Story of Us… ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID
Story of Us… ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID
The invitation had been taped to my fridge for months. I had carefully shopped for and selected the perfect dress to wear and went and had my hair done so it would be freshly highlighted. It felt like it had been months since I had seen Jordan when he came to see me in OKLAHOMA. Why had it taken so long to get back up to Orlando? School was really getting in the way of my love life. But the wait was over. Jordan’s brother, Kyle was getting married and I could not wait! As excited as I was for Kyle to experience the happiest day of his life, I was much more excited to see his Best Man standing beside him in a tuxedo. His tall, dark, and handsome Best Man in a crisp white shirt with a black bow tie and a shiny stripe down the side of his pants that makes him look like he belongs in one of those Fred Astaire movies I loved so much. Ok, I had no idea what Jordan would be wearing, but he’d at least be in a suit and I just knew no suit would ever look better.
My sister, mom and I all jumped in the car and made the trek up to Orlando. We checked into the hotel and I started counting the minutes until I got to head to the ceremony. I checked my phone about every two minutes to see if Jordan had texted…no word. He’d been so busy with wedding preparations that he couldn’t squeeze time to see me either. He was the Best Man after all. Kyle was undoubtedly keeping him busy with very important last minute details. That was fine. We were going to stay for a couple days afterward, so we’d have time to be together after the festivities.
Getting ready for the big day would’ve been a bit easier if I didn’t have to share the bathroom with two other women. Did they not realize how important today was? Jordan was going to be in a tux! I had to look good next to him for all of our “we’re not a couple but we like each other” pictures! You know, the pictures that I always slightly roll my eyes about when mom asks us to snap a photo together but secretly love later? Heather and I kept elbowing each other trying to share the counter space while straightening our hair.
“Heather, your hair is half as long as mine! Why is it taking so long?” I snapped.
“ What are you talking about? You’ve been straightening your hair for like half an hour. You’re going to fry it off of your head!” she retorted.
“Girls, play nice!” my mom said, from her makeshift vanity she created out of one of the nightstands and her compact mirror, trying to keep the peace.
We finished our hair and then started the process of our makeup, which basically meant we would take turns slightly pushing each other’s makeup to the other side of the vanity; trying to steal more space.
“Kay, do my makeup for me,” my sister begged.
She clearly had no idea the stress I was under. It was going to take me twice as long to do my own face paint. Did she really think I had time to do hers too?
“Sis, you are 19 years old! You really should know how to do your own makeup!And I won’t have time to do mine if I do.”
“Yes, you will! There’s plenty of time! Pleeeeeeasse??”
I rolled my eyes and gave in. It wasn’t going to be my best work, but I’d do it.
“Fine, but no whining about my work,” I said as I started on her face. We finally finished and so started to get dressed. I had decided to wear the dress that I wore for Easter that year. It was a light green dress with pink and white faint pin stripes running on a diagonal. It had an asymmetrical neckline; one was a sleeveless and the other a spaghetti strap. The hemline mimicked the asymmetrical neckline and hit at about my calf. Good. I hated my legs. I felt good.
I spent the ride to the church figuring out what to say when I saw him. Why did I always feel the need to preplan my conversations with him? I just didn’t trust myself to make intelligent sentences when I was around him. They made it look so easy in the movies! I just needed a team of writers to feed me witty banter to him for every conversation…that would make me feel comfortable.
I walked in the church and looked around to see if I could spot him. Nope. Well, I’m sure he had duties to attend to. He’d be with Kyle now. We took our seats and waited for the ceremony to start. Oh, wait! There he was! He was helping to seat some of the guests. I must’ve just missed him in the lobby. He was walking back from the fifth row. I thought I caught his eye and waved slightly. Not enough to draw major attention, but enough to share a sweet moment with my man! Jordan kept walking, completely missing my understated flirtation. No big deal. I’d see him after the wedding. Man, did he look great in that suit. He looked pretty much exactly like I knew he would…. gorgeous.
The ceremony was beautiful. However, it felt like it was taking forever! I couldn’t wait to talk to him. When the ceremony ended Jordan had to take photos with the wedding party, so we went to the reception to enjoy some post ceremony hors d’oeuvres. After a while of talking with the other guests, the wedding party was introduced and they all came walking in by couple.
