Note: This story is told from the first person POV. The speaker does change several times. The line of stars indicates a new person narrating and that person's name is given immediately after in parenthesis.
"No way! There is no way I'm going to do that."
"Oh shut up and suck it up," was the most printable of the replies I received. I looked over all the faces before me. These were supposed to be my friends? My closest friends in the whole world? I saw no mercy, no hint of yielding. Just drunken determination on their faces.
Oh, what the hell. It was a good thing I was drunk myself. I managed to climb up on the platform and stood there, weaving back and forth a bit. Someone, Carol, my so-called best friend, shoved the instrument in my hand. I looked at it. Round and black, about ten inches long, it didn't appear to be a weapon of humiliation but that's what it was. Carol pushed the rounded tip up to my lips and turned me slightly towards the Huge TV type screen hanging on the wall.
"Oh NO, Carol. Not THAT! Please."
"It's appropriate, Jenn. Stop sniveling and do it."
I glared at her. Then I shrugged, mentally anyway. I took a deep breath as the music sounded around us...
"I'm getting married in the morning! Ding dong the bells are gonna chime!" I sang, following the words on the screen.
Well, I was drunk enough that I didn't sound too bad at all, at least to my own ears. I didn't care that my friends were throwing things and pretending, I hoped, to stop up their ears to my singing. And after all, Carol was right. I WAS getting married in the morning. Fortunately, not too early, thank you Lord. And this was my bachelorette party. I might as well enjoy it. No male stripper, thank you for that too, but lots of beer and wine and the chance to embarrass the heck out of me, the bride-to-be, with karaoke.
I thought again, what the hell. I snatched up a half-full pitcher of beer from one of the tables and launched into the second verse. When the song came to its conclusion I tipped the pitcher up and put it to my lips and drank the remainder.
Shortly after that things got fuzzy. I couldn't understand why Carol was trying to stand beside herself. Since she wasn't supposed to be drinking, I thought that it was mighty silly of her. I tried pushing the two of her back into one image but it didn't work. Oh well.
Just as things seemed to finally be getting going, Carol declared that the party was over and it was time to get me to bed. Party pooper. If I could have stood up by myself I would have told her to go away. But I couldn't, so I let her help me towards the elevator. Considering it was all her idea, she seemed to get upset when I insisted on telling everyone that we saw, whether I knew them or not, that I was getting married in the morning. I guess she was tired of my singing.
I shut up though when suddenly Billy Reese popped up in front of us. I was drunk, but not so drunk that I didn't know that this was going to be trouble.
Billy Reese was a handsome, well-off guy. He had been in the same high school class as Carol, me and my soon-to-be-husband Phillip. When we all graduated he went on to college in the capital, the arch-rival school of the University that Carol and I attended while my Phillip enlisted in the Marines.
I had been happy to see Billy go far, far away. He had ignored me throughout much of high school. It was only when Phillip and I became a couple that he suddenly became interested in me. I knew it wasn't for me. I have a pretty good opinion of myself. I'm attractive without being as pretty as Carol, who is a really lovely girl. But Billy and Phillip had always been rivals, and not friendly ones at that. Billy was smug and superior and I didn't like him for beans. He hit on me a lot; I was sure because nothing would have pleased him more than to take me away from Phillip.
Of course that wasn't going to happen. First, I'm not stupid. I knew that if I ever gave in to him, Billy would spend a night with me and then dump me like last week's garbage. He didn't want me; he wanted a victory over Phillip.
Second and of utmost importance, I had loved Phillip since I was 13 years old. Nothing and nobody was going to keep me from him. He was better looking than Billy, stronger, smarter; hell, he was even taller than Billy. And he loved me. We had exchanged high school rings during our junior year, the very moment we got them.
Phillip had stood by me after my parents were killed in a car accident the summer before our senior year. I was an only child of only children and I sank into a deep depression and pretty much ignored him for months. He waited, offering comfort when he could, and respecting my need to wrestle with my pain when I needed to be alone.
