I had a migraine Monday night/Tuesday morning. The lay-in-the-dark-and-watch-the-lightning-streaks-keep-time-with-the-throbbing-in-my-head kind. I finally fell asleep about 6 a.m., was awakened at 8:30 with a text, dealt with the problem that prompted the text, and crashed until 2:30 yesterday afternoon. I still felt draggy and hungover and generally ugh so I didn’t get much of anything done and I didn’t get on the computer. Well, I didn’t until after dinner. We had weather moving in and I needed to clean out Cooper’s swimming pool before it did. As I was bailing water and scrubbing the algae, a character popped into my head. I don’t know what her name is. I’m not sure who her hero is, though it’ll be one of the Nightriders. She started her story, I cut her off. I have other books to write before I get back to the Nightriders. She was insistent.
So I did what any smart writer does. I sat down at the computer, closed my eyes against the screen glare, and let her begin her story. Today’s #1lineWed is Visceral Response. I’m never sure just what constitutes a Visceral Response so I probably won’t be playing on Twitter today. But I thought I’d let this new character introduce herself.
I woke up with a crushing headache and the sad realization that I would never be the heroine of my own romance story. It hurt. A lot. But I didn’t have time to lie there rolling in my pity party. My last girl was getting married in a couple of hours and I had beaucoup stuff to do. Later, after the wedding and the reception and an after party of one, because my life sucked, I could contemplate my fate.
I was the epitome of the sidekick, the slightly overweight and klutzy BFF. Drunk at three in the morning? Yeah, I was the designated driver. Breakup with your man? I’d be there to help you pack and move. Need a good cry because your boyfriend is being a dick? See me raising my hand and offering my shoulder and tequila shots. I was the perpetual wingman—or wingwoman—or whatever the heck the female version of that was called. Perpetual bridesmaid? Oh yeah. I had the ten dresses to show for it. Ten years. Ten girls. Ten awful dresses. And me. I was number eleven in our posse, the odd girl out. Yeah, my life totally sucked.
I glanced at the digital clock on the nightstand. I needed to shower and get on my maid of honor duties. I had this down to a science. First, though, I needed coffee. A whole pot, except I’d have to run to the ladies room all day. I loved coffee. My bladder did not. One cup. I could handle one cup.
Alyssa freaked. This was not unusual. I calmed her down. Calmed down Brian, her groom. Got Lyssie’s mother out of the bride’s room, got her father in. Threatened the best man over the rings, Brian’s hangover, and the toast he hadn’t written yet.
I got everyone down the aisle to the strains of Pachebel’s Canon in D. Lyss looked stunning. Brian just looked stunned. They each said “I do.” They kissed. The background of St. Luke’s Chapel was perfect. The Grand Ballroom at the Elms was perfect. Everything was perfect.
Except all the bridesmaids were married to the groomsmen. Except Doug, Brian’s best man. But he brought his significant other, and she was significant. Supermodel tall, legs that went from here to there, magnificent hair, magnificent face, magnificent boobs. Yeah, she had it all going on and despite the wedding protocol, when the dancing started, Brian led Lyss to the floor and she melted into his arms. Her parents and his joined them and there was some trading around of partners—Lyss with her dad, Brian with her mom and then vice versa with Brian’s folks. Then the wedding party was to join but Doug led his SO to the floor and there I stood—the last BFF standing, the overweight and klutzy sidekick, the designated driver and healer of broken hearts with tequila shots.
I didn’t miss the looks. Would have been hard. Pity. Embarrassment. Humor. There I stood in my fushia—what the heck color was fushia anyway but bright freaking ugly pink—dress with ruffles and lace and gussetts and bows. All the other bridesmaids wore champagne pink that looked more the color of taupe, sleek and frou-frou free. My dress was meant to compliment the bride’s. Yeah, right.
My place card on the head table had been moved to accommodate Ms. Significant. Not that I cared. Much. My dress was hideous. I wouldn’t want me in the wedding pictures either. Snagging a flute of champagne as a waiter walked by ignoring me, I faded back to the edges. My job was done. This was a destination wedding. Everyone was staying at the hotel. There would be a farewell brunch in the morning before Lyss and Brian headed to the airport to start their Aruba honeymoon. I just needed to stick here long enough to make the toast and then I could fade into the woodwork.
Yeah, about that.
Four hours later, I was still in the stupid dress, with the freaking bridal bouquet that Ms. Significant Other stepped aside from so I had to catch it or look like a complete idiot instead of just idiotic. Then I found people in my room, my bags packed and at the bell captain’s desk because Brian’s Aunt Ramona from Minneapolis was having gastro-intestinal problems and couldn’t drive to her hotel across town.
I pulled into a convenience store and debated whether to actually get out. I wanted a Diet Coke in the worst way. A big one. With chipped ice. And a whole box of donuts. Or a bag of Cheetos. Heck. Why not live recklessly. I’d get both and eat myself into a sugar carb coma.
Gathering my full skirt, I managed to get out of my Tornado Red VW Beetle convertible. He had all the bells and whistles except for the iconic vase attached to the dash. I’d wanted that but would have had to go used. My boy was brand new. And sporty. And was my first step toward the new me. I hoped.
I didn’t pay much attention to my surroundings. I vaguely remember seeing an exit sign for Mission Springs and I’d gotten off. Because I wanted a Diet Coke. And donuts. And Cheetos. And saw this place from the interstate. I pushed through the door and walked into a nightmare.
I think I’m going to like her. Hopefully, she’ll tell me her name. And her Wolf will step up to claim her. In the meantime, back to work on RDR#4, tentatively titled LAST COWGIRL STANDING. Happy Hump Day!