Chapter Two: The Call
Grace’s fingers punch in a phone number on a touch screen keypad, her feet heavily pace wood floors of a small, lavender bedroom with skinny windows. The line rings three times. “Damn it, pick up!” Grace huffs. Usually, David answered her calls on the third ring at the latest; she felt as if he was ignoring her. Two more rings sounded with no pickup. She stops walking and hangs up to dial again.
This time, on the second ring, a smooth voice speaks. “Hey”
Grace mean mugs the phone in her hand. “Hey? Really, is that all you have to say?”
David, a tall and handsome, built guy, walks an all white photography studio. The place is busy with staff members carrying equipment and props. Photographers hold massive cameras, snapping pictures of models who pose dramatically on fall themed backgrounds. The sound of commotion from a conference room he passes, hold members in formal suits who add to the rest of the noise. He heads to a door that reads: Dressing Room, as he’s on his phone. “Sorry, is the job still stressing you out?”
“I’m not calling about that.” She clenches her teeth. “Why haven’t you been checking in? It’s been months since we talked.”
David enters the dressing room, closing the door, inside is a clean, white room with a vanity table. “Sorry, I’m busy with gigs.”
“You could’ve sent a text...is there something you need to tell me?”
“Yeah, I could have done that-”
“But you didn’t. I asked if there’s something you need to tell me?” Grace asks bluntly.
Grace listens to an intense silence between them, to David’s breaths, which deepen. She taps her foot as she waits. Grace feels him thinking hard, senses a struggle in him to say what she knew was true, but also what she denied...so it’s true...it’s true?! “I do have something to tell you.” He answers cautiously.
“I already know, so don’t waste your breath, you’re marrying Hannah. She told me, did you think she wouldn’t?”
“I figured she would; you two are close.”
“Well, I’m not sure about our “closeness”... that depends on the outcome of this.”
“Come on, Grace, don’t be ridiculous, okay? Hannah isn’t the villain here, so don’t make things difficult. If anything, it’s my fault. I wanted to tell you about it, but...”
“What?” She grips the phone closer; her nails jam tightly against it.
David stares into the mirror of the vanity table in front of him, with much hesitancy. “I thought back to us in high school.” A weakness takes over the soul of his eyes, weighing them down with regret.
“Which lie was it that you thought back to? Was it the one when you said, “I’ll come back?” Or when you said, “I love you?” Her voice shoot daggers of ice. David doesn’t speak. “I guess when you say things like that to someone, you’re bound to get cold feet before the wedding.”
“Grace...we were kids and said shit we didn’t understand.”
“No, we were in love, young or not, we cared for each other and planned to spend life together when ready. HOW COULD YOU JUST UP AND MARRY HER AFTER PROMISING THAT?!!!”
“It just happened. I mean, what do you want me to say?!”
“Really, it “just” happened?!!” Grace’s voice yells from the phone.
“See, this is why I didn’t tell you; YOU ALWAYS BLOW SHIT WAY OUT OF PROPORTION!!”
“HOW IS HOLDING ONTO WHAT YOU PROMISED-”
“Do you want to do this right now?!” He cuts her off with vigor.
Grace paces back and forth angrily, her now balled fist at her side. “YES, I DO!”
David lets out a deep, long breath. “Just face the truth, it’s happening, our wedding is happening, and Hannah wants you to be her maid of honor. Don’t make this into a problem with her, okay? I’m sorry, but things change, Grace, it’s normal...we lost our spark.”
“We lost nothing.” Grace ends the call.
Sad, brown eyes watch a cracked ceiling shadowed in moonlight; which lights up a bedroom. On a cream colored bed, Grace lays, wiping away bitter tears. She still didn’t believe what was happening. Hannah had just announced an engagement to the only guy she ever loved, and David confirmed that it was true. It’s not a dream. The past two days felt fake to her but it was reality.
