A/N: This short story is a work of fiction. It is also a part of a series I’ve affectionately called the “Marry Me?” series. Part 1 is the lead up to the engagement party of Mitch’s best friend Aly. Read below for more on Mitch and Aly’s story.
The alarm echoes throughout my room. Groaning I roll over and smack it off. I’ve never been a morning person but for her, I’ll be whatever she wants me to be. It’s her big day, the one she’s been looking forward to since I have known her. Today is her engagement party.
I didn’t want to go but she’s my best friend and she insisted that I be there. Don’t get me wrong, her fiancé is a sweet man and he looks after her but he’s not the man I envisioned for her.
Yeah, I know, it sounds like I’m being an overprotective father. Overprotective, yes but father? No. This woman is important to me and I just want the best for her.
Staring at the ceiling I remember the day we first met. It was the summer of 2010, I was at the beach with my mate, kicking the footy around and having a few goldies. It was a very lowkey Christmas party. We’d bring our girlfriends and make a day of it. Cook up a barbie, have a few drinks and play footy while the ladies lazed on their towels in the sun. This was the first year that I showed up single. Kathy, the girl I was seeing for the last five years had gone our separate ways. The story was that it was a mutual decision but, she dumped me for another guy. I was devastated because I was about to propose but seems like it was a bullet dodged besides, if we didn’t break up I would have met Emery.
When I first saw her, she was talking to one of the lads girlfriend, Mel. Dressed in a red bikini top and short shorts, her brown her up in a messy up-do. She hung her head back and laughed at something Mel had said. For a few seconds, I was in awe. I have never seen a woman so happy with herself.
One minute I was staring at her, the next minute I felt something hit me on the right side of my face and I fall backwards onto the sand.
“Shit mate, you right?” I hear one of the lads ask.
“Shouldn’t have been perving Jonas.” Another lad states.
They help me up and I look over to Mel and the other woman. They’re staring. Mel is looking concerned while the other girl is laughing. Her eyes hidden by her sunglasses, strands of her hair float across her face in the wind. I’m not embarrassed to admit that this girl has be all kinds of intrigued.
After the game, the boys and I fired up the barbie and began cooking the meat while the girls changed and went to the shops for bread and salads. Brad accidentally forgot to grab them when he bought the meat but after they left, he explained that it was on purpose. He wanted to give us a heads up that he was going to propose to Mel tonight in front of everyone. We all cheered and whooped. Brad and Mel have been together for years and it’s about time that he put a ring on her finger.
After dinner, Brad got down on one knee and proposed like he said he would. She said yes almost instantly. We toasted to their success but all I could think about was the girl that I saw talking to Mel down at the beach.
My phone ringing knocks me from my daydream. The screen reads Aly. My heart thumps in my chest. It’s her, why would she be calling me at 7am.
“Hello?” I answer, clearing my throat.
“You’re still in bed? What the fuck Mitch, it’s my engagement BBQ today. You should already be on your way here.” She sounds stressed out. I’ve never heard her this stressed before.
“Al, calm down. Your thing isn’t until 12pm. I’ll bring over the supplies at 10am.” I say yawning even though the plan was for me to show up at 11:30 but if she’s this wound up, I will get there earlier. After all, she’s my best friend and it is her big day.
In the shower, I let the hot water cascade over my body. One hand on the wall to steady myself, the other running through my hair. I knew today was going to be rough but I didn’t expect it to have me trotting down memory lane but I’m all the talk of engagement parties has me reminded of Brad and Mel’s engagement party.
Mel planned this cocktail thing for the engagement party. I remember telling Brad that I hated having to buy a new suit for this event.
“You’re sounding like a woman.” He said as we walk out of the store, suit in hand. “you can wear it again at the wedding, as my best man.”
“You serious mate?” I ask, opening the door to the car and place the suit into the back seat.
He nods and turns the engine on. “Of course, we’ve been mates since high school. You also introduced me and Mel so who else would be better?”
I shrug my shoulders, clicking the seatbelt into place. “I thought you’d ask your brother.”
We both laugh at the idea. Brad and his brother have been estranged ever since their parents died and gave 70% the inheritance to Brad instead of Mike. They haven’t spoken since and that was three years ago.
“Besides, that girl you were gawking at the night I proposed will be Mel’s Maid of honour.” He said, turning the radio on with a touch of a button on his steering wheel.
“I was not gawking.” I say, my voice cracking. Even my body knows I’m lying. “Okay, maybe I was but she was hot.”
“Yeah so hot that you ended up on your ass with a ball in your face.” He laughs loudly.
I shake my head. I have been the butt of every joke since that day. Who gets tossed in the face for staring at a girl is the favourite.
“Yeah laugh it up. She going to be there tonight?” I ask. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about her since that night.
Brad nods and pulls into the driveway of my place. “Now get out, get dressed. Mel and I will be back at 5 to pick you up.”
I grab my suit from the backseat and head inside.
I showered and combed and recombed my hair 5 times. I changed my tie 3 times and shoes twice. Only because I have exactly two pairs of dress shoes. Hand me downs from Brad would you believe. When the honk of the horn came 3 hours later, I was so nervous I thought I was going to sweat through my shirt. I should probably bring a jacket. Shit, I only have my black leather one. I grab it from the couch and shrug it on. I’m sure Mel won’t mind.
We got to the club and I recognised her within minutes. She was wearing a pink dress that hugs every curve of her body. It’s short at the front and long at the back. Her brown hair braided to her left side. Hate to say it, she looks more beautiful now than she did when I first saw her.
“Mel, do me a favour. Go and introduce mister cool here to Aly, before he drools all over his new suit.” Brad laughs and pats me on the back before walking towards the bar.
Mel laughs. “Brad told me about your little crush. Don’t worry, I haven’t said anything to Aly but I warn you. She’s a sassy little thing.” Mel curls her hand around the crook of my elbow and leads me towards her.
“Aly this is Mitch.” Aly turns to look at me. I try to swallow but my throat is dry.
Aly turns her head to the side and sticks her tongue out a little. She’s sizing me up from what I can see then she laughs. I stare at her dumbfounded.
“You’re the guy who fell on his ass at the beach.” She said laughing a little louder. “Honey you made my day.”
I turn to say something to Mel but she was already gone. Turning back to Aly, her hand on her hip.
“Well, you can buy me a drink then.” She links her arm in mine, the way that Mel had done before and leads me towards the bar.
I knew then that I was officially in trouble.
Stay tuned to see more of Mitch’s story.