I had no idea how much I’d disrupted my life until the pieces started to fall back into place.
Putting it all together again wasn’t easy. It wasn’t as though I walked away from my dinner with Chris and back into the life I lived before I crawled out that boutique window. I had a lot of bridges to rebuild with Jamie and his family, not to mention with my own.
His brother was just relieved that Kelly and I had reconnected and that Jamie wasn’t moping around anymore. But our mothers were another story. Mine had a few choice words for me and lots of finger-wagging.
“Finally!” She threw her hands in the air. “You’re damn lucky Jamie waited for you to get over yourself and come to your senses. Most men would have washed their hands of that ridiculousness.”
We were making dinner at my parents’ house again and, unfortunately, the air wasn’t any less charged than it had been the last time I’d been there.
“You’re right. Jamie is extraordinary and I’m very lucky to have him,” I said, popping a slice of green pepper into my mouth. “I am a horrible human and barely deserve to breathe the same air he does.”
Rolling her eyes, my mom turned to me with her hand on her hip. “Very funny, Miss Smartypants.” My sisters and I smirked at each other over her head.
“Seriously, mom, he loves her. He wouldn’t just walk away at the first little hiccup, would he?” Maggie walked by and squeezed my shoulder. “What kind of marriage would that be if he wasn’t able to handle just one of the Murray sisters?”
Lisa and I snorted but my mom yelled to the living room, “Jim! Will you come in here and control your daughters?”
Her request was met with a loud guffaw over the sound of the television. “Judy, Judy, Judy. I know a fool’s errand when I hear one.”
Lisa put an arm around my shoulder and pulled me close. “How are you holding up, Lex? I know this has been hard on you, too,” she whispered. Mom had moved out of the kitchen to berate dad for a little bit, but Lisa sure didn’t want to get that wrath directed toward her.
“I’m okay,” I sighed. “It’s all been a series of awkward moments between us for the last couple weeks. Nothing has gone right. There have been far too many times that I tried to hug him or he tried to kiss me and the other person wasn’t ready or expecting it and things have just been…bad.”
Bad was an understatement.
I had talked to Chris and things between us were good. I wasn’t feeling the pull toward him like I had before. Temporary insanity and all that. Jamie and I had made plans to spend a romantic night together. I was looking forward to it, actually feeling nervous and excited, and I was up as soon as the sun peeked through the curtains.
Spending a little extra time to wash and shave and moisturize and whatnot, I imagined how perfect things were going to be now. In my mind, Jamie would come pick me up in a limousine, carrying a dozen red roses, and he’d whisk me away for a romantic rooftop dinner with a string quartet to serenade us all night. We would dance and drink champagne and whisper sweet nothings to each other before spending a wild. passionate night together and all would be right with the world again.
Instead, I shaved off the front of my shin, stabbed myself in the eye with my mascara wand, Jamie was late picking me up and had to move work papers from the front seat to the back to make room for me. We drove through nightmare traffic to a popular restaurant on the other side of town where our reservation had been lost and we sat for over an hour while they found a spot for us. I burned my mouth on the hot lasagna, Jamie dribbled soup down the front of himself, there was a screaming baby at the table next to us, and conversation was stilted and awkward. I nearly ran for the exit when dinner was over.
Trying to find a calm little bar where we could sit and unwind proved to be a bit more difficult than either of us had imagined. Everywhere we tried was standing room only, it was trivia night, the music was too loud, or it was wall-to-wall people and neither of us was up for the crowds. He finally drove me home and walked me up to my door. The butterflies started in my stomach in anticipation of him coming in and kissing me until I was dizzy. But under the lights of the front door that were swarming with moths and other insects, he kissed my cheek and told me he’d call me then he drove away.
Maggie had joined me and Lisa, huddled around the kitchen island, and she grimaced. “Yikes.”
“Yikes is right,” I said. “That was two nights ago and we’ve barely spoken. He’s sending single-word replies to my texts and he doesn’t laugh at my jokes and I have to pull conversation out of him. Things are so weird right now. I think I screwed up everything.”
“You probably did,” Judy snapped, walking around us with her nose in the air. “After the way you treated him, he’s probably rethinking his proposal.”
Maggie and Lisa gasped.
“Jesus, Mom,” Lisa chided. “Harsh, much?”
I must have looked pretty damn forlorn because my mom took one glance at me and her whole demeanor changed. She walked over and wrapped her arms around me, patting my back.
“I’m sorry, sweetheart. That was uncalled for.” She gave me a quick squeeze and a peck on the cheek. “What are you going to do to fix things?”
Dropping my elbows to the counter and burying my face in my hands, I groaned. “I have no idea.”
“You need some kind of big, romantic gesture to show that you are still completely in for this wedding.” Maggie began to pace the kitchen, tapping a finger against her chin. “What can you do to prove that your feelings haven’t changed? A barbershop quartet? Sky writing? A tattoo?”
We all glared at Maggie like she had suggested wearing carp on our heads, but she was oblivious that her suggestions were a tad extreme. But watching her brainstorm, a slow smile spread across my face.
It was in that moment that I knew exactly how I was going to win back my fiancé.