FACT: I watched him marry my little sister.
I had never seen a more beautiful wedding. Between the ceremony’s sunset beach backdrop and the reception tent’s twinkling chandeliers the feeling of a fairytale was evident. That elegance of a “happily ever after” affair was fitting though, Sabrina had always been a princess. She had arrived in a carriage drawn by a gentle white horse. The crystal embroidery of her dress glittered the softness of the ocean on both her rosy pink cheeks and the chestnut curls that cascaded down her shoulders. She walked an aisle of rose petals to the alter and I fought back tears as she handed me her bouquet.
Attempting to communicate the support of a big sister I winked as she turned to face the man who looked at her as if there was no one else around. I only caught his eyes shy from her once throughout the ceremony. Just before the smooth “I do” left his lips in the deep caressing whisper he typically reserved for the bedroom he looked past Sabrina to meet my gaze. The two crystal blue orbs apologized, for leaving me the way he did, for loving my little sister in a way he had never loved me, for wasting four years of my life, for that time he crashed my car, for every birthday, date, and anniversary he had forgotten. Every bad sentiment I had harbored just to have a reason to hate him melted away as he gazed into my heart and apologized for everything.
“And by the power vested in me by the state of California, I now pronounce you husband and wife.” The preacher raised his arms as the hum of joyous excitement rumbled through the crowd, “You may now kiss the bride.”
As Sabrina’s lips met Ethan’s in their first kiss as husband and wife I smiled and clapped on hand against the opposite wrist. The two bouquets of blood red roses hindered my ability to perform the action appropriately. From where I stood, even in the fading daylight I could see my mother and father in the front row dabbing tears from each other’s eyes. They would celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in a few months and they were still head over heels in love.
“I give you Mr. and Mrs. Ethan Price!”
Taking her bouquet from me with little more than a grateful smile, Sabrina linked arms with Ethan and walked the rose petal aisle once more. Unable to fight off the bitter urges that accompanied watching my little sister get married while I was still painfully single I hoped that Ethan’s gorgeous blonde locks surrendered to balding before my parent’s 50th anniversary ever drew near. Karma quickly reminded me Sabrina would always be the blessed sister when Ethan’s best man pinched my backside before we left the alter arm in arm.
“That was painfully brave of you!” My best friend Regina Keenly gushed as soon as I could be pulled away from greeting my sister’s guests, “I would have rather been skinned alive than watch the love of my life marry anyone! Let alone Princess Sabrina!”
“You’re not helping Reggie,” I sighed pulling her with me into the bathroom as I saw the best man and his “affectionate” hands begin a path in our direction. Supporting close to all of my body weight in firm grasp on the sink I squinted at my reflection in the mirror.
“Cassia Myer.” Regina spoke with a compact in one hand. She carefully applied a thin layer of foundation, causing her skin to look even more flawless. “Squinting like that isn’t going to help you see anything but how much you’ve been living in self-pity for the past year. You’re beautiful chica, and you deserve someone better than Ethan.”
“I’d say thank you if that compliment hadn’t been laced with a lecture.” I replied
with a pout.
“It’s the only option I have left.” She told me gazing not at me but at my reflection in the mirror as she released the compact back into the depths of her purse, “You’ve refused every guy who was dying for a night out with you, you never go out anymore, you never have any fun. You just sit at home, wallowing, moping, and dwelling on the past.”
I turned up my face in offense but knew I could not argue with her. Every last syllable of her statement had been true.
“Let’s go to Vegas!” I blurted out without much thought. Regina turned back from just near the door, a look of disbelief painted across her delicate features. She had been moments away from leaving me in the bathroom to continue my self-pity in private. “It’s what, just after 8?” I asked even though I already knew the answer, “If we leave now we could easily make it there by midnight and be wasted before the bars on The Strip close.”
“You’ve officially gone crazy, haven’t you?” She asked in a tone hushed just enough to keep the words out of the ears of my great-aunt Margaret who had just entered the bathroom.
“This might be the sanest decision I’ve made in a long time.” I assured her, “I’m going to grab the keys out of coatroom. I’ll meet you at the car.”
“Cassia, don’t you have a speech to make? You ARE the Maid of Honor here!” Regina argued.
“Sabrina just married Ethan Price. My Ethan. I can’t be here. She didn’t even want me in the wedding. Let’s go get wasted, let’s just get far away from here!”
Without another word to my best friend I hurried from the bathroom internally repeating that no one would miss me once I was gone. Slipping into the coatroom with the stealth of a secret agent was easy. I’m pretty sure each pint of adrenaline pumping through my veins made me invisible. The rush of thieving the key from my father’s coat pocket caused my extremities to tingle. I had never felt more alive.
“Cassia!” A deep voice hiccupped from behind a rack of suit jackets. Pushing them aside I found Ethan’s blue eyes peering through, filled with moisten and red from alcohol.
“What are you doing?” I screeched because I was afraid being alone with him would hinder my spontaneous escape, “Sabrina is probably throwing a fit somewhere looking for you!”
“I think I made a mistake!” He cooed brushing hair from my face. If intoxication hadn’t slowed his actions, I’m not sure I could have ducked out before his lips met mine. I heard his body thump on the floor as I composed myself for the quick walk to the parking lot. Pausing only to hug family members I hardly knew, I smiled my way to the parking lot. I tossed the key ring to Regina as soon as she became visible in the darkness with the instructions to drive as fast as she possible could.
As soon as we hit the highway, I removed my pantyhose letting them fly free out the window declaring, “VEGAS BABY!!!”