Chapter Eight: Here Comes The B****
Grace drives through fogginess to work. Today was very important and the clock ticked late. She didn’t really want to get up from bed but she did for some reason. Maybe to keep her mind busy from stressing out. David had disappeared and Hannah still hadn’t notified anyone of a final decision. She hoped the wedding would be canceled. Hannah was likely to do just that, being too nice of a person. She’ll back off. A Volkswagen Beetle speeds down a busy city road. Nearing a classy brick building. A huge water fountain spits out water in the dead center of the entrance.
Inside the auditorium, high, glossy ceiling shine in sunlight. She joins her colleagues, still anxious over her job situation and distracted over the marriage ordeal. The main door push inward. A performance evaluator strolls the aisle. Ms. Watson sits at the center chair of the long table next to Grace and the others. “Mr. Beck, welcome back, please make yourself fell at home.”
“Thank you, I’ve seen the updates you’ve made to the building, the water fountain and the retouched ceilings, very subtle yet comforting.” The man takes a seat before them. “I also see that you have a new addition to the party. I take it that you’re loose on the standard requirements regarding age. Or is she an intern?”
“No.” Ms. Watson slides him a white folder.
“So for what reason has she made the roster?” He opens the folder and views Grace’s profolio. Neon colored, abstracts of space are within the folder. He flips through the pages. Bold, vibrant colors, unique details to the stars, which are shaped like various flowers. The planets are well lit. The pictures all together are very realistic.
Grace felt all attention land on her, she focuses on Mr. Beck, ignoring the rest. “Ms. Heather is a candidate I couldn’t turn down. One that jumped the ropes with a recommendation from TinselCompany. She has also ranked first place in several art contests.”
This impresses the man. “Ms. Heather, you sound like a superstar within these walls.”
“Thank you.” She finally says, a bit enthusiastic despite her mood.
“I will have to view your art on my way out, of course.” He clears his throat. “Your work is very alluring, do you still create pieces?”
“No, not recently.”
“Hmmm...well I believe you have potential so continue.” Ms. Watson beams at Grace who grins back, then she hands over yet another file to the evaluator. Mr. Beck reads it to see her work stats. Unlike her art, her performance reports were poor. Red bars. Her etiquette and response accuracy, advice, and conclusions. “Is there anything that may compromise your position here? Something outside of the workplace that would degrade your progress or distract you from advancing?” He asks seriously.
She takes a few moments to reply. Thinking, under the table her fingers drum. “No, there isn’t.” She responds too quickly, her cheek twitch. Grace felt there needed to be more added on to her reply but she didn’t know what.
“I can tell when someone is lying, Ms. Heather. Are you willing to address it? It talking it over may help.”
“No, thank you.”
She swallow hard.
“Well your stats are below average, but rest assured, I stride to coach agents to better improve themselves for future visits. As I said before, your art has potential, you certainly should remain on the roster. You are bold. I want to make sure that shows in your work performance as well. Would you like to discuss this issue?
Grace says nothing. Ms. Watson watches her, what are you doing?! Her boss’s expression screamed. All eyes were on her, waiting, but stubbornly, she chooses not to speak.
Kat jams jiggling keys into a doorknob. She picks a white box up from in front of the door and carries it into an her sister’s apartment. She peeks inside it; a wedding cake. She places the box on a sofa then heads down the hall to Grace’s bedroom.
“Wake up!” Kat hits Grace with a pillow. “GET. UP. NOW!!” Grace rolls over onto her side. “Why is Hannah’s cake here? And why aren’t you at work Ms. Watson called me.”
Grace gets off the bed and slips into slippers. She doesn’t speak. Her feelings were all over the place. Regret, lost, stress. Coldness. Hurting someone close to her wasn’t something she ever thought she’d do, yet it happened. Her mind thought back to an faded memory: two small hands intertwined tightly, like the sky and sun. A glimpse of unshakable love of two small girls. Two childhood friends. Then the look on Hannah’s face from the other night. Completely broken and cruel. A look never seen in all the years of their friendship. Did I take it too far? Did I just mess up everything? What am I doing? I do want to see my friend happily married...should I just stop? Shit!
“Oh, so you’re not talking to me anymore?” Kat shows her a phone screen. “Whatever, forget it, just read what it says.” Grace reads text messages:
Kat: So what’s your final decision?