“aaaand please welcome, Best Man, Jordan, and Maid of Honor Leslie,” the announcer said over a microphone. Jordan came dancing in as the crowd gave an applause. I waited to catch Jordan’s eye again, but never quite met his gaze. He headed off with the bridesmaid to the back of the room with the rest of the party.
“And now for the main event…please give a big round of applause for the new Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Grizzard!” the announcer said. The bride and groom came dancing in as the crowd gave a loud applause with lots of catcalls.
Everyone crowded around the new couple taking turns giving hugs and high fives to the bride and groom. I hung back and let Jordan acknowledge some of his friends he hadn’t been able to see yet. I didn’t want to seem too eager. He’ll make the rounds and then end up by me eventually.
“ You want to go see Jordan, honey?” My mom asked.
“ No, I’m good. I’ll catch-up with him after he’s seen his people. I don’t want to monopolize him.”
Jordan gave some hugs and then he saw me and made his way over. I knew he’d come over. He was probably just making sure he did his duty of shaking hands and all first, so he could be done with that and then spend the rest of the time with me… so thoughtful.
“Hey guys,” he said with a smile and went to give my mom a hug.
“Hey, Heather” and he leaned over to hug my sister.
“Hey,” he said as he hugged me.
“Hey, you look nice,” I said with a smile.
“Thanks. You too. I’m glad you guys could come.”
“ Well, thank you so much for inviting us,” my mom said.
“Of course. It’s great to see ya’ll. I should make the rounds. Try and take some of the pressure off of Kyle… ya know, Best Man stuff. I’ll see you guys soon.”
“Ok cool.” And he was gone. Okay. So his duties took a little more of his time than I had anticipated. It was so sweet of him to take them so seriously. There were a lot of people here and everyone would want to see them, so Jordan needed to go and take up some of their time to give Kyle a chance to get around to everybody. How thoughtful of him. We met a lot of the family’s friends and saw some people we knew. Robbie was there, so was Ian and “Shut face”. After eating some light food and talking with some friends, everyone started heading out. Before we knew it, it was time to send the newlyweds off. Everyone headed out to the parking lot, grabbed a bag of birdseed, and lined up to wait for the happy couple so we could pelt them as they passed by. They emerged last from the building and everyone went crazy with loud cheers and congratulations! They hopped in the limo and whisked away while everyone took photos and threw their last bit of birdseed at the car.
Jordan made his way over to us with a little dance in his step.
“Woooh. That was fun huh?”
“Yeah, it was. They looked so happy.” Heather said
“ Yeah. Hey, you two get together. Let’s take a picture,” Mom chimed in shooing me next to Jordan. I pretended to be annoyed and then stepped over next to Jordan. He put his arm around my shoulder and I leaned into him and smiled. Mom snapped the photo and I wished she would take some more.
Jaime came walking over. I hadn’t even seen her since I got here. She had been so busy with her family.
“Hey, guys! We’re going to grab some dinner. Do ya’ll want to go?” she asked.
“ Yeah. I’m starved.” I said
“Great.” The group talked about where to go and after deciding on a spot we all made our way to our cars. The Powell women were outvoted and we ended up at Red Lobster. We hate seafood, but what did I care? Jordan would be there.
We were the last ones there. We walked to the table and took the last three seats available. Luckily, Jordan saved me a seat. Also, luckily, everything at Red Lobster smells like seafood even when you order chicken, so I didn’t have to fight the urge to gorge myself in front of him. I just had some bread and told everybody I ate too much at the reception. I loved hanging out with Jordan’s family. They were so much fun, especially when they were all together. But something felt off. I had spent time with Jordan’s family so many times before and I always felt comfortable around them. I never felt completely comfortable when Jordan was around, but this was different. Was he avoiding me? Why was he avoiding me?
After everybody ate, we sat and talked for a while; mostly about the wedding. Sandy shared stories about the wedding preparations and day of jitters. After about an hour, my mom started to get a headache, so she and Heather decided to head back to the hotel.
“Jordan, would you mind giving Kayla a ride back to the hotel for me?”
“Of course, Miss LuAnne. You go. Hope you feel better.” Jordan said politely.
They left and I smiled at Jordan, “thank you.” and tried to gauge his reaction to me.
“No problem.” he said somewhat blankly.
We all laughed at more stories and had a blast. At some point, Jordan had moved down to the end of the table by himself. He had been quiet for a while. I leaned over to Jaime who was sitting beside me, “Has he been like this all day?”
“ No. He was fine earlier. I don’t know what’s up.”
My heart sank. “ I think I do.”
