“They’re five minutes late,” I announced to the table, eyeing the two empty seats in the center.
My friends and I, along with thirty other guests, were sat in a large, chatter filled banquet hall in Seattle for my best friend, Mara's engagement party. We were, however, missing Mara and her fiance, Will.
“Maybe she’s still getting ready,” mine and Mara’s best friend Allison, offered as an excuse to try to appease me.
Wishing that was true but knowing it wasn’t, I said, “I got her ready myself. They should be here. I’m just going to call Mara, and-”
My boyfriend, Dru, suddenly cut me off, grabbing my phone. “No, you’re not. I’m sure they’ll be here soon, Bri. Now, enjoy the party.
“Okay, just give me my phone back,” I insisted reaching for it, but he simply tossed it to my twin brother, Carter.
“If we give this back to you,” Carter started, “you put it away and let Mara and Will show up whenever they want to.
“Fine,” I agreed, taking my phone back. “ I won’t call until they’re fifteen minutes late. At that point, it’s just unacceptable. I would never allow this from any of my other clients.”
Carter sighed. “They’re not just any other clients, Sabrina. Mara’s your best friend.”
Dru joined in. “And you’re just as much a guest as you are the wedding planner. You’ve been working your ass off for months. You deserve to relax and have a good time.
I let out a clipped laugh. “There’s no time to relax. They gave me five months to put together Mara’s dream wedding. I helped Mara plan her dream wedding when we were ten, and it hasn’t changed a bit. Do you know what kind of weddings ten-year-olds dream up? Big ones, ones that take more than five months to put together!”
Allison, Dru, and Carter looked at me warily, and Dru carefully reached into my purse and pulled out two energy drinks.
“I think you’ve had enough of these,” he said, handing them to Carter who placed them on a passing waiters tray.
“I need those,” I whined, watching the waiter walk away with my sole source of energy.
“No, you need sleep,” Dru corrected.
“Yeah, for about three hours every night.”
“Evidently not. This is the most stressed out I’ve ever seen you over a wedding.”
Allison scoffed and rolled her eyes. “I don’t see what the big deal is. It’ll all be over in a month and a half anyway, and then we can all go about the rest of our lives not having to think about or remember this damn wedding.”
She took a large gulp of the champagne in front of her, and I looked on with concern, something about the comment not sitting well with me. It apparently didn’t sit well with Dru either, but, unlike me, he had no problem telling Allison what he thought of her, which wasn’t very much might I add.
“What the hell is your problem, Allison? You’ve had a stick up your ass ever since Will proposed. The two of you have been over for five years now. Get over it.”
“I am over it,” she insisted. "How could I not be when I have Carter? I clearly benefited from the breakup.”
“You are so full of bullsh-”
“Both of you, shut up,” Carter demanded. “They’re coming.”
A quick peek toward the entrance revealed that he was right, and I quickly turned my attention back to Allison and Dru. “Squash this now, and put smiles on your faces. If you mess this up, I’ll make your lives miserable. Do you understand?”
They nodded, sparing each other a final glare before pasting smiles onto their faces as Mara and Will entered the room. Arms linked, they made their rounds at all of the other tables before making their way to the empty chairs waiting for them at our table.
“You’re late,” I whispered to my best friend as she settled into her seat to my left.
“Calm down, Sabrina. We were just stuck in traffic,” she informed me smiling to herself.
“Yeah, I’m sure,” I muttered, narrowing my eyes at her, knowing exactly what she meant by “stuck in traffic.”
I pulled out my phone and made a quick call to the head of the catering staff. As soon as I hung up, waiters emerged from a door on the right side of the room and began to serve the guests. I caught Mara looking around the bustling room with awe and excitement.
“I did a pretty good job didn’t I?” I whispered playfully, nudging her shoulder.
She gave a little laugh, shaking her head. “I just can’t believe this is actually happening.”
“Well, believe it because, in a month and a half, you’re getting married.”
“And what about you?” She asked abruptly, catching me off guard.
“When will you be getting married,” she clarified, causing me to roll my eyes.
“When it’s the right time. Not that it matters right now. This is your time to shine.
She raised her hands in mock surrender. “All I’m saying is that it’s been eight years, and-
“Mara, stop. You always do this.”
“Always do what?” She asked, feigning innocence.
“Deflect the attention whenever it’s on you. Well, guess what? All of this is for you. The attention is all on you, and there’s no way to avoid it.”
She looked down at her plate, knowing I’d caught her. Once everyone was served and the waiters had cleared out, I stood, grabbing everyone’s attention by lightly tapping my fork on my champagne flute.
“I would like to propose a toast to my best friend, Mara. We’ve been dreaming about this since we were ten, and I am so glad that you finally get to have it. You have an amazing man who could not be more perfect for you,” I emphasized, shooting a warning look at Allison as she finished off her second glass of champagne and gestured to the waiter to bring another. “I am so happy for you. Nobody deserves to have their happy ending more than you do. I love you and congratulations.”
Mara stood to hug me as the guests applauded and we retook our seats. Knowing it was his turn, Dru stood to give his speech.
“Okay, I’m obviously not going to top that, so I’ll keep it short. Will, it took you a few tries, but you finally got it right." I didn’t miss his sly look at Allison who was paying no attention as she flagged down the waiter for another glass. “Mara’s a keeper, so hold on to her, man. Congrats."
Everyone applauded again, and Will stood to bro-hug Dru before sitting back down.
“Would anyone else like to give a toast on behalf of this lovely couple?” I announced, looking around.
Much to the concern of everyone at the table, Allison raised her hand. “I would.”
Carter subtly gave her a warning look, but Allison only rolled her eyes, finished off her fourth glass and stood anyway.
“To Will and Mara. Who would’ve thought that it would last this long? I mean, according to all of Sabrina’s charts and graphs, you guys shouldn’t work, but you have defied the odds. Here’s to hoping that you keep proving the stars wrong.”
The applause was slow to start and kind of uneasy. Mara and Will shifted uncomfortably in their seats. Dru was glaring a hold in Allison, who obliviously flagged down the waiter for a fifth glass of champagne. My brother seemed suddenly very interested in his baked potato, and I anxiously cradled my head in my hands, already feeling a migraine coming on.