My Last:Riley & Chelle

By: Melanie Shawn

As soon as they opened the large wooden front door to the church, which at capacity seated about one hundred and fifty people, she noticed that it looked to be filling up to the brim. She took a deep breath. Looked like she’d be giving the performance of her life today, and to a sold out crowd, no less!

Aunt Wendy pushed her way through the small crowd of people waiting to sign the guestbook. She acted as though she were Chelle’s body guard, pulling her along, not letting anyone speak to her. Which, considering what Chelle was going through, she had to admit she was grateful for. Chelle wasn’t exactly in the mood for pleasant conversation.

As they reached the side door to the bridal suite, Aunt Wendy flung the door open and bodily shoved Chelle inside while simultaneously pressing the side of her headset, this time announcing, “Delivered MOH, en route to ushers.”

Chelle shook her head, smiling. Aunt Wendy had clearly found her calling.

“See what I mean?!” Katie asked, a touch of panic at the edge of her voice. She was clearly not as amused as Chelle was.

Chelle turned to see her best friend sitting in the oversized chair in the corner of the room, leaning over and threading the delicate slip of leather at the top of her beautiful shoe around her ankle and through the diamond encrusted buckle it was meant to fit into.

Katie stood and smoothed down her simple, strapless, white satin gown. Her long, silken blonde hair cascaded in curls around her face and fell all the way down to her waist. Her make-up was understated and flawless. She looked ethereal.

Katie spun around once. “Well, how do I look?”

Chelle smiled, and this time she knew that the smile reached her eyes. Happiness for her BFF welled up inside of her. Well, Katie was more than her BFF, actually. She was her DFF (Diamond Friend Forever) – that is what they had considered each other since they were in elementary school and Aunt Wendy had told them that best friends were common but diamond friends were rare. “Like an angel,” she answered.

Katie scrunched her nose, “That’s weird. That’s what Jas told me he thought the first time he saw me in Kindergarten. I’m no angel, I don’t get it,” she shrugged.

“You look so beautiful. I’m so happy for you guys!” Chelle could feel tears beginning to form again, but this time they were tears of joy. Well…mostly joy. There may have been some leftover emotions that had decided they wanted to rear their ugly little heads, not appreciating being shoved down and ignored. But MOSTLY it was joy!

Katie’s eyes met Chelle’s and a flash of concern crossed her face, “Are you okay?”

Dang it, Katie had always been perceptive and once her “spidey senses” detected something, she would not drop it until she was satisfied with the answer she got.

If Chelle was going to pull this off, she was going to have to give it everything she had! Attempting to call on her inner Meryl Streep, she tried to mask any emotion that would raise suspicion. “I’m great!” She announced, perhaps a tad too enthusiastically. OKAY…so, Meryl Streep she was not. But she was giving it the old college try!

Katie cocked her head to the side and gave her a look that made it clear that she was not buying what Chelle was trying to sell, “Chelle, seriously…what’s wrong?”

Her mind quickly scrambled for a way out, a plan B explanation that would provide a simple and believable cause for her welling emotion. Oh snap, that’s it! Simple explanation!

“I’m just so happy to be here with you, you know…on your wedding day. I can’t believe you’re getting married. And I’ve missed you so much!”

The best lies, Chelle had read somewhere, were ones that were rooted in the truth – and what Chelle had just said certainly was the truth…if not the whole truth. But Chelle realized that the key to redirecting Katie’s attention would be to stick to the (palatable part) of the truth since Katie could sniff out a lie like a bloodhound.

Katie smiled and came over to give Chelle a hug. YES! Plan B was a success.

“I’ve missed you too! God, it’s so weird. I mean, a month ago I was living in California. I hadn’t even seen you or Jas in over ten years. Now, I can’t imagine my life without him, or you,” Katie was shaking her head, but smiling from ear to ear, “I seriously can’t believe it’s only been a month.”

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