The crisp air was the warning of the impending winter though winter had not truly begun just yet. The trees had lost there leaves in the past few weeks, thus making the landscape seem more harsh and the trees became the angrier versions of themselves almost as if they had come from someone child’s nightmare and then brought to life. She had dreamt of this day since a tiny child though the dream was not the one she had. Nothing could have prepared her for the wildfire that had become her life in the past twenty-four hours.
“Another?” the bartender asked as he once again made his rounds through the bar. She nodded and then looked at the full glass placed in front of her. The drink itself was not the problem. It was everything that had led her to this place, this spot, and this time. People were walking in and out of the tiny building that housed her safely now. The bar was something she had stumbled upon while running away from her problems. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
The looks that she was receiving, however, made her realize no amount of alcohol would be enough to fix her issues. They were plastered on her now. The dress she wore was enough to let everyone know most of the problem. The ivory full-length dress that looked exactly what it was hid nothing from the people around her. Complete strangers knew her problem without ever having to ask. The clothing a sign of the day, the ultimate symbol of what should have been hung on her shoulders now as tragic comedy of the day.
Somehow she could still think clearly. She could still feel the two knives in her. The one in her back that a friend, her best friend, had placed there. The other being in her heart, the one her fiancee had placed there. They both decided to wait until the wedding day arrived to unleash the truth. Her wedding day. It was everything a bad movie would have been except the fact it was not fiction or make-believe. The worst-case scenario of some other bride to be. It was her life.
She noticed the people coming in. They all looked at her and did a double-take. She thought to herself, “At least the dress looks that good.” Before the thoughts of burning, it later came into her mind. She wanted the day to be over. She tried to find a place no one could find her, but she was afraid of who and what she could trust at the moment. No one she knew was around. They were probably still trying to figure out what happened at what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life. The mortification of having to see any of them again was just too much for her to think about. Even thinking of her family was too much to think about.
The group of men that walked in and she could hear the whispers from them. Though most were well-meaning, it was the fact she hated to think about people talking about her. They all looked her over a few times. She could feel their eyes raking over every inch and curve she had, whether it be exposed skin or through the dress. She almost was tempted to turn and smile, but the effort of even trying to smile was too much. She just sighed and went back to looking at the ice melt in her drink as she sipped slowly. She had to think of something though before she couldn’t think anymore. Somewhere to go, somewhere that was safe, somewhere she could think on how to spin this any way other than how it really was. That she was nothing but a loser in life who couldn’t even see her friend and boyfriend for what they were and what they were doing.
Right now, she hated life. She hated herself. How could she let them do this to her? How could she not see it? How and what if became the loudest sounds in her brain. She wanted everything to go away. All the pain. All the thoughts. Everything period.
The door opened again, and she looked up for a split second and knew. She knew this was it. This was going to be the fight she had run away from. This was the knife going into the kill strike. They walked in. together. Holding hands. They looked around and saw her though she was not hard to miss in the wedding dress that covered her small frame. As they walked closer, she felt the room get smaller and smaller. She didn’t like scenes. She knew this was going to be one.
“We need to talk.” He said as he got nearer to her. She looked at their hands, still clasped together. He had a wedding ring on, and she looked at her hand. There was one there too.
“No, we do not.” She said as she looked back at her drink, willing herself not to cry. Seeing them together made it real. Established the idea of her dream a farce. This was supposed to be her day. She was supposed to be married to her prince, charming. This was not how this was supposed to happen. Three hours ago, she had the carpet pulled from underneath her feet, and she was supposed to sit there nicely as they told her something.
“Come on, don’t be difficult.” Her former friend said.
“Difficult?” she asked. “Me be difficult? Get the hell away from me.”
“Rissa, come on.” He said, and she didn’t look up. He touched her shoulder and pulled back.
“Do not ever touch me again,” Rissa said as she hissed up at him. The last group of men that had walked in all stood up at that and began to make their way over to the three people.
“I do not think the lady wants you here.” The tallest of the men said. He was also one of the oldest she could guess as she looked at the group. Three of the men were ready to pounce at the first sign, while a few looked more ready to talk them out of making a scene. The rest were moving around to make their way in between the couple and her. She made it easier for them as she stood though on wobbly legs and took a step back. Into one of them.
