A loud ring interrupted my sleep, but I closed my eyes and ignored it, rolling over in bed and pulling my covers on top of my head. I wasn't ready to wake up yet and I had time off from work, so I intended to at least sleep in. But the loud ringing didn't stop, and I groaned.
"Go away already! It's too damn early..."
Finally, the ringing stopped. I was just about to settle back in, when I heard a door slam open, and a loud voice called out.
"Chief! Hey, chief! You better not still be in bed or I will beat your ass black and blue!"
At the sound of the voice, I could only wake up. Pushing myself so I was sitting up in bed, I rubbed my eyes and yawned. A moment later, my bedroom door was opening, and my friend, Nora, stepped inside. She had a heavy scowl on her face as she stood there with arms on her hips.
"Brooklyn! Don't be lazy today of all days! If I'd known you would be like this, I would have made you stay with me! I've been waiting for an hour already."
I narrowed my eyes at her and grumbled, "Noisy. This is why I didn't want to stay with you in the first place, okay? You're so damn annoying when you're excited. What time is it?"
"It's almost eight in the morning," Nora said with a huff, folding her arms over her chest.
My eyes widened. "Wait, really?" I looked around the room, then saw my cell on the nightstand to the right. I picked it up, and sure enough, it was eight minutes to eight. "What do you mean you've been waiting on me for an hour? Just how early did you even wake up...?"
The soft, fluffy bed was calling to me, but seeing Nora standing there eyeing me like she was ready to toss me out of it, I reluctantly got up. I pushed off the sheets and slid my legs off the side, standing up and wobbling over to the bathroom. I was staying in my friend's apartment for free, much to the annoyance of Nora who wanted me to stay with her.
"We've got our appointment at nine thirty, Brooklyn. We absolutely can't be late, okay? Do you know how difficult it was to even get that appointment?"
I shot a dark look at her over my shoulder. "It's not like it's that far, Nora. And besides, there's nothing wrong with you going ahead and calling me to come after. You don't actually need me to hold your hand..."
"Of course, I do. Why else would I have had you come here? Because we're friends?"
Her face was full of derision, but I just rolled my eyes and didn't take her seriously.
Nora was my best friend, and even in the six years since I'd left New York, that status hadn't changed. We were used to talking to each other, so I knew no matter what was still my best friends. Even with the distance between us, we'd visited and talked often, but this was my first time back in New York since I left, and it was because Nora was getting married.
I knew she was dating, but when I heard her boyfriend proposed, I was surprised, seeing as they´d only dated for three months, and here I was, a couple months after the proposal, Nora's appointed chief bridesmaid.
I was with him. The one whose name I try not to say out loud for years, part of me was envious when Nora said that she'd only been dating a few months before she got the magic ring.
As I walked into the bathroom and stripped to have a quick shower, my thoughts went back to six years ago. Back when Nora and I graduated, and I was the happiest woman in the world...only, it didn't last.
Quickly finishing up with the shower, I grabbed a towel to wrap around my hair, and the other around my body, leaving the bathroom and leaving those thoughts behind as well.
It's all in the past, I tried to tell myself. It was just being back in New York that was making my thoughts of the past stronger.
In the bedroom, Nora had made herself at home on the bed. She also had an outfit laid out for me, which meant she'd gone through my things. I looked at the dress she'd picked for me, and frowned.
"There's no way I'm wearing a dress that short," I said, eyeing her maxi dress clad body pointedly. "New York is far too cold for that."
"If you weren't planning on wearing it, then why did you even bring it?" she retorted.
"I packed that for special occasions, not for going out with you to pick your wedding dress. I have some jeans, I'll just put on a pair."
She pursed her lips, but didn't say anything as she watched me put the dress back in my suitcase and pulled out a pair of jeans, a white top, and a leather jacket. I stared at her until she sighed and got off the bed to leave me to get dressed.
"What are you being so shy for? I've already seen all there is to see," she complained.
"It's been six years, what if something's changed, huh?" I challenged. "I could have gotten a piercing or a tattoo or something."
Nora paused and looked back at me. "Really?"
She looked curiously, but I pushed her out of the bedroom. Like hell I would do something so crazy. Not only was I very afraid of physical pain, even with all the emotional pain I left New York with, it was never enough to do something so reckless, no matter how drunk I got.