A feeling of sadness and anger for both Hannah and David drives her soul. Her mind goes to alternatives to stop the wedding. Although Hannah was her best friend since diapers, she wished she’d get into a bad plane crash on her trip back from New York, where she was visiting him...kissing him. Her eyes harden. I hope she gets so injured that she couldn’t see any of it happen. As for David, Grace wished he’d return back to the guy he was a week ago.
The bedroom darkens; leaving the room nearly lightless now. Grace closes her eyes and inhales deeply. She needed a plan but nothing came to mind, her fingers drum on the sheets of the bed. How could David do this to me? A buzzer echoes the apartment and broke her thoughts. She sluggishly got out of bed and wipes her face, going to buzz up, knowing who it was. More buzzing follows.
“Coming!” Grace’s slippers scrape down a dark hall to the living-room of a tidy apartment. Her finger presses a button on the wall. She waits as her visitor climbs the stairs, readjusting her gloomy mood, lifting her chin, and drying her eyes, and checking if her eyes were red. From a circular mirror, through dim light, she saw that they weren’t. Good. Footsteps near her place, then knocking on the door. Grace unlocks it and opens it to find her older sister, Kat. “Hey lil sis, what’s wrong? You called me like ten times.”
“I need some help.” Grace whines. “You remember David Michaels right?”
Kat takes off a NorthFace jacket and throws it on across the back of a red sofa. “Of course I do, after how you acted over him.” She switches on a light to see her sister and flips back brown braids, which stop at her waist. “Why is it so dark in here?”
“He’s marrying Hannah this month.” Kat’s mouth drops. “Yep, I called him, he’s going through with it.” Grace smirks. “But not for long, I got something planned.”
Her sister sighs. “Girl, you better not do some dumb shit...”
“He’s mine, and he knows it’s true, he’s still under my spell.”
Kat grabs her little sister by the shoulders. “Stop okay, Hannah is your girl, doing this will destroy that. Do you actually want to lose something special over a summer fling? Think about what you’re doing.”
“I don’t care, David was mine before he was hers.” Grace pushes away. “He promised to marry me!”
“But he proposed to her, don’t you get it, Grace? He doesn’t want you!”
“Oh trust me, he gave it away on the phone.”
Kat crosses her arms. “Let’s say it you do this, What will you tell Hannah? Or are you gonna play two- faced??” She gawks in disbelief at Grace who nods to the last question. “Listen, you need to leave it alone if not this is gonna end bad, G.”
“I don’t care, as long as it ends.”
Hannah was to be at the airport at 6:30 in the morning. This wasn’t good news for Grace because it meant she had to pick her up and pretend to be excited. In heavy rain and thunder, people rush out of O’Hare airport, waving and climbing into cars, which line up alongside the exits. Rain platters onto the roof go Grace’s Volkswagen Beetle, causing river like ripples to form on the windows. The clock of a car’s dashboard reads: 6:39. Grace drums her fingers on the steering wheel, waiting for the bride to arrive. Unhappy and sick. She’d thrown up twice and cried too many times to count. Grace even dialed David’s number eight times and left five voicemails. But she knew it wouldn’t be that simple. Things have to get dirty before they get easy.
Her dark eyes spot Hannah exiting the fancy building, with an umbrella and a light jacket, carrying a Chanel bag, and searching the surrounding cars. Grace’s foot hovers over the gas pedal, half tempted to drive off and leave Hannah stranded. A foot dances over the gas pedal; she locks her gaze on it. I really want to do just that...but...too late. Tap tap, A hand knocks on her windowThe window rolls down.
“Hiya, stranger.” Hannah leans into the window for a hug, as thunder cracks, and lightning strikes hit the sky.
“Hiya to you too.” Grace grins. “It’s been what, like not even two days?”
“Yeah I know, but still I’m super happy to see you again.” Hannah strolls over to the passenger side, and tugs at the handle, which doesn’t open the door. “It’s locked, G.”