Her eyes scroll down:
Hannah: I’m going through with it. Just decided. Let Grace know she isn’t invited.
The time sent was fifteen minutes ago. “WHAT!!! She snaps. No longer sympathetic. “No, I didn’t take it too far...” Her groggy voice fires as her mood scorches. “UGH!! I told that bitch I loved him and this is what she does?!”
“Grace, you can’t get in, the police will most likely be there, I’m pretty sure Hannah means what she’s saying, you’re not apart of her wedding anymore. I offered to take your place as maid-”
“I can and will get in. Fuck that...” She hurries to the bathroom, her sister blocks the threshold.
“What the hell, you’re supposed to be on my side. My sister. So help me figure out a way...” She snatches her purple gown from a closet along with a a pair of silver, ankle strapped heels.
“Leave it alone, put down the dress.”
“TO HELL I WILL, MOVE!!” She pushes pass; knocking her sister to the side.
“SHUT UP!! I don’t want to hear one of your lectures right now.” The door bangs close before Kat finishes talking.
“Fine, do whatever the fuck you want, because everything in this world changes for you. The world bows to you!” Kat yells sharply. Grace tunes her out. The past will happen again, it already had, her mind explained. She dresses and applies on a little makeup. “...DON’T COME TO ME CRYING WHEN IT BLOWS UP IN YOUR FACE!” Another door bangs.
Before leaving the apartment, takes a box of matches, striking one, and sets Hannah’s wedding cake on fire. She watch it melt; her eyes glinting in delight. Smoke rises. She smiles as sprinklers spray the apartment. Storming out the building and down three blocks, forgetting her car. Grace ends up calling an Uber. She didn’t know what she’d do but knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. All feelings aside, this time, no sentimental blockades. No. She wouldn’t feel bad again. No, no regrets. Grace wouldn’t begin to question her actions.
The only thing Hannah had to do was call it the fuck off and let me be with David! The fact that she didn’t do that made Grace want to tear at the bride, take the perfect little day and burn it to the ground right before her eyes. Like the sweet flames in her apartment. Because now it’s personal. Now it’s war.
Guest pile inside a grand banquet building. Valets park cars in a rush of downtown traffic. Honking horns. A uber is blocked off in the far back of the street. Grace is within it. “I’ll walk, thank you.” She exits, walking a sidewalk, deciding it would be best on foot than closed off and trapped for an half hour or more. After passing and circling around groups of people, she climbs up the steps to the banquet hall. Two security guards are posted at the door, one reads over a list before allowing admission. And with that, Grace was pretty sure she didn’t make the cut. Oh, fuck you, Hannah...
Her phone beeps: a text
Kat: Hannah won’t hesitate to have you escorted out. Listen to me. I’m taking your place as maid of honor, go home.
“After this one, no one else is allowed in,” the guard informs his partner. “That makes ninety-nine people total.”
She felt dumb in her assigned dress. I should have worn something else, but there isn’t enough time to waste on that now . Her eyes jolt to the side of the building. She sneaks around to the back. Jiggling door knobs; locked. Trying a few windows. One is ajar. She hoists herself up to it, glancing in. It looks into an industrial kitchen. Smells of cake and ice cream hit her face. Entrees are stacked onto rolling trays. Workers roll the carts out, pushing them out of flimsy double doors that flop. This continues on for a few seconds, before the coast is clear. The kitchen becomes empty. Grace climbs inside. The hall is half full, a few tables seat energetic people conversing and snapping pictures at neat tables designed with tall white flowers. A donation box is by the exit to the foyer. A clear bin full of favor bags, stacked with white M&M’s. An elder couple take seats at the front.
A huge white clock above the entrance ticks, reading 5:45 pm. Fifteen minutes to hell. She slips out into the foyer, her feet running up a fancy, three tier staircase, her destination: the second floor. Down a crown molded, luxurious hall. Her eyes scan signs written in cursive on each door, like a hawk, passing eight of them before pausing. The last one on the right reads; Mrs. Michaels
“I can’t believe it’s finally happening, everything is so perfect, this night is going to be one I’ll never forget.” Hannah’s voice danced from behind it.
