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Once Upon A Half-Time 2(7)

By´╝ÜSosie Frost

Mandy guzzled her ginger ale. She deserved something harder. For all her hard work so far, the woman earned an ounce of whiskey before this execution. She faced the full insanity of the wedding party with a bravery that deserved a blindfold and cigarette.

My best friend and groom-to-be emerged from the hall, looking like he already suffered the hangover of the reception without getting laid on the wedding night. He slouched in a kitchen chair and shrunk away from Lindsey and his future mother-in-law.

Damn. Bryce used to play linebacker in college. He once bragged he was a monster rippling with 100% Grade-A Dark Meat. It wasn’t good that all two hundred and seventy pounds of him scared people into crossing to the other side of the street when he passed—in fact, we blamed the deplorable state of race relations in our town. But Bryce was big and proud. I was lucky if I had enough beer in my brewery to get him tipsy.

Now he held Lindsey’s purse because the bride-to-be couldn’t risk breaking a nail, not when she…and all ten nails…were made up for pictures.

Whatever little cherry tree rose bush queen of diamonds she painted on her hands wasn’t sexy. Fingernails weren’t supposed to be centerpieces, they were meant to scratch a man’s back while he fucked the hell out of his woman. Not to Lindsey. If the wedding didn’t rival the narrative she painted onto her nails, the next forty years of Bryce’s life would be a living nightmare.

Lindsey was nothing like her younger sister, but the good Lord didn’t make too many Mandys.

Thankfully, he only made one Lindsey.

The bride possessed the spirit of either a diva or a demon, but Bryce said once she got a cock in her mouth she was tolerable. I’m sure he said other nice things about his fiancée, but I didn’t see her picking out his underwear and structuring his meal plans as relationship perks.

“Let me see the invitations.” Lindsey took a deep breath. “I can handle it.”

Sandra, her mother, hid her face like Mandy opened the results of a hospital test or revealed who was sent home on the Bachelor. She had squeezed into a shirt way too tight for a woman of her…magnitude, but apparently she wanted the world to know she was the Mama Of The Bride so much she had it screen printed across her chest.

“Open them, Mandy,” she ordered.

“Yeah…” Mandy cleared her throat. “I don’t think that’s such a good idea. Don’t worry about the invitations. You focus on your dress. I can fix this.”

“For goodness sake.” Sandra stole the box. “Let’s see how bad these really are. Lord have mercy, you’d think we’ve never had any wedding mistakes before—”

Lindsey shrieked. Sandra collapsed into a chair, prayed to Jesus, and pitched the freakishly violet invitations away like they were addressed to the devil.

Bryce checked his phone and shrugged. He was a good man who learned when to stay quiet.

“How could you let this happen?” Sandra covered her eyes. Her nails were painted too, red polka dots to match Lindsey’s. “Mandy, you had one job! We asked you to do one simple little thing.”

Mandy forced a smile. “Yeah…they’re indigo. But I can fix them.”

“I wanted ivory!” Lindsey punctuated her pout with a stomp. “You knew I wanted ivory!”

“So did the designer. I made sure to tell them your colors when I sent the mock-up. This is just a mistake.”

“We only have eight weeks until the wedding! We don’t have time for mistakes. Those should have already gone out!” Lindsey collapsed onto a chair, a rush of tears spilling over her cheeks. “This is a disaster! We can’t have indigo invitations!”

Bryce glanced up from his phone. He frowned, sifting through Lindsey’s purse for the packet of tissues that came standard as part of their wedding planning.

Two types of men existed in the world.

Some thought marriage was a pixy-stick dreamland of endless love-making, searching for homes, and sharing life’s adventures together.

The rest of us? We had our fun, fucked our way through a relationship, and then cut when the girl left her toothbrush overnight.

Smart men listened to their dicks. Sure, we fucked the wrong girls, but at least we didn’t settle down and fuck ourselves. The world was harsh, and survival of the fittest in the dating world meant staying independent, unbeaten, and ready and willing for the next mistake with full lips and an ass made for spanking.

Bryce put a ring on Lindsey’s finger, and now he carried her purse. It was times like this a man needed a good drink to grieve for a friend. My pub was open to him, day or night. I even brewed a special beer specifically for him that’d stay as cold as his feet.