My Last:Riley & Chelle

By: Melanie Shawn

Straightening her shoulders she realized, that might be easier said than done. But, it didn’t matter. She needed to pull it together. She was not going to let David’s little bombshell take away from her best friend Katie’s big day!

Bracing her hands on the edge of the solid wood of the vanity, she used every last ounce of strength she had in her arms to push off and help balance herself. She carefully stood. Her legs felt shaky beneath her but they didn’t give out causing her to fall flat on her rear.

Thank God for small blessings.

She made a point to modulate her tone so that her voice came out sounding as neutral as possible, “I have to go David, I want you gone when I get home.”

David snorted. “I’m still going to the wedding. I’ve known Jason since we were kids.”

He then continued, his tone indicating that he was stating the obvious, “And my name’s on the lease, too, if you recall. I’m not moving out.”

He huffed indignantly, sounding more like a rebellious teenager than an almost thirty year old man.

Hey, maybe he and ‘secretary girl’ had more in common than Chelle had originally thought.

Finally, she turned to look at him. It was surreal, almost as if she were having an out of body experience. She stared at him and saw him, really saw him, for maybe the first time in her life.

She had known David since middle school, and she had dated him off and on since they were in high school. They had gotten serious a few years ago, and had been engaged for about a year. Before this moment, she would have said that - without a shadow of a doubt - she knew him, really knew him, through and through.

But now, as she stood staring at him with his arms crossed in a combative stance, she couldn’t believe how different he looked to her.

Everything went eerily quiet for a moment. The only sound she heard was a loud buzzing in her ears. Her world was narrowing in around her, as if a camera lens were zooming in to take a close up. She felt as if she were not really experiencing any of this, but rather that she was outside looking in. She had the oddest sensation that she was merely a viewer of her own life, watching the drama unfold like she would on an episode of CSI.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, she burst out laughing. She had no idea why. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she knew this must seem like the behavior of a crazy person…hell, this must be the behavior of a crazy person!

Hmm, she considered, yep, maybe that was it. Maybe she was crazy. Perhaps this burst of hysteria meant that she was smack-dab in the middle of a full blown, certifiable, nervous breakdown. That had to be it.

Instead of having a logical, sane reaction to his rather disturbing news (which she assumed would be to feel sad…angry maybe) she just couldn’t stop laughing.

She noticed that David was looking at her with disgust and pity, shaking his head like he felt sorry for her.

“Chelle, you really need to pull it together. I know you’re going to miss me but…”

She began to laugh even harder at his ridiculous self-important statement. She was laughing so hard she was crying. She couldn’t stop. Now she began to feel afraid – afraid that if some outside force didn’t stop the laughter soon, she would never be able to make it stop on her own. Oh dear God!

Her phone rang, then, answering her prayer. It pulled her out of her hyena-like laughing fit and anchored her to earth. She looked down at her smart phone and Katie’s face appeared on the screen. She took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, wiped her eyes, and cleared her throat before answering the call.

She gave her head one final shake to try and snap out of her unexpected outburst before she spoke. She didn’t want to alarm Katie by sounding koo-koo katchoo on the phone, after all. Finally, she pressed the ‘answer’ icon.

“Hey Katie,” she said, and (Happy Dance!) her voice sounded fairly normal in her ears. Well, she thought, so far so good. She sounded like a completely sane person.

“Where are you?” Katie, however, might be just a little panicked, Chelle immediately realized.

“I’m headed out right now.”

“Oh thank God!” Katie said, relief filling her voice, “Mom had a last minute errand to run, Sophie’s running late, and…well, I love Aunt Wendy and I know she means well, but, she is driving me a little nuts. I need you!”

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