'm sure showed off the bottoms of her butt cheeks, if she turned around and bent over.  I actually liked the paisley fitted crop top.  If it weren't on her.  I raised my eyebrows, unintentionally ogling her massive breasts that were barely contained in the probably too-small top with no bra.  I took in her painted-on face, and her brown hi-lighted hair on the side of her head, held in a banana clip.  She looked to be at least in her mid-twenties.  Tom is 18, I incredulously screamed in my head.  I finally locked eyes with her, and saw she was looking at me smugly.  If I had been in her shoes, I think I would've been uncomfortable.  She looked bored.

She disgustedly glanced over me and then said exasperatedly, "Oh.  Let me guess.  Jealous ex-girlfriend?"

"What?" I shrilly yelped.  I looked at the sales lady looking at me disapprovingly.  I lowered my voice and again gave her a sugar sweet smile.  "Actually, no.  His sister."

She immediately had a look of shock on her face, but quickly masked it with her bored look again.  "Well, this is awkward."

"You and Tom are getting married?"

She started turning back around to look at the slips, and said while still in motion, "I think that's something you should discuss with him."  Then she fully turned away from me, signaling the end of the conversation. 

I went to take a step forward to grab her shoulder and whip her around to face me again, but was jerked backwards by my arm.  I angrily looked at Maddie who was shaking her head so quickly it looked like she was seizing.  I went to protest, but she pulled me away towards Elena, who grabbed my other arm and guided me out of the door.

"Guys!  Seriously?  Did you just hear..." I started, before Maddie cut me off.

"Aleah.  I heard the whole thing.  Please, just don't.  Maybe this girl is delusional psycho?  Talk to Tom first before you knock her out." 

I huffed my annoyance at her, but obliged.  After hashing it out with both Maddie and Elena, I agreed to not only keep this from my parents for now, but wait to talk to my brother until Maddie left, so I could cool down.

That night we got all sexy and went out dancing and drinking.  Elena ended up crashing at the apartment with us, and we slept in late Sunday.  Elena was going to lunch with her family, so she left close to noon, and Maddie and I got laze around, watching Netflix, and talking about the possible reasons for my brother's potential impending nuptials.  I cringed just imagining that person as part of my family.

Maddie left that evening to head home, and I cradled my phone, debating whether or not to call my brother.  I decided to wait until the next day, after I finished the first day at my new job. 

In the morning when my alarm went off, I shut off the alarm and then looked at the date on the phone.  June 16th.  Elena's birthday.  I made a note to also go get her a birthday present after work.  I called her on my way to work, and she didn't answer.  I left her a singing Happy Birthday message.  I giggled to myself, picturing her reaction to my off-tune rendition.

Work was natural and easy.  There were 3 back to back hour-long classes in the morning running from 9-12, and then an hour and a half break, and then 2 back to back hour and a half long classes in the afternoon from 1:30-4:30.  Then I was done for the day.  That was the scheduled Monday-Thursday.  Fridays only the morning classes ran.  It was uneventful.  I was in charge of the ages 5-8 beginner classes in the morning.  In the afternoons I helped run the advanced level teens. 

After work, I sat in my car with the air conditioning blasting.  I called up Tom.  It rang twice and went to voice mail.  Great.  She must have told him her story of our run-in.  And Tom being Tom, was going to avoid me until I managed to corner him, I'm sure.  I left him a message casually asking him to call me when he got a chance.

I decided to drive up to the Nebraska Crossing Outlets, in Gretna.  It was about a 35 minute drive.  I stopped at home only to change clothes, because I wasn't trying to impress anyone.  I blared my radio, singing loudly.

While there, I found the perfect dress for the rehearsal dinner from White House Black Market.  Elena, Maddie, and I all had the same style, and all wore pretty much the same size of everything, so that made shopping for them really easy.  (Plus the added benefit of when we were all living together, having our wardrobes more than double in size.)  From the same place, I got her some gorgeous strappy heels and a top I knew she would love.  I would never have shopped that extravagantly for any of my other friends, only because I know they would've felt uncomfortable with me spending that much money on them.  But since Elena and I had been friends forever, and both came from money, we had always gifted each other graciously on birthdays.  Feeling content, I left for my apartment.

The rest of the week passed by quickly with working two jobs now.  I did make time to meet with Elena a couple of days later, and she loved her gifts.  It was Friday afternoon after Cara and I had boarded the plane to Florida for the tennis tournament, that I realized Tom had never called me back.