It’s been two weeks since the engagement party. I haven’t seen or spoken to Mel since I confessed how I really felt about Aly. I haven’t told anyone how I felt before, it’s just been so obvious that I didn’t need to. Well not obvious to Aly, either that or she’s ignoring the signs.
The wedding is today and I’m not remotely ready. I’m sitting on the edge of my bed staring at the photograph in my hands. It’s a photo of myself and Aly, we’re both staring into each other’s eyes laughing. My arms wrapped around her waist and her arms around my neck. We’re on the beach, it was taken by Mel at our regular bbq’s that we’d have. This was the last bbq that Aly attended as a single woman, the one before they went to the festival where she met Kevin. It was also the one where I almost told her how I felt.
“Come on Mitch!” Aly whines as she tries to pull me away from the table towards the beach.
She wants me to go into the water with her but it is getting too cold for that. Summer is almost over and the autumn chill is sitting in the air causing me to reach for my brown leather jacket and shrug it on.
“You’ll get sick besides the food is almost ready. Right Tom?” I turn to Tom and he nods.
“Just gotta finish the sausages then we’re all ready to serve up. Why don’t you and Mel go and order the hot chips?” Tom asks and Mel nods.
Aly pouts then pokes her tongue at me and she walks arm in arm with Mel towards the fish and chips shop across the road.
“You know that was your chance.” Tom states, turning the sausages and having a sip of his beer.
“Chance to do what?” I ask, getting up to stand next to him.
“To run romantically into the water with her in your arms and kiss her.” He laughs out loud and I punch him. “Ow, I’m only just telling you what I see.”
“It’s not like that Tom.” I say but even I don’t believe what I am saying.
I have had a crush on this woman for as long as I can remember. I’m not surprised that other people are starting to see it to but I can’t admit it out loud because if I do that means admitting that I have no chance in hell with this beautiful human being.
“What is it like then?” he asks as he places the sausages in the tray with the rest of the cooked meat.
“We’re just friends. That’s all.” I grab a beer from the eski next to the table and open it.
Tom nods, “okay then, you can lie to yourself if you like.”
The girls come back to the table with the chips and we sit and eat. Mel and Aly talk about the festival that they will be going to on the weekend. They both express excitement over seeing their favourite band live for the first time. Mel squeals about how hot the lead singer is and both Tom and I roll our eyes.
“Right, who’s cleaning up?” Tom asks. “Shot not me.” He quickly says, winking at Mel.
Mel reaches across the table and softly slaps his arm. “You’re a tool love.” She says before starting to clear the plates. “Although you’re still helping me clean up.”
Aly and I both laugh as we watch their retreating figures head towards the bins on the other side of the park.
“Well, wanna go for a walk along the beach then?” Aly asks, the wind blowing her hair to one side.
I nod. “Let’s go then.”
We get up from the table and head towards the sand. We start walking along the shoreline, listening to the waves hit the shore, feeling the cold water run over our feet.
“It really is a beautiful afternoon to be at the beach, even if it is cold.” She says, rubbing both hands along her arms to keep warm.
I crease my eyebrows together and ask where her jumper is and she said she didn’t bring one.
“Why the hell not? It’s beginning to get colder.” I say taking my jacket off and offering it to her.
She smiles shyly as she takes the jacket from me and puts it on.
“It smells like you.” She says as she breathes in.
She snakes her arm around my waist and I pull her in close to me. Maybe I should take the chance that Tom was talking about it tell her how I feel. I stop walking and turn to look at her and I see her smiling.
“What’s the smile for?” I ask smiling back. You can’t help but smile in her presence, she’s so infectious.
“Oh nothing, just you.” She says as a gust of wind hits us and blows her hair into her face. “Ugh yuck.” I hear her say as she tries to flip her hair out of her face without removing her arms from my waist.
I laugh. “Here.” My left hand on her hip while my right hand tucks the wandering strands of hair behind her ears and away from her face. She looks beautiful in this light, her blonde hair shining in the sunset. Her eyes gleaming flirtatiously. I slowly bend my face towards hers and just before our lips touch she places her hands on her chest and closes her eyes as she pushes back.
“We should get back. It’s getting late.” She takes off, laughing as she’s running.
Ignoring the pang of rejection in my chest, I run after her.
A knock at the door knocks me from my memories.
“You almost ready Mitch?” Mel asks as she opens the door. “You haven’t even got your suit on yet. What the fuck Mitch? We have to leave soon.”
I shake my head. “I’m not going.”
She slaps my arm and pushes me up off the bed. “Of course you are going. You are the woman’s best friend. It would look strange if you aren’t at her wedding. You’ve come this far. Don’t bow out just yet.”
Sighing I take the shirt from her and begin to put it on.
“Exactly, HER wedding. Not mine, not ours. Hers!” I say angrily. “Why should I be there? She isn’t stupid, she must know how I feel about her. If it’s so obvious to you and Tom and her family then why isn’t it obvious for her?”
Mel’s face is a picture of sadness and concern. She wraps my tie around my neck and tucks it under the collar.
“I don’t know Mitch. What I do know is that it’s her wedding and at the end of the day, you are her best friend. She wants you to be there so you should be there.” She finishes the tie and I shrug my jacket on.
Sighing I run my hand through my hair as I sit back on the bed again.
Tears fill my eyes. This is the one day that I have been dreading for the past three months and now that it’s here. I don’t want to face it.
“I understand that she wants to get married but why can’t she marry me?”