“Easy princess.” He said softly. As he eased her to stand straight, “Do not let them see you fall.”
“Thanks.” She muttered. She was trying to do just that. Between the three drinks and the heels and the weight of the dress she was wearing, it wasn’t that easy to stand.
Her fiancee, the person she should be married too right now, spoke up, “This is a private matter.”
“It sure looks it.” One of the guys said. She looked over to him and saw the eye patch and wondered if he was a pirate, and then she wondered if she was drunk enough yet.
“Well, it is.” The woman by his side said.
“Well, private or not, I do not believe that the lady here wishes to speak with you at this time.” One of the other brown-haired men said as she looked up at him, and he turned and had a friendly smile towards her. She thought at least he pretended to not care about the distinct events of the day.
“Mind your own business.” Her fiancee, Paul said.
“Take a hint, dude. She isn’t here to see you.” The youngest of the group spoke up, “Go back to whatever rock you two slithered out from. The scene is plain to see. Let her be.”
Rissa looked around at the group of strangers and then back at the couple who was getting a lashing she wished she could give. “How did you find me?” Rissa asked softly.
“Phone,” Paul said as he held up his. “Had a tracking app on it.”
“Of course you did.” The man in back of her who was still propping her up with one hand on her lower back said. “Seems like she may have been spared if she had the same spyware on your phone.”
“Like any of this is any of your concern.” The other woman said. “Now, let us talk to Rissa, and you go back to your drinking.”
“I do not think that is what will be happening.” The one with an eyepatch said. “Look something went on today, we all can see that. Why don’t you go back to where you both need to be and leave her alone.”
“She needs to come too.” The woman said. “She needs to fix what she did.”
“Fix what I did?” Rissa spat out, “That I called you a lying whore or the fact paul here will lose all of his contracts because he is a cheating bastard? That not only did he cheat on me but then to marry my best-supposed friend two days before our wedding and didn’t tell me until right before we started the ceremony. I need to fix that? How?”
“Come back to the reception. Your parents are trying to say you had cold feet and all that.” Paul said.
“My parents can go to hell,” Rissa said. “You go fix your own mess. I think I will stay here and get drunk. At least that doesn’t hurt as much.”
“Stop being a baby.” The woman stated.
“That is enough.” The man with the dark hair and what seemed to be almost red eyes said. He looked at Rissa and trying to smile. He turned back to the other pair. “Nothing is going to be solved here.”
“That’s right.” The woman said.
“Shut up, you dumb bimbo.” The other younger member said. His light, browning red hair seemed to glow in the low light. “If you kept out of their relationship, this wouldn’t be a problem either.”
“How dare you?” the other woman said.
Rissa was still trying to stand up, and she could feel herself about to go through another wave of emotions. She wanted nothing to do with either of the two people in front of her. She also did not want either of them to see her lose it. It was bad enough they found her in a bar. She felt the warm breath on her neck. It moved closer to her ear, and she could feel him closer to her.
“Ready to make a run for it, Princess?” he asked softly and only loud enough that she could hear. She couldn’t trust her voice. She turned and saw him for the first time. She looked into his golden eyes and, for a moment, got lost. She nodded, and he looked at the bartender and threw a few bills on the counterpointing to her. He bent down and got her bag that had been by the stool she was sitting at. He waited until he could see his friends moving around to form a barrier in front of her. They were predictable.
He helped her stand, and very slowly they crept out of the building by going out the side door she had been sitting near. He looked at her as they were now on the street. She looked at him, and she started to laugh.
“Princess, you do need to turn off your phone.” He said as he looked at the device in her hand.
“You’re right.” She said as she powered it off.
“Where are you going. I will take you there. You still look a little unsteady.” He said.
“I’m not sure,” Rissa said as she looked around. “I don’t have anywhere to go right now. My parents and brothers will go to my apartment. Those two will go to the hotel. I don’t have a clue.”
“Then come with me.” He said. She looked at him, and for some reason, all reason went out the window. It was time to do something she might regret. It was time to be wild in winter.