“Oh...sorry.” The door clicks then is opened by Hannah, who gets in, folding up her umbrella before CLOSING the door. Grace feels rage pumping her veins...calm down...relax. Her mind says. “Buckle in,″
The car rumbles and the wind shield wipers swipe away rain. There are cars ahead that pull from the curb and onto the road, driving off slowly. Grace drives the Beetle up a few feet, then stops. The keys jiggle back and forth alongside the steering wheel. Grace looks over at her friend, who stares back with complete joy. “So what’s new, besides you getting married?”
“Um-oh! I finally found the perfect dress, it’s the one you recommended the Mori Lee, it’s so beautiful. Sorry, you said besides me getting married, it’s just that I can’t stop talking about it,” she squeals. “I miss my baby already, he wasn’t really able to spend a lot of time with me because of modeling gigs but I understand. The photos are so gorgeous!”
“Yeah, I saw his Instagram.” Grace watches ahead, moving her car up slightly, only to meet a jam.
“I’m so proud he’s mine, I’m still in shock.” Hannah sings and beams widely.
SHUT UP, BITCH! Grace’s mind yells, she fights from rolling her eyes and saying it out loud. Her attitude begins to raise to a red limit, her blood boils and her chest tightens. She controls her breathing. “I can find a venue for you too if you want.”
“Really, omg thanks you’re the best! My MOH is coming through! The title is truly earned.”
Grace puckers her lips. The bride was the title I earned! She roars internally. “So how does David feel about me being the maid of honor?”
“He’s totally hyped! I didn’t know you guys hung out one summer, I think he said it was during his senior year. You didn’t tell me! He said you were the only girl who beat him at darts.”
The line of cars ahead of them move up a bit more, only to stop again, the windshield wipers squeak across the windows and swipe away more droplets of rain. Grace’s fingers flick on a turning signal, while rain fogs up the glass and picks up to a heavier volume. “We were, I guess I forgot to tell you about that it was only for a little while, you were staying with your dad I think that’s why I didn’t. And David thinks he’s good at shooting darts but his game is weak. Like, you wouldn’t even believe how low his score was. It’s embarrassing to even say it.”
“Ha ha, okay we gotta get together and shoot some.”
“Cool, yeah, we should do that!” Grace takes this idea as an addition to her plan. “How’s tonight?”
“Well, Davy is staying with his parents and little sister Kaylie, for the weekend, hopefully I get to meet them soon” Hannah gives a crooked grin. “Maybe Thursday we can go out and get a game or two going.”
“Yeah, so it’s a date it’ll be fun.” Grace turns her car towards an exit to the street, waiting for cars to curve the street, before following. Onto a street she drives a corner and meets a red light. She notices an annoying love glint sparkling Hannah’s eyes. The brides over exaggerated, hyper energy, drains Grace like a battery. Baiting her to be spiteful.
I remember having that look...at least I earned it! She had it handed to her! Everything is going to her favor, her mom supporting this nonsense, Davy being seriously invested in marrying her...a wedding hall selected at the last minute. I bet even the dress will be......oh, the DRESS! A malicious spark ignites Grace’s soul...not for after this sensation, follows the act of pettiness.
“Did you order the dress yet?” She asks her friend nonchalantly.
“Nope, I’ve been running around like a headless chicken getting things set up. I’m only focusing on the attire and the bridesmaids and groomsmen right now. I’m behind on everything else I need to make a list.” She sighs longingly. “Could you order it for me I’m so overwhelmed.” A phone vibrates from her pocket, hastily, she retrieves it. “Aww it’s him checking on me!”
“Did you want it in ivory or the cream?”
“Ivory, size four.” Hannah types while her friend pulls out her phone Abe searches up MoriLee.com. On the site, she selects a dress named Kimberly. A princess ballgown featuring a sweetheart neckline and alençon lace on tulle. A wide hemline and decorative horsehair bands trim the skirt. Hannah happy dances in her seat as Grace purchases the dress, knowing the item is two sizes too small.