Samantha Wentz straightened the bow on the last centerpiece. She checked the time and saw the ceremony should be starting. Assuming everything was running on time.
The head table was off center, but the bride had requested it as such. Samantha wasn’t going to disagree with her. At sixteen she hadn’t contemplated what a wedding reception should or should not look like, and it was not for her to judge.
This was Samantha’s first job, and third wedding reception. Her mother had arranged the work through a family friend. Debra had needed someone with lots of energy and an eye for detail to help her through the spring weddings this year. The wage was small and the work was hard.
Her father was happy to get Samantha out of the house. Her mother said it would build character.
Samantha didn’t care either way. She had her eye on a pair of Ugg boots that had been calling her name since the Christmas sales, and this job had her halfway to her goal.
This bride was a bit of a -zilla, as Debra called her. She wanted everything just so and had been nitpicking every aspect of her day, even down to how the napkins were folded.
If Samantha had learned anything so far, it was how not to act when she walked down the aisle on that day far in the future. Sure, it would be great to look like a princess and to have everyone fuss, but was she required to yell at her own mother until the woman cried? Make her best friend miserable as she ran around looking for just the right champagne?
Samantha had thought working these gorgeous, once in a lifetime events would allow her a taste of glamour. If that’s what this was, she’d be better off without it.
That song everyone knew began to play. Samantha hummed along while she finished straightening chairs.
A high pitched shrieking that nearly reached dog whistle frequency caught her attention. Samantha ducked her head, smoothed a tablecloth, and was thankful Debra had to take care of the bride.
“Do. You. Have. Xanax?”
Bethany, the maid of honor, grabbed the amber bottle from her clutch. She opened the cap and dumped two into her best friend’s hand.
Well, potentially former best friend if this weekend was anything to go by.
Bethany had never figured Jayna for a bride-zilla, not even a little bit. Jayna had been one of the more mellow people Bethany had ever known in her life which is why, when Jayna asked, Bethany had cheerfully signed up to be in the wedding party.
She should have known this wasn’t going to go well when the rest of the women dropped out before the bachelorette party. And hadn’t that been fun? Bethany had had to keep Jayna busy and drunk so she didn’t realize all of her friends had abandoned her that night, and it hadn’t gotten better since.
Jayna took the pills with a swallow of the white wine that had been flowing since this morning’s brunch. She didn’t say thank you, of course. Bethany could only hope the medication would begin to take effect immediately.
She wasn’t sure how much more she could take.
Bethany’s list of chores had included lecturing the still-drunk-from-last-night best man about being sober for the wedding. Because that had been helpful. She’d asked the young girl in the reception hall to keep plying the groom and best man with coffee, but they were fools if they thought Bethany hadn’t seen them dumping whiskey into their cups.
She’d had to redirect the soon-to-be mother-in-law away from the small room they were preparing in. Jayna and “the old hag” didn’t get along and the bride didn’t want to see her before she was required. That sent the woman into tears. When the bride’s own mother came in to confront her, well, she left feeling like she’d been disowned. It was almost too much to take, even as a spectator.
Bethany had made sure both women had full glasses of wine before steeling her gut and going back to Jayna once more.
She’d be getting hammered, too, if she was facing a lifetime of Jayna’s demands and antics.
While she waited for the next meltdown, Bethany checked her dress, hair, and make-up in the full length mirror. Of course the dress looked like curtains, why wouldn’t it? Jayna hadn’t wanted anyone to shine as brightly as she did on her wedding day.
Bethany understood, but god this dress was hideous. It reminded her of the 1980s.
Debra – the wedding planner – tapped on the door. It was time. Bethany and Jayna moved to the alcove, so done with each other that they didn’t share a word.
The procession march began to play.
Jared stood next to his best friend. Well, he tried to stand. His legs didn’t seem to be working properly. If he hadn’t known better, Jared would have thought they were on a boat.
“Sea legs,” he muttered.
“What?” The groom was wobbling as well. Perhaps they shouldn’t have stayed up until 5 a.m. finishing off the rum and bourbon.
“We need better sea legs.” Jared stumbled into the groom, and the two men held each other up.
“You still got that flask handy?”
Jared reached into his inner pocket and pulled out the silver flask filled with whiskey. It had been his gift from the bride and groom. They’d had his initials and the date engraved on the thing, like he was going to forget his best friend’s wedding day.
Well, okay, maybe they’d forget purely because they were hammered, but Jared would always remember standing with his friend, right? Of course.
He handed the half empty flask to the groom and watched his friend drain it. Jared reached over and straightened the groom’s cummerbund. “Jayna’s gonna be pissed if you’re a mess when she gets out here.”
“When isn’t she pissed?” his friend asked, slurring.
Jared snorted. “Good point. You okay, man?” Debra, the sexy wedding planner, peeked from the curtain where the bride would make her entrance and gave Jared a thumbs up. “It looks like we’re about to start.”
The groom belched, long and low. He hitched up his pants and looked Jared in the eye. “I can’t do this man.”
The bridal procession music began to play.
“What?” Jared asked.
“I’m out, man, let’s get out of here. We’ll go to Vegas or something.”
The groom stepped away from his assigned spot. He grabbed Jared by the bicep and tugged him along.
“Are you serious? What about Jayna?”
“Fuck it. She’s gonna be pissed anyway, I might as well be free.”
The two men hurried to the side door and into the waiting vehicle. The irony of the Just Married sign was not lost on Jared.
The groom punched the gas and they were out of there, Jayna’s echoing screams chasing them down the long driveway.