Grace busts into the room. The eyes of eight women landed on her. One being Hannah’s mom, Mrs. Rachael. There was no time to glare back at them all...her focus was only on one. Who looked absolutely stunning, exactly how she’d hoped, this ate at her. Her childhood friend stood in a off the shoulder, mermaid, ruffled dress. Everything about the moment came off as dreamy and heart stringing. Quickly, she swipes the feels away. “Who the hell do you think you are?”
“Grace!” Mrs. Racheal scolds. “What is the matter with you?”
She waves her hand, silencing Hannah’s mother. “You have no idea what you’ve just done.”
“Give us the room.” Hannah demands.
“No, no they can stay and hear what I have to say.” Grace announces the audience. “Hello everyone, thank you for attending this bitch’s wedding. I have a something to say...so listen. David and I are together, just like some of you thought.” She directs this to Scarlett. “That’s right, Hannah is marrying a guy who is in love with me.”
The bride plunges at her, out for blood. No longer sweet. “You asshole!” The bridesmaids and her mother stop the violence pounce. “I WILL KILL YOU, BITCH!!” Her hair comes undone from an elegant, curly updo, falling in her face. They all scream, clutching Hannah back. She tries to wiggle free.
“No, don’t do that, please?!” Her mom begs “Get her out of here!” Scarlett, who was charges at Grace, face to face.
“Oh, I’d like to see you try. Go ahead.” Scarlet hesitates. Grace leaves the wedding party in a moment of distress. I don’t care, tonight is going to end, my ex friend was right: it is going to be a night she’ll never forget. Darting back down the stairs and crossing to the other side of the staircase. Again, she intrudes another room. The groom’s suite. David lowers a glass of champagne.
“You know, I think you’re in denial.”
“Oh, my god...”
“That’s about to change, I’ll see you at the altar.” The maid of honor jets out of the suite, away from a speechless groom.
“Can I have everyone’s attention, please?” Loud commotion circles the banquet hall. Everyone began to worry. 6:00 p.m. had passed and neither the bride nor the groom had shown. Grace couldn’t help but wonder where they were. Had they ran off? “Excuse me, shhhh.” Mrs. Rachael spoke again, “can you all be seated?” She glowers at Grace. “Look at what you’ve done, these people came for a wedding and now it’s ruined.”
Good, she thought to herself, this means that everyone would leave which was way more suitable than my plan to set off the sprinklers. “That because it wasn’t meant to be.”
“Where is security?” She asks a staff member passing by.
“They’ve been informed and are on their way now, ma’am.”
The crowd checks the aisle repeatedly. “This is a bad sign, indeed.” An elderly man comments, perplexed at the holdup. He, like many, prepares to leave; gathering their coats and bags. Others chose to wait for the late ceremony they assumed was still to come. Hannah’s mother gives up shushing them all, she heads out, undoubtedly to double check the suites, knowing that they would be the same. Empty.
Grace places herself below a flowered archway, glad. Something glints a few feet away. David’s little sister hugs a pillow tightly, which cases the ring that destroyed everything. Grace hurries over to the cute girl, who plays under tables. Singing.
“Hair in the air, put you hair in the air!”
“Hey” She peeps under the table. “Hey, Kaylie, can I see that? I need to it, okay?”
Kayle sprints across to another table and hides. Grace bumps her head against the wood. The small girl jets into the crowd. Grace huffs and stands, rubbing her head. I guess I gotta to take the ring as a loss. At least there isn’t a happily ever after playing out. Finally, Grace had broken up her best friend’s wedding. Had won. The delicious joy of defeat pumped her up. Someone’s pushes her hard from behind, causing her to trip forward a bit.
“Hey bitch, someone wants to talk to you.”
Grace spins, ready to swing. “Don’t touch me again and you can tell Hannah to come down here herself instead of sending a messenger.”
“Not Hannah, David. He’s at the park across the street.”
“Is she with him?”
Scarlet takes off; her eyes slitting like a snake. “You would be so pleased if she wasn’t, wouldn’t you?” Harry comforts his girlfriend, giving Grace a disappointing look.
In a simple purple dress, carrying a large box, Kat enters the banquet hall. Her eyes whip around the area searching for her sister. You’re helping Hannah way too much, really a replacement cake?! Grace ducks as security guards join into the fray, taking a back exit outside.