I dressed up quickly and met Nora in the living room. I wanted to go to the kitchen and whip up something to eat, but she just grabbed me and impatiently dragged me outside.
" Nora, I haven't eaten anything," I whined.
"Doesn't matter, we can get something on the way."
Her voice was a mix of anxiety and eagerness. So, I let her do as she pleased and smiled secretly behind her back.
The real reason I wasn't staying with Nora, was because I knew she would need some time to herself. She was excited to be getting married, but she was just as equally anxious, which was why I'd had to take a couple weeks off work and come be with her as she finished the preparations for her hasty wedding. If I stayed with her, she'd keep me awake all night talking her anxiety and excitement out, and we wouldn't get anything done.
There was also how she kept waking up too early and expecting me to follow her everywhere. It was my first time off from work in a while, yet looking after an overly excited Nora took more out of me than my job did.
We did stop by somewhere to have some coffee and muffins, then headed to the bridal store to look at wedding dresses. We were a bit early for the appointment, but since the store didn't have any prior appointments, it wasn't a problem. The attendant that met us led us to some seats that were situated around one of the platforms where women stood on display with their dresses, and handed us a portfolio.
"Since you didn't make any special arrangements before," the attendant explained. "Please look over these dresses and let me know which style works for you. We have these all on hand, though we might need to adjust the size for you..."
"No, it's all right," Nora said quickly. "I want the size I specified before."
The attendant hesitated, but finally nodded and stepped aside.
Nora and I started looking through the portfolio.
"Hey, Brooklyn! Come look at this one, isn't it pretty? Oh, this one, too! And this one!"
I rolled my eyes as she kept exclaiming at each photo, but I had to admit they all looked beautiful. After ten minutes of her gushing over everything, she picked out a few she liked, and from those, I helped her pick from those what she would look best in. When we were ready, we called the attendant back so Nora could show her the dresses we wanted.
"I'll be back in a minute," she said with a firm nod, and turned around to leave.
Nora fidgeted beside me, her leg bouncing uncontrollably as she twisted her hands together. Seeing her so obviously nervous, I put my hand on top of hers and gave a light squeeze.
"Honey, if you keep acting this nervous I'm going to wonder if you really want to marry this boyfriend of yours," I joked.
She looked up at me in surprise, as if she'd forgotten my presence for a moment, then let out a light laugh.
"Of course I want to marry him, Brooklyn! I know it hasn't even been a year yet... but Paul just makes me so happy, when he proposed, how could I possibly say no?"
"He hasn't officially given you a ring yet," I said with lips pursed in disapproval.
"It's not his fault," Nora defended earnestly. "Paul's been having a tough time at work so money is tight for him. I actually met him when he was about to get fired, but he managed to fight to keep it. I'm not in such a hurry to get an engagement ring, he promised me one before the wedding ceremony, anyway. And even if I don't get one, a wedding ring would suffice for me."
I sighed and patted her hands. I wasn't so sure about this soon to be husband of hers. She'd spoken of him a lot, but the times I got to meet him were so few. I had been with her for the past four days already, and I'd only met the guy once and both times very briefly. Also, I didn't know him well, so I couldn't say I trusted him, but I definitely trusted Nora.
The attendant came back before I could think too much about it.
"Here you go, ma'am," the attendant called.
Nora had turned before I did, and her eyes lit up. When I turned and caught sight of the dress...I gasped.
"Nora, this looks so amazing," I whispered, getting up to go and see the dress. I reached my hand to touch it, but didn't dare, it looked so amazing and delicate...
"Try it on."
My head whirled around to face Nora who was still seated calmly, watching me with clear eye. For a moment, I thought I heard her wrong.
"What...did you say?"
She smiled and waved a hand at me. "Try it on already," she said insistently. "I want to view the dress on you. Brooklyn, not only are you my chief, you also picked out this dress. Don't tell me you wouldn't wear something you picked out for me?"
Nora had a scowl on her face, but she was still smiling. Not that she needed to for me to know she was just teasing. But since she put it that way... I rolled my eyes at her.
"Just don't complain if I look better in this dress," I said haughtily, then turned to the attendant. "Where can I change?"
"This way, please."
