That rotten sound of blaring horns and tire-burns filled the car as Will jumped forward in shock, causing a very bewildered Luke to scramble for control of the wheel. For the next hour, we rode in complete silence.
I was all too eager, when I thought about the plush double bed in my room, to turn off the lights, bolt the door, and go to sleep. Unfortunately for me, the charming bed-and-breakfast housed most of the wedding attendees, who just filled the enormous wrap-around porch.
A casual supper buffet was set up, along with mint juleps and other summery cocktails to refresh incoming guests. Luke and Will went to fetch Grady and his date from the train station, leaving me to drown in a uncomfortable sea, my former life and social circle with Ryan Green.
In any breakup, the combat lines are drawn, leaving your social network, as a couple together, to suffer the fallout. It's the Milton Bradley Battleship version of broken romance.
"Jinx!" Ryan rushed down the porch steps and scooped the cat out of my arms, before I had a chance to let him touch solid ground. Jinx purred in reaction to the warm hold and familiar scent of his former owner. That's the bitch about felines: loyalty only follows the food dish and a willing back massage. "Al had a hunch you would bring him"
"Congrats. You know, to you and Darren. I mean to both of you." It was verbal diarrhea-everything I said or tried to say fell out of my mouth and splashed back up in my face.
Ryan Green had it all. A notable journalistic career with Associated Press, a grounded, genuine sensibility when he spoke, plus the ability and to stretch, without effort, the cotton fabric of a plain white-tee-shirt across his athletic chest and, tauntingly, make you blush twice over.
It took less than a half-hour for us to exchange post-breakup pleasantries and nervous smiles, while catching up on the last three years of life. That is the oddity of relationships: when they go sour, you and the person you shared your days, bed and heart with feel like two strangers. You sat on the toilet, for God's sake, while he brushed his teeth on how many nondescript mornings, well actually only once, when bad shellfish was the culprit. But I digress. It's just plain awkward.
"I need to talk with you."
"Same here," said Ryan, "before I go and bring Darren over"
"I'm fine," I said, interrupting him too quickly. This was it. To tell him, tell him I loved him. It was the worst possible time. With that stage full of well wishers behind me, possibly catching wind of our conversation, a hostile seersucker, Ralph Lauren-clad mob scene would ensue. What I had to do was speak now, grab Jinx, and hightail it for my life.
"Darren is blind."
"I love you, Ryan. Wait! What?" I caught myself saying, clipping off my words before I could end my big, important sentence....