Reed Callaway (Part 4)

Reed keeps coming to me, which is obnoxious since she’s not a character in either of my manuscripts.  Oh well, no sense fighting it. 

If you need to catch up:

Part 1Part 2Part 3

I awake to a pounding in my head, no doubt caused by the bottle of Chardonnay I nearly polished off last night in front of the computer.  Grunting, I roll over try to bury my head in the mounds of down comforter that surround me. 

I swear I can almost hear the thudding, like someone tapping on my brain. 

Shit, it’s not in my head.  It’s at my front door.  Someone is knocking on my door at – I glance towards the clock and struggle to make out blurry numbers – 10:15 on a Saturday morning.  What the hell kind of idiot knocks on doors on the weekend when normal people are trying to sleep off a hangover?

I pull the pillow over my head and pray whoever it is will go away.  I heard  joke one time about leaving a chalk outline just outside your front door to keep away Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I bet it would keep all unwanted visitor’s at bay.  I make a mental note to look for sidewalk chalk later.

I lift the pillow slightly and hear nothing.  Feeling assured they’ve gone away, I burrow back into the covers. 

Is that my damn phone vibrating on the nightstand?  You have got to be kidding me!

I snatch the phone up to see just who it is I’m crossing off my friend list, effective immediately.  It’s Aubrey. 

I groan and yank open a drawer on the nightstand, throwing the phone in, just in case she tries to call again.  If I hear one chipper “Good morning” from her, I might throw up.  Or smack her, it’s anyone’s guess.

My head has barely hit the pillow when I hear the infernal knocking again.  What in the hell is wrong with that girl?  Did we have lunch plans I’ve forgotten?  I look at the clock again.  There’s no way I made any kind of plans that involved her arriving at my house at 10:15 on a Saturday morning.

Clearly she’s not going away.  The same can be said for my headache, now intensified by annoyance and incessant banging on my door. 

I roll off the bed with great effort and grab my robe off the back of a chair.  Padding my way to the front door, I curse the day I met Aubrey, twenty years ago on the first day of school.  If I met her now, we’d never be friends.  As a matter of fact, after this morning, we aren’t friends.

As soon as I swing open the front door, I instantly regret it.  It’s as if someone redirected the sunlight directly into my retinas.  Squinting, I realize the light really is reflecting off of something.  A giant something.  What looks to be two carats of glittery white diamond perched on my friend’s skinny finger!

And then she’s shrieking.  Dear God.

“He finally asked me!  Nate and I are getting married!” 

The pure decibel and pitch of her announcement makes me ears feel as though they’re bleeding.  My first instinct is to slam the door shut, block out all the light and noise as quickly as possible.

“For heaven’s sakes, Aubrey, it’s not like anyone doubted you two were getting married.  Would you just get inside, you’re killing me.”

Unlike most women, Aubrey doesn’t appear hurt by my lack of enthusiasm for her pending nuptials.  Maybe I’ll keep her around after all.  But only if she brings it down a notch…or ten.

“Did you stay out late last night, honey?  You look like – wait!  Didn’t you have a date last night?  It must have went well!  He’s not still here is he?” she says, looking around like he might jump out from behind a potted plant. 

I steer her towards the kitchen, where thankfully the blinds are closed and it’s blissfully dim.  “Aubrey, just because you’re living happily ever after doesn’t mean I’m going to.  The guy was a dud.  Don’t even get me started.”

As I fumble through a cabinet for Advil, I hear her say, “Well, with that kind of attitude, no wonder you haven’t found anyone.”

Great, now I’m going to get a Saturday morning lecture.  Perfect.  Maybe I need to chase the Advil with something a little stronger than water.

“Please don’t start.  I’m literally still asleep, or at least I wish I was,” I say, downing two Advil with the water I’ve settled on, at least for now.  “I had to consume a whole bottle of Chardonnay just to forget about my miserable date last night.  Then I get to wake up to banging and ringing and bright lights and big diamonds and you shrieking in my ear.  Just give me a minute to adjust.”

I turn to see her pouting from her barstool at the end of my counter.  “Let me see the ring again now that we’re inside where it can’t blind me,” I say, knowing it’ll put the smile back on her face.

When I walk over, she extends her hand in front of my face, wiggling her fingers so the giant rock catches what little light there is in the room. 

“It’s a little much, huh?” she says, beaming.  Clearly it was just enough.

“Well, it certainly makes the rest of you look smaller,” I say, squeezing her tiny arm for effect.

“Sorry I woke you up.  I just couldn’t wait to tell you.  Besides, I know you’ll forgive me.  You’ll have to; I want you to be my maid of honor!” she says, getting loud and excited again. 

I hadn’t even made the mental leap to bridal showers and bachelorette parties and ugly bridesmaid dresses yet.  Two Advil aren’t going to be nearly enough. 

I plaster a smile on my face, knowing I should be honored.  Somewhere behind the pounding in my head, I am.  Aubrey has been my best friend since she sat next to me at lunch on the first day of kindergarten.  She knows me better than anyone, which is probably unfortunate for her.  I know I don’t always make it easy.

It would just be easier to be excited if it were say 8 o’clock at night and we were toasting her engagement with champagne.  Yes, that would have been a much nicer way to tell me the news.

I convince Aubrey to come tell me about wedding venues and flower arrangements while I lay on the couch.  I nod my head each time she pauses, agreeing with whatever excellent choice I’m sure she’s made.  Planning an event like this is simply part of her pedigree, passed down from Miss Delilah, her mother, the quintessential Southern woman.  The wedding will probably make the front cover of Atlanta magazine. 

Sometime after hearing about the pros and cons of the Piedmont Driving Club versus the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Aubrey excuses herself for lunch with Miss Delilah herself.  She invites me, but I decline telling her Miss Delilah will surely smell the bottle of Chardonnay seeping from my skin.  We both know Miss Delilah doesn’t approve of drinking.  Proper ladies don’t drink, they sip, she’s known to say.  I never did master the art of nursing one drink all evening, although it wasn’t for Miss Delilah’s lack of efforts to teach me to be a proper lady. 

Aubrey lets herself out, and I decide it’s not worth the effort to move from the couch to the bed.  Any flat surface will do at this point.  I just need a little nap (and maybe a stiff drink) before I can discuss callas lilies and color schemes.

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