It’s Wednesday again and this Hump Day brings us a new #1lineWed theme over on Twitter. Things that go bump in the night? Monsters under the bed? Waking up in a cold sweat? All bad dreams are welcome to share a snippet about the theme **NIGHTMARE(S)**. I’ve been sharing snippets from UNDER THE ASSASSIN’S MOON but the only line about a nightmare is a major spoiler so…nope. Not gonna reveal it. Instead, I’ll bounce to the beginning of what will probably be the next NIGHTRIDER book, no title yet. This is Wizard’s story and this is our first look at his heroine.
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 was being a dick? See me raising my hand and offering my shoulder and tequila shots. I was the perpetual wingman—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 with 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 trot 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. Well, except for Doug, Brian’s best man. And he’d brought his significant other, and boy oh boy but she was definitely 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 full-figured, klutzy sidekick, the designated driver, and healer of broken hearts with tequila shots.
I didn’t miss the looks. Would have been hard not to see the expressions on people’s faces as they watched me. 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 gussets 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 of the party. My job was done. This was a destination wedding. Everyone was staying at the hotel or nearby. 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 at the reception long enough to make the maid of honor’s toast and then I could fade into the woodwork and go hide in my room with a good romance novel until tomorrow and the brunch, when I’d have to make another toast.
Yeah, about that.
Four hours later, I was still in the stupid dress, with the freaking bridal bouquet that Ms. Significant Other dodged 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 so they moved her into my room because hey, why the heck should I mind, right?
There was no place for me to change clothes so I threw my bags in my car and left. I’d go find a motel somewhere, spend the night and just go home in the morning. They wouldn’t miss me at the brunch. Ms. Significant could make my toast with the mimosas. That was my plan but then I just kept driving. I figured I’d get a head start on my morning drive. More miles behind me and all that.
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 powdered donuts. Or a bag of Cheetos. Heck. Why not live recklessly. I’d get both and eat myself into a sugar-carb coma. With luck, I’d get donut/Cheeto dust all over the awful dress.
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 had been my first step toward the new me. At least the new me I hoped I’d become.
I didn’t pay much attention to my surroundings. I vaguely remembered seeing an exit sign for Mission Springs where I’d gotten off the highway. 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.
Yeah…I will only say that she rides away from that scene on the back of Wizard’s bike. If you have a nightmare to share, go for it. As for Jen’s nightmare, I can’t wait to get through the other deadlines so I can get on this book. Jen and Wiz are going to be a whole lotta fun. 😉