I gathered my courage and walked down to end of the table. I sat down at the empty chair next to him.
“You’re quiet down here. Everything ok?” I was praying something was wrong. Maybe he was sick or devastated at the idea of losing his big brother. Maybe his shoes were too small or he had a headache from all the flashes from the cameras today. Or maybe it was something else.
“ Yeah. I was just thinking.” He said not looking me in the eye. My stomach sank. There was nothing I could do at this point. Let’s just get this over with.
“ Look, I think you should just say what you need to say.”
“ Ok.” Jordan kept looking at his hands. “I think it would just be better if we were friends.” And there it was. My stomach felt like it hit the floor with the weight of an anvil. What had I done wrong? Maybe this dress was a bad choice. Had I gained weight? Had I said something stupid? I’m sure I had done all of those things. How did I think that I could keep Jordan interested? How did I not see this coming? Of course, he was going to break up with me! He was a good looking, talented junior. I’m sure there were so many girls trying to get with him. And I’m an awkward, theater-geek, freshmen who can’t even date him anyway. Wait. I was turning 16 in less than two months! Two months! In less than sixty days, I could’ve had my perfect date with the guy that I’d liked for over three years! How could he do this to me? Didn’t he know how long I’d been waiting for that date? And couldn’t he tell how hard I’d worked to be perfect for him today? I wore super uncomfortable shoes, a slimmer to suck my stomach in, I’d skipped meals to make sure I wasn’t fat. I practiced my makeup and was conscious all day not to dominate conversation. And none of it mattered. I felt like I couldn’t breathe.
“ Yeah. Me too. I think that makes sense.” I lied.
“ Cool. I mean, we can still be friends.”
“ Right. Although, I think we know friends who have tried that.” I said with only slight bitterness in my voice.
“ Yeah, but we’ll do it better than they did. I mean, we’ll see each other when you guys come up sometimes and when we come down. Just like now.”
“Right. We’ll still see each other. It’s no big deal.” I was not sure how long I could hold back the tears that I could feel building behind my eyes. “I should probably get going though. Mom didn’t look so good when she left.”
“Oh yeah. I’ll take you back to the hotel.” He said as he started to get up.
“ No, it’s fine. I’m sure Momma Sue can give me a ride.” I said, trying desperately to get out of that car ride.
“She’s actually riding with my mom. I got you. It’s not a problem.”
“ Ok. Sure. Thanks.” You can do this, Kayla.
I jumped in the car and Jordan started driving toward the hotel. Neither one of us said anything. We just sat awkwardly as the cd player played Truth’s “Jesus Never Fails”. The beautiful, calm ballad actually made me angrier. Truth had no right to be calm and beautiful when I felt this horrible. I refused to cry in front of him. I just stared out the window and tried to concentrate on my breathing. Think of something…anything to keep your thoughts off of how devastated you feel right now.
I felt like I wasted the last three years of my life! And, now, I can’t stop thinking about all the things he said and did. The first time he kissed me, the first time I had allowed anybody to kiss me. The way he would kiss my hand or hug me and not let go, the way he knew what to say. He wrote me a song about the way “he felt about me”. I don’t think I’ll ever hear that. He’d made plans to come down for my birthday to go to the beach- that won’t happen. I gave a lot to him, but what makes me so frustrated is I couldn’t get mad at him. If I had to give all of that to anyone. I was still glad it was to him.
We finally drove into the hotel parking lot and Jordan barely got the car in park before I reached for the handle.
“K. Thanks. Bye. I’ll see ya later.” I said as I practically jumped from his car.
“ No problem. It was good to see you. I’ll talk to yo….” I slammed the door closed and started running toward our room before he finished his sentence.
What do I do now?
Today, is, perhaps, one of the worst days of my life, but I expect to say that again (a lot) in my lifetime. Today was the day when I got dismissed for the first time EVER. Not only that, but the guy who dismissed me has done it before!!
I went to his brother’s wedding and stayed at a hotel with my mom and sister overnight, then me and our friends all went to church the next day. He avoided me both days. At first, I told myself he’s just busy with the wedding! But I knew something was up. He didn’t talk to me at lunch either. When we had finished eating, I went to go talk to him and he finally told me “It’s too hard. I still care about you.” and I want so badly to believe him, but I can’t! For some reason, I won’t let myself believe it. He wouldn’t tell me something. Of course, I lied and said that it was a mutual decision and I agree… I lied!