I was led to the changing rooms, and the attendant followed so she could help me. While getting half naked in front of a stranger and having someone help me get dressed was strange, the dress deserved that kind of attention. Five minutes later, I was walking back to the seating area and on top of the display platform. To the side of where Nora and I had been seated were a set of mirrors, and I took a look at myself.
In the mirror, my blonde hair was falling around my face, my blue eyes were bright and wet. The dress... was simply a masterpiece. It was a mermaid design with the area above the chest, up to the neck, and the sleeves made of lace with some pearls inlaid in a pattern. The dress was slimming and flared out at the knees with a bit of a train.
"The veil that goes with the dress is longer in the back and closer to opaque to cover up the back, if all you want to show off is the front. You also have the option of choosing a shorter veil if this is not your intention. The longer veil usually is used if you want to attach a longer train to the dress. The train can be attached at the small of the back."
The opaque veil was probably so it wouldn't ruin the look of the dress, not that I thought it was even possible. I twirled in front of the mirror with a smile on my face, and turned to look at Nora. Her eyes were misted a bit, just like mine.
"You look so beautiful, honey," she whispered, emotional as she dabbed at her eyes. "Oh, just look at you! Here I am desperate to lose weight and you look so perfect. I'm not sure I'll even fit into that dress..."
I smiled at Nora, feeling she was too conscious of her body. Sure, she had let herself go a bit since graduation, but she was just a little curvier than me.
"You would look amazing in a dress like this. It might need a few adjustments, but it's absolutely perfect."
She nodded her head. "You're right, it's really not something I can give up on, is it?" Then she sighed and shook her head. "I bet that bastard would be so regretful if he could see you now."
The smile on my face grew strained at her words, but a small part of me would love for it to happen, just to see the look on his face. I completely gave up on the idea, though. It had been six years, he could have forgotten me, but then
I just looked up a little so I could blink back the tears that wanted to fall, as I glimpsed him walking inside. I was stunned for a second, doing a double take until I was sure that it was him.
Abe, the man that broke my heart so badly six year painful years ago, that I could only run away from him. He broke my heart.
Before, I could figure out what to do, he looked up and saw me, too. I saw his eyes widen in a look of surprise, and he walked toward us without seeming to think about it.
My body shivered at the sound of his voice, especially with the way he called my name. It was so fucking familiar, like I'd just been waiting to hear him call my name for the past six years.
I fixed my expression to something distantly polite. I had refined the look at work, and I didn't think he would see through it easily.
"Abe," I said indifferently, nearly having to choke it past my throat. "What a surprise to see you here."
"You as well," he said.
His lips twitched, and I didn't know what look he wanted to make. It was such a minute detail that others unfamiliar with him would probably miss, but how could I? Abe Sanchez and I had dated for nearly five years before that incident from graduation. Hell, who was I trying to kid? In the past six years, I had missed him like crazy. Seeing him now was like feeding an old thirst. The only problem was, it also opened the old wounds in my heart that I'd tried so desperately to close up.
Whatever expression Abe intended to make, though, he never did, because he suddenly looked down at what I was wearing. He was stunned a second time, and I looked down at myself, remembering I was in a wedding dress.
Oh. It was clear Abe had misunderstood something.
"Brooklyn...?" he said my name again, with that shocked expression still on his face and his voice sounding confused, hesitant.
It only took a second to make my decision. He'd misunderstood, why bother explaining to him?
"Sorry, I didn't expect to see you here. I came to look at wedding gowns. Don't tell me you're also getting married?" I said the words deliberately.
Sure enough, his eyes seemed to go impossibly wider, and his mouth parted, but he didn't immediately speak.
Even with the pain still wracking through me, I felt some triumph in my chest at making Abe speechless in that moment.
"Were you in the middle of something?" I asked, looking around deliberately. "Please, don't let us distract you. We'll be here a while yet so we can see each other after you're finished with your business. I only just tried on my first dress."
No matter how much I still loved him, seeing him in here made me want to fall down on my knees.
Tell him that if he liked what he saw that I could be his bride.
I would wear this down the aisle and meet him and we could be happy, real happy. Maybe he had time and thought about it.
But then again, six years was a long time ago.
Yet, I still missed him as if it was only yesterday.
I knew that like six years ago, it would never be my reality with him and the only thing I could do was pretend that I was happy now and going to get married, even if it was all fake.