He and Carol had pulled me through. Even when I ignored him, sunk in my own gloom, Phillip was the rock I knew I could lean on when I would let myself do that. Carol, she was my closest friend and became pretty much my sister. She had to; I spent that last year of high school living with her and her family.
After the funeral of my parents I had ended up a ward of the state. I didn't turn 17 for another month, when I could have applied for legal emancipation. So I was sitting in the office of a harried social worker who was trying to place me in a foster home when Carol's mom marched onto the scene. She hugged me, took my hand and announced that I was coming home to live with them. Any questions could be referred to Judge Callender of the Superior Court who had already signed the custody papers. She didn't wait for questions, but took me to the sprawling house where Carol lived with her parents and her four siblings and installed me in the second bed in Carol's room.
Between Carol's family and Phillip I had all the love a person needed. I certainly didn't need Billy Reese. Fortunately, neither did Carol.
"What do you want, Reese?" she snapped.
Giving his most ingratiating smile, and giving the devil his due, it was pretty darn ingratiating, he said "I just wanted to give the bride a little kiss. Since my invitation seems to have got lost in the mail, I thought tonight would be appropriate."
Carol was as immune to Billy's charm as I was. Drunk or sober I wanted nothing to do with him. She knew that. She started to give him a glare and then stopped and pasted on the sweet smile she had copied from her mom. That was the smile that told everyone in a three block radius to start running like hell.
"Awwwww, Billy, that's so nice. You want to give ME a little kissy-wissy first?"
Arrogant Billy was, stupid he wasn't. He took a step back, before recalling his reputation as a bad-ass. Backing down before a woman, even a woman cop like Carol, would be bad for it. So he tried to bluster his way through.
"Well, I would, but then you might not ever want to kiss your husband again and he might get upset. I wouldn't want that."
"Oh," purred Carol. "I doubt that would be an issue. However, I'm already tired of seeing you around here. So we won't wait for Roger." Her voice dropped and in a quiet tone she added, "How about I just kick your butt right now?"
Billy paled. Carol was the one who could do it. But she was giving him an out by not challenging him loudly and he took it. Turning away with a mutter, he left. Carol guided me into the elevator. Then I heard him mutter something like "I could have had her if I had wanted."
I SHOULD have let him go, but I couldn't. "Billy," I yelled. When he turned around, his phone in his hand and a scowl on his face I let him have it. "Billy Reese, you have never had me, you could never have me and it will always be the same until Hell freezes over. Now, fuck you! Phillip is my man."
Having made my announcement, Carol and I sort of staggered into the elevator and then down the hallway to my room. I was drunk enough for the two of us so it wasn't easy. Then, just as Carol opened the door, the beer really hit me and I felt my stomach turn over. I made a frantic dash for the bathroom. I almost made it.
Carol had to get my clothes off, all of them right down to my shoes, and throw a hotel bathrobe around me. I had wiped my mouth with my hand, so she had even taken off my watch and engagement ring and laid them on the counter to clean them. She was washing my face when another familiar voice sounded.
"Carol? Jenn? Are you all in here?"
"In the bathroom Roger," Carol called to her former partner, now her husband. "Jenn way overdid the alcohol. We need to get her to bed." She wet a towel and draped it around my neck and sat me on the commode.
"Okay, but I'm thinking we need to do that somewhere else."
"What is it?" asked Carol.
"I saw Billy Reese down in the lobby, talking to Clara Wilkerson at the desk. You know they've both been at odds with Phillip, and Jenn too, for a long time and for the same reason. Clara has always wanted Phillip. She works here and somehow the sight of the two of them whispering does not set well with me. Call me paranoid, but I wouldn't put it past them to try something nasty."
"You're right," agreed Carol. "But where?"
"Remember what your mom did the night before our wedding?"
"Oh yes. Great idea. How are we going to do it?"
"Already done," I could hear the smugness in Roger's voice.
.... There is more of this story ...