Part I: Types
Robert “Bob” Matthews was generally a quiet person.
However, this did not mean that he didn’t have some naughty tricks up his sleeve, as could be testified by his best friend and the-sister-he-never-had, Laura Watson. Laura had been friends with him for a long, long time and she knew him better than even his own mother did. They shared a lot of things with each other than they didn’t mention to anybody else.
But that wasn’t the case when it came to Jonathan Smiles, three years his senior. Jonathan’s best friend, Michael Hudson, was engaged to marry Laura. At an odd request from the couple, they became the best men—Robert Laura’s and Jonathan Michael’s.
And now that they were both involved in working towards the same wedding, they always seemed to end up at the same shop or wedding hall at one point or another in that small town. That was how they began to cosy up to one-another and share their happiness and anxieties. Eventually, their friendship went to the extent of them dividing the tasks between one-another.
Now, Robert and Jonathan sat at a coffee shop on Mainstreet Avenue, coffee mugs in front of them and a plate of vegetable sandwiches in the centre.
The older man took a sip of his coffee. “Apparently, the Golden Ball Everett has no slots for a December wedding,” he said. He reached into his coat pocket for his notepad to refer to. “But the Ace Weddings has got some venues that might still have an empty slot around Christmas time. I’ll email you the list later in the day.”
Robert nodded slowly as he took in the information. It was his turn now; he didn’t need a notepad, for he had a good memory. Still, he never failed to make notes. He now opened his own notepad that was on the table beside his coffee mug. He took a bite of the sandwich and placed it back on the plate, before he went through his notes.
Swallowing his mouthful, he looked up. “I went to meet the cook who did the wedding dinner for Laura’s mum and dad, and she said she’d be happy to do the same for her daughter.”
Jonathan’s eyebrows went up and a warm smile pulled at the corners of his mouth. “Wow, I’m impressed!” he remarked. “You got some good news! Laura and Mickey are going to be so happy!”
“I know! I’m just glad she agreed to do this at such a short notice!” Robert pulled his coat sleeve and looked at his watch. “It’s five o’clock now. What’s the date?”
“Twenty-fifth November,” replied Jonathan. “We have exactly one month to pull off a well-planned wedding.”
“Well, not really one month. Give ten days’ grace period. We might run into some trouble at the last minute.”
“Um… I hope not.”
Silence descended upon the two young men as they sipped on their mugs some more.
“What do you think they’re doing right now?” asked Robert. “Mike and Laura, I mean.” He took a few more bites of his sandwich.
Jonathan finished his coffee and reached for his own sandwich. “He told me he was taking her to the beach for some alone-time,” he replied. “I think he’s renting a cabin there for the weekend. Wants to spend some time away from all the hassle of the wedding or something.” He grimaced and took one more bite of his snack.
Robert grinned as he finished the last of his coffee before going to dig into the rest of his sandwich.
“I bet they’ll have the best time of their lives!” he remarked. “We should do our best while they’re vacationing.”
“I agree!” smiled Jonathan. “Want to plan their vacation, too?” His eyebrows danced in playfulness.
For reasons he understood only later, the action pulled at the younger man’s heartstrings. He swallowed and stopped just in time from letting his blush show.
He cleared his throat and smiled. “Nah, I wouldn’t do that. I mean, he probably already has some plans for her. I wouldn’t dream of getting in his way.” He paused to look at his companion in the eye. “But, you, I don’t think he’d mind.” He grinned broadly.
Jonathan’s mouth instantly turned downward from a smile to a frown. “You think he’ll give me special treatment between the four of us?” Before the other man could answer, something occurred to him and he leaned forward on the table and added, “Wait – you think he treats me specially?!”
Robert was a little taken aback by the look on his friend’s face. “You mean, you didn’t know?” He blinked. “All these years and you didn’t know?!”
“No, dude!” Jonathan leaned back again. “God, what is wrong with that guy?!”
Robert chuckled, “Everything.”
Jonathan had the last bite of his sandwich and grinned as he chewed. “I know right! He’s a big loser! A big sore loser!” He threw back his head and laughed.
“Exactly!” Robert laughed along. “And yet, he’s got the sweetest woman on the planet willing to be his wife!”
“I know! Do you remember when we all thought that Laura hated him? That time when that girl – his ex – what’s her name? – came to try and take him back?”
“Oh, I remember her, all right. Jenna Canning. We all used to secretly call her Jenna Cunning, because that’s what she was!” Robert swallowed the last of his snack and wiped his hands together to dust off the crumbs. “But she was too good! – Laura, I mean. She understood and gave him the time and space to come back to her.”
The older man nodded thoughtfully, a small smile still on his lips. “I always thought she was too good for Mickey.”
Robert frowned lightly. “Wait… you’re not telling me you had a crush on her, are you?”
Jonathan shook his head out of his daze and looked at his friend. “Well, I can’t deny I had a thing for her once, when he was still chasing after her,” he admitted, “though I was the one who pushed him towards her. Because…” he paused to think of the right words to say next. “Because… Well, I guess because I wasn’t that well into her, you know? Like, I liked her for who she was, she was beautiful, just like her mother probably had been at her age then – and she still is! But I don’t think she’s really my type.”
“Oh wow. So, who’d be your type?”
Jonathan leaned back. On habit, his right hand went to rub the back of his neck, a sign of confusion.
Finally, he stopped and turned to look back at his friend, who had been staring intensely at him. He cleared his throat, suddenly feeling uncomfortable.
“I… I don’t know, actually,” he replied. “I haven’t figured it out yet.”
Robert nodded and leaned back in his own chair. “That’s all right. You’re still young – you have some more time.”
“I do, yes. Geez. Thanks so much.” Jonathan paused. “Say, who’s your type? Now that I think about it, I’ve never seen you with a girl before. Except, of course, Laura. But then, she’s your best friend. I don’t think you ever thought of her romantically.”
The younger man smiled, almost laughed, as though the very thought was ridiculous. “No, no, I never did. I always knew my types.”
The other man raised an eyebrow. “Really? And what’s that?”